What could be a more fitting image for a batch of up-and-comers erupting into mainstream success? And yet, as our honorees prove, a dramatic entrance means more than just announcing your presence with authority. A rising star should last longer than a shooting star would—reaching new heights rather than fading away. So take a moment to really consider each of the eight companies joining the ranks of the CRM Rising Stars this year: Some may feel like less-than-cutting-edge CRM (email marketing, industry analysis, content management); others may not seem like CRM at all (a social media game, a pair of performance management firms). But that’s how rising stars work: They don’t bother catching your attention with a blinding burst; they earn your respect by growing ever brighter.