The Current State of CRM: Insights from CRM Expert Paul Greenberg
Paul Greenberg, award-winning author, consultant, and speaker, has over 20 years of CRM experience. On May 18, 2016, Brian Fanzo conducted a periscope interview at SAPPHIRE NOW with Paul Greenberg to learn more about CRM. Here are some of Paul’s key insights:
1. CRM is now digital
The purpose of CRM technology has not changed – it is still used to manage customer interactions across sales, marketing and customer service channels. The big difference today is that CRM solutions are now digital and in the cloud, as opposed to on-premise. This makes CRM technology easier to implement, use, and even enhance or customize.
2. It’s not enough to get customers engaged, you must KEEP them engaged
Consumers demand superior customer experiences like fast purchase processes and immediate service inquiry responses. A customer can easily jump to a rival if a business doesn’t give them what they want, when they want it.
Greenberg adds, “In the last decade, there’s been a revolution. Not a business revolution. A communications revolution.” This dramatic change in how we communicate is the catalyst for changing consumer expectations.
It’s up to businesses to not only ensure a positive experience (or good enough to make them want to continue to engage) when they purchase, but maintain a positive post-sale experience across the various channels.
3. Personalization is key
Customers don’t care about a company’s business constraints; they want to be treated as their only customer. This means using data analysis to understand their interests and needs, and tailoring the customer experience to the individual.
There are limits to data, however. Greenberg states: “Data is data. It’s the information that you have to use. The key is the insight you get from the data and insight is still a human function.”
Pipeline numbers, revenue, and most popular products are all critical data, but what’s really going to drive business forward is understanding customer behavior. For example, if you know that 2000 customers visit your website, and 80 of those visitors respond to a particular offer while 100 customers are last minute shoppers, you can use that data to send targeted promotions. Tailored promos with the help of real-time data will increase customer satisfaction and generate more sales.
4. Small businesses should embrace CRM
CRM solutions are no longer just for large enterprises. Small and medium sized business are now embracing CRM technology, too.
There’s been a levelling of the playing field when it comes to customer buying habits. Traditionally, consumers went to a brick-and-mortar retailer to purchase clothes, for example. Now you can buy the same products online at an equal or lower price and get them delivered right to your door. Small independent stores can now compete with the Nordstrom’s and Macy’s of the world.
According to Greenberg, “The problem with small businesses is that they want to grow but they’re afraid to grow… If they are growing, CRM systems would become almost a necessity.”
Small businesses tend to adopt CRM when they start to see growth. When they realize they need to scale, they are triggered to start investing in technology based on a business need. According to Greenberg, small businesses see CRM solutions “first as interesting, then important, then necessary.”
As with all technology, CRM solutions will continue to evolve with customer behavior and become even more accessible to small businesses. CRM was once a term well-known only to enterprises, but will soon become pervasive and seen as a necessity for businesses of all sizes. You could argue that it already has.