Salesnet Expands its ASP Model and Gets a Cash Infusion

Online CRM provider Salesnet has made two strategic moves, one designed to help improve the sales effectiveness of its users and another that will help the company expand its sales and marketing efforts and focus on new business initiatives. Both the announced moves are part of the company's plans to expand, evolve, and increase its presence as an ASP delivering a variety of CRM solutions. The ASP market is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2006; CRM license revenues are expected to decline at an average annual rate of 4.8 percent, according to market researcher Aberdeen Group. "We earn our business every month," says Mike Doyle, chairman and CEO of Salesnet. "If you don't like it, you shut it off. Online business applications aren't the wave of the future--they are here today, have demonstrated lasting power, and are a necessity for financially responsible enterprises." Salesnet has devised a new strategy that is designed to drive the fastest ROI in the CRM industry by allowing sales organizations to set sales goals, define strategies, track business and analyze results, according to the company. Called guided performance selling (GPS), the strategy brings together three core components: software, configuration, and integration. "Everything we do is about faster time to better sales, which translates into greater ROI," says Dan Starr, Salesnet's chief marketing officer. The foundation of the GPS strategy is Salesnet's software. To date the company has three versions of its CRM solution: Salesnet Express, aimed at small businesses; Salesnet Standard, for medium-size business; and Salesnet Extended, which targets the enterprise segment. Next, the company is offering integration-as-a-service, which allows users to integrate business systems via more than 200 prebuilt system connections. It also includes 50 more Web services application programming interfaces, which lets remotely customers to push and pull data in and out of Salesnet. The newest piece of the plan offers configuration-as-a-service. This service, which is slated to be available in a few months, gives users preconfigured, vertical, and sales method-focused templates to help drive faster deployments. The initial offering will include three templates: Under the financial services heading is banking, and under the category of high tech there will be templates for Telco and software. Three additional templates will follow 60 to 90 days later. Salesnet says it has not finalized which templates will be included, however, in the future users can expect more financial service templates, along with some major verticals like insurance and healthcare. Salesnet is including three sales methodologies in the product, including customer centric selling and integrity. Last month Integrity Systems joined Salesnet's Business Partner Program, and plans to market customized versions of Salesnet to more than 25,000 top strategic partners throughout Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. "Others, like Salesforce.com and NetSuite, let those selling the methodologies deal with it. Salesnet has included them, because they clearly want to make it very, very easy to use these sale methodologies," says Ian Jacobs, principal analyst for CRM at Current Analysis. Salesnet officials claim their integration is one third the cost, takes one fifth the time and one tenth the effort to maintain, compared with other integration processes. To continue to evolve its product offerings, Salesnet has raised an additional $10 million in private equity funding. The latest investment round came from West AM. Salesnet also enjoys continued support from Prism Venture Partners and Phoenix Investment Partners. To date the company has raised more than $30 million in investment capital. The additional capital will support Salesnet's GPS strategy and complimentary initiatives focused on distribution, new product initiatives, and enhancing its service offerings. The company is also expanding a handful of initiatives that are already under way. It will continue to aggressively expand its global distribution plan by delivering private-label, OEM-able applications specifically targeted to vertical markets. "With the additional capital Salesnet can further fuel its vision for CRM--delivering customizable, in-demand applications that drive increased sales," Doyle says.
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