Few software systems have had histories as short and as rapidly changing as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. For example, ERP software solutions can trace back their history into the 60’s. With the predecessor of the modern CRM not picking up steam until the late 80’s, the modern CRM solution we see today certainly has come a long way fast.
Stage 1: Origins
The origins of modern CRM software date back to the mid 80’s when direct marketing evolved into database marketing. This change meant that companies began sending more personalized marketing messages and building bigger campaigns because the contacts were more efficiently organized and accessible in the database. This newfound efficiency lead to a higher emphasis on using statistical analysis of customer behavior to better reach out to consumers.
Stage 2: Expansion
The 90’s ushered in explosive growth with the advent of PC’s and server/client architecture. These and other advances allowed for the development of SFA (Sales Force Automation). SFA allowed companies to automate their database marketing saving significant time, effort, and cost. Soon after, broader suites including sales, service, and marketing applications became the standard. This essentially turned SFA into CRM software. Near the end of the decade, e-CRM vendors emerged and quickly took off. They used advancements in technology to develop intra-organizational collaboration using the internet, intranet, and extranet.
Stage 3: Development of Modern CRM
CRM vendors took a huge hit in the early 00’s with the failure of the dot-com bubble. But the innovation that came out of the decade, which included a cloud deployment, mobile solutions, and more offsite storage capability, was more than enough to recover from the hit. Paired with the success of various other industries, the annual CRM sales in 2007 was 18 times that of 1997.
As more companies look to expand and more startups look to grow in 2019, it certainly seems like the need and demand for a strong CRM solution will only increase. With the ever-changing world of technology showing no signs of slowing down either, it appears that the future of CRM software is linked closely with adapting to or integrating with new technologies as they are introduced. And from there, using these advances to better serve their potential buyers.