Announcing the Upcoming TEC CRM Buyer’s Guide: Focus on Innovation

CRM has changed enormously over the past decade. New technologies and changing customer behavior have both had a great impact on the way companies manage their existing and potential clients.

TEC’s upcoming CRM Buyer’s guide will show what CRM vendors are doing to differentiate themselves from the competition through innovation, and to help their customers better adapt to the changing marketplace. The guide will describe some of the major innovations in the CRM space (e.g., cloud computing, social media and collaboration tools, mobile technology, and extended functionality), with a review of their advantages and disadvantages. For each category of innovation, TEC’s guide will provide real-life examples of how CRM vendors have provided innovative solutions to their customers, and what the benefits were.

What Does Innovation Mean For CRM Buyers?

The challenge for CRM software buyers is the plethora of options available to them—“best-of-breed” solutions, software for verticals, add-ons, and solutions delivered on premise, on demand, or by subscription (software as a service [SaaS]). If you add recent innovations to the mix, you’re facing a daunting challenge.

Our CRM Buyer’s Guide will help you sort through these options by classifying CRM innovation according to four major categories, detailed below. Each category addresses the different needs of customer-centric companies, responds in particular ways to changes in customer behavior, and uses different technologies.

• Cloud computing: CRM vendors and their customers were the first to embrace SaaS, and the concentration of SaaS offerings is higher in the CRM space than in any other segment of the business software market
• Mobile technology: Although mobile is not exactly new for CRM, smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the way businesses approach CRM, as more customers are using these tools as a preferred means of communication (and for purchasing products and services).
• Social media and collaboration: Most CRM vendors are jumping onto the social CRM wagon, either through integration with social media tools, or by allowing customers to build and manage communities.
• Extended functionality: CRM vendors are expanding beyond their core competencies to fill the gaps left uncovered by large vendors, and also to offer more flexible solutions to their customers. They do this via integration with other solutions, platforms for development, partnerships, creations of application marketplaces, etc.

Beware of Innovation for Innovation’s Sake

If you’re looking for CRM software, you should be aware of the differences between vendors that focus on innovating their existing functionality rather than creating new features. Here are some examples of important questions you should ask:

• What’s under the hood? Is it a new interface with old technology?
• Integrated versus embedded innovation: Does the solution integrate with other innovative software, or offer that functionality out of the box?
• Pricing: You can get lots of great tools, but how much is it going to cost you?
• Product direction: Is innovation an integral part of the software development strategy of the vendor? Or is the vendor simply developing new features that are nice to have, but possibly not supported or further enhanced in the future?

Stay Tuned…

Also in TEC’s upcoming CRM Buyer’s Guide: Each section of the guide will feature a matrix comparing the most relevant solutions for that category of innovation. The guide will also contain a vendor directory listing dozens of companies that have created innovative products for customer management. Vendors interested in guide sponsorship opportunities can contact our Software Industry Programs team.
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