Don't Get Left Behind: Top 10 CRM Trends For 2023 And Beyond
The future of CRM is promising. Advancements in web development, integrations, and automations have led to systems that are more useful and accessible than ever. Even so, starting to use CRM effectively still comes with its own challenges and concerns.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the innovative CRM uses and applications new in 2022. Let's dive in to the of the most exciting CRM trend to watch out for from 2023 onwards.
Innovative CRM Advancements Allow you to do More than Just Manage Customers
The concept of CRM is a paradoxical one. It simultaneously breaks down people into a series of significant data points, but also intends to facilitate and help you build more genuine relationships. CRM has long been used, and still with growing popularity, to manage relationships between businesses and customers.
Reducing people to their measurable information and details in the business context makes sense. However, there are significant changes to software in particular, and technology in general, that are ushering in a new level of application for CRM, both in terms of their capacity for companies and their use in new markets and by increasingly diverse stakeholders.
Traditionally, a CRM helps people manage large customer bases, understand these customers better, and form long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with them. Increased competition and complexity of consumer behavior have necessitated the increase in complexity of these software solutions, and the need to manage multiple channels and customer journeys.
Customer expectations regarding these journeys are also changing. Most consumers expect a very different tone from their brand communication than ever before, with a demand for consistency across communication channels and the expectation that they won’t have to explain their issues over and over again. Customers want more options to fix issues by themselves, but when they do need help from a real person, they want as little hassle getting to them as possible.
With all these expectations to manage, CRM software has been effectively motivated to expand and diversify its applications. As a result, the industry is trending upwards fast, with an anticipated 13.3% CAGR between 2022 and 2030.
These increases in the performance and capacity of CRM software have not been overlooked by other markets and innovators. Sudden leaps in AI, the Internet of Things, and analytics have opened opportunities for CRM software to rapidly expand into new territory, and markets are showing an interest.
Understanding people better is a major part of the goal of CRM software, and this has implications for any social demographic looking to connect better. Creating more detailed, more engaging contact experiences between people benefits friendships as much as it benefits business relationships, and CRM software is now branching out from consumer-bases systems to personalized organizers and networking solutions of many kinds.
The future of CRM trends, therefore, look to involve growth and expansion both in the current markets and into new ones, and as occur simultaneously, it looks like CRM could become ubiquitous in both business and personal networking in the near future.
We are about to go over ten of these trends and talk a little about how they might affect and be affected by a lot of the points made above, but for more of a framework, let’s touch on some of the different types of CRM currently available.
Five Innovative CRM Software Approaches Set to Trend
There are some fundamental elements to all CRM products, but different focuses open up different opportunities, so it’s important to consider the range of utilities currently available to better understand where these may take us in the coming years. Here are five types of CRM software commonly used:
Collaborative use of CRM brings vendors, suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders together over shared access to customer data. In large companies, different departments can collaborate on the same relevant data that can also be partitioned into the relevant categories for ease of use by the necessary department.
This makes customer support a lot easier, in that teams will have immediate access to up-to-date customer data relating to any issues they may have. It also facilitates a more smooth and frictionless customer journey as all departments can follow the progress in real-time from the shared information available.
This allows the customer journey to be viewed as an overall process and solves the issue of customers feeling the need to repeat their issues over and over to new support agents. With good record-keeping, the brand interacts with the customer as a unified entity; sharing the memory of previous interactions.
Some categorize strategic CRM with the same definition as collaborative CRM, however, the strategic approach focuses mostly on the customer, and how their information can inform relevant business decisions. This approach is more than just creating a good customer experience, it’s about learning how to improve it by measuring the interactions between customers and the brand.
This approach is not exclusive to any of the others, but benefits people wanting to form long-term relationships and work on their interactions. Many products offer this capability as part of the base products, but some products specialize more in this than others.
This use of CRM typically benefits internal processes and works around the principle that every department can contribute its data across many touchpoints. Plenty of automation is used in operation-based CRM approaches, and this frees up time for companies to work on other things.
Leads coming in from various marketing channels can automatically be added to the CRM with integrated tools and can be assigned to the appropriate stage of the sales funnel for investigation by analytics. This use of CRM helps with scaling by reducing time restraints, handling human resources, and maintaining the quality of the service.
The customer data gathered from operational CRM usage can then be processed in analytical CRMs. These help companies gain deeper insights into customer habits and expectations. Data analysis is somewhat of a bottleneck in CRM and other technologies, as data collection and the bandwidth to send it quickly have exploded in capacity.
Analytical CRM software helps take the strain off the copious amounts of contact data available. With advancements in data processing, these applications will be set to reduce the bottlenecks and will likely be responsible for a sudden jump in CRM quality.
One way of using CRMs that’s growing in popularity is for maintaining and cultivating personal relationships. Personal CRMs are also good for networking professionally, as the relationships that are managed in this way are similar to casual friendships.
They work by focusing on how best to nurture connections and can help build meaningful interactions by keeping track of when, where, and how you interact with your contacts.
Each of these means of using CRM is set to advance and expand in the coming years, with more applications likely to be discovered. We’ve picked ten positive trends to come out of these advancements that you can expect to see in 2022 and beyond.
Top Ten CRM Trends Spelling the Future of CRM
These CRM trends represent the logical progression of everything we’ve discussed above. Technological and social changes have led to new and increasingly accessible applications for existing software, and this looks to promise the following advances:
1. Inclusivity – The diversity of CRM products available is one factor that’s paving the way for more varied use of their abilities. New markets are opening up for similar software, not least the personal CRM demographic, who are making use of the new networking capabilities open to them with good CRM software.
