5 CRM trends for 2018

Top of mind to many IT leaders is business alignment. How does the rest of senior management perceive IT? At worst, IT is viewed as a cost center that keeps the lights on. At best, IT is an engine for helping the company grow.

That’s why effectively implementing projects that directly benefit the bottom line like customer relationship management (CRM) is essential. It’s all about using technology to land new deals and to enhance existing customer relationships.

The CRM industry has changed considerably over the past decade. Cloud services are now standard, though privacy and security issues remain top concerns. Major CRM vendors such as Microsoft and Saelsforce.com are investing significant resources into artificial intelligence. And across the board there is the emergence of tools and services aimed at marketing and sales automation.

Here is a look at the latest trends in CRM technology and use, and how they impact IT and the business overall.

1. Machine learning is built in and here to stay

Applying machine learning to CRM data has been a difficult process for most organizations. To do this traditionally you would need machine learning expertise on staff, developers and the drive to build the solution. Alternatively, you would have to build and maintain integration between your CRM system and an external machine learning service. That’s starting to change.

“Machine learning is now built directly into CRM products,” explains Julian Poulter, research director for CRM and CX (customer experience) at Gartner. “We have seen about 30 use cases applying machine learning to CRM, but industry adoption is slow so far. The use cases include recommending alternative products, lead scoring and ecommerce recommendations.”

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