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10 CRM Trends of 2022 + How They Impact Growing Your Business

It’s the third decade of the 21st century. At this point in the game, it should be a given that every business owner invests in a good CRM platform. It’s the only way to remain competitive in current markets, regardless of industry. It also makes things infinitely easier for your marketing, sales, and customer support teams. 

But not all CRMs are created equal. Some are pretty basic, while others offer every bell and whistle you could imagine — and probably some you didn’t even know existed. What are typically standard features? What are the most popular trends right now? And what does the landscape look like in customer relationship management (CRM)?

What is a CRM? 

A CRM is software that enables you to store and organize your contacts. It’s where you can create complete files with all information regarding everyone in your database — prospects, existing customers, business partners, former customers. 

The reason why they’re so useful is because it also gathers all data pertaining to each individual. This includes their website visits, how long they spend on each page, all previous communications with your company, their preferences, prior purchases, customer support tickets, and anything else that pertains to them. 

The reason why all this information is so useful is because it sets the stage for you to provide a personalized customer experience. You can send them marketing emails that are relevant specifically to them. You can exceed their expectations by anticipating their next needs — or by going the extra mile to delight them

And because all the information is stored in a centralized location, your employees are better situated to provide an extraordinary customer experience

Standard CRM Features

There are a handful of features you’ll likely find across the board, regardless of the CRM vendor. The most basic ones include: 

Contact Management

This is a given, considering that CRM stands for customer relationship management. This type of software allows you to create standard objects; which means categorizing your database into contacts, companies, deals, and tickets. Many of them also allow you to create custom objects for when your business offers more complex services that require additional categorization. 

Third Party Integrations

This refers to interconnecting with other software and applications in your existing tech stack, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Salesforce, and anything else that facilitates running and marketing your business. Not all of them integrate with everything, but you can browse through each vendor’s website to verify whether it would work well with what you already have.

Automated Workflows

Every single business has tasks that are either mundane or repetitive. Whether it’s data entry or sending marketing emails to your contacts, you can set up your CRM to do so automatically based on specific user behavior. For example, send a Thank You email after subscribing to your blog or making a purchase; or sending marketing emails periodically.

Analytics Dashboard

CRMs also allow you to create customized dashboards so that you can track metrics that are important to you. These will vary depending on your goals, such as website visitors, email open rates, click through rates, conversion rates, customer retention, customer re-engagement, etc… 

Who Needs a CRM Strategy? 

Anyone who has a contacts database needs a CRM. From a solo proprietor to a large enterprise, having this kind of software means that you’ll never have to worry about a prospect or customer falling through the cracks, or missing out on cross-selling or upselling opportunities

Now, it’s not enough to just have the software. In order to see business growth, you need to implement a CRM strategy that aligns with your specific business needs. In fact, you should have several strategies, each aligning with a specific goal. 

To do this, you should first develop several buyer personas. Who are your ideal customers? What are their challenges? How do you solve them? What are some apprehensions they may have before choosing a solutions vendor? 

By developing a customer journey map, you’ll have a better idea of which features to implement, and which tasks to automate. This will vary significantly based on your industry and whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, as well as the size of your business and your long-term scalability goals. 

For example, are you planning on creating drip marketing campaigns? Are you implementing lead magnets to grow your email list? Nurture your leads? A CRM can help you achieve this, but you have to first know what you want to do and how you want to do it. 

10 CRM Trends in 2022

As you can see, no matter how you look at it, it’s not a question of whether you need a CRM; but which CRM platform would be best for you. While you certainly want the standard features, take a look at some popular trends that are upping the ante: 

1. Artificial Intelligence

AI can be used within a CRM to tagg topics in communications to identify insights faster, and to enable your marketing or sales teams to look for specific keywords within those interactions to provide an even more customized customer experience. 

Artificial intelligence can also use this feature for predictive lead scoring, so that you can focus your efforts on individuals who are most likely to turn into customers. 

2. Voice Technology

Voice-to-CRM helps your teams work even faster, since they can give voice commands to enter data, instead of first finding accounts or contacts within your database. They can enter notes quicker, while everything is fresh in their minds, or while they’re having conversations in real time. 

