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Study Finds CRM's Importance is Rising, Along with Customer Expectations of Personalization

By Tracey E. Schelmetic October 02, 2023

Over the past five years, customer relationship management (CRM) has undergone significant changes, driven by technological advancements, shifting customer expectations, and evolving business needs. Customers are increasingly demanding more personalized interactions with the companies they purchase from, and CRM solutions have had to pivot to meet these expectations.

To explore how CRM is changing to provide more customized interactions, CRM company SugarCRM recently surveyed more than 800 global business-to-business sales, marketing, service, and IT leaders from May 15 to July 1 of this year to understand shifting CRM use cases, and what new CRM activities companies appear to be prioritizing moving forward.

The study found that CRM has a more strategic role in driving sales and marketing operations than ever before. A whopping 60% of respondents said they are using CRM as a centralized communications hub for nurturing leads and/or customers, while 43% are leveraging it for sales forecasting and pipeline insights, and 41% are using it to capture intent data and/or for lead scoring. 57% of respondents noted that they perceive their CRM solution as more important now than five years ago in helping achieve their sales and marketing goals. 37% of respondents said they lean on CRM for sales pipeline visibility, 35% depend on it for sales lead quality, and 31% rely on it for sales lead quantity.

“To be successful in today’s highly competitive market, every customer-facing team needs to work together with a common view of the customer and tightly intertwined, cross-functional processes,” said Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, in a statement. “The key to increased CRM effectiveness is the breaking down of barriers across departments. Marketing needs to know how sellers are following up on the leads they create. Sellers need high-quality leads to come from marketing. Service teams need sellers to set customers up for success with appropriate expectations. Marketing needs service teams to drive up-sell and cross-sell opportunities back into the marketing funnel.”

SugarCRM’s research indicated that the top priorities for maximizing value from CRM systems over the next five years include: gaining a complete view of all customer interactions (45%), while leveraging AI is cited by 20% of respondents. Being able to generate targeted or personalized content across channels is a goal for 14% of those surveyed.

Edited by Alex Passett
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