Room for Growth in Small Business Use of CRMs

August 26, 2022

Few SMBs use CRM software to manage their contacts, leads and customer communications, despite those having implemented one seeing a range of benefits, according to a study [download page] from Act!. Based on a survey of more than 1,100 SMB owner and decision-makers, Act! finds that CRM use varies widely by size of the SMB.

As such, while only 22% of respondents overall reported using CRM software, there was a large gap in adoption among the smallest and largest businesses surveyed. Just 1 in 10 (11% of) sole proprietors use CRM software, as do 1 in 5 (20% of) SMBs with 1-9 employees. However, more than 4 in 10 (43% of) businesses with 10-49 employees said they’re using CRM software, and that figure rose to a majority (54%) of businesses with 50-99 employees.

The same dynamic is seen with other software including email marketing systems (58% of the larger SMBs using versus 28% of sole proprietors) and contact management software (35% and 8%, respectively).

No wonder, then, that the top barrier cited for investing in CRM solutions is that the business is too small. Still, with one-fifth of SMBs saying that customers expect more frequent communication since the pandemic (twice the proportion saying they require less communication), the case can be made that investing in a CRM solution would provide plenty of benefits no matter the business size.

In fact, those businesses that use CRM or marketing software report a range of benefits. The most commonly cited are sales productivity, customer service, business productivity, marketing outreach and customer satisfaction. The majority of businesses that have introduced these solutions use them daily, most often for email marketing, customer service/support, contact management, tracking interactions, and sales pipeline/opportunity management.

Looking forward, 21% of respondents plan to spend more on CRM software in the next year, which sits behind only email marketing systems (29%) among software pegged for increased spending. Previous research has also found CRMs to be a priority for SMB tech investments, with many of that survey’s respondents using their CRM for… email marketing.

About the Data: Act! partnered with Researchscape and V2 Communications to survey 1,146 U.S. small- and medium-sized business owners and managers in May 2022.

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