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10 trends to take into account when formulating CRM plans in 2014

In the age of the customer marked with digital disruptions, the only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption, in other words, delighting your customers. In this pursuit companies struggle with how to define customer relationship management (CRM) strategies, re-engineer customer-facing business processes, acquire and deploy the appropriate supporting technologies, and lead and sustain the necessary organizational changes.

CRM 2014

Recently, Forrester published its report summarizing the top 10 trends that application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals need to take into account when formulating CRM plans in 2014. We bring you an overview of those trends:

Be experience driven

For 2014, Forrester predicts that an increasing number of companies will adopt a more-disciplined approach to customer experience transformation. You can advance the customer experience maturity by following a four-phased path: repair, elevate, optimize, and differentiate. To be able to do that successfully you must have the knowledge of the following six disciplines: customer understanding, measurement, governance, strategy, design, and culture.

Outside-in perspective

To make meaningful improvements, companies must align their customer experience ecosystems. That requires understanding customers' deep needs, viewing interactions from the customer's perspective, and socializing customer insights - and organizations will embark on this journey in 2014.

Increase of digital disruptors

Digital disruption occurs any time a company uses digital tools or platforms to deliver better product experiences to customers in less time and for less money. In our digital disruption readiness survey, 89% of executives agreed that digital disruption is headed right for them, yet only 32% believe that their policies and practices will enable them to adapt - practices that must mature this year.

The mobile mind shift pushing CRM to evolve

Mobile CRM solution support will continue to rapidly evolve, and every CRM vendor has a mobile offering. But assembling the components of an effective mobile CRM solution to meet the precise use case for a specific type of mobile worker, or customer interaction, requires navigating a complex set of technology, process and people decisions.

Big data turning into customer insight

We expect more organizations to ramp up their efforts to turn big data into business insights. But most organizations don’t know where to start. Use Forrester's framework to help measure the maturity and guide the improvement plan of customer data management capabilities, as you capture, analyze, share data and evolve an organization to support your CRM strategy. 

Social becomes an integral part of the customer life cycle at all stages

Social technologies have changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Yet, nearly 10 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. We predict that more companies will use a strategic approach, such as Forrester's approach,  to leverage social technologies across all stages of the customer life cycle.

Fast adoption of CRM SaaS solutions continues

SaaS CRM deployments are here to stay, with over 70% of enterprises of all sizes having deployed all or some CRM, or planning to deploy CRM as a SaaS solution. And organizations don't choose SaaS only because it’s typically less expensive. In many cases, it gives organizations the much needed agility to quickly react to changing business pressures.

More companies moving towards agile enterprises

All companies aspire to have a single, consolidated version of "the truth about customers," and they continue to rely on structured processes, transactional systems, and packaged apps to do this. Yet, over time, these systems have developed inflexible architectures and have become aligned with silos built around business functions that now present a serious barrier to many fast-moving companies. In 2014, we expect to see more companies to break down these technology, process, and organizational barriers to become more agile, and as a result, more competitive.

Leveraging on customer insights

Most companies treat marketing technology as a set of tools to buy and use rather than as a core competency to exploit. Marketers gather a great amount of data that can yield insights which can be leveraged across the organization. In 2014, we predict that this data will be used to enhance contextual marketing programs for greater personalization.

Open doors for employees to embrace new technologies

In our recent survey of over 600 organizations, more than two-fifths stated that their problems with CRM technologies were the result of "people issues," such as: slow user adoption, inadequate attention paid to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working. The result? Underutilized CRM investment and unmet business objectives. We predict that more organizations will apply the lessons learned from past failures to successfully deploy CRM technologies in 2014.

We hope this article was of use to you and that you can use these insights to delight your customers. For our help, get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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