In a declaration published in The Wall Street Journal today, over 200 companies united to declare that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are no longer enough for the digital era.
The Platform of Independents is led by Segment and a group of nine other independent software companies, united to set a new standard for marketing and business technology. The Platform is comprised of Segment, Airship, Amplitude, Drift, Iterable, Mixpanel, Outreach, Pendo, Radar, and Tray.io, as well as over 190 co-signatory companies.
Together, they believe that companies should never be locked into CRM suites, and that building better products, respecting customer privacy, and making smarter business decisions requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach to their technology stacks.
New Demands in the Digital Era
In the digital economy, companies are now expected to have a consistent understanding of their customers so they can provide seamless, contextualized experiences across every channel.
Businesses have to deal with potentially hundreds of customer touchpoints, yet in companies anchored to CRM, sales teams still have to manually enter customer information, resulting in human error, wasted working hours, and a fragmented or incomplete customer view. CRM software is also inflexible, forcing IT to choose between purchasing a one-size-fits-all cloud suite or building dozens of costly, time-consuming integrations.
To try and fix this problem, legacy CRM vendors have spent more than $30 billion in the last two years acquiring new applications and technologies. But in an open letter published alongside today’s declaration, Segment CEO and co-founder Peter Reinhardt says, “These acquisitions won’t change much – the truth of the matter is that CRM suites are no longer the best way to deliver a great customer experience.”
A recent Gartner report found that 75% of CRM software is built to serve specific departments rather than the business as a whole, meaning that data can become siloed and inconsistent across departments. In the same report,.Gartner found that no single CRM vendor is capable of providing the full functionality a business now needs to support a complete customer data stack.
The Platform of Independents believes that, in the face of these complex needs, a CRM-centric approach is no longer the best way to deliver a great customer experience.
As they write in today’s open letter: “CRMs were perfect for the Rolodex era. They are not equipped for today’s digital age, where massive volumes of data about customer interactions flow directly from your websites, mobile apps, emails, kiosks, and call centers every single second of every day. Companies need to use the best technology available for each of these channels. Instead, they are often locked in to the tools and capabilities (or lack thereof) which their CRM suites provide.”
The Platform of Independents
The ten software companies that lead The Platform of Independents have built their products in the belief that businesses should never be forced into a one-size-fits-all approach or locked into a single cloud suite.
Today, they and more than 190 other companies, have come together to formalize their shared ideals. As an alternative to CRM, the Independents pledge to build software that gives businesses:
- A world of choice, where businesses are free to build a technology stack with the tools that they need, not just the one their CRM suite has chosen for them.
- A world of flexibility, where data can be used across every department to exceed customer expectations, not just in sales and marketing.
- A world of opportunity, where every business can have the technology and ability to be customer-first.
“The time has come for businesses to realize that there’s a whole new world outside the legacy CRM suite,” said Peter Reinhardt, CEO and co-founder at Segment. “Together with our partners, we’re proud to stand up for what’s best for customer-first businesses in the digital age: choice, flexibility, and the freedom to build data stacks using any combination of best-in-class technology. In short, CRM just isn’t enough anymore.”
The ideas of The Platform of Independents will be explored in a live event and webinar hosted by Forrester Principal Analyst, Brandon Purcell, on February 5, 2020. Registration is now open for the in-person event here and the webinar here.
“Today’s consumers demand consistent, personalized, in-the-moment experiences across touchpoints. Removing CRM silos is critical to grow brand advocates and champions.” – Brett Caine, CEO, Airship
“Understanding how users interact with your business is the first step towards personalizing experiences at scale. It’s time to move to a world beyond suites and vendor lock-in, where companies can use the tools that they need to achieve their goals.” – Spenser Skates, CEO and co-founder, Amplitude
“Customers today expect personalized, frictionless experiences—but the unfortunate reality is that most companies aren’t delivering. This isn’t a people problem; it’s a technology problem, and it’s solved by moving beyond CRM to a world where companies can use the best technology available to them, on every channel.” – David Cancel, CEO & founder, Drift
“Companies deserve the freedom to deliver consistent and relevant messages to their customers across all of their touchpoints. It’s no longer a nice-to-have—customers expect it. The tools of the past like legacy clouds and suites aren’t enough anymore for true growth marketing.” – Justin Zhu, CEO & co-founder, Iterable
“In today’s world, customer’s needs are always changing. What works one day may not work the next. Gone are the days of generic customer engagement; today, growing businesses need flexible data that can analyze ever-changing KPIs.” – Amir Movafaghi, CEO, Mixpanel
“Our interactions with customers are creating more data than ever before—and we need to push beyond just recording the data, to putting it into action. There’s an incredible opportunity to create a better customer experience and deeper connection with your customers, but you have to be able to get to those actionable insights.” – Manny Medina, CEO and co-founder, Outreach
“The purest source of customer data comes from the actions people take while using your software. That, combined with the offerings of so many fellow independents, gives the most complete picture of a customer’s journey, with or without CRM as the system of record.” – Todd Olson, CEO and co-founder, Pendo
“Deeply understanding customers isn’t just about who or what, but also where. Radar is building flexible, privacy-first location data infrastructure to power the next generation of contextual digital experiences.” – Nick Patrick, CEO and co-founder, Radar
“Businesses need to have a best-in-class, integrated technology stack, and they need the ability to easily automate data between applications. This is the secret sauce to being customer-first, which is why companies need the deep insights of customer data and the power of automation to scale.” – Rich Waldron, CEO and co-founder, Tray.io
About The Partners
Segment – Customer Data Infrastructure
Segment provides the customer data infrastructure that businesses use to put their customers first. With Segment, companies can collect, unify, and connect their first-party data to over 300 marketing, analytics, and data warehousing tools.
Airship – Customer Engagement Platform for the Enterprise
Create amazing customer experiences — across any mobile or digital channel — in the moments that matter most with Airship’s powerful customer engagement platform.
Amplitude – The Product Intelligence Platform
In today’s product-led era, intuition is not enough. We help teams understand user behavior to build engaging product experiences that grow their business.
Drift – The Conversational Marketing Platform
Drift is the conversational marketing platform that combines chat, email, video and automation to remove the friction from business buying.
Iterable – Customer Engagement for the Modern Marketer
Iterable is the growth marketing platform that enables brands to create, execute and optimize cross-channel campaigns with unparalleled data flexibility. Leading brands, like Zillow, SeatGeek, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer engagement throughout the entire lifecycle.
Mixpanel – The Analytics and Engagement Platform
Mixpanel helps companies understand why users convert, engage, and retain. See why over 26K brands–including Twitter, Skyscanner, and Samsung–trust Mixpanel to grow their business.
Outreach – The Sales Engagement Platform
Outreach is the sales engagement platform that helps companies increase productivity and drive smarter engagement with their customers. More than 3,500 companies such as Adobe, Tableau, Okta, Splunk, DocuSign, and SAP depend on Outreach’s enterprise-scale, unparalleled customer adoption, and robust AI-powered innovation.
Pendo – The Product Cloud Company
Pendo combines powerful product usage analytics with user guidance, communication, feedback, and planning tools to offer the most complete solution for digital product teams.
Radar – Location Data Infrastructure for the Modern Stack
Radar’s developer-friendly, privacy-first SDKs and APIs make it easy for product and growth teams to build amazing location-aware app experiences.
Tray.io – General Automation Platform for the Enterprise
At Tray.io, we believe that any organization can and should automate. With the Tray platform, citizen automators throughout organizations can easily automate complex processes through a powerful, flexible platform, and can connect their entire cloud stack thanks to APIs.