By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bill Evans' Village Vanguard recordings:
Cisco has announced the availability of the Cisco Unified CallConnector for salesforce.com. The fully integrated Cisco Unified Communications and Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) product is designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), branch offices, and remote workers.
Its call-control features are designed, Cisco officials say, to "help increase the productivity of all users, from salespeople wishing to easily document customer interactions to customer service representatives looking to deliver an improved customer experience."
Cisco and salesforce.com have "brought together Internet telephony with on-demand CRM to help change the way SMBs connect with their customers," said Kendall Collins, senior vice president of marketing, saleforce.com.
For inbound calls to Cisco Unified IP Phones, screen-pops within the Salesforce application provide users with a complete view of the customer's history, such as recent activity, outstanding follow-up tasks, sales opportunities, or service-level agreements.
"Virtually anything that users would like to track can be set up with a few clicks of the mouse," Cisco officials say, adding that the Cisco integration with Salesforce applications makes outbound calls "more effective and efficient as well." This means that, among other functions, users searching for a contact can click on a phone number in the application and automatically initiate the call.
The integration of Salesforce on-demand CRM and Cisco Unified Communications products is being marketed as making it easy and cost-effective to extend productivity to home-based workers and remote sales offices as well, since with a Cisco Unified IP Phone and an Internet-connected computer, users can see the same screen-pops and real-time customer information from any location, and can initiate outbound calls automatically with the most current contact information.
Bullhorn, a vendor of on-demand front office staffing and recruiting software, has been selected by Relevante, Inc. to help with Relevante's capability to source and place candidates more rapidly by syncing virtual recruiters in the US with overseas staff in India.
Relevante is a privately-owned firm in the Philadelphia region providing accounting and technology consultants. The company has four offices in the United States and an office in India.
Relevante's previous recruiting product took too long to search and qualify candidates, and uploading new candidates was time-consuming, company officials say. Improving database management was also "crucial," as they anticipate expansion into new regions and adding additional virtual recruiters.
Features such as the integrated CRM, tearsheets, and integrated e-mail have been instrumental in decreasing the time needed to source candidates fill their database with new resumes, said William Brassington, CEO of Relevante.
Comprising e-mail, calendaring, sourcing, an applicant tracking system, customer relationship management and job management, Bullhorn helps users communicate and collaborate with contacts, candidates, colleagues and clients in real-time to generate, source and fill job orders, or make placements.
Xtime, Inc., a vendor of CRM products for dealership service operations, has announced a ten-fold increase in billings and collections in the period December 2005 to December 2006.
In the same period, monthly appointments booked went from 40,000 to 120,000 per month and cumulative appointments booked exceeded one million. The company also announced that it now has over 700 customers under contract.
In a separate announcement, the company released version 4.2, a major upgrade to its ServiceCRM product in January.
"Our rapid growth has been fueled by the adoption of our ServiceCRM product by major dealership groups," said Neal East, chief executive officer of Xtime.
In the past five years, dealership service operations have experienced increased challenges in several areas. Decreased warranty claims, lower profits on new car sales and customers that demand higher levels of customer service have left dealers scrambling to find new ways to increase revenue.
IMagicLab LLC., a vendor on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) company, has launched iLeadTools.com to "power Internet sales for small franchised dealerships and independent auto retailers," according to company officials.
Based on iMagicLab's DealerCRM technology, iLeadTools.com offers a low-cost way for dealers to manage their customer follow-up using the same technology fielded by megastores like Longo Toyota, Towbin Dodge and Galpin Ford.
There you go, now you know the names of three auto "megastores." Work that into a conversation today.
"Smaller stores need good tools just like the big guys in order to remain competitive in the reality of today's automotive marketplace," said Richard Keith Latman, Chief Software Architect of iMagicLab. "This is really a no-brainer and it's time to close Microsoft Outlook or the paper notebook for the last time."
The iLeadTools.com Internet Customer Relationship Management allows auto dealers to measure their business and consolidate their online lead, showroom prospect and sales databases into one marketing system.
FirstWave Technologies has announced new marketing features in its demand generation offering designed to "increase the effectiveness of a company's marketing campaigns," according to company officials.
Leads will be increased by taking advantage of Personal URLs and behavior tracking of leads. PURLs allow companies to drive prospects to a personalized landing page with graphics and content specific to that lead's profile.
"Using FirstWave's behavior tracking," company officials say, "sales resources can now be focused on the most interested prospects."
Lead generation and customer nurturing will be enhanced with FirstWave's new lead and customer nurturing e-mail marketing product, company officials say. This product allows companies to segment leads or customers and develop newsletters with a hosted e-mail marketing product.
Full metrics including opens, click thrus, bounces and unsubscribes are tracked and immediately available for analysis and action.
Lisa Cramer, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of FirstWave, said all of these features are "built on a modular hosted CRM platform."
Deltek, a vendor of enterprise applications software, has announced the introduction of a new EVM readiness assessment tool as well as the recent acquisition of the expert resources, intellectual property and strong client base of Applied Integration Management, a consulting services leader in schedule-driven earned value management systems.
Deltek also acquired Welcom, an EVM and project portfolio management products vendor, and CS Solutions, a vendor of Business Intelligence tools for EVM in 2006.
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