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Why your business needs CRM software

Customer relationship management is on target to be a $36 billion (£23 billion) market by 2017, overtaking enterprise resource planning as the most significant enterprise tool.

Business software selection specialist Capterra (opens in new tab) has surveyed over 500 users of CRM in the US to determine the ways they find, buy and use their software.

Key findings are that more than half of users adopted CRM within their company’s first five years in business, and two-thirds of companies had at least 100 customers when they first purchased a CRM system.

A third of CRM users surveyed use Salesforce, while other software industry giants Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP combine with Salesforce to dominate 75 per cent of the CRM market. On average, businesses spend $150 (£96) per user per month on their CRM, with 61 per cent spending over $50 (£32).

Despite recent growth of social CRM capabilities, people still want more. The most desired CRM features were social media monitoring capabilities (25 per cent) and the ability to pull in prospect information from social media (24 per cent).

"This report shows that, despite four CRM industry main-stays continuing to dominate the market, businesses continue to invest heavily in CRM technology early in their life cycle," says Katie Hollar, Director of Marketing at Capterra. "This trend indicates that there's tremendous opportunity for newer, small-business CRM solutions to cater to the unique needs of startups - especially as we see the economy rebound and more startups investing in software.

"And as those startups mature into larger companies, there's opportunity - both for CRM users and for sellers of CRM software - to continue to expand into related software categories and product offerings, such as marketing automation, help desk software, social media marketing, and other areas of the sales and marketing stack. Already, the report showed that 44 per cent of CRM users had integrated their system with a marketing automation solution, and we expect that number to continue to grow in the coming years".

The research shows that businesses are using their CRM software to better measure their company's performance, boost their sales and marketing efforts, and maintain loyalty among customers. They're also using CRM data to branch into new types of business software, such as marketing automation and social media monitoring.

For the future as more businesses continue to adopt CRM, vendors will introduce add-ons and plug-ins to make better use of CRM databases, such as help desk software for customer service teams or marketing automation systems.

More information is available on the Capterra (opens in new tab) website.

Photo Credit: docstockmedia (opens in new tab) / Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.