A buyer's guide to choosing the right CRM product

Last updated:January 2016

Editor's note

With today's ultracompetitive market, companies can't afford to lag behind when it comes to managing their interactions with current and prospective customers. And as a general rule, it's easier to sell to existing customers than it is to find new ones. To help create repeatable, consistent customer engagement strategies, organizations are turning to CRM systems.

CRM products and strategies play an increasingly important role in the success of most, if not all, organizations today. They address the growing demands in the areas of marketing automation, sales automation and customer service. Whether you need to identify potential customers, analyze social media data or align the sales and buying processes, CRM systems play a major role in the overall customer lifecycle.

So, how do know which CRM product is right for your organization? This buyer's guide sets the stage by identifying the different types of CRM products and what each does. Next, we help you identify your needs and the issues you're trying to solve by delving into how other organizations use CRM systems. We examine the items central to the decision-making process, such as features, functionality, application delivery, software support and pricing.

To help you further narrow down your list of potential CRM products, this guide also evaluates CRM tools from 11 of the market-leading vendors. This information will help you invest in an extensible, scalable platform that will grow with your organization.

1The benefits of buying a CRM product

Learn how other companies are implementing CRM to address a variety of customer engagement issues, including finding, catching and retaining good customers.

2Criteria for buying the right CRM product

Selecting the CRM product that's right for your organization involves identifying your must-have features and functionality as well as other key factors such as method of application delivery, available support and pricing.

3Choosing the right CRM product

We've simplified your selection process by examining the top 11 CRM products based on functionally as well as delivery methods, upgrade cycles, service options and pricing models.

4CRM products from the market leaders

This section provides overviews of the top CRM products by comparing the strengths and weaknesses of both on-premises and cloud-based offerings from the top 11 vendors.