For years, CRM technology has formed a crucial part of the CX stack for countless companies. Offering businesses the tools they need to track, monitor, and improve interactions with customers, CRM solutions help to cultivate brand loyalty and revenue retention.
In recent years, the power of these platforms has evolved significantly, with many market leaders introducing ever-more innovative features, from AI and machine learning, to tools for sentiment analysis. So, which vendors are paving the way for a new future in CRM innovation?
Based on a year of evaluation and monitoring, Nucleus Research developed a proprietary “CRM Technology Value Matrix” to answer this question. The matrix maps well-known vendors in the CRM space into four distinct sectors: Leader, Facilitator, Core Provider, and Expert.
Here are the companies Nucleus is watching in 2023.
The CRM Technology Leaders
The leaders in the CRM Technology Value Matrix produced by Nucleus are the companies that achieve the highest scores in terms of overall functionality, and usability. Nucleus highlighted five leaders this year: Microsoft, Creatio, Oracle, Zoho, and Sugar CRM:
- Creatio: The cloud-based Creatio CRM platform offers a variety of innovations, from artificial intelligence, to the Freedom UI solution and an updated no-code designer. Nucleus drew attention to Creatio’s intelligent lead management capabilities and powerful analytics.
- Microsoft: The Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform was chosen by Nucleus as a comprehensive solution which integrates CRM and ERP technologies. Nucleus noted Microsoft has capitalized on the use of AI throughout its platform in recent years, and has focused on equipping non-technical users with an accessible toolkit.
- Oracle: The Oracle CRM suite is a fully modular solution, ideal for all customer-facing processes. Nucleus celebrated the solution for its extensive third-party and enterprise data network, and commended Oracle for offering solutions that span the entire enterprise.
- SugarCRM: SugarCRM’s product suite earned a leadership position in the value matrix for its versatility and flexibility. The platform offers a range of pricing and deployment options, as well as modular tools for forecasting, reporting, opportunity management and more. SugarCRM also has an extensive third-party marketplace for integrations.
- Zoho: Zoho stood out as a leader to Nucleus for its wide range of SaaS applications, and innovative capabilities, including automation, and opportunity analysis. Zoho received the highest score overall for usability in the 2023 CRM value matrix.
The CRM Experts
Experts in the CRM Value Matrix are defined by exceptional functionality, but a potentially lower level of usability. This year’s experts included Salesforce, X2Engine, SAP, and NexJ:
- NexJ: NexJ’s tailored CRM solutions primarily target the financial landscape. Nucleus applauded the customizability of the NexJ platform, as well as the advanced Nudge AI suite, which includes access to three digital assistants, to drive better business decisions.
- Salesforce: The Salesforce Customer 360 platform helped Salesforce to stand out as an expert in this year’s value matrix. The unified cloud platform was commended for its exceptional range of tools, embedded AI, and the ability to access partner solutions via AppExchange.
- SAP: The SAP C/4HANA suite was chosen as an expert solution by Nucleus, thanks to its broad range of services, which offer companies a unified solution for enhancing employee and organizational efficiency, while strengthening customer experiences.
- X2Engine: Nucleus commended X2Engine for its customizable suite of CX tools, which include a customizable CRM, rapid prototyping capabilities, and marketing automation tools. Notably, Nucleus noted that X2Engine’s solutions, when used together deliver a truly transformational business solution, capable of end-to-end automation.
The CRM Facilitators
Facilitators in the CRM Technology Value Matrix are companies who focus heavily on usability, but may not provide the same level of overall functionality as leaders or experts. This year’s facilitators were Acumatica, HubSpot, Keap and Zendesk:
- Acumatica: With a combined suite of CRM and ERP tools, Acumatica offers companies access to excellent visibility, and insights into customer behavior. The AI and machine learning capabilities improve employee experience, while customers benefit from the unique ability to align CRM and ERP data when making business decisions.
- HubSpot: Nucleus applauded the variety of powerful tools created by HubSpot to assist businesses with enhancing customer retention and loyalty. According to Nucleus, the HubSpot solutions reduce friction for customers and internal teams alike, and even allow staff members to create customized workflows to boost workplace efficiency.
- Keap: The Keap CRM platform stood out as a facilitator for Nucleus this year, with an easy-to-adopt interface, with end-to-end reporting, dashboards, and convenient AI systems. Keap abilities can also be accessed using a mobile app, making it ideal for mobile teams.
- Zendesk: According to Nucleus, Zendesk invested in a series of improvements and updates to its CRM solution over the last year, which enhanced usability. New updates include everything from pre-built integration services, to routing and intelligence features, and boosted messaging capabilities.
The CRM Core Providers
Finally, Nucleus identifies CRM core providers as companies capable of offering a good level of both usability and functionality for basic business needs. These companies may not be as innovative as the leaders in the matrix, but their CRM technology still serves various use cases. This year’s two core providers were Pegasystems and Maximizer Software:
- Maximizer Software: Nucleus commended Maximizer Software’s verticalized approach to CRM, which ensures business leaders can leverage the exact tools they need, specific to their industries. Customers appreciate the platform’s broad, sophisticated functionality, and the low barriers to adoption for new users.
- Pegasystems: The low-code CRM platform provided by Pegasystems was recognized by Nucleus Research as an easy-to-use and intuitive tool for workflow automations, business monitoring, and AI analytics. Pega has announced various expansions to its AI capabilities in the last year, which could assist the company in moving upwards on the value matrix.
The Current CRM Technology Market
According to Nucleus Research, the CRM technology market is evolving rapidly, with the introduction of countless new tools from innovative vendors, all driving better functionality and usability for businesses. The report offers a useful snapshot view of the CRM market, informing customers about the specific values and benefits each vendor can offer.