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December 29, 2006

CRM Prediction for 2007: Google

Earlier this week a lot of buzz was created by an article discussing how Google could challenge Digg by sprucing up Google Reader and buying one of those social networking sites to pair it up with.  Some even suggested Google just go ahead and buy Digg.  It does make sense and would keep in line with Google's actions, considering it's recent acquisitions Jotspot (wiki software), Writely (word processing), Urchin (web analytics) and of course YouTube.  So I can definitely see them doing something that could threaten Digg.  But that ground has been covered.

Google has made so many moves that are encouraging small businesses to look their way that I think they need to make a move in an area where small businesses are investing heavily to grow their businesses....CRM (what a shocker that I would come up with this).  Think about it, according to Forrester, companies with less than 100 employees will account for roughly a third of all CRM spending in 2007.  And it really looks like the guys that many small businesses have turned to for CRM in the past, Salesforce.com and NetSuite, are looking to fry bigger fish in the medium-size/enterprise market.  Plus there are a number of companies that are putting together some really nice on-demand offerings that would cover the basic needs of smaller companies at very low prices ($10-20 per user per month).  One interesting example is ZohoCRM, which lets the first three people in a company use the service for free, with each additional person costing you only $12/month.  Another one is SalesNOW, which is built to run off the BlackBerry device and costs about $20/month per user.  These and many more services is allowing small businesses to get in the game.

That's why to me it would make sense for Google to buy one of these types of companies and incorporate into the other services they are providing.  It would be kind of cool to see how Google Reader (DIGG) + Google CRM + Google Apps for Domains + Google AdWords + Google Checkout + Google Web Analytics could be a total solution for small businesses to build their online presence and tie lead generation, lead qualification, opportunity management and other functions together in a nice little bow.  And with the integration with QuickBooks, you'd even be able to track all the financial stuff more seamlessly.  And if they did this before Microsoft rolls out CRM Live they can even still a little thunder from that most anticipated release.

So you heard it hear first.  Google will get into the small business CRM space in 2007.  You can bet your life on it!  Just don't expect me to do the same.


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