Hosted CRM Choices Emerge

Vendors offer a fresh crop of hosted subscription CRM services to fill a gap left open by licensed software applications that are often expensive and difficult to implement and maintain.

A fresh crop of hosted subscription CRM services are seeking to fill a gap in a market left open by licensed software applications that are often expensive and difficult to implement and maintain.

SugarCRM Inc., a Cupertino, Calif., startup that reports 50,000 downloads of its open-source Linux customer resource management components and about 50 paying customers, next week will launch Sugar OnDemand, a hosted service based on the companys Sugar Sales Professional software. The service is priced at $39.95 per user per month.

Due in dedicated server and multitenanted database environments, the service will offer greater control of hosted applications to customers than current hosted offerings do, according to company officials.

"Weve eliminated the need to focus on direct sales and marketing because were focused on building a great product and letting that be our marketing," said John Roberts, SugarCRMs co-founder and CEO.

/zimages/3/28571.gifSugarCRM is spearheading a move toward open-source CRM alternatives for smaller businesses. Click here to read more.

But SugarCRM has company. Later this month, Uptilt Inc., developer of the Email Labs hosted e-mail marketing service, plans to formally announce its SalesCenter hosted sales force automation service, promising ease-of-use and configurability improvements over existing offerings on the market, according to company officials in Redwood City, Calif.

The Wilkinson Group LP is using SalesCenter for its sales representatives selling sponsorships for the upcoming San Jose, Calif., Grand Prix.

"We need to track the different types of sponsorships we sell," said Mike Vrh, vice president of sponsorship acquisition at The Wilkinson Group, in Burlingame, Calif. "We were able to get our sales reps up and running on it with no training program."

SalesCenter is available in two versions: ProCenter, for up to 20 users, and Enterprise Center, for up to 500 users. Both provide opportunity and contact management, a revenue forecast engine, advanced lead tracking, sales manager pipeline control, and marketing automation. Enterprise Center adds customization.

Hosted CRM market leader Inc., of San Francisco, isnt resting on its laurels. This week, the company will unveil its e-mail marketing partnership with hosted e-mail marketing service provider Responsys Inc., also of Redwood City, which will allow users to launch campaigns in Responsys from within

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