An annual survey into client relationship management (CRM) activities at professional services organisations (conducted by the Managing Partners Forum (MPF) and The Thriving Company) has found that firms are achieving slightly better results from CRM in 2011 than they were in 2010. No less than 98% of respondents reported seeing at least some benefits in areas such as revenue, strength of client relationships, cross-selling ability and marketing/BD return on investment as a direct result of their CRM activities, up from 94% in 2010. However, relatively few respondents reported that these benefits were ‘major’ and while 43% have achieved a ‘major’ improvement in gaining better relationships with key clients, just 11% reported a significant boost to profitability as a result of CRM.

Looking to the future, CRM continues to be seen as an area for investment. 93% of respondents stated that they plan to invest further in CRM systems and processes in the coming year. However over a third (36%) stated that they are likely to switch providers within the next three years. This finding was underscored by an average reported satisfaction level of just 5.84 out of ten across all CRM systems and vendors.

Vendor Ranking (average satisfaction score out of 10)

1 Lexis Nexis Interaction – 6.98

2 Microsoft Dynamics – 6.00

3 E1 Metis – 5.80

4 Hubbard One – 5.71

5 Bespoke inhouse – 5.37

6 Elite Apex – 3.83
 
The full report provides much more information on the performance and contribution made by vendors and is available from Robin Dicks at robin@thrivingcompany.co.uk or Paul Lemon of MPF at paul@pmint.co.uk