A Quick Analysis of Level One, Level Two and Level Three CRM Software Providers

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While some CRM solution providers try to be all things to all people most of the popular CRM programs are designed and targeted at a specific market segment. I have labeled these by Tier. See below:

Tier 1 – Enterprise Level CRM Providers

While targeted primarily at the Fortune 1000 companies, CRM software providers in this category traditionally have a few things in common.

  • They offer comprehensive functionality covering all aspects of front office business operations for account management, sales, leads, marketing and customer service
  • They have a highly scalable platforms that support several thousand users
  • They support multiple languages and multi-currency
  • They offer application programming interfaces or API’s that enable disparate system integration
  • They offer best in class hosting or cloud computing services
  • They offer a High level of customizability and good customer support
  • There are many third party packages that may be integrated with these CRM programs.

Companies in this category include Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and Salesforce.com

Tier 2 – Mid-Market CRM Providers

Mid-market CRM providers offer  good functionality that often rivals that of enterprise level systems, but typically do not support multi-language or muti-currency although some do.  The top rated Tier 2 providers offer the following:

  • Good functionality with strong focus on account and contact management, e-mail integration, sales and lead management .  Some offer customer support or help desk and project management as well.
  • Robust scalable platforms that support hundreds of users vs. thousands like enterprise level programs. Very good customer support
  • May support multi-currencies, but typically not multiple languages
  • Several offer the best in class hosting or cloud computing services, same as the enterprise players
  • Fairly customizable with minimal programmer intervention in most solutions
  • Some third party package integrations are available

The most popular companies in this category include:  Commence CRM, Microsoft CRM, Sage – (mostly in Europe), Salesforce.com and SugarCRM

Tier 3 – Small Business CRM Providers

If basic contact management, e-mail and a sales forecast is all you require, there are several good inexpensive small business CRM solutions to choose from.  Don’t expect however to get advanced  level functionality such as security permissions, robust reporting, or automated workflow. Customization is often limited to adding a few custom fields if at all. Most small business CRM solutions offer:

  • Weak functionality as compared to mid-tier CRM offerings
  • Non scalable platforms that will not perform well with large data sets or larger number of users
  • Customer support limited primarily to e-mail
  • Rare support for multi-currencies or multiple languages
  • Second or third tier hosting or cloud based services
  • Minimal customization if any

Companies targeting this sector include: Zoho, Highrise & Avidian.

5 thoughts on “A Quick Analysis of Level One, Level Two and Level Three CRM Software Providers

  1. […] Providers of CRM Software sure have a challenge on their hands. At last count there were more than 400 companies claiming to offer CRM systems across both horizontal and vertical industries. Of course many of them service a specific industry segment such as enterprise offerings, middle market systems and small business CRM, so not all 400 are competing with each other. But the question is how can all of these companies survive in this highly competitive market? The answer is they can’t. As a potential buyer of CRM software it is important to do some research about the CRM solution provider you are interested in. But this does not mean you should only select the most popular name or company out of fear. In fact, some of the most popular names may not have the best solution or the right one for your business. Microsoft for example is known by everyone, but their CRM solution has been known to lag behind several other pure play CRM providers such as Salesforce.com, Sugar and Commence CRM, all of which are high quality stable companies with very good products. […]

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