There has always been a certain amount of cynicism around CRM, some argue that – just like big data – it is simply a made up term designed to boost the coffers of the huge software giants and, it seems, they may have a point after a survey of leading CRM chiefs in the UK revealed the vast majority are struggling to make it work.
According the study of 500 professionals by marketing technology company Wiraya, only one in five of those at the coalface reckon their programmes are clearly contributing to their company’s revenue.
They cite a lack of clear direction and customer insight to support their goals and create direct profitability for their company, despite CRM being seen as a key business driver for over 30% of businesses.
Almost half (47%) of respondents cited the improvement of customer satisfaction as top of their business agenda. Supporting business growth also appears to be a key consideration for employees, with 31% revealing that average profit per customer (ARPU) is their most important KPI, closely followed by return on investment (27%).
This may explain why 86% of CRM users say that it is important to measure the profitability of their CRM work, particularly as the value of CRM continues to intersect across an increasing number of business functions. However, in practice, although 91% are measuring aspects of their CRM work, more than half (56%) do not have firm objectives in place.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Automobile Association recently cited its CRM strategy for reversing a decline in breakdown membership, saying it had contributed to thousands of new members joining the organisation.
Wiraya UK director Sam Madden said: “Many businesses are still finding their feet when it comes to fully taking advantage of the benefits of a CRM system. The increasing prominence of technologies such as IoT and AI will go that extra mile to help companies dynamically fine-tune their interaction with the customer, but in the meantime, basic factors such as having a clear CRM strategy in place are essential.
“This research demonstrates that having a more service oriented approach that focuses on increasing customer satisfaction and retention not only reduces churn, but also cements reputation and makes for a more cost effective business.”
Existing customer retention has proven to be key, with 42% of respondents stating that developing existing customers was a top priority for them. Furthermore, 46% of UK businesses strategically focused on CRM activities for their existing customers, rising to 90% when those who have these partially in place are included.
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