Business-to-business companies have made substantial investments in customer relationship management (CRM) tools, which allow them to organize, automate and synchronize every facet of customer interactions. For many, though, the return has been slim. A recent Bain & Company survey, conducted with Dynata, of North American and European B2B companies found that 62% have not seen the payback they expected. The 38% of respondents that have reaped value from CRM use the system far more frequently for certain tasks.
To improve use of CRM, B2B companies should focus on three fronts: tool adoption, system functionality and the usability of data. That’s what one manufacturing company did for an underperforming CRM system. Running a diagnostic resulted in a list of improvements to make in CRM functionality, salesforce training and sales process updates. Within the first year, salespeople logged more opportunities and systematically used CRM performance dashboards during weekly sessions with their managers. This took the company from flat revenue to more than 5% growth in key markets.