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David or Goliath: A 2014 Overview of the Top CRM Vendors

David or Goliath: A 2014 Overview of the Top CRM Vendors

Comparing today’s leading CRM software vendors is a bit like matching David against Goliath. On one hand, you have the powerhouse CRM vendors whose products are consistently robust. Like Goliath, these giants have proven themselves in battle time and time again, and always come out on top. Yet some vendors come to the fight like David. Sure, these CRM software companies are smaller and have fewer resources, but they have a whole lot of heart, and an array of new and trendy features that could upset the balance between vendors.

Here’s a comprehensive look at the Davids and Goliaths from the top CRM vendors:

Goliath: An Overview of 4 Powerhouse CRM Vendors

While a number of new CRM solutions have arose in the last decade, many big-name software companies have been providing contact and customer relationship management solution for much longer. Here are some of the biggest names in CRM.

1. Salesforce

Top CRM Software Vendor SalesforceYou really can’t discuss customer relationship management software without talking about Salesforce. As the only powerhouse CRM that offers a one-hundred-percent cloud-based CRM solution, Salesforce has transformed the SaaS CRM space. According to Gartner’s CRM market share reports, Salesforce is the worldwide leader in CRM software, with 16.1% of the market share.

2. Oracle

Oracle CRM Software LogoFrom 2012 to 2013, Oracle’s CRM revenue grew by 4%. While Oracle offers its CRM solution as a standalone product, as with other Goliath vendors the solution is intended for use within larger Oracle business systems for a seamless, comprehensive approach. Oracle was founded in 1977, and has been a leader in database software ever since.

3. SAP

Top CRM Vendors SAPSAP remains a CRM software favorite due to the product’s deep integration with SAP ERP solutions. Powerhouse SAP connects customer relationship management to other processes and business system, while offering a modular approach that allows companies to build a custom solution.

4. Microsoft

Powerhouse CRM Vendor MicrosoftMicrosoft was founded in 1975, and has remained an important multinational business software vendor for years. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides comprehensive (yet innovative) customer relationship management tools that are integrated with social insights for a more productive result. Though not the least expensive solution, Microsoft users can expect reliable, robust CRM software.

David: Getting to Know the Emerging CRM Vendors

Unlike the top CRM vendors above, today’s emerging vendors are new and fresh. These top CRM vendors are often geared toward small and midsize businesses, but that doesn’t make them any less powerful than other customer relationship management solutions. Here are some of the emerging CRM vendors you should know:

1. Workbooks

Workbooks Emerging CRM VendorThough Workbooks has been around for less than a decade, their successful CRM solution is a favorite of many. Workbooks CRM is designed specifically for small and midsized businesses, and is offered as a web-based solution. Workbooks was rated #1 for Customer Satisfaction on the G2Crowd Report on CRM software.

2. Nimble

New CRM Vendor NimbleNimble offers customers a reimagined contact management system that values relationships over contacts. This emerging solution incorporates information from numerous social media and email sources (think: Gmail, Skype, Facebook and more) and makes sense of it all in one simple Contact Record.

3. Insightly

Insightly Top CRM VendorsInsightly provides a CRM solution that is inexpensive, robust and mobile—the perfect tool for small businesses. Founded in 2009, this innovative company merges traditional CRM features like contact management and file sharing with new features like project management and powerful email integration.

4. Zoho

Zoho CRM LogoEmerging vendor Zoho offers a number of business applications (like CRM) that businesses can pick from to build a comprehensive solution. Though Zoho CRM doesn’t have all the bells and whistles found in other solutions, its affordability and potential for customization earn it a place on this list of emerging vendors.

5. UserVoice

Leading CRM Vendor UserVoiceUserVoice won last year’s CRM Idol (a playful spin on American Idol), due to their easy-to-use, collaborative CRM solution. UserVoice integrates help desk ticketing, enterprise social and traditional contact management for a comprehensive, SMB-friendly CRM software.

Now That You Know the Contenders, Which CRM Software Vendor Should You Pick?

Now that you’re familiar with the David and Goliaths of customer relationship management software, it’s time to choose the best CRM vendor for your company. Should you go with a time-tested powerhouse provider like Salesforce or SAP, or choose a new, emerging CRM vendor that boasts innovation and trendy features? Browse the following questions to make your decision easier:

How large is your business?

Smaller businesses will be more than happy choosing an emerging CRM vendor. These businesses will gain lots of flashy features, all without breaking the bank. Yet for midsize to large businesses (especially those in highly regulated industries), it might be best to turn to a powerhouse vendor like SAP or Oracle.

What business systems does your company currently use?

One of the major draws of the powerhouse CRM vendors is the ability to integrate with the company’s other solutions. If your business is already using business software from Oracle or Salesforce-based applications, then it makes sense to add that company’s respective CRM to your current arsenal of products.

How big is your budget?

There’s no denying it—today’s emerging CRM vendors give you the most bang for your buck. While they often provide fewer advanced features, for a company on a budget, choosing an emerging vendor from the list above will ensure that your needs are met (they each include all must-have CRM functions) for a fraction of the price of the Goliath vendors. Some solutions, such as Zoho, are even free.

Does deployment model matter?

With so many resources, the big-name CRM vendors like SAP and Microsoft can offer their software as both on-premise and SaaS solutions (with the exception of Salesforce, who only offers cloud-based software). If your business requires an on-premise solution—perhaps you want greater customization capabilities or have the IT staff to keep in-house data secure—you’ll likely want to choose one of the bigger, more established vendors.

Ready to compare a comprehensive list of top CRM vendors?

40 Top CRM Vendors
Now that you better understand the differences between David and Goliath in the CRM space, it’s time to pick the best customer relationship management software for your business. Download our Top 40 CRM Software reportto compare the industry’s top solutions by pricing, deployment models and key features. Not ready to make a purchase? Find more free resources at the CRM Software Resource Center, where we’ve compiled product reviews, blog posts and exclusive interviews with emerging CRM vendors.

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Kiri Picone

Editor and Marketing Specialist, Business-Software.com
Kiri is an editor and content marketing specialist at Business-Software.com. She specializes in writing about ERP, ALM, social media, manufacturing and call center software.