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The 2016 CRM Market Leaders: Midmarket CRM Suite
For the rest of the August 2016 issue of CRM magazine please click here

THE MARKET

When it comes to CRM suites, companies in the midmarket are at a slight disadvantage compared to the heavyweights at the enterprise level, observes Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group. “When a vendor packages a midmarket solution, typically the features and functionality are less robust, and the price isn’t all that much better,” she points out. Companies wishing to grow and empower their sales, marketing, and customer service teams would be well advised to do their “due diligence” and also consider factors such as their industry and customer base to narrow down their options, Ament advises.

THE LEADERS

Bpm'online makes it onto the leaderboard again this year, with impressive scores all around. It did particularly well in the cost category, where it earned its highest mark (4.3). The vendor is not perfect; Jim Dickie, a research fellow at CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global, maintains that bpm'online is a bit “light on [its] partner network.” But, according to Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, its “recent release makes advancements in usability while driving greater productivity for marketers.” And Ament points out that though bpm'online started out as a vendor for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), it is “moving up the food chain into the midmarket, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, a few years down the road, they move into the enterprise space.”

Microsoft posted impressive marks for both cost (4.0) and functionality (3.9), but this wasn’t quite enough to help it keep the title it snatched from Salesforce.com last year. Still, Wettemann says that “the combination of Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365 makes it an attractive choice for midmarket customers with limited IT resources.” And Dickie highlights that the company has a “solid partner network to help implement” its tools. Despite the departure of Robert Stutz, former Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Dynamics CRM, the company’s product roadmap for Dynamics looks strong under new leadership, Ament notes; Jujhar Singh was recently appointed general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

While Oracle is a strong contender to Salesforce.com in the realm of functionality (4.2), the company still suffers on account of its cost (3.4) and customer satisfaction (3.3) ratings. Nevertheless, Oracle finds itself back on our leaderboard this year. The “release of CX Cloud, specifically for midsize customers, has advanced its accessibility for midmarket customers with more predictable time to value,” Wettemann says. Dickie commends the firm’s analytics and mobile support.

SugarCRM offers a cost-effective solution for the midmarket, and it posted an impressive score of 4.2 in that criterion. However, its “strength—customization—is being eroded by the capabilities of other CRM solutions,” Dickie says. Analysts agree that customer satisfaction is less than optimal, as the vendor earned its lowest score (3.5) in that area.

THE WINNER

Salesforce.com reclaims the top spot from Microsoft this year. Dickie holds that the “addition of [configure-price-quote] capabilities, plus SalesforceIQ, makes this a very solid suite for SMBs,” and he adds that “the App Exchange is also a key plus.” Ament points out that since Salesforce.com offers its services through a subscription model, it’s easier for midsize businesses to select applications “a la carte. If you want ERP from a Salesforce.com partner, you pay for what you want—you don’t have to have it in your license.” 

One to Watch

NetSuite is this year’s One to Watch, having earned its highest marks for cost (3.8). The vendor has “an integrated back-end ERP/front-end CRM, with all the bells and whistles, built on a single data repository, so [customers] get a 360-view of the customer throughout all of the functionality, whether it’s front office or back office,” Ament says. According to Dickie, the “midmarket is a sweet spot for them, especially for firms looking for ERP as well.” 



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