Salesforce.com Partners Introduce a Range of Integrated Applications

Dozens of CRM solution providers announced or displayed editions of their solutions at Dreamforce 2004 that were built to work in tandem with Salesforce.com -- often directly from within the Salesforce.com interface. Many of the integrated applications address specific marketing and customer service disciplines not directly offered in the core Salesforce.com product.

Marketing automation vendor Eloqua demonstrated its Conversion Suite integration with Salesforce.com, allowing sales and marketing professionals to launch and track campaigns from the Salesforce.com interface. Competitor ExactTarget demonstrated its own marketing database links with Salesforce.com, including full opportunity logging. If larger campaigns are launched with personal branding by account managers, those actions are logged as activities in the SFA view, so that salespeople know what actions are being taken on their behalf, and are not left flat-footed when customer inquiries arrive.

InfoUSA division OneSource, a provider of B2B intelligence, previewed its upcoming tie-in, which will automatically populate leads in the Salesforce.com system with information gleaned from the OneSource database. When completed the integration will not only pull a company family tree, but automatically populate key executive contacts with biographical data into the Salesforce.com user's database. OneSource representative Bob Faigel said the pricing will be "in line" with Salesforce.com monthly subscription rates to make the service more appealing to clients with limited resources. There are no immediate plans to change the annual subscription service to mirror Salesforce.com's month-by-month model, however, so it may not immediately be appropriate for users who have yet to make a long-term commitment to the core CRM system. OneSource already sells such integration for enterprise CRM systems like Siebel and PeopleSoft, and also plans a link with Siebel On-Demand.

iCentera, a portal developer specializing in rapidly deployable customized portals for personalized marketing campaigns, has integrated its capabilities as a Salesforce.com tab. Salesforce users can create a personalized portal for a customer or prospect from the CRM interface. The portal automatically populates with key client details from the CRM customer information screen.

Virtual call center services Contactual (formerly White Pajama) and Five9 both displayed their agent-level integration with Salesforce.com. Although the customer calls are still managed between the on-demand contact center software and the agent desktop, each service can pull the customer record in Salesforce.com based on phone number detection or IVR entry. Five9 focused on its outbound predictive dial campaigns that can run off Salesforce.com prospect data

Salesforce.com offers its own wireless edition, but developers like Vettro continue to work on alternatives to access the system's capabilities from a handheld device that may not always be online. Vettro's RainMaker application installs to a BlackBerry or PocketPC smartphone device, maintaining a local database of user-owned and recently accessed customer records while interacting with the Salesforce.com back-end when connectivity is available. By updating the RainMaker client software up to six times a year, Vettro says it can implement important new Salesforce.com features on handheld devices within two months of the features becoming available to browser-based on-demand customers.

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