Customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service software solutions have become extremely important for many businesses that can no longer keep up with the depth of their customer bases through manual methods alone. One recent report identifies a few market trends that revolve around the purchase of CRM software and what those purchases means for the businesses in question and for any businesses that have yet to commit to their own choice in a product.
The analysis of CRM purchases comes from a blog post at SmartCompany. It its post, it references a Software Advice BuyerView report that examines businesses with $100 million a year in revenue or less that operate out of Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. In its survey of those businesses, it found that many would upgrade their customer tracking systems from manual methods -- such as with a computer spreadsheet -- to automated methods through a CRM product often retrieved from market leaders such as Salesforce, SAP (News - Alert), Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM.
“Over half of the buyers in our sample (53 percent) currently use manual methods, such as spreadsheets or paper, to manage customer relationships. Less than one-quarter currently use an off-the-shelf, commercial CRM product,” the Software Advice research states. “A smaller percentage of buyers report using email clients (such as Microsoft (News - Alert) Outlook), stand-alone email marketing software, industry-specific software, such as a multiple listing service (MLS), or point-of-sale (POS) system.”
SmartCompany clarifies that only 22 percent of those businesses surveyed had upgraded their CRM systems from another similar product – not from manual methods to CRM.
The significant number of businesses that were switching from manual methods suggests that there is a certain tipping point when the number of customers becomes too large to handle. Either manual methods of tracking become too slow or cumbersome because companies wish to gather more information about each customer or those same companies have grown large enough that they are taking on additional clientele. In either case, software that automates the task of tracking customers can go a long way toward improving businesses' relationships with their customers and toward saving time and money in the long run. The SmartCompany blog post even suggests that a CRM system could handle a turnover of employees by saving customer information in a format everyone can understand and not just a format that one sales associate, for example, used to track his or her own clients.
The up-front investment in software will require enterprises' time and money to get them started, but the benefits of an automated product could be extremely beneficial to the long-term goals of those organizations. Everything from universal data types, cloud backups, file permissions and data access controls, and ease of use can all come with the right product. For many, their continued growth will depend on a reliable system, so sooner may be better than later to begin looking for the one that fits them best.
Edited by Alisen Downey