The number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) looking to adopt a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has risen by 16% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to research from WorkBooks.

The CRM software provider said the number of SMEs looking to use CRM, which helps businesses to manage past and potential customer interactions and data, had also increased by 30% from two years ago. CRM platforms are designed to help users to manage sales, marketing and customer services, with some enabling order management and fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed said their businesses had been radically transformed by Covid-19 and had changed its priorities, which has led to a need to have better information about their customers and have it more readily available, explained WorkBooks.

In the survey, 76% of respondents had worked from home during the pandemic, and only 16% had gone back to the office — however, this dispersed customer base has caused some degree of difficulty in communication, as not all customer data was available to everyone, a factor that reinforces the need to upgrade corporate systems, added the software provider.

John Cheney, CEO of Workbook, commented: “Our customers are relying more on the access to data and insight from colleagues and partners and, at the same time, have a limited amount of personal interaction.

“It has therefore become even more important to have a rich and fully functional CRM to draw greater customer insights.”

WorkBooks suggested that there is a need for CRM systems to help companies better react to changes in workflow and demand, allowing any necessary changes to be made by anyone and at any time.

“The need to get a clear view of their sales and marketing pipeline to deliver the best customer experience has been a major factor in driving this interest,” added John.

According to the survey, 52% of respondents also gave the need to obtain better business insight as a main reason for wanting to adopt CRM.

“In the near future, we’ll see a take-up of about 100% as more companies become aware of the benefits that CRM will bring them,” concluded John.

“Companies who have gone down this route will benefit from greater insights, enabling them to react to changing market conditions in a timely manner, and this in turn will mean that their customers will be better served.”