Siebel Systems has launched a new 'CRM Index' for SMBs, based on data drawn from research conducted by Datamonitor, the findings of which have also been published in a report entitled 'Going for Growth: Are European SMBs Ready to Meet Customer Demands?'.
The CRM Index is both a benchmark that aims to provide ongoing performance metrics for the market and an online tool that can help SMBs to understand and measure how well they attract, manage, and service their own customers. The index allows companies to benchmark their own customer relationship management efforts against other companies (1,000 initially).
SMBs can use the index either to measure how they perform overall, or specifically how their sales, marketing, and service functions compare with industry averages. Once the results are assessed, the CRM Index provides a personalised summary and advice guide, and an appropriate collection of best practice guidelines to help improve CRM effectiveness.
Datamonitor's survey underscored the idea that while small and medium-sized businesses are focused on growth, many are still failing to maximise their revenue from existing and prospective customers.
Almost half of the SMBs surveyed (46%) cited "growing revenues and maximising margins" as their top business objective. And, in line with that aim, more than half of European SMBs said they are investing in some kind of customer management tool to help them retain and attract customers. These tools include basic contact management and simple databases to merely track customers. But in many cases Datamonitor found that these businesses are not using even these basic tools across all the relevant departments to implement customer service principles.
In particular, the study found that 80% of requests for an e-mail response to a telephone enquiry are never sent, and 57% of SMBs have no time targets for responding to customer enquiries. When it comes to human interaction, 31% of European SMBs do not have a dedicated point of customer contact. As Neil Morgan, vice president of European marketing for Siebel Systems, warns: "It only takes one unanswered phone call or email for a prospective customer to go elsewhere."
European SMBs were also found to be amazingly ineffective at measuring the impact of their sales and marketing investments. Only 41% of the organisations surveyed are tracking how much they are spending on marketing versus the impact of these expenditures on revenue and customer growth. Half of European respondents (50%) said they are also not tracking the performance of sales individuals (meaning they are unable to identify their strongest and weakest performers).
The CRM Index
The CRM Index aims to help businesses find out where they're falling short of customer management goals, based on comparisons with those SMBs surveyed by Datamonitor. The online benchmarking tool questions the SMB about its sales, marketing, and service capabilities in areas such as: how it tracks contact with customers, how effective its marketing campaigns are, and the extent to which it cross- and up-sells.
The company is then indexed against the 1,000 businesses already surveyed and is provided with free, personalised advice on the steps they can take to improve customer interactions, based on Siebel Systems' own established best practices. Other reference materials suggested at the same time include books, white papers, and case studies documenting how other organisations manage their customer portfolio.
According to Siebel, the number of companies in the index will grow over time as the findings of each questionnaire are anonymously added to the overall study. In the way, the benchmark continues to grow and reflect current SMB trends.