The worldwide CRM market grew 13.3% in  from $20.4B in 2013 to $23.2B in 2014. and 47% of total CRM software revenue in 2014 was generated from SaaS-based CRM applications.
The CRM market has long been prevailed by established vendors. For perspective, the top ten CRM vendors combined generated 60% of worldwide revenues in 2014 or $14B and Salesforce leads the worldwide CRM market with 18.4% market share, according to Forbes reports.
Yet, new players could shake up the CRM landscape. Meanwhile, today’s businesses forgo the heavyweight and end-to-end CRM solutions that are intricate, expensive and difficult to implement even if they are exceptional. Bloated CRM solutions negatively impact productivity with excess features that users fail to leverage. This along with a myriad of other dynamics are driving a sea change in CRM purchasing behaviors.
Here’s a deeper look at how the CRM market is changing.
1. CRM is rapidly moving to the cloud.
An increasing number of businesses are discarding entry-level or legacy CRM systems to leverage SaaS-based cloud CRM solutions. And yes, the number is increasing exponentially. Cloud CRM solutions are gaining traction since they are agile, come with low upfront expenses and offer greater flexibility compared to archaic on-premise CRM applications. It also elevates the pain and cost of software maintenance.
2. Cloud CRM extends the lifespan of entry-level solutions.
Entry-level CRM solutions are now supporting the multi-channel customer journey. This is why an increasing number of businesses are turning to cloud CRM to replace or extend their legacy, or “old”, CRM software. While legacy CRM systems support business processes and data management, cloud CRM leverages the new market realities of social sales, increased support channels, leaner IT departments, an increase in cloud-based knowledge and sleeker reporting and dashboards.
3. Business owners are more educated about CRM in general.
Whilst CRM purchases were once the responsibility of CTOs and CIOs, an increasing number of business leaders are actively involving themselves in the CRM selection process. A more educated and agile customer seeks features such as user friendly UI to ensure seamless adoption across the company. Technology leaders then assess CRM systems with a stronger emphasis on integration and IT architecture. This mitigates the odds of implementation failures and increases agility.
Customer experience is key
So what does this imply for business owners?
Customer experience should be your focal point . If you plan to implement or upgrade a legacy CRM solution, consider customer experience first and focus on core components that achieve it. Make sure you are supporting customers throughout their journey with internal CRM software that is seamless and efficient.
Select core CRM features that your business requires. If you’re unsure where to start, document all of the processes and tasks executed by your sales and marketing reps and every single customer touchpoint. Next, make sure your top pick CRM software can manage the end-to-end customer relationship. Avoid bloated CRM solutions with too many bells and whistles that you don’t need.
Lastly, keep an eye out for further integration capabilities. Many new CRM vendors are now offering innovative technology, modern interfaces and a mobile-first approach. So we can expect a colossal uproar and market consolidation in the near future, especially as larger CRM players align themselves to brace for the changing needs of businesses.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Anwar Shaikh is a creative, technical writer focusing on cloud computing, business intelligence, analytics, SMAC, CRM, ERP and human resource technologies. A self-made reared-up writer and poetic soul, Anwar is a wannabe cloud evangelist with great penchant for digital marketing. He is writing on behalf of Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of budget and user friendly enterprise management solutions such as CRM and ERP to small and mid-sized businesses in India. Connect with @iamandy1987 on Twitter.