The Evolution of CRM systems: From Rolodex to Mobile CRM

CRM has not always existed, there were other methods to keep a relationship between customers and the organization. We are going to look back and review how we end up having a CRM system.

The very beginnings

At first, pen and paper where the solution. Before the 50´s they kept the information on books, because knowing the customer data did, do and will always be very important for the businesses.


1950´s: The Rolodex

The Rolodex were desk accessories with a unique ability to spin through index cards. It was used by tons of business in 50’s because it would allow them to add customers while updating existing customer information, details and more.

1970´s: Independent mainframe solutions

Standalone mainframe solutions brought more results than Rolodex did. They included hotline numbers, sales force automation systems and customer information files.

Early 1980´s: Database Marketing

It allowed business to speak individually to countless customers.They found the way to know how recently and frequently customers purchased, how much they spent or what they purchased. But it wasn’t that perfect: it was a bit too costly, tent to be unorganized and difficult to operate.


Late 1980´:  Contact management software

The CRM history shows that the change of mindsets and technology revolution meant the world for customer relationship management. Customer service was not a stagnant trifle anymore: it was a must.

Late 1990’s: Mobile & SaaS is taking over

In the 90´s SAP entered the market to rival larger vendors. The competition continued to grow until 1999 when Salesforce came across as first major SaaS vendor. In the same year, Siebel launched the first mobile CRM.


Early 2000´s: Dot-com bubble

During the Internet bubble,  investors pumped money into Internet-based startups and hoped that these companies would soon bring them profit. Unfortunately, this meant a struggle for CRM industry. Due to reluctance to use Internet technologies, e-CRM vendors were hit the hardest.



Late 2000’s: CRM strike

In the late 2000’s businesses realized the power of word and interaction on Facebook or Twitter. They took advantage of it and used social media strategies to get closer to their customers. The cloud infrastructure and quick Internet connectivity allowed for smaller players to enter the CRM market.


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