With SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe, HubSpot, Zoho, and Sage. These household names are all enormously popular brands of customer relationship management (CRM) software. And no matter what your preference or niche, there’s no doubt about it: the CRM market is exploding.

According to Statista, worldwide revenue from the CRM software market is expected to reach more than $40 billion by 2023. This competitive, highly lucrative subset is seen as a golden ticket for building and maintaining relationships with customers and clients, ultimately driving sales and business growth.

As businesses strive to meet and exceed their goals, they are more and more frequently turning to CRMs. And with this increased reliance on the software, new trends are emerging in the space. Here are 5 to have on your radar.

1. The Central Role of the Customer

Businesses have become increasingly customer-centric. As more and more organizations recognize the need for a strong customer experience (CX), businesses are rethinking how they can use their CRMs to enhance the UX for their consumers. They can, for example, use these increasingly robust systems to facilitate more convenient, streamlined means of communication, directly from the platform.

They can also use CRMs to personalize contact, giving customers a unique experience tailored to their individual interests and needs. This is especially true during the pandemic when digital communication became, even more, the norm, and businesses have had to find new ways to stand out.

2. Data Powered Approaches

As businesses generate an abundance of data — called big data — in this digital age, they can use it to inform plans and make better decisions. CRMs play a key role in this since they can catalog data about, for example, customer interactions and feedback, responses to emails and other campaigns, sales, growth, and more.

A CRM can centralize and streamline this abundance of data, serving as a repository for the information and helping businesses glean critical insights from it.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Another CRM trend we’re seeing is the increased sophistication of these platforms. Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning is adding numerous features to CRMs, enhancing them in a number of ways. Chatbots, for example, is handling a larger volume of customer service questions and requests, as well as making the process quicker and more efficient. This technology can also assist with personalization, making recommendations about customer preferences based on previous interactions.

4. Social 360

Social media is one of the main forms of marketing efforts from which businesses can realize real results and receive immediate feedback. It only makes sense, then, that businesses would want to find a way to blend the CRM and their social media presence to produce meaningful results. Now, we have social CRM, the melding of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn and CRM software.

When a business incorporates these platforms into their fold, they can use the platform to see how their campaigns are doing and respond to feedback immediately, thus contributing to building a stronger brand in the process. Another thing businesses can take advantage of is utilizing Social channels to drive “Voice of the Customer” feedback.

5. Automation

Many of the features we’ve touched on lend themselves to automation. This all-encompassing term refers to advanced processes that perform operations without human or manual intervention, thus cutting down significantly on the time it takes to complete the procedures. And automation is playing a critical role in improving CRM software as it becomes more and more sophisticated.

Workflows and efforts are streamlined with the help of automation. Internal employees don’t need to spend nearly as much time on a variety of operations, from closing tickets to generating real-time analytics. It can also assign responsibilities and automatically alert the task owner, as well as monitor processes.

CRM software has become critical to business operations, including marketing and sales efforts. As it enters a new phase, organizations must remain cognizant of the trends that are boosting these systems. Like most software, CRM platforms are constantly evolving and incorporating new, increasingly advanced features, so it’s important to stay on top of updates in the space.