The IT sphere and the digital surrounding it do not allow forecasts for more than 1-3 years. Anything more is already science fiction and you can talk or fantasize about it, but not talk seriously. Corrected for the current situation, an adequate forecast can be made only for a year, and even then in a framework. Let’s open the door to the new year and see what can expect experts and users in the CRM market. Moreover, this market reflects and absorbs the general trends of the IT sphere, and in some ways is ahead of them, because CRM is not only about software, it is also about business and about money.
Demand for CRM will grow
2020-2021 turned out to be rather strange years for both CRM users and vendors. Some companies sought to quickly and efficiently automate in order to make the CRM system the center of work for a remote (distributed) team and, against the backdrop of falling demand, to transfer the client base to automation rails. Another part decided that the “gold reserve” would allow to survive in stormy conditions, however, the reserve without renewal is finite and, as the hero of the movie used to say, “Pan ataman has no gold reserve and the lads start to scatter in different directions.” However, in general, corporate software at this distance has proven its usefulness, expediency and timeliness, so many companies have taken a course towards automation and implementation of CRM, ERP, service management systems, monitoring systems (different, alas, both useful and bossware), etc. …
The trend of growing interest in automation and data centralization will continue in 2022. In part, it will be associated with the continuation of the practice of remote work, which is with us for a long time even without a pandemic – simply because both employees and employers saw their positive moments and benefits. In part, it will be caused by a wave of newly created companies: after any crisis, the economy begins to revive and it is already clear that some industries will have to go through a revolution and, most likely, rapid growth in the horizon of 5 years (real estate, tourism, domestic tourism, insurance, legal services, clinics etc.) Companies will look to end-to-end solutions that combine analytical, operational and process functions.
Accordingly, universal CRM and their integration within the IT infrastructure will be in demand. I have good news for you: there are many such CRMs, with the difference that someone implements everything in one solution (as we in RegionSoft CRM), someone solves problems through external integrations. The difference is that ready-made solutions for a long distance to work with them will cost much less than those that implement a set of capabilities through external services.
Choosing a CRM with elements of randomness
Starting in September, the mail began to be filled with two types of letters: in the first, various publishers, organizations and the media offer to pay for a place in the TOP-3, 5, 10, etc. CRM in Russia, in the second, vendors happily announce that they have hit the top or become the main CRM of the country according to version N. We already expressed about these ratings, and the situation is only getting worse: one-page sites with ratings “out of the blue” or “for someone else”, but with good SEO, are walking around the network. This, of course, does not facilitate the choice that people who are absolutely far from IT, media and marketing sometimes make. Such ratings are still believed.
Social networks do not make the choice easier either. It would seem, go to the profile group and ask the question, what is there about CRM, who uses what, what opinions? But under each such topic, representatives of the partners of all vendors and the vendors themselves flock – whoever you write in a personal message immediately begins frank vparivanie. And by the way, some of the guerrillas professionally – pull out on a deal directly from a cozy Facebook. Add to that ads, custom reviews and that’s it, the media space is tightly divided among several players (and worst of all, there are not top-notch ones among them).
Due to this organization of the information space, the choice of a CRM system remains random. With an increase in the number of points of contact with the user, this randomness will only persist. Although it is more profitable for the vendors themselves to negotiate with a prepared customer who knows how to collect and analyze the requirements, and not “write off” the solution from an invented success story on a social network. However, for such changes in the consciousness and understanding of clients, it is necessary not only to change the information landscape, but also to redo the foundations of capitalism in Russia 🙂 Hopefully.
CRM term blurred
Once a CRM system was essentially a contact manager, now a CRM system is called any software that accumulates and processes at least some information about customers. In the near future, the concept will evolve further, and under the CRM system it will be possible to see absolutely any kind of automation, from complex systems to online chats and forms of collecting information on the site.
Of course, from a developer’s point of view, this is not the best process, we still love order in terminology and entities. But purely from a user perspective, everything is good and logical: something collects data about customers – this is something that is a CRM system. And the point is not in the name, the point is that the business should actively implement automation tools and use them competently.
Low-code is a marketing feature of the next 2-3 years
Low-code and No-code have been on the lips of marketers for the whole of 2021 – these two words have pushed the previously beloved clouds and open source far. The main message of managers from around-IT is this:
“Any cook can run the state” “Any manager will be able to assemble his unique CRM from ready-made elements, programmers and technical specifications are no longer needed.” Two things are missing: low-code systems are a hundred years old by lunchtime and they are very expensive, largely due to support. I will limit the discussion of the numerous myths around these concepts to a list:
rarely a manager will be able to assemble a working copy from elements – this (surprise!) requires knowledge of software design, software development and algorithms;
one cannot do without programmers – otherwise who will fill these “cubes” and “arrows” with the logic inherent in the code (by the way, these are expensive programmers);
every manager does not need a unique CRM – it must be universal within the company so that a single information base can be formed and operated;
technical specifications and collected requirements for a very long time will form the basis for the creation of any corporate systems.
