We are at a turning point in time, where the need to establish a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) value and success benchmark for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), has become critical. The fact of the matter is that there is little available – plenty of opinion pieces on the internet, but hardly any hard facts about how SMEs are using their CRM solutions, and the value they are getting from them.
It’s important that small and medium-sized companies have a benchmark to work to, at a time when CRM is experiencing an evolution and becoming the key tool for managing ‘the new customer journey’.
Let me explain.
We are no longer open to being ‘sold to’. We no longer interact with salespeople as an expert source of information. Nowadays (and the transition has been very rapid over the last five or so years), we tend to embark on a new kind of “journey” – starting with a stage where we can do a lot of our own research before we even think of inviting supplier propositions. While we’re doing our research, we tend to be most impressed by suppliers who provide us with informative, expert and helpful material, as we pursue that ‘journey’ towards purchase. We’ll remember those helpful, authoritative voices, and naturally be more likely to put them on our evaluation list.
This means suppliers can no longer implement their customer relationship strategy in a siloed, stand-alone fashion with focus predominantly on the customer services function of the business. Now all areas of the business and their interactions with customers contribute towards the customer’s experience. And CRM technology has become THE critical tool for implementing business growth strategies around the new customer sales journey.
If the CRM solution is made to sit as a ‘central hub’ over all other company systems and databases, it can be used to track, inform, guide, manage and measure the customer experience, allowing a business to spot when a prospect or customer might be in ‘buying mode’. It also makes it possible for every department of a company’s operations – sales, marketing, operations, customer service, product development, finance, etc. – to be held responsible for creating a positive customer experience and to help generate enhanced revenue and profitable growth.
By providing access to customer intelligence for all departments, CRM ensures value from customer intelligence is multiplied several times over, without disrupting existing operating systems and technology. More and more, CRM is becoming the central hub to which all decision-driving company information is relayed.
So for the first time, we have researched 300 businesses, independently analysed to establish the value and success achieved from CRM. The Maximizer Annual SME Benchmark Study: Measuring Value & Success from CRM provides the hard facts behind CRM practices and the contribution made to both the new customer journey and business success and growth plans.
Over the coming weeks, we will be examining in detail some of the results from the Annual Benchmark Study, in context of the CRM evolution in becoming the ‘central hub’ for managing customer experience.
Part I of the Report, which examines key business objectives and operating benefits, is now available as a FREE download. Anyone wanting a copy should click here.
Click here for a free Infographic of the Benchmark Report Summary Results.