2015 sees the continuation of many CRM trends, but now there’s the tools for you to capitalise on them

Roll up your sleeves for the new year! Why, we hear you ask? Well, there are some major CRM trends to look forward to in 2015. Microsoft recently announced their Dynamics CRM 2015 updates, and with these new features you’ll be able to lead your company to a CRM victory over your competitors.

2015 sees a year where your customer service teams will become ever more responsive and aware of customer issues. Your sales departments will be creating ever more pipeline revenue and your marketing departments will be creating campaigns that are more powerful and resonant than ever before.

Taking advantage of these CRM trends will help you help your company cut costs and increase revenue by being truly customer-centric.

The move towards Cloud CRM rather than on-premise

One of the interesting trends continuing into 2015 is the rise of CRM deployed in the cloud. Gartner predicts that the percentage of companies with cloud CRM deployments will rise above 50% in 2015.

Why is this?

As with all technology, the pace of change is quickening. Just 5 years ago, for instance, most companies wouldn’t have considered social media very important. But now social listening tools have become critical to any progressive company’s strategy.

(NB: Social tools have become so essential that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 now includes Social Listening for free, to companies who have more than 10 Professional-level users. See pricing here)

The thing with on-premise CRM is this: every new development needs a costly new upgrade. With the number of updates and upgrades increasing, many companies have found it cheaper to switch to the cloud. This means less IT staff on-premise, lower IT infrastructure costs and a more adaptable platform for the future.

What this means to you: if you’re still using an on-premise CRM system, consider switching to the cloud. In many cases it will help you slash costs and avoid being caught out for expensive new upgrades.

Mobile capabilities becoming more powerful

One of the great benefits of CRM is that it allows sales teams to organise themselves more effectively. That means more time selling.

However, as salespeople spend more time out of the office in sales meetings and travelling it’s a well-known secret that CRM records often get left behind when moving around.

In the past many CRM apps have had limited functionality. But as time moves on, CRM vendors are investing in their mobile platforms to make them more powerful.

Microsoft have added voice commands to their Dynamics CRM app for Windows phones now. With voice commands, salespeople can bring up CRM records, add notes and get facts that can help them close more deals. No more excuses. It’s easy.

What this means for you: picking a CRM vendor with powerful mobile and tablet apps can help your salespeople close more deals, be better prepared for meetings, and report more accurately. That means you’ll be more likely to get impressive results in the coming year.

More powerful social listening tools

Social media is becoming ever more essential to all areas of business. As such, CRM is adapting so that your people can always have their ears to the ground.

The Social Listening tool has been enhanced with the Dynamics 2015 update. Marketers can get social insights displayed about your company’s brands and campaigns on the platform. (And it’s now free if you have over 10 professional users)

Likewise, salespeople can now access Social Listening information within the Dynamics CRM platform. This’ll give them the upper hand. They’ll be able to spot customer problems, find opportunities to upsell and add more value than salespeople at competing firms.

What this means to you: by investing in Social Listening tools you can empower your marketing and sales teams to be relevant and customer-centric with every single touchpoint. Ultimately this will lead to more connection, more sales and improved customer satisfaction… and that’s not to be sniffed at.

Bringing together Marketing, Sales and Customer Service silos

For too long marketing, sales and customer service teams have worked in silos and are often stifled by barriers between departments. But the truth is if you can connect the dots and the data between those departments, you can get phenomenally better results.

CRM vendors have updated their platforms to encourage departments to collaborate and work together for the greater good.

One of the major areas for improvement in many companies is in aligning marketing and sales. Microsoft’s update to Dynamics CRM for 2015 includes a special Sales Collaboration Panel.

As salespeople chat to customers every day, they know the words customers use, the pain points and what customers really need. Now, this new tool lets salespeople give their input for marketing campaigns and targeting. The great thing about this is that it reduces wasted marketing spend, and helps messaging be more resonant with your customers.