I think some companies will buy into beautiful, literally magical presentations of low-code systems, but there will be no boom in demand for such solutions.
New functionality will change CRM
This trend looks strange: the developers have dragged video communication, chats, conferences, etc. into their systems, that is, everything that has been presented to us for the last two years. CRM is rapidly becoming a bad multitool, and this trend will continue to grow. Although it is absolutely incomprehensible why re-invent something and ignore ready-made cool solutions, especially since CRM and the same video conferencing are rather weakly connected.
But video calling is the lesser of evils. In 2022-23, CRM developers will actively implement elements of artificial intelligence and machine learning into their software. And it looks cool, purely in theory and in terms of the development process. But for small and medium-sized businesses, this is not cool: they will not be able to use the opportunities due to small amounts of data, and they will have to overpay for software with innovative technologies on board.
While the list of in-demand functions is no secret to anyone. In 2018, Software Advice consultants surveyed over 5,000 small business owners looking to implement new customer relationship management (CRM) software. The top feature requests looked like this:
94% – contact manager,
88% – tracking transactions and transactions,
85% – calendars and reminders,
26% – work with a sales funnel,
22% – sales automation,
20% – centralized database, etc.
And now, in the updated business environment, many vendors will invest in the development of these features and the formation of new ones, still more related to operational work and automation of routine. However, it depends on who has what kind of backlog: someone collects requests from real users, and someone collects their fantasies and tasks on Olympiad programming.
Mobile CRMs (CRM versions) will be in superposition: either they are and are needed, or they are not and are not needed. A better place will be for web applications that are ready to create truly responsive versions that work the same across all devices. So far, all that is in the world of mobile CRM is only very stripped-down applications. You won’t be able to work in them fully and for a long time.
New CRM restrictions
Voice technologies will come to CRM – a special layer of interaction with users and the environment. That is, those that will generate and use voice assistants and voice functions will also be added to the existing data. At this point, we as developers and customers as data controllers may be faced with new legal regulations that will most certainly regulate the field of data transmission, storage and processing. It seems that 152-ФЗ “On personal data” will be supplemented and changed, and specific judicial practice will appear related to personal data. And this will be a serious layer of work to rethink the functions used. It may even happen that we, vendors, together with the software, will provide a legal educational program so that users do not get burned by their ignorance. Let’s knock on wood, of course, such a story will only make life difficult for everyone.
There will be functional stratification among CRM systems, clusters will appear: CRM for B2C, CRM for B2B, CRM for large businesses, for small and medium businesses, etc. At the same time, all top solutions will still be able to do everything (for example, in RegionSoft CRM you can manage both legal entities and individuals), but each will gravitate towards a certain profile. This is partly due to the proliferation of the private sector in small businesses, and partly due to the habitual skills of the developers themselves.
In general, the CRM market is almost like a “blue ocean”, you can develop in your own vector and successfully get away from zealous competition. This is for the benefit of users who can search for “their” solution among a huge number of existing ones. But you need to understand that among this ocean there are a lot of raw homemade products from “gentlemen of fortune” who want to try their luck in this niche. Here are just normal CRMs on the Russian market, taking into account good import players, no more than 15-20, and if you collect different ones, then hundreds. Therefore, in the key of stratification and “redistributed” information field, the consumer still needs to move away from the scientific poke method and proceed to testing options in accordance with the requirements.
CRM and service will get closer
The years of the pandemic have exposed a host of problems of competition and business survival, it became obvious to everyone that service was coming to the fore. All other things being equal, it is he who decides who the client chooses. CRM systems will supply data and operational capabilities to service departments. A new shopping experience will be built, in which everything will be decided – from the mentioned customer name to up-selling after a significant period of time. All this is already in CRM systems and will be actively developed in service systems. CRM without analytics and business process automation against the background of such a request will simply lose its meaning. This is also confirmed by the data from Selecthub: about a third (32%) of companies choosing CRM system, – companies associated with any service and focused on the service (where the service is more important than the product).
2022 no longer looks as pessimistic as this one. Although it is still very difficult to make any predictions in such conditions. But when you have been in the CRM market for 15 years, you understand where and how this or that process will go. In Russia, the CRM market is a market that has a lot ahead, it looks interesting and promising. And, by the way, domestic CRM systems from the engineering, software and operational points of view look much better than foreign competitors. And this is also the merit of the growing market, growing demands and demands. In general, the best time to automate your business is now. Tomorrow may not be late, but much more difficult and expensive.
Chief developer of RegionSoft