CRM investment returns found lacking in survey

More than half of respondents in a recent survey of “high-level” service and support executives reported seeing no measurable ROI (return on investment) from their CRM (customer relationship management) systems in the past year.

But a spokeswoman for the organizations that did the survey said the newness of CRM implementations, combined with the high costs, might have contributed to the lack of returns thus far.

“First of all, some companies are still in the beginning stages of implementing the technology, and since the technology itself is fairly expensive, they may not have yet seen any cost savings,” said Carolyn Healey, publisher of the and informational portals, which conducted the survey of executives.

Costs can vary based on the type of system, Healey noted. CRM implementations can range from those developed by Siebel, which makes multifaceted systems, to e-mail management packages, she said.

In response to the question, “Has your organization seen a measurable return on investment from implementing CRM?” 39 respondents, or 55.7 per cent of those that answered the question, said no, while 31 respondents, or 44.3 per cent, said yes.

Of 83 respondents to a question about marketplaces, 62 respondents, or 74.7 per cent, said their company was in the business-to-business marketplace while 15 respondents, or 18.1 per cent, said they were in the business-to-consumer arena. The remaining six respondents, or 7.2 per cent, were affiliated with the government marketplace.

Some 63 respondents, or 75.9 per cent, said they either already had implemented or planned to implement a CRM system in their organization within the next 12 months.

Increasing customer loyalty was cited as the number one goal of CRM implementations, with 49 respondents, or 23.3 per cent, citing this reason. Increasing employee productivity received the second-highest number of responses, with 39 respondents, or 18.6 per cent.

Also in the survey:

– 40.3 per cent, or 27 respondents, plan to support wireless users in their CRM projects.

– Budget constraints were cited as the biggest internal challenge to implementing CRM, with 26.5 per cent, or 18 respondents, naming it.

– Only 44.3 per cent, or 31 respondents, had a formal plan for measuring the success of their CRM implementations.