Sales and marketing pros want more from their CRM systems

Sales and marketing pros want more from their CRM systems

Aug 23, 2022

More than three decades after the software’s arrival in the late eighties, surveys show CRM (customer relationship management) remains a frustration to many users.

A survey of 511 sales and marketing professionals from Insightly and Ascend2 taken in April found only 21 percent “extremely satisfied” with their CRM solution with 62 percent “somewhat satisfied.”

Among managers and directors, the biggest complaints were: missing/inadequate features, cited by 29 percent; difficult to customize/coding required, 28 percent; and initial or ongoing costs, 27 percent. Executives interviewed cited challenges in scaling.

The top five implementation challenges were found to be: training time, 43 percent; integrating existing systems, 40 percent; data migration, 37 percent; complexity, 31 percent; and time/expense for customizations, 30 percent.

A Salesforce-commissioned study from Forrester Consulting based on a survey last year of about 800 executives found fewer than half saw their CRM able to completely support the customer lifecycle, from discovery to engagement and retention, and only 32 percent believe their CRM system provides a complete, single view of customer information. Fifty-seven percent reported struggling to maintain good CX (customer experience) with the shift to remote work because their CRM systems were not well-integrated and accessible.

A survey for more than 500 sales professionals from Beagle Research Group in partnership with Oracle taken this past January found that 38 percent rate their CRM as neutral, inadequate or completely inadequate, and 33 percent say the same about their sales training. The group was highly critical of many things related to leads, including 43 percent neutral or negative about lead generation.

Fully 39 percent of sellers said they spent too much time working with different technologies and 27 percent said there were too many manual tasks that kept them from selling.

Beagle Research wrote in the study, “While these technologies have helped capture important data about customers and deals, they’ve also proven to be so time and labor intensive that they crowd out actual selling time.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the weak points and strong points of CRM systems? Do you see technology shortfalls, low user adoption, weak data, siloed departments or some other factor holding back CRM benefits?


“CRM systems are only as good as the effort that you put in. It is true however that they need to be made easier to customize to fit your sales process.”

“The failure to integrate CRM thinking across the entire organization, or, the confusion of a tool with a strategy is clearly an issue. Can it be saved? Maybe…”

“…it has always seemed to me that CRM was expected to deliver a kind of magic which simply isn’t possible.”


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