About This Constellation ShortList™
This Constellation ShortList focuses on solutions that extend beyond the core sales force automation (SFA) competencies (e.g., lead, contact, account, opportunity tracking) to extensibility, scalability, product vision and solutions that help with organizational usage and adoption. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data enrichment and new productivity tools make this an exciting inflection point in the space.
One major challenge with SFA solutions has long been ensuring that the system is adopted and used appropriately by sales teams. Incorporating account analytics and insights that directly benefit salespeople has improved adoption rates. So have mobile solutions and interactive digital assistants that reduce manual data entry.
Data flows and inconsistencies between SFA and other major systems such as marketing automation and customer service represent another big issue for many organizations. Some vendors have built integrated systems across all three areas from the ground up, avoiding such challenges. These solutions have largely focused on SMBs but are beginning to gain traction with larger enterprises.
Across the board, SFA vendors have begun to introduce intuitive drag-and-drop tools to create and automate customer workflows quickly and easily.
Constellation considers the following criteria for these offerings:
- Ease of use, user interface
- Ability to track prospects and customers through sales cycle
- Marketing integration for full prospect engagement visibility
- Customer support visibility and management post-sale
- Extensibility through ecosystem of third-party integration apps
- Productivity tools and extensions to increase usage and adoption
- Focus on mobility and collaboration
- Advanced analytics and role-based reporting
- Product roadmap and vision
- Pricing packages
- Post-sale support and community
The Constellation ShortList™
Constellation evaluates over 70 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. Constellation also considered client company size and marketing resources to recommend solutions suitable for enterprises and small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs).
The enterprise category is defined as companies with a broad geographical reach, multiple lines of business and/or over 5,000 employees. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide application and services without bundling into another platform:
- Infor CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Oracle Engagement Cloud
- Salesforce Sales Cloud
SMBs have limited resources and budget, which is factored into the selection criteria. As SMBs grow,
the solution needs the ability to scale accordingly. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:
- Creatio (formerly bpm'online)
- Zendesk Sell
- Zoho CRM Plus
Frequency of Evaluation
Each Constellation ShortList will be updated once per year. There could be an update after six months, should the analyst deem it necessary.
Constellation clients can work with the analyst and research team to conduct a more thorough discussion of this Constellation ShortList. Constellation can also provide guidance in vendor selection and contract negotiation.