The way businesses use customer relationship management software (CRM) is continually evolving. The fundamental role of CRM software is to facilitate an all-encompassing business strategy; one that uses multiple software products to drive sales, nurture relationships and, manage the entire customer journey across a business. Far more than simply acting as a log for customer information, CRM systems in 2018 are smart and developing software packages that can perform a variety of functions.
Ahead of her involvement in the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit this March 15 & 16 in Melbourne, we spoke to Su Jella, CRM and Digital Marketing Manager at Dulux, about the development of CRM systems. Su’s presentation will focus on the dynamics of data-driven marketing and how brands can leverage their data assets by building a full data-driven roadmap, to deliver a personalized and seamless customer experience. We asked her what she foresees as being the biggest disruption or innovation in digital marketing this calendar year, and she picked out CRM systems as one to watch.
‘CRM system capabilities have now been extended into various areas of marketing from data management, automation, machine learning, and AI' Su says, ‘This is the changing face of CRM systems’. These systems are now packed with technology that is consumer friendly and engages users with human interactions.’ Su’s response highlights the fact that CRM is far more than simply being a sales tool. CRM systems are now a fundamental company tool from which a number of increasingly integral technological innovations can be managed.
One startup that is betting its future on the growing and diversifying influence of CRM systems is Synap. The company, which was founded in 2015, is looking to challenge the medium against larger enterprises which dominate what is a total addressable market of $5 billion. Headed up by experienced entrepreneur Jeremie Bacon, Synaps’ plan is an ambitious one, and he spoke to Zacks Investment Awareness in January of last year about the changing nature of CRM use cases.
‘The reality is that the CRM market is enormous, and it’s about a lot more than sales,’ he said. 'Even when you look at Salesforce, Marc Benioff says that, as they look at the market, they see CRM – the sales part of it – as being about 12% of the overall market long-term. It’s a tiny slither. The reality is there are multiple layers of CRM tools that everyone has to use. Marketing automation is CRM. Sales automation like Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon, and all those products are CRM. There are customer support software applications that are CRM, and there are things like what Synap does, which is a relationship management tool for customer success and account management teams that helps them to drive transparency and revenue and growth. There’s this massive ecosystem.’
And so, the crux of what Jeremy explains is that traditional CRM systems are just that – they’re modern-day rolodexes. They’re a place for sales teams to drive leads into revenue opportunities for the business. This is, ultimately, a very small slither of what CRM needs to be in an age of data-driven business. The other capabilities of smart client or customer databases are numerous, and the CRM has evolved around what has been a core business necessity for decades. And, any company that fails to utilize the emerging capabilities of modern CRM software are in danger of falling behind the competition, as Su explains:
‘When it comes to digital marketing, businesses around the world are still behind. According to Altimeter, only 35% of companies have mapped their customer journey in 2017. What’s happened to the other 65%? They haven’t even commenced their customer journey and with the changing dynamics of various digital systems, businesses are going to struggle to keep up with customers, competitors and technology demands, especially with the likes of AI and machine learning starting to dominate technology demands. The biggest disruptor is AI and being able to adapt it to business strategy and revenue outcomes.’
It’s vital that companies keep up with and capitalize on developments in CRM systems and everything that comes with them. For a business, AI and machine learning projects need to be as effective as possible. A well organized, truly modern CRM needs to underpin them. You can learn more from Su and other industry-leading CRM experts at the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit this March 15 & 16 in Melbourne. Topic areas will range from how best to nurture customer relationships digitally, to how data can drive decision making.