CRM Offerings Focus on SMBs

Pivotal, salesnet, supportwizard seek to broaden their appeal.

Pivotal Corp., Salesnet Inc. and SupportWizard Inc. are each adding features to their respective customer relationship management offerings to widen their appeal for small and midsize businesses.

Pivotal is adding a host of capabilities, including guided selling, in the next release of its namesake midmarket CRM software to make it more accessible to the higher end of its target market.

Meanwhile, hosted CRM service provider Salesnet is adding an offline client and improved integration with Microsoft Corp.s Outlook. Separately, SupportWizard last week unveiled its latest product, Enterprise Wizard, which features shorter implementation times and a money-back guarantee.

Pivotal, of Vancouver, British Columbia, will announce Pivotal 5 (see screen) at the end of the month. Chief among the releases new features is support for assisted selling in Pivotal Sales, built on technology Pivotal acquired when it bought Exactium Inc. more than a year ago. Designed mainly for internal sales configurations, the software makes product recommendations based on customer criteria entered by users and also handles quoting and discounting.

That criteria can be gathered from customers by the new Pivotal Marketing campaign management application, software that Pivotal acquired when it bought MarketFirst Inc. last year. The technology was integrated with the rest of the Pivotal suite with this release. Pivotal 5 can also be used as a stand-alone application for mass e-mail marketing campaigns, officials said.

For its part, Salesnet is adding an offline client based on .Net to its namesake hosted CRM service offering. Although Salesnet trails other service providers—such as Inc. and UpShot Corp., which have already released like technologies—officials at Boston-based Salesnet said their version offers a better user experience and improved performance and security.

Some salespeople at Software AG, in Reston, Va., tested a beta version of Salesnet Offline. Lee Boswell, director of sales support at the company, said the software is something her sales force had been clamoring for, and the company plans to roll it out to as many as 150 users.

"Our remote salespeople could work on it whenever they wanted to, without being tied to the system," Boswell said. "They could do whatever they wanted to do, then sync up when they were back online."

Boswell said that despite the earlier versions lack of offline capabilities, Salesnet was still the best choice for Software AG since the product was more flexible and configurable than other hosted CRM services. Software AG adopted Salesnet over Siebel Systems Inc.s software when its sales processes changed.

Salesnet is also planning to announce new Outlook integration capabilities at about the middle of the quarter. This will enable users to associate e-mail messages in Outlook with sales accounts, contacts and opportunities in Salesnet.

Last week, SupportWizard, of Redwood City, Calif., announced its next-generation product, Enterprise Wizard, designed for companies with fewer than 3,000 employees. The software has modules based on Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition for sales, support and marketing. The company is guaranteeing that the software can be up and running within two weeks.