We’re at the end of web-based SaaS CRMs. It’s old news. There are “me-too” products everywhere all offering a variation of what each do. The CRM market – despite recent tremors being made with social – is in need of innovation.
I predict a riot. A joined up, interconnected riot.
Whilst APIs and integration has been around for a long time companies like Zapier are getting a lot of traction because they get SaaS tools talking to one another. Similarly, Google Apps and now Microsoft’s 365 are open and lend themselves to more standards-based integration. Application developers from accounting packages to ERP are also shipping their apps with an API as standard and oAuth 2.0 is making it easier to authenticate systems.
The case for purchasing a business system that does it all is becoming weaker. The smarter move is finding the tools the work best for your organisation and getting them to talk to one another.
CRM is no exception. We’ve built a sales tool for Highrise that helps Highrise customers easily manage their sales pipelines. The ease of building on top of the 37signals API makes this possible.
Likewise Contactually are integrating with many messaging services from Twitter to Google Apps and creating a system that helps their customers communicate with clients. None of this would be possible without the openness of the web.
Soon there will be CRM systems that act more like operating software than applications you log into. These systems will be everywhere the CRM users are – mobiles, tablets, social, telephone systems and so on.
The next decade of innovation will witness the death of admin tasks around keeping data up to date. From where a lead came from to the correct email address of a contact you’ve not spoken to in a while will all be maintained for you. And with integration comes data, which means insights.
The future of CRM is very much a mixture of best of breed applications talking to one another, not the compromise it is today – for both small and large businesses. There will be a new rising. After all, we need it!