Analysis: What You Need in a CRM

Over the past year we have written multiple topics on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and the importance it has to your company and the full customer experience you deliver.  A web site, social and other digital marketing channels can’t be as effective if there is not a CRM behind it all and with a majority of companies allocating technology budgets to marketing and sales it is without a doubt that CRM will be a big contributor to those budgets.

Recently, our friends at  Software Advice did a study on what companies look for and evaluate when selecting a CRM .  The report was insightful as well as their nine minute video interview with CRM expert, Paul Greenberg. Greenberg gives great insight into the current state of CRM and what companies find important.  But even more interesting is the future of CRM and the importance of critical data on both the customer and the competitive landscape.
CRM without integration of these digital channels, without the capture of knowledge, the identification or insight and the personalization of the customer experience, is not CRM

It’s in the Cloud

96 percent Prefer a Cloud-Based CRMWhen companies select a CRM package 96% of them prefer a cloud-based solution.  The top CRM providers, such as Salesforce.com, are in the cloud and it surprises me that even 4% of the companies out there prefer a CRM package that is on-premise thus leaving it unsupported as well as expensive to maintain and provide the accurate data that companies thrive on.

Sales Force Automation and Marketing Automation

It’s clear that the most important feature that companies want is sales force automation.  This is essentially what many CRMs provide to companies.  Sales force automation is the ability to provide companies with a solution that manages the traditional and fundamental features of a CRM which include:
  • Leads
  • Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Opportunities
  • Reporting
After sales force automation companies are demanding a marketing automation solution that is seamlessly integrated into the CRM.  It’s obvious to CRM providers such as Salesforce.com and Oracle who have recently purchased marketing automation solutions to integrate with their CRM packages.  By integrating a sales force and marketing automation solution into a CRM companies are better able to not only improve the effectiveness of sales and marketing but they are also able to provide relevant data and content to not only their clients but their prospects and leads.
Critical Features of a CRM - Sales Force Automation and Marketing Automation

Social CRM is Not the Future, It’s the Present

The company that is able to mine the data the best will win.  We are in the age of Big Data and the amount of data that we have access to is more than ever before.  This is the huge benefit of the social CRM movement and the need to integrate social into your CRM.  With social, companies are able to improve more in-depth intelligence from the social web by capturing key data points from their clients, prospects and competitors.  As a result, being able to better personalize the full customer experience they provide to their audience.

Personalization is the Future

Piggy backing on social CRM is personalization  and over the past 18-months the topic of personalization has been intriguing to many.  Greenberg explains in this interview that the demand for personalization is very high, but technology is not that advanced yet.  He goes on to state that the technology is getting their and is getting better.  Therefore, over the next year, as companies are able to improve the collection of key data points from the social web, the sales trail and various digital marketing channels they will be able to provide a more improved 1-on-1 conversation with their audience.

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