What you are seeing in the image below is the marketing technology landscape for 2020(!) There are 8000 companies, mostly SaaS, trying to help generate more money from customers.
If we look into the industry’s solutions, we can see a big leap in three major areas:
Marketing automation is a big thing, from social campaigns to lead generation and automation. Today’s tools let you track an anonymous visitor on a landing page and measure all her/his action on your website with a scoring mechanism to optimize the sale opportunity and even predict what is the right moment to engage a sell offer. With the growth of eCommerce over traditional physical stores the impact is clearly shown in the number of marketing services. The amount of solutions is so vast that it is hard to point here the best solution, but I will take a chance here to introduce you to Mautic which is an open-source platform with very high capabilities and great supporting community. You can explore more solutions at the Customer service automation guide that we will update from time to time.
CRM platforms and sales management tools
The big change in the industry accrued when Salesforce introduced a new SaaS CRM to the world in 1999. It was a huge change as companies no longer needed to buy very expensive software and manage their customers on expensive data centers (I remember the days when I managed a small center with Alpha computer running Unix). This change made life much more simple at the beginning and evolved much further to today’s solutions such as Hubspot, Pipedrive and many more. Actually, there are so many solutions these days, each one is very good at a specific task, it makes it harder to know what is the right solution for your company. So if you have good tips and experience from a specific tool, please share in the comments.
The new companies’ approach in customer support and the big change in omnichannel communication, brought new and better solutions. For good several years, the CRM platforms were good enough to handle the customer relations and ticket any event within CRM. It was common when most communications were handled over the phone or mails. In 2011 Facebook released its messenger and changed the game again. Solutions have evolved with great live chat solutions like Intercom to a full help-desk solution by Zendesk and Freshdesk. Communication moved with the millennials to chat channels and companies needed to adjust and talk with their customers on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, webchat client, “the super app” – Wechat, email, and SMS. It was very natural for companies in this segment to evolve as the need increased.
The landscape is evolving and changing rapidly. New solutions are being introduced to adapt to the customers’ eco-system. Try not to tie yourself to a solution you can’t replace or upgrade quickly. Make sure you can use a solution that you owe the data and migrate easily. Check how a service can connect and integrate with others (A great solution for connecting different services with automation is Integromat). DO NOT USE tools with poor analytics.