Customer experience expectations are on an upward trajectory, and the stakes are high for companies. In 2019, 84% of customers said the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services — up from 80% in 2018.
Standing at the doorstep of the new decade, let’s examine where these changes will take companies and their customers. Here is a look through several years of Salesforce’s original research to examine one of our favorite topics: what will be the 2020 CRM trends?
Marketers hone in on the customer identity problem
Armed with the power of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and more, marketers can interact in meaningful, personal ways with millions — even billions — of customers, all in real time. However, creating and iterating on competitive marketing programs depends on large amounts of data — and robust management and analysis capabilities. In the most recent State of Marketing report, we forecast that the median number of customer data sources used by marketers globally, would jump 50% from 10 in 2017 to 15 in 2019 — and we see no signs this trend will slow.
Already, less than half of marketers have a complete, unified view of customer data sources. As the number of data sources climbs, we anticipate that marketers will need to adapt their infrastructure to accommodate the increasing complexities of managing that data and drawing insights from it.
Survey data from the same study shows the average business uses three different technologies for customer identity purposes. These may often be owned by different departments, handling specific parts of the customer journey — for instance, sales activity managed in a CRM, advertising managed by a data management platform (DMP), and so on. Will 2020, and the early years of the new decade, finally be the era marketers simplify and modernize their technology stack?
While there are several ways to resolve customer identity, there isn’t yet universal adoption of a single solution. However, we anticipate investment and innovation on this problem to increase, given only 28% of marketers are completely satisfied with their ability to create a shared, single view of customers across business units.
Shopping moves to the edge
The past decade saw frequent headlines of a "retail apocalypse." But the reality is that retail is far from dead — it's just transformed, in what some view as a renaissance. We anticipate the commerce journey in the coming years to encompass an increasing number of touchpoints as it becomes embedded in our everyday lives.
The key commerce trend we anticipate is “shopping at the edge” of traditional spheres — i.e., on emerging digital purchase points like voice, social media, or even gaming consoles, beyond retailers’ and brands’ owned physical and digital properties. No need to run to the store; the store will come to you in the apps and platforms you use every day, blurring the very definition of shopping.
Already in 2019, nearly one in 10 purchases occur on channels separate from retailers’ and brands’ owned physical and digital properties. These channels are particularly attractive to younger generations. We found, for instance, that Gen Zers are more than three times as likely as silents and baby boomers to use emerging digital purchase points, and that one in four millennials and Gen Zers are interested in shopping with gaming consoles. As younger generations gain a greater share of purchasing power, and as innovation continues in the space, we predict shopping will move closer and closer to the edge.
Voice technology revolutionizes the sales process
Over the past few years, sales has gone increasingly virtual. However, while virtual meetings cut down on transit time, administrative tasks like data entry and quote generation remain massive time sinks. Shockingly, our State of Sales research found sales reps spending just 34% of their time actually selling.