Software Advice conducted an online survey of 304 customer relationship management (CRM) software users representing businesses across a range of industries and sizes in order to determine how satisfied they are with their current CRM solution, what areas of CRM technology they plan to invest in and what they feel are the greatest benefits and difficulties of implementing their system.

In this online survey of CRM software users, Software Advice found that small businesses were the most likely to be satisfied with their current CRM system.

According to CRM thought leader, Brent Leary, “Small businesses feel they’re getting more bang for their buck. There are a lot more CRM choices for them today than there were a few years ago. [These products] are more affordable, easier to use and the subscription pricing terms are in line with what small businesses are looking for.”

The key benefits of a CRM system are the factors that help accelerate the growth of a small business, setting them apart from their competitors as early adopters. With more options, small businesses are given the key to the data not available previously.

How Well CRM System Delivers on Key Benefits

Software Advice - Key Benefits Graph

“This data reflects a shift towards CRM technologies dedicated to improving and extending relationships with current customers,“ as stated by Leary. Small businesses can improve current relationship with customers by providing better customer service. Better customer service leads to scalability. CRM software allows small businesses to increase transparency between internal teams; sales, marketing and operations no longer have to chase after each other to answer customer questions.

What’s Next for CRM? Marketing Automation.

Marketing automation is the shiny, new toy for sales and marketing teams. A key finding from the survey concluded that marketing automation is one of the top reasons cited for future CRM technology investment. As Leary puts it, “one-to-one lead nurturing involves so many stages and requires so much visibility into prospective customer behavior, it becomes impossible to scale the process without an adequate software solution.”

Sending the right message to the right audience at the right time is easier using online behavior data. Using marketing automation, marketing nurtures leads further down the sales funnels until they are ready to speak to sales, improving the relationship between marketing and sales as well as prospect relationships with the company.

System customization and integration are the most significant challenges, with over 26 percent of CRM users describing each as a “major challenge.”