The Future of CRM in 2012

What does the future hold for CRM systems? CRM analysts and industry experts make the following predictions for the year ahead:

  1. Mobile Access will Become the Standard.  It’s hard to ignore the flurry of press releases announcing the latest mobility features for CRM applications. Accessing CRM apps via iPhones, iPads and other devices will become the standard in 2012 because users expect ubiquitous access to corporate systems anywhere, anytime on any device.
  2. Social CRM will go Mainstream.  Expanding customer profiles to include Twitter activity, LinkedIn profiles and other social information will become a required capability for sales organizations in 2012.  The ability to add direct customer social interaction to a customer service queue is essential to effect proactive service.
  3. Getting Their Marketing Game On.  In addition to integrating social media into CRM platforms, companies will redouble their efforts to improve the effectiveness of social media marketing. This will include “gamification”, or the integration of game mechanics into marketing activities to drive customer engagement and participation.
  4. Focus on Data Quality.  Improved data quality and availability will become a major focus in 2012. Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Master Data Management technologies will generate more and better single views of the customer – to improve experience throughout the customer lifecycle and make data more available to the CRM as a repository of knowledge.
  5. Leveraging Trust.  Expect to see buyer/contact profiles augmented to include not only “who you are” and “what you are interested in” but also “who do you trust.” This is increasingly important because of the rise of social media. Understanding the many social identities of a buyer or customer will become extremely important this year.  As CRM systems start incorporating these identities into the standard contact profile, there is an opportunity to also develop a better understanding of the network of people the contact “trusts,” which can be leveraged in many areas of a customer lifecycle.
  6. CRM Insight.  The emergence of “insight solutions” will combine dynamic data drawn from structured and unstructured sources with some predictive intelligence to produce the kind of knowledge that leads to customer insight.
  7. Convergence between systems.   Expect increased convergence between Web, CRM and ERP systems in 2012.  Moving beyond monolithic systems into truly understanding people; streamlining, adapting or eliminating entire business processes and defining a new world of business analytics that includes social/viral (influence) and transactional (business impact) intelligence.

With the overall focus on engaging customers by learning more about them, you can expect increased competition for your customers business.  Will your company be poised to compete against the early adopters of these strategies? Learn more by downloading our free whitepaper “The Future of Customer Relationship Management”.

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