Siebel wooing small businesses

Will a free service for UK SMEs help them better understand the value of customer relationship management?

Siebel launched the CRM Index on Tuesday, a new service offered free of charge that the company hopes will help small and medium-sized organisations compare their customer responsiveness against other companies.

The CRM Index is benchmark based on information gathered from 1,000 different organisations in the UK by research group Datamonitor. By completing a survey form on the Web site, organisations can see how they compare in a number of key areas against the average. As more companies complete the questionnaire, the index will grow and the benchmark will adapt, Siebel said.

"The number one question people want to know is how they compare with other companies," said Neil Morgan, director of marketing for Siebel in the UK. "They don't want to be told what they should be doing, they want to know what other people like them are doing. This gives them that information."

The CRM Index could help SMEs understand and measure how well they attract, manage, and service their customers. They can measure how their organization performs overall, or drill down to see how its sales, marketing, or service functions rate against the industry standard.

Siebel and Datamonitor have published the research they gathered to build the Index as a separate report. According to this report, almost half of SMEs cite increasing revenues and maximising margins as their top business objective.

"Companies in the UK say that growth is the main objective, much more than they do in the rest of Europe," said Morgan. "Understanding customers through CRM is a way to grow," he claimed.