Five key CRM statistics from SugarCRM's SalesTech report

You have to spend money to make money.

Not so much a tired cliche as an essential mindset for modern sales departments, according to a new “SalesTech Report” carried out by CITE Research on behalf of SugarCRM.

The report, which surveyed 400 sales executives across the UK and USA, was conducted to define what the technology stack for a modern sales team looks like, and to explore what tools are most important to optimizing the customer experience.

“The research indicates a modernization of sales culture where using tools to gather, analyze and share data is much more important than wining and dining potential clients,” according to Rebecca Wetteman, analyst at Nucleus Research.

“What I find interesting about the report from CITE and SugarCRM is that organizations are no doubt willing to spend money, but many are in the experimental phase. Other than CRM, organizations are dabbling in a variety of other tools in a trial-and-error phase to determine what is absolutely critical for salespeople to be more effective.”

Below, we outline some of the most interesting takeaways from the study and offer our own take on what they mean for your sales technology strategy, going forward.

 

1. Technology spending is a necessary expense for modern sales departments 

80% of companies spend at least $1000 per sales rep on technology annually, with just under half saying they spend at least $2000 per employee. The modal range for annual sales tech spend was $1501 - $2000.

The totals reflect spend on both hardware (tablets, laptops, smartphones) and software, including CRM, productivity tools, lead development apps and data enrichment services.

Thinking about the tools that your sales team uses regularly, how much money would you estimate you spend per team member per year to equip each team member to do their job most effectively?

 

This points to one key challenge, according to SugarCRM’s head of product evangelism Martin Schneider: “You have to spend money to make money, even with limited resources.”

So even on limited budgets, he says, sales execs have to be open to adapting to new technologies, because “a successful sales team in this era must gather, share and analyze the vast amount of customer data available to them. Adopting technology that supports that task is a must to differentiate and survive in a competitive market.

Start building your CRM budget with this CRM software pricing guide

“Business decision makers need to carefully select the tools and vendors they want to work with, and sell the virtues of new tools to their employees. The ease of using SaaS products mitigates the cost risk somewhat.”

 

2. CRM selection is more about improving customer satisfaction than streamlining internal processes

62% of respondents said that improving customer experience was the top reason for choosing a CRM system, compared to 38% who responded that improving sales team effectiveness was their top priority.

This makes a lot of sense, considering that keeping current customers is on average six times cheaper than acquiring new ones.

 

3. Companies are looking beyond CRM for future spend

CRM was the most utilized sales tool across the organizations surveyed, and was rated ‘extremely valuable’ by 64% of respondents - the highest ‘extremely valuable’ rating out of all sales tech tools listed.

How valuable do you find each of the following tools in increasing the effectiveness of your sales team?

 

Presumably due to how widespread CRM systems have become, only 10% of companies said that they did not use CRM, but wanted to use it in the future. In this category data enrichment services and lead development applications top the chart, mirroring increased industry interest in the advantages Big Data analytics can offer.

Crucially, these are applications that augment CRM’s capabilities and provide sales teams with extra insight into both potential and current customers. To get the most out of these investments and the insights they, ensure that the software you choose integrates well with your CRM software.

Which of the following technology tools does your organization not use, but you would like to use in the future? (Select all that apply)

 

4. Mobile devices are becoming essential for modern sales teams

59% of companies use smartphones to increase their sales team’s effectiveness. 58% use laptops, and just under half (45%) use laptops.

Meanwhile, laptops and smartphones were considered ‘extremely valuable’ by 61% and 59% of respondents respectively. Tablets were ranked ‘extremely valuable’ by 43%, perhaps reflecting that their use is slightly less widespread.

Bear in mind that these figures won’t be static, particularly as more companies realize how effective mobile devices can be in helping their sales team hit quota. Mobile CRM, for example has proliferated in recent years, and is set only to grow.

When you consider that 65% of sales reps who have adopted mobile CRM achieve their sales quotas, whilst only 22% of reps using non-mobile CRM have reached the same targets, this is hardly surprising!

5. Lack of awareness hinders uptake less than cost and security concerns

We’ve come full circle, back to cost.

Rather than a lack of knowledge of the benefits new technologies can bring to sales department effectiveness, executives were worried about cost and security concerns. This indicates an increasingly well-informed workforce worried about budgetary constraints rather than one comprised of dinosaurs with little understanding of the benefits sales technology can offer.

Why are you not yet using new technologies for your sales team? (Select all that apply)

 

After ‘cost’ at 48%, the next most cited barrier to new technology use was ‘security concerns’ at 36%. To speculate: this could reflect widespread caution around new trends like cloud and mobile functionality - though this link is by no means definite.

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Kathryn Beeson

About the author…

Kathryn is the editor of discovercrm.com. Whilst she spends a lot of her time coordinating and editing content from the Discover CRM writing team, she sometimes finds time to write articles herself. Outside of work she can usually be found running, bouldering or playing squash

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Kathryn Beeson

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