2017 was a significant year for CRM software providers for a number of reasons. There were tons of announcements regarding software updates, partnerships for creating more powerful integrations, and the occasional merger.

At GetCRM, we want to focus on the small, but powerful, handful of companies that made significant business moves to enhance their CRM software to reflect current business trends.

Salesforce, Freshworks, SAP, Hubspot, and Campaign Monitor all acquired companies that will significantly improve customer and user experience. Prioritizing these two aspects will enable these companies to improve overall customer satisfaction, which in turn, will increase revenue.

So here’s our list of the top 2017 CRM mergers and acquisitions…

1. Salesforce Acquires Sequence

Salesforce is the largest CRM software provider in the world, with a long history of acquisitions, snatching up smaller teams to fill in any portfolio gaps. What makes this acquisition out from the rest is that Sequence focuses almost entirely on improving user experience.

User experience is especially important for Salesforce because they have software that covers just about everything CRM has to offer businesses. For smaller businesses, saying this could be overwhelming would be an understatement.

Acquiring Sequence is important because they prioritize a number of user-experience-minded features for physically and digitally-focused businesses like mobile apps, branding, and rethinking website functionality with the customer in mind.

What this all means is that with Salesforce’s massive customer-base and Sequence’s skills in user experience, businesses who use, or are considering to use, Salesforce will go into 2018 with enough confidence to offer their customers the best customer experience, regardless of the size of their business.

2. Freshworks Acquires Joe Hukum

Smarter chatbots and virtual assistants are a significant CRM software trend going into 2018. Helpdesk software providers are looking to create multiple channels for their customers who prefer self-help options over traditional, outdated customer support methods.

Freshworks has also been busy, acquiring multiple companies over the course of two years. What makes this acquisition stand out is the fact that it shows they’re looking closely at what customers want, and what other helpdesk software providers are offering their customers.

Joe Hukum is a company originally based in India that offers businesses the ability to create and design their own custom chatbots and virtual assistants. Many businesses use chatbots already to interact with customers in a faster, more affordable way, but chatbots often come across as being too robotic and unable to handle complex issues.

Smarter chatbots and virtual assistants help relieve support teams from the issues that will inevitably come up by giving customers the ability to handle smaller problems on their own, or even tackle more complex ones, without ever speaking to an agent. Joe Hukum will help the 100,000-plus businesses who use Freshworks improve customer experience by giving them smarter, customizable, self-help channels.

3. SAP Acquires Gigya

SAP recently developed Hybris, which is a new software product used for improving customer experience at every touch point that a mid-sized business should offer their customers. Offering multiple touch points is essential for businesses because providing customers the ability to access your website improves the odds of them making a purchase.

Gigya already manages 1.3 billion customer identities, making this acquisition a little different from the others. Instead of CRM providers buying out smaller companies, this is two big companies coming together to significantly improve their e-commerce goals, which they do by, again, focusing on customer experience.

As a result, SAP Hybris becomes a more powerful e-commerce tool and Gigya can offer its user-base more e-commerce services. Prioritizing the customer experience is just as important for e-commerce and marketing as it is for customer support teams because having powerful tools for customers to use lessens the likelihood of needing customer support in the first place.

These two companies are a natural fit because targeting customer identity and customer support personalizes each experience. Having powerful tools helps support teams, who most often deal with customers, the ability to handle all kinds of inquiries that lead to increased revenue.

4. Hubspot Acquires Motion.ai

I know we already focused on the importance of bots, but what makes this acquisition stand out from the Freshworks/Joe Hukum acquisition is the fact that Motion.ai is focused entirely on making bots and virtual assistants, which helped them acquire top customers like T-mobile, Kia, and Sony.

Hubspot is a helpdesk software provider who prioritizes customer support and experience. They have over 30,000 customers and are one of the few providers who offer a free version of their CRM software. It goes without saying that Hubspot is dedicated to businesses of all sizes and making it easier for businesses to communicate more effectively with their customers.

Motion.ai focuses exclusively on chatbots, also enabling businesses to create their own custom chatbots. Chatbots are an important aspect of customer self-service options, one of the biggest trends in the industry right now. Businesses are creating more self-help channels for their customers because that improves customer experience, which is the key influencer in generating revenue, acquiring dedicated, repeat-customers, and consistent, positive feedback.

2018 will be a big year for businesses looking to improve customer experience. Hubspot, who already emphasizes the importance of customer experience, is preparing to set themselves apart from the other software providers by acquiring Motion.ai’s powerful, customizable bots.

5. Campaign Monitor Acquires Tagga

Campaign Monitor recently acquired Tagga, a company focusing on customer behavior and experience, in an effort to improve their own customer analytics and create more targeted email campaigns.

200,000+ businesses with over 2 million individuals already use Campaign Monitor’s email marketing software. Campaign monitor offers businesses email marketing campaign tracking, detailed email templates, award-winning customer support, emphasis on small and medium sized businesses, and an international audience.

Tagga emphasizes the importance of knowing the customer. Each one matters, and each one has their own way of doing business, so it’s important for businesses to appreciate that idea by providing collecting data that matters to the overall success of the business and using it to personalize each conversation.

Now that Campaign Monitor acquired Tagga, Campaign Monitor can use powerful segmentation tools to help make each interaction more personalized for the customer. This naturally improves customer experience. Bad email marketing is notorious for coming off as generalized and looking like spam. When businesses pay more attention to the message they’re trying to send, customers are usually more accepting.

The Final Word

CRM software providers in 2017 emphasized the importance of customer experience and backed up their claims by acquiring smaller businesses that will ultimately help them reach their goals. These five acquisitions prioritize the customer, which is representative of the shift in the way businesses do business.

Businesses are starting to prioritize customers in a number of ways: by offering omnichannel support, self-service options, powerful automations, and customer data analytics that can be used to target customers on a more individualized level.

Salesforce was ahead of the game in 2016, acquiring tons of smaller businesses to improve their customer and user experience, which was a clear indication that businesses would eventually double down on this new way of doing business. Now, it’s imperative for businesses to follow suit in order to stay relevant going into 2018.