Even though core CRM products are mature, CRM vendors are still evolving their products. Technologies like AI introduce new efficiencies into CRM processes, and acquisitions such as configure-price-quote (CPQ) and eCommerce expand the footprint of CRM.

We find that CRM suites are evolving across five dimensions. They now:

  1. Support select business models and organizational sizes. The CRM needs of a B2B company are different than those of a B2C company — same for a midsize company compared to an enterprise. CRM vendors are now much better at accommodating the right size and complexity of organization based on the inherent strengths of their feature sets. Make sure you choose one that fits your company size and business model.
  2. Operationalize intelligence to impact outcomes. CRM vendors now offer comprehensive intelligence strategies to uncover insight and prescribe the right action for the business user to take in customer-facing interactions.
  3. Offer vertical editions. CRM vendors increasingly offer editions — templates, common process flows, data model extensions, and UI labels — pertinent to specific industries as well as personnel with deep domain expertise.
  4. Expose platform services. Silos of data and processes within enterprises emerge as enterprises purchase CRM not as a unified suite but as discrete sales, marketing, customer service, and eCommerce applications. Platforms unify data, processes, and security within various CRM clouds. They also allow developers or business analysts using low-code tooling to create applications that extend capabilities within packaged CRM.
  5. Invest in ecosystems of value. CRM vendors now have application exchanges that contain an ecosystem of point solutions such as e-signature capture, automated data capture, dialers, and schedulers that extend and enhance the power of core CRM. CRM vendors invest in and curate these application exchanges to varying degrees.

Read “The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites, Q4 2018” and our analysis of the top 11 vendors in the space.