The Best Enterprise CRM Software and Solutions: The 2020 CRM Industry Leader Awards
In general, CRM has become the largest of all software markets, and with revenue expected to reach more than $80 billion by 2025, according to the latest data from Grand View Research, it’s no surprise. There are plenty of CRM platforms on the market today, but very few of them can really provide what large enterprises need to make the most of their relationships with their large customer bases or the scale to meet the needs of very large numbers of employees. Enterprise CRM also typically involves larger databases. Multiple departments and sales teams all need instant access to that customer and company data, and everyone, from management to logistics, is involved in business process workflows, so it makes sense for all of them to work with the same information. And though companies could cobble together components from multiple vendors, most large companies would still prefer to deploy a single solution that they can customize to meet their unique business needs rather than having to adapt their workflows and technology stacks to make up for software limitations.
The Top Five
Microsoft has such a wide selection of business products that it can pretty much provide whatever a large enterprise might need. “Microsoft products are everywhere, and they are good,” says Marshall Lager, an independent CRM analyst and consultant. “Integrations to the rest of the Microsoft family make it easy for Microsoft customers to work within Office 365, Power BI, Flow, and Power Apps,” adds Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. Add to that its LinkedIn apps, the Azure cloud environment, and other apps and its reach is virtually limitless, according to many analysts.
Rob Tarkoff joined Oracle as an executive vice president in 2018 to lead its Customer Experience (CX) Cloud product strategy, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. “Customers see great progress in the work Tarkoff and company have built,” Wang says. “Greater data capabilities, artificial intelligence, and automation help new prospects consider Oracle for CX.” In that space, the company offers “a full complement of robust and mature B2B and B2C CRM products,” adds Kate Leggett, a vice president and principal analyst for CRM and customer service at Forrester Research. That, however, has been both a boon and a curse. “The company’s product catalog has grown a bit weedy and confusing over the years,” Lager says, “but the quality is there.”
Though it would like to have a larger share of the North American market, SAP has made a few key moves that will position it well for a surge going forward. The company in October 2019 hired Bob Stutz (formerly of Microsoft and Salesforce) as president of customer experience, and its new CEO, Christian Klein, now has nearly a year under his belt. But SAP’s product can stand up for itself, too. Its applications “are more than up to the task of running a large enterprise,” Lager says. Leggett, shares that belief. Its applications “are solid and support enterprises well, but their unification is still a work in progress,” she says.
Though Salesforce had its roots in the midmarket, it is still considered the enterprise CRM suite to beat, according to most analysts. “Salesforce has repeatedly proven that it can deliver world-class CRM to world-class businesses,” Lager says. Jim Dickie, a partner at Sales Mastery, calls it his “top recommendation” on the strength of its core functionality, artificial intelligence capabilities, and the scope of the Salesforce AppExchange, which allows partners to provide integrated solutions to fill in technology gaps.
Though originally geared more toward the small and midsize business segment with a focus on open-source technology, SugarCRM is really making forays into the enterprise sector. “We’re seeing Sugar compete more at the enterprise level with its investments in marketing automation and artificial intelligence,” observes Rebecca Wettemann, CEO and principal of Valoir. SugarCRM’s strength as a company also lies in its ability to customize. “SugarCRM’s open-source platform gives you the flexibility you need,” Dickie says. Lager also sees that as its strength. “If you want to manage scale and complexity, SugarCRM has to be a vendor that you consider,” he says.