What does CRM mean? How it is changing? What do the changes mean for you?
CRM systems are basically information management systems that include the information businesses need to analyze their customer base and follow customers through their buying cycles.CRM systems originated as contact management software like ACT, that allowed sales people to schedule their follow-ups and kept track of each customer’s status.
The CRM system obtains its information from all points of contact with the customer including website, telephone, live contact, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. The CRM can provide detailed information about customers’ tastes and prior customer contacts directly to sales staff and provide the foundation for evaluating the entire sales and marketing program. That’s a mouthful, huh.
Well, the good news is that CRM systems have evolved. Today, you may have heard about cloud-based “social CRM” systems that include a much richer data collection function and allow information exchanges in real-time. Social CRM focus attention on the use of social media, including analytic and decision support engines for managing the online marketplace. The system emphasizes the support of two-way sales-customer interactions.
CRM in the Online Marketplace
In the online marketplace, developing a CRM strategy means getting more prospects to click on your website then converting more prospects into customers. The question for an online business is, how do you best accomplish these things?
The answer to this question has always been tied up with search engines (most particularly Google). The search engine is what brings people to your website which makes sales possible. So you have to deal with your reputation on the internet, which Google carefully quantifies and translates into search engine rankings–the prominence your page will have on the search engine results when people type in particular search words.
The ability to use search engines, which makes it so easy for customers, is the daily puzzlement for merchants. Online businesses spend hours and many dollars trying to get their web pages “optimized” to increase “search engine optimization” (SEO). According to SEO expert, Jayson DeMers,
“Nearly every business today must decide to spend on search engine optimization (SEO). This isn’t even an if question. Robust online marketing is imperative for survival in a web-driven world.”
The SEO industry is currently worth $65 billion and money spent on SEO has been growing since the early days of search engines. Expenses include Salaries for SEO internal staff, site visitor analysis, and blog development.
Increasing Focus on SEO
Expenditures for SEO are expected to rise to $72 billion by 2018 and $79 billion by 2020. Change in the focus of SEO is expected over the next decade. Blog writing, for instance, is expected to decline more than 40 percent in favor of video formats as computers and mobile devices get faster. Purchases of email lists has been declining and is expected to decline further and eventually disappear.
SEO and the entire science of CRM is expected to see indefinite continuous growth, with evolving focus.
- There will be more searches per user. Older, more technology averse will make way for technology dependent generations.
- Technology will be faster and more convenient enabling more search traffic.
- The sheer number of searchers will increase as the internet becomes more affordable and more available. Eventually, what is happening will make it possible for almost anyone to search for anything at any time.
- There will certainly be more search engines. The use of digital assistants like Cortana and Siri and the use of offline digital assistants will bridge the gap between online and offline searches. Specialized search engines like Amazon.com or YouTube and search engine apps will change the way SEO works.
- The power of traditional advertising will decrease. Businesses dependent on traditional advertising will have to look to inbound marketing and information marketing and will increasingly turn to the online world.
- The twin arts of CRM and SEO are becoming more sophisticated.
“What used to be a matter of “keyword stuffing and cheap link building has now become an intricate strategy of content development and publication,” says expert Jason DeMers.
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