A Quick Overview of the Leading CRM Platforms
There are many customer relationship management (CRM) products to choose from, each offering a broad range of functionality. A CRM platform is no small investment. Even if your organization’s CRM needs are modest, the time and effort expended to identify, purchase and implement the right software can be considerable. But you’ve done the groundwork, assessed your needs, compiled your requirements and gotten buy-in from all stakeholders to acquire this technology. The final challenge? Choosing the right CRM platform.
Keeping track of the various CRM platforms and their constantly evolving capabilities can be intimidating. But the variety, cloud choices, and scalability of CRM systems is, at the same time, encouraging — it underscores the fact that, like the internet, CRM is a great equalizer. It levels the playing field, potentially giving smaller companies the same competitive advantages as larger organizations.
The 12 leading CRM platforms are as follows: Adobe Marketing Cloud, HubSpot CRM, Infusionsoft, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle Customer Experience (CX)X Cloud Suite, Pega CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud, SAP CEC Suite, SugarCRM, Zendesk and Zoho CRM. The below (excerpt shared from TechTarget) breaks down which CRM platforms are best depending on the size of your organization.
CRM Platforms for the Enterprise
Many large companies opt for CRM suites that match their size and scope; platforms that scale up well and offer a broad range of functionality that can be exploited across the enterprise. Beyond this, companies also factor in how well the platform can integrate with existing enterprise-scale applications and the product’s automation functionality.
Salesforce and Microsoft made their CRM reputations doing this. Along with Oracle and SAP, they offer strong core features, such as sales, marketing, and service support, as well as automation functionality and an array of newer features, including embedded analytics and AI. Each of the leading CRM platforms has strong social CRM features for leveraging social media and an online community for enhanced customer engagement on multiple channels.
When it comes to integration, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is hard to beat. As its cloud-based SaaS Office 365 platform proliferates, integration has been Microsoft’s ongoing theme, and Dynamics hasn’t been left out. Deep ties to its productivity suite, including Excel for ad hoc analysis and Outlook for integrated communication, make it a natural choice for the enterprise that already relies heavily on those applications. Microsoft also offers AI functionality baked into the entire Office 365 platform.
This means that Dynamics also includes that extra functionality, part of its general quest to unify its ERP and CRM products into a single product. An early offering here is Customer Insights, which combines internal and external data sources and integrates them with internal metrics for automating customer-centric actions and tasks. There’s also Relationship Insights, which leverages Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite and serves as a sort of virtual sales assistant, offering a customer relationship status at any point in the customer lifecycle.
Salesforce has just announced its new Partner Relationship Management, an intelligence multi channel community application for Sales Cloud that facilitates integrated channel management. It integrates Einstein, the Salesforce cloud AI, to rapidly surface data for more productive channel management and recommended product support content.
Oracle’s more modular approach in its CX Cloud platform is its new Adaptive Intelligence Apps, which optimize marketing channel performance, personalize product recommendations and enable predictive service support. SAP CEC Suite’s omnichannel functionality is enhanced by its AI-driven marketing recommendations feature and real-time marketing segmentation for message personalization.
It was inevitable that the internet of things (IoT) would take root in large-scale CRM. Microsoft Dynamics leverages IoT to enhance field service, and Salesforce has partnered with Cisco for the same purpose. Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Apps exploit IoT data for predictive functionality, and SAP CEC’s omnichannel customer connection system now includes IoT. Look for all of these features to expand over time.
CRM Platforms for Midsize, Small Organizations
Many enterprise-level CRM vendors provide systems scaled for midsize companies — and, on paper, for smaller businesses (though they’re often too complex and unwieldy at that end of the scale). Like Salesforce, SugarCRM, Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Marketo cater to all three. Among the exceptions are Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle CX and Pega CRM, which are available to only medium-sized and large organizations.
Often, the discriminator is the price; a midsize company may have many functional needs but can make only a midsize investment. Several vendors address this. For example, HubSpot and Zoho are well-suited for SMBs and are modestly priced. Infusionsoft, though a bit more expensive, caters to only small organizations.
