Data integration remains top challenge for SMBs

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 28, 2013

Data integration

SMBs are increasingly viewing CRM as critical business system, even though data quality and integration remain the key challenge for these businesses in 2013, according to CRM data integration solution provider Scribe Software.

The report stated that SMBs are increasingly becoming savvy in their use of marketing, analytics, and forecasting. Around 94 percent of SMBs use CRM for the management of prospect and customer contact information, 65 percent use it for lead nurturing, and 59 percent for email marketing and sales forecasting respectively.

The biggest IT challenge faced by SMBs today lies in data quality and data integration, according to the report with these businesses are seriously challenged in their ability to share critical financial data on prospects and customers with the rest of the business.

Only 40 percent of the respondents report seamless prospect data sharing between finance and sales, and finance and marketing. An additional 60 percent reported struggles on their journey to seamless data sharing. Nearly 52 percent find marketing reporting and 44 percent indicate sales reporting to be somewhat or very challenging.

According to the report, the methods SMBs use to achieve data integration are inadequate with only 18 percent reporting marketing data as being fully automated with their CRM. Besides, the lack of automated marketing data integration poses reporting challenges for majority of small and mid-sized entities.

Going forward, over half of the respondents said that they will invest in virtual events and conference platforms, email and sales compensation platforms in the coming months. in 64 percent of the cases, Scribe found out that the CRM is owned by IT, followed by sales, operations and marketing. Both on-premise and cloud-based CRM systems will continue to dominate the SMB CRM landscape this year, the report revealed.

According to Lou Guercia, CEO of Scribe Software, SMBs are increasingly investing in CRM solutions for business gain, amidst several challenges. He believes that vendors should make integration easy, simple, and affordable for SMBs to get closer to their data so SMBs can make smarter decisions and empower their employees to provide superior service to their customers.