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2018 CRM Prediction from Top Industry Experts

As we launch into 2018, CRM industry experts predict that Automation, with a healthy dose of artificial intelligence, will be the dominant trend this year. Companies will find themselves under increased pressure to automate repetitive and routine tasks to free up customer-facing employees to concentrate on more strategic and more complicated customer issues. Automating repetitive processes certainly isn’t a new concept, but the addition of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, promises to add a whole new dimension to sales, marketing, and customer service, and not just in 2018 but for many years to come.


Phone & Voicemail Automation With A Single Click


Ten years ago it’s likely you and everyone you know became addicted to on-demand communication. Whether it was email, texting, or social media, we rushed to adopt these tools so our messages could be delivered and heard — faster than ever before. As a result of this modern phenomenon, getting in touch with a friend or family member is now as easy as clicking a button.
Because it’s the most popular way of contacting someone now, many would agree we’ve become social click-aholics. However, peeling back that layer of truth reveals another: people love clicking to communicate because it makes initiating, building, and maintaining our relationships feel like less work, and thus easier to manage. It’s also proof that something as simple as clicking can empower us to do great things — including for your business.


While CRMs are great for tracking sales opportunities and keeping client information, they do very little by themselves to help companies foster strong relationships with their
customers. In the world of business, forming a tight bond with clients
normally requires an organized series of phone calls made by an inside sales or customer support team.
In order to simplify and literally speed through this daily campaign cycle of phone calls, you must totally revolutionize the way your business communicates with clients.This can be accomplished by simply using a product called Cricket Click Dialer. With Cricket, all your CRM phone numbers are automatically turned into “clickable” links so that just one mouse click instantly places a call for you. No more wasting time looking back and forth while keying numbers in your phone! Cricket also works on websites, emails, and spreadsheets. There’s no complex integration needed if using either Chrome or Firefox browser.


Clicking to call clients will make you more productive, but it doesn’t guarantee someone will answer the phone to speak with you. When this is the case, you’re instead often invited by their greeting to leave a message on their voicemail or answering machine.
Most people still listen and respond to their voicemail messages — if you take time to leave them one! And you should. Voicemail messages create a digital trail of breadcrumbs that can lead someone back to you or your company’s website. If they do
reach out to you, this could put them back into your marketing funnel, exactly where they belong. Thus, you should always leave
a voicemail whenever given the chance. It could be the beginning of a future real conversation or even better, a valuable business-client relationship.
Staying productive requires most sales reps to skip this task since they have a long list of people to call with few seconds to spare. In addition, leaving the same message over and over can be exhausting and tedious. Due to these time constraints and limitations, it’s imperative for sales teams to spend their effort talking with only people — not answering machines. Hence, the need for
voicemail drop automation.
Voicemail drops enable you to create and send pre-recorded messages to answering machines. It’s the perfect way to avoid talking, yet still have your message heard.


Cricket Click Dialer gives you the autonomy and flexibility you actually need when crossing paths with answering machines.
For the same reason businesses use personalized email templates, you can personalize voicemail drops so the pre-recorded messages sound authentic and unrehearsed every single time. To do this with Cricket Click Dialer, you simply wait for the beep, greet the person by name, then click to send the rest of the message which you pre-recorded. For example: You say “Hello, John” then
click message 2 which says “This is Sam Anderson with ABC Company. I’m sorry I missed you but I wanted you to know about our new product…”. The call instantly disconnects when you click your prerecorded message, thus allowing you to move onto another call while your message continues to play.
Remember that addressing someone by name in a voicemail is really important for a few key reasons:

1. Personalization gets your message heard by the intended receiver.

Getting in touch with the right person is a cinch if doing B2C sales because you’re calling people’s personal phone numbers. However, this can be a huge challenge when calling B2B because you may be forced through an automated IVR system to connect with the decision maker you aimed to speak with.
If your voicemail message is specifically addressed to someone in the company, more often than not, the wrong person will relay your message to the right person or at least notify them that you called as opposed to a generic sales pitch that will
likely be deleted.

2. Personalization compels people to listen to your entire message.

People greet each other all the time. It’s how relationships start which just so happens to be your main mission. If you’re doing some good old fashioned cold calling or reaching out to aged leads, addressing a person by name gives your message a louder, more important voice for them to listen to.
Overall, calling a person by name makes their ears perk up and creates more interest in listening to the rest of your voicemail message.

