New Survey from Zoho Finds Small Businesses are Ready to Invest in CRM Solutions Which are Easier To Learn and Adopt

Respondents Who Use a CRM Were 2x More Satisfied With Their Customer Operations Compared to Non-CRM Users

AUSTIN, Texas--()--Zoho, a global technology company, today announced the results of the 2023 State of Customer Operations for U.S. Small Businesses report. The study, commissioned by Bigin by Zoho CRM and conducted by the SMB Group, surveyed more than 1,500 small businesses (companies with 100 employees or less) on how they utilize technology and their satisfaction with their current business operations.

The findings revealed that while many small businesses are hesitant to use a CRM, operations move faster and run smoother when CRMs sit at the center of their technology suite. This leads to high levels of satisfaction, as well: Of the respondents who use a CRM, 58% claimed to be "very satisfied" with how they conduct business, as opposed to roughly 30% of non-CRM users. Nearly two-thirds of the non-CRM users surveyed saw the benefits of deploying a unified CRM system to power customer operations.

When it comes to current pain points around customer-facing functions and operations in small businesses, the top three challenges cited were personalizing interactions for different customers, getting repeat business and converting prospects into sales. The top four overall challenges that small businesses face today were growing revenue, attracting new customers, improving employee productivity, and improving customer experience.

"In the world of small business, success is about wearing many hats," says Laurie McCabe, Co-founder & Partner, SMB Group. "A comprehensive CRM puts all of the necessary sales, marketing and service tools and information in one place, helping them improve operations and cater to customer requirements. Our study shows that CRM is a game-changer for small businesses striving to attract new customers, boost revenues, and enhance customer experiences."

Key findings that emerged:

Small businesses favor fast, efficient, time-saving CRMs

The most popular factors in determining the right CRM for a small business were ease of use (53%), time efficiency (47%), quick deployment (39%) and value (36%).

Companies are ready to pay high to save time

More than half of the respondents (52%) spend more than $100 a month on their CRM Solution, with only 5% using a free CRM solution, however 42% of respondents said they save 5-10 hours a week thanks to their CRM.

Non-CRM options are scattershot

Of the 56% of respondents who don't have a CRM, 39% said they use a combination of spreadsheets, email, and personal productivity tools, 9% use a combination of siloed applications, and 8% stick with manual methods like pen and paper.

Despite pronounced benefits, many small businesses don't think CRMs are for them

Nearly two-thirds of respondents who don't use a unified CRM agreed that having one would be beneficial. When asked about why their business isn't considering a CRM system, nearly half of the respondents (48%) mentioned that their company is too small to need one.

Unified CRM systems have an overall positive impact on small businesses

Even though most respondents, CRM users or not, believed that they provided an excellent customer experience and were efficient in customer operations, CRM users expressed far more satisfaction than their counterparts. Of these respondents, 47% felt their customer operations were very efficient compared to 30% of non-users.

Additionally, 95% of CRM users rated their customer experience as excellent (55%) or good (40%), while non-CRM users held a generally lower opinion of their customer service. Overall, 64% of surveyed small businesses were positive about their revenue growth in 2024 compared to 2023.

"Small businesses are seeking a CRM system that is cost-effective, efficient, and simple to implement, as indicated by the survey findings," says Mani Vembu, Chief Operating Officer at Zoho. "Since 2020, Bigin's vision has been to bring millions of small businesses online with a simple yet powerful CRM solution that makes the transition from spreadsheets easy. The unique ability to manage all customer operations in one place with Team Pipelines, stronger mobile apps that take advantage of the native OEM features, and extending Bigin's native capabilities through newer integrations and add-ons are some of our recent enhancements that have helped us gain trust within the small business community."

Disclaimer: All trademarks, product names, and company names cited herein are the property of their respective owners. This survey was powered by Zoho Survey.


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Ariel Rhodes

Mira Natarajan


Ariel Rhodes

Mira Natarajan