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) lets you stay ahead of the game. Implementing this technology with a CRM means that the software can detect issues even before a customer does, and automatically create a support ticket for your team to address as soon as possible. 

Another way IoT improves the customer experience is by anticipating what a customer is looking for, and automatically make suggestions at the exact moment the customer is seeking them. 

4. Social Media Integration

Social media has changed the way companies conduct businesses. Through management tools, you can pay attention to product mentions and industry trends, so that you can participate in conversations and gauge what customers want. But also integrating them to your CRM means that all communications through those channels get filed and categorized within your database so that every single inquiry receives a response — increasing the likelihood of turning them into customers. 

5. Self-Service

People are increasingly opting to find solutions themselves. It’s why Google, YouTube tutorials, and knowledge bases exist. CRMs that offer self-service capabilities give customers the option to resolve some of their issues by asking specific questions, then providing a list of relevant resources to browse through. 

This allows customers to find answers faster, and frees up your own teams from having to answer phone calls or emails around the clock — enabling them to focus on more complex tasks. 

6. Mobile CRM

The world’s workforce is becoming increasingly remote. Even before this trend occurred, cloud-based services have become popular due to their practicality and the way they facilitate collaboration. But mobile CRM (the ability to use CRM features from any mobile device) provides even more freedom and flexibility to do work, regardless of location. Your team can check for data updates in real time, use click-to-call capabilities to connect with coworkers or customers, and share files right when someone else needs them. 

7. Condensed Tools

Once upon a time, if different business applications had the same tools, you’d simply pay for both because you needed the software. You’d then end up with duplicate information. But as CRMs become more sophisticated, apps and CRMs can communicate with each other (instead of a one-way sync), eliminating duplicative work among departments. 

8. Improved Customer Experience

Customers want things done as fast as possible. Newer CRMs will have help desks that resolve tickets automatically, or make helpful suggestions in real time. In addition, newer CRM features can make recommendations to sales associates to better meet a customer’s needs. It’s about knowing what the customer wants before they know themselves. 

9. XaaS

XaaS is short for Everything as a Service. Specifically, it means providing IT services through the internet. But instead of having an ongoing subscription service, CRMs can implement pay-as-you-go models for a company’s internal operations. You only pay for what you need, and you get technical assistance faster than through traditional means. 

10. Greater Integrations

At the center of a CRM’s efficiency lies the ability to keep all information stored in a single location. It’s the only way to work efficiently and ensure that sales, marketing, and customer support have all the information they need to provide optimal service. Therefore, CRM platforms will continue to offer more extensive integrations. 

The Future of CRM

CRMs will continue evolving as fast as all cutting-edge technologies. One key element is to focus on web-based services. While it is possible to have on-premises platforms, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it mainstream for companies to have a mostly or fully remote workforce. And often, this means having people collaborating around the world. 

In addition, features like artificial intelligence will eventually become standard. It’s what’s needed to remain as efficient as possible in fast-paced industries. 

And while it’s arguable that big data has pretty much become Big Brother, customers today have become so accustomed to instant gratification, that it’ll be crucial to be even more customer-centric than before to keep their attention. And this means gathering even more information from a wider range of data points. It’s the only way to fully support every stage of the customer lifecycle in a way that caters to their every need. 

Finally, it’ll become necessary to include CRM training into a structured onboarding process for employees. After all, for all of these wonder tools to be effective, your team will need to know how to use them. 

Staying on top of these trends will help you choose the right platform for your company. When you speak with vendors, ask them about their plans to implement some of them — or whether they’re already doing so. This will help you better gauge where to invest your hard-earned money to hit it out of the ballpark in the customer experience department every single time. 

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Alejandra Zilak

Alejandra Zilak

Alejandra Zilak is a content writer, ghostwriter, blogger, and editor. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and a Juris Doctor. She's licensed to practice law in four jurisdictions and worked as an attorney for almost a decade before switching careers to write full time. She loves being part of the Bluleadz team and implementing SEO best practices with her content. When not working, she loves to read, write fiction, and long distance running.