In last week’s article we highlighted some of the key steps your organization needs to take to properly implement customer relationship management (CRM) software.

In this week’s article I’ll be discussing software buying preferences of CRM suites and what this means for the market in 2014.

Buyers want Best-of-Breed and Cloud Based Solutions

Software Advice analyzed 5,279 interactions with software buyers between January and August 2013 and discovered the following trends:

  • 91% of prospective CRM software buyers were interested in a best-of-breed solution (instead of a integrated suite or multiple products).
  • Out of the companies that had a preferred deployment model, 96% wanted a cloud based solution.
  • Finally, sales automation software was the most requested application, representing 76% of the best-of-breed sample.
  • CRM software trends for 2014

    Buyers' Integration Requirements

  • sales automation

    Top-Evaluated Deployment Model Among Buyers

  • Best-of-Breed Buyers' Top-Requested Applications

Looking into 2014 – CRM Buying Trends

One of the important takeaways for CRM vendors, is that approximately 68% of buyers were using non-industry-specific software (e.g. Microsoft Office) or manual methods methods of collecting sales and customer data. This represents an incredibly large and lucrative portion of the market that vendors can target their software.

On that note, it’s important also to understand what kinds of features are important for software buyers (even those not using a CRM application). According to the data from Software Advice, the top 3 requested features are:

  1. Contact management software,
  2. Note-taking capabilities, and
  3. Reporting/analytics
customer relationship management

Top Requested CRM Software Features

Software Advice also had the chance to interview CRM guru Paul Greenberg, and he described some of his thoughts on what CRM vendors need to focus on:

  • First, analytics and reporting features are becoming increasingly important for companies. The expectation is that they will be able to deliver real-time insights which can be used to personalize a customer’s experience.
  • Second, social media (of course) must be included in any CRM solution. Social is being used by customers for both reporting and in obtaining information about contacts.
  • Finally, it is important for vendors to understand that operating efficiencies are no longer the only motivation for using CRM software. Today, customer’s are interested in actually growing revenue.