Customer Relationship Management software is very popular in the world today. They are used virtually across all service domains in the world. This makes them an essential technology which is also driving the innovation in the market.
Despite that, not a whole lot of people know how CRM software actually came into existence. So, we thought we would write up a detailed history of the evolution of CRM. Read on to know how far this software type has come and what lies ahead:
5 Step-by-Step Evolution of CRM Software
1. 1950s to 1970s: Mainframe Solutions Emerge
Not many people will believe that CRMs were first developed as early as the 1950s. These were more broadly called Mainframe Solutions back then and contained only the most basic of functions. IBM and seven other companies called the “Seven Dwarves”. The most notable of these were NCR, GE, UNIVAS, etc.
After a while, the market was later largely taken over by IBM which dominated until the new wave of CRM tech emerged in the market. This was also the time when the industry-term “Helpdesk” was coined by IBM. This term is still in use now and is a major part of CRM software across the world.
Over the span of the two decades, the technology moved to the digital domain. This allowed for better searches of client directories and retrieving information as and when required. RDBMS were created around the same time and the technology was integrated to improve database management. This laid the customer contact base for all future CRM software and allowed a much need escalation in selling activities.
There was not much movement across the CRM market during this time. Although the technologies which emerged in this era did lay down the foundation for CRM software worldwide. From the next decade on, the speed of the software and technology development in the market increased in momentum.
2. 1980s: Database Marketing
The biggest increase in the development of CRM software came in the mid 1980 when companies figured out DBMS can combine with marketing. Using direct marketing technologies including calling, companies were really able to use database technologies to further develop themselves.
Database marketing took off big time after that since the entire process was optimized. This led to higher conversions and achievements across major market domains. The process development led to even more innovation in sales strategies furthered conversion ratios.
Coming towards the end of the decade, there was a lot of innovation within CRMs itself. Companies began to integrate various operations like marketing, accounting, and customer service into the software. This led to much more holistic development of all kinds of CRM functions.
Naturally, the scope of operations through the software exceeded its original intent and that led to mass popularization of the software. Insurance firms and banking concerns were the first to pick up on these new CRM software version.
The popular term for CRM was contact management software, During this period, there was a spur of investment in the market for IT services. This investment was signalling the future of business with a strong focus on tech-based business practices. The popularization of CRM also gave way to managing clients and contacting them across major markets. These included healthcare, product retail and public utility works.
3. 1990s: CRMs Lead to ERPs
The early 1990s was another major momentum forward for CRM software. Siebel was the first major name in the market to launch a dedicated CRM software product. It was developed to cater to businesses of all sizes and were meant to compete with ERPs.
In fact, the reason why companies began demanding CRMs with greater ERP functions is because they did not need a big software. That is why CRMs began integrating multiple other functions to cater to a broader market. This feature expansion was later given the term Sales Force Automation.
Once the CRMs began integrating ERP functions, they grew rapidly. Siebel came out with a mobile CRM option for large corporations in 1999. This software was later purchased by Oracle which was among the few other companies like PeopleSoft and SAP to launch mobile CRMs.
However, CRMs on mobile platforms lacked the versatility required for sufficient performance. So, they were not so well received and eventually fell into disfavour. In the same year, another major player in the market, Salesforce, introduced the world’s first cloud-based CRM solution.
The market was now heating up for CRM solutions and the demand was rising. Custom CRM options began emerging and the broader economy began addressing software-based business management more seriously.
4. 2000s: CRMs Gain Superspeed
CRMs really entered the big time in the early 2000s. There was a lot of interest being generated and multiple companies were showing interest in developing the software category. Specialization eventually became part of the mainstream momentum and dedicated CRM solutions became part of the process. This meant a lot of experimentation but also a lot of innovation which led to CRMs being adopted by many more industries.
One of the most well-known books on CRMs was launched in the early 2000s. Paul Greenberg’s CRM at the Speed of Light generated a lot of interest in the software even beyond the business domain. Another major milestone in the history CRMs came when Microsoft Dynamics launched in 2003. Microsoft merged its legacy systems with CRMs and enhance its operability. This initiated one of the first globally known tech businesses entering the CRM market and many other international names followed suit.
2003 saw another major advancement in marketing automation. This field was also growing along with CRMs and really came to the fore in the new century. Infusionsoft and Mailchimp became prominent newcomers in the field. Meanwhile, Helpdesk functions were expanded to Support Centres where client issues could be resolved.
All these efforts translated into the CRM market gaining more momentum than ever before. Specializations started emerging even faster as the decade closed out while new innovations came to the front of the pack. Naturally, CRMs entered a new dimension with smartphones and other tools on hand.
Some key movements in this decade for CRMs included Amazon’s EC2/ S3, Salesforce allowing web CRM customization and Zendesk beginning operations. During the last years of the decade, the CRM market became more interactive. Nimble was launched in 2009 and dedicated customer service system Desk.com was launched around the same time.
5. Present Day and Future: CRMs Moving Forward
CRMs have come a long way in the 2010s and now that the decade is closing out, there is much more expected in the market. Cloud and SaaS-based CRMs have become far more popular now since they allow companies to get CRM functions without major investments.
Social media has become an increasing part of CRMs. This has allowed companies to cater to major aspects of business operations like sales, marketing and service orientation. Another aspect of CRM development has focussed on making software more compatible and accessible.
At present, the industry development is focussed on social media integration, content promotion and marketing and mobile-compatibility. All three of these will greatly enhance the prospects of CRMs moving forward and extend their functionality moving forward. They will also open up doors for other kinds of functioning enhancements which will become more pertinent as the market expands.
AI is also creating a lot of buzz in the market since it will help in automating all kinds of CRM functions. As companies strive to optimize their work processes, inbuilt chatboxes and other tools can step in to do manual tasks. Notifications on both client and user side can be a great benefit and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Where Can You Get the Best CRM for Businesses?
TutterflyCRM is one of the best and most effective CRMs in the world. It has a wide range of functions and features which make it ideal for all kinds of travel businesses. It has been designed specifically to cater to travel businesses but it also has all the tools any company needs. This means it can work with smaller as well as larger businesses.
TutterflyCRM delivers a stunning performance since it is based on the SaaS model. You simply need to open your browser and access your account. It can host multiple accounts and has a specific feature which makes working on it very easy. Users can quickly adapt to the settings and they are customizable as well which makes working on the CRM a very comfortable process.
In short, TutterflyCRM is a great software for your business. Its combination of SaaS-based functioning means you do not have to pay for any purchase. All you have to do is make your subscription payment and get o using. You can also ensure your client data is secured correctly on our online database services. This gives you business a lot of freedom and mobility. So, whether you are a startup or SMEs or even larger business, TutterflyCRM can serve your well. Contact us now!