CRM Trends 2014

CRMDuring periods of daily disclosures around the NSA affair and the thereof resulting more sensitive handling with topics related to personal data, business focus now lies on the disclosure of data protection standards. Those actions intend to ensure more customer and consumer confidence. At the same time, we can observe a dynamic development of the world’s data volume: whereas in the previous year the worldwide data volume only doubled each 24 months, today it grows in the same amount in just 18 months. This very increase is due to the intensified usage of internet-driven applications and contents in both private and work environment. As a result, in 2014 did not only grow the overall quantity of data, but also the diversity and quality of available information. Under consideration of high data protection standards and transparent communication of data use towards customers, it gains increasing strategic importance to integrate highly efficient working processes and tools for a targeted evaluation of CRM data. In this area of conflict between increasing data volume and complexity as well as rising data protection requirements, five major trends will have priority in 2014. EARLY BRANDS recently realized a survey on this topic together with CRM experts from leading enterprises from the FMCG, trading, financial services and insurance industries.

Mobile CRM

Mobile CRM activities directed towards customers and consumers are yet largely applied by companies in the FMCG and trading industry by following a multi-channel CRM approach. Another increasing trend in 2014 is the possibility to make mobile use of CRM data collected from employees. The focus lies on the facilitation of personal dialogue between companies and customers coupled with a location-independent usability for marketing and service employees. A good example is the us-age of tablet PCs for sales representatives and service staff, which thus enable a fast and location-independent access to customer data and, at the same time, function as a catalyst for increased usage of cloud services for data storage and mobile usability (see fig. 1). Currently an average 37% of companies are using a private cloud solution. With a value of 62%, the telecommunication industry is the strongest applicant of such services. Still behind are the pharmaceutical, FMCG, trading and financial services industries, where only 40% of companies use private cloud services, however, with increasing tendency towards more integration of cloud solutions.
As a result, a major number of cross-industry companies will be looking for cloud solutions in a CRM context during this year.
PUsage of private cloud solutions





Figure 1: Usage of private cloud solutions per branch in Germany (2013)

That is why an increasing number of insurance companies are taking advantage of the oppor-tunity to provide their sales forces with mobile access to internal client databases supporting their sales calls. In this manner, sales efficien-cy (costs per customer, assistance time, etc.) can be optimized and additionally, the quality of advice raises through the application of mo-bile CRM assistance functions. Companies failing to provide such location-independent client information will quickly fall behind com-petition, as they inadequately react on changed client requirements.

Social CRM

Clients wish communication at sight with the company, which causes the again intensified expenses in social media activities in 2014 (see fig. 2). Currently about 35 million Germans make use of social media. Until 2017, this number will increase by an average growth rate of 5, 2%. Given that number, many companies will intensify their social media marketing activities. A central CRM trend is hence the targeted integration of social media and from there derived data into the corporate CRM strategies. The central objective of social CRM is to reach an improvement in service and marketing performance by finding a way to intelligently integrate data retrieved from social media to facilitate improved customer communication. A good example for this is the intensified personalization of product and service contents which becomes realizable through customer knowledge acquired from those social networks.
Deutsche Telekom provides a best practice example for successful integration of social CRM in the telecommunications branch: As part of the social CRM strategy the company employed Twitter and Facebook to improve customer services. Social media users volun-tarily support the Telekom service team by posting criticism and service requests directly on the platform’s websites. In return users receive compensating gifts, as for instance, backstage tickets for exclusive concerts.
Prognosis average marketing spendings





Figure 2: Prognosis on average marketing expenses of companies for using social media in Germany

The service platforms also help avoiding a repetition of same-natured service requests, thus reduce the service efforts invested per customer.
Another good example is American Airlines; the company is currently strengthening its social media presence. A targeted linking between frequent flyer bonus programs and client’s Facebook accounts enabled the company to improve its customized promotion activities meeting the customer’s desires and requirements. Customization is based on combined information and data gathered from both social media usage and existent CRM tools. In addition, special customer incentives are given to particularly active users on Facebook.

xRM – Any Relationship Management

Until recently, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was understood as the relationship between a company and its customers. If however, a company wishes to control relationships with other stakeholders of the company that go beyond the client-company-relationship – as for instance, employees, suppliers, business partners, competition or public organizations – it has to integrate a broader management system that covers all stakeholder relations: the so-named Any Relationship Management (xRM). This new understanding of CRM will gain very much in importance in 2014, due to new efforts of many companies to strengthen and actively design relationships between customers, the company and its business partners. Any Relationship Management implies that in the future internal and external relationships decisive for a company’s success can be displayed and analyzed build on large data bases. An already realized example in construction business shows how xRM systems can be successfully implemented. The connection of data for different relationships with clients, developers, construction companies, authorities and suppliers enables the company to find concrete linking points that allow for a more efficiently planned construction project and simplified implementation. Also the public sector can take advantage of xRM systems in order to connect different authorities with each other and create a much easier coordination between them and citizens.
These examples clarify the high potential in xRM systems, as the entire company is enabled to align their activities with the interest of not only their customers but all involved internal and external stakeholders.

Customer Value Management

The targeted exploitation of sales potentials of existing customers is the main objective of Customer Value Managements (CVM). For that matter, existent data in CRM databases is used for internal analyses and later on its effective integration in the company. Within the CRM database systems, screening and analyzing processes have to be installed that help the system to automatically identify individual potentials for further customer development and puts them directly at the disposal of marketing, sales and service staff.
In this way, insurance companies already make use of CRM-based Customer Value Management for their sales calls. During the call, sales representatives can actively integrate their tablet PCs to directly forward relevant information to the CRM database. By means of an integrated CVM system on the tablet PC, the sales rep receives information on customer-specific cross-selling potentials which are available during the entire call time. Future integration of Customer Value Management solutions in CRM can consequently make a strong contribution to augmented sales success and to more time and cost-efficiency in marketing and service activities. The risk of unidentified and therefore unexploited customer potentials has notably gained importance in the planning of corporate strategies. New customer acquisition costs are usually much higher than binding and keeping existent customers via CVM activities.

Integration of CRM solutions in corporate strategies

Constantly changing customer requirements and ever-increasing competitive pressure require a general strengthening of customer centricity in terms of corporate strategies. In the future, Customer Relationship Management will therefore highly contribute to the achievement of corporate objectives by revolving strategies around the customer.
Our examples for mobile and social CRM as well as xRM, illustrated how successfully planned and implemented CRM solutions can enable strategic customer centricity and have influence on the overall business success.


In summary, we recognize that the five major 2014 CRM trends lastingly impact and strengthen the customer-company relationship. A resolute concentration on customer, consumer and other stakeholder requirements facilitates long-term growth and success. Practical examples show how named trends in CRM can be used to increase business performance. This requires a fully integrated and well-maintained Customer Relationship Management that supports the company’s overall business strategies and objectives.
EARLY BRANDS possesses comprehensive cross-industry expertise and experience in planning, project management and implementation from various projects realized with leading companies and hidden champions.

EARLY BRANDS INSIGHT edition March 2014 download (pdf)