The Customer Experience Economy: Investing in CRM System Trends for 2024

 

What are the trends shaping CRM system design in 2024 and how could they help you to prioritise customer relationship management?

Customer experience is currency. As this realisation has spread, the way in which companies today look after their customers has changed from basic contact management to more meaningful, personalised care. In more ways than one, a CRM system is your printing press, equipping you with all the tools and information you need to offer a rich experience.

And it’s getting an upgrade. “Customer relationship management (CRM) is undergoing a sea change, thanks to AI advances, expanding data capabilities, and process automation,” writes CIO in January 2024, “and IT leaders are responding with new takes on CRM strategies.”

In this article, learn about the trends shaping the CRM systems around which customer care turns and how they can help you prioritise customer relationship management going forward.

  • What is the relationship between CRM system usage and business success?
  • How are CRM systems impacting companies’ marketing and sales platforms?
  • Why should you review your CRM system’s AI and automation capabilities?

Most importantly, in what ways is CRM technology serving your organisation and how could the HubSpot CRM help you to put the relationships back into your customer management?

Download our free scoping guide and review your CRM system requirements today.

 

CRM systems directly linked to business success

Today, the question is less about why you should consider investing in a CRM system and more about why you aren’t already using one. According to CIO, an “estimated 90% of companies with 10 or more employees already have at least one CRM system.” When you consider the huge amounts of customer data contained by these systems and the insights to be unlocked from that data through AI and machine learning (more on this below), this puts CRM system usage firmly in the must-have for organisations looking to remain competitive. 

“CRM has moved beyond being just a way to send out routine marketing emails and remind salespeople that it’s time to follow up with a customer,” CIO writes. “It is becoming instrumental in increasing revenue from existing customers and identifying new market opportunities for the business.” 

In turn, the widespread adoption of CRM systems across industries is leading to increased verticalisation. In other words, your competitors could well be investing in CRM systems designed specifically for use in their industry, from financial services to healthcare.

You might also be interested in: How Do You Measure ROI in a CRM System?

 

Industry-specific CRMs growing in popularity 

As HubSpot solutions partners, we’re well-accustomed to configuring the HubSpot CRM for organisations operating within specific industries. This has the benefit of ensuring the CRM is tailored to that business as well as the challenges and opportunities unique to its markets. 

Our clients benefit greatly from this level of customisation, but for those organisations seeking out-of-the-box solutions, an industry-specific CRM could confer similar advantages.  

“The advantage of an industry-specific CRM is that it comes with prepackaged workflows, data models, and connectors to other applications, as well as a built-in compliance infrastructure for regulated industries,” CIO explains. “This enables organizations to get up and running quickly and to realize the benefits quickly.” 

Whether custom or pre-configured, the modern CRM’s functionality is vital for enterprises across nearly every industry, with applications extending across business functions.

Related read: Why Does Your Business Actually Need a CRM System?

 

CRMs revolutionising sales and marketing platforms

If you still think of service as being delivered post-sale, then it’s time to look again at how recent advancements to CRM systems could help you to unlock more value from your customer data and deliver improved experiences via your sales and marketing platforms. 

The sheer volume of data stored within modern CRMs can be leveraged by marketing and sales teams to improve the customer experience across their buying journey. Social CRMs are a great example of this (CRMs integrated with a company’s social media channels).

"By viewing social media and CRM together, companies gain a more powerful overview of what people are posting about on social media, as well as a clearer understanding of brand sentiment,” HubSpot shares. “If organizations can use social CRM to respond to comments quickly and thoughtfully, they can build stronger relationships with existing and potential customers and incorporate more user feedback into their roadmap."

The HubSpot CRM integrates natively with its marketing, sales, and service hubs, giving users of the platform quick and easy access to these insights and capabilities, but that’s not to say you can’t set up manual integrations between your systems to achieve similar impact.

Find out more about the HubSpot CRM and how you could benefit from it.  

 

CRMs are empowering businesses to implement centralised data strategies

The CRM system’s ability to directly impact the functionality and effectiveness of your sales and marketing platforms also demonstrates how organisations can use their CRM system to implement centralised data strategies.

It’s the modern CRM’s ability to aggregate and organise customer information from various sources into a single, accessible platform that enables this, empowering those organisations with CRMs that integrate either natively or manually with their wider technology ecosystem.

As CIO highlights, businesses leveraging more than one CRM system — a common situation at the enterprise level in particular — will find this more challenging, for the simple reason that they are more likely to have a fragmented CRM infrastructure. 

“it makes it harder to identify unused licenses and to automate processes. It also makes it harder for the organization to achieve that 360-degree view of the customer, which ultimately makes it more difficult for the company to deliver a differentiated experience to customers.” 

Organisations facing this reality in 2024 should review their vendor platforms with a mind to consolidating them and streamlining their data infrastructure going forward.

Related read: How the HubSpot CRM System Can Help Your Organisation to Grow

 

AI challenging CRM users to be selective

CRM systems have leveraged machine learning and automation for many years now to take on low-value, repetitive tasks and drive productivity in its users. Now, generative AI is adding a new level of sophistication to the user experience, transforming CRM in the process.

At the same time, users must not lose sight of why they are using the CRM in the first place. It’s arguable that customer relationship management is an inherently human task, requiring a human touch, and that an overreliance on AI to improve the process could well end up having the opposite effect, that being to damage or end customer relationships.

As CIO explains, “CRM is about satisfying the customer, not turning them off, so organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for bots or AI-based customer service apps to actually do harm to the trust relationship between the customer and the organization.”

“Deloitte’s [Harry] Datwani points to contact center survey data showing that trust scores go down when the customer knows that they’re interacting with AI, rather than a human.”9 CRM trends for 2024’, CIO

IT leaders will need to ask themselves how they make use of AI’s CRM applications, as well as if they should make use of them, and what the impact to the customer relationship might be to unlock the full potential of their CRM systems in 2024 and beyond. In this context, there is an element of less is more to emerging CRM technology, at least in how it is applied.

HubSpot’s vice president of product, Nicholas Holland, seemed to echo these thoughts in a recent interview he held with us on the state of go-to-market strategy in the coming years.

“The harsh truth is that just 10% of people using AI have effectively applied it in a real-world setting. This challenge stems from the paradox of AI – while it accelerates processes, it frequently results in subpar quality. The next wave of marketers, over the next two or three years, will be led by individuals who understand that and learn how to work with these new tools that are going to become incredibly important to their employers.”

 

Reviewing the state of your CRM system in 2024

Having delved into the trends shaping CRM systems in 2024, it's evident that customer experience is propelling organisations to review their platforms of choice for fit and adoption

Whether through industry-specific solutions, the integration of social CRM functionalities, or the implementation of central data strategies, CRM systems are empowering organisations to streamline operations and deepen customer relationships. AI advances and expanding data capabilities are evolving CRM and its systems in new, exciting ways, offering businesses powerful tools to deliver personalised care and grow revenue, if used selectively.

If customer experience truly is today’s currency, IT leaders could do much worse than to invest heavily in the systems underpinning customer experience across their operations. Delivering strategically, in a way that meets the customers’ expectations, this prioritisation will pay dividends in the long run, creating a richer, more profitable experience for everyone. 

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