Salesforce CRM trends in 2020

“You are caller number 12; please stay on the line” – a few years ago, a message like this was the standard part of the customer experience journey.

Today, customers expect a lot more than this. they expect open chat windows on your website, call back options, instant messages, and tweets. they expect that you know who they are, what’s their recent order and that you understand what they need next and so on. Customer experience expectations are on the rise and the stakes are quite high for companies.

Standing at the doorstep of a new decade, let’s examine where these changes will take companies and their customers. Here’s a look through of Salesforce’s original research – to know what will be the 2020 CRM Trends?

Marketers improvise on the Customer Identity Problem

For years, marketers have skirted around the customer identity problem with what-amounts to an educated guess, but now digital marketers have the means and techniques to crack identity.

What is Customer Identity?

It is a multi-dimensional concept encompassing many substantial benefits to customer-agnostic businesses. It’s all about customers- it’s about creating a seamless and highly secure experience across various digital services and devices by placing the customer’s identity at the priority whilst beginning the journey – whether the customer engages with you on the mobile, web or any other channel.

Marketers attain a huge level of transparency and clarity when it comes to interacting with millions of customers in meaningful and personal ways with the help of some very powerful technologies- all in real time.

The problem arises when it comes to robust management and analysis of large amounts of data.

“In the most recent State of Marketing report, we forecast that the median number of customer data sources used by marketers globally, would jump 50% from 10 in 2017 to 15 in 2019 — and we see no signs this trend will slow.” – Salesforce

The average business uses 3 different types of technologies for the customer identity purpose – and these could be often done by different departments- handling specific parts of the customer journey – perhaps all the sales activity is handled in CRM and advertising managed by a Data Management Platform (DMP) etc.

 “Only 47% of marketers have a completely unified view of customer data sources, indicating that disconnected data is still painting an incomplete picture of customers.”

Will the initial months of the year 2020, be the era marketers modernize and improvise their tech stack?

To conclude: Although there are various ways to resolve customer identity – yet there isn’t a universal adoption of a single solution.

Shopping moves closer to the edge…

Gone are the days of merely pulling customers within the walls of a brand’s physical and digital property.

Retail has transformed. It’s much about pushing brands to the consumers where they spend most of their time – on apps, messaging platforms, social media, smart speakers and various marketplaces via retargeting methods.

The past decade has witnessed headlines of “headless commerce” and “retail apocalypse”. And as mentioned earlier – the truth is Retail is evolving.

The key commerce trend “Shopping at the edge” – means the evolution and emergence of digital purchase points like social media platforms, voice technology or even gaming consoles – that is completely BEYOND brands ‘owned digital and physical property. Basically, there isn’t a need to run a shop, the shop comes to you via retargeting ads in the apps and platforms you use every day, blurring the very definition of shopping!

Image Source – https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/10/retail-industry-trends.html

And such channels and platforms are very much attractive to the young generation.

To conclude: As younger generations leverage a larger share of buying power with the technological advances – shopping will move closer and closer to the edge.

“Sir, Boost my Sales” – Voice Technology

“High-performing sales teams are 4.1X more likely to use AI and machine learning applications than their peers according to the State of Sales published by Salesforce.”

Virtual sales are on the rise – and no it’s not about robots taking sales jobs. With the emergence and rise of IoT and AI – there’s never been a better time for salespeople to be in this profession. Rather, in an era of unprecedented connections, sales reps are more likely to chat with a customer or prospect – behind a computer screen, rather than slogging to their office.

“A survey of more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide shows that virtual selling is on the rise — and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. 60% of sales reps have increased their time meeting with customers and prospects virtually since 2015. Sales reps have, in fact, ramped up their time connecting virtually at a rate three times faster than that connecting in person.”

Image Source: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2018/10/virtual-sales-research.html

68% of IT leaders are certain of voice technologies being a key part of their company’s business processes by 2021.

And I agree. It makes sense. When people rely on smart speakers, voice assistants, and chatbots, why wouldn’t they expand that into sales relationships? It’s predicted that voice technology to take sales by storm in the coming decade.

Human agents aren’t going anywhere…

The increase in customer expectations make service a challenging field.

“71% of customers expect companies to communicate with them in real time and 40% won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred communication channels”

Customer service is radically transforming to meet the mounting customer demands, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to speed up the mundane/ repetitive tasks whilst investing in training the agents to a more strategic role.

“According to the responses of over 3,500 service agents and decision-makers surveyed, AI-powered chatbots will be more than double over an 18-month period.”

The focus would be to reduce and scale support much of the agents’ manual workload. Considering the most common use cases of chatbots in a service organization, Chatbots will –

  • Deliver self-service in easy scenarios
  • Collate preliminary information about a service case before handing it over an agent – beginning steps.
  • Provide task-efficient guidance and helpful recommendations to the agents as they handle the cases.
  • Welcome and greet customers as they call.

Agents have an elevated role – they are taking on higher-value work to foster customer relationships.

To conclude, humans aren’t going anywhere. In fact, 85% of service-decision makers view agents as a major investment in service transformation.

In the coming years, the biggest change in service org will be the distribution of work with AI freeing agents to deliver optimal value in complex cases involved.

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