Salesnet Moving On Up
Salesnet, a provider of hosted sales force automation services, unveiled this week a beefy version of its software designed for enterprise customers. The new version, called Salesnet Extended, expected to be released in Q3 this year, boasts a Web services API and a customizable offline application for mobile sales, and other features.
Founded in 1997, Salesnet targeted small companies (those with less than 50 salespeople), helping them manage workflows and sales processes. Rich Perkett, CTO at Salesnet, says the company enjoyed success in finance, high-tech, telecommunications and pharmaceutical. As these companies' sales forces grew and processes became complex with longer sales cycles and multiple handoffs, they needed greater functionality such as access control and multiple screen layouts. "We were naturally moving up market," Perkett says.
Now Salesnet Extended is aimed at companies with 50 to 250 salespeople. And chances are the company will continue to drive its offerings up-market. Perket admits, "the sweet spot is between 250 and 700 users." Salesnet Extended offers a Web services API built using the Microsoft .Net framework. This will allow easy integration between Salesnet's SFA solution and other CRM and enterprise applications, Salesnet claims. There's also an offline capability, enabling traveling salespeople to update data on their laptops.
Salesnet already claims Fortune 500 companies as customers, such as Staples, British Telecommunications and, most recently Sovereign Bank. The $37 billion financial institution was so impressed with Salesnet's service that it increased the number of users dramatically after five months. "We chose Salesnet because it could accommodate the complexity of the financial services industry and because it could support various selling models," said Bill Patten, director of MIS and project administration at Sovereign Bank, in a statement. "Salesnet's SFA application is a scalable and easily customizable solution."
And Sovereign Bank isn't alone in its praise. "I'm glad to see extended functionality for enterprise-class customers," says Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director of the CRM practice at Aberdeen Group. (For disclosure purposes, Salesnet is an Aberdeen client.) There's a vast, untapped market of mid- to enterprise-sized businesses seeking CRM solutions, Pombriant says, many of which are open to a hosted solution.
Pombriant also likes Salesnet's open-minded approach. Many hosting providers want to offer an encapsulated service, whereas Salesnet's Web services API makes the company a best-of-breed provider. "Companies want different solutions," Pombriant says. "Some want integrated CRM from a single vendor such as Salesforce.com, while others want Salesnet for their API and .Net integration -- it's one of the things Salesnet is hanging its hat on."
Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com