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The Big 5 Cloud Based CRM 'Challengers.  Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at two dominating Big Beasts, whilst in this blog we focus on the Market Challengers. These are systems targeting the 5 to 50 User market but which have sufficient depth of functionality and mobile access to support sales and marketing teams and are able to provide the necessary business reporting analytics needed for a mid-sized corporate running sales and marketing teams of typically 5-25 users.

Let’s start with…


Available as a Cloud model ever since CRMC became an accredited Partner in 2004, Sage is available as an on-premise solution or via the cloud as There are two editions-Standard and Advanced but in the Cloud, these editions are known as Essentials andProfessional.

Entry pricing ranges from £20 for Essentials to £50 for Professional Edition per named User per month. These can be purchased on a monthly basis. Another differentiator is the ability to have Concurrent licencing and this makes Sage an attractive and easy to deploy system as both a Cloud based CRM and on-premise.

My belief is that this application offers one of the best value propositions for a full blown system which won’t break the bank and is an easy to use system.

As with the Lion, it is well known, but can be easily overlooked by the other Two Big Beasts,but still has a big bite out of this market. With over 15,000 deployments worldwide, Sage is definitely worth considering and in our experience where it is a good fit it will stay the course.

Next, we have a sales focussed application which is gaining market share rapidly and in our view becoming a serious rival to the Big Beasts in the mid-market for sales and marketing teams.

Pipeliner CRM

We have chosen the Leopard to reflect Pipeliner CRM, since it is an agile application and with a number of major releases in 2015 and an impressive road map is rapidly now gaining ground amongst sales teams.

An easy to use tool with an innovative highly visual approach, enabling easy adoption by sales teams and as you would expect, focussing on achieving and managing your Sales Pipeline. This is still one of the to 10 main factors in choosing a Customer RelationshipManagement system. There are a host of add-on integrations which can expand core functionality.

As a Market Challenger, it works with both Google e-mail and MS Outlook, nowadays a key consideration in the SME market. In my opinion, definitely one to watch and we became an accredited partner earlier this year.

As a pure Cloud application with mobile access and with offline access, include in your list especially if you sales team is needing to focus on sales pipeline. There is one edition for the £25 per user per month, billed annually fee. New “Insights” functionality gives senior management strong visual analytics to salesman and cross-team performance….one to consider.

This brings us to our final Big 5 Cloud application...


I have compared Zoho to the Cape Buffalo as it is a large animal and like some of the other applications has a whole range of extra editions and add-on modules which whilst impressive, need to be managed. Zoho has been in the UK a few years and we come across it quite often, although whilst it has an attractive price point and indeed a free edition, this is also symptomatic of its target market and in our experience, tends to be used by smaller teams of less than 15 users.

However, it is an attractive offering and the popular Professional Edition is around £15 per user per month. Nowadays, we don’t see this as a fast moving or evolving application. Zoho adopts a modular approach, but currently for small SME’s it is worth considering and there is a free edition available with limited funtionality..

Whilst we don’t resell , we have worked with a Strategic Partner and have a good working knowledge of where Zoho will fits well and indeed, have recommended this to clients.


We firmly believe that the key to matching any of these applications to your business is by first holding a Workshop where your key stakeholders, mentored and coached by an CRMC  consultant can identify and document your requirements prior to any final decision taking place.

These then are our Big Five Beasts and whilst space precludes going into too much detail on“What we Like” and “What we don’t Like” about each application, we have an ebookdownload on “The Big Five" which delves deeper into these applications together with giving you more insight into likely deployment costs and allowances for professional services. This ebook should enable you to estimate your own Cost of Ownership comparisons.

Download The Big Five Cloud Based CRM eBook

by Gary Perkins

25th November 2015