Trends in CRM Software – What They Mean for Your Business

Global Trends in CRM

CRM software comes in all shapes and sizes, so knowing whether or not it’s right for you can be a daunting task.

Thankfully our friends over at, Software Advice surveys thousands of organizations about their customer relationship management (CRM) software needs every year. In 2013 they spoke with U.S. buyers only but their most recent research evaluated interactions with small-business buyers from the U.S. the U.K. and…wait for it…AUSTRALIA:)

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!

Some of the most significant findings include:

  • Pretty much every industry is interested in moving on to CRM Software, with the major ones being; consulting or professional services, real estate, manufacturing, software and IT, and even retailHorizon HQ - Prospective CRM Buyers by Industry
    • Over half of those CRM buyers surveyed (53%) are using manual methods, such as paper and spreadsheets

    Reasons to buy CRM Software - Horizon HQ

    • Many small-business buyers (37%) are looking for systems that integrate well with other applications they already use such as email marketing or accounting software
    • Automation is the key – Almost 9 out of 10 CRM buyers (88%) are looking for some sort of sales force automation and just over a third of them want marketing automation (36%); only 10% want a customer service application (This suggests business are focusing more on getting new sales than getting more sales from existing customers)

    Top Reasons for Buying CRM Software - Horizon HQ

    • The great majority of small-business buyers (71%) have a preference for a cloud-based over on-premise CRM system
    • The top requested CRM features were the ability to email and tracking interactions with customers, as well as calendar integration
    • CRM buyers in the U.S. are over three times more likely than U.K. or AU buyers to request social media functionality or integrations from their CRM software systems. This suggests Australia is still slow to pick up on using Social Media to their advantage in businessTop Requested CRM Integrations by Function - Horizon HQ

     

    What About Here in Australia?

    • The top requested CRM features were emailing (100%) and interaction tracking (78%)
    • Australia shows the largest desire for the combination of Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Marketing automation features together
    • Nearly two thirds are confident they want a cloud-based system
    • Twice as many buyers requested an email integration feature such as Outlook or Gmail (65%) when compared to the U.S.
    • The majority of buyers (56%) are currently using manual methods (9% higher than the US).

     

    Automation, Integration and Cloud-based Systems

    Wherever we are, when we look ahead to the future of CRM – Automation, Integration, and Cloud-based Systems are the key trends to watch.

    Most of us can appreciate the day-to-day value of improved automation of either our sales and marketing activities or both! Some of us can understand the potential of a truly integrated suite of services creating a holistic solution. But, how many of us really appreciate the benefits of cloud based rather than on- premise CRM softwaresolutions? What’s the difference?

     

    Why Choose a Cloud-based CRM Software Solution?

    They offer business value created through the desirable combinations of low upfront investment and quick results. They can be incrementally implemented offering businesses scalable solutions that can be speedily deployed.

    Another benefit of cloud CRM solutions is that they offer quick ROI. Especially for those organisations keen to adapt and respond to their customers’ changing needs.

    And finally, cloud- based CRM software solutions offer flexibility and scale.
    With on demand freedom to start small and expand, organisations can get started, use the functionality, better understand and assess their needs. Then they can expand the system’s functionality and continually refine it based on user feedback and changing requirements over time.

     

    CRM Software – Best Practices in the Cloud

    Here are our top five features that we think make for a best practice CRM softwaresolution:

    1. An Intuitive Dashboard – it’s built with the user experience in mind. While driven by a powerful engine, best practice solutions are also inviting, they are both simple and easy to use.
    2. You can bring your data with you – You’ve got data, perhaps in varying formats, and possibly more of it than you realise. A best practice CRM allows you to import what data you’ve collected in varying formats to leverage the legacy you’ve built to date.
    3. Social Media Integration – a best practice CRM solution integrates, email marketing applications, but goes a step further and includes social media integration as well.
    4. Offers you improved mobility – A best practice cloud based CRM solution keeps your business on the go. Mobile access, uploads, downloads and updating are all built in and supported by an easy to use app experience.
    5. It’s a Saas solution – in other words, it is hosted and managed in the cloud, offsite by a provider, giving you the peace of mind of added security, regular and on time back-up and updates.

    CRM Software – Why you need to try it even if you’re not ready to buy it!

    Are you one of those who people currently using paper or spreadsheets as your chosen CRM method of choice? Are you’re looking for a way to integrate your sales, marketing, communications and customer management initiatives? Could you benefit from some time freed up by process automation? Do you want to increase your ability to respond to your customer’s changing needs? Are you looking to increase sales, efficiency or the ROI of your business?

    These are all possible with the right CRM system used well.

    You may not have known the full scope of benefits associated with a cloud-based CRM solution, but now that you do, isn’t it worth a look?

    If you’re not sure, take a look at our previous article that gets to the core of CRM Software: Will CRM Software Benefit My Business?

About the Author

Simon Ogilvie-Lee, Founder & CEO of Ninjodo.