What this means for you: if you use an advanced CRM platform that aligns all your customer-facing departments, 2015 will be a year to remember for you. And perhaps more importantly, this will help you get ahead of companies that are still constantly catfight between departments.

Make sure you’re getting the most out of your CRM in 2015. Sign up today and start your free 30-day Dynamics CRM 2015 trial immediately. It’s free and we’ll provide you with training too!

Only 2% of customers buy on their first visit – these marketing tools will get them to complete the customer journey.

Let’s be honest. It’s very rare that you visit a website and want to buy something straight away. A customer journey just doesn’t happen that quickly.

Most of us simply want to browse. Only 2% of people who visit an online shop make a purchase on their first visit. That’s even lower for considered, high value purchases or B2B services.

The problem that we face as marketers is losing these visitors, and having dead customer journeys. Our challenge is to get details from our website visitors, so that we can retarget them, nurture them and make those sales. Thankfully there are a few tools that we can use to bridge that gap so we can reach our targets.

1. Email collection pop-up

Business and internet marketing blogger Matthew Woodward found that his conversion rate of collecting emails increased 44% with these types of pop-ups. Padiact is a particularly useful tool as it feeds into all the major ESPs. It means you can capture details to target potential customers with a nurture campaign and your newsletters, encouraging their customer journey to last longer.

2. Live chat (excellent in high value sales)

The thing with high-value, complex sales is that customers often have several pain-points and lots of questions. If you offer a chance for people to ask questions, and get them answered almost instantly, you can win their loyalty and details. Live chat is perfect for picking up customers directly from your site, who may have disappeared forever because that page didn’t answer their questions. Live chat solutions can help you to retain your customers and help them along their customer journey.

3. Cut downtime and slow-loading websites

Slow-loading websites cost online retailers £1.73 billion per year. 38% of UK shoppers said that they abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load. That’s even higher on mobile devices where 74% of customers said they abandon sites that take more than five seconds to load.

To stop needlessly losing customers, it’s important to ensure your website is always spic, span and speedy! MonitorHub notifies admins if the site becomes slow. This means that your technicians can fix any slow-hosting problems and cut website abandonment. You can also change your website’s design to speed up loading.

4. Exit-intent offers

Many customers abandon purchases before leaving a site. If you can capture their details, and make them a special offer before they leave – then you have a better chance of them becoming a customer. That’s the aim of Picreel, a tool that monitors mouse movements to look for signs that a visitor is about to close a window. Then when a customer is about to leave, they suddenly have the option to leave their email address and get a discount. This is perfect for e-commerce sites.

5. Remarketing

Some find it creepy, some find it powerful, But there’s no denying that retargeted ads are effective. Retargeting boosts ad response rates by 400% and improved conversion rates for Kimberly-Clark by over 50%.

For e-commerce companies, Adroll is one of the leaders in the space. For B2B businesses, Resonance lets you retarget customers with a content funnel.
You’re always going to lose some website visitors along the way. But if you can use these tools to engage them and extend their customer journey, you can reap the rewards.

Now you’ve got customers, you need to  make the most of those relationships! Download your free eGuide: The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling to maximise your returns.


Predictive Analytics isn’t all maths; some of its basic concepts can deliver huge gains from any Customer Relationship Management programme.

Growth-focused SMEs, without enterprise-scale budgets, want one thing from their CRM: conversions. Performance metrics revolve around making the next call, setting the next appointment, closing that last-day-of-the-quarter sale.

And they’re suspicious of anything that gets in the way – including buzzwords like Predictive Analytics.

Should they be?

While it sounds complex, Predictive Analytics boils down to a single question:

What change in X leads to the greatest change in Y?

Substitute “sales approach” for X and “conversions” for Y, and you’ve got something Sales Directors sit up for. Imagine finding out:

  • You could turn 1,000 of your coldest leads into hot prospects tomorrow.
  • Conversions increase 10% when you make one change in tickle date.
  • Changing one approach could leapfrog two funnel stages.
  • The biggest success factor turns out to be the prospect’s growth rate.

