By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Mobile will continue to dominate while agile and cloud solutions will continue to rise.
B2B is seeing a shift from product-focused to customer-focused marketing. In fact, Gartner predicted CRM will be a $36 billion market by 2017, eclipsing ERP in worldwide market size as well. Two in five marketing decision-makers (37 percent) told Forrester improving customer experience is a critical priority, second only to growing revenue. To make this priority a reality in the New Year, CRM should be at the forefront of B2B organizations’ investments.
In Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support , Gartner writes, “Over the next few years, using analytics and AI to deliver greater relevance in customer support interactions will be key to customer excellence.”
As account-based marketing experiences a resurgence, B2B marketers will have to become more customer-focused and put less emphasis on products and solutions, according to Laura Ramos, Forrester analyst and author of the recent Forrester report.
“Going forward in 2017, we’ll see what are real use cases that make sense for account-based marketing,” Ramos explains. “Not that you have to go out and buy a bunch of technology, but how do you put the technology that you already have to work to deliver not only better return on marketing investment and better alignment between marketing and sales activity, but also deeper and more engaged customer relationships over time?”
According to Salesforce B2B commerce expert Eric Marotta at CloudCraze, there are three CRM trends he anticipates will be a focus in early 2017:
- Mobile and self-serve CRM domination. The transition to mobile and self-service platforms will continue, as businesses focus on how to improve convenience while reducing costs. “Mobile will continue to dominate as businesses and sales reps will be able to conduct any business purchasing functions and transactions via mobile. Customer self-service capabilities will continue to improve as businesses work to enhance the efficiency and costs of call centers and sales reps,” Marotta told Business Solutions Magazine in an email.
- Greater unification of CRM and commerce. As we enter 2017, we will see efforts to integrate CRM with commerce, Marotta explained. He said, “The lines separating CRM and commerce platforms will disappear. Enterprises, large and small, make strategic decisions based on how they can best increase revenue, satisfaction and efficiency, and a lot of that will come through merging commerce and CRM software.”
- Focus on agile and cloud solutions will continue to rise. The New Year will also see renewed emphasis on agile and cloud solutions to find more efficient ways to reach their audiences. Marotta predicts, “Companies will continue to embrace agile and take advantage of faster speed to market and resilience when it comes to adapting to changes in customer and market demands. Technology budget decisions will be weighted heavily toward these agile, cloud-based moves.”