Small- and medium-sized businesses are often thought of as the backbone of New Zealand’s economy – but the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent recession have been challenging for SME businesses, causing many to close their doors permanently.

We saw this impact first-hand at the end of 2021 when small- and medium-sized businesses in Auckland suffered greatly as a result of the lockdowns. Datacom was asked to develop the platform behind Activate Tāmaki Makaurau that connected expert providers with over 5000 Auckland SME businesses to deliver $60 million in support packages to counter the knock-on effects of the lockdowns.

Fast forward 18 months, and it’s clear New Zealand is still in tough economic times. Understandably, we’re starting to see businesses take a much more conservative approach to investment in things like technology. In many cases, projects and spending money on things like customer relationship management (CRM) software has slowed right down.

Our advice is that it’s the wrong time to stop investing in technology, because it’s effective use of technology that will help organisations weather the storm of recession. But it is more critical than ever to invest wisely and get support to ensure a good return on the investment. 

Photo of Craig Skinner standing at the top of a set of stairs smiling into the camera
Associate Director for ANZ Salesforce Practice at Datacom, Craig Skinner, says it’s the wrong time to stop investing in technology, because it’s effective use of it that will help organisations weather the storm of recession.

One of the most important technologies for businesses to invest in is CRM software. In the face of a recession, businesses must be able to retain customers and find new ones. CRM software is designed to help businesses manage customer relationships more effectively, enabling them to communicate with customers, track interactions, and analyse data to gain insights into customer behaviour.

CRM software can also help businesses automate certain tasks, such as email marketing campaigns and social media management, allowing them to save time and focus on other important aspects of their business. 

With the nervousness we’ve seen in the market around investing in technologies like Salesforce CRM, our focus at Datacom has been on providing CRM offerings that are cost-effective, offer high value, and present low risk to businesses. Our team has developed our SmartStart GO packaged offerings for Sales, Service, CRM (Sales and Service) and Portals that are packed with value, based on best-practice processes and standards, negate the need for weeks of costly discovery workshops, and can be delivered in just 3-4 weeks.

Anyone who has implemented CRM successfully knows, though, that it’s not a simple one-and-done exercise – CRM takes a lot of effort and experience to get right and needs to evolve in step with the needs of the business as well as the needs of the customers.

To that end, we developed our SmartStart GROW offering that ensures businesses are well supported throughout their first year of CRM implementation by delivering a customised schedule of six three-day work-packages over the first 12 months. This ongoing support is designed to course-correct, enhance or expand the way companies are using the Salesforce platform and ensure their business gets the boost that CRM should provide.

Restraining spending can feel like the instinctual move in a tight market, but investing in tools like CRM can help your business yield wins with new and existing customers. The risk of falling behind is real, but the right strategy and focus can ensure your business finds and wins customers more efficiently than ever before.

Here are three ways investing in the right CRM software can give your business a boost:

1. Help increase sales by providing insights into customer behaviour

By analysing customer data, businesses can see which products and services are most popular; which customers are the most profitable; and which are most likely to buy again. Armed with this knowledge, businesses can develop more targeted marketing campaigns and focus resources on the most profitable customers.

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2. Help improve customer retention

By tracking customer interactions and analysing customer feedback, businesses pinpoint where customers are dropping off, and identify areas where they need to improve and make changes to their products and services as a result. This can help to build stronger relationships with customers and increase their loyalty to the business.


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3. Help businesses to improve operational efficiency

As Salesforce New Zealand MD Hamish Miles points out, in the current economic climate every business is looking for opportunities to work smarter and be more automated, productive and competitive. By automating certain tasks, businesses can save time and resources, allowing them to focus on other important aspects of their business, such as product development or customer service. This can help to improve the overall productivity of the business and increase its profitability. 

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