The 7 Biggest CRM Trends for 2019

Alicia Schneider

Jan 03 2019

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As a new year kicks off, countless companies are desperately searching for the latest in CRM trends of 2019. This is quite a recent development, with CRM technology only recently moving from the niche CRM industry itself and onto everyone’s radar. You needn’t be a CRM industry analyst to understand why consumer and B2B CRM trends have gone from the shadows to everybody’s priority list.

Every year, markets continue to evolve away from the traditional product and service-oriented focus they held for decades and more into a consumer-driven cycle. Guided by improvements in technology, consumers are quickly and easily finding what they need. This means companies have to adapt to demand faster than ever with better CRM technology.

This means CRM is more important than ever and staying on top of CRM trends is critical for both long-term and short-term success. There are many must-have features in CRM today that will make or break a business, and they continue to increase. It could be said one of the biggest overall emerging trends in CRM is simply greater importance.

Operational vs analytical CRM trends

There are two basic modes of operation behind CRM: operational and analytical. Operational frameworks perform functional roles, automating tasks to build solid relationships. Analytical frameworks mine available data about those relationships and help determine where to allocate your resources to receive the best return on investment. This also helps to determine your customer acquisition cost and to follow leads to boost the bottom line.

With massive shakeups and new CRM technology emerging all the time, the only thing that stays consistent is the need for these two categories of CRM. Since CRM is constantly evolving, it’s helpful to look at developing CRM trends early to know whether you’re positioning your company for the future. Here, we take a look at everything happening in both the analytical and functional framework CRM trends in 2019. There are seven key findings you’ll want to take note of, whether you’re looking for retail CRM or B2B CRM trends.

1. Social CRM will enhance relationships

It seems like just yesterday social media didn’t even exist. Today it uses more screen time than practically anything else. Having gone from relative obscurity into being a major mode of communication might have been an easy transition for consumers, but it’s been a bit bumpier for many companies.

Nonetheless, customers want to have an open dialogue with companies. Social media has played a huge role in that. While this can continue to be a challenge for many companies, social CRM is here to help. Pipedrive, for example, gleans tasks from all communication channels to create a single priority list.

Rather than think of social CRM as a problem, think of it as a challenge that will eventually pay dividends. Social CRM leads to capturing more customer data and designing more customer-friendly environments that feel rewarding—prompting them to continue sharing more data. Customers are clear on their expectations. This leaves businesses no choice but to adapt and become more social. When customers are more social, they feel more comfortable. When customers are comfortable they share more—embrace it.

2. Response times will drop dramatically

These days, customers expect to communicate with companies everywhere. With a social media account, email, or phone number, customers expect top service through every channel. As companies grapple with this evolving expectation of instant service, more integrated tools will be the solution. CRM trends will be focused on more responsive services.

One key driving factor will be increased use of AI. Artificial intelligence is already driving a lot of cohesive integration. For example, Hubspot tracks customer interactions through phone, email, and social media seamlessly. This is just a glimpse of what’s down the road. This is likely to take place on both ends, too. AI only needs to involve humans when appropriate, it assists consumers with everything much faster than a human can.

3. CRM will become more mainstream

CRM adoption rates across industries are currently extremely unstable as businesses vary greatly. With the average usage rate sitting at only 47%, businesses will need to put such a focus on CRM trends to compete that it will become a mainstream concern across all industries. Additionally, it is a growth industry with the ability to capture operators who need much more than CRM in the long run, making it an attractive place for investors.

As it becomes more mainstream, everyone from leaders to tech teams to recruiters will adapt. The more members of an organization who understand the importance of CRM, the better the organization will rise to meet the unique challenges and opportunities presented.

4. CRM will get easier

With pressure on companies to adopt CRM more broadly and more quickly, the demand will also be on CRM providers. They will need to make services easier to use and implement so that companies can catch up. Not surprisingly, companies recognize that they can’t implement fast enough. They are widely reporting that they rank easy operation above features when choosing a CRM provider.

There are many newcomers entering the space and many businesses reevaluating their existing services. Therefore, no provider is too big to find themselves in a losing position overnight because they aren’t offering easy enough CRM solutions. This means that more companies will start focusing on this factor. Expect new innovations to occur regularly in 2019, and for those features to be the focus in CRM ads. Everyone will be the end beneficiary.

Businesses will be one of the biggest beneficiaries. This is already evident in the CRM trends of generous trial offers and low prices amongst the best providers: Pipedrive, Freshworks, and InfoFlo all offer a full month of free trial. and Vcita both offer two weeks. Expect the values to keep coming as competition heats up.

5. Cloud CRM won’t be going anywhere

Over the last eight years, the use of cloud-based CRM has only dropped by one percent. Obviously, a transition from cloud could quadruple in speed and barely make a noticeable dent in the market. Mobile CRM is no different, as mobile use increases in developing markets worldwide. This creates a larger gap between how consumers worldwide live and how businesses can address this lifestyle effectively.

CRM trends

6. Companies will excel

The end consumer is winning. Customer service is becoming an increased priority, along with a solid infrastructure, and increasing competition. Companies will face enormous pressure to provide the best product, service, and features to their clients. While this might be difficult in the short term, it will create a giant leap forward in the long run. The massive overhaul they are likely to make in the tech departments is also liable to pay dividends in other areas down the road.

7. Data mining technology will be the next leap forward

Lastly, all of these factors are going to combine to create a CRM experience with loads of fresh data. Even the most successful CRM strategies tend to leave a lot of data on the table. All this excess data not being put to use illustrates where the future is headed. CRMs will move towards utilizing advancements in AI and to use it more meaningfully. While it hasn’t received much fanfare, many are beginning to note that it was one of the driving forces behind CRM’s rise to prominence in 2018.

Ultimately, the best use of all this information companies have has not yet been discovered. Much of AI utilization in CRM trends has been to automate already-discovered tasks. As with all technological advances, the applications we have for CRM will probably prove primitive compared to what AI is able to achieve in the near future.

2019 is the year of the consumer

It’s been a slow shift over the last two decades from a product-oriented market to one driven by consumers. As the Internet gained adoption to the point of saturation, it became clear only relatively recently that this empowered the average consumer much more than it did companies. To be smart and competitive, companies had to shift their focus from messaging their consumers to responding to them.

In the long run, this will provide a better economy for all: one that is more open, nuanced, and beneficial to a wider range of people. The shift, however, has been bumpy, and many companies have not found out what they were missing until it was too late. CRM has always been present in the digital age in some capacity. However, recent advancements have many companies seeing their opportunities in the rear-view mirror rather than the road ahead.

Thus, 2019 is poised to be a transformative year, where companies finally grapple with their lingering CRM problems as providers of CRM make their services easier to manage and more feature-rich. In short, 2019 is the year CRM stops being a problem for anyone and is a benefit to all.

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