What CRM software buyers are looking for?

SoftwareAdvice has released a report on CRM software preferences from “5,279 interactions between Jan-Aug, 2013” with prospective CRM buyers. Does this cover all that CRM software buyers are looking for? Read on to find out more. The output is not quite surprising for what is being talked about, but what has been left out of the limelight is equally interesting.

1. Half of the responders did not have preference for a deployment model, while 96% of the other half wanted cloud-based system.

A simpler deduction is that Cloud is the future (which it probably is). But the larger picture arguably is that the responders simply do not care about the deployment model. Provided the customers can get value of their CRM system, software that makes users’ life easier and with software that has “reasonable cost” to develop and maintain, the deployment model itself may not be the top priority for large enterprise clients. Remember that these are the guys with vast data centers of their own, one more application certainly adds to the future IT strategy, but solving an immediate business problem effectively is a bigger problem today. This point is however surprising considering that majority of the responders are smaller organizations (1-100 employees).

2. A majority of prospective buyers (90%+) wanted to evaluate best-of-breed solutions (e.g. marketing automation, sales force automation) over an integrated suite.

The tragedy of IT systems is the hard-to-predict cycles of favoring the best-of-breed products and there on moving to an integrated product by showcasing cost savings. Change is of course inevitable, but the integration complexity of best-of-breed products and the maintenance required off the separate systems is often under-estimated.

3. While Sales Automation is the most sought after application, contact management is the most sought after feature.

Boy, have we failed to read what exactly the customers want. While each and every CRM product is offering sales automation and contact management functionalities for eons now, the continued quest on these two shows the lack of feature-set that the users really want. What is equally surprising is the second most wanted feature is note taking ability. I personally know that CRM projects do not even consider that as a feature – it is just another record-type that can be entered against the contact or account. But, with my recent experiences I can safely say this is much more – this is a demand to be unstructured in parts, quickly do whatever the user wants to do, but at the same time have the ability to track these over a period of time. I like Chatter here more than I should.

 4. “Most Were Evaluating CRM Software for the First Time”

With the majority (~80%) of the responders having 1-100 employees, this is no surprise.

5. Responders want CRM to increase efficiency and organization

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Read more and see pretty graphs at SoftwareAdvice.