Denis Calin January 25th, 2020

CRM Software in 2020 – A Comprehensive Guide to the Present and Future of CRM

CRM stands for customer relationship management, which is any system or approach that helps a business organize and access its customers’ data. In this article we will take an in-depth look at what is CRM software, what are its different types and why it's so relevant in 2020. We offer a fresh look at the biggest software market in the world. Let’s get started.

What is CRM Software?

Simply put, CRM software lets you organize and access data pertaining to your customers digitally. This includes customer information, sales interactions, activities, deal stages, metrics, uploaded files, product sales tracking, marketing and customer support interactions. Inherently, this is all of the information that your business knows about this particular customer. CRM software unites various departments of your company by digesting this data and displaying it in an accessible form all on the same platform. Far from being simply a tool for tracking and reaching your customers, CRM software provides invaluable insight into your own business. It helps build a meaningful relationship between your company, your product and your customers.

No longer only deployed by enterprises, CRM software is now widely used by small businesses and start-ups. The benefits are apparent - from increasing the customer satisfaction by offering personalized customer service to growing your business by engaging the right potential customers in the right way. Here are the 3 types of CRM software.

Best modern CRMs are momentum platforms focused on growing the business. The most important way this is done is by turning sales into building a relationship with the market

Types of CRM Software

There are 3 types of CRM software - operational, analytical and collaborative. Even though there are 3 distinct categories, most of the popular CRM solutions today cover all 3 or strive to be the all-in-one solution.

Operational CRM connects three main components - salesmarketing and service to streamline the business process of an organization. The most prominent of the 3 types, operational CRMs focus on all stages of the sales cycle. This means entering the contact information for a prospect or converting that prospect into an actual client (sales automation), automating repeated tasks like sending out marketing emails and posting on social media (marketing automation), and finally supporting customers through multiple channels such as phone, ticketing portals, email and FAQs (service automation).

Analytical CRMs systematically analyze and present collected customer data to help business managers and company owners make more informed decisions. The work of an analytical CRM happens behind the scenes. These platforms take the raw customer and market data and then use techniques such as pattern recognition, correlation and data mining to turn it into useful information. This information is vital in customizing the marketing, sales and support efforts for maximum efficiency.

Finally, collaborative CRMs focus on facilitating and promoting communication between your teams and departments, as well as external stakeholders such as vendors and suppliers. Sharing customer information across various teams helps you sell more effectively, improve customer retention and personalize the services offered.

It is fair to say that most competitive CRM solutions in 2020 strive to span all 3 categories and offer operational, analytical and collaborative capabilities on the same platform. Let’s take a broader look at what makes CRM platforms so relevant today and try to see 5+ years into the future.

The future of CRM
Image by macrovector on Freepik

CRM is quickly evolving into software which provides actionable insights into your own business

The Best CRM Software Features of 2020

In today’s world even a kid knows that using CRM software leads to higher customer satisfaction, more sales and bigger ROIs. And while simply tracking and analyzing the data is important, the best modern CRMs are momentum platforms focused on growing the business. Perhaps the most important way this is done is by turning sales into building a relationship with the market.

CRM software is quickly evolving from being the customer-facing and the customer-touching software into a platform which provides actionable insights into your own business. Data and interactions served across the platform are key in solving managerial challenges. This is the insight into your sales, marketing and support teams, this is the insight into your brand and the product of your hard work reaching the customer. No longer just for managing customer relationships, CRM helps manage relationships within your own company.

We have compared and researched a multitude of CRM options available today and analyzed the most recent trends of 2019. With AI and machine learning expected to make an even bigger impact on CRM functionality in the next 2 years, here is what you want your CRM to have under its hood in the near future.

The Future of CRM

As the uses of CRM continue to grow, there is an emergence of platforms which combine CRM and client portal together with task management, KPI and OKR tracking for complete all-in-one business management solutions. This makes sense: if the biggest player in your business is the customer, why not unite your customer data and your company data on the same platform?

Tracking deal stages and customer interactions is vital to building successful relationships, but wouldn’t setting and tracking your team and company objectives from the same portal also facilitate growth? What good is customer data if you can’t make it work towards helping you decide on the next objectives for your departments?

This is the way we see the future of CRM: there will be a move towards uniting the CRM and client portals with business management and planning tools for an all-in-one, AI-driven business operations portal. The whole company will execute sales, interact with clients, see yearly objectives and update weekly tasks in the same app.

Scalable. You want software that can anticipate your growth and be ready to offer features for a seamless transition from size S to M

Best CRM Software for Small Business

Growth and excellent brand and customer relations are the top priorities for small businesses. Let's take a look at a few key points small businesses look for in CRM software:

Low budget. Small business owners and start-up founders are always looking for most value for the lowest price, and CRM software is not an exception. Some companies also offer pricing plans for completely free CRM software

Great customer support. With little time to spare for dealing with frustrating technical difficulties, knowledgeable and attentive customer support is key. Surprisingly, customer support has been the Achilles’ heel of many CRMs (not surprisingly)

Easy to learn and use. The software should be intuitive and easy to navigate, master and maintain without a dedicated IT team

Scalable. You want a platform that can anticipate your growth and be ready to offer the features you need for a seamless transition from size S to M

Integrations and customization. Being able to connect your favorite tools to your CRM is great. What’s even better is being able to tell your CRM which data to track and analyze so as not to flood your dashboard with useless metrics.

If the biggest player in your business is the customer, why not unite your customer data and your company data on the same platform?

Best CRM Software for Real Estate

We have just reviewed the top CRM software features for small businesses. Let’s take a look at a sector where CRM software is becoming increasingly popular - the real estate.

The need to be customer-centric is the lifeline of any real estate operation, whether commercial or residential. Real estate CRM software can help establish these critical customer relationships. As the relationships often last beyond the sale, it is important to pick a CRM solution which allows for multiple integrations (with your service desk, accounting and facilities management software) as well as for sharing of data across various teams. Look for cross-platform uniformity and mobility - you want the CRM to be accessible and manageable on both desktop and mobile platforms, as a lot of work with the CRM will be done in the field.

There are several CRM platforms which are specifically designed for real estate operations. However, it is also possible to use regular CRM configured for a real estate scenario.

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