Trends and Digitization in CRM 2018: There Is Still a Lot to Be Done
For those who think that most companies are already enhancing the efficiency and structure of their customer service with the help of digitization, the new study "Trends and Digitization in CRM 2018" has a different story to tell. According to the study, many businesses have a lot of catching up to do.
To what extent is your business focused on CRM? The likely answer is “just moderately” – based on the responses of 43 percent of the 248 decision-makers from the marketing, CRM, sales, communications and social media industries, who took part in the we.CONECT Global Leaders GmbH online survey in February 2018. However, another 32 percent of the surveyed individuals responded that they had a “strong” focus on CRM. The 248 respondents work in corporate groups, medium-sized companies, at “hidden champions” or in public administration.
Lack of Skills, Insufficiency of Change
In most of the companies, the CRM, IT and corporate strategies are only moderately (41 percent), or even poorly (31 percent), aligned with each other. In contrast, 28 percent responded that these strategies are well unified (21 percent) or even very well unified (7 percent). As a result, in the view of the surveyed individuals, the businesses are only moderately (50 percent) or even poorly (8 percent) prepared for the challenges of digital customer service. The study also addresses reasons for this. The respondents indicated that the greatest hindrances to effectively using a CRM system in a business setting are the poor integration of CRM and sales tools (51 percent), insufficient recording of the sales process (45 percent) and unsatisfactory usability of existing tools (41 percent). The surveyed individuals identified a wide range of causes for this: namely, the rate of digitization is much faster than the required change in their own company (69 percent), employees lack the necessary skills (67 percent), and the organizational structure is either not designed for digitization (45 percent) or too rigid (44 percent).
Little Incentive to Invest
Whether these circumstances are likely to change in the near future remains to be seen and also depends on the budget. Of the companies surveyed, 38 percent responded that they intend to invest up to €100,000 in their CRM department in 2018, while 30 percent are prepared to invest over €1 million. Another interesting finding is that new CRM solutions and tools are predominantly used either for customer management (87 percent), sales planning and management (71 percent), or data analysis (65 percent). Additionally, most companies (73 percent) do not yet employ artificial intelligence in their customer service; 16 percent are planning to do so, and only 11 percent already do.