Small Businesses Adopting CRM, Struggling with Data Integration
The methods SMBs use to achieve data integration are inadequate, with only 18 percent reporting marketing data as being fully automated with their CRM.As small and midsize businesses become more savvy in their use of marketing, analytics and forecasting, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are finding a home among small businesses, according to a survey of more than 300 organizations conducted by CRM data integration specialist Scribe Software. Most small businesses (79 percent) report they intend to stick to their current CRM system of choice, while a fifth indicated they might switch CRM providers in the next 3-6 months, although the survey indicated there is more to be desired from CRM, with Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities receving low marks. Survey respondents ranked analytics and reporting as their top IT system pain point (66 percent) followed by CRM (21 percent) and email (13 percent). Midmarket companies are using CRM to store all prospect and customer information in one place (85 percent), provide capabilities to easily share data between departments (77 percent), report on the health of their sales pipeline (64 percent), and to run marketing reports (53 percent), as well as for the management of prospect and customer contact information (94 percent), lead nurturing (65 percent), email marketing (59 percent), and sales forecasting (59 percent). However, survey results indicated the methods SMBs use to achieve data integration are inadequate, with only 18 percent reporting marketing data as being fully automated with their CRM. As a result, this lack of automated marketing data integration is posing reporting challenges for SMBs, with 52 percent finding marketing reporting and 44 percent indicating sales reporting to be somewhat or very challenging.
The biggest IT challenge faced by SMBs lies in data quality and data integration, as the survey indicated SMBs are seriously challenged in their ability to share critical financial data on prospects and customers with the rest of the business. Lack of resources was the second biggest challenge, followed by systems performance.