One of the trade-offs for the lower price tag is reduced integration. The enterprise-level platforms offer broad third-party integration, while mid-level platforms tend to offer fewer integration options. Many of the smaller platforms, such as Infusionsoft and Zoho, include social media integration, sales and marketing automation, and analytics.
Niche CRM Products
There are CRM products for companies that want only a limited subset of functionality. One example is social media integration, or tools that tap into multichannel customer communications to augment the traditional CRM utility already in place. Many CRM vendors, including HubSpot, Marketo, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM and Zoho, offer social media-specific options.
Service applications are another common stand-alone area that organizations of any size may wish to augment independently of the CRM software already in place. The best-known of these is Zendesk, a modestly priced, cloud-based support product that’s designed to expand service options while fine-tuning the customer’s experience. Although the product is standalone and has limited functionally, it can be integrated with other applications, such as HubSpot. Zendesk gathers service information on customers and passes that data to HubSpot, which helps bolster marketing operations.
CRM is evolving rapidly, as digital infrastructure and device mobility flourish. As functionality improves and integration deepens, the market’s offerings will become even more sophisticated and flexible.
There is, for most organizations, an ideal or near-ideal product available. But finding it is a matter of thoroughly reviewing the needs of the enterprise and the potential of the market, and then cultivating a strong grasp of customer engagement. With the right tools, CRM can be game-changing.
This above content comes from an excerpt of TechTarget’s article.
Our Offerings at tCognition
If you had to determine what the most essential part of your business was what would you pick? Would it be your logo, your unique take on the market, your employees’ skills? You would likely come to the realization that none of those things really matter unless you have customers to interact with. That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in.
tCognition provides enterprise-level CRM services and deployment services. For over 13 years we have been helping companies implement customer databases with meaningful workflows and verticalized experiences built-in for our clients. We represent and resell some of the top CRM vendors in the industry and are trusted by them to implement and maintain their products.
We have a data-driven, infrastructure-friendly approach to CRM Services. We’ve formed CRM Partnerships with some of the top brands in the industry, such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. Our unique approach to implementation incorporates any custom out-of-the-box integration, true CRM vendor selection engagement, or Business Process Management workflow.
tCognition can integrate any given platform to any CRM with an open API. Our onshore/offshore development teams create complex customized integrations at an extraordinary value. We can also create integrations that are often only possible with third-party middleware. Better still, we can even create integrations that operate and synchronize data in real-time.
We have a structured approach to every CRM implementation we perform. Each implementation includes a proprietary process starting with gathering requirements. From there, we complete the vendor selection process by finding the right platforms. Once the right platforms are identified, we then move on to the next steps.
Requirement gathering is always the first step of our vendor selection. We factor in long-term risk management strategies (such as identifying the stability of any given vendor), change management (what legacy systems – or old software platforms – are going to factor into an implementation). In addition, we can help identify non-CRM technologies like marketing automation and financial / ERP tools to be integrated later on down the road.
tCognition develops apps within CRM that power your business to perform effectively in today’s competitive business environment. We offer custom application development services utilizing proven software tools and technologies. We are known for high quality, cost-effective software application development services inside and outside of CRM.
tCognition can integrate any given platform to any CRM with an open API. Our onshore/offshore development teams create complex customized integrations at an extraordinary value. You can confidently rely on us to integrate any and all marketing, financial, and customer support platforms, just to name a few.
Implementing a CRM solution is one thing, getting people to use the system is a whole different ballgame. tCognition’s fulfillment teams make sure that your CRM and other business platforms are utilized to their full capacity. This is the last step of any implementation, and perhaps the most important.
We won’t leave you out to dry after any implementation is complete. We have a large support staff capable of overseeing fulfillment and ongoing support services. Unlike some other resell partners, you will always have a real person on the other end of the phone when you call us. We aim to create an all-encompassing business system for your company, and want each part of your system to operate in a seamless fashion that “speaks the same language” as your CRM.
Interested in learning more about our CRM integration and implementation capabilities, and how we can help your organization? Call us at (617) 357-4636 or email us at info@tCognition.com.