What’s the ROI for CRM? CRM ROI Research Findings


  • Forecasting a payback from your CRM software investment is often a prerequisite to making that investment.
  • Research shows the CRM payback is 211 percent, on average. However, that average varies according to user adoption, company size, CRM maturity and the CRM application.
  • ROI was most significantly influenced by user adoption and software utilization. Companies with both high user adoption and software utilization achieved 3.1 times higher payback than the average.

Customer Relationship Management software is sometimes viewed as a necessary evil. After all, you pretty much have to be able to track sale opportunities, marketing campaigns and customer cases. But that view is short sighted as research shows the technology can deliver a whole lot more, including an impressive financial return.

What's the ROI for CRM?

The ROI of CRM is, on average, 211 percent. That's according to the research survey findings published in the CRM Benchmark Report.


Even better, when the application is fully utilized and widely adopted, the payback increases by an order of 3 times. That's an extraordinary financial return. There's not a lot of company investments where every dollar invested nets back two to six times.

Research shows that CRM ROI is 211%, on average, but can surge to 3 times that figure based on software utilization and user adoption.

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But on the flip side, the research also discovered that not every adopter earned a positive return. To understand the dynamics that most influenced ROI, the data was correlated by several factors, which are shared below.

ROI by User Adoption

The distribution of ROI responses was significant. The range varied from zero to high triple digits. So, we compared ROI responses with other findings in the survey to see if there were statistical correlations.

Comparing ROI with CRM user adoption was revealing.

CRM ROI by User Adoption

71-80 percent user adoption was the breakpoint where ROI went from incremental to linear growth.

Also, the directionally consistent distribution in the above bar chart makes it clear that higher user adoption correlates with higher return on investment.

Payback by CRM Maturity Level

Survey participants were provided the below maturity model and asked to best align themselves into one of four levels.

CRM Maturity Model

Each maturity level demonstrates increased software utilization. So, it was not surprising the data demonstrated that maturity level and payback grew in parallel.

What was surprising were the extraordinary financial returns for the most mature organizations. While only 9 percent of participants reported “Exceeding”, those respondents achieved remarkable ROI.

CRM ROI by Program Maturity

Payback by Application

One of the first survey questions asked for the CRM application used by each participant. We then sorted the ROI data for each application. The top 5 are shown below.

CRM ROI by Publisher

While all applications delivered impressive results, Salesforce topped the list primarily due to two factors.

First, it was cited by more respondents in both the Leading and Exceeding maturity categories than any other.

Second, users of this application also reported the highest user adoption.

High user adoption and software utilization heavily influenced Salesforce being ranked as the application delivering the highest financial return.

The Point is This

Customer Relationship Management technology offers a tremendous opportunity to improve customer relationships and reap the revenue and profit results.

However, no technology investment is safe or sustainable if it cannot deliver a positive financial return. Fortunately, when CRM software achieves moderate or higher user adoption and software utilization it achieves its namesake mission and delivers an impressive payback to the company.

The full CRM Benchmark Report is available at CRMsearch.com.

Survey Methodology

This research was conducted using an online survey from September 1 through September 30.

The survey was completed by 189 respondents in the United States.

The composition of respondents included the following firmographics and demographics:

CRM ROI Survey Methodology

The questions were organized among six categories. Respondents were given the option to not respond to questions they deemed not relevant or did not know the answer.

The total number of questions may differ among respondents as based on a given survey response, a participant may be posed additional or cascading questions. Certain questions permitted multiple responses; therefore, response totals may not sum to 100 percent. This research report is independently produced by Johnny Grow, Inc.