Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are already firmly ensconced within the sales technology and strategies of most small and midsized businesses. Sales teams have been using their CRMs for basic, day-to-day-functions — such as managing customer information and tracking purchase history — for decades. In that time, CRMs have faithfully served as a place to store data, log notes, and manage contacts.
But while sales reps have long been using the platform’s core features, most aren’t getting as much out of their CRMs as they could be. Even more concerning, some businesses could be using the wrong CRM altogether.
Technology is helping CRM platforms become more sophisticated, and in order for businesses to remain competitive, they must keep pace with their new and emerging capabilities.
They can do so by utilizing the following features:
Work faster with voice activation
Voice-activated technology is reshaping the consumer universe. Though it was once cast aside as a trendy novelty feature, voice is now serving as an invaluable tool in the CRM space. The technology acts as a virtual assistant that helps sales and customer service teams access important customer data with a simple voice command.
This technology is crucial in the fast-paced and time-sensitive sales world, where a timely response to a customer inquiry can make or break a sale.
If you’re still hesitant to embrace voice-activated technology, consider this: by 2020, about 50 percent of searches will be voice searches. And even if you don’t capitalize on this revolutionary technology, your competitors will.
The power of predictive technology
Consider it a Magic 8 ball that actually works — predictive technology helps sales teams determine their next best moves. It maps out sales sequencing, customer behaviors, and buying trends.
Predictive analytics in a CRM benefit sales teams in a number of ways. The technology helps reps make educated predictions — thus minimizing risks — on which products to promote and which customers to target. Furthermore, it allows businesses to create more successful marketing campaigns through tailored content.
The number of businesses adopting predictive technology is fast growing; the global predictive analytics market is expected to reach $14.95 billion by 2023. It’s is a powerful tool, and one small and midsized businesses should utilize to position themselves for future success.
Track interactions with ease
You’re probably already using CRM to track customer interactions, and might think you’re up to speed on that front. But even if you’re using the platform as a tracking tool, you may not be taking the function as far as you could be.
CRMs can – and should – be used to log multiple elements of the customer experience. You should be using it to record response times, monitor retention rates and analyze buying patterns.
Customer interactions are incredibly valuable, and the more effectively sales teams track them, the more likely they are to forge strong relationships.
Go mobile or go home
CRM platforms have been offering mobile capabilities for the past decade, and most sales teams are already utilizing their platform’s on-the-go powers.
But just as you’ve ditched that Nokia flip phone, we hope you’ve become more sophisticated with your mobile CRM strategy, too. Today, the right mobile CRM solution is streamlined to make it easy for users to find the information they need remotely.
The latest cloud and mobile CRM technologies feature a user-friendly design that gives sales reps instant access to their most important data, even when they’re oceans away from the office. And as you probably already know, a business’s ability to instantly address customer needs puts it in a prime position to make a sale.
Mobile CRM advancements are paying off. Research from Innoppl Technologies reveals that about 65 percent of sales reps who’ve adopted mobile CRM are achieving their sales goals; conversely, just 22 percent of reps using non-mobile CRM met those same targets.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an issue small businesses can’t afford to ignore. The legislation, which took effect May 25, requires all businesses with customers in the EU to comply with a complex and exhaustive set of data laws.
Becoming — and remaining — GDPR compliant can be challenging for resource-stretched small businesses. Fortunately, the right CRM can be of great assistance.
Businesses can use their CRM to keep tabs on its customers’ privacy preferences and to monitor how employees are using customer data. The right CRM can also restrict access for specific users to ensure employees only have access to data that’s relevant to their roles.
A recent study revealed that only about half of surveyed businesses had expected to be GDPR compliant by the deadline. If you’re among the many small businesses struggling to meet the new requirements, turn to your CRM for a little help.
Technology is continuing to reshape how businesses approach cultivating strong customer relationships. Sales reps must embrace these technological advancements to remain relevant in this competitive and ever-changing landscape. Embracing the latest features of your business’s CRM platform is a great way to do just that.
Xavier Musy is Chief Architect at Swiftpage (www.act.com). He has over 20 years of industry experience in transformative initiatives, technology leadership and architecture competency across the product portfolio and the enterprise. Xavier was previously Director of Act! development for both Swiftpage and Sage, and drove new cloud-native and hybrid flagship product and service software development, unlocking the portfolio and integrations in founding APIs, transformed enterprise technology to a subscription business, after spearheading cloud adoption. Prior to that, Xavier served as Director of Architecture for Sage for both Act! and Saleslogix CRM groups, after a number of development management positions, technical leadership roles, and startup experience.