Latest CRM Trends in 2018

Vaibhav Srivastava
17 July 2018


Artificial Intelligence has actually taken over every technology existing, rivalling electricity’s systemic emergence, allegedly injecting sage-like wisdom into everything from sales forecasting tools to email subject lines generators. But keeping the hype aside, the real progress was made in some impact areas due to stuffing of unprecedented investments in the market.

Better resources have supported even better minds to push forward innovations in fields like image recognition, voice techs, and natural language generation. Calculative brands that smartly wired these into CRM applications boosted their performance, realizing ROI up to 400%. Here are some aspects in 2018 which saw significant headway and are poised to advance further.


  • Data and Speed: Machine learning’s success and base are predicated on the choice of training data and blazing processing speed. But for data consumers, just as the internet, privacy laws spurred on by libertarian may soon take it back. Thus, keeping an eye on data privacy regulations such as GDPR (taking effect in the European Union in 2018) would be helpful as they could seriously impact on future data availability. In spite of regulatory environments, with abundant data stockpiles and processing speeds, expect more advances.

In 2018, organizations will harvest and grind their big data crops, sifting off customer behaviour insights aimed at deepening relationships and selling more products faster using less resources. Anticipate more investment in customer data platform, compiling, virtualization, and rationalization initiatives, with more computing horsepower and human capital helping the harvesting efforts this year.

  • Bionic ears and Voice: In 2017, AI devices such as natural language processing, text analytics, and language generators stormed the commercial scene and provided CRMers and marketers with enhanced listening and speaking abilities. Enterprise CRM experts were graced with technology that can listen and understand millions of customer inputs simultaneously across a plethora of channels.

Although Siri, Alexa, Amelia, Cortana, and other AI assistants didn’t even exist in 2017, they’ve infiltrated homes and workplaces. Machine voices will continue to spread to business places like conference rooms, service channels, products, and kiosks. In 2018 AI may not replace you, but using it to handle routine tasks, listen to and converse with customers, and accept it as part of your marketing, service, and sales team will be essential to your survival, as you’re asked to up your productivity and customer experience enhancing game.

  • AI looking over customer data, journeys, and marketing content: Experts in CRM started using journey analytics to analyze the customer behaviour, and the tech got better at going beyond business intelligence guesswork to prescriptive AI. More AI vendors offered solutions that don’t just sum and sort data but provide an analysis layer peppered with NLG narratives, such as Narrative Sciences and Arria. Others majored on providing better path-to-purchase journey visualizations, like Clickfox and Pointillist.

And some focused efforts at bringing image recognition to real CRM AI use. AI image processing proved its mettle for filtering and categorizing marketing and sales content, helping marketers better understand customers’ content needs and serve them appropriate and relevant content and offers. Brands began expediting and personalizing services using the ubiquitous smartphone and AI’s ability to pinpoint products and people in pictures and video.

  • AI creates emotionally compelling content: Avant-garde marketers, yet last year, began applying AI to content generation, realizing that to compete in the new world (where content must be both mass-produced and highly personalized), old tools must give way to new ones.

And firms like Persado began facilitating the march toward marketing’s creative nirvana, using NLG, emotional science, and machine learning to optimize (down to the preferences of an individual) the attractiveness of marketing offers by altering the language, font, color, position, and another creative formatting. Results are not just encouraging, they’re somewhat staggering: click-through-rates (CTR) increased by 195 percent; conversion increased by 147 percent. In one case using this technology, Amex Rewards generated 393,000 versions of engineered copy for its banner ads aimed at getting a customer to burn down their rewards points. The winner drove an 8.6% conversion rate, thumping the control’s 3.5% rate.

  • Self-Driving CRM: Professionals are practising to fully automate machine learning data prep, analytics, and marketing. To the finish, just 8 steps can help to run a multi-channel campaign.
  1. Enter name and dates for campaign
  2. Select audience by city, interests; gender; language
  3. Decide on display ad on desktop or mobile or both
  4. Specify budget
  5. Upload display ad creative image
  6. Add social media promotional ad
  7. Add URL for click-through (analytics tracking automatically set up in Google Analytics)
  8. Enter payment method (credit card or PayPal)

Well, this simple and sophisticated approach can help many enterprise vendors to make their tools easier.

  • AI Organizational Dynamics: Accomplished scientists and artists have rarely been cut from the same cloth. In 2017, Walter Isaacson released his long-awaited masterpiece, the biography of Leonardo da Vinci, adding it to his corpus of history’s best examples of exceptions to this rule. So rather than waiting for enough Da Vincis to come along, organizations would be wise to work toward making connections across AI and creative disciplines, which will be key to maximizing their capacity to innovate.

Along with attracting, merging, and retaining the right talent, brands must also acquire the right AI technology, but even more important is having a concerted AI strategy closely coupled with business objectives and CRM improvement goals. It’s imperative to work from well-defined use cases and clearly articulated outcome definitions backwards to the technological and data solutions necessary to support them. Further, firms must use nimble organizational structures with small teams made up of neats and scruffs; IT and the business; re-aligning resources into small digital factory teams that are wed to agile methodologies and collaborative approaches.


  • Now in 2018: In all, 2017 was a banner year for CRM AI, in terms of both hype and legitimate commercial progress. Keep track of these eight areas, and you’ll be following the most interesting and promising leading-edge AI technologies and trends that will prove paramount to success in improving and automating CRM and customer experience.

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