The Best Enterprise CRM Software and Solutions: The 2021 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Grand View Research valued the total global CRM market at $43.7 billion in 2020 and expects it to reach $47.6 billion this year. It further expects the market to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 percent through 2028. Fellow market research firm Marqual IT Solutions, meanwhile, expects the market to reach $94.4 billion by 2027, rising at a CAGR of 11.3 percent.

Industry estimates suggest that about 91 percent of all organizations with more than 10 employees currently use some CRM systems, but larger enterprises made up the bulk of current users. In fact, larger enterprises accounted for more than 56 percent of the total market in 2020, according to Grand View’s data.

Growth, both firms reported, is being fueled by an industry shift from single point solutions to full CRM suites and from on-premises solutions to the software-as-a-service model. In fact, Grand View’s data showed that cloud deployments accounted for roughly 60 percent of the total market. But among larger enterprises, there still seems to be a preference for on-premises, particularly as companies tackle immense data security challenges.

The Top Five

Microsoft’s broad CRM portfolio, a collection of products available under the Dynamics 365 moniker, “is really quite good,” says independent CRM industry analyst and consultant Marshall Lager. And Microsoft has only made it better with integrations with Teams, LinkedIn, and many of its other business applications. And “enhanced digital selling functionality adds real value to sales teams,” according to Jim Dickie, a partner at Sales Mastery. “Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides strong across-the-board sales, customer service, field service, and marketing capabilities with embedded intelligence, underpinned by a unified, extensible platform that customers rate highly,” adds Kate Leggett, a vice president and principal analyst for CRM and customer service at Forrester Research.

Oracle in many respects cobbled together its CRM portfolio through a series of acquisitions over the years, but it seems to have pulled them all together nicely. “Oracle has done a good job of making its suite of products more than the sum of its parts,” Leggett explains. “You will find the functionality you need somewhere in the Oracle Cloud, no question about it,” Lager says. Dickie agrees. “Oracle is a best fit for companies that want a product suite of integrated back-office and customer-facing solutions,” he says.

For most of its early days, Salesforce concentrated more on midmarket firms, but recent moves have positioned it well in the enterprise space. Among them has been a greater influx of Einstein artificial intelligence and a greater focus on vertical-specific solutions, which should only continue under a new chief product officer, David Schmaier, who Dickie says “sets a solid vision for future product evolution.” Many analysts are also waiting to see how Salesforce capitalizes on the $28 billion Slack acquisition it made in December.

SAP got its start more in the back-office arena, with applications for enterprise resource planning, supply chain, financials, and the like. As those elements have become more closely tied to customer-facing CRM products, SAP has benefited tremendously. “Its CRM appeals to companies that are committed to SAP in the back office and are looking to SAP to support front-office engagements,” Leggett says. SAP is also rooted in Germany, which is both a plus and a minus. “While SAP doesn’t have the U.S. market share it wants, the fact remains that it has a huge number of integrated applications to support any large enterprise, and it understands the new privacy laws better than anybody,” Lager says.

Like Salesforce, SugarCRM catered more to small and midsize firms in its early days, but it has moved upstream to the enterprise sector. Sugar Enterprise is perfect for companies that require maximum flexibility, customization, and complete control over the technology stack. And as enterprise data concerns mount, Sugar Enterprise provides on-premises deployment, enabling complete autonomous control. It also offers the flexible customization that enterprises require while being robust enough to support multi-user, multi-location, and multi-system processes. “Sugar works well, looks good, is highly customizable, and has a great partner ecosystem,” Lager says.

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