Customer Relationship Management Buyer’s Guide: Innovations in CRM
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The challenge for companies selecting customer relationship management (CRM)
software is that there is a plethora of options—“best-of-breed” solutions, software for
verticals, add-ons, and solutions delivered on premise, on demand, or by subscription
(software as a service [SaaS]). The best way to navigate a market of so many products to
!nd the right solution for your organization is to understand how they di"er from one
another. And since many CRM vendors o"er similar functionality, innovation is the factor
that sets the leaders apart.
This buyer’s guide will show what CRM vendors are doing to di"erentiate themselves
from the competition through innovation. We will !rst describe some of the major
innovations in the CRM space (e.g., cloud computing, social media and collaboration
tools, mobile technology, and extended functionality), and then review their advantages
and disadvantages. For each category of innovation, the guide will illustrate with reallife
examples how CRM vendors provide innovative solutions to their customers and the
Innovation in the CRM world can be approached from two main perspectives:
innovations in software, which a"ect the way companies manage their relationships
with their customers (e.g., the ability to analyze customer feedback, for better customer
service and even product development), and innovations in the market, which a"ect the
accessibility and usability of CRM solutions (e.g., having CRM functionality available in
the cloud or on a mobile device). And as the two qualities are interconnected (innovation
in one arena generally leads or responds to innovation in the other), this guide focuses
equally on innovations in CRM software and in new delivery models, such as cloud
computing and mobile.
Throughout this guide, we consider CRM to be more than a set of tools and solutions
that companies use to facilitate their interactions with customers. A complete CRM
implementation includes strategies and best practices that companies de!ne and apply
in order to attract and retain customers.
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