That’s what Predictive Analytics can do. And here’s the best part: you don’t need complex software to do it, because many CRM environments have all the tools already.

Here are some ideas for using them, swinging in the power of Predictive Analytics with CRM rather than a regression analysis or a correlation coefficient.

Some of the ideas sound deceptively simple, but few companies with turnover under £50m put any resources into asking them.

Idea #1: Look for the customer’s sweet spot.

Start with this simple task: look for what unites your customers today.

Let’s say most of your customers are in food retail. You might think your natural prospects are “other food retailers”. But what if you noticed all those customers started using you when staff costs became an issue?

One chart in your CRM application – set up once, used again and again – might show how your services tend to save them two FTEs per store. That business pain (controlling headcount) has nothing to do with sector.

So if you help solve it, you’ve opened up a new area of prospecting any company where headcount is expanding faster than turnover. That’s a lot of companies.

And the best part? The information leading to that insight may be in your CRM database already.

If your sales strategy is focused on certain sectors just because that’s where your existing customers are, try looking for other descriptors that unite your roster. Looking at data across multiple criteria is a key principle of Predictive Analytics.

Idea #2: List the outside influences on your prospects.

Ask any salesperson what they want the most, and they’ll cry, “More leads!”. What if you could pull those leads from an unlikely place, such as the murky depths of the cold list?

You’ve probably got a chart that shows your drop-off at each stage of your sales funnel. But that diagram is an average. Averages hide a lot of insights.

Start by segmenting your database. (A good CRM consultant can show you how.) It can start simple: perhaps look at only sub-50-employee companies who entered your sales funnel in the last three years. (Including existing customers.)

Then look at the sales funnel for each quarter of those three years.

What if you discovered those prospects typically go cold after third tickle, unless it was around the time of their biggest annual trade event?

That insight could redraw your entire sales plan. Concentrate SME sales around the main event on their calendar. Plan your calling around it; arrange to meet them at the show; turn up and buy them lunch!

And instantly, 500 cold SMEs are back in your leads list.

That’s another key Predictive Analytics principle: outside factors that influence a decision. Salespeople want to work smart and earn the highest commission per unit of effort. So why not give them the insights to do it?

Idea #3: See what happened before the close.

Salespeople make huge efforts to talk to prospective customers but few ask how the customer wants to be contacted. This is an area where sales and marketing can truly work together.

Look at your existing customer list. At what point did they first talk to someone in sales? How long had they been in the database? How many email campaigns had they been sent? How many clicked through to the web newsletter? Let’s say all your successful wins averaged six months on the suspect list and read three newsletters before your first phone conversation.

That means if you’re calling them after the first click, you’re losing them.

But it also opens up opportunities. How many names in your database have been there six months plus and have clicked in your emails over three times? This simple Predictive Analytics method suggests they’re finally ready to talk. So call them today.

Once again, the solution doesn’t need a professional analyst on-hand – the right applications, whether in the cloud or the server closet, can show up such patterns as easy-to-understand graphs.

Idea #4: Spread the stories far and wide.

Our last idea has nothing to do with Predictive Analytics, or even with CRM. It’s about getting your people onboard the ideas above.

Once they understand how effective these methods can be, they’ll start coming up with their own ideas for more.

Imagine a marketing guy asking if he can see conversion rates comparing companies in retail with companies in consulting. He’s got an idea for two segmented campaigns that’ll help name recall when your salespeople call.

Or maybe your top saleswoman wants to know whether property developers have a similar nurturing pathway to cleaning agencies. She’s wondering if your customers’ customers are a worthwhile approach.

Everyone wants a success story. Helping them write it may take no more than a good question and a graph. (If your CRM setup isn’t capable of it, you might want to look into one that does.)

Data = profits. Don’t believe us? Download your free eGuide The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling