Trends in CRM: What's in store for CRM in 2023?

What direction will CRM take in 2023?

As we get ready to close out 2022 and prepare for 2023 business is facing one of the greatest times of change in memory. Financial, economic and political uncertainty seem to be the order of the day and as such large and small businesses alike have to be more flexible, agile and adaptable than ever before.

Since the global pandemic more and more business have recognised the importance of undertaking some form of digital transformation. More often than not the hub of this wheel of change is a fully-functional, single source of data – your CRM.

The CRM space is highly competitive, and is growing rapidly. Every CRM is described as being “best-in-class” and having a “360º, wraparound solution”. Providers want to talk about your CRM strategy or your CRM solution and discuss how your CRM will be crucial to your company’s growth and future success.

Why should I worry about CRM trends?

Change happens whether you like it or not. It could be the sector you are in, it could be the products and services you offer. It could be the customers you sell to, or as we have seen in the last few years it could be the society we live in. What is ever present is the evolution of the way we work. The technology, culture, processes and data that govern our businesses are always evolving and as such we need to stay ahead. Your CRM and the data it holds is the integral hub of this wheel of change and it is vital to keep up to date with the way it changes and the trends it’s evolution highlights.

We are seeing this evolution as more businesses are using their CRM to elevate their offerings in value. Senior decision-makers seek guidance from business analytics driven by their data and nurtured by their CRM. They are realising the benefits of dashboards and reports to convey both simple information and more complex reporting from disparate systems. Moreover this insight is used to accelerate their business outcomes. We are seeing more and more large and small businesses alike seek meaningful and substantive information that is tailored to their specific business situation, objectives and performance.

We are seeing more and more businesses seek meaningful and substantive information that is tailored to their specific business situation, objectives and performance.

10 Top Trends for CRM in 2023

  1. What’s happening with Business AI (Artificial Intelligence)?
  2. Integration
  3. IoT – Internet of Things
  4. Mobile and Social CRM
  5. Customer Experience within CRMs in 2023
  6. User Experience within CRMs in 2023
  7. Industry specific CRMs for SMEs
  8. Reliance on data
  9. XaaS – Everything as a service
  10. Market Movement within CRM in 2023

What’s happening with Business AI (Artificial Intelligence)?

When it comes to Business AI and your CRM, your limits are your data, your imagination and your integrators. Business Intelligence has evolved so far when it comes to CRM and the market is growing exponentially. A study by statista shows the size of the AI market in 2020 was $3.5B but is projected to exceed $20B by the end of the decade.

The most impactful element of this growth is sure to be the integration with CRM. We are already seeing Zoho CRM being able to summarise the most relevant and important aspects of a customer’s relationship with a business. This information is then presented to the sales, marketing and customer support teams in team specific dashboards and reports to help hit business goals.

Business Intelligence for Sales

See the benefit os accurate sales forecasts with AI-powered solutions like Zoho CRM. Buying patterns and behaviours can be extrapolated from customer data collected in your CRM. This can be used to determine the precise requirements of leads and inform sales teams to optimise and improve engagement.

Customer retention and Churn reduction
The data collected and stored in your CRM can help both increase customer retention and reduce churn. Zoho CRM can analyse data and identify specific patterns. Its artificial intelligence can highlight possible reasons for customer churn, and help you identify proven actions to reduce the churn rate.

Boost your sales with Zoho CRM

Business Intelligence for Marketing

Lead Qualification
Zoho CRM’s AI assistant, Zia, can automate need analysis. An Advanced Zoho Partner, like Goldstar, can help program chatbots, emails and conversational assistants to understand the behaviours and language of customers and leads and inform sales teams directly to improve performance, optimise sales processes and convert more leads.

Sentiment Analysis
Both Zoho Analytics and Zoho CRM’s analysis module can look at customer conversations in DMs, chatbots, social media and calls and assess their emotional state. This can help identify best practice for marketing automation. It is powerful factor in increasing the revenue generated per customer and highlight the best time to engage to convert more leads.

Focus marketing spend with Zoho CRM

Business Intelligence for Customer Service

It is invaluable to a marketing team to see a summary of the customer’s buying patterns, interactions and more. It gives great insight into what a business is doing well and where they need to focus. But the benefits don’t stop there. Yes, marketing can use the information to direct timings or waypoints in the buying cycle to engage directly with the customer, or to create automation blueprints but Sales can benefit too! The capabilities of an advanced solution like Zoho CRM goes far beyond identifying upsell and cross sell opportunities! With feeds to and from Sales, marketing and customer support the CRM can make suggestions on how and when to interact with customers. It can even identify patterns in behaviour – letting everyone know what the customer relationship is really like and where and when to nurture a relationship and keep a customer happy.

