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A brief history of CRM

We are living in an incredible world. A lot of great things are created and the number of inventions will never stop.Thanks to that we have a modern and confortable life. But have you ever wondered how things were invented?

Everything happened for a reason. So did CRM. To understand its revolution, we decided to take a closer look at the history and milestones of its development.

CRM is implied for Customer Relationship Management. It is an approach to manage company's interaction with current and potential customers. It analyzes customers' history with a company and also improves business relationships, specifically focusing on customer retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth.

1980s – Contact Management’s creation

In the 1980s, direct marketing was changing into database marketing. Developing different marketing strategies was a necessity. Thus, the term „contact management” was created. It referred to the new ways of communication outside and inside the companies. Marketing professionals started to communicate personally with customers for higher conversions. It was the early days of integrating customer information with sales strategy.

In 1986, Act! was launch as the first contact management software by Conductor Software. The company required customers to invest big money in the on-premise system, hardware & software infrastructure, Implementation cost and the Training Course.

To be careful, let read this extra info about on-premise software to know more about CRM in those early days : On-premise software is installed and runs on computers on the premises (in the building) of the person or organization using the software, rather than at a remote facility such as a server farm or cloud.

Woah, time flied and we really needed to move to the next step to get a simpler system.


1990s – Birth of Online CRM

The early nineties saw database marketing evolved into sales force automation. We now see the first true CRM framework, consolidating contact management, lead management, opportunity management and deal tracking in one over-arching CRM infrastructure.

By 1993 it’s a new company, Siebel Systems, which would dominate the shift to front-office. Siebel would be acquired by Oracle fourteen years later for $5.5 billion. 1997 saw Oracle rolling out its Oracle Sales and Marketing (OSM) as vendors shifted to the front office. By 1998 Siebel acquired Scopus to add cutting-edge call center technologies to its sales force automation. SAP entered the picture to challenge Siebel’s dominance with a more streamlined CRM format via its research and development organization, SAP Labs.


In 1999, the world witnessed the launching event of Siebel Sales Handheld – the first mobile CRM. Belong to this milestone of technology, PeopleSoft, SAP, and Oracle launched their own mobile versions as well. At this time, SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle were considered as the main vendors and took part in a really fierce competition. These big guys in CRM industry must not have been satisfied due to the unpopularity of CRM new concept. It is easy to understand anyway. Why? We all know that having a mobile device back to those time was super cool and not everyone had it.


Late 1990s – Early 2000s: Advent of Cloud CRM

Companies found in cloud services a cheaper alternative to expensive on-premise systems. In 1999, introduced the first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CRM. Initially, SaaS CRM was suitable only for small businesses. But later it scaled up to more powerful systems. Large enterprises also started using cloud software. CRMs as we know them started to emerge after year 2000 thanks toWeb 2.0 movement. Needs and requirements began to rise. The development of customer relationship management became a necessity. 

In 2004, Sugar CRM pioneered open-source enterprise systems. They were one of the first with a cloud-based version. Open-source and cloud-based has become a standard feature in the CRM industry since then. In 1980s we had on-premise system and in the year of 2004, we greatly welcomed the on-demand software which is known as SaaS (Software as a Service). No upfront costs, no IT setup, faster implementation (than on-premise system, of course!) and no maintenance hassle. All the pros can surely convince any kind of business to use Cloud CRM.



People are making a very exciting conversation about the three trends of CRM. Firstly, someone said CRM will be 100% social. And it is proved that there are a lot of companies can help you to take a comprehensive overview on social media analytics. CRM is expected to give you more than the likes and shares of the customers, from that we may get deeply detailed profile of those who are going to be our partners. Secondly, the marketers believe that social CRM will help businesses to adjust perfectly their content marketing. Right content to the right segment and in the right time, that’s how a killer business created. The age of mobile CRM is surely expected as the latest trend. You may not agree because of the old opinion of mobile CRM that it might not have every feature of a separate CRM and it’s touched-optimized. But wait one second, to rethink about what you’ve read about how fast the CRM industry has changed. If you want it to be perfect then it will be. Nothing is impossible.