The global customer relationship management market is projected to grow from $63.91 billion in 2022 to $145.79 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.5%. This second wave that CRM is experiencing is aimed at transforming engagement and business outcomes across an enterprise, surpassing its initial remit of increasing front-office productivity. Companies use CRM to support customers throughout their end-to-end journeys — from discovery to purchase, onboarding, use, service, and success. CRM empowers the front office with a full view of customer relationships in real time in order to drive trusted and personalized experiences — initiatives that impact customer retention, enrichment, and advocacy and, ultimately, top-line revenue. As a result, CRM investments for revenue growth become a C-level business imperative and break CRM out of its traditional organizational focus.

The CRM Forrester Wave™ Evaluations

This elevated importance of CRM drove us to assess CRM vendors via the Forrester Wave™ evaluation. We recently published two:

The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 evaluates the strength of vendor offerings across the breadth of sales automation, marketing, commerce, customer service, and field service applications. We also assess the depth of integration and unification across these application portfolios.

The Forrester Wave™: Core CRM Solutions, Q3 2022 evaluates the strength of vendor offerings across sales automation, success, and customer service applications that form the heart of CRM.

How To Use Them

Use the information in these evaluations to guide your CRM decisions. CRM continues to evolve, and understanding its evolution is important. Therefore, these reports are equally applicable whether you are just getting started or finalizing your vendor choice. Keep the following in mind.

CRM vendors:

  • Do not all target the same customers. CRM vendors support a range of business models and organizational sizes. CRM vendors are now much better at accommodating the right size and complexity of a company based on the inherent strengths of their feature sets.
  • Embed automation and AI to improve operations, but it takes work to use them properly. These technologies offload repetitive work from the front office, allowing you to focus on work that matters most to your business. For example, they guide your sellers or customer service agents through best-practice processes. They surface the right product offers, discount levels, product bundles, or the right knowledge for a customer interaction. Examine the automation and intelligence capabilities in CRM, and define a roadmap of how you will take advantage of these technologies to increase productivity, uncover insight, find anomalies, and more.
  • Offer variably integrated or unified suites of applications. The remit of capabilities of a CRM suite is vast. Some vendors have assembled suites by acquiring best-of-breed applications that have been replatformed over time; others have chosen to organically develop capabilities that have been slower to mature. Both approaches have merit. Assess how unified data models, business and administrator tooling, integration capabilities, and UI components are across the CRM.
  • Expose low-code tooling to business users. CRM platforms allow business analysts using low-code tooling to create workflow, user experience, integration, and data model customizations and create applications that extend capabilities within CRM without the need for IT. Make sure these capabilities are part of your evaluation.
  • Have a vibrant marketplace to best support the customer journey. CRM vendors have curated marketplaces, some of which have an industry focus, that contain an ecosystem of point solutions to extend CRMs. See if their marketplace is aligned with your needs.
  • Have regional and global partner networks to help you be successful. CRM vendors offer mature consulting services, regional and global strategic services partners, ISVs, best-practice deployment methodologies, benchmarks, and investments in customer success. They also provide end-to-end services that couple technical expertise with consulting prowess to lead business model change, deliver complex programs across the globe, and become true partners for transformations — not just successful technology projects.

Let us know if you want to discuss our Wave analysis in more depth. Contact us at to do so.