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The CRM Adoption Challenges Facing Indian Companies

The CRM Adoption Challenges Facing Indian Companies

CRM software helps sales departments to organize their activities, track their prospects and opportunities and ensure they are able to forecast better about their opportunities in the months ahead.

In spite of those benefits, however, the adoption of CRM systems still lags behind that of other enterprise software. Some of the reasons we have observed are:

  • Unfamiliar user interface: this is the first hurdle to cross for most users; even after they have mapped their existing processes to the new CRM. Bear in mind, even terminology differences (ie calling a “deal” an “opportunity” is a source of irritation).
  • Feature over-load: Most CRM software has too many features for the first time user. They just end up adding to her sense of unease. (We have our share of “feature-richness” as well, though, lately we are trying to change!)
  • No “personal” experience: All CRM software needs a fair amount of set-up (not counting customization) before using some of the most basic functionality. Also, you need to first “put-in” before you “take-out,” meaning, unless you put in a fair amount of data, you will not be able to start seeing the benefits, like tracking prospects, seeing reports etc.

Why would any salesperson like using a system which requires her to “put-in” data so that her superiors (or those “pesky marketing guys”!) “take out” customer information, market insights etc? We launched the Saleswah Lite, a standalone CRM for precisely those reasons; do give it a try; it is free.

Problems Unique to India

The above perspective does not change across countries, but there are additional problems in India, especially from the perspective of the cloud software vendors. Some examples are:

  • The lack of quality internet access
  • Low PC penetration
  • And despite all the talk of smartphone penetration, the number of smartphones with a data-plan is really low.

Let’s discuss them one by one:

Broadband internet access in India is slow, expensive and unreliable; even in the major metropolitan areas. Mobile broadband (USB Modem) is spotty as well. So, it is always difficult for a salesman to get broadband access for updating the records.

It is still rare to spot salesmen with laptops–unless of course they work for multinationals or large Indian corporations.

In a recent Microsoft Accelerator study, it was found that over 33 percent overall and 44 percent of older users of smartphones have no data plan.


Installed, on-premise software will continue to be demanded by customers in India, whether on the mobile or desktop/laptop platforms. Ideally, clients are looking for a “lite” version of software that can work offline, without net connectivity, for most of the time–and “sync” with a central database–when connectivity is available.

This is the model that has made Tally, the only really big software product out of India, successful.

Looking for additional information on the leading CRM software? Browse product reviews, blog posts and premium content on the CRM resource center page. To compare top CRM solutions, download one of our seven free Top CRM Software reports.

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Anindya Chatterjee

CEO, Saleswah CRM
Expert in Customer Relationship Management
I turned entrepreneur after spending a couple of decades in Sales and Marketing in leading MNCs. Ran large international sales and marketing teams in Asia and managed budgets and targets. Created game changing processes and internet enabled IT tools for ...