New Trends in CRM Software that Will Make a Difference

Enterprise Level Data Gathering, Transparently 
Data is the currency of the information age. Those that have it and know how to manage it can do anything. Those without it, or those that flounder it away, are always struggling to stay in the game. Future CRM solutions will provide extensive data gathering mechanisms with zero change in end-user behavior. The data collection will be continuous and invisible – transparent – and immediately available for use.

A major drawback in today’s CRM solutions is its lack of transparency with regards to data collection. For example, sales people need to interact with the system in order to maintain new leads or business partners after the fact - meaning after completing a sales call, the sales person needs to go back and record the event and its outcome. The same holds true for customer reps and/or service-related organizations that need to track customer interactions and behaviors. The process for capturing this data is manual (and quite tedious and time consuming for some) – it is not automatic. This is where future CRM tools will excel.

Consider a new data collection paradigm where everything is logged, at all times, without the need to interact directly. All communication going from the enterprise to the customer base and vice versa passes through a common ‘CRM Black Box’ which logs everything:


With the CRM Black Box paradigm, there is no need to change anyone’s behavior. The black box would do the data collection in real time and then present it back in a real-time context. For example, a sales call with the CRM Black Box in place:

While the sales person is speaking to the customer, the CRM solution is updating a display to sales person – on a tablet, smart-phone, maybe even a new optical device embedded into the lens of the sales person’s glasses? Not only is CRM giving the sales person information to create a personal experience for the customer, CRM is also logging the interaction – positive or negative outcome, mood of the customer, date/time of interaction, topics that were discussed, etc. However, the sales person did not need to change his/her behavior. From the sales person’s perspective, a phone call simply took place while a few talking points were displayed back in real-time. The integration between the sales person and the CRM system is seamless, effortless, and useful, which in turn drives acceptance of the system.

Getting a Real View of Customer Utility – CRM Data Intelligence
A common tenant in economics is that people will naturally participate in an activity if it increases their utility. Hence, the goal of any business should be to increase the utility in its customer base. The challenge is to make this a personal experience for each customer and understand those utilities that are unique to any given customer. The next set of CRM tools will provide analytics and business intelligence features that can correctly guide businesses to drive customer utility into the stratosphere. Reports on future CRM platforms will be tailored instructions and checklists by which businesses can fine-tune operations, increase customer growth, cut costs, and increase sales growth.

By integrating customer utility into the CRM reporting layer, imagine some possibilities of the types of reports that the next CRM tools can offer:
  • My happiest customers
  • My most annoyed customers
  • Customers that use the company website and prefer it
  • Customer that use the company website but would prefer to use the phone 
  • Customers that buy the least amount but call the service department the most
  • Customers I talk to the most, but don’t sell to much
  • Customers I never talk to, but sell to often
The list is endless, there is no limit to the ways in which CRM data can be sliced and diced. Given all the elements that make up the enterprise landscapes of today’s businesses, CRM has the most upside potential. This is not due to the fact that fewer businesses use CRM, but because the foundation needed to create a truly great CRM solution is just now becoming a reality. Over time, CRM will tightly integrate into the ERP landscape and into the daily lives of consumers. 

In a quiet and austere manner, CRM will find, catalogue, and report on every piece of information, behavioral quirk, or idiosyncrasy that drives customer behavior and preferences. Its presence will never be seen or felt, but its impact will be intense. Consumers will be amazed at how easily they can get exactly the right products and feel great doing it, and businesses will be amazed at how well they operate and how much their profits grow.