Recent figures from Gartner put the value of the CRM software market at $20.4 billion (£12.1 billion). But does it really make a difference when it comes to converting leads into sales?
Sales software specialist Velocify has been trying to find out by using secret shoppers to submit requests through online contact forms to see how quickly companies would respond. The companies included in the study were picked from the customer section of CRM vendors' websites.
The results show that companies using sales CRM solutions sent email responses three times as fast as Fortune 100 companies and were nearly twice as fast to call up inquiring buyers. Even so only 20 per cent of sales CRM users followed optimal contact strategy by calling prospects within an hour of their inquiry, while 35 per cent sent an email within this timeframe.
Read more: A novice's guide to CRM
Less than 60 per cent of inquiring buyers received at least one phone call and one email, and the average wait time for a callback was two days. It also found that tech companies performed 40 per cent better than non-tech companies in following optimal contact strategies.
Users of Salesforce scored higher compared to those of other CRM solutions with over 30 per cent scoring 60 or more on a 100 point scale measuring lead response, compared to only 6 per cent of companies using other packages.
All of this suggests that while CRM helps companies to respond many could do so more effectively. The report concludes, "Ultimately, companies purchase CRM systems in order to build lasting relationships with their customers. At the beginning of any relationship is a first impression. Potential buyers expect to hear back from companies in a timely manner and with appropriate persistence. When these expectations are not met, sellers inadvertently send the wrong message about their interest in the buyer and ultimately damage their brand perception and revenue potential. Having the proper lead response strategy not only helps companies convert more prospects into customers, it gives buyers a positive first impression that is at the foundation of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between buyer and seller".
You can find out more and request a copy of the report on the Velocify website.