How the Scope of CRM Metastasized and Has Become Too Large

Executive Summary

  • CRM started as one thing and has metastasized to gobble up more and more functionality.
  • We cover the problem with this metastasizing.


Application categories have a history of metastasizing as they become popular. This means the applications take on an increasing scope. This has happened to CRM systems. In this article, we will cover some interesting quotations on this topic.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Article #1: Insightly’s Calculate CRM ROI

CRM Systems Bring Together Sales and Marketing?

When CRM was first introduced, it was sold as being useful for sales teams. However, now CRM vendors are opposing their applications are also beneficial for marketing departments.

In today’s virtual world, sales and marketing teams frequently operate in isolation from each other. Marketing focuses on content creation and delivering MQLs, while sales builds pipeline. This sounds great in theory, but, in reality, it rarely works due to goal misalignment.

CRM technology bridges the divide between sales and marketing. Marketers gain insights to understand which leads convert into paying customers. Sales reps enjoy greater visibility into the status of important marketing initiatives and lead flow. All of this creates a virtuous cycle that, hopefully, leads to enhanced communication and collaboration between two vital departments.

CRM systems have been implemented broadly for at least 15 years. Yet schisms between marketing and sales are still commonplace. Marketing measures itself on leads or things like the number of campaigns run, etc.., while sales measures itself on sales, which is highly dependent on the quality of the leads. There is simply no evidence of this claim, and it is a strange claim as marketing does not use CRM systems.

CRM Systems Centralize All Customer, Project, and Business Intelligence?

A CRM overcomes data silos by centralizing all of your most important customer, project, and business intelligence into a single, collaborative ecosystem. Team members can instantly search, filter, and view data from any web-enabled device—rather than digging through countless documents, spreadsheets, and network folders.

CRM systems are not a single collaborative ecosystem. Most people try to get out of CRM systems as quickly as they can.

Article #2: Set Shape’s CRM ROI 5 Simple Formulas to Measure the ROI on Your CRM Investment

This article tries to position SetShape CRM as a good CRM because it allows one to be responsive to the customer by recording the contact from a web page and getting back to them. However, do you really need a CRM system for this? At Brightwork R&A, we have a contact box in the lower-left corner. People can leave a message, and we get back to them. SetShape proposes that you must instantly get back to customers. I suppose it can depend on what you are selling. However, we have deliberately disabled our instant chat, as we are both not interested in staffing the messenger for instant chatting. Still, if we were to enable it, we found that it emboldens readers not to think through their questions. We had a particular problem with Indians who thought we should solve technical problems for them for free.

Therefore, the claims made by SetShape about instantaneous responsiveness did not match our experience. And again, a messenger can be set to accept chats (and you can staff for instant messaging). This is not a CRM-specific item.

Article #3: EISGP’s CRM ROI How to Get What You Pay For

A CRM database serves as a data warehouse centered on client interactions, so marketing, billing, customer service, and other departments should all be able to use it as a centralized repository for information.

This gets back to the metastasized scope of CRM.

Metastasized CRM is the Best CRM?

Rather than improving applications, constantly cobbling on the new scope is often the death of applications. This is how Oracle DB became so bloated. Oracle won’t stop adding new functionality, much of which should not be in a database. One reason vendors do this is to block out other vendors. For example, Oracle is trying to block out virtualization by putting things in the virtual machine in the database.

Your CRM System is a Data Warehouse?

How can a CRM system be a data warehouse?

The definition of a data warehouse is it brings together data from many applications. Any CRM application is, by definition, not a data warehouse.

This is another example of application scope creep.

CRM for Billing?

And why is CRM now doing billing? There are plenty of good inexpensive invoicing applications out there. However, now the invoicing system has to be the CRM system?

CRM Cobbleathon

Previously when ERP systems were the hot application category, they were the central repository of information. Now that CRM systems are the hot category, they have gone from being a very narrow application to the central repository of information, at least according to this quote.

This article is probably the most interesting so far, but not because it is accurate. Instead, this article perfectly illustrates how exaggerated expectations and scope are piled onto an application.

Is Anyone Admitting CRM’s Scope Has Metastasized?

We could find only one article by Azamba that asked about CRM project scope creep, but this was not related to the application scope or footprint. We searched in Google for.

“Is CRM Scope Too Big?”


“Is CRM Scope Too Large?”


Is CRM Footprint Too Big

We could find no results. Each vendor is presenting an enlarged CRM footprint or scope of functionality as a good thing.


This illustrates how information about CRM systems is controlled by those that make money from CRM. There is no pushback from independent sources asking if it is really a good idea to grow the scope of CRM continually.