Envisaged a few decades ago, the CRM industry has undergone massive changes and shakeups since its origin. Businesses, too, have come a long way in using it to drive sales and augment the overall consumer experience.
The result: CRMs have progressively changed the perception of customers, from being a faceless entity behind an account number or just another source of revenue to the individuals who have their own preferences. Yet, at the heart of the evolution of CRM, one thing that remains constant is creating sales out of the customer data. We can sum up the growth of this dynamic industry into the following phases:
1980’s: During the start of 1980’s, direct marketing was transforming into database marketing and marketers began to realise that this could translate to higher conversions.
By 1986, the first ever contact management software act was rolled out by the Conductor Software which turned out to be the Cro-Magnon of CRM.
1990’s: The term ‘Customer Relationship Management’ was first coined in 1995. The first mobile CRM was launched in 1999 by Seibel. Cloud CRM turned out to be a blessing for price conscious companies. The end of the 90’s witnessed Salesforce creating business software applications in a completely new way, to deliver software through a model known as Software-as-a-Service.
Early 2000’s: Began with dot.com bubble burst and investment in technology dried up. This was when Microsoft leveraged its Outlook and MS office to build a CRM suite, which is today, named as Microsoft Dynamics. Consequently, open-source enterprise applications were introduced, and could eventually be released with a cloud version. By 2010, the CRM model changed from transactional to relationship building model with social media strategies running in parallel to CRMs.
Going forward, CRMs will be more focused on helping customers enhance user productivity. We’ll see the coming of age of mobile CRM. With more people accessing the Internet via their smartphone than desktop, mobile CRM will be the toast of the future for sure!
The writer is founder SalezShark, a gen-next sales and marketing automation platform