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CRM value hinges on unearthing customer insights

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21st Jul 2015
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Businesses can get more success from CRM systems by helping sales teams switch their focus from tracking and reporting to proactively acting on customer insights, new research from sales and marketing consultancy, ZS states.

The study, Where CRM Falls Short—and What to Do About It, surveyed 115 members of the Sales Management Association to assess their current approach to CRM and how they rate the value they derive from their CRM initiatives.

It found a large proportion of respondents stating they were predominantly using CRM for tracking and reporting, and that there was an inherent need to improve the quality of their data (identified as a priority by 74% of respondents), and do more to tie the CRM function to support of sales and marketing processes (74%) in order to identify new customer insights and act on them.

“CEOs write big checks for CRM technologies, but sales leaders cannot demonstrate return on the investment,” says ZS Principal and report author, Ron Siahpoosh.

“The impact of great CRM is the ability to understand current and prospective customers and address needs and preferences better than competitors. But most companies use CRM only for tracking purposes and it becomes just another tool for reporting to management. Sales teams aren’t leveraging valuable data to gain customer insights.”

Latest statistics regarding CRM ‘success’ rates hover around 50-60%, and are steadily improving, however ZS’s study shows that user adoption rates still remain an issue among sales leaders.       

Indeed, information that could lead to future sales – i.e. data on prospective customers and activities and opportunities – was hampered for one in four respondents by inaccurate data. As a result, most respondents (72%) reported that their salespeople were not spending enough time on the company’s CRM platform.

54% of respondents cited increasing user adoption as a priority, however, and Siahpoosh suggests companies should look to improve the functionality and reliability (i.e. data) of the CRM platform, before attempting to convince employees of its increased value.    

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