In May 2021, global CRM leader Salesforce commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study to assess the current and future use of CRMs, as well as companies’ experiences with them.

More than 795 executives and 1,476 employees in 15 countries were surveyed.  The study shows that companies are not using their CRM to its full potential and that remote is disrupting information sharing among employees. Discover the 8 main findings:

1. Remote impacts the quality of the customer experience

The future of work means higher customer expectations and more communication channels. Nearly 2 years later, the effects of Covid are still being felt. 57% of executives report not being able to maintain their customer engagement levels with the move to remote because their CRMs were not well integrated or easily accessible.

2. Remote Impacts Team Productivity

For managers and employees alike, the move to remote has impacted the day-to-day lives of employees: productivity issues, access to information, communication and coordination.

3. CRM use limited to traditional functionality

Gathering account information and engaging with customers digitally for sales and marketing remain the primary use cases for CRM. Few companies are integrating CRM throughout the sales cycle to make it a core component for all departments.

CRM usage drops rapidly as the sales cycle evolves. For half of all executives, their CRM is not capable of fully supporting the customer lifecycle, from discovery to engagement to retention.

4. Data sources are too heterogeneous

For 70% of executives, their customer/prospect data is difficult to leverage because it comes from too many sources. Only 32% of executives and 27% of employees believe that their CRM currently provides verified data.

More than 90% say that data from a single, verified source would create value and enable a better customer experience.

5. Better information sharing among employees to deliver a better customer experience

For the executives surveyed, the biggest customer experience challenge facing companies is their ability to respond quickly and appropriately to their customers’ requests.

However, nearly half of them say they experience data quality issues because not all employees have access to CRM. This observation is shared by employees. 50% of them feel that they cannot easily share information with teams.

6. Towards wider use of CRM within companies

81% of executives say they expect CRM usage to expand beyond sales and customer service in the next 3-5 years. Over the next two years, their top priorities are improving customer service/support, improving products and services, and differentiating in the marketplace.

7. Towards more automation in CRM

Over the next 12 months, for more than two-thirds of executives, the top initiatives are better use of automation to focus employees on higher-value tasks and making it easier for them to search and find the information they need to work effectively.

8. New CRM selection criteria

Security, flexibility and automation are now the most important criteria executives use to select a CRM. This is a big change from 2019, when ease of integration and configuration and low total cost of ownership were the most important criteria.

Notably, AI-driven automation is the top feature executives are looking for in their CRM over the next 24 months. For nearly 50 percent of executives, the top CRM use case they plan to invest in is AI-based recommendations that help employees with their daily processes.

On top of that, 46% of executives plan to invest more in AI to automate customer/prospect outreach.

By 2023, 79% of companies will use AI-powered automation to enable easier customer/prospect engagement, and 78% will use it to relieve employees of daily processes.

Finally, 69% of executives said they will focus on improving the use of automation to allow employees to focus on higher-value work, rather than the details.

Download the full Forrester study


Partagez l'article à votre réseau