The Business Need for CRM for Large and Medium Sized Enterprises

The software for business market developed in response to large organizations’ need to manage their assets and main activities. Be it customer relationship management (CRM), human capital management (HCM), or enterprise resource planning (ERP), initially only large enterprises were able to commission and acquire such products. But as with anything else that grows successfully in our global economy, software for business quickly became a commodity, and as a result today we can distinguish several flavors of CRM.

Even though CRM solutions are very “trendy” and in demand these days, CRM solutions do not follow a “one size fits all” approach. Medium and large enterprises have very specific CRM needs which are not typically applicable to small organizations, and these needs often require specific solutions or extensions to standard CRM solutions. For example, utility companies with tens of thousands of clients will likely need a field service extension of CRM. Also, companies that sell mass produced goods generally need more online retail options than the largest players such as Etsy or Yahoo, and will likely be interested in an eCommerce extension of CRM.

In addition, partner relationship management and global business management are important business aspects that need support in a CRM solution for larger enterprises but not necessarily in solutions for smaller companies. Larger companies often depend on a larger number of partners that differ in language, culture, and products/services, and therefore need to harmonize business practices across customer, employee, and partner bases internationally.

Enterprises and the Democratization of Consumerism

In past decades, enterprises focused mainly on the development of products and internal rules and regulations, while keeping consumers happy was more a side focus or afterthought. In fact, for a long time consumers had virtually no voice in the process of product development. In his book “CRM at the Speed of Light”, Paul Greenberg writes “In 1978, the manufacturing world dominated the economy. Processes were based on division of labor… By 1984, manufacturing resource planning, and later its sibling MRPII, made its appearance… In the mid 1990s, two profound events occurred [:] first the buying power of baby boomers [and then] the Internet revolution”.

However, the development of the power of consumers did not stop with the Internet. Social technologies fundamentally altered the manner and speed of information spreading, and consumers seized the opportunity to finally have their say. In response, CRM software vendors integrated analytics tools in their products. In fact, sentiment analysis is today a must-have functionality at the medium and large enterprise level.

Another interesting development that has ensued from the advent of social technologies is the notion of customer experience, as the consumer now has the power to evaluate more than just the actual product. A myriad of other factors are under their judgment: how they are approached in the sales process, how well marketers understand their needs, and what kind of support they receive. The product is a starting point for a much more complex picture that ultimately determines whether the client will become loyal or not.

CRM vendors’ approach to addressing customer-related challenges (for medium and large enterprises)

As mentioned above, several CRM vendors have taken into account the current business need for CRM solutions specifically for larger enterprises and extended their products to include such functionality.

Social business platforms are such an extension. These platforms attempt to modify enterprises’ internal processes to improve customer relations. In addition, they offer support for online customer communities as well as the means to monitor online clients’ hangouts. Social business platforms allow customers to participate in idea generation and social innovation. In so doing, they become part of the product and service development teams and can define value propositions that they expect.

Customer experience software is another CRM extension that addresses today’s hard-to-please consumer. These solutions include options for personalization, rich media outreach, social and instant communication, and analytics to profile the customer experience. Medium and large enterprises are particularly interested in supporting and acquiring such products given the large number of customer feedback and transactions that they have to deal with.

Also, integrating CRM with other systems that contain rich customer information, such as ERP, is part of CRM vendors’ strategy to address the challenges faced by medium and large enterprises.

CRM for Enterprise Buyer’s Guide

For more insight into CRM for medium and large enterprises, CRM solution seekers will be interested in TEC’s buyer’s guide for CRM solutions for enterprises, currently under development. This guide will provide more in-depth insight about the state of the CRM for enterprises market, and include solution overviews, links to CRM resources, customer success stories, matrices comparing levels of functionality support for important criteria by popular software solutions in the space, and a directory of CRM for enterprises software vendors. We defined enterprises to be those companies that have more than 500 employees and more than $100 million (USD) in annual revenue.

The buyer’s guide will be found at the end of March, along with TEC’s other buyer’s guides, in the Buyer’s Guide portal on the TEC website. Additionally, for a personalized and in-depth analysis of CRM solutions for enterprises, our TEC Advisor tool allows you to compare CRM solutions within several spaces according to your organization’s needs and characteristics, including CRM for financial and insurance markets, enterprise marketing management (EMM), quote-to-order (Q2O) systems, and sales force automation (SFA), as well as general CRM solutions.

Call for Vendor/VAR Submissions

The undertaking of putting together a buyer’s guide cannot be done without the help of TEC’s vendor and VAR community. Interested CRM vendors are welcome to submit case studies or success stories before February 22nd.
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