These solutions help speed sales cycles, enhance communication, and easily integrate with current systems.
Posted Jan 10, 2006
Sales productivity tools are reemerging to address many of the challenges facing companies today that cannot be solved through CRM alone. A new Aberdeen Group report, "Sales Productivity Tools: Closing the CRM Gap," reviews six solutions and details how they can help organizations achieve fast ROI by shortening the sales cycle time and easily integrating with their current CRM systems. Reviewed vendors include Before the Call, Business Objects, ClairMail, Dovarri, Kubi Software, and SAVO Group.
"Customer relationship management as a category was not specifically designed [solely] to manage a sales life-cycle process," says Leslie Ament, director of customer intelligence research at Aberdeen Group and author of the report. "Many systems are designed and configured to address customer service and support, contract or warranty management, and customer acquisition and retention issues. These tools specifically address sales life-cycle process and add value by increasing the time a sales person can spend in front of a prospect or client by lessening the time spent on sales administration tasks."
Before the Call This newcomer has secured partnerships with veteran players like Harte-Hanks and Saleforce.com, enabling it to automate the often laborious sales qualification process, according to the report. It also provides relevancy scoring based on customer-specified criteria so sales executives can know which leads will bring in the most revenue. "Before the Call has a unique approach to providing sales intelligence, [which] is the top reason many companies invest in customer intelligence," Ament says.
Business Objects The company's November 2005 acquisition of Infommersion gives it interactive visual analytic capabilities. "With all the eye-candy found on the Web, in movies, or games, people come to expect flash," Ament says. "We were struck by the product's ability to create flash visualization from data stored in ordinary spreadsheets. Most compelling is the product's ability to dynamically create a visually pleasing ROI calculator in PowerPoint."
ClairMail This product is compatible with several PDA devices, linking mobile workers to their information systems. "ClairMail allows direct access to the CRM system as it is configured, but through remote access," Ament says. "The end-user could go in and see a list of that day's tasks, make modifications, [and] alert the rest of the team members remotely. It is almost as if one were using a miniaturized laptop to perform these tasks."
Dovarri Self-dubbed a sales-centric CRM application, Dovarri is built to fully integrate with either a Web-based or enterprise system and is competitively priced for small businesses, according to the report. Ament notes the growing need to integrate with both systems because it is a more efficient way to integrate all data, applications, and tools.
Kubi Software This sales effectiveness solution lets sales teams communicate better and complete tasks more efficiently during long sales cycles by automating tasks through its Web-based business activity management tools, according to the report.
SAVO Group Sales Asset Manager, the SAVO Group's flagship product, increases productivity by sharing best practices and sales intelligence. It targets upper-tier midsize and large enterprises with significant investment in marketing and sales content, according to the report.
All the vendors offer competitive pricing, easy integration, and take less than one month to deploy, according to the report. In the future, Ament expects two trends to emerge: "[They] will continue to build out their features and functionality, and directly compete with SFA and CRM vendors. SFA and CRM vendors will consider acquiring companies like [them] or decide to develop these capabilities in-house to better serve their customers and prospects."
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