When TMC’s Customer Magazine started covering the contact management space in 1982 there were precious few choices of technology to use – typically, most companies used index cards to manage their contacts. Shortly thereafter Salemaker became a wildly popular program which ran on PCs when floppy disks were the way to install software. Then Telemagic came onto the scene and took the world by storm. From the outside, much ofthe company seemed like it was run like a pack on mongooses – or is it mongeese?
In the mid to late eighties, SCO UNIX became ever so popular and Brock Control became the most popular contact management app of its day running on this platform – quickly taking share from software which ran on minicomputers from companies like IBM. All three of these companies fizzled out just before Siebel Systems came onto the scene in the nineties by popularizing the term CRM and effectively making contact management seem like it was a legacy solution. Oh, and A SuperBowl ad didn't hurt. Oracle bought the company some years later and rolled up much of the CRM space and then Salesforce.com came out with a cloud-based architecture which differentiated the company from the rest of the field.
This is a dramatic simplification of the market but the point you should take away is that contact management and CRM is a dynamic market with new players eclipsing old ones almost constantly.
And that’s all I could think about when I spoke with Pipeliner CEO Niklaus Kimla as he told me how his company’s CRM system is designed by salespeople for salespeople. It is written in Adobe Air – it is cloud-based but also works when the data connection has slowdowns and other issues. It is graphical and it was built to work with social.
It is also target-based so salespeople can see where they are relative to where they need to be.They can also graphically see the buying team in a target company – the reports and the dotted lines between buying teams.
Kimla thinks his solution is a disruptive game changer and “CRM sucks for sales,” he exclaimed. He finally explained that salespeople are entrepreneurs and they are generally not treated as such. He believes that his company’s software can help salespeople improve and more importantly allow them to collaborate to close sales more successfully as a team. In other words by pairing strong closers with lead gatherers.
He showed me the company’s latest update featuring what they call Timeframe which is designed to track pipeline velocity. In addition it is designed to better integrate marketing and sales. The new release also allows mass-updates or the ability to update multiple records simultaneously. There is tighter integration with Microsoft Office and with numerous cloud and marketing platforms such as Google Drive, Hubspot, Constant Contact and more.
Kimla was certainly enthusiastic about his company’s prospects in the space and spoke at length off-the-record of the company’s many successes competing with other established CRM players.
It will be fascinating to watch how the company does over time and if it becomes the household name in the CRM space in the future.