Reggie Walker, Chief Commercial Officer, PwC US Leadership Team & Global Salesforce Practice Leader
Since time immemorial, businesses have focused on improving their client engagement strategies. However, as the world has changed, consumers have begun to rely more heavily on digital assets for their inquiries and feedback. In order to stay on par with customer preferences, organizations are now compelled to adopt technologies that support an enhanced level of customer engagement and interaction. As customers are demanding upgraded communication applications, business leaders are required to embrace the latest customer relationship management (CRM) strategies, while also being in tune with emerging trends hitting the CRM market.
What are some of the technological trends emerging within the CRM market?
There are a few major trends are creating a significant ripple in the CRM market.
First and foremost, experience in the CRM landscape plays a crucial role. Companies are focused on providing enhanced understanding and experience to their employees about their CRM platform to assist them in driving better customer experience and client engagement. By training workforces to leverage the benefits of CRM, organizations are adding significant value by creating ecosystems where employees and clients can engage seamlessly with one another.
Secondly, the evolution of CRM is complemented by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI is predominantly rooted in data mining strategies. Extracting relevant insights from data is helping organizations take actionable steps to provide an exceptional, more personalized experience to their clients. Similarly, machine learning helps firms make better decisions for solutions and services based on the insights we can gain from the data we possess.
But AI and machine learning are not the only new technologies making a name for themselves in the CRM market. Integration of CRM platforms with marketing technology (MarTech) is making waves in the CRM industry. The connection of CRM platforms to support marketing strategies enables firms to connect across the entire customer journey to provide a more unique and enhanced experience. By incorporating MarTech into CRM, organizations are able to more efficiently and effectively reach out to consumers to differentiate their brands.
Our team at PwC has noticed a huge lean toward cloud maturity and virtualization. Both of these tactics are gaining popularity in the CRM landscape, largely due to their scalability and low investment cost requirements..
Lastly, appropriately extracting data from external sources is helping enterprises gather and analyze information about customers to identify their unique perspectives and affording the enterprise a greater ability to offer personalized solutions.
Could you talk about how firms can identify partnerships or solution providers that offer these technologies?
Most solutions providers are gradually inching toward incorporating the trends mentioned above into their portfolios, yet few have yet to embrace them fully. At PwC, we’ve taken the approach of working with providers that offer robust solutions that enable us to execute on our business objectives.
Given PwC’s global presence, our team aims to partner with vendors that possess the ability and resources to scale with us. We are continuously monitoring the trends hitting the market in order to stay competitive and expect our providers to have similar zeal in remaining up-to-date with the latest technologies.
Another aspect we look for is reliability and long-term association. PwC is a client-centric business, so it’s important that our solutions providers share this view. We look for trusted providers that will further enable us to serve our clients faster and in new and delightful ways, as appropriate and permissible.
Would you like to shed light on any current or upcoming projects at PwC in the CRM landscape?
My team at PwC is taking on a lot of projects, but two of them stand out:
The first one is employing AI. This transformative technology is enabling us to leverage predictive analytics and drive greater insights from the data available. Being able to examine the mined data and provide relevant insights to our workforce is helping them to arrive at even more informed decisions and more effectively engage with clients.
Our second project is focused on integration with MarTech. We are bringing together different marketing solutions and integrating them with our platform. Thus, we are able to leverage marketing strategies, along with the features of our CRM platform, to gain greater insights from data and provide information to our team members to assist them in delivering solutions best suited to our clients’ requirements.
What are the future goals of PwC?
At PwC, we are focusing on numerous business aspects to enhance our working methodology, but the one thing that stands out among them most is the continued digital upskilling of our entire organization to enable our strategic agenda. Elevating the digital acumen of all of our professionals at scale gives us the ability to change the way we work and enhances the experience for our people and ultimately our clients.
How, do you think, the CRM industry will expand in terms of potential disruptions or transformations?
In my view, many providers will expand their research and development towards the use of voice in CRM. This surely would be a major transformation because they are working toward making these platforms easier to use and continuing to provide an enhanced user experience.
Businesses are also relying more heavily on mining data to extract actionable insights, and I expect this will continue to stand out as a differentiating trend.
What would be your advice to other aspiring professionals in this field?
I would advise them to focus on three major elements— agility, resiliency, and being connected.
In this rapidly changing world, professionals must practice agile ways of working given the pace and scale of business and how it is impacting us every day. Being resilient is necessary because every professional, no matter their area of focus or success, will face adversity and setbacks over the course of a long career. The ability to bounce back and push on is incredibly important. Creating a learning culture where setbacks are opportunities to grow and the climate is ripe for developing new skills can be a tremendous asset to an organization.
Lastly, professionals need to stay connected. Today, technology has brought us together in many respects, and every business decision of ours impacts not only our organization but also our customers. So while the power of coming together is tremendous, we have to pay close attention to how our decisions affect our stakeholders.