The CRM market serving the large enterprise is mature. The market has consolidated in the past five years. For example, Oracle has built its customer experience portfolio primarily by acquisition. SAP, like Oracle, aims to support end-to-end customer experiences and has made acquisitions — notably, Hybris in 2013 — to bolster its capabilities. Salesforce made a series of moves to strengthen the Service Cloud. It used this same tactic to broaden its CRM footprint with the acquisition of Demandware for eCommerce in 2016.
These acquisitions broaden and deepen the footprints of large vendors, but these vendors must spend time integrating acquired products, offering common user experiences as well as common business analyst and administrator tooling — priorities that can conflict with core feature development.
What this means is that these CRM vendors increasingly offer broader and deeper capabilities which bloat their footprint and increase their complexity with features that many users can’t leverage. At the same time, new point solution vendors are popping up at an unprecedented rate and are delivering modern interfaces and mobile-first strategies that address specific business problems such as sales performance management, lead to revenue management, and digital customer experience.
The breadth and depth of CRM capabilities available from vendor solutions makes it increasingly challenging to be confident of your CRM choice. In the Forrester Wave: CRM Suites For Large Organizations, Q4, 2016, we pinpoint the strengths of leading vendors that offer solutions suitable for enterprise CRM teams. Here are some of our key findings:
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- The shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS) is well underway. Forrester Data shows that 1/3 enterprises are using SaaS CRM, and another 1/3 complement their existing solutions with SaaS. We expect SaaS to become the primary deployment model for CRM and that newer SaaS solutions will replace most on-premises installations in the next five years.
- Intelligence takes center stage. Large organizations that manage huge volumes of data struggle to pinpoint optimal offers, discount levels, product bundles, and next best steps for customer engagement. They increasingly turn to analytics to uncover insight and prescribe the right action for the business user to take. Today, leading vendors offer a range of packaged capabilities to infuse decisioning in customer-facing interactions.
- Vendors increasingly invest in vertical editions. Horizontal CRM can only take you so far, as different industries have different requirements for engaging with customers. CRM vendors increasingly offer solutions — templates, common process flows, data model extensions, and UI labels — pertinent to specific industries.
- Customer success rises to the top. In a mature market, you have to dig deep to find real differences between vendor offerings. CRM success depends on the right choice of consulting partners to implement and integrate your solution. CRM vendors are maturing their consulting services, deeply investing in growing regional and global strategic services partners, and investing in customer success to properly onboard customers and actively manage customer relationships. This preserves a company’s revenue stream by reducing churn, expands revenue by increasing customer lifetime value, and can influence new sales via customer advocacy efforts.