Will 2018 be the year your business finally adopts a CRM? If you haven’t quite decided whether a CRM is right for you just yet, we want to share some important insider information that might help you make your decision.
The statistics below go beyond surface level information to identify how, when, and where CRMs take many sales-oriented businesses to the next level. They also reveal what may be holding you back from adopting software in the first place and why those concerns may not be as impactful as you think.
Most Businesses Use CRM Technology
In terms of customer relationship management as a concept, it’s fair to say that 100 percent of all American businesses do something to manage those relationships. Without some form of management, lead maintenance and cultivation just wouldn’t be possible. But not everyone approaches the issue with CRM software; some prefer a manual approach, including spreadsheeting or using email software. And some businesses (especially freelancers) just don’t have client lists long enough to justify investing in software.
For businesses who are large enough to need greater management strategies, especially in the face of long lead and client lists, CRM software is preferred. According to Destination CRM, a remarkable 91 percent of all businesses with over 10 employees are already using CRM. That’s a significant chunk of the American labor market encompassing most of the sales and marketing industry.
The Business Value of CRM Solutions
We know that most businesses now utilize CRM to help them manage customer relationships.; But how do those businesses feel about the software they use – do they find it useful, and are they satisfied with how their CRM works?
There’s no really clear answer to the issue of satisfaction; generally, the data reflects overall satisfaction when companies use the right CRM.
What we do know is that approximately 64.2 percent of all companies using CRM rate their CRM tools as “impactful” or “very impactful.” The LinkedIn study we pulled this statistic from defines impactful as “critical to making the sale.” We also know that millennials are much more likely to see CRM and other social selling tools as industry standard must-haves compared to older marketers and sellers.
Unfortunately, there are some rare cases where overzealous, lackluster companies convince businesses to adopt their CRM simply to make a sale. This is where much of the concern around poor adoption comes from. Do your research, demo software whenever you can, and work with companies who are happy to customize and you should effectively avoid this risk.
CRM Adoption Maximizes ROI
Some businesses shy away from CRM adoption because of fears that adoption might be too expensive or too much of an initial capital investment. Instead, they continue to struggle with old-school strategies. But is that really the best way to go about fixing traditional customer relationship management concerns?
Not according to statistics.
Nucleus Research did a study on the return on investment (ROI) of the average CRM platform in 2014. They found that it paid back approximately $8.71 USD for every dollar spent on adoption and implementation – including buying the software, having it installed and disseminated, and even training employees to work with it.
In terms of ROI, that’s an impressive statistic. Even if you find yourself spending, say, $10,000 on a fully-customized enterprise-wide CRM platform, that statistic would mean you see an approximate return of $87,000.
Of course, it is important to remember the law of “YMMV” (your mileage may vary). Some companies will see a better ROI than others, but all businesses who adopt the right CRM should benefit.
Sales CRM Software Optimizes Performance
Have concerns about whether adopting CRM will really return results? Here’s something that might make you feel a little bit less concerned. According to this article on Forbes.com, “CRM has been shown to increase sales by up to 29%, improve productivity by up to 34%, and boost forecast accuracy by 40%.” These numbers are the very definition of “better, faster, stronger.”
As we move into the future, developers are finding ways to resolve classic sales and marketing industry problems through software faster than ever before. Newer systems are more capable, better at automation, easily integratable (and thus, much more easy to adopt), and ultimately, just plain better at managing customer relationship management needs.
If you jump in now, it’s very likely that you’ll see those sales improvement statistics further improve in the coming five-year period.
If that’s not convincing enough, take a look at the CRM development arc over the last five to 10 years. Huge leaps in technology, massive shifts to social-driven sales, and a greater propensity to adopt software for business have resulted in more developers getting into the CRM game. And that means more available options, which should make it easier to find the system that really suits you.
CRM Improves Customer Data Access, Security
Closing a sale starts with really knowing your customers – and that requires giving the right people access to the right data (at the right time). If a sales rep can’t access the information they need, their pitches may come across as cold and impersonal. If a marketer can’t filter big data to find patterns, they’re going to structure campaigns on assumptions rather than fact. CRM resolves both of these issues by widening and improving access to critical customer data without jeopardizing security.
According to Software Advice, a whopping 74 percent of all CRM adopters found their CRM “ offered improved access to customer data.” In businesses with full-scale sales teams, data access is often the difference between success and failure. Traditional concerns about over-widening access and experiencing a breach or mishandled data have largely been eliminated by newer CRM platforms that let administrators specify level of access on an individual level.
CRM Streamlines, Shortens the Sales Cycles
Short sales cycles are almost always a good thing. The faster you close the deal, the quicker your reps can get back to closing the next deal. That said, it’s important to be productive, but you can’t rush people, either – and figuring out how to balance speed with quality isn’t always easy.
So, how does CRM impact sales cycles? According to Nucleus Research, using a sales CRM platform shortens the sales cycle by “8-14 percent,” mostly through improvements to data accessibility and analytics. The research company also indicated that CRMs with a few specific features (including visualization, customer profiles, mobility, and embedded information) are more likely to provide benefits to the sales cycle than others.
CRM Plays a Critical Role in Sales Success
The statistics above help us understand how much businesses benefit from adopting CRM, but what about front line workers? At the end of the day, sales reps play a critical role in closing the sale. It makes sense to give them the tools they need to succeed – but is CRM really one of those tools?
According to Aberdeen Group’s research study, the answer is yes. Sales reps were 26.4 percent more productive when they used a CRM system than when they relied on strictly manual methods. Moreover, they were 24 percent more likely to meet yearly sales quotas, too – and that number really counts.