Expands Integration Capabilities

Continuing its effort to reduce the cost and complexity of linking its
hosted CRM software to other applications, Inc. recently
announced a series of additional integration capabilities.

The San Francisco-based vendor said it plans to offer a set of packaged
connectors for tying its customer relationship management tools to
Oracle Corp.’s E-Business Suite 11i back-office applications.

The Oracle connectors are due early next year and will support a
bidirectional flow of data to ensure that information stored in the two
product lines is synchronized, said Ariel Kelman, senior director of
platform product marketing at It already offers similar
hooks to SAP AG’s ERP applications, as well as to Office, Outlook and

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Getting New Reps Up to Speed with CRM

Implementing a CRM system and putting some business intelligence into
the processes may help in boosting sales or in creating an end-to-end
strategy for those who have been around during the implementation, but
what happens when a new hire sits in front of the complex, customized

Getting new service reps used to a CRM system quickly is crucial
not just to a contact center or customer service effort, but to the
entire company. Sometimes, a service rep is the first contact for new
customers, or for those who have issues with a product or service.
Having them stumble through an unfamiliar system and end up inputting
poor data is the last thing a call center manager wants to hear.

But fortunately, there are tactics for getting even newbie CRM users to master the system, and fast.

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Building Blocks of CRM

Achieving the long-term value of customer relationship management (CRM)
requires a strategy involving the whole business and should be
approached at an enterprise level. Only a small, but growing, number of
enterprises are tackling CRM at this level, with most CRM initiatives
consisting of departmental projects or attempts to integrate the work
of multiple projects.

Executing enterprise-level CRM is not easy. It
requires board-level vision and leadership to drive a “relentless focus
on the customer.” It involves learning new customer management skills,
potentially difficult changes to processes, culture and organization,
and grappling with the technology challenges of multi-channel
alignment, systems integration and data quality. Even if the board
accepts the need for enterprise-level CRM, the quarterly demands of
revenue and profit targets, especially in delicate economic conditions,
often mean that, although CRM is the most important challenge facing an
enterprise, it is not seen as the most urgent.

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Three Reasons Why Sales Needs Fewer Leads

Yes, you read the title
correctly. Marketing campaigns that produce an abundance of leads can
actually do your organization more harm than good. Why, you wonder? For
starters, high-volume lead generation is a lot like creating a haystack
in which the sales rep is responsible for finding the proverbial
needle. Bona fide candidates do exist, but they’re often hidden among
the onslaught of unqualified leads being pushed to sales.

This is why
many sales reps cast a jaded eye toward leads generated by
marketing–it’s too hard to find the leads that translate into real
sales opportunities. By forgoing lead generation practices that deliver
volumes of mostly low-value prospects, companies can begin to focus on
identifying and targeting their most likely buyers.

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SaaS: Taking the Worry out of Service

SaasheadLucent Technologies, the telecommunications equipment giant, outsources
upward of 85 percent of its manufacturing to its contract manufacturers’ 20-plus locations worldwide, along with its own integration centers. Needless to say, it’s not easy to coordinate across different time zones and different vendors.

So Lucent has contracted with Kinaxis, a software provider offering specialized coordination services for electronics manufacturing services (EMS), to integrate data from the manufacturing resource planning systems of those various contract manufacturers. Using Kinaxis’ RapidResponse, “Everyone can see what needs to happen and who needs to act,” says Arvind Ballakur, senior manager, supply chain networks at Lucent. “The only way we can effectively manage our supply
chain is through global visibility and close coordination with our partners.”

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Salesforce Opens Up Apex Platform

Apexsalesforce has further opened up its programming platform, allowing
users to enhance and change the way its online customer relationship
management application functions.

The Apex programming language is already used for Saleforce’s hosted
CRM, but was not available to outside developers. The language is
scheduled for release in mid-2007.

Apex will allow users to change the way buttons, searches and
even entire services within Salesforce operate, the company’s chief
executive Marc Benioff said at the Dreamforce 06 convention in San

"You could almost say what we had up to this point is
configuration, but what customers are really asking for is to build
anything on demand without boundaries," he said.

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Customers Praise New Apex Platform

Granted, it’s only been one day since announced Apex,
its new programming language and platform. Not enough time for anyone
to really digest what’s going on, right?

Wrong. The response to Apex from customers (and, not surprisingly,
partners) has really been overwhelmingly positive. I spent a good
amount of time Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, the first and second days of’s annual Dreamforce conference here in San Francisco,
talking to people—developers, sales executives, partners.

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What is CRM?

Let’s step back to the basics and revisit what exactly is CRM. recently launched a new section called CRM Advisor and this is their first story with the following introductory tutorial.

Firstly CRM is not technology nor is it something you can touch or
feel. It was during the dotcom days that led many people till today to
think of CRM as technology. For those who have implemented CRM
technology for the sake of technology (which is quite ironic but
common) obviously had to find business challenges to solve otherwise it
will die a natural death or become pretty much a white elephant. A
classic mistake made by many organisations in implementing CRM
solutions, a horse before the cart approach.

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Five Vital Points for Choosing a Lead-Generation Solution

B2B marketers who are recognizing the limitations of today’s
email-marketing and Web-analytics applications for generating qualified
sales leads are switching to a lead- or demand-generation solution to
ensure a continuous stream of qualified leads.

In addition to providing the reporting that legacy email and Web
analytics products provide, demand-generation solutions automate the
progression of leads through the pipeline so that sales can focus on
only the most qualified leads.

When evaluating demand-generation solutions, keep these five points
in mind to ensure that you make a purchase that meets your expectations
and the needs of your company:

1. Look out for hidden consultants

When purchasing a demand-generation solution, marketers are
typically looking for a solution that their internal team can quickly
and easily implement to improve their lead-generation capabilities.

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The On-Demand Software Scuffle

In 1999, the idea of renting software over the Internet was dismissed by many in techdom as little more than a marketing ploy cooked up by about Chief Executive Marc Benioff. At the time, the outspoken exec was operating in the shadow of software giants Oracle about Oracle and Microsoft about Microsoft and fighting to get his nascent company some attention.

After all, Benioff was already famous — or infamous, depending on who you spoke to — for attention-grabbing stunts like hiring out-of-work actors to picket sales meetings at Siebel Systems, which was the biggest supplier of customer relationship management Latest News about customer relationship management software.

Benioff may have the last laugh. Oracle acquired a distressed Siebel last year, and now all the software giants are grappling with how to come up with a software strategy similar to the one championed by Salesforce (CRM).

SaaS Means Simplicity

Why all the fuss? Renting software over the Web, a concept known in the computer HP Multifunction printers – get a free 30-day trial today. industry as on-demand software or Software as a Service (SaaS), solves a lot of big problems companies have had with business software.

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