3. Personalization shows you care.

Greeting people by name is considered to be direct, courteous, friendly, and it shows you cared enough to do a little research about the person or business you called. It shows them you’re genuinely serious about connecting with them and not just blasting out calls with no thought or research.
So, should you send personalized pre-recorded messages? In most cases, yes. Conveniently, Cricket Click Dialer gives you the power to pick and choose when you do.


Cricket enables you to create, save, and deploy any 1 of 5 pre-recorded messages in your voice on a prospect’s answering machine. With multiple different pre-recorded messages at your disposal, getting clever and using all the messages to your advantage is ideal based on the type of campaigns, locations, time of day, follow up stage, and type of people you are calling.


1. Capture More Leads:

Clicking to send pre-recorded messages is instant and takes a fraction of your time. By speeding through answering machines with voicemail drops, you can reach the good leads faster and capture more of them in less time. Surprisingly, to be more
productive on the phone, you can do a little less talking to get more action.

2. Save Your Voice:

Sounding enthusiastic and proud about your product or service gives prospects a reason to feel the same way. It’s difficult to do this though if you’re drained of energy from all the talking your job requires. By pre-recording your voicemail messages ahead of time, your voice will thank you later, and you’ll have plenty of positive energy to share when chatting with clients who do answer the phone. So, skip the small talk so you can save your energy for the bigger conversations.

3. Become More Accomplished:

If you’re a busy person with a lot of responsibilities to tend to, you don’t have time to leave dozens or even hundreds of voicemails all day. By automating this single task, imagine
all the other things you could get accomplished. When you send rerecorded
messages, you can get more things done for your business.

4. Save Valuable Time:

Let’s assume a sales rep leaves four 1 minute voice mails per hour during an average 170 hour working month, but decides to switch from hand dialing to using the click dialer and voicemail drop automation technology with the Cricket.
The time and productivity saved is staggering. A single sales rep will save 11.4 hours of total talk time every month by just using voicemail drops.
With a team of 20 sales reps, that adds up to a whopping 228 hours saved in just one month.


Cricket has a bundle of other features that give you the ability to:

  • Display any legitimate Caller ID
  • Receive inbound calls with voicemail
  • Record conversations
  • Transfer and conference calls
  • Make & receive unlimited calls to the USA & Canada


Clicking to call and automate voicemails with Cricket Click Dialer is like putting your sales team on the path of least resistance to making phone calls, building relationships with customers, and selling them your product or service. It’s a million times better and faster than dialing by hand or speaking to answering machines.
Ready to make the best call of your life? Give your sales team Cricket Click Dialer, the best automation tool for prospecting and making big leaps in productivity. You’ll reap the benefits beginning with your very first click.

Unraveling Automation:

How the Latest Technology Can Benefit Your Business:

Automation is gaining traction for deployment across the enterprise, fueled by the need for organizations to continually innovate their offerings, accelerate time
to market, and maintain a competitive advantage in today’s digital world. By applying the latest advances in analytics and artificial intelligence (including natural language processing and machine learning) to functions previously performed by humans, organizations can realize gamechanging
benefits in how they engage and serve customers, and how they maximize
their workforces.
It’s clear that automation is poised to play a vital role in the future of customer engagement—and in helping enterprises achieve their strategic objectives. In addition to offering obvious benefits, such as higher revenues and lower operating costs, automation can drive greater customer satisfaction, since
processes can be completed faster, with greater security and fewer errors.


Automation is playing a key role in intelligent customer engagement. Through natural language processing, for example, you can analyze customers’ individual preferences and then automate the self-service path presented to them. In fact, many customers prefer this tailored approach over traditional IVRs, and the cost
savings to your business can be impressive.
With Voice of the Customer automation, you can apply analytics to speech, text, social, and survey interactions to automatically reveal rising customer trends that you may otherwise be unaware of. And there’s no need to predefine search terms.
Armed with this insight, you can take action quickly to nip problems in the bud or capitalize on competitive opportunities.
Increasingly, today’s contact centers face the need to authenticate legitimate customers in a way that’s effective, but unobtrusive, while identifying fraudsters as quickly as possible. Recorder-embedded voice biometrics can authenticate callers faster, more easily, and more securely than traditional methods of authentication, while providing high levels of accuracy. With this type of automation, both customers and businesses benefit from safer, more secure interactions—and faster authentication, leading to more efficient, cost-effective service and better overall experiences.


