Trends in the CRM Software Market 2012


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I don’t make it my job tracking trends in the CRM software market, Paul Greenberg already does this here After reading his post today, though, I decided to circle back to a quick and dirty analysis I did the other week after hearing that Google Insights actually had a strong correlation to related economic data (the economic data typically lags by a few months). Does the success and revenue of a CRM software company related closely to trends in search activity? I don’t work with all of the vendors, so I can’t answer that question. But, based on those I do work with, and the hype I see in the market relative to others, I can make some pretty good guesses. Let me know what you think after I’ve laid it all out.

SalesLogix vs Microsoft CRM Dynamics

I threw in two terms for Microsoft since the search volume for both was well above SalesLogix. What we see here is that since 2004 (the earliest data available) SalesLogix has been on a steady decline. Microsoft, on the other hand, surpassed them back in 2006 and continued to climb until last year, when it seems to have flattened out.


Google Insights for Search
Gadgets powered by Google

While it appears that Microsoft is just killing it when compared to SalesLogix, look what happens when we compare it to


Google Insights for Search
Gadgets powered by Google

Salesforce is clearly way ahead of Microsoft  CRM and unlike MSCRM, it is exhibiting hockey stick growth. I have, perhaps, made the mistake of assuming that the days of disrupting CRM vendors to be over; as it became bloated and expensive. However, there are those, like Clayton Christensen (who’s hedge fund is betting that SFDC is a disruptor), who believe that is building a platform for a new phase of disruption. Looking at the growth in search, it’s hard to argue that this is the CRM vendor that the marketplace is enamored with.

SalesLogix vs SugarCRM vs Zoho

I thought I would finish by taking a looking at SalesLogix versus one of the follow-on cloud offerings, SugarCRM. It seems like a lot of consultants are giving it a try as an alternative to on-premise. It’s been around for awhile. But, how is it doing? Given Salesforce’s meteoric growth, has it taken it’s toll? And one other thing. Paul Greenberg threw Zoho in as one to watch. Is it a potential disruptor; an offering that maybe even SFDC needs to keep on their defense radar? Let’s see how search is treating them…


Google Insights for Search
Gadgets powered by Google

It’s obvious from this chart that SugarCRM has seen better days (the search for SurgarCRM vs Sugar CRM returned nearly identical results).  While it is still more popular than SalesLogix, which is still trending down, it is also trending down at a good clip itself. But look, Zoho CRM surpassed SalesLogix back in 2009 and is likely going to leap past SugarCRM next year.

Is there a correlation between search interest and how well these product lines are doing? I would argue that sales are still being made because there are active partner channels out there maintaining awareness of these declining brands. However, customers are relying less and less on sales and marketing (push) to research brands that may help them solve problems. This work is clearly being done on the web more and more. In fact, I always do it on the web, and I’m taking a wild guess that many other technology savvy folks (the ones focused on CRM software) are doing the same. Will better SEO help these brands? No. These are direct recall searches and it’s unlikely that one brand paying to rank higher for a competitor will change anything.

Does this jive with what you are seeing in the market?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Mike, thanks for sharing these very interesting charts.

    Google Insights is a great way to see what is really catching people’s attention outside the punditverse. The theory being you only search for something you are interesting in learning about, or buying.

    I’ve written before about Social CRM trends (see Google Trends Smackdown: Enterprise 2.0 vs. Social CRM (2009) and Dangers of social groupthink: A case study in Enterprise 2.0, Social CRM and Social Business. My general conclusion was that interest in “social CRM” peaked last year and was declining.

    But if you do a general search on “Social CRM” you see that Google is forecasting that searches will grow in 2012:

    For some reason Google doesn’t show their “forecast” in the embeds. Here’s a screen capture:

    Social CRM Trends and Forecast (Google Insights 1/11/2012)Social CRM Trends and Forecast (Google Insights 1/11/2012)

    Which is interesting considering the dip towards the end of 2011. You can see it more clearly in this search:

    And it appears that Social CRM is catching fire in India:

    Social CRM - Regional Interest (Google Insights 1/11/2012)Social CRM – Regional Interest (Google Insights 1/11/2012)

    But “Social CRM” still pales in comparison to good old CRM. In fact, it barely registers at all:

  2. Bob,

    I haven’t RTFA, just saw your tweet about social crm being hot in India & checked on Google Insights. And found that all the searches are happening in Karnataka, Maharashtra & New Delhi. Not surprising considering that Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi happen to be the hot beds in India for social media agencies. And given the fact that Bangalore has many IT companies too, I am not surprised that Bangalore alone accounts for most of the searches about Social CRM emanating from India. Maharashtra doesn’t show a breakup due to low search volumes, but my guess is that it is primarily from Mumbai. Not sure if Pune would figure.

    So, in effect, my reading is that its only the agencies & IT companies who are googling the term. Not the users. 🙂


    P.S.: I am, thankfully, not a statistic in this case. 🙂

  3. I am interested to know the difference between CRM and project management in terms of functionality. Are the CRM more wider in coverage? Do we need to have both tools in our business?


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