What will replace Highrise as a CRM?

Wither Highrise? Who Will Fill 37signals’ CRM Shoes?

To say that the world of technology moves fast would be an understatement. Now take that speed and multiply it and you’ll start to understand how quickly the world of SaaS changes. There’s a big shake-up today as SaaS provider 37signals has announced that it is rebranding itself to Basecamp and will focus solely on the Basecamp project management product as it moves forward.

Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp.

What then will become of 37signals Basecamp’s other customers, namely those using Highrise?

A few weeks ago we took a survey, asking “What’s in Your SaaS Stack”. We’ve published the preliminary results, and we found some very interesting connections. But it seems like today’s news is a great time to revisit the survey and look at CRM users in particular to see what we can find out about them.

Who Uses CRM?

Let’s start with the basics. Of those who answered the survey, over 80 percent focus their CRM efforts inside of Salesforce. That’s no surprise.

But if we dig down a bit, we find out some interesting results when it comes to Highrise.

  • Highrise customers typically spend less than $5,000 per year on SaaS products.
  • These customers are generally in a bootstrapped or Series A portion of their funding life cycle.
  • Enterprise customers very rarely turned to Highrise, opting for Salesforce.

Connecting the Dots

It’s fairly easy to draw conclusions about what has kept Highrise from being the company’s dominant player, but there’s a lot of guesswork involved and that’s speculation that I don’t want to make. What we do know is this – Highrise typically undercuts Salesforce on price, it includes a wealth of features and it likely doesn’t require you to hire a full-time administrator to keep things running. For companies that fit the lower-spend, earlier-in-life bill, Highrise seems like it would be the obvious choice.

But enterprise tends to be where the money is when it comes to technology solutions. As we’ve written about before, successfully targeting the enterprise is a difficult task, and many companies will have a higher success rate when they shift focus toward the SMB target.

Lesson learned? You, as a product owner, might consider taking a hard look at where you’re focusing the majority of your business. As the sunsetting of Highrise denotes, having an easy-to-run, price-competitive product with a lot of features isn’t always going to assure success. What can you do to really set yourself apart from the competition and outshine them, even on a single, important front?

(And if you’re a Highrise customer who’s looking for a new CRM, the FullContact API has a number of customers doing awesome work in that space. Just sayin’.)

Image: George Tziralis via Flickr

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