Automation is expected to change the workplace profoundly by enabling organizations to offload manual, tedious, and error-prone tasks from employees to software robots, freeing your employees to focus on more high-touch, strategic customer care.
Through robotic process automation, for example, organizations can completely replace the need for manual processing of specific tasks or entire multistep processes within a functional area, automating them on a virtual desktop or back-office server and operating around the clock. The same technology, referred to as “attended robotic process automation,” can also be used on employees’ desktops to help them do their work faster and more accurately. Both types of automation are particularly suited for labor-intensive processes, such as claims or mortgage processing, and can help reduce turnaround times significantly.
As software robots take on the routine, repetitive tasks, organizations can focus their staff on more value-added activities that help cultivate deeper customer engagement, enhanced Net Promoter Scores®, and greater competitive differentiation. Since this type of work can add greater depth and satisfaction to daily activities, it can help drive employee engagement and retention. Taken a step further, combining automation with knowledge management solutions can provide employees with in-the-moment guidance on how to do their jobs more effectively. Knowledge articles can be automatically surfaced to staff based on customer context, or to customers themselves in self-service environments. Similarly, employees can be served proactive scripts that help them complete tasks or obtain information quickly. This in turn can reduce staff effort and transaction times— and the costs associated with them. It’s a win for everyone—customers, employees and your enterprise.
Even traditional quality management—a quintessential part of workforce optimization—is being revolutionized through automation. The latest automated quality management solutions can automate the entire QM process, from
scoring evaluations to assigning coaching, enabling supervisors to spend less time evaluating and scoring interactions and more time developing agents. These solutions enable the fair and continuous feedback that employees crave, the compliance coverage organizations require, and the insights needed to deliver engaging experiences that convert customers into loyal, lifelong fans.


Contact Verint today to find out how our solutions can help you leverage automation to simplify and modernize your customer engagement operations, drive greater business value for your organization, engage and empower your staff, and deliver world-class customer experiences.

The present and future of sales with intelligent automation:

“Give them what they want” has always been the underlying theme of selling. Find the prospect. Discover their needs. Provide the solution. It’s a seemingly straightforward process that becomes increasingly complicated by rapidly changing customer demands and a noisier-than-ever marketplace.
Sales teams recognize that being first to the sale is often the difference between net new revenue and a missed opportunity. Yet many teams are sabotaging their own efforts by relying on outdated tools, technologies, and processes no longer suited to modern buyer demands that slow the sales process to a crawl.
Today’s customers–no matter the industry–want faster and more detailed proposals, simpler and smoother sales processes, and more consistent and personalized buying experiences. But many sales teams still employ too many tools, disparate data systems, and inconsistent processes that make it nearly impossible to address those demands.
In fact, the average sales rep can spend more than two-thirds of their day on remedial and repetitive tasks like updating information in the CRM, toggling among systems searching for information, and copying and pasting it into quotes or proposals–all of which is done manually.
Wasting time on lower value activities results in slower document creation, inaccurate information, and
longer sales cycles that put teams at a significant disadvantage. And as their competitors continue to undertake digital transformation programs in an effort to gain more efficiency and speed, sales organizations that rely on legacy systems and “dumb” technology will see that disadvantage only get worse.


