Study: Latin America Ripe for CRM Picking

CRM vendors targeting the mid-market can look south for a growing customer base demanding customer-facing technology solutions. A new Yankee Group report, "Latin American Enterprises Find CRM Solutions in Small Packages," says the greatest potential markets are Brazil and Mexico, where large customer bases justify CRM investment. "Latin American projects are driven more by efforts to differentiate the firm through enhanced customer service and go after a larger share of wallet through basic cross-selling and upselling," says Sheryl Kingstone, CRM strategies program manager at Yankee Group. She adds that small-business minded vendors providing analytics can win in this market. In addition to analytics, Kingstone says data-cleansing technology and contact center platforms will also be hot spots in Latin America. "Latin America is behind with customer interaction centers, so a future trend would be to move from a call center approach to a multichannel approach," she says. Latin American call centers are almost fully dedicated to voice traffic, with very limited email traffic. Stimulating the use of email for customer service and sales transactions has still not been prioritized." The report says that only a few large Latin American firms are buying enterprisewide CRM products. Kingstone says the large, virtually untapped small and medium-size enterprise market has vast potential. Along with private-sector verticals, vendors should nurture relationships with decision-makers overseeing e-government initiatives throughout the region, she says. Microsoft Corp., with its new CRM release, could provide stiff competition for any other mid-market vendor when it arrives in Latin America. "However, with Microsoft's CRM product development team focusing on U.S. and European product requirements, company sources do not expect a Latinized Microsoft CRM product will be ready to ship until late 2003," Kingstone says. She also notes the current window of opportunity for vendors to secure customer wins before Microsoft goes to market. Though mid-market vendors are most apt to perform well in the region, Kingstone says that larger enterprise players can also gain a strong foothold in this growing marketplace.
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