CRM For Real Estate, WhatCounts 6.0, Happy Birthday, Michael Crichton

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CRM For Real Estate, WhatCounts 6.0, Happy Birthday, Michael Crichton

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime," you know, "This ain't no party/ This ain't no disco:"

Happy Sugar Holiday from here in Istanbul, the three-day holiday ending Ramadan, where Muslims aren't allowed to eat, drink anything or smoke from sunup to sundown. Couldn't have come at a better time for the cab driver we had yesterday, I haven't seen a nicotine fit that bad in a long time.

Oh, and happy Labor Day weekend to all New Zealanders. Um, any holidays I've missed, please let me know and we'll get the problem corrected.

WhatCounts, Inc., a leader in comprehensive e-communication programs, today unveiled version 6.0 of its robust e-Communications Suite.

Company officials say enhancements have been made to the WhatCounts Conversion Tracker and the numerous application programming interfaces (APIs) for superior integration with CRM systems, marketing databases, and ecommerce systems.

The updated WhatCounts platform has an interface and flexible systems integration, as it's being sold primarily for targeted e-mail marketing, personalized content syndication via RSS, strategic coaching services, and interactive marketing using blogs, polls and surveys.

Content publishers, retailers and organizations use the WhatCounts e-Communications Suite "to improve brand loyalty and customer interaction," according to company officials. Its e-Communications Suite has been integrated with partner Pivotal Veracity's eDelivery Tracker for per-ISP inbox deliverability analytics.

Integration of Pivotal Veracity allows WhatCounts to offer what company officials describe as "a way to track whether messages are being delivered to the inbox, spam folder or deleted by recipient ISPs without their knowledge."

Integrated platforms are "the future of the online marketing industry," said Deirdre Baird, Chief Executive Officer of Pivotal Veracity. "Our integration with WhatCounts provides marketers with the advanced analytics required to truly optimize the delivery of e-communications campaigns and ensure messages are reaching inboxes across more than 300 domains in 68 countries."

David Geller, founder and Chief Executive Officer of WhatCounts, says he's "pleased with the maturity of our e-Communications Suite 6.0 release… permission-based communications continue to show a proven ROI for marketers who maintain highly-targeted conversations with their subscribers."

The e-Communications Suite 6.0 is available through the WhatCounts hosted Web-based application or via the proprietary Broadcaster pre-configured hardware appliance.

Business Objects, a vendor of business intelligence products, has announced the general availability of BusinessObjects Data Quality XI for Siebel Customer Relationship Management Applications.

The new product, powered by Business Objects Data Quality XI Release 2, provides a single integrated data quality platform that scales across operating and application environments. Now users of Oracle's Siebel CRM Applications can access data for their customer relationship management initiatives.

Data Quality XI for Siebel CRM Applications offers a centralized business rule repository that allows companies to create business rules and apply them enterprise-wide, since a service-oriented architecture allows multiple departments within an organization to access and share the business rule repository.

The product essentially consolidates data from disparate sources and using a consistent data quality process, giving real-time access to information.

Business Objects and Oracle have a long-standing partnership, and Business Objects is one of Oracle's top ten global ISVs. Business Objects products are embedded by Oracle across all current PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, and JD Edwards World applications, and resold by Oracle with PeopleSoft EPM. In addition, Business Objects supports all major components of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Chicago-based Sonoma Partners, a vendor of IT services for mid-size and enterprise companies, has announced CRM Elements for Real Estate, a sales and customer relationship management tool for condominium developers, home-builders and real estate marketing companies.

The customizable software is designed to "help capture greater sales revenue, close deals more quickly, keep customer databases up to date and perform thorough analyses by providing real-time reporting," according to company officials.

According to Mike Snyder, principal of Sonoma Partners, the software probably offers the greatest benefits to developers and agents managing sales for multiple property sites with 50 or more units per property by offering what he calls "a more sophisticated means of capturing and updating large amounts of data."

The product "helps users manage pricing and inventory in real time with configurable sales alerts that notify you when unit sales cross predefined thresholds," explained Snyder.

"As a result, a user knows instantly when it's time to adjust prices, saving the builder from leaving money on the table," said Snyder.

In addition to real-time reporting, CRM Elements for Real Estate can be customized to send scheduled e-mail results of sales statistics on a weekly, daily or hourly basis to help users spot consumer trends.

"Nearly 90 percent of the prospective clients I speak with rely on either Excel or Outlook programs to keep track of sales leads and monitor the sales process," said Snyder. "These programs help organize data, but they don't necessarily help you analyze it. CRM Elements for Real Estate is designed to not only keep information organized, but also to help an executive analyze his or her marketing tactics."

The software is built on top of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, accessible from Microsoft Outlook and the Internet. "Customers can get up and running quickly without a lot of end user training," said Snyder.

Sonoma Partners has customized its Microsoft CRM Elements for Real Estate software for a number of national real estate firms including Chicago-based Equity Residential, Dallas-based Fairfield Residential and New York-based Athena Group.

Also, Florida real estate firm EWM Realtors has selected SharperAgent to provide a marketing system. "We were in search of technology to make it easier for our sales associates to prospect, build value-added relationships, and grow customers for life," said EWM president, Ron Shuffield.

SharperAgent, a vendor of CRM and e-marketing suites for the real estate and mortgage industries, created Max's Marketing Magic specifically for EWM Realtors to build and retain client relationships.

Happy birthday Michael Crichton, who's written the definitive treatment of global warming in State of Fear. Great Crichton story from The Writer's Almanac: He wanted to study writing at Harvard, "but his writing style was continually criticized by his teachers and he earned a C average. He decided it was the school, not he, that was in error. So for the next assignment, he retyped an essay by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. The professor did not catch his plagiarism, and gave Crichton a B minus."

Crichton promptly switched his major to anthropology.

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