Hot Topics for 2021
Much has changed since this time last year. With restrictions beginning to lift, many companies are excited about refocusing their sales and marketing efforts throughout 2021. It’s a perfect time to look at top CRM trends and think about how you might incorporate them into your sales and marketing strategies.
To sum up the 2021 top CRM trends in a few words –
CRMs will help you spend less time figuring out what to do, when to do it, and what to say so you can spend more time selling and bringing value to existing customers. They’ll do this by incorporating even more Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, and self–service.
The ultimate goal of any CRM is to drive sales growth. In this blog post, series I’ve identified several key CRM trends for 2021, with a special focus on how they are incorporated into Salesforce and how you can take advantage of them to drive your own company’s sales growth.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There is much to be gained from incorporating AI into CRM. AI can automate time consuming tasks, analyze data to anticipate customers’ sales needs and preferences, and help make decisions about the most promising sales opportunities.
As a CRM market leader, Salesforce began planning for AI’s role in the platform many years ago. AI, which Salesforce refers to as “Einstein,” is incorporated into Salesforce in numerous ways, both large and small. Some AI functions are automatically embedded into common Clouds. Other more sophisticated AI functions can be purchased separately.
Start with some free** basics like:
- Home Page Assistant for greater sales rep efficiency.
- Sales Cloud Einstein Opportunity Scoring to help prioritize deals and win more sales.
- Service Cloud Einstein Article Recommendations and Next Best Actions
Then consider adding more sophisticated Einstein additional cost features such as Einstein Lead Scoring, Einstein Case Routing and Einstein Analytics for Sales. Learn more about those features here: https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/datasheets/Sales-Cloud-Einstein-Datasheets.pdf
Determine if your org is ready for each feature with the Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness Assessor.
In this digital 24×7 online age, customers have come to expect some level of self-service. Self-service allows prospects and customers to find helpful product information, perform troubleshooting tasks, and handle account administrative functions at times that are convenient for them. And there are plenty of reasons for you to love self–service also. Self–service tools can be a budget friendly alternative to in-person customer service call centers or even on-site service technicians.
Salesforce offers several self-service options and add-ons that can be implemented separately, together, or over time as your customers and employees adjust to changing processes. If your organization is new to self-service, Salesforce offers a free “Getting Started with Self Service” publication you might find helpful (https://www.salesforce.com/products/service-cloud/what-is-self-service/).
Some of the building blocks of Salesforce’s self-service options include:
- Customer Community (portal) to provide secure access for all levels of self-service
- Mobile Publisher for a branded mobile app
- Digital Engagement for messaging and service across multiple digital channels
- Salesforce Knowledge to provide rich information about your products and support
- Bots / Chatbots
- Visual Remote Assistant *New
- Accounts without any open opportunities
- Open opportunities without any open tasks
- Account, Contact, and Opportunity History Tracking Reports.
- Open cases by case age
- Days to convert lead
- Number of days from lead creation to new opportunity
- Days to closed won opp
- Number of days from lead creation to closed won opp
- Queue Response Time
- Trending Reports
- Number of cases month over month
- Sales by month
- New leads by month
- Customer and Prospect Leaderboards
- Average amount of closed won opps
- Completed Activity by User
A unified, 360 degree view of your customers sometimes requires data from sources other than your CRM. Integrating data from your other business systems and other third-party apps helps draw even more insights for even richer, personalized customer engagements.
And it’s not just other back office systems that can provide useful data. Increasingly Salesforce customers are integrating data from the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide proactive maintenance and support information to their customers, gather insights about customer preferences, and send targeted notifications to other systems or users.
The Salesforce platform includes robust tools and APIs that can dramatically reduce the time and effort it takes to bring together data from all your other important data sources.
Being able to consolidate and visualize all your CRM data is key to driving faster, better business decisions. CRM applications are expanding their capabilities and making it easier to gain insights from CRM data. Regardless of your level of sophistication or volume of data, Salesforce has powerful tools to analyze your data and drive value for your business.
