CRM solutions continue to deliver significant value to companies to best connect with customers. Here’s what’s coming next…

Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Group answered the following questions about trends and how value is being delivered in CRM. We thank her for sharing her thoughts on how CRM software will continue to improve customer relationships. 

Q: What are the emerging drivers or trends that companies are implementing within their CRM solutions so that their business better connects with prospects and customers?

Current key themes for CRM are all about the three “I”s: intelligence, integration, and individuals. To make individual users more effective, CRM has to provide both individual productivity tools and intelligence (either rules-based or AI-driven) to help them make better decisions, whether it’s what to sell to a customer, how to nurture a lead, or how to solve a customer’s problem. The intelligence is only as good as the completeness of customer data – from both within and beyond the CRM application – which is why we see so much investment in data integration and process integration across sales, marketing, and service capabilities. 

Q: How important is identifying and implementing operational processes and workflows within their CRM systems to add value to CRM adoption and utilization?

Without intelligent processes and workflows, CRM is just a database of contacts and transactions. Intelligent process management streamlines and accelerates customer service ticket resolution, help scale sales management by providing sales people with best practices to follow, and automates event-driven marketing and lead nurturing. All these areas ultimately make users more productive and more effective in their interactions with customers. 

Q: When it comes to interoperability and integration, what role should CRM play when it comes to customer data? Should it be the hub of customer information, or should it be a spoke, and should it contribute to other sources or applications?

Sixty-four percent of companies say CRM is critical to the success of their business – far more than other enterprise applications, even ERP. As such, it makes sense that CRM serve as the core for customer information. We all talk about a 360 degree view of the customer, and most companies are far away from that, not just because of CRM silos but because there is data in other systems – inventory, billing, and the like – that is critical to understanding the overall relationship with a customer. That’s why cost-effective integration is increasingly important.

Q: CRM is projected to become an $80Bn industry by 2025. Where do you suspect this growth is coming from (where is the new revenue originating from) and what value (new goals or known goals around sales, marketing, support) should CRM solutions look to deliver?

Again, nearly two-thirds of companies say CRM is critical to the success of their business – and many companies are still trying to get it right. Unlike financial transactions or payroll, which hasn’t fundamentally changed in years, CRM is still evolving and is still very much a moving target. We see companies continuing to invest in both “edge” applications (like CPQ, for example) that deliver significant additional value, and the three I’s (intelligence, individuals, and integration) to automate processes and free up human time to spend on more quality interactions with customers

Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President, Research

Rebecca Wettemann is responsible for directing and managing Nucleus Research’s industry-leading quantitative research team. She has written and presented extensively on the subject of enterprise applications, CRM, collaboration, and integration technology and its impact on business. She is an expert on the financial analysis of technology and is the author of numerous return on investment (ROI) studies and reports.

Prior to joining Nucleus, Ms. Wettemann directed IDC’s European Collaborative Technologies programs.

Ms. Wettemann holds a BS in Political Science and a BA in French from Oklahoma State University and a Masters of Law and Diplomacy degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.