• April 13, 2022

Usability Challenges Salesforce's CRM Dominance

As CRM technology matures and vendors seek to differentiate themselves, ease of use has become the critical determining factor in the success of any CRM solution, Nucleus Research concluded in its 2022 CRM Technology Value Matrix.

With increasing demand from consumers to interact with companies across multiple channels, top vendors have made significant investments to enhance the flexibility of their product offerings while providing a more automated environment that can be used by multiple layers within the organization.

In drafting the report, Nucleus analysts uncovered an industry-wide shift toward prioritizing usability over functionality, an undertaking that led to the omission of Salesforce from the leader's quadrant for the first time in more than a decade.

"This year's Value Matrix underscores the need for rapid development and ease of use as the path to achieve high value. Salesforce's focus on functionality to encourage customization and lock in clients into long-term contracts has pushed it out of the leader quadrant. Salesforce has fallen behind the leaders in the market who have focused on ease of use and out-of-the-box usability," explained Ian Campbell, CEO of Nucleus Research.

The research also found that the gaps in functionality that once existed between vendors are shrinking, and top players are instead focusing on reducing overall complexity and providing a highly intuitive user experience. Previously revolutionary features like artificial intelligence-enabled workflows or natural language processing are becoming ubiquitous, and vendors are now turning to usability to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Nucleus' CRM Technology Value Matrix evaluated vendors based on the relative usability and functionality of their solutions, informed by customer and user conversations, vendor participation, and Nucleus' year-round assessment of technology deployments. The analysis offers the following breakdown of CRM technology providers:

  • Leaders: Microsoft, Oracle, SugarCRM, and Zoho.
  • Experts: Creatio, NexJ, Salesforce, and SAP.
  • Facilitators: Acumatica, HubSpot, Keap, and Zendesk.
  • Core Providers: Maximizer Software, Pegasystems, and X2CRM.

"We found adoption to be the most significant determining factor to the success and ROI of CRM implementation," said Trevor White, research manager at Nucleus Research, in a statement. "The relationship between organizations and their customers has become increasingly complex, and CRM vendors that can drive adoption, cut through the noise, and deliver low friction, out-of-the-box functionality will come out on top."

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