Enhance your customer’s experience with Zoho CRM

Automation, Analytics and AI in practice

AI will be able drive automation allowing the system to take over tedious, time consuming tasks and ensure that the data going into the CRM is as accurate as possible. The result – companies will be able to more effectively mange their relationships with their customers. With data more accurate we can enter the realm of analytics. AI brings predictive analytics functionality and data intelligence to your CRM. The result? Your AI powered CRM will be able to enhance forecasts, leveraging the data stored in a CRM, thus improving business outcomes.

What of AI in practice?
Like any trend AI has its shortcomings. If the data is not serviceable and impacts the input, the output will suffer meaning reports will not accurately reflect the situation and if these are used to make decision they may not reflect the real situation. More so businesses are becoming enamoured with technology and put it to use everywhere. This results is a bigger separation between a business and a consumer. However when used correctly, with accurate, real-time data sourced automatically from real interactions, well that means customer experience can be personalised and their experience will be better and more powerful than ever. Ultimately, it can lead to customers becoming business advocates encouraging others to become customers too.

Looking through the hype of AI companies need to balance their enthusiasm with an understanding of its impact internally and externally. In the context of Zoho CRM, this is where the support of a trusted Advanced Partner comes in. We can balance this and add a realistic expectation of what technology, data, process and culture is really capable of for each business. As a result you can employ business AI to deliver accurate, real-time reports and dashboards to help businesses reach data-driven decisions. In turn your business can operate more efficiently and improve the service to the customer.

Data Best Practices

Once you have embraced business AI the quality of your data is paramount. A big trend to look for in CRM in 2023 is the quality of your data and best practices to follow to ensure your data and by extension your reporting, analysis and dashboards are telling you the whole story. Part of this will be to find solutions that help cleanse your data and ensure only quality data goes in.

Data Cleaning
Data will often include irregularities. Anomalies, duplicates and worse will impact other functions and may lead to inaccurate reports, dashboards and AI predictions. CRM systems with built-in AI (like Zoho CRM) can detect these issues, clean duplicates, look for incomplete data and suggest actions to update data to reduce the impact of poor data and help you make better decisions.

Data Entry
You can automate repetitive tasks like data entry, especially when capturing data from calls, messages, emails and images. Combine this with data rules to govern the format of data this ‘protects’ data entry and allows your employees to focus on higher-value tasks.

Click here to learn more about the rules of data

2. Integration

Every business will have a tech stack. A selection of tools, usually software, they work with on a daily basis to fulfil required processes. Your CRM becomes the hub for this tech stack ‘rim’ and the spokes are the essential integrations required to keep that wheel true and spinning. More than any other trend in 2023, integration should be foremost in your mind. Your CRM should be able to handle these tool integrations as if they were modules in your system.

Due to the nature of the data in your system you must expect to look at the following as likely integration needs;

  • Marketing automation,
  • Customer service tools and messaging,
  • Sales tools,
  • Analytics software
  • Customer data platforms (CDP)

In the following trends you will see other areas that will likely need to be integrated in some way or other and these will increase. As your business becomes more reliant on data it will need to pull or push more into and out of your CRM. These might take the form of data imports/exports, APIs, SDKs and even integration tools like Zapier. They will become commonplace, so look for systems that already support these processes as commonplace.

Integrations with Zoho CRM

3. IoT – Internet of Things

In 2020 there were 8.74B connected IoT devices. By the end of the decade there is expected to be at least 25.4B. There is no doubt advanced CRM solutions will take advantage of this growth. With each IoT device becoming a source of accurate, real-time data. To put this in context we are talking about Smart devices, digital voice assistants (like Alexa and Siri), wearable health devices, biometric scanners and security devices. Every single use, every touchpoint can provide valuable real-time, accurate behavioural data. IoT integrated CRMs will be able to provide previously unrecordable insights to customer behaviour. Insights that could be leverage to improves to customer service, marketing campaigns and sales conversions. As these devices are always on, always connected they can report product performance, identifying potential problems and offering solutions before there is an issue.

Even in a manufacturing department the IoT will have an impact. With connected devices and RFID scanning, stock levels can be more accurately monitored and tied to any other department of a business to improve efficiency. You can set trigger levels to reorder, monitor product stock levels and even project delivery requirements or send invoices and integrated business solutions the possibilities are endless.

