Software Advice, a website that reviews customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, interviewed five of the customer relationship management (CRM) software industry’s thought leaders to find out what five trends will change customer relationship technologies over the next five years. We spoke with the following thought leaders:

  • Beagle Research Group CEO Denis Pombriant
  • CRM Essentials Owner Brent Leary
  • ThinkJar Principal and Founder Esteban Kolsky
  • Initium LLC/Innovantage Founder and CEO Brian Vellmure
  • 56 Group LLC Owner Paul Greenberg

In the 2012 installment, our group talked a lot about advances in Big Data, Social and Mobile. The same themes were repeated this year, but the specific ways each is applied in the CRM context has evolved. Here’s a summary of this year’s Next 5 in 5.

‘Curated Data’ Will Wrangle the Big Data Problem

Big Data, or data that’s drawn from a plethora of online sources such as social media sites, poses two major problems for business: there’s a lot of it and it is generated very quickly. There’s so much of it out there, it’s difficult to know when you have information worth using. By the time you figure out how to use the information, the opportunity to use it has passed.

To tackle these obstacles, our experts foresee more services emerging to curate data from various sources to address specific business problems. This might include data from providers like IP address registries and Dun and Bradstreet, plus social sharing behaviors.

This information would then be fed into your CRM with an alert to act at the moment when it matters most. So if someone is on your website, these technologies could automatically send you information about which company that visitor is from which can help you refine your site’s messaging.

Crowdsourcing Will Use Contacts in New Ways

Many times, companies don’t interact with customers in their database after the sale closes, unless that contact needs support. This is a huge missed opportunity when you consider these same people are likely your best chance at spreading positive word of mouth.

Our experts predicted that technology developers would new services for leveraging these existing customers for crowdsourced marketing. These products might automatically identify customers with the greatest ability to advocate for your company via social media, then arm them with tools for doing it.

Improving Data Will Monetize Social Media Management

Social media is one of the most important sources of actionable customer data. Analysts can uncover what prospects are talking about, when, and even where. This kind of context can considerably increase chances of finding new leads and closing the deal faster.

Few products today successfully mine social media data for leads. The process is more often manual and inefficient. This is primarily due to rapidly evolving integration with social tools. Because these are changing so quickly, the data is often imperfect and unreliable. As a result, developers focus most of their energy compensating for these bugs instead of empowering technology to generate revenue. This will change as the way information is passed from social tools improves.

Voice-Enabled Technology Will Truly Mobilize CRM

More and more business is conducted on smartphones and tablets these days, yet few CRM apps have really capitalized on the unique capabilities of these devices – namely voice. Apple was one of the first to use voice-enabled mobile navigation with Siri. As any user will tell you, she doesn’t understand everything and her suggestions are imperfect. As a result, users don’t fully trust voice-enabled apps…yet.

This will change over time as Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology improves. NLU determines the intent and context behind spoken words. Our experts expect mobile CRM developers to hop on board as soon as they are confident these apps won’t annoy the user.

Predictive Analytics Will Automate Personalized Marketing

Personalized marketing is one of the curated data niches our experts see as the biggest opportunity. This means combining CRM data with online behaviors to automatically adapt marketing and sales materials to a specific person or company. Think of it as the next step in Amazon’s suggested titles, or Hulu’s “what to watch next,” both of which are based on what buyers and TV watchers like you have also liked and watched.

This personalization will extend to other avenues such as onsite navigation – you might be served offers, content and live chats based on what has moved other site visitors like you further down the sales funnel, faster.

You can read the full 2013 report here. What other technology advancements do you see evolving how we use customer relationship technologies today? Leave a comment below.


作者 Software Advice

Derek Singleton is an analyst at the Austin, Texas based research firm Software Advice. Derek reports on technologies topics and trends related to B2B marketing and CRM software. His writing has appeared in various tech publications such as Sandhill, Sys-Con and ZDNet. Ashley Verrill is a CRM software analyst for Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal, and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising.