Socks and sandals? Cool. Beards? If only I could grow one. A local craft ale? Go on then.

Trends change.

It’s the same in all walks of life - clothes, facial hair, food, drink, and business.

CRM is the fastest-growing SaaS business. Our industry’s market value is expected to hit $128bn by 2024. We’ve got a bunch of competitors and we’re all doing the same thing: exploring. We’re all trying to push the same boundaries and set the bar higher than those that set it before us. The CRM tide is constantly changing; our industry moves faster than some can keep up.

Reader, this presents a problem for you. It’s hard to keep up when you’re not on it all the time. How do you know which features to look for in your new CRM? What tells you if your CRM provider is up to scratch? When will you get what you really need from your platform?

All good questions; all answered by this article.

CRM Lab: We’re the number one source for CRM news, strategies, and information on the whole internet. This article looks at prevalent CRM trends in 2024 and what they mean for your business.

AI creeping into your workflows

AI technology itself is moving quite slowly, but it’s moving. AI can write articles for major newspapers, solve a Rubix cube; it can even diagnose your health bits and be your best mate… or lover? Alexa, Siri, and your little Google bot are all AI, helping you get things done throughout your business day. Alas, there is enormous growth potential for AI in CRM.

Take a look at lead scoring. It reads all the data in a lead’s record - where it is in the pipeline, behaviour they’ve exhibited, and different demographic attributes, to assign it a particular value based on how likely they are to buy a product. That’s AI... sort of It’s the same with chatbots: an elementary, sometimes frustrating form of AI that automatically answers questions.

Frustrating? Yeah. Maybe the technology just isn't there yet.

"One day, AI will be able to tell us if an email is in a good mood or not. It’ll be able to make predictions, conclusions, and suggestions about our business. Right now, AI is a superficial topic for the CRM industry. When we’re ready to talk seriously about AI in CRM, I'll be there with the NetHunt team."

- Andrei Petrik, CEO of NetHunt CRM

CRM for lone wolves

Everybody’s out here on their entrepreneur flex. 💪

With lockdown, the work-from-home culture, and massive layoffs from creative industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw an uptick in people going their own way. Solopreneurs are people with an idea and the desire to market it themselves. After all, maybe you don’t need the big office in Silicon Valley to be a success. Maybe you’re just one person with a laptop and a set of tools.

The point is that a CRM system isn’t just useful for massive teams who need to communicate anymore. Solopreneurs have equally good reasons to use CRM. Entering client information, sending emails, answering the same questions, and scheduling meetings with clients; they’ve also got a pipeline to keep on top of, a calendar to stick to, and invoices to fire out.

CRM helps small, smaller, and the smallest businesses!

Hello, self-service CRM

We realise that we’re always telling you to personalise your customer experience, speak in the customer’s language, and guide them through the B2B sales process one step at a time. Customers need to feel cared for, understood, and remembered. They’re spending a lot of hard-earned money on whatever your business offers, and it’s the least they deserve. But…

67% of customers prefer to use self-service options instead of a company representative.

Source: Zendesk

Oh yeah… what if a customer doesn’t want to talk on the phone? What if your B2B customer wants something closer to a B2C buying experience? They should have the means to do so. Customer self-service CRM (CSS) is something to think about whilst building your 2024 customer service strategy. It’s a pretty straightforward strategy to implement, too.

  • Build a knowledge base
  • Visualise product training for customers and make it accessible
  • Extensive automation capabilities
  • Include an option to speak to an agent
  • Build a user community

CSS offers customers the capabilities to perform many standard tasks, such as setting up accounts and paying bills, without the help of a service representative. They can answer their own questions and troubleshoot their own problems on their own terms and in their own time. It’s all about speed and it’s a hands-off approach to customer relationships.

Hide your private bits in CRM

Data is everywhere. Customers subscribe to your business, trading their data; they fill in web forms, apply for demos, and even have their data scraped from social profiles by businesses. We do it all for the greater good, but there are some ethical issues that come with being in possession of somebody’s data. They deserve to have it looked after and used in the correct way.

CRM vendors, the guardians and gatekeepers to all that customer data around the world, have a specific responsibility to provide features that help businesses protect data - in 2024 and beyond.

We’d be lying if we said this is a look into our CRM crystal ball and this one popped out at us. No, we’re basing this trend on cold hard facts. Last year global tech juggernaut Apple introduced a new Mail feature in iOS15 which blocks out the nanopixels used for email tracking. Ergo, email tracking metrics become unreliable depending on which device a recipient uses.

As we gather increasingly more data, we sit on a giant pair of CRM scales. On one end, we’re weighing our business success, the product we offer, and the money we make. On the other end, we’re weighing our conscience, our ethics, and our customer’s loyalty. Both are as important as each other; we need to find a perfect balance between the two ends of our scale.

We can already find passwords, unsubscribe buttons, and forget-me features. How about built-in encryption, two-factor authentication, offline mode, and malware protection in 2024?

Up to your eyeballs in automation

Aye, 2021 was a pretty good year in the NetHunt office.

We launched a bunch of new features, but none had more of an impact than Workflows. Our workflow builder is simply beautiful and gorgeously straightforward. It’s a modular platform to build automatic business processes that were manual before. From the big jobs like email drip campaigns and remembering to follow up, to the little things like moving a lead to the next stage of the pipeline based on a deal event, Workflows by NetHunt CRM is the dog’s bananas.

