The 10th annual Gartner Customer Relationship Management Summit kicks off in London next week, with a programme designed to look back over the past 10 years in the industry, and predict what the next decade might have in store for CRM professionals.
Despite over 300 CRM vendors currently selling their wares, the industry still has some way to go before it reaches maturity, although it has moved from selling primarily customised solutions to pre-packaged software, according to Gartner vice president Ed Thompson.
Various sessions at the Summit will explore future trends affecting the industry, such as the growth of open source, mobile CRM and software-as-a-service. Another session will outline how changing social trends may affect the way people buy products, and how marketing must be tailored to reflect this change.
"We will be looking at the lessons learnt and best practices, and looking 10 years into the future," said Thompson. "However, more than half of the event will be focused on the here and now: what sales and marketing people do when their budgets are being cut."
Thompson argued that the current recession will affect CRM professionals in a different way to previous downturns because "customers are a hell of a lot more powerful today", and companies will need to focus more on the customer experience.
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