The CRM market for enterprise organizations has consolidated in the last five years. Similarly, there’s been a lot of movement with CRM vendors that target mid-sized organizations. Here are a couple of examples of note: Microsoft, acquired Marketing Pilot in 2012 to round out its marketing capabilities, and Parature in 2014 to fill in customer service gaps. Aptean was formed as a new company in 2012 by merging CDC Software and Consona. Infor acquired SalesLogix from Swiftpage in 2014, which had acquired it from the Sage Group in 2013. SAP released a brand new product in 2012 – Cloud for Customer – aimed at the high end of the midmarket and the enterprise.
At the same time that all these market movements are happening, we are seeing new point solution vendors pop 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.
So, with the breadth of CRM capabilities available from vendor solutions, how do you choose what CRM best suits your needs? In the Forrester Wave: CRM Suites For Midsize Organizations, Q1 2015, we pinpoint the strengths of 10 leading vendors that offer solutions suitable for midsized teams. Here are some of our key findings:
- Salesforce and Microsoft battle for dominance. Salesforce and Microsoft have distinct and compelling visions for CRM. Salesforce focuses on the connected and increasingly social customer who controls the relationship that they have with companies. Microsoft empowers businesses to connect employees, suppliers, and customers to deliver customer experiences leveraging collaboration and real-time insights. The depth and breadth of both companies’ deployments in the marketplace — from very small to very large — reflect the maturity of the CRM capabilities and company resources to support their customer bases.
- SaaS CRM is here to stay. Business teams increasingly make CRM purchases, with technology management in a supporting role, which is increasing the appetite SaaS CRM solutions. Forrester data shows that a third of companies are using SaaS CRM, and another third complement their existing solutions with SaaS. Every vendor in this wave evaluation now offers a SaaS solution.
- “Out-of-the-box” front- and back-office integration become increasingly important. Midsize organizations, with sparse technology management expertise, often leverage pre-integrated front- and back-office solutions from a single vendor. To this effect, NetSuite specifically targets midsize organizations and offers strong data integration with an all-in-one SaaS business application. Infor, with their recent purchase of SalesLogix CRM, focuses on integration with Infor’s ERP solutions — a tactic also pursed by Aptean.
- Deeper verticalization extends into the midmarket. Historically, industry editions of CRM were offered at the enterprise level, priced out-of-reach for the midmarket, or divisions of larger organizations. As CRM capabilities become increasingly commoditized, vendors are looking to target specific verticals to increase market share. Bpm’online, Microsoft, NetSuite, Salesforce, and SAP Cloud for Customer offer industry templates for a range of industries. Aptean has created full function, vertical applications that are targeted to process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing, financial services, and homebuilders. Maximizer offers deep functionality for financial advisors and wealth management.
Have a look at our analysis of this space. We welcome your comments.