The Customforce and Sforce development tools have been valuable extensions to the companys product line because they have provided a ready means for the company to add features, fields or new pages to the online sales automation applications, Stoney said. The tools are easy enough to use that a nonprogrammer or businessperson could add special features to the online applications they work with, Stoney said. These tools provide an advantage over other hosted CRM applications "because you can cash in on the entire infrastructure," he said. The company can provide improved customer service without having the overhead of trying to develop and maintain the support systems itself, he said.There are more partners exhibiting their products at the Dreamforce user conference this year. "It looks more like a regular trade show" than it did during Salesforce.coms inaugural user conference in 2003, he said. "Its almost grown too fast," in the sense that there are a lot more users competing for the attention of the sales staff and company executives, he said. But he said Salesforce has done a good job of keeping up with his companys needs. Salesforce.com officials estimate that between 2,000 and 2,500 customers registered to attend the conference. Click here to read about the advent of the customization tool kit in the Salesforce.com Spring 04 edition. For Arroweye Solutions Inc., a provider of online greeting card services for multichannel retailers and consumers, Salesforce.com was a natural choice to provide its sales management applications. As an "online service provider ourselves, we were pretty well sold on the concept" of working with a hosted sales automation system, said Jeffrey Keller, chief marketing officer at Chicago-based Arroweye. The company works with large catalog companies and online retailers to allow consumers to send personalized greeting cards or gifts with personalized greetings, Keller said. Its a significant advantage "for a small company like ourselves to have access to all the functionality" thats available in Salesforce.com, Keller said. The Salesforce package allows Arroweye to monitor the status of its sales pipeline and provides companywide visibility to its sales and marketing efforts, he said. Arroweye has been using Salesforce.com for about the past 18 months. It also evaluated the Upshot Corp. online CRM package that has since been acquired by Siebel Inc. But the company selected Salesforce.com because it seemed to be more "firmly established and stable," Keller said. "Being an early-stage business, we didnt spend a lot of time" reviewing the decision, he said. Salesforce.com seemed to be a reliable choice, and Arroweye moved decisively to deploy the service, he said. The company generally has been happy with the service and expects that the number of people working with the Salesforce.com tools will "perhaps double or treble" over the next year or so from the five employees who use it now, Keller said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The steady growth in Salesforce.coms business also has helped Select Business Solutions confidence that Salesforce.com was the right choice, Stoney said.