To maintain a Rolodex of clients, companies across all industries migrated away from writing in notebooks, updating spreadsheets, and taking mental notes. In today’s digital era, a customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential for marketing and sales teams.
Marketing CRMs track digital interactions on websites and social media, send automated emails based on sales readiness, and so much more. They’re undoubtedly a necessity of every business to nurture leads, retain clients, and everything in-between. Moving beyond utilizing the basics of the software, what’s in store for the marketing CRM in 2021?
Artificial intelligence will integrate with CRM.
CRMs began as an addition to current softwares, evolving into browser extensions and apps to complement existing tools. Today, most companies rely on SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) cloud-based technology for this marketing necessity.
However, the next generation of CRM will include AI capabilities. According to Piesync from HubSpot, “14% of global CIOs have already deployed AI, according to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda survey, and it's estimated that AI associated with CRM activities will boost global business revenue by $1.1 trillion by the end of 2021.”
Marketing CRMs will be emphasized.
Customer relationship management softwares were first branded as a solution for sales teams. It allowed sales reps to see the pipeline of digital interactions, score leads by sales readiness, and nurture them toward making a purchase.
While most CRMs still hold those capabilities, a huge shift rebranded these tools as a solution for marketing teams. If a marketer can see the clickstream of multiple leads, they can find a pattern. Using this pattern, they can more efficiently use their resources to campaign at that stage in the buying process. Marketing CRMs eliminate second-guessing the goals and next steps for marketing teams.
We’re on top of this industry trend, as Mirabel’s Marketing Manager integrates email marketing and workflow automation (landing pages, forms, etc.) with a robust customer relationship management tool.
Social CRMs will continue to rise.
Speaking of shifting to marketing CRMs, organic and paid social media marketing is arguably the most recent big player to change the advertising game permanently. With the influx of usership and industry competition across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and a dozen other tech giants, social media isn’t going anywhere.
Chances are your target audience uses at least one platform professionally or personally. Because you want to strengthen online reputation management and build relationships with your target audience, many marketing CRMs are starting to integrate with social media accounts.
These marketing CRMs allow you to track new followers and engage within the software, which effectively eliminates using the app or opening a new tab. They also compile more reliable analytics, as many marketers fall victim to tracking only platform analytics, which have different barometers for success than less-biased third-party competitors.
The rise of marketing CRMs, especially in the social media realm, is expected to boom in 2021.
Voice search will transform user interfaces for CRMs.
According to Adobe's research on voice technology, “94% of users consider voice technology easy to use and say it does save time. It improves their quality of life.”
Because SaaS companies are consistently looking to improve their user experience, adjusting the interface for accessibility is a key consideration. Another goal is to better capture voice conversations for sales reps. A pioneer is Salesforce’s Einstein Voice Assistant that complements Service Cloud Voice, which offers AI-powered recommendations for responses, articles, and next best actions. Salesforce also created Einstein Call Coaching, which provides managers with conversational data from phone calls.
As more users skip the keyboards, the anticipation for 2021 is that more SaaS companies will include “voice assistant usage and supporting hardware in operational processes and interfaces.”
A new type of CRM user will request more sophisticated features.
According to Software Advice, the top-requested features for CRMs in 2019 were contact management, digital interaction tracking, and scheduling/auto-reminders. About a quarter of users wanted sales pipeline monitoring, but just a year later, these features are only standard for most CRMs.
In 2021, the prediction is that about a fifth of users will want more advanced features in their CRM: Sales automation, a central database, email marketing, customization, and reporting/analytics — all of which Mirabel’s Marketing Manager offers.
Customization is a huge consideration for many users, and the request is only growing: “More importance is placed on being able to modify and customize a CRM by adding new fields, controlling user access, adding new modules, and creating your own layout.”
The increase in desire for more sophisticated CRM features, especially customization, means that a new kind of CRM user is here: The Millennial. Growing up and engaging in on-the-go learning with a new world at their fingertips, they’re more than comfortable using customer management relationship software for everyday sales and marketing.
Their want and need for features that harness autonomy indicate an increase in technical literacy across the board, and SaaS companies will have to stay one play ahead. They have to do so by staying intuitive to the user experience and adjusting to new digital behaviors.
Subscription models will become commonplace.
Subscription economy is nothing new. In fact, 15% of online buyers in 2018 subscribed to a product or service. The most common service was media, specifically streaming giant Netflix. Other media subscription services included publishing outlets, digital classes (MasterClass, ClassPass), video and music streaming (YouTube, Spotify), and more.
As a result of buyers subscribing to monthly or yearly payments instead of a-la-carte or per purchase, “86% of CFOs are now searching for new sales and finance systems to support recurring revenue models.” This is no different for marketing automation and CRM softwares.
There’s a quiet industry transformation from SaaS to XaaS, also known as Everything-as-a-Service. We already talked about CRMs beginning to integrate sales, marketing, and social media, but XaaS takes it a step further.
The concept can transform any IT function “into a service for enterprise consumption. XaaS includes any computing service delivered via the internet and paid for via a subscription rather than an upfront cost.”
Vertical markets get a personalized CRM from the start.
As CRM grows, niche markets will receive personalized softwares that automate their everyday workflows, consider their pain points (as opposed to a generic “business” problem), and adjust to industry-specific regulations. Healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and other highly regulated industries will soon have their choice of vertical-oriented CRMs.
While Mirabel’s Marketing Manager is an affordable marketing automation software for every business, our specialty in the publishing industry makes it a perfect fit for this vertical. Complemented by The Newspaper Manager and The Magazine Manager, our marketing CRM and automation software is the go-to for publications across the nation.
A Summary of CRM Trends for 2021
Next year will prove to be a huge year for customer relationship management, especially in conjunction with bettered marketing automation software and sales tactics. To round up what to expect for CRM trends in 2021, here’s what we know:
- Integrations with artificial intelligence, social media, and marketing will become a go-to strategy.
- Advanced features, like voice search and customization, will be requested by a new, more technically literate CRM user.
- Subscription models for software will become commonplace, making it easier for consumers to purchase.
- Vertical markets may soon get personalized CRMs from the get-go to aid in abiding by regulations.
At Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, we’re prepared to stay ahead of the industry trends, readying our software to help you achieve your business goals every year.