There’s no shortage of sales enablement tools like predictive platforms and buyer journey orchestration solutions that make identifying and communicating with prospects faster and easier. But reaching a prospect first is only valuable if you’re able to maintain that velocity through to the sale.
Every stage in the sales process—from prospecting to renewals—needs to be faster, more accurate, and better coordinated across sales, legal, and customer success teams. Sales reps need transparency and visibility into their pipeline and see information at-a-glance to execute on an action plan. They need to make quick updates to all their account records to keep information current and
accurate, while also identifying quick-win opportunities or deals faster. They need to be able to quickly mobilize all that data into quotes, proposals, contracts, and then accelerate the negotiation process.
Intelligent automation (machine learning + automation) solutions are key to making the pipedream a reality. Intelligent automation tools eliminate many of a sales team’s most timeconsuming, repetitive tasks and enable them to focus more intently on revenuegenerating activities. In fact, organizations replacing outdated, manual processes with automated ones can help improve overall
efficiency by nearly 20 percent.
With intelligent automation tools, sales teams can create “smart” document templates to display relevant account and deal information and pull information from various databases or systems to create proposals and contracts with just a single
click. They can work with legal teams to develop pre-approved clauses for contracts that streamline the contract review and approval process, and then update their activities across records and accounts in Salesforce from a single interface.
Intelligent automation benefits everyone. Sales reps are freed from the burden of repetitive data entry to spend more time working on prospecting and securing new business. Procurement, legal, and other internal teams are looped into the process with complete transparency and visibility. And customers can enjoy clear, easy-to-understand documents, faster negotiations, and a quicker path to adopting the products and services they need.


High-performing sales organizations are twice as likely as underperforming organizations to automate as much of their sales process as possible. But even teams
employing automation technologies today to gain an edge need to think about how the technology can help them maintain it in the future.
By 2020 mobile workers will account for more than 70 percent of the U.S. workforce. Digitally-minded millennials will make up an increasingly greater portion of the workforce and other technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to evolve and find new uses in the sales function.
Intelligent automation solutions are purpose-built to be extensible and to adapt to evolving business demands. They already provide robust mobile capabilities,
delivering essential information sales reps need to do their best work right to their fingertips. And they integrate easily with existing systems or new ones coming down the pike.
As the old ways of selling are slowly replaced by newer ideas and the newer ideas eventually become the old ways, the need for transformative technologies will always remain. Intelligent automation solutions are the present and the future of sales and are key to remaining relevant and competitive in the years to come.

Disrupting Forecast Management and Pipeline Reviews

6 Data-Driven Best Practices:

Selling isn’t easy. According to the data, neither is hitting quota. In their “2017 World-Class Sales Practices Report,” CSO Insights revealed that the percentage of sales people making quota dropped from 63% to 53% from 2012-2016. Last year alone, quota attainment fell 4.2% from 57.2%, illustrating the relentless
pressure in the market.
What separates under performers from those who are able to make or exceed their number?
While sales has adopted a new tech stack for several key processes including prospecting, gathering intelligence and driving engagement, when it comes to forecasting and pipeline reviews, the majority are still using CRM reports and spreadsheets. These methods rely on the art of selling, or the intuition-based human predictions that have proven to be inaccurate.
Enterprise sales teams need to move beyond traditional, legacy tools and adopt a data-driven forecasting and pipeline review solution that leverages Artificial Intelligence to complement human judgment.
Here are 3 Forecasting and 3 Pipeline Review Best Practices that leverage AI and a data-driven approach to deliver better accuracy and outcomes.


1. Leverage AI for an Accurate Top-Down Forecast on Day One of The Quarter:

On the first day of the quarter, an advanced forecasting tool should be able to predict — within 7% accuracy — where the business will land. Despite the poor data hygiene common at most organizations, powerful machine learning algorithms see through dirty data to produce incredibly accurate results and provide early insight into how the quarter is set to unfold. Sales leaders use this critical window of time to take action early and proactively impact the quarter

2. Complement Human-Based Intuition In Bottom-Up Forecasts With AI:

The traditional bottom-up forecast relies upon complicated layers upon layers of human judgment. At the end of the process, all deal context is obscured, leaving only the last layer of judgment visible. With the help of unbiased machine learning forecasts, reps become more accurate at committing deals. As deal-level forecasts become more accurate, they roll up to create a more accurate organizational forecast.

3. Easily Determine What Changed In The Forecast And Why:

Current tools show where the forecast stands currently, but they do a poor job of revealing how the forecast changed over time. Data-driven forecasting systems enable sales teams to see what changed week-over-week, or during any two points in time. With advanced tools sales leaders can drill down and see which
deals impacted the forecast positively and negatively across every segment of the business.


1. Review Exactly What Changed Since Last Week:

Deals that have had no movement:

With advanced platforms, changes to the pipeline are viewable by changes made that day, over the last week, or the last month. Seeing these changes ensures the right deals rise to the surface for discussion. Deals should be grouped into three main buckets for discussion:
In a typical pipeline review deals are sorted by forecast category and sub-sorted by deal size. Sales managers and reps start at the top of the list and work their way to the bottom, reviewing each deal. Managers and reps waste time looking at the wrong deals, while overlooking deals that need immediate action.

