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5 key CRM trends to look out for in 2014

As certain trends such as social and mobile continue gathering pace across the tech industry, these are extending to more traditional software solutions such as ERP and CRM.  According to Software Advice the top three features sought by CRM users are contact management software, note-taking capabilities and reporting/analytics, all wrapped up in a single, smart solution, and preferably in the cloud. Listed below are five of the key focus areas for CRM technologies and suppliers to concentrate on in 2014.

Social Integration

As social media continues to weave into the fabric of everyday communication, so follows the need for social CRM. Social integration is a benefit for customers and businesses alike, providing the ability for quick communication, information gathering, feedback and online service and product reviews. Insights drawn from customer profiles enhance the ability to provide contextual and targeted promotions and interactions. This data integration adds value to the overall user experience, providing personalisation and informed interactions.

Cloud-based Solutions

Best-of-breed are preferred over integrated solutions, Software Advice discovered. Although 50% of organizations asked had no preference in terms of deployment models, a staggering 96% of those who did, chose a cloud-based solution. There has been a reticence to move to the cloud in some industries such as the financial sector, largely due to lack of education and concerns regarding security. Attitudes began to change in 2013, as cloud solutions became more popular and suppliers focused on addressing those concerns. Cloud software provides instant, real-time access from multiple users across multiple locations, creating wide appeal for global industries.

Mobile CRM

Mobile adoption is an increasingly common theme across multiple industries, so it is no great surprise that it is reaching CRM and ERP solutions. We live in a fast-paced world where accessibility is paramount. A solution with mobile capabilities allows employees and customers instant, real-time access and eliminates concerns around duplication and expired information. Mobile CRM ties in to the social integration and cloud aspects, creating a neat triumvirate of accessibility. These combined factors make it easy for busy users such as sales people or investment managers to access their CRM on the go.

Contact Management Integration

One of the top three requested features, contact centre integration is becoming more important in order to provide a streamlined service to customers, with input from multiple departments. Customer service, sales and marketing departments must work closely together or perhaps even merge, if organizations are to remain competitive. Smart customer service that move towards pro-activeness ahead of reactiveness provides an extra dimension to the personalization sought by customers. With the sheer volume of data gained by multi-channel integration, CRM solutions need to be smarter than ever, collecting and analyzing the data to inform actions.

Analytics/Reporting

No CRM would be complete without a reporting/analytics tool with which to measure and report on activity for the shaping of future business strategies. All this insightful data is of little use if organizations don’t use it in their operational and strategic activities. Competitor tracking and analysis can assist with creating accurate forecasts from which to plan product development, marketing and sales tactics. The ability to access real-time data insights further strengthens customer interactions and therefore satisfaction and loyalty.  

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