Ascendix CRM and SalesLogix, Autobytel's MyRide, CDC and China.com, FOX Sports Turkey Fumbles Super Bowl, Aberdeen CRM Study

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Ascendix CRM and SalesLogix, Autobytel's MyRide, CDC and China.com, FOX Sports Turkey Fumbles Super Bowl, Aberdeen CRM Study

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jaco Pastorius's eponymous debut album:

Well, it was a good Super Bowl for the first half, what with the opening kickoff return and all the turnovers, which are really kind of exciting, especially back to back, and the Manning The Bears decided to take the third quarter off and Bad Rex showed up early in the fourth quarter to throw a game-sealing pick, underlining his intent to lose the game with another stupid pick to Bob Sanders later. Worst quarterback performance in a Super Bowl since Tony Eason in 1986, who was playing against the Bears.

Compounding matters was whoever the incompetent morons running FOX Sports broadcasts here in Istanbul are, and their decision to run infomercials over live game action in the first half. The Bears are driving, it's still a game, the station cuts away to show you five minutes of some idiotic battery-operated jiggling belt Guaranteed To Eliminate Fat!, comes back and you see a punt return.

This is what happens when you have people whose abilities max out at running a bakkal try to run a TV station instead. Everyone hates the company whose ad is shown instead of crucial game time, and FOX Sports Turkey looks like a bunch of greedy, ignorant, incompetent Third Worlders. Which, evidently…

"Improving overall management of customer relationships" is a key factor driving improvements in contract management on the sell-side, according to 43 percent of respondents to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group.

The study found that while 70 percent of companies are currently using homegrown systems, such as Access or Excel, for contract management on the sell-side, this figure will decrease to 10 percent in the next two years. Instead, 47 percent of companies plan to use a contract management product and another 45 percent plan to implement a contracts module as part of their CRM product.

The study, "Contract Management: The Quote-to-Cash Cycle," highlights the importance of companies investigating "their options for investing in contract management software to grow their businesses," according to the study's authors.

According to the study, "missing or delaying key commitments to a customer does not portray a good relationship." That's right, folks, some people need a commissioned study to learn amazing insights like this. Makes you wonder how they stay in business in the first place, doesn't it?

When that happens, Aberdeen says, it is often because the relevant people don't have access to contracts or key milestones.

The study indicates other factors driving improvement in contract management on the sell-side, such as how contracts are managed, especially when large volumes of contracts are involved and reducing sales cycles that take too long because of manual methods and the inability to track approvals and agreements.

It also discusses revenue "leakage" due to missed deadlines, penalties and inconsistent pricing.

Industry observer Aris Pantazopoulos said most document management systems "don't include important information that's contained in the contract -- that's how contract management software can actually develop and improve CRM."

Ascendix Technologies has announced the release of Sponsor Advantage v2.1, targeted at asset managers, financial product sponsors and distributors who use inside and outside wholesalers to market and sell their products to broker/ dealers and financial planners.

Sponsor Advantage is a specialized CRM product described by company officials as "designed to help asset managers, product sponsors and distributors address the most critical needs for effective and efficient operations, sales, marketing, support and service."

Sponsor Advantage is built on Sage SalesLogix 7.0, which has been in the CRM space for over ten years. It promises tight integration to commonly used tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook.

Sponsor Advantage is banking on a familiarity to promotes deep adoption early on, company officials say. Included in the Sponsor Advantage feature set are selling agreement tracking, broker/ dealer and rep management, ticket tracking (by rep, broker/dealer and regional planning office), rep certifications and remote literature fulfillment facilities.

The system also helps meet the complex NASD and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements by ensuring marketing and communication are standardized and properly tracked, as well as preventing unauthorized communications with clients who do not have the appropriate selling agreements in place.

Within a single development environment, company officials say, Sponsor Advantage can be deployed on both the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms, to "maximize the productivity of road warriors like external wholesalers."

Wes Snow, CEO and President of Ascendix Technologies, Inc. said the "maturity" of the Sage SalesLogix platform and the recent acquisition of Corum Mobile to expand their mobility offerings has made Sponsor Advantage a more attractive product for the financial services marketplace.

Ascendix Technologies is a privately held corporation located in Dallas.

China.com, an Internet services provider in China and a Hong Kong listed subsidiary of CRM vendor CDC Corporation, has announced that it has acquired a five percent interest in Beijing Menlo Network Science Limited, the owner and operator of Menllo.com, a Web 2.0 online community in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, China.com will provide Menllo.com with "strategic market coverage" for one year in exchange for the five percent interest. China.com will have the right to appoint a director to the Board of Menllo.com and will have the option to increase its holdings in Menllo.com in the future.

With a large and fast growing user base across China, Menllo.com is attractive to CDC as a platform for sharing music, videos, journals, photos, whiteboards and more for people with common interests. It is an online destination for "emerging musicians, writers, photographers, and a variety of other talents," China.com officials say.

By collaborating with China.com, Menllo plans to use the market coverage of the CDC family of companies, including millions of visitors to China.com, growing numbers of subscribers of CDC Mobile, and more than 42 million registered users of CDC Games.

For instance, much of the user-generated content on Menllo.com will also be made available on mobile phones through CDC Mobile's 3G services. By building a mobile Web2.0, CDC Mobile plans to increase its portfolio of content to grow the company's sources of revenue. In January CDC Mobile announced its $100 million 3G content partner program to target 3G content providers and aggregators in North Asia and Europe, as well as the creation of new original content for the 3G marketplace.

Automotive CRM vendor Autobytel Inc. has announced at the 2007 National Automobile Dealers Association Conference the upcoming launch of the Internet's largest used car program as part of the company’s new MyRide.com website, which they're billing as "the world’s first fully-integrated automotive vertical search experience."

Scheduled to go live in the second quarter of 2007, the site will feature a used car search tool covering millions of used vehicle listings, marketing advantages for program dealers, including integrated pay-per-call pricing for participating dealers, dealer specific inventory display, and sophisticated ad display and placement tools.

By 2006, Autobytel officials say, more than twice as many used buyers found the vehicle they purchased through the Internet than through print media.

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