As customer relationship management (CRM) processes become more popular among UK firms hoping to automate some of their marketing procedures and utilise the information they have collected on their customers, the way businesses utilise the technology is beginning to change.

This has been heightened by the way in which the software has been updated, with Microsoft Dynamics recently announcing plans for a new version of their CRM system that will place increased focus on social media and integration.

In a new report, William Band and Kate Leggett of Forrester have highlighted some of the major trends within CRM as more companies embrace the software.

Writing for Computerworld Magazine, Ms Leggett explained some of the highlights of the study, which found that many firms are keen to improve the experience of their customers throughout the whole sales experience.

“To make meaningful improvements, organisations must align their customer experience ecosystems. That requires understanding customers’ deep needs, viewing interactions from the customer’s perspective and socialising customer insights,” she declared.

She also highlighted the importance of mobile CRM, with a growing number of consumers now buying things on tablets and smartphones. While all vendors have some form of solution in this area, businesses will need to carefully consider how best they can utilise this development to their advantage.

Social platforms such as Twitter will become even more influential, Forrester predicted, fundamentally altering the way firms interact with their customers.

“Yet, nearly ten years into the social media boom, many executives are still reactive about adopting social media technologies, instead of focusing on the goals they want to accomplish,” warned Ms Leggett.

Again, CRM can be helpful here by making it easier for employees at all levels of the business to analyse social media trends, helping firms to create proactive policies rather than relying on the impact of a handful of experts in this field.

Fundamentally, more firms will attempt to become agile and flexible by using their CRM systems, concluded the Forrester researcher.

And Microsoft have been listening to these types of reports and are working hard to make sure that they stay ahead of the curve when it comes to everything mentioned above.

At the recent Convergence 2014 event Microsoft outlined exactly how they are going to be meeting these needs (social interactions, monitoring social trends, aligning with customer needs, making the system more intuitive, making the whole system more mobile and interoperable and much, much more) with their flagship CRM product.
To see a summary of the Convergence 2014, see my other blog: Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Product roadmap and future vision.