As we begin a new year, ISM remains cautiously optimistic about the state of the CRM marketplace for 2011.
The long-term prospects of the CRM marketplace continue to be bright as Gartner predicts that the CRM market will continue to have a positive growth rate, considering the slowing economy. The CRM market is poised for a “healthy growth” rate through 2012 when CRM software revenue is forecasted to reach a whopping $13.3 billion. There are several reasons for this market growth, according to Gartner Research Director Sharon Mertz. CRM continued to grow through 2010 because it added value to the bottom line of organizations needing to do more with less. Three keys to CRM success in an economic downturn were setting up low-cost customer service, analyzing and optimizing marketing, and finding sales leads through social-networking platforms. This combination, experts agreed, is making CRM software an indispensable tool within organizations.
However with the worldwide economies still beginning to emerge from the Great Recession, 2011 will be a trying year for the CRM industry. CRM vendors will be more challenged by their clients to provide clear and specific ROI about the business value their CRM solutions can provide for the company. CRM professionals cannot afford failed CRM projects, particularly in down markets when business survival may be at stake. In 2011, “risk-proofing” CRM projects will near the top of the priority list for CRM professionals. CRM professionals will have to sharpen their negotiating skills to get more value from their vendor relationships in the coming year. During 2010, companies began looking for ways to cut costs on technology and became more customer-centric as the U.S. economy went into a recession, which made on-demand CRM applications and Social Media tools popular choices for those looking to invest in CRM. Stay tuned for future blog posts as I will review the major trends that are having a huge influence on the CRM market in 2011.