More than three quarters of businesses in Europe will make a large investment in customer relationship management (CRM) this year, according to a Gartner survey.
The European CRM software market will even experience a growth next year, Gartner said, with a rise of four percent to EUR2.4 billion (£2.2 billion). CRM strategists in 90 businesses were interviewed for the survey.
Businesses said their main reasons for CRM investment this year are to enhance cross-selling or upselling of products, followed by increasing customer satisfaction, and thirdly increasing sales revenue.
"These objectives take on added importance in a downturn because the cost and effort needed to sell to existing customers is often less than that for acquiring new ones," said Chris Pang, principal research analyst at Gartner.
It was clear, Pang said, that "many projects such as implementation of direct marketing tools, customer analytics, and customer service and support capabilities are too strategically or tactically important to be suddenly abandoned".
But the key CRM challenges remain managing organisational and cultural change, securing a return on investment, and developing best practice for implementation, Gartner reported.
Four in 10 firms are sticking with their current CRM systems, the report showed, but thirty two percent are reviewing their CRM technology, and 28 percent are either considering or selecting new technology. About half of firms said they were assessing how to increase CRM efficiency during the credit crunch.