New research measuring the attitudes of sales and marketing pros on the state of customer management and the state of CRM innovation shows that today’s digital workforce isn’t satisfied with the rate at which CRM technology is evolving to align with fast-growing technology advancements and user demands.
The report from CRM platform ProsperWorks, The State of Customer Management in the Relationship Era, also reveals that more teammates are involved in managing customer relationships than ever before, and communication between sales teams and customers has grown less formal with the rise of chat apps and mobile technology.
To uncover how businesses approach managing customer relationships today, the firm commissioned Lab42 to conduct a survey on sales relationships and CRM pain points from those that frequently use CRM systems.
The findings show that the way companies interact with customers is changing but CRM technology is too manual, has not evolved and is not focused enough on fostering relationships. It’s no surprise that nearly 50 percent of respondents think innovation of CRM should be quicker. The survey also found that:
Customer communication has grown less formal and more collaborative
The sales relationship is no longer a one-to-one interaction. According to the survey, 63 percent of survey respondents said three or more teammates are involved in customer relationships, proving it’s a more collaborative, relationship-focused effort. The form of communication between sales teams and customers has also shifted from in-person meetings to informal chat apps and mobile technology with 44 percent of respondents using chat and Slack. However, there is still heavy reliance on email to communicate—66 percent of respondents said that 40 percent or more of their customer communications happen via email.
CRM technology isn’t keeping pace
Seventy-seven percent of respondents still use spreadsheets to track customer data—a reflection that CRMs are not addressing the needs of today’s users. Furthermore, data entry (48 percent) and keeping data up to date (52 percent) are the biggest problems today’s workforce faces with CRM systems because it is still a very manual task. These time-consuming, manual tasks are stopping sales teams from focusing on what matters most: fostering the relationship and closing the deal.
Sales teams are looking for automation
The lack of automated tools is dictating processes and 80 percent of respondents still manually enter and update contact and account info. Users are spending too much time in CRM systems, with 57 percent using it all day, every day. It’s no surprise that organizations are still looking for the right fit—more than 56 percent of respondents said they have used three or more CRM tools in their careers.
“Today’s business users want tools that make their lives easier, deliver a consumer-like experience and fit within the way they live and work. Current CRM tools are clearly a burden of admin-ridden tasks that are negatively affecting customer success, customer support, marketing, finance and operations and more,” said Jon Lee, co-founder and CEO of ProsperWorks, in a news release. “We’re in an age where automation and collaboration can help team members be more customer-centric and focus their time on nurturing the customer relationship, all while bringing more value to the organization.”
The survey was administered to more than 1,000 business and IT leaders with sales and marketing knowledge, including C Level executives, managers and directors.