By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-05-31 Print this article Print

Salesnets namesake service does a good job of balancing customization and extensibility against the simplicity that is needed to encourage salespeople to use the system.

Salesnet focuses exclusively on the sales process, so giving salespeople access to any kind of customer support information will require integration with other customer management applications, such as order fulfillment tools.

Our tests show that Salesnet provides good tools for customizing the application to a particular sales process. The workflow engine worked well in tests, giving us the ability, for example, to build sales workflows that would require sales staff to collect information and follow up on leads and opportunities. This would allow sales data to be used to build accurate forecasts.

Integrating with other systems via Salesnets Web services API will likely take greater effort than with competitors because there are no facilities for displaying customer-centric data, such as order status.

One thing Salesnet does particularly well is enabling users to open multiple windows at the same time. This will make it easy to find contact information while simultaneously updating a task, for example.

Although it is possible to edit the fields and layout of some elements, such as contacts and deals, we wish the system provided more flexibility. For example, windows frequently were too similar to one another. Customers can change the design of the windows, but thats more work than they should have to do.

As with the other services we tested, Salesnets dashboards provide customizable summaries of data, as well as access to functions in the application. While we could easily create and customize dashboards, we could not mix graphs with table data on the same page, as we could with the other services tested.

Salesnets reporting functions are very good, allowing companies to build a useful sales methodology.

Salesnet reports deliver a clear overall view of how the sales organization is doing, and the services ability to use historical data and animated charts and graphs makes the reporting tool particularly strong.

However, Salesnets lack of embedded customer-centric data means that tying forecast data to actual results and billing will require more customization than companies would have to do with the other services and will require the use of additional tools.

Salesnet makes it relatively easy to tie e-mail-based communications into the sales process by allowing users to create mail merges from templates residing within the document tool. However, we would have liked tighter integration with other document components because it isnt as easy to send other documents through the communications tool.

Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

Be sure to add our eWEEK.com enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be contacted at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.


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