The Changing Role of CRM

The Changing Role of CRM

It’s no secret that businesses are facing a challenging road ahead. Widespread economic uncertainty and rising costs mean any opportunities to streamline operations and increase efficiency are now top of the agenda. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are designed to do just that, but with many solutions on the market, maximising ROI from CRM can be a challenge.  

Our client Workbooks delivers cloud-based CRM and marketing automation applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price. The company recently conducted its third annual survey of SMEs on the state of the CRM software market, with 200 respondents from the UK and the US sharing their business challenges and experiences. Here is what they found:

Accelerating digital transformation

The pandemic fundamentally changed how and where we all work and the results reflect the knock-on effect this has had on businesses, from engaging prospects to collaborating with colleagues. In a new commercial landscape, the B2B buying journey is more complex than ever, making it vital that businesses have the right solutions in place to work as effectively as possible. 

One of the few positive side-effects of the pandemic has been the increase in remote working opportunities. Workbooks’ survey found that hybrid working is set to continue for over three quarters of firms (77%), with 30% of respondents agreeing they enjoy working from home and do not want working life to return to how it was in 2019. However, hybrid working is not in fact working for everyone, with 31% of respondents struggling to balance family life while working from home and others highlighting issues around communicating with colleagues.

Choosing the right solution 

The survey also looked at barriers to a successful CRM implementation.  User adoption remains one of the biggest obstacles, with 75% claiming that their CRM being easy to use is either essential or very important. While three quarters of businesses reported being clear on what ROI for their business would look like at the point of purchase, only 68% can now calculate ROI. 

More SMEs are prepared to change their CRM provider than two years ago, according to the survey. The acceleration of digital transformation is likely to play a role in this, prompting many to evaluate their processes and these examinations highlighting issues with current platforms. The most cited reason for considering a change is a ‘poor fit to our needs’ (37%), followed by ‘complexity of integration’ (35%). 

Adapting to change

Combining hybrid working and heightened B2B buyer expectations are transforming business operations. In response, businesses need to develop new ways to work more effectively together, enabling colleagues to collaborate across multiple locations and providing digital tools to ensure effective communication with prospects. 

The role of a CRM is also changing: solutions go much further than measuring sales performance and now play a vital role in aligning teams, enabling knowledge sharing and enabling businesses to adapt. 

At Neo PR, we often work alongside our clients to utilise surveys like this as part of PR campaigns and have recently developed news and thought leadership content with Workbooks to promote its report. If your business is undergoing digital transformation and you’d like more information on the 2021 State of the CRM Market Survey, visit the website.

Ashley Carr

Managing Director.