Can AI and IoT influence CRM? Only one in three firms have ‘ambitious’ plans

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Getting customer relationship management (CRM) right has always been pivotal, yet only a third of companies polled by marketing tech provider Wiraya say they have dedicated and ‘ambitious’ plans in place for their systems.

The study, which polled more than 500 respondents responsible for CRM systems within the UK, found a relatively even split; 34% say they work in a ‘traditional’ setting, using it continuously and commonly employing a CRM manager but without an exact plan, while 32% said they were ‘ad hoc’ with no direct structure or organisational role, and 31% being ‘ambitious’.

Almost half (47%) of respondents said improved customer satisfaction was top of their business agenda, while a further quarter (27%) said return on investment was key. Yet only 17% of those polled said their CRM work was ‘clearly’ contributing to their company’s revenue.

As a result, the vast majority (86%) of those polled said it was important to measure the profitability of their CRM operations.

“Many businesses are still finding their feet when it comes to fully taking advantage of the benefits of a CRM system,” said Sam Madden, Wiraya UK director in a statement. “The increasing prominence of technologies such as IoT and AI will go that extra mile to help companies dynamically fine-tune their interaction with the customer, but in the meantime, basic factors such as having a clear CRM strategy in place are essential.”

The AI angle is an interesting one; it is one of the most frequently discussed technologies in the marketing mix right now, with vendors including Salesforce recently getting in on the act. Yet at a recent event, Janet Snedden, deputy managing director at CRM agency Amaze One, spoke of the importance in keeping the ‘human’ element alive.

“There is a lot that marketing can learn from the ‘scientific method’ to develop our understanding of how we can design campaigns that deliver longer term success and relationships, not just one off clicks,” said Sneddon. “With our reliance on data, more and more is becoming algorithmic with programmatic communications the staple that often lose sight of the individual – how they feel, experience and respond.

“In our 24/7 connected world, direct and digital communication happens in our personal space and we can forget that we are reaching out to people, not robots,” she added.

Read more: From CRM to CMR: How to make things work in the era of the connected customer

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