4. Mobile and Social CRM in 2023

The recent global need to provide business system connectivity (almost overnight) to distributed workforces. This highlighted a disconnect between access and the basic business systems needed for work. With a heavier reliance on CRM and its single source of data for everyday processes this will be a huge driver of CRM systems going forward. With a CRM as the hub of your business data, touching every department it is likely this responsibility will fall to the functionality of your CRM solution. Anywhere accessible, anyplace, anytime is going to be essential for your CRM and wider business solutions.

Mobile CRM needs in 2023

  • Apps that work across platforms
  • Intuitive interfaces
  • Secure and resilient security features
  • A comparable experience between mobile and desktop
  • Ability to seamless transition between online and offline environments

Social CRM needs in 2023

Your brand is active across multiple channels. It is expected you will provide the same level of service across all those channels. Your service agents have to be able to engage and build a personal and authentic connection to those customers. Today’s CRM software should include behaviour tracking capabilities and sentiment recognition. It should also allow you to call on support from other areas of your business irrespective of the communications platform. Incorporating these features across social media channels is essential into building and maintaining your brand and customer experience (CX), engaging with and sharing real-time updates.

Solutions like Zoho CRM incorporate these features as standard, encouraging better customer service. Today if a customer wants something solved quickly they will just connect with your business on their preferred social app via messaging or @tagging a handle and your service agent has to be able to respond just as quickly.

Learn about the extended benefits of Zoho Social

5. Customer Experience within CRMs in 2023

Let’s take a minute to think about our interactions with any brand.
Was it a good experience? More often than not it will be a bad one. A bad experience sits with us longer and more frequently come to mind when thinking about customer experience. Your brand’s customer experience (CX) is a vital differentiator. It is the difference between converting a lead and losing business to a competitor. This is reflected in statista’s 2021’s survey where 44.5% of businesses around the world perceived CX as a primary competitive factor. But it doesn’t stop there – consumers are prioritising their customer service too. With 80% of them feeling emotionally connected when customer service agents can solve their issues. In fact 30% are willing to pay extra for this level of customer service.

Breaking this down we can see a trend of ‘convenience comes first’. A business that is easy to work with is going to attract repeat business. Your customer’s will be happy if your CX incorporates self-service, automated solutions, has an interface that focuses on simplicity, clarity and ease of use and gives service agents the tools they need to resolve their customer’s issues. We can see CRM systems with extended features for convenient communication between sales and customer service and customers will do well. These systems will bring together data from different areas and provide content that meets customer needs.

When it come to CX, competition is now everywhere!

Businesses also need to remember in the field of CX, your direct competitors are no longer you only competition. Customers know what good customer service feels like and expect the same from your brand as they get from a luxury retailer – even if you are a B2B manufacturer! The more relevant the data in your CRM the better the automated personalisation. Your customers will feel more of a direct connection between themselves and your business.

We have come a long way from putting kids toy adverts on during cartoons, and soap powder sponsoring daily TV dramas. Personalised content drives a deeper value between brand and consumer. This deeper value converts to a stronger competitive advantage. More recently it has become commonplace, from your social feed to your streaming provider. This customer-centric approach demands high quality, intelligent, real-time data across multiple channels and drawing data from all parts of your business to give a true, connected CX experience for customers that will ultimately become your advocates.

6. User Experience within CRMs in 2023

Today more than ever we as consumers want our lives to be made easier. Irrespective of the complexity of an operation, or report, we want the user experience to reflect simplicity, clarity and ease of use. CRMs have grown and evolved so much they now mimic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in many areas. Although great on the surface, at a user level it may be offering more roadblocks than solutions. This change and the larger trend towards enterprise or business-wide CRM solutions and a ‘single source of truth’ has to be less about the individual applications and more about the effective use of these applications.

As Advanced Zoho Partners we see this everyday. The adoption of these solutions will inherently open the door to complexity, it is our job to work with you to simplify the use of the applications and create essential reports and dashboards that encompass the complexities in simple, clear and easy to understand user experiences. This work in the UI/UX realm will also drive tighter integrations with more other business systems, like ERP and Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software and financial management solutions.

7. Industry specific CRMs for SMEs

It is true to say that there has been a perfect storm in recent years for businesses to undertake some form of Digital Transformation. More often than not a CRM is placed at the core. Global pandemics, lockdowns, multi-industry redundancies and a global economic permacrisis have actually led to an increase in entrepreneurs, small businesses and micro entities. All of whom are wanting the benefits of a CRM but are essentially too small to focus on them. However, the new era of CRMs, like Zoho CRM, are perfectly formed to cater for these business as well as the ‘traditional’ market and target businesses.

