July 29, 2015
The Future of CRM: Smarter Technology Means Stronger Customer Relationships
John-Paul Narowski, Founder of Karma CRM, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode we discuss building the product from scratch, the importance of managing customer relationships, and using data properly.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: What trends do you see in the industry right now and how does KarmaCRM tackle them?
John-Paul Narowski: One big trend across the board in the CRM industry is people starting to understand that it’s not about data logging. Traditional CRM has been the bane of sales rep’s existence, because it requires half a day just inputting data.
CRM is getting smarter about automating data entry, making sure emails are in the system and phone calls are logged, streaming in social information, and simply understanding the variety of ways in which salespeople interact.
That’s one thing I see happening, and something we’re actively working on too. It’s definitely a big task and project to do properly. But just automating more and getting people typing and logging less and in front of their customers more.
TA: Definitely. And right now CRM is very hot, very popular, and has one of the highest increases in adoption rates out there. What do you think is causing this?
Narowski: First and foremost, people are becoming a little more comfortable with web-based products. And maybe this isn’t specifically to answer your question, because there is some offline stuff available too. But there’s this push to have everything accessible to everybody everywhere, and have your team potentially be distributed.
There’s more people working from home as well, so enterprise in-house CRM system is not accessible via the web. Or there’s no system. In either case, you’re very limited in what you can do. People are on the move now. People are working from home more. There’s a need for everybody to have a collaborative platform to organize information.
TA: What are some challenges with CRM?
Narowski: Education is still the biggest one. When I say education, I mean understanding that CRM isn’t going to solve your sales needs. It’s just a tool. You still have to know how to use CRM. You still have to be able to generate leads outside of the CRM in order to make your business run.
I see a lot of people asking questions such as, “What’s the best CRM for small business? What’s the best CRM my industry?”
Realistically, until you really define what you want out of the CRM system, there is no one size fits all platform. More education in the onboarding process to decide what’s important to you — even before you look at any software — I think is a big one. As I alluded to before, getting all the different variety of sources where people communicate into a format that’s easy and dissectible is the goal. It eliminates a lot of the tedious data entry.
TA: One of the core components of a CRM is the relationship. How do you see relationships between companies changing in the future?
Narowski: Big data has a big part to play in this. There are a number of services, such as FullContact or Clearbit, that basically gather information about various people. Their company, their social profiles, and so on. Then they give you a lot of information about the person prior to you even reaching out.
The ability to gather all that information and simplify it into a format is powerful. At the end of the day, when you’re reaching out to the person you already know where they’re located. You know what they like. You know they tweeted about their kid the other day, But basically the future is just streamlining the information that a person needs to build a stronger relationship.