FrontRange Sees Big Bucks in Small Business

While other CRM vendors vie for dominance in the midmarket, FrontRange Solutions has set its sights a little, well, lower.

"We're committed to focusing exclusively on small businesses and the lower midmarket," says Eric Miles, executive vice president, worldwide operations at the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based company.

U.S. Census reports indicate 99.6 percent of all companies are categorized as small businesses, while the company's own research shows that less than 5 percent of these businesses have adopted integrated front office solutions. Based on these numbers, Miles doesn't think FrontRange needs to throw its hat into the midmarket ring with other vendors. "They can slug it out," he says. "We're just pleased to focus on the other 99.6 percent."

With over 2,000 resellers, the company is poised to tackle the small business market. FrontRange has assembled a CRM suite for the small and mid-enterprise market, by acquiring GoldMine's SFA product, Bendata's Heat help desk solution and Maestro's e-business and ASP solutions. FrontRange is reorganizing internally to bring those teams together, putting key people in charge of each piece of the joint company.

"They've got a marketing, sales and support suite now, which comes out of the box," says Christopher Fletcher, vice president and managing director of customer relationship management for the Aberdeen Group, Boston. They've enhanced the back end and standardized on SQL Server, so they have more extensibility in the product."

According to Miles, its solutions can scale to well over 200 users over time without any gap in the solution.

Partner Preparation

There's still work to be done, however. Currently only 50 of its partners sell both Heat and GoldMine, while less than a dozen offer the Maestro products. But so far, VARs seem receptive to the changes. Tom Crafton, CEO of Thought Velocity, Vancouver, Wash. has been selling GoldMine for nine years, Heat for two and is now certified to sell Maestro.

"FrontRange is doing what needs to be done," says Crafton. "Clients like to deal with as few companies as possible.... If we have one company that's putting several things together, it makes it easier for us."

FrontRange has more than 120,000 GoldMine customers, all of which are good candidates for e-business solutions. They're satisfied customers, too. FrontRange's maintenance renewal is at 92 percent, compared to around 30 percent for the industry. And an independent survey commissioned by the company revealed 98 percent of its customers would either buy again or refer the solution to a friend.

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