Woburn, Massachusetts (PRESS RELEASE – June 23, 2011) – Small to mid-sized businesses are embracing CRM solutions and the percentage of CRM functionality they use is higher than one might have anticipated, according to the results of a May survey conducted by research firm ITIC who polled over 200 SMBs. A full 74% of survey respondents indicated they have a CRM platform, and 52% of participants said their companies use at least 50% of the CRM’s functionality.
Meanwhile half of the survey respondents said they are analyzing requirements or evaluating (new or upgraded) CRM solutions with an eye towards adoption; another 20% plan to install a CRM solution within the next six to 12 months. Ironically, 26% of the survey participants said they’ve used a CRM solution for over 10 years while an equal 26% of respondents revealed they do not currently use CRM.
The survey commissioned by OSF Global Services addressed broad ranging issues, including:
- CRM deployment trends, timetables and specific vendor products
- Issues that propel and/or impede CRM deployment and usage
- The types of CRM deployed: on-premise, SaaS, cloud or a combination
- The benefits derived from a CRM solution by the company as well as the company’s customers
CRM adoption rates are indicative of the fact that few companies today can differentiate themselves based solely on product features or a services portfolio, according to Gerry Szatvanyi, President and CEO of OSF Global Services. “Instead companies are looking to offer customers and prospects an exceptional experience with every interaction,” said Gerry. “Data extracted from their CRM is used to improve customer service, strengthen the relationship and proactively pursue upsell opportunities.”
An 86% majority of respondents cited features and performance as the factors that most influenced their CRM purchasing decision. Among the larger CRM vendors, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage and Sugar CRM are the most popular with survey participants. However the combination of lesser known CRM brands plus homegrown CRMs outscored the larger CRM firms.
For instance a manufacturing firm has a 10-year old Act platform. A finance company developed its own custom CRM solution after determining that the current cadre of offerings would take extensive post-programming to make the system useful. And many respondents revealed that they were using the “CRM-like” capabilities within Microsoft Office to achieve baseline CRM functions.
As with any technology, CRM does present some challenges. Foremost among these are cost, complexity, ease of use, and ease of manageability. An executive at a mid-sized financial services firm deemed their foray into CRM “one of the biggest boondoggles ever experienced,” stating that their CRM takes a tremendous amount of input from internal IT and customization is a problem. A CTO at a university expressed frustration at the lack of en-masse export or backup options built natively into their CRM. And the CEO at a consulting firm learned firsthand that “user interface and ease of use beats features,” if you expect users to adopt the CRM.
The web-based survey recorded 200 responses to multiple choice and essay questions. Over 95% of respondents were from North America and represented more than 30 different vertical markets. ITIC supplemented the survey by conducting nearly two dozen first person interviews with C-level executives, systems administrators, third party consultants and service providers.
This survey was notable for the in-depth and extensive user comments, according to ITIC Principal Laura DiDio. “Statistics can be made to say anything when viewed in isolation,” she said. “These C-level executives and IT managers were extremely forthcoming about what they liked and disliked regarding their CRM experiences. Their anecdotal responses were among the most thoughtful and detailed of any ITIC survey within the past three years. Participants clearly recognize and embrace both the potential and actual benefits a CRM solution delivers to them and their customers. At the same time they are anxious for CRM solution providers to appreciate and respond to the unique needs of SMBs.”
About OSF Global Services
OSF has established itself as a trusted advisor and technology integrator to SMBs in 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia. Its online library, www.crm-integrator.com, has become a hub for those seeking guidance on CRM implementation and integration best practices. OSF Global Services is ISO 9001:2008 certified, Microsoft Gold Certified, a Salesforce.com Consulting Partner and a Rackspace Hosting Member Partner.