Recent research commissioned by Microsoft has revealed that medium-sized businesses face a number of challenges in improving their approach to customer sales and marketing.

The research looked at the attitudes to customer management of medium-sized UK businesses, as well as looking at how customers are researching and making their purchase decisions.  

Looking at UK businesses, the report found that:

  • 90% of those surveyed felt they needed to improve understanding of customer wants and needs. 41% define this need as significant.
  • 61% see e-commerce as a critical part of sales strategy, while 57% of respondents currently advertise online. This figure is predicted to rise to 89% by 2009.
  • The main marketing priorities are customer retention (63%) and customer acquisition (59%), while brand awareness came third on 39%.
  • In measuring the effectiveness of online marketing, companies are more likely to compare offline to online sales (30%) than to capture sales lead information from their customer base (26%).
  • Only 15% of businesses believe they have used internet marketing to its full potential.
  • Only 49% of companies surveyed are conducting market research amongst their customer base, while 47% collect feedback via their website. 

Customer attitudes to purchasing decisions:

  • 92% of people are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on information from a variety of sources.
  • 68% always research purchases on the internet first.
  • 55% of people would be willing to provide simple demographic information on a website in order to get a more personalised experience.

Further Reading:

Online Surveys and Research Buyer’s Guide 2007