A Customer Satisfaction Study Shows Some CRM Surprises
When customers rate vendors there's bound to be some surprising results that upset the vendors' claims.
A recently released study from HYM press, "The State of CRM Software 2003--2004," showed that customers' satisfaction with 14 leading CRM-software systems and vendors is based on a variety of things, including functionality, customizability, and financial stability.
In the overall ratings SalesLogix received the highest customer satisfaction ranking, followed by Microsoft, and Salesforce.com. Major CRM enterprise players Siebel Systems, Oracle, and Clarify were the bottom-three finishers, respectively.
Dick Lee, a CRM consultant and author, cowrote the study. He says the one most surprising finding was Microsoft's performance. "I was surprised that Microsoft fared so well right out of the box. Microsoft has never been known for designing its products around customer needs first. The company did a great job with MS CRM. It looked at what customers wanted and it really showed."
Surprisingly, those that Lee labeled tier three, players such as ACT! and GoldMine, are being replaced by more sophisticated systems, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM
Tier-two players, including SalesLogix, Onyx, and Pivotal, performed much better than the rest of the CRM pack in satisfaction, according to Lee.
As for the top-tier players the study showed that instead of market consolidation benefiting the ERP-related systems (Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP AG), the market is fragmenting with more business going to smaller, less visible players, according to Lee.
Market leader Siebel's hold on the CRM space is declining. The CRM giant's market share has dropped below 20 percent, according to the study. Like most companies the CRM bellwether has been impacted by the economic downturn and the customer survey showed a significant weariness over vendors with financial woes, according to Lee.
The study also rated products on specific functional areas. For marketing and support E.piphany and SAS Institute were the leaders. For sales functionality it was Saleforce.com and SalesLogix at the top of the heap. PeopleSoft and Siebel lead the pack when it came to customer service functionality. SAP and Siebel topped the list when it came to e-business functionality.
Other surprising findings include where Salesforce.com fell in the rankings. The ASP was number three in terms of customer satisfaction, but despite "stoking the bellows of the ASP market, the company's penetration was limited to small businesses," Lee says.
"Based on its current business model, it's not going to be an easy transition for Salesforce.com to sell into the enterprise," Lee says. "It may have some small pockets within large corporations, but generally, the model of make-CRM-quick-and-easy does not play well with larger businesses that are not using out-of-the-box software. Customers do not want trailer loads of functionality with a tick list, but functionality tailored to their specific needs."
Lee says that there is no evidence that vertical CRM applications are going over well. He says businesses are not interested in software adapted to an industry. "They want software that is adaptable and configurable to their particular needs. That is a major component of satisfaction. "