New Zoho Survey Reveals Small Businesses Are Eager to Adopt CRM

A recent survey conducted by SMB Group for Zoho's Bigin CRM reveals that small businesses are ready to embrace customer relationship management (CRM) systems, despite some hesitancy.

A recent survey conducted by SMB Group for Zoho’s Bigin CRM reveals that small businesses are ready to embrace customer relationship management (CRM) systems, despite some hesitancy.

The 2023 State of Customer Operations for U.S. Small Businesses report surveyed over 1,500 small companies and found using a CRM significantly boosts satisfaction with business operations.

Survey Shows What Small Businesses Want from CRM

The study showed that 58% of small businesses using a CRM were “very satisfied” with how they conduct business, compared to only 30% of non-CRM users. Nearly two-thirds of non-CRM users saw the benefits of a unified CRM system to improve customer operations. This indicates many small businesses recognize the value of CRMs but have yet to adopt one.

When evaluating CRMs, small businesses prioritize ease of use, time-savings, quick deployment, and overall value. Over half spend more than $100 monthly on their system, with 42% saving 5-10 hours per week thanks to their CRM. Non-users (39%) rely on makeshift solutions like spreadsheets, emails, and manual methods.

Nearly half (48%) of non-users felt their business was too small for a CRM, despite agreeing it would be beneficial. But CRM users reported (47%) much higher levels of efficient operations and excellent customer experiences compared to non-users (30%). Overall, CRM systems positively impact small business growth and success.

The top challenges small businesses experience are personalizing interactions, getting repeat business, and converting prospects. Growing revenue, attracting new customers, improving employee productivity, and improving customer experience are the top four overall challenges that small businesses face today. However, 64% foresee major growth in 2024 despite struggles to lift revenue, productivity, and customer experience.

“A comprehensive CRM puts all of the necessary sales, marketing and service tools and information in one place, helping them improve operations and cater to customer requirements. Our study shows that CRM is a game-changer for small businesses striving to attract new customers, boost revenues, and enhance customer experiences,” said Laurie McCabe, Co-founder & Partner, of SMB Group.

More Findings

The survey indicates small businesses recognize the need for CRM, although they are hesitant to implement it. Small companies can unify data and improve customer satisfaction with the ideal solution focused on ease of use and value. CRM systems not only enhance operations but equip small businesses for scalable growth.

CRM systems have an overwhelmingly favorable impact, as 95% of CRM users ranked their customer experience as excellent (55%) or good (40%), compared to lower satisfaction among non-users. CRM users were also much more likely to believe their operations were efficient.

“Small businesses are seeking a CRM system that is cost-effective, efficient, and simple to implement, as indicated by the survey findings,” says Mani Vembu, Chief Operating Officer at Zoho.

The study provides compelling evidence that small businesses are poised to accept CRM systems regardless of lingering doubts. Affordable and user-friendly solutions can assist them in centralizing customer data, increasing productivity, and setting the stage for taking interactions to the next level.


How CRMs Can Transform Small Businesses

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems offer immense benefits for small businesses. CRMs centralize customer data and interactions in one platform, providing sales, marketing, and support teams complete visibility. This unified view improves communication, collaboration, and overall efficiency. CRMs also track every customer touchpoint and interaction, enabling small businesses to derive insights and personalize experiences.

In addition to managing contacts and interactions, CRMs provide tools for automating workflows and business processes. Features like email marketing, lead scoring, customer segmentation, and sales pipelines eliminate manual tasks and scale operations. CRMs can also integrate with other apps and systems, becoming a hub for business activities.


For resource-strapped small businesses, an intuitive and affordable CRM solution delivers outsized impact. CRMs boost productivity, organization, and growth capabilities. Rather than siloed datasets, teams have shared access to complete customer profiles. This drives informed decision-making, coordinated efforts, and, ultimately, better customer experiences.

The survey makes clear small businesses want CRM systems that are affordable, quick to implement, easy to use, and deliver significant time-savings. Adoption of the right CRM technology can help small businesses boost growth and maximize satisfaction.

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.