Our CRM trends to watch in 2011 were among the most-read words here, all year. Now let’s look forward to what’s in store for sales and marketing data in 2012 …
FUSION OF SFA WITH EMA = TRUE CRM
With continuing innovation, sales force automation systems (SFA) have been transformed into a sales rep’s best friend, as discussed in an insightful blog post at Software Advice: easier implementation, data accessibility and now the benefits of analytics and marketing automation are aiding the success of sales teams using these systems.
The success of CRM and Marketing Automation is no secret. More B2B organizations will take advantage of this profitable alliance to create a true lead generation life cycle platform, so that the handoffs throughout the prospect -> lead -> nurture -> sale pipeline will become more seamless and accountable. To accomplish this, data, analytics and best practices will play an integral part in relevant communication.
(Also see our slide presentation: “What CRM Was Supposed to Be.”)
MORE PRODUCTIVE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
The customer value equation will go further so companies and sales teams can generate more revenue and profit from existing customers. This means examining every aspect of customer value, determining where it will come from and coaching/training to empower sales teams with the appropriate tools to realize such value.
With relationships becoming increasingly more mobile and social (and perhaps personal too), there will be contention on who actually owns the customer: is it the rep, the company or the data/app provider? We’ve already seen lawsuits on such components like blog subscriber lists, Facebook and Twitter connections etc. This is going to become more blurred with the continued growth of social media. One way companies can keep the upper hand is to establish a fair and transparent process.
EXTERNAL INTEGRATION OF CUSTOMER DATA
Companies have been bringing data together for many years internally, but they only know about what customers do with them. Now via external providers like Facebook or aggregators, there is going to be great interest in knowing about a customer holistically, not just the two-way relationship that companies already know. Privacy considerations included, these will start becoming available on the market.
Data trends we discussed last year continue to play out, but one megawave arching over all is Big Data. At the moment, this trend feels more like a solution looking for a problem at the company level. Although age-old techniques like statistical sampling are more cost-efficient, with the need to analyze data across, within, and outside companies and the larger market, more valuable applications will come to market and help realize the benefit of a Big Data strategy.Tags: big data, CRM, marketing automation, sales data integration, sales force automation, social media data