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Top trends in CRM software purchases

96% customers wanted a cloud-based CRM software

Ranjit George 

In today's competitive environment nearly all small and large organisations have considered deploying a cloud CRM software as a serious business investment. According to a survey conducted by Software Advice's interactions with 5,279 CRM software buyers, 68 per cent of the buyers were either using non-industry-specific software (example, Microsoft Office) or manual methods, such as spreadsheets and paper notes, to manage their customer relationships. Of those who were using an existing CRM system, a vast majority (26 per cent) were using a commercial CRM solution as opposed to a proprietary solution.

The survey also helped discover the following trends:

* 96 per cent customers wanted a cloud-based CRM software.

* A vast majority of prospective buyers wanted to evaluate best-of-breed solutions (for example, automation, sales force automation) over an integrated suite.

* Sales force automation was the top-requested CRM application among both best-of-breed buyers and those wanting an integrated suite.

* Only 9 per cent of organisations said they wanted an integrated suite, or even multiple applications.

Based on the survey, let us now prioritise and understand the top features that a customer would look for before investing in a CRM software.

Contact tops the list, because it would be difficult for an organisation to sustain in the long run, if their contacts are managed inefficiently. Keeping a record of all the customers and having a 360 degree view help increase cross sell and upsell opportunities.

Note-taking capabilities were also marked as important because keeping a track of all customer information and referring it during configuration is important. Integrating with third party systems was also on the list.

The reporting and analytics feature, keeps managers well informed about all the activities performed by his team members, it also has many other added advantages to the customers as well as the organisation. Whereas, dashboards help get a single view of all the activities conducted.

Among both integrated suite and best-of-breed buyers, sales force automation was the No. 1 most-requested CRM application. This application category represented 76 per cent of all companies evaluating best-of-breed solutions and nearly 75 per cent of those looking into integrated suites.

The author is Ranjit George, communications writer, CRMnext. Reprinted with permission.

First Published: Mon, August 04 2014. 00:11 IST