A survey of customer relationship management (CRM) systems - organised by the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM), the UK's association for sales professionals – reveals that some 77 per cent of organisations in the UK now use a CRM system. Moreover, 60 per cent of organisations are satisfied or very satisfied with their CRM system.
Of those not currently using CRM, 45 per cent said that they plan to use a CRM system in the future; while 34 per cent were interested in CRM systems but said they needed more information about their value.
However, some 50 per cent of those polled by the ISMM along with information specialists Infogroup (which markets OneSource) said that it was difficult to implement their CRM system.
A ‘home-grown’ CRM system (used by 30 per cent of respondents) proved more popular than any of the commercially available CRM systems. Of these, however, the most popular were:
· Microsoft Dynamics
While 94 per cent of respondents said that they use CRM for contact management, the other key applications for CRM are:
· Contact management
· Opportunity management
· Sales analytics/ forecasting
· Telesales/ inside sales
· Customers service
· Lead generation
· Mobile working
· Territory management
Although many users said that they use CRM for such activities as organising webinars and email campaigns, very few are using ‘social CRM’ – for example, in terms of integration with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Writing in the ISMM’s magazine, Winning Edge, Marc Beishon – a specialist writer on sales and marketing issues - commented: ‘Since CRM burst onto the software scene in the 1990s, there has been a good deal of fallout and consolidation in the market, and some user organisations are now on their third or fourth implementation, having switched suppliers and abandoned projects.
‘But the market is now seen as a mature sector where the vast majority of larger companies are using a CRM system for at least some aspect of their operations in the spectrum of functions from frontline sales to marketing to customer service.’
In Beishon’s view, the advent of cloud computing enables processes that were, previously, not feasible but, instead of consolidation leading to a few strong CRM vendors, there is now a greater choice of CRM offerings than ever.