7 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Trends We're Seeing in 2021

April 7, 2021

The use of customer relationship management (CRM) software is increasing across many verticals, as a growing number of marketing and sales professionals are seizing opportunities to streamline messaging and workflows, while aligning departmental goals and objectives to the overall business mission.

In 2020, as customer expectations regarding delivery channels changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and as a growing number of businesses shifted to remote workforces, customer experience reigned for CRM focus. We can expect that to continue throughout 2021, but what else should we anticipate in terms CRM adoption, usage, and growth? Here are 7 trends we can expect to see:

In 2019, the global CRM market was estimated at more than $40 billion. In the next several years, that growth is expected to continue, with the marketing increasing more than 14% by 2027. In just the next three year, by 2024, it’s estimated the market will surpass $43 billion.

1. More Companies Will Adopt CRM – and SMBs Will Make Gains

Historically, large companies have led CRM adoption. Back in 2016, for example, more than half of CRM users were large enterprises. While small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have been a bit slower to adopt customer relationship management software, it’s on the rise. By 2027, if predictions on market size are accurate, that could level off with more SMBs using CRMs,  matching the usage patterns of large enterprises.

2. More AI and Machine Learning

While CRMs help automate tasks and deliver reports and analytics to help us track a variety of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), many busy professionals still struggle with understanding how to use the data their CRM collects. As a result, we’re likely to see continued momentum with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) integrations within CRM solutions. Not only will your CRM be able to gather the data you want, it will be able to help you make better data-driven business decisions by predicting behaviors and suggesting responses. Predictive analytics can help teams pinpoint customers faster, predict their behaviors, and create content and other deliverables that drive leads to sales.

3. On the Go with Mobile and the Cloud

As the pandemic forced more people out of the office and into working at home, businesses have had to rapidly adjust by adopting mobile and other applications that facilitate full business workflows outside the office. The same is true for CRMs, where team members need access to important customer information from wherever they are, any time, day or night. We can expect to see more CRMs adopt mobile-friendly options, as well as cloud-based solutions, to ensure workforces have access to all their CRM functionality whether in the office, at home, or on the go.

4. More Reliance on Automation

CRM automation not only makes jobs easier for your team members, but automation and ease-of-use for products and services delivery is ever-more important to your customers. By using a CRM with integration into your content management system (CMS) for your website and integrated point-of-sales solutions, you can ensure your customers have a simplified and streamlined way to do business with your company, while your CRM – especially if it’s integrated with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution – can automate everything from estimates to billing to shipping and customer service. Internally, process automation within your CRM will help ensure you’re also delivering consistent, approved messages, on-demand, with trusted repeatable actions to facilitate a sales journey.

5. Continued Emphasis on Experience and Personalization

Customer experience will continue to be front and center for resilient organizations in 2021, regardless of industry. A report from Walker, a customer experience management firm, predicts that customer experience will become the leading differentiator for brands, surpassing product and prices. Personalized experiences will continue to be critical to great customer experiences. According to that same report, almost 90% of respondents say customer expectations for personalized experiences continue to increase, up from only 4% in 2013.

6. Silo Breakdowns

As an increasing number of people now work outside of the office, the need to bring down traditional workflow silos has never been more important. CRM will likely play an important role in this in 2021 and beyond. That’s in part due to the insight your CRM can give you across your customer journey — from market lead to satisfied (and hopefully returning) customer. Your CRM can give team members insight into who’s most likely to become a customer and help guide your engagement, while identifying gaps in your processes.

7. Departmental Alignment with Business Objectives

It can be a struggle for individual department leaders to understand how to align department goals and objectives with overall business priorities. The further away you move across your employees, the more challenging that becomes. With reporting and analytics within your CRM, more businesses will embrace this insight resource to help set goals, measure performance, and establish metrics that help gauge success and improvements.

A great customer experience starts with great data. Register for a webinar today to learn how aACE can help you delight your customers and keep them coming back for more.

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