A survey amongst 300 UK businesses examining attitudes to CRM systems reveals that a high proportion (46%) of SMEs are not using CRM systems today. The survey, conducted on behalf of Star, a provider of on-demand computing and communication services to UK businesses, found that the most common barrier to CRM adoption is user resistance and the failure of management to enlist user support, followed by the difficulty of integrating legacy IT systems. Past difficulties may also have played a role in colouring negative perceptions of the ease of deployment, as 20% of respondents admitted to having worked for companies that had previously tried, but failed, to deploy CRM successfully.
On a more positive note, respondents from all job functions, including sales, marketing, business management and IT management acknowledged the main attraction of using a cloud computing model for CRM as the speed of deployment, ahead of other benefits such as savings on capital expenditure, lower risk and scalability of the solution.
In contrast, the main concerns voiced around the use of an on-demand business model for CRM was the perceived loss of control over data which was cited by 33% of respondents. Other findings about the use of CRM systems within SMEs today is that they are being used across a number of departments including sales, marketing and customer services, with the tracking and management of sales leads being the main driver for the use of the application.
With Gartner reporting earlier this year that 40% of companies are focussed on generating effective CRM strategies to increase their competitiveness when the economy recovers, the findings point to the need for solutions that overcome the integration difficulties encountered in the past, as well as techniques to actively involve users in the process of selecting and deploying CRM solutions.
Commenting on the findings, Martino Corbelli, Marketing Director of Star said: “The good news here is that most SME businesses are clearly familiar with the speed of deployment benefits of on-demand business services. However, on-demand CRM solutions like our own, optimising Microsoft Dynamics technology, allow employees to leverage the use of standard Microsoft Windows applications that they already know and use today, like Outlook, Excel and Word. This is the holy grail in unlocking the full potential of CRM and overcoming user’s resistance, as they’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits of CRM without needing to change the way they operate.”