Every year, I get hundreds of inquiries about CRM business process project strategy and technology selection: “How many solutions should we look at? What criteria should we use to evaluate the vendors? How much do the solutions cost? Who should lead the implementation project? How long will it take to deploy the solution? How likely are we to achieve the business results we are targeting? What pitfalls do we have to watch out for?”

I just published a report based on a survey of 99 companies that provides answers to many of these questions. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Customer service is the top priority. The most commonly used functionalities in CRM suites are customer service (67%) and sales force automation (66%) modules. Half of the companies are currently using marketing (56%) and customer data management (53%) modules; 35% are using customer analytics.
  • Flexibility, business fit, and process workflow are critical. More than half (53%) include the “flexibility and adaptability” of the application as one of the top three criteria in choosing a CRM solution. Forty-eight percent include “fit with business requirements” in their top three purchase criteria. Also important are: architecture alignment (31%), business process workflow (29%), fast deployment (26%), and scalability of application (26%).
  • CRM solution costs are not trivial. Thirty-six percent reported that they spent less than $250,000 on CRM software licenses, but 23% said they spent more than $1 million.
  • Quick implementations are common. Eighteen percent reported that they took more than one year to implement their CRM solution. However, 36% of the companies reported that they implemented the CRM solution in 12 weeks or less. This gives credence to vendor claims that CRM solutions can, indeed, be implemented in a timely fashion.
  • When it comes to service from vendors, mixed feelings prevail. Forty-six percent of organizations fully agreed that the “product functionality matched what was promised in the sales cycle.” But only 28% of companies fully agreed that the vendor's “help desk and support organization delivers good customer service.” In addition, only 32% fully agreed that their solution was easy to use and intuitive.
  • CRM projects are delivering business value. Well under half (41%) of companies surveyed “fully agreed” that the “business results anticipated from their implementation were met or exceeded.” But a similar proportion (41%) “somewhat agreed” that anticipated business results were met. This indicates that, on balance, the companies surveyed were generally satisfied with the value they were getting from CRM solutions.