Are UK businesses slow at adopting CRM systems?


Workbooks, a British CRM vendor, today unveils research into CRM use in the small and medium enterprise (SME) market.

The State of the CRM Market 2018 – An SME Perspective showed that 70% of SMEs have adopted a CRM solution but a third are still lagging behind.

Workbooks surveyed SMEs (£5 million to £250 million revenue) across the United Kingdom and found that 30% of them still do not have any CRM technology in place.

CRM deployment has picked up pace in recent years with 70% using a CRM solution, but nearly a third of SMEs are lagging behind.

As expected the majority of the 30% without CRM still use spreadsheets.

Drivers to CRM adoption

The survey found that the primary drivers for CRM adoption were to improve the productivity of customer facing employees (66%), enhance customer experience (62%), and reduce operational costs (49%).

Obstacles to CRM adoption

For more than half, the greatest obstacle is migrating and integrating data. The adoption of a CRM platform is an opportunity to pull all of a company’s data into one place and see it through one lens. However, to get it to that place companies need to invest resources into aligning an often dizzying array of data sources. It can be done but there is no avoiding the fact that it is a sizeable, complex task, and one that is enough to deter many SMEs.

Other obstacles include:

    • lack resources to get things done (40%)
    • lack the IT skills needed for this type of implementation (38%);
    • lack a true understanding of the processes underpinning their businesses (38%);
    • cost (38%)
    • resistance to change (34%).

What should CRM offer? 

It is little surprise that 89% of enterprises look for contact management functions given that these can transform an organisation’s ability to manage its data, profile its customers, and deliver effective, personalised communications.

In second place is reporting and dashboards. SMEs need to make sense of all the data they are gathering for sales analytics and forecasting. A CRM platform allows them to move from data to insights, to understand who and what is performing well, and so to make genuinely informed business decisions.

Nearly half now want mobile access, while almost a third want sales order processing. It is interesting to note that customer service is rising up the priorities list, with 43% citing it as an important feature.

For a growing number of businesses, customer experience is becoming a major differentiator and CRM plays a vital role in enabling that. Finally, only 11% look for social media functionality, perhaps reflecting the low perceived value of those channels.

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks said: “The results of the survey show that we have come a long way in the past few years. However there are still too many SMEs that consider CRM to be too expensive and too complicated to implement. At Workbooks, our aim is to provide a cost-effective solution with excellent functionality to SMEs and equally importantly the expertise to closely accompany them throughout the implementation phase to ensure project success.

“With the new legislation around GDPR and e-privacy and the onus on businesses to improve the way they deal with data, it will become more and more critical for business to have tools like CRM to manage their data.”

This report is based on an online survey conducted in December 2017. The objective of the survey was to review the adoption of CRM technology within UK SMEs. There were 98 responses from CEOs (18%), and professionals in Marketing (19%), Sales (21%), Customer Service (7%) and IT (20%).