By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Grass Roots album Temptation Eyes:
Sage Software has announced availability of the new ACT! by Sage 2008 product family including ACT! by Sage 2008 (10.0), ACT! by Sage Premium 2008 (10.0), and ACT! by Sage Premium for Web 2008 (10.0).
“New customizable dashboards anchor this year’s product releases,” company officials say, and “allow individuals and workgroups to access priority sales opportunity and activity details in a comprehensive graphical view.”
Additional ACT! 2008 enhancements include editable list views2, multiple contact assignments per opportunity, and expanded workgroup security, among others.
Today’s ACT! 2008 product announcements coincide with the 20th anniversary of ACT!. Sage officials like to say that ACT! “established the contact management software category” with its introduction in 1987. Whatever the history, there’s certainly no denying that today ACT! is the number-one selling contact and customer management product with more than 2.7 million registered users and upwards of 41,000 additional corporate customers.
Joe Bergera, executive vice president and global general manager for Sage CRM Solutions, said the new dashboards “deliver rich visual analysis capabilities that were once only found in enterprise CRM systems. Now, with ACT!, they are available and affordable for small and mid-size business use.”
Each ACT! dashboard includes six customizable components: Schedule At-a-Glance, My Activities, My Opportunities, Opportunity Pipeline by Stage, Top 10 Opportunities, and Closed Opportunities. Users can also create new calls, meetings, to-dos, or add additional details to existing opportunities directly from the dashboard. The entire dashboard, or components, can be copied into any application including Microsoft Office applications for use in e-mails, reports, etc.
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Glasgow-based CRM vendor Graham Technology, a provider of customer-oriented business software and services, announced that it has been selected by Friends Provident to provide the product to “drive the company’s 6 Star Customer Service vision,” Graham officials say.
Friends Provident is a British financial services group and a member of the FTSE100 Index. As part of the deal, caboodle (Graham Technology’s flagship customer interaction software) will be used across the firm’s entire customer facing operation, including the contact center, sales teams, independent financial advisers and partners.
“With 6 Star Customer Service, we intend to ensure that Friends Provident sets the standard for customer service in our industry,” said Richard Crouch, Director of Customer Services at Friends Provident.
The engagement will see Graham Technology assist Friends Provident in delivering centralized customer service processes to all of the firm’s customer groups, across all channels (contact center and self-service), in all of its geographies. The project will support 2,000 concurrent internal users and unlimited external users.
Graham Technology will begin the project with the delivery of a contact center desktop application, with additional elements to be rolled out subsequently.
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Eloqua Corporation, a vendor of automated demand generation applications and expertise for business-to-business marketers, has announced that Kofax, an information capture vendor, has selected Eloqua via salesforce.com’s AppExchange to “improve the quantity and quality of its channel sales leads, streamline marketing processes and accelerate sales cycles.”
Kofax has integrated Eloqua with on-demand CRM applications from salesforce.com to “generate and prioritize channel-ready leads as well as rapidly convert these leads to closed sales,” Eloqua officials say.
“Salesforce.com delivers an amazing product and does a great job with sales’ needs, however, we also needed to add a dedicated demand generation product,” said Richard Bosworth, vice president of Americas Sales & Marketing, at Kofax.
“Prior to the Eloqua implementation at Kofax, we did not have 360 degree visibility into the interest level and activities of channel leads,” said Doug Ford, sales manager, at BRT Incorporated, a Kofax channel partner. “The difference has been dramatic.”
Kofax officials say they wanted to identify where new customers originated in order to allocate budget based on partner expertise and success rates. They also wanted to segment content type and frequency of communication by industry and other demographic data in the database.
The company also wanted to score leads by behavior and share 360 degree visibility into the prospect’s activity with its sales team and channel partners. With thousands of global partners and nearly 100 percent of its sales through the channel, company officials termed this effort “critical” to the company’s revenue goals.
Eloqua has enabled Kofax to set up a channel marketing program that uses relevant, one-to-one conversations with individual prospects to nurture those leads throughout the sales cycle. The product’s campaign management capabilities have reduced the time to deploy campaigns, increasing the flow of leads into the program. Automated lead qualification and scoring programs help Kofax and its partners determine which leads are ready to engage with sales teams.
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Billing it as “the easiest CRM Connector on the market,” VisionPeople Channel Sales, distributor of Add-Ons for Dynamics NAV, Dynamics CRM, and Dynamics AX, has announced the North American release of its VisionCRM Connector product.
Company officials describe the product as “real time integration between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.” The VisionCRM Connector exchanges data and functionality between the well-known Microsoft user interface and the accounting system -- “without interrupting the user,” company officials explain”
“By integrating the two systems, companies can avoid the expensive and resource-intensive processes of maintaining and updating information in both systems, not to mention the likelihood of making errors due to manually typing.”
The product is not just synchronizing the two databases, company officials stress. By the use of the best integration tools for both systems, and by using Web services, the user has access to both data and functionality in both systems and a full real time integrated environment.
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Blackbaud has announced that Heifer International has adopted its recently released products, Blackbaud Enterprise CRM and Blackbaud Direct Marketing. The $100 million global organization, which raises most of its money through individual donations, works with communities to end hunger and poverty.
Heifer will partner with Blackbaud to develop a constituent-centric model that integrates fundraising and various other activities across organizational boundaries.
Since 1944, Heifer has helped 8.5 million families in more than 125 countries move toward greater self reliance through the gift of livestock and through training in environmentally sound agriculture. In 2006, with 726 active projects in 57 countries and 29 U.S. states, Heifer received private contributions of more than $89 million.