Schedule a demo with our success team to see workflows in action!

Workflow automation is beautiful because it’s flexible. You can finetune automated processes so they suit your exact business workflows. Choose what triggers them and what actions can be taken, when and why, as the workflow progresses. Workflow automation stands at the pinnacle of CRM technology. As we step into 2024, we can only expect more CRM processes to be automated.

More triggers, more actions, and more helpers will feature in CRM workflow builders.

"Be careful not to over-automate your processes. Yep, it’s a cool feature, but the point is that CRM helps you to manage your customer relationships. You don’t want to lose that human touch, many have gone before and found out the hard way."

- Andrei Petrik, CEO of NetHunt CRM

A larger slice for smaller CRM providers

A CRM industry trend.

CRM is the fastest-growing SaaS market, expected to top ove 128 billion dollars by 2028. There are loads of CRM options out there to choose from. There are gigantic, transnational corporation CRMs like Salesforce CRM, HubSpot CRM, and Microsoft CRM; there are also small CRM providers, filling their own niche and fighting for their own market share. Ahem, NetHunt CRM.

Just typing in CRM into Capterra returns 1359 results!

Big CRM might have the reach, the resources, and the experience in providing CRM, but they don’t have the level of personality that being a smaller CRM provider means. You can bet most smaller CRM providers offer the personal customer service that CRM users require. We listen to individual requests for features and implement them without the red tape and bureaucracy of larger providers.

Sometimes our devs themselves ring customers to get to the bottom of an issue!

Smaller CRM providers are especially useful for smaller businesses because they share a lot in common. Both are small businesses aiming to organise and grow themselves. This shared perspective of the business world can only be a good thing as the two parties go out and tackle it together. The smaller CRM providers will rise again!

Social CRM… again

A social media CRM strategy - wherever it is executed - is critical for most businesses because they can bet that their competitors already have one. Besides keeping up with the other guys, a social CRM strategy provides key benefits for any business.

  • Tells you more about your audience
  • Empowers customer support and customer success teams
  • Helps publish and share relevant and engaging content
  • Provides real time feedback on a product or service
  • Another chance for the human touch

Social media integrations are already a cornerstone of modern CRM output, bringing social media data into CRM and putting CRM data at your social media fingertips. Take a look at how NetHunt’s LinkedIn extension works.👇

How to use NetHunt CRM for LinkedIn

You see, CRM already does a good job keeping everything in, but there are still loads of external comms going on between business and customer. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Whatsapp. Users can communicate absolutely anywhere with a brand and expect a response. What’s more, there’s a bunch of data on social media which doesn’t surface anywhere else.

So expect this from your CRM - integration, integration, integration. Everything under one tab, more communication channels for leads and customers, and no more leads slipping through the cracks. If your CRM provider isn’t putting out the integrations you need, know that we’ve got a mighty fine list of mighty fine integrations and upcoming integrations.

CRM for everyone

That might not sound like a trend, but bear with me.

The pandemic took us out of offices and away from our co-workers. CRM became an invaluable tool for teams to stay on track of collective work. It used to be reserved specifically for sales teams to store, organise, and automate their data. Over the past year, we’ve seen a massive uptick in different teams using CRM to good effect.

Marketing teams take advantage of huge troves of data, segmentation, and email features. The support team always needs customer context and client history. Many CRM systems include ticket generation specifically for Support! Even devs are on it, using CRM to keep track of customer requests and complaints before fixing them.

CRM helps teams work together even when they’re not together. Your CRM platform should feature cross-team communication tools, such as mentions, tasks, and shared communication context. If it doesn’t, it’s behind the curve.

More CRM specialisations

CRM used to be a glorified database; somewhere pretty to store your sales contacts.

At the moment, over 50% of CRM subscribers work in one of four markets: real estate, consulting, distribution, and insurance. But we expect to see CRM make the working days of other industries simpler. Think healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. A lot of existing CRM functionality already fits with the processes of those companies - all it takes is one forward-thinking CRM developer to design the next features to fit exact economies.

As CRM grows so does its reach. New features open new opportunities; new ideas feed new ideas. More companies want a slice of the unreal change CRM can bring to a business. Competitors catch on and eventually clever people build industry-specific systems.

It’s a result of CRM turning into the mainstream. We see specialists from different industries move into our own, sharing their expertise and building something for their peers to use. A growing CRM market? Bring it on!

- Andrei Petrik, CEO of NetHunt CRM

XaaS: Whatever as a service

XaaS - somehow - stands for everything as a service.

As a provider of CRM for SaaS companies we provide software as a service. What happens though, when our product offering goes beyond SaaS? What happens when we keep providing things that go beyond software?

The next big thing is everything as a service. XaaS is a far-reaching idea that refers to any tools, applications, services, games - anything that is delivered to us from the cloud delivered as one . Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Malware as a Service (MaaS), and the rest all rolled into one. For companies in the SaaS industry, choosing the best CRM for SaaS can significantly enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Everything under one tab, accessible from the same application. Sounds good to us.

A bonus trend? Oh, go on then.

My crystal ball tells me you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that little blue NetHunt guy in 2024.

Schedule a demo with the customer success team and get acquainted.

Happy new year!

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