CRM’s biggest evolution was the single customer view: SugarCRM

Software vendor also expects CRM to one day predict what the customer will do next.

CRM’s key evolution in the last decade has been the adoption of a single customer view, according to SugarCRM.

Asia-Pacific regional sales director, Wayne Goss, has seen a market-wide drive towards a “360 degree view” of a customer across customer service, sales and marketing.

There has also been a major shift towards businesses retaining existing customers opposed to purely obtaining new ones.

“The reason for this is the cost of acquisition is a lot higher than the cost of retention,” Goss said.

“There is huge risk of attrition because of the disruptive players entering the market, with the likes of Paypal and Bitcoin in the finance space.”

These market forces are changing the culture in a lot of companies, where customer service is now becoming a "major sales agent," as opposed to a "purely customer service function."

“We’re seeing a distinctive merge of customer service and sales, and we’re seeing customer service merging into a single function under sales,” Goss said.

CRM of the future

With the shift from a siloed customer approach to a single view, Goss expects this new outlook to be imbedded across all business processes, finance, ERP, sales and marketing over time.

“Knowing your customer intimately is going to be both critical and inherent,” he said.

Goss adds the future will also be about predicting what the customer will do next, and “not in a broad brush” sense but in a “much more personal” way.

“It will be about catering individually and predicting what the customer will want, and then being able to market or service them in a proactive way as opposed to a reactive way,” he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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