This competition is making the products themselves cheaper and more accessible, customized to more preferences than ever before, and the increased exposure from different markets is further driving this demand. Expect to see CRMs diverging into yet-untapped markets, and exploding within those already exposed.
2. Huge boost in Social CRM – Off the back of this, it can be assumed that there will be a significant rise in personal CRM, for various uses. Facebook seems to be dying, and as users move away from manipulated social experiences and towards a more objective and secure way of connecting, CRMs maybe take advantage of a new niche in personal connections.
CRM options like DEX bring together social platforms and LinkedIn, as well as emails and other daily tools to combine access to all your contacts in one place. It also helps keep track of where the conversation ended, as well as provides useful alerts when it’s time to check in or update.
These software options may represent a new way of dealing with personal relationships remotely; one that is more personalized than a Facebook update or Tweet.
3. AI – The idea of a Quantified Self is a mix of ominous and incredible, and while consumers wish to be known better than ever before, the amount of personal data they’re willing to give away could create ethical dilemmas. Wearable devices can now integrate with company CRM software to bring in vast amounts of data; much of which won’t be filtered by the user before sending.
The rise in AI capabilities is therefore promising and concerning, and as the population becomes more aware of the importance of data security, expect new, subversive ways of gathering data from consumers, as well as pushback in the form of regulations around this data collection.
AI also promises more detailed and faster data analysis, which should exponentially increase the accuracy and range of the information available.
4. Voice interface– Learning algorithms also offer the chance to improve voice interfaces and recognition. This could mean that phone conversations can be recorded, and the data extracted from them can be factored into customer and personal contact analysis.
It also suggests that the way we interact with our CRM can change. The convenience of adding information to databases using a conversation with the device will be attractive to many, and this will further expedite the gathering of information for CRMs.
5. A wider range of internal applications – Moving away from the customer-facing use of CRMs, the software improvements are now making it possible for numerous other explorations into the inner workings of businesses and networks.
As we’ve discussed in the previous section, this is already happening, as companies now make use of the software to run deeper analytics, follow in close detail the customer journey, and more deeply personalize the customer experience using thorough analytics. Expect these applications to further increase in popularity as the software becomes more widely known.
6. Entering New Markets – Healthcare is a great example of a new market for CRM software. The patient experience is just as important to the success of healthcare as the customer experience is to business. CRM offers an incredible opportunity for healthcare providers to engage patients more effectively, improve the patient journey, and better address their concerns.
Other markets that stand to benefit from the adoption of CRM might be manufacturing, in the form of collaborative logistical CRM usage, and the notoriously sterile and obnoxious customer service departments of financial companies.
Many uses of modern CRM software are now unrelated to managing customers directly and can be used in plenty of other contexts. As such, running the logistics of a warehouse, or tailoring automated security updates to vendors becomes a novel use of CRM for different markets than those it was originally intended for.
7. New businesses – The merger of the customer and personal contact applications for CRM, combined with a significantly reduced cost will lend itself to CRM adoption at the very early stages of business. From MBA students to the initial stages of an entrepreneur’s startup journey, CRM may soon be factored into the construction of a business entity as an established and necessary tool of business.
CRM can help new businesses manage time better, keep track of those valuable early customers, and prepare for the rapid scaling of the customer base as the business grows. Early adoption allows for more organic growth of both the company and the CRM usage and paves the way for future success.
8. Integrated Analytics – The combination of improvements to AI, analysis, and amount of data, as well as a better understanding of how to store and sort these data, lends itself to unprecedented levels of analytics across multiple platforms.
Complex analytics is currently a luxury in CRM, but with increasing competition and a greater demand for detailed identification of problems and solutions from businesses, expect to see these more powerful competencies factored into the base product in the future.
9. Automation – For both companies and individuals, automation in regards to the way CRM functions will surely see a great expansion. One of the most powerful applications of CRM is its ability to take the strain off people and companies by completing repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
From contact partitioning to mass communications, to reduce manual data inputs and the corresponding inaccuracies, the advancement of automation options looks set to continue the efficiency of dealing with larger contact bodies than before.
Automation itself is set to trend to more complex tasks and is now important for not only sending out emails, but handing over contacts, following up, and even closing deals. Contrary to intuition, automation can greatly improve the personalized touches between businesses and customers, and as AI improves, more tasks are eligible for automation.
One good example is the intelligence of chatbots. Another is in the ability to make informed decisions with enormous amounts of data. Both of these are strengths of growing AI, as mentioned above, and the consequences are the improved quality of automated services.
10. Sophistication – Ultimately, what many of these trends represent is a continued CRM trend towards more sophisticated software. The basics will always be available: contact management, interaction tracking, and scheduling; but increases in the range of services available look set to continue.
The difficulties lie in balancing this new sophistication of automation, marketing, customizability, and reporting or analytics comes with the cost of maintaining a unified view of the contacts being analyzed. This is the current challenge for CRM devs and brings us back to the paradox of creating a unique, accurate personal profile simply by using the right combination of data points and analytics.
CRM trends are driven by innumerable external factors. Some of the larger forces at play are more demanding consumers, advancements in AI and other related tech, and increasing popularity of the software as a service.
All of these are pushing CRM in the direction of increased breadth of applications, increased diversity, and higher levels of sophistication.
The challenge to create an individual from their quantifiable data still remains. The increasingly invasive nature of data collection is will likely unsustainable in the long run.
New users of CRM have also emerged as different consumers expect their system to different things. For many, users have also used CRM less as a business tool and more as a a personal organizer. For those users, a new crop of dedicated tools like Dex offer unprecedented levels of accessibility with integrations, browser extensions, and dedicated mobile apps. This new guard of 'personal CRM' provides an alternative to both the overcomplicated CRMs of years past, as well as overtly-manipulative social media platforms.