  • Deals that have had no movement
  • Deals that have had positive movement
  • Deals that have had negative movement

2. Review New Deals:

The essence of building quality pipeline is making sure that you are constantly adding new deals to the pipeline, and yet most pipeline review processes hardly touch on this. With an optimized system, managers can view net new opportunities, and provide positive feedback to reps who are focusing on prospecting, adding new deals to the pipeline, and progressing early stage deals.

3. Plan for Next Quarter:

Whether sales teams forecast monthly or quarterly, the majority of pipeline reviews focus on deals that are in-forecast for the current period, with little to no attention being paid to the following period until the beginning of a new quarter. With the use of data and predictive technology, managers can see exactly how much additional pipeline is needed today to hit future targets and eliminate the “mythical 3x pipeline estimation.”
The success of salespeople impacts the success of the company. Fixing sales people’s ability to forecast accurately and move pipeline, increases the company’s ability to hit higher revenue targets. Ready to implement these best practices? Contact Aviso today to learn how.

4 CRM trends to accelerate transformation and foster innovation in 2018:


Digital transformation reaches critical mass in 2018, as every industry now realizes it’s no longer optional. Most companies have gone through an initial phase of digitalization, typically focusing on multi-channel customer communications. However, digital transformation is a journey, not a
destination; it is all about continuously evolving. In 2018, companies will shift to digitizing processes and operations in ways that support rapid change and innovation – focusing on ongoing adaptation. Connecting and orchestrating workflows and processes across the organization is
a major shift from the highly focused, disconnected “stacks” that companies have been creating in recent years.


CRM solutions have been primarily focused on digitalization of customerfacing processes and activities. These applications are often single function oriented, creating not only data silos but process and organizational silos as well. One of the biggest challenges facing companies in the midst of digital transformation is understanding how to truly become more customer centric. Customer centricity is not only a data problem, but requires aligning processes and data flows in ways that align with customer expectations. Despite all the technical advancements of the last decade, adopting dozens of different applications across the customer journey is
making the silo problem worse. Companies are figuring out to leverage Big Data and complex analytics to make cross-functional data more manageable, but these data lakes and centralized analytics teams are
not enabling the speed of information that digital organizations need to accelerate innovation. According to Forrester’s latest report, organizations that have already implemented complete CRM solutions
experience measurable improvements in customer-related metrics like Customer Retention Rate, Service Resolution Time and others by up to 60%. While data alignment makes organizations smarter, teams are still locked into functional silos by separate applications with no way to
break loose. Next year look for leading organizations to solve this problem by orchestrating processes and workflows across functional teams.


Traditional application development cycles won’t cut it anymore, and with growing backlogs creating custom applications needs to be more about designing than programming. Luckily application “platform as a service” products have been rapidly becoming “low-code” and in 2018 this becomes the standard. The cold reality is every organization has more tech needs than talented IT developers, and the speed of the business is only increasing. Low-code technology allows companies to improve speed, adoption, and reduce costs. According to 451 Research, low code “can potentially shave 50-90 percent off development time vs. a coding language”. By speeding the time to market for websites, mobile apps, internal operational apps, process automation, and more, low code enables teams to swiftly create required software using drag-anddrop interfaces without the need for coding skills or IT involvement. In 2018, lowcode will transform the way organizations look at application development with more businesses taking advantage of this technology to accelerate innovation and increase ROI.


Reality is quickly catching up to buzz, as companies realize how much they don’t understand AI. IDC predicts that AI in CRM will increase global revenues by $1.1 trillion between 2017 and 2021. However, organizations expecting AI to be a “set it and forget it” purchase are in for a reality check. Successful teams will find
and deploy AI capabilities that are usable out-of-the-box – but customizable to fit the business. While CRMs have historically been limited to simple legacy reporting, AI will unlock insights necessary to engage each customer with the right offer based on context, behavior, and historical success patterns. AI will also augment customer engagement, automating the front line with chatbots. Understanding customers better and ensuring they get the right engagement to i

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2018 CRM Prediction from Top Industry Experts


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