According to Kissmetrics reporting, it costs 7x as much to gain a new customer as opposed to keeping one of your current customers — yet, 44% of companies still have their focus on customer acquisition.

Customer relationship management software is what you need to stay ahead of your competitors, breed loyalty from your customer base, and also answer and market to your customers more efficiently.

Our team here at CUE wants to help grow your small business by taking out the guesswork: both in your software selection and in keeping you up-to-date on market and business trends. According to our research, here are some of the top CRM trends to look out for that will help keep you and your business at the top of your game this year.

  1. Mobile CRM

In 2017, we’ll see CRMs no longer confined to just a desktop as they become more mobile-friendly; you’re on the go, so your software should be too!

Currently, many CRMs may have an app for your phone but you will not be able to access all of the features that are available through that CRM on your computer. Booker is a CRM software product that has a very user-friendly mobile app: Your staff will be able to communicate and access customer data in real-time through your CRM while they are away from their desks.

As this essentially would eliminate the need for a desktop computer to access this software, we may even see the advent of a mobile-only CRM!

2. Predictive Analytics

The historical evidence of how customers buy and interact with your business can definitely help you determine their behavior. With predictive analytics, however, you will be able to take an extra step to not only retain your current clients but also to foresee buying trends in order to acquire new leads.

This sort of predictive analysis will allow you to track sales, determine what sales tactics and techniques work best, and then how to apply them in order to benefit your business.

Nimble CRM is a software that has already developed a good platform for sales forecasting. With Nimble, they will use not just sales history but also incorporate what is going on in the market now to inform you of the best decisions to make. Nimble can also incorporate information from social media to make sure you are incredibly well informed.

In this way will be able to create more personalized pitches and content for your customers. For example, let’s say you have a sports jersey shop and a particular sports team wins a big competition: predictive analytics will allow you to capitalize on that event, and market the winning team’s jersey!

Predictive analytics isn’t also confined to just sales — it can be used to determine technical product failures and when your inventory will run out too.

3. Simplified CRM Systems

Learning a new software can be time-consuming, and with all of the features a CRM can offer, that can mean a lot of resource devotion for you and your team.

However, some CRM software can be easy to use, right from the get-go, with everything might need either being built in, automated, or easily signposted to reduce the learning curve. Pipedrive is a good example of a CRM that has made their processes intuitive, and shareable with everyone across your team so that you can work smarter. The first time you log in, the program is well sign-posted to support first-time users. Plus, they have an extensive knowledge base and frequent webinars to answer your questions and

You can make beautiful visual graphs to easily track your sales reporting, and help you declutter and focus on your goals. Data and reports from other departments can be made available to everyone on your staff. Your management may, for instance, use the evidence in your CRM to pinpoint the best employees based on their work performance and to anticipate trends in the marketplace.

4. Verticalized CRM

Traditionally speaking, CRMs have focused on either being horizontal or vertical — meaning that their solutions catered to a broad range of industries and needs, or the CRM targets specific types of businesses.

As customers want better service from the companies they buy from, businesses need a better way to answer their consumer’s needs. However, if a CRM goes deeply vertical, that leaves very little wiggle-room for customization and this makes the software more costly.

To lower the price, and to still serve specialized needs for different industries, CRMs are trending towards lightweight verticals. This entails a CRM with a base-layer of core process flows for distinct industries, and also special templates, pages, and add-ons that serve more specific needs.

CRMs can be customized to serve some or most of your business needs, but in the future, we can expect that they will be more able to provision your business, such as what is offered by Zoho CRM.

Zoho has great options for many industries who are seeking a more customized CRM software from healthcare to real-estate and accounting.

5. AI-Based Bots

CRMs have the ability to harvest large amounts of data, which can help your business and tailor to your clients’ desires. The sheer quantity of gathered data, though, can be overwhelming for people to decipher and implement which then renders all of this information useless — that is where artificial intelligence can step in.

This trend for the use of AI will make businesses capable of providing targeted messaging to their customers based on a large number of metrics such as their buying habits, what they bought, trends, and other data. AI would be able to see what works for your business, what isn’t working, and make suggestions on where you should focus resources on marketing.

Traditionally there have been big players in the AI CRM business such as Salesforce and Oracle but one of the companies you might not have heard about is Base.

Base is making a name for itself because its AI CRM is standalone, and it also goes a step further than Salesforce and analyzes data in real-time to prescribe to you what steps to take to improve your sales dollar-for-dollar.

It is exciting to see how fast technologies such as CRMs are moving towards being more accessible to everyone and also in how well they are able to address your specific customer needs.

At CUE, we understand that choosing a CRM can be difficult: you have so many options, and the list seems to only grow! We can assist you in determining the best software, such as CRM, for your business’s specific needs — visit our marketplace for more!