CRM's value for SMEs: what Maximizer's Benchmark study shows

More and more organizations worldwide are investing in CRM solutions in order to help provide seamless customer service. Understanding the results and benefits which small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are gaining from this investment is valuable information for other organizations to replicate their success and extract even more return from their investment in CRM. Seeing how peers are benefiting from CRM can also help guide SMEs towards the informed purchase of a suitable CRM solution and clearly lays out the full range of functions and uses that an existing solution can provide if employed to its full potential.

The latest Benchmark Study from Maximizer sets out to do just that and provides hard evidence on the value and success that SMEs are generating from their CRM solutions; filling the gap in available information on the ROI of CRM.

The value of CRM in a changing market

Today’s customers are changing and are increasingly becoming more empowered and self-educating. Customers are no longer seeking out a salesperson to provide information; instead they are relying on their own research methods to lead them to a purchase. Therefore businesses that position themselves clearly as expert and provide helpful interaction as the buyer progresses through their customer journey are placing themselves in position to be a favoured supplier.

The Benchmark Study shows that there is a range of maturity in the use of CRM by SMEs; some are getting optimum usage out of their solutions and are subsequently driving business growth and strategy, while others are focused on basic deployment. However, just under a third of companies are actually putting their CRM solutions at the heart of their business. This means that they are using CRM to feed different areas of the business with up-to- the-minute information on customer trends, resulting in better decisions for future growth strategies.

The value SMEs currently get out of their CRM 

A significant proportion of SMEs are getting caught up in the process and productivity objectives, so even though they are extracting a return on investment from their solutions they are yet to reach a high level of value and CRM maturity.

Find CRM that suits your small business with our free online CRM comparison tool

In order to provide a snapshot of exactly which benefits SMEs are currently drawing from their CRM, Maximizer asked respondents which operating benefits were being measurably gained from their CRM - 87% of respondents identified centralisation of customer data as the primary operating benefit. This improves the collaboration and sharing of information between departments and ensures that data is not siloed by varying business functions.

60% of the Benchmark Study respondents rated improved visibility of communications and activities as the third top benefit, however only 25% of respondents are actually using BI dashboards to monitor and investigate key performance indicators. This leaves the business open to potential missed opportunities. Improved transparency reveals success and areas of weakness in all parts of the business.

Conclusions

It is all fine and well positioning CRM at the heart of the business, but it is enormously profitable if a business is in a position to segment and analyze customer data – this is confirmed as 52% of respondents report this as a key benefit of CRM.

The Maximizer Benchmark Study provides a clear look at how SMEs are using CRM and particularly what aspects are the most valuable to them. What is clear is that strategic objectives and deeper investment in CRM brings more value to the business, contributing to business success and growth.

author image
Mike Richardson

About the author…

Mike Richardson is Managing Director EMEA of Maximizer Software.

author image
Mike Richardson