Sales force automation is the primary reason for small businesses buying CRM tools, according to new research.
Software Advice, which specialises in finding appropriate CRM tools for businesses of all sizes, has delivered its second CRM BuyerView Report, focusing solely on the CRM requirements of small businesses (annual revenues of $100 million or less).
Its analysis found that the chief requirement of 88% of buyers was to obtain a sales force automation tool. Marketing automation tools are the second-most requested CRM application among buyers (36%), however customer support tools are requested by just 10% of small business buyers.
Software Advice - top requested CRM applications 2014
Brent Leary, co-founder of consultancy, CRM Essentials, says the low uptake of customer support tools is a worry given the current trends towards more customer-centricity in both sales and marketing:
“These numbers are alarming to a certain extent, because the focus is on selling and marketing, which of course is important—but the service aspect is just as critical,” Leary says.
“If you provide great service, you turn one-time customers into multiple-time customers, and the most effective way to grow and scale your organization is to create brand advocates.”
Other key findings in the report include:
· Over half of CRM buyers (53%) currently use manual methods, such as paper and spreadsheets—up from 44% in 2013.
· Many small-business buyers (37%) seek an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, up from just 7% in 2013
· Most small-business buyers (71%) prefer a cloud-based over on-premise CRM system—up from just 48% in 2013.
· CRM buyers in the US are over three times more likely than UK buyers to request social media functionality or integrations.
Of the half of those analysed that still report using manual methods for CRM, A smaller percentage reported using email clients (such as Microsoft Outlook), stand-alone email marketing software, industry-specific software, such as a multiple listing service (MLS), or point-of-sale (POS) system.
However, a 47% of those stated they planned to upgrade to CRM software systems in 2015, with just 25% of buyers stating to currently use CRM software in 2014.
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.