There appears to be a focus on industry-oriented CRMs for 2023 and beyond. These are designed with specific business needs in mind, offering specialised features or are a ‘bolt-on’ to a resource planning tools. It is expected that there will be a rise in interest of CRMs for niche markets. We have already seen tailor-made tools for insurance, property, banking, healthcare, hospitality, call centres, construction and finance industries. However, these frequently lack the evolution of more established, fully-functioned solutions, especially regarding business AI. Ultimately we may see solutions that feature more integration – like Zoho Analytics and BigIn by Zoho coming to the fore. These offer the functionality of Zoho business solutions but are designed for the way you work and using your favourite apps rather than having to switch fully to a new solution.

8. Reliance on data

This is not really a trend for CRM in 2023 but more a warning for the future. Something that will exponentially be more resonate as time goes by. As businesses have a deeper reliance on CRM and more business solutions are being served by the data it holds it is paramount the data going in is of the best quality it can be. With the data in your CRM being the single source of truth for your business every member of your team must treat it with the reverence it deserves. Automated data collection and entry can help considerably and as more processes are automated this helps but until then, high quality data entry is essential.

We have seen a business’ CRM, its operational solutions and its data have become more critical than ever. The pandemic, and subsequent increase in the fragmented nature of work and technological changes have encouraged remote working. As a result your CRM, tech stack and data are vital to your operations. Moreover with business becoming more reliant upon the sophisticated business analytics offers the data in your systems is more important. With an advanced solution like Zoho CRM identifying problems, suggesting solutions, offering reports, creating dashboards and highlighting sales opportunities and lead conversions relying on this data you can see why it is a trend to be aware of going forward.

The need to access high quality, real-time data will only continue to increase. So, take stock of data best practices and housekeeping and review yours. Take a look at our multi-part blog series on the Rules of Data for more information.

Learn about “The Rules of Data”

9. XaaS – Everything as a service

XaaS or Everything as a Service is bubbling around as a future buzzword. It relates to the ability to transform any IT function into a service for enterprise-wide consumption. This could be anything from a platform as a service (PaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) or an infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These are delivered through the internet with subscription charges instead of an upfront cost. As a general trend and as a result of businesses wanting to be more agile post- pandemic, the industry is shaping up to be able to deliver more cloud solutions and businesses are demanding them. These solutions will need to integrate to business’ single source of truth – their CRM, either as a stand-alone system or a connected tool.

Just like with the IoT, we see a trend towards having the capability to connect to, and take feeds from, XaaS applications. This will will allow businesses to get the reports they need in easy to understand dashboards across their entire enterprise. Business solution platforms with integrations at their foundation, like Zoho, are already focused on this level of connectivity across their entire offering giving their customers a sense of security for future integrations and growth.

10. Market Movement within CRM in 2023

CRM’s growth is well documented, and its continued rise in importance is looking set to continue. With more and more SMEs seeing the benefit as well as multinational corporations. Businesses thrive when they start to benefit from the value in having structured data. Data from a true CRM solution that can manage and report on that information. We are already seeing a very crowed landscape of service providers for CRM and there is room for all of them, as they all do different things. The true value comes from a system that is specific to the business it serves.

If your business is B2C with a regional sales team, marketing department, account managers and full senior operations board you are going to need a very different system than if your business is in the B2B market with a sales person that is also the CEO, a project manager and a team of developers. The beauty of a fully functioned CRM solution provided by an expert team of integrators with business knowledge and technical expertise is that is is specific to your needs.

Summing up CRM trends in 2023

All in all we can see CRM technology is the single largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software. As a result, trends could come from anywhere. It’s best not to try to account for them all but good to have an awareness of what might happen. More importantly no single trend should make you take your eyes off the CRM goal for your business.

Put simply, if your business is going to flourish you know you need a strategy for the future. For forward thinking businesses, CRM is the framework for that strategy. A CRM that allows for deeper insights, improved communications, data security and privacy is essential. However it is vital for you business for it to also be flexible and agile enough to respond to trends.

If these trends have resonated with your business in any way – give us a call.
If you are looking to upgrade your current system – give us a call.
or if you are thinking of bringing analytics into your current tech stack – give us a call.
Alternatively, if you want more information on these and other business solution topics, check out our other blogs.

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