The global CRM software market is booming. New figures from Gartner reveal it to be worth £38 bn. Yet despite this, it is proven that SMEs are struggling to achieve return on investment from their CRM programmes. The study found that three-quarters of British firms find it impossible to quantify the value of their CRM spend. It is no wonder, therefore, that more than half of SMEs in the UK have changed CRM supplier in the past 12 months.
The research found that the main reason for changing supplier was a poor fit in terms of the business requirements, with 48 per cent of respondents citing this a problem.
Over a third of businesses (38 per cent) thought that their chosen CRM system was not able to scale according to their needs. However, the issue of cost was found to be a less significant factor with a quarter (28 per cent) having changed CRM software because the cost was too high. The same proportion also switched because their choice did not integrate with other business applications.
Measurement of effectiveness was also found to be a significant issue. Because the implementation of a new CRM system allows the majority of organisations to do new things there is no baseline from which to measure. Organisations know that the CRM programme has made a positive difference but can’t figure out a way to successfully quantify it.
Despite this the good news for the industry is among the 25 per cent of firms that have not yet implemented a CRM system, close to half said that they intended to in the near future. Reasons for not adopting CRM included the belief that it would not be an effective way to manage customers or provide value for money.
The study found that the primary motivation to implement a CRM platform is to improve the productivity of customer facing staff, followed by attracting and acquiring new customers, keeping and retaining existing ones and improving customer experience. Herein potentially lies the problem. CRM is not a piecemeal solution. It must be put at the heart of an organisation with the motivation to become truest customer centric. Then and only then will organisations be able to structure themselves around the CRM solution solving the issues of measurement, data migration and integration. CRM is not a sticking plaster it is a strategic decision and requires expertise to implement effectively which is why it is critical to understand the solutions that are available on the market.
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