Nearly all Salesforce Cloud user licenses include powerful report and dashboard tools. There are also many options for free best practice sales and service dashboard templates. Easy to build customizable reports and dashboards allow you to analyze all your CRM data in real-time. Common analytics dashboards our customers love are:
- Pipeline by Sales Rep and Stage
- Forecast by Quarter
- Closed Deals this Month
- Product Sales by Category
- Win/Loss Ratio by Rep
- Deals with Last Activity > 30 Days
- Leads by Lead Source
- Activities by Sales Rep and Type
- Customer Service Cases by Type
- Open Customer Service Cases by Rep and Age
Two often overlooked reporting features of Salesforce are Historical Trend Reporting and Analytical Snapshots. Both allow you to capture “snapshots” of data at scheduled intervals, then analyze these snapshot trends over time.
Salesforce also offers additional add–on Analytics tools with Sales or Service Cloud Einstein and new Tableau Analytics products.
The trend to mobile is old news, but it is only becoming more important. Businesses must continue to adapt and refine their mobile systems to remain competitive and keep their employees and customers happy. Sales, marketing and customer service teams need to be able to access information anytime from anywhere.
As the global economy grows, the need for responsiveness at all hours also grows. Plus, the work from home trend that was amplified by the pandemic, will continue and grow now that we have become accustomed to it.
Salesforce has always been a groundbreaker in the Mobile CRM arena. With an easy-to-use app, users can access all Salesforce data from their mobile devices and make seamless transitions from desktop to mobile. Executives can access dashboards that report the state of the company and salespeople can spot opportunities with Einstein Analytics, all on their mobile devices. Plus, with Einstein Voice Assistant, employees can capture notes conversationally and get personalized daily briefings. The features are endless and continuously improve with each release.
What is Customer Experience? It is the experience your customers have across every engagement and touch point they have with your organization. In this age of digital first customers and employees, everyone expects an easy to use, personalized experience. This trend started a few years ago and has gotten even hotter in 2020 and 2021 with more remote digital work.
Each of the other trends mentioned in this blog contributes to a better customer experience. It is ultimately about having an easy-to-use platform that delivers the right information at the right time.
For those with online stores, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers a rich customer experience, especially when combined with the relatively new Salesforce Content Management (CMS) Cloud.
A key factor in providing a personalized customer experience is breaking down silos of information. The flexible Salesforce Customer 360 platform gives you the customizable framework to see all data related to a customer in one place. For example, you can see all purchased products as well as all related customer support issues or questions prior to calling a customer about a new sales opportunity.
This Customer 360 visibility also enables your team to make faster, better informed decisions for your customers. For example, an insurance underwriter can use a streamlined “Underwriter Workbench” presentation to make complex policy decisions faster.
Your employees also have high “customer experience” expectations when it comes to the CRM tool they use to engage with your prospects and customers. So what are some examples of how Salesforce CRM shines when it comes to an employee’s customer experience? Automations and streamlined data entry come to mind. There is broad spectrum of automation options available in Salesforce, allowing for varying degrees of sophistication and complexity. These tools include validation rules, duplicate record rules, Process Builder, Flow Builder, and Apex triggers and custom developed processes.
Many employee user experience benefits can be realized with no cost** optimizations, such as updates to existing Salesforce page layouts, work queues, and automation rules. Within just the last year Salesforce has released multiple page layout enhancement features such as dynamic pages, filtered related lists, a related records component, rich text component, and lightning page Analyzer.
When you invest in Salesforce you get the backing and vision of the world’s top CRM. And as a true multi–tenant cloud application, you also get the benefit of all the rich features within the application whether they were designed for the largest or smallest customers. You can rest assured, with Salesforce, keep up with the trends that help you stay competitive and propel your business toward success in 2021.
If you have questions regarding any of the Salesforce tools listed here or others, don’t hesitate to contact the Revolution Group Salesforce Team at [email protected] or give us a call at 614-212-1111.