An overwhelming majority of businesses utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) products say the technology has yielded demonstrable benefits and produced notable investment returns for them, according to a new Aberdeen Group report based on the first large-scale quantitative CRM user survey of its kind.

To determine and document the benefits and returns experienced by a large population of CRM users, Aberdeen surveyed customers of Siebel Systems – one of the earliest CRM market vendors and the installed base leader in CRM license sales. In addition to providing a sample size large enough to be statistically valid, Siebel's customers were able to provide a longer-term view on CRM value, since many were among the technology's early adopters. More than 325 customers provided detailed responses to the survey.

Aberdeen found that:

  • More than 95 percent of the survey respondents indicated that they are satisfied with their CRM investment and will continue to use Siebel solutions.
  • 73 percent of the survey respondents said they would add to or upgrade their CRM system in the next 12 months.
  • Most Siebel customers do not measure ROI in a formal way, but the differences between customers who formally measure and those who estimate their ROI are not statistically significant.
  • Most customers cited specific benefits they receive from their CRM deployments and most pointed to productivity improvements in specific areas. Customers reported that, on average, sales productivity increased 17 percent, service and contact center productivity increased 16 percent, and marketing productivity increased 12 percent.
  • Operating costs declined by 10.4 percent for more than 87 percent of the customers surveyed.
  • Greater than 90 percent of the survey respondents said they would recommend Siebel to others contemplating a CRM deployment;
  • Only 0.6 percent of survey respondents said they would discontinue using their CRM systems all together; 1.5 percent said they would change vendors.

"This is the first study to evaluate the efficacy of CRM as a business solution based on a comprehensive sample of users," said Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director, Customer Relationship Management for Aberdeen Group. "Our research indicates that Siebel customers are getting the value they expect from their CRM investments. Most customers believe that their CRM technology is helping them to compete more effectively and generate larger revenues and profits as well as helping them to cut their overhead in ways that were difficult or impossible to accomplish before the introduction of their systems."
The survey audience consisted of business and technical users of Siebel systems, who are involved in decisions about the purchase, use, and administration of such systems. The survey sample was randomly drawn from the Siebel installed base and reflects the customer demographics of that population.

A free white paper entitled "Does CRM Work? Compelling Evidence from the Siebel Customer Base," which summarizes Aberdeen's research and presents key findings, is available online at www.CRMAccess.com, Aberdeen's online community for CRM professionals.

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