CRM Investment Heats Up as Buyers Seek Next-Gen Systems

November, 2018

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have matured and are used by most large organizations and a growing number of small ones. Despite this maturity, more than half of our respondents indicate that they are investing in new CRM capabilities. Our research shows that the cloud, AI, machine learning, and automation are driving this new investment.

Figure 3 from our full report, CRM Adoption Trends and Customer Experience, shows that over a third (35%) of companies in our survey have CRM in place but plan on investing in new CRM capabilities in the next 18 months. Another 19% are implementing CRM for the first time.

DataCtr fig 3 - CRM Investment Heats Up as Buyers Seek Next-Gen Systems

Despite the new capabilities, a CRM system still must perform the basic tasks always associated with CRM. It must be a source of customer knowledge by centralizing and organizing all information about customers and their previous interactions with the organization. It should help sales professionals find upsell and cross-sell opportunities, achieve better segmentation of customers, and improve the overall customer experience.

Most CRM systems also include capabilities for knowledge management, community development, and social media. Integration of marketing and sales is also common with campaign management, content management, media planning, web marketing, email marketing, and other marketing automation features that bring a greater number of qualified leads to the sales force. E-commerce is an important integration point as organizations seek to build a complete view of the customer regardless of the channel used.

“It is these new capabilities that are driving this latest round of investment,” said David Wagner, vice president for research at Irvine, Calif.-based Computer Economics. “AI and machine learning are allowing for the automation of many sales and marketing functions, freeing up time for personnel to do higher value work.”

The full report provides an overview of key concepts and vendors in this space. We then examine CRM adoption and investment trends, providing data on how many organizations have the technology in place, how many are in the process of implementing it, and how many are expanding implementations. We also look at the return on investment experience, total cost of ownership experience, and which type of applications are the most popular.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our management advisory on this subject, CRM Adoption Trends and Customer Experience. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).