CRM trends2016 will again be an exciting year for customer relationship management (CRM), because many companies are more than ever under pressure to understand CRM as a holistic approach to corporate governance. Mainly the following points are on many company’s CRM agenda:

1. Orientation towards objectives and customer groups: The typical organizational structure in accordance with functions is dead. Therefore, companies need to align both goals and their leadership as well as its processes and organization with their target and client groups. Although many companies have recognized the importance, there is obviously so far still a lack of courage and the necessary degree of consistency, which will have to change this year.

2. Alignment and harmonization of CRM, IT and corporate strategy: CRM activities engage in almost all divisions, since CRM either receives or provides data, not to mention a variety of apps or browser-based solutions. Therefore, CRM, IT and business strategy can’t be considered separately any longer, but have to be seen as an entity and should constantly be coordinated and brought in line.

3. Systematic address and data management: Data quality is not a cost, but a value driver. Hence, in order to be able to provide a solid foundation for effective multichannel campaigns and touchpoint management with individualized or personalized approach along the customer journey as well as for reliable analyzes, they should be optimized step by step and prioritized according to importance. This includes a unique approach and data check which results are to be considered in the survey, processing and quality management processes. Then, it must be ensured that the data is continuously maintained and monitored. Rest assured that these investments so far always have been worthwhile.

4. Ongoing integration and harmonization of apps: Both own and foreign applications must be permanently integrated into the IT landscape and harmonized in a way that they interact optimally. For IT managers this means “catching” the users with no further ado by their own tools and make them fit into the infrastructure. Highly recommended is the complete integration of CRM / campaign management tools with email, mobile marketing and SMS. That way, all required variables are always available (including the responses to campaigns) for an apt selection and the data allows a rule-based, self-running customer communication at various touchpoints.

5. Strategic software selection: The market for CRM software is getting more and more confusing, which is why a systematic approach and expert advice are necessary for the proper selection and product decision-making. The latter also supports companies as to review their processes and to focus consistently on customers. During the selection and implementation of CRM software, the previous operation and processes should certainly always be put to the test.

6. Don’t forget the training of employees: When introducing new software, companies often skimp on training budget, but be aware that this saving takes revenge after a short time. For the implementation phase, a realistic approach is to invest around 10% of the software investments into individual and ongoing training of employees. Besides that, in the course of further development, a budget for process optimization should be set apart.

By Daniela La Marca