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October 27, 2015 Business Technologies

The Top Five CRM Trends of 2015

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By Sonja Fridell

CRM is a copycat industry and 2015 was no different. Each vendor is constantly looking at industry trends, and feature sets are becoming more and more similar. So who are the trendsetters? We are going to look at five creative ways different CRM companies are finding a niche or setting new trends in 2015.

Top Five CRM ‘Trends’ of 2015 and the Trendsetters behind them –

1. The rise of GUI (Graphical User Interface) as a household name (Salesforce) – No CRM company in 2015 wants to be seen as having an older interface. Some folks like the way traditional CRM platforms work (something like Act! CRM), but there is an overarching trend of companies creating smoother, more modern GUIs.

Salesforce is leading (at least publicity-wise) with the launch of Salesforce Lightning. It is true that other platforms have similar interfaces, but what is most impressive is that Salesforce is giving the option to completely overhaul the graphical user interface with the click of a button. If you don’t like it, you can also go back to their traditional view.

Salesforce Lightning GUI

2. Workflow automation and BPM as an effective means of revenue growth (bpm’online, SugarCRM) – Building out, automating and implementing process is a hot topic in 2015. BPM, or Business Process Managment Technology from companies like Processmaker is making its way into multiple CRM platforms. Workflows automate process and kick off certain behaviors in your CRM based on triggers and data requirements. Automation allows you to increase revenue by decreasing the demand for increased human capital.

So who is setting a trend in BPM and why is it important? The latest member of the 2015 mid-sized CRM top performers is bpm’online, a CRM built entirely on a BPM framework. bpm’online includes world-class workflow tools, but is different in that it is a true competitor of other CRM platforms like Salesforce. In fact, bpm’online has built a GUI almost exactly like Salesforce Lightning, far before Salesforce actually created their new GUI, Lightning.

bpm’online screenshot – automating email campaigns

3. Continuing growth of cloud computing and the commoditization of CRM (Prosperworks) – The fastest growing CRM of all time is Prosperworks, which was launched in March of 2015 as an all-Google-Apps CRM. Prosperworks is truly attacking the CRM vertical full of prospects not only looking for a sleek, easy-to-setup solution — but also across the generational gap.

A rapid trend in CRM vendors is designing products to appeal to businesses started by millennials and alike. Anyone who is heavily invested in tools like Google Apps for Business will make extremely fast ROI with a tool like Prosperworks. As far as commoditization is concerned, we are seeing vendors like Prosperworks push the positives of intuitive software — including not having to pay consultants to set up and customize their interface.

Prosperworks on the Google Apps Store

4. Building an all-in-one platform that doesn’t suck (NetSuite) – Integrations are so 2014. Many companies are pushing all-in-one platforms at some level. Many ERP-first systems, like NetSuite, haven’t had CRM functionality that matches a best of breed system. NetSuite has recognized this and has allowed more integrations to marketing platforms and better CRM workflow capacity to maximize the value of an all-in-one platform.

NetSuite is not the only company really pushing all-in-one, but they are certainly setting the trend. More and more, you see CRM companies combining things like marketing, sales and customer service into one platform to create the perception of an all-in-one platform. Creating a hierarchy of interconnected systems is being perceived as having much higher value.


5. CRM execs turned rockstar (Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite) – Larry Ellison almost broke the internet when he stepped down as Oracle’s CEO last October, but since then, CRM execs have made a trend of turning into quasi rock stars for the first time in 2015. You can find the CEO of NetSuite, Zach Nelson, at the aptly named Oracle arena to watch his beloved San Francisco Warriors on any given night.

In February of 2015, Ellison hosted president Obama for a golf tournament. The publicity between the rivalry of Salesforce’s CEO, Mark Benioff and Ellison is well publicized. Ellison triumphantly claimed that Oracle was growing faster than Salesforce and Workday at the companies yearly conference on October 25th.

Image: Susan Nunziata

The End Result – Comparing CRM:

At BrainSell we partner with just about as many CRM vendors as any other partner. To reflect on the recent trends in the CRM industy, feel free to download our Top-10 CRM Comparison Guide:


About the Author:

JordanFraczekJordan Fraczek is the Marketing Manager at BrainSell with over 6 years of experience surrounding the CRM and marketing automation industry. He currently resides in Cambridge, MA.

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Sonja Fridell

Sonja is very active in architecting CRM, ERP and marketing automation solutions for clients across North America. As an ex-journalist, she is adept at exploring a client’s needs and coming up with cutting edge, elegant solutions that fit, drive adoption, and create real results.

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