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Imagine if the world of business apps was the fictional land of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series/HBO mega-hit, Game of Thrones. In this psuedo-world populated by cloud-apps, CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) would definitely rule as the noble houses of Westeros.
Not only do CRM apps represent some of the oldest cloud applications in the real SaaS world, but as a collective, they’ve also got some of the most successful and influential products in the industry. And, much like the battle for the Iron Throne, CRM heavy hitters are constantly battling for top spot on lists like GetRank to be the #1 CRM in all the land.
As in Game of Thrones, it’s an ongoing battle, and so we thought: what better way to put these competitors into perspective than by comparing some of the top CRM apps to the noble houses of Westeros?
Who knows, maybe it’ll even help you decide which CRM to pledge your devotion to.
[Spoiler alert: If you haven’t caught up with season five, there may be some giveaways.]
Salesforce Sales Cloud (Lannisters)
Salesforce’s motto: “The customer success platform”
Lannister’s motto: “Hear Me Roar!”
Much like the Lannisters, Salesforce always pays its debts– it’s the global leader in CRM and the highest valued cloud-computing company in the US, yet hasn’t turned a profit since 1999. Still, as a dominant force in the SaaS industry, Salesforce was valued at $50 billion in 2015, making it a dead-ringer for the uber wealthy Lannister clan.
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Having founded the company in the hopes of completely killing off traditional desktop software, CEO Marc Benioff is like the slayer of software, helping to revolutionize the use of cloud apps and introduce the SaaS model for software delivery to businesses.
Sixteen years may not seem like a historical legacy, but it’s still one of the oldest companies in the SaaS industry. Having expanded its lands beyond CRM to include marketing and analytics tools (among others), Salesforce is not one to shy away from buying up competitors with some extra coin: its latest acquisition was Tempo AI, a smart calendar app for iOS.
Relate IQ’s motto: “The Smarter, Simpler CRM”
Tyrell’s motto: “Growing Strong”
The Lannisters may not have the closest allies in Westeros (actually, almost everyone despises them), but just as the marriage between Margaery and Joffrey (and later Tommen) sealed the allegiance between the Tyrells and the Lannisters, RelateIQ sealed its allegiance when it was acquired by superpower Salesforce in 2014. Like the Tyrells, RelateIQ went with the safest option by merging with one of the biggest forces in cloud computing.
A small company with humble beginnings, RelateIQ is known for its ability to analyze and pull data and interactions from email communications and other sources and automatically record it in its CRM.
Think of the process almost like Tyrell family matriarch Olenna, who gathers info from all different corners in order to do what’s best for her family, or in this case, your clients. What’s best is that it includes automatic reminders that can notify the sales team when to send out follow-up emails to clients.
Nimble’s motto: “Social Selling, Made Easy”
Targaryen motto: “Fire and Blood”
If Salesforce are the Lannisters, then Nimble is the dethroned house Targaryen. As one of the pioneers of CRM, CEO Jon Ferrara claims the rightful throne for Nimble; he worked to help develop one of the first CRMs to ever hit the market with GoldMine Software. Since then, Ferrara has developed a modern and innovative CRM with Nimble, launched in 2009.
Despite not being as monolithic as Salesforce, Nimble has its fair share of loyal followers, and like Daenerys conquering southern cities, Nimble aims to bring all aspects of CRM under one umbrella: contacts, calendars, communication, and collaboration. With more and more functions on its side, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Zoho CRM (Starks)
Zoho CRM’s motto: “Close more deals in less time”
Starks’ motto: “Winter is coming”
If there’s one word to describe the Starks, its honorable – and if refusing an offer to be bought by the all-powerful Salesforce in 2008 is anything, it’s that. This is precisely why Zoho CRM, part of Zoho Corporation, is reminiscent of the Starks: sticking to its word and its loyal followers, and, like the Stark clan, not afraid to back down from the big dogs (or lions). Also like the Starks, Zoho has been around for quite a long time, having formed in 1996 as an early software company.
In terms of reach, The Starks and their surviving family members are spread out all over the place. Similarly, Zoho’s got its hand on lots of products spread out across the SaaS world ranging from CRM and email marketing, to accounting and recruitment.
Pipeliner CRM (Baratheon)
Pipeliner motto: “Visual CRM for Sales”
Baratheon motto: “Ours is the Fury”
Like the Baratheons, Pipeliner is one of the younger CRMs of the bunch, having been founded in 2009. Still, it didn’t come without a lot of work– eight years in the making to be exact.
The current generation of battling Baratheons have been left with Stannis as the head of the house and the Lord of Dragonstone, with the hopes to reclaim his rightful place in King’s Landing. Just like Stannis’ claim to the throne is rooted in principle as the rightful heir to his deceased brother King Robert, Pipeliner is rooted in economic principles in order to achieve customer success for its clients.
In order to reclaim the throne, Stannis has taken an unconventional route with the help of Melisandre, a woman who uses magical powers to help Stannis’ cause. While Pipeliner doesn’t use magical powers, it does take the fiery, unconventional route in it’s approach to CRM, being touted as the ‘Visual CRM’ to present the sales pipeline in a way that’s more visually appealing.
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Who will take the throne?
Like the still unfinished series, it’s impossible to know who’ll make it out as SaaS king (or queen) of CRM. Salesforce is quite a force to be reckoned with, and while they may not be on the brink of destruction like the Lannisters are, the revolving wheel of power means that everyone, app or household, won’t stop battling for the top spot.
Can Nimble make it across the narrow sea and claim back its rightful spot on the throne? Will Pipeliner be able to take back the North and make its way to King’s Landing? Only time will tell.