The customer relationship management software market is on fire.
According to Statista, revenue for CRM is expected to show an annual growth rate of 11.72% between 2022 and 2027, resulting in a market volume of more than $120 billion by 2027.
And the average spend per employee is growing, too.
Why is the CRM software market growing at such a rapid clip?
Because it has become more critical to the enterprise, that’s why.
Forrester analyst Kate Leggett says that the second wave of CRM has permeated the entire enterprise, transforming business outcomes well beyond CRM’s initial remit of improving front-office productivity. As she wrote recently, companies use CRM to support customers throughout their end-to-end journeys. It’s giving businesses a complete view of customer relationships in real time to drive personalized experiences.
As a result, CRM has become a far more impactful tool for supporting revenue growth via customer acquisition and retention.
This is all heavy stuff compared to CRM’s humble roots as a basic database marketing software in the 1980s. And as businesses seek to maximize the lifetime value of their customer relationships during economic uncertainty, CRM is poised to have another breakout year in 2023.
But there’s plenty of room for CRM to grow – specifically by incorporating sentiment data into the rich tapestry of customer insights that the software provides.
What CRM Software Provides
At its most fundamental level, CRM software makes it possible for businesses to optimize revenue and profitability while promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Research firm Gartner says that CRM software does so by providing functionality to companies in four segments: sales, marketing, customer service and digital commerce. CRM software providers range from HubSpot to Salesforce – and their reach extends across the enterprise. Just to give you a sense of how complex and wide-ranging CRM software is, HubSpot’s CRM platform offers a number of products, including its Marketing Hub, which was recently named a leading B2B marketing automation platform by Gartner.
This is a far cry from the days when CRM software was considered to be a salesforce support function. But why has CRM become so critical to the entire enterprise? A number of reasons stand out:
- Understanding the customer journey has become more complicated. The journey from awareness to advocacy encompasses myriad touchpoints ranging from social media to email to online chat. As companies have sought to keep up with their customers, they’ve needed their CRM software to do more.
- First-party data is becoming more essential. Businesses are under more pressure than ever to find better ways to derive value from the data they collect from their customers, known as first-party data. According to a recent survey, 88 percent of marketers say gathering first-party data is more important than it was two years ago. This is exactly what CRM software helps them do.
- Businesses need to personalize. The massive uptick in digital usage post-Covid has rapidly commoditized online commerce, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Leaning into digital to attract customers is not enough – everyone is doing that already, and then some. So, businesses are looking for better ways to stand apart by personalizing their online relationships. CRM software helps them do that, too.
- Businesses need to focus on getting more value out of existing customers. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one. Enterprises need to focus more on the relationship part of CRM to achieve more profitable growth, especially during the economic uncertainty that everyone is experiencing. 82% of the respondents in a 2021 survey said “active customer retention” is one of the most important objectives for their CRM team.
All of this is why software suites such as HubSpot are growing rapidly – and evolving from salesforce management to all-encompassing suites that improve every aspect of customer acquisition and retention, from inbound marketing (e.g., content marketing) to customer support.
But is there room for CRM software to grow? You bet.
CRM helps a business understand what customers are doing as you acquire and retain them. But it does not tell you what customers think of you – known as sentiment data. And that’s a gaping hole.
How CRM Software Can Benefit from Sentiment Data
Consider just some of the customer interactions that good CRM software supports:
- Email marketing.
- Live chat.
- Social media, both organic and paid.
- Website interactions.
- Sales outreach.
- Google Business Profiles.
At each touchpoint, customers do more than interact with you. They talk about you and your competitors. They talk with each other. They look for ratings/reviews, which influence their decision to do business with you.
Sentiment data is also important to help a business understand the emotional connection (or lack thereof) between the business and a customer. A business whose customers have only neutral (or worse) opinions of it is in danger of losing that customer to a competitor. With that knowledge, a business can understand what it needs to do to improve that emotional connection, which is key to building brand loyalty.
CRM platforms don’t collect sentiment. But by integrating with an effective reputation management platform, businesses can infuse great customer sentiment data via customer sentiment analysis.
Using natural language processing and text analytics analysis, customer sentiment analysis sifts through the many online remarks and data points to gain an understanding of your client’s feelings towards your organization.
Machine learning then identifies more intricate tendencies and designs inside customers’ remarks about you via surveys, web-based evaluations, and social network posts. Companies can take advantage of these discoveries to recognize strengths, problems, and issues before they become serious.
This sentiment data can provide answers to other areas of the business, like employee morale, and check company expectations versus your customer’s reality.
The Value of CRM Software Leveraging Sentiment Data
Sentiment data can be useful for teams that want to examine commentary about their brands from a qualitative angle. By dissecting and providing a holistic landscape, sentiment data provides enhanced metrics that may offer more valuable insights.
When you find actionable information, the process starts taking care of itself. You can share these insights with the rest of your team and pass the data to sales, who can tailor their outreach to their prospects. Customer experience teams can leverage sentiment insights to improve experiences with your brand to create loyal ambassadors out of your customer base. Leadership can better solve customer churn or conversion issues that drive revenue growth. Sentiment data can even correlate to other KPIs within marketing and sales that can now be solved.
Sentiment data is the pulse of your customers and is a source for so many insights. Learning how your customers feel about your brand experience will give you the keys to striking a chord with every single one.
Optimize Sentiment Data with Reputation
Reputation’s first-party sentiment data gives organizations a real-time understanding of their brand perception and local sentiment to help them make well-informed decisions on marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and retention.
With the Reputation platform, sentiment data is no longer difficult and time-consuming to collect. Our platform ingests feedback data across public social sites, public review sites, and even private, direct feedback before AI synthesizes the data into actionable next steps.
Then using this sentiment, we create a proprietary Reputation Score. The Reputation Score gives businesses actionable insight into how to use sentiment to improve every aspect of the business, including all the elements of CRM.
While organizations continue to migrate to using first-party data, Reputation provides your customer sentiment data both within our platform and through integrations. So that no matter what, this crucial information starts driving decision-making that gets you past your goal and provides both what customers are doing and how they feel about your brand. This high-impact approach is already helping marketers attract net-new customers and target existing customers to foster, grow and keep brand loyalty.
In fact, HubSpot is already integrating its CRM platform to incorporate sentiment data, as announced recently. Reputation’s integration gives HubSpot customers easy access to business location sentiment data and gathers actionable insights to improve customer retention, drive new revenue and improve operations efficiency. Customers that use this integration will also be able to use Reputation Score to measure their brand and individual locations against industry standards.