By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Johnny Cash’s gospel album, God. It’s a toss-up whether this or Willie Nelson’s country gospel album, Troublemaker is a better listen, maybe Nelson’s for including more old standards.
Zoho’s resident evangelist Raju Vegesna believes his company’s new enterprise CRM can hit Salesforce.com where it hurts — in affordability. “As with other Zoho applications, Zoho CRM is very affordable. The Personal Edition is free for three users; Professional Edition is $12 per user per month; and the Enterprise Edition is $25 per user per month,” he wrote recently. “The Professional and Enterprise Editions are also free for the first three users.”
The latest version of Zoho CRM emphasizes enterprise-grade functionality, including role-based security administration, targeted to medium-sized enterprises with complex organizational hierarchies.
“The upgrades we’ve made to Zoho CRM have all been geared toward reinforcing its enterprise capabilities,” said Vegesna. “We want to give all of our customers, from one-person shops to small and medium businesses, affordable CRM.”
It is “a well-known fact” that Zoho CRM competes with Salesforce, Vegesna wrote, adding that the “unknown fact” is that the functionality of Zoho CRM is broader for Personal and Professional Editions — “available at a fraction of the cost. Salesforce spends nearly eight times on sales/marketing as it spends on R&D. Sounds to me a textbook definition of business model bloat.”
The Salesforce business model is “an evolutionary dead end,” Vegesna says, adding that “the proof is the silent popularity of Zoho CRM.”
Compared to Salesforce.com, yes, very silent indeed.
Infusionsoft, a vendor of eMarketing software for entrepreneurs, has announced the launch of its multi-city tour to “educate and share best practices with their customers.”
The tour, which kicks off during National Small Business Week in Orlando on April 23rd, is intended to bring together entrepreneurs to educate and share best practices in how to market and sell their products and services without having to increase staff.
Each half-day event “will provide attendees with strategy and real-world ideas for helping small businesses automatically capture and convert more leads and get repeat sales from customers,” according to Infusionsoft.
Tour dates and locations include…oh there’s a ton of them, hitting all the usual places from now to December. Check out www.emarketingrevolution.com
for a place near you.
“The eMarketing Revolution tour marks the start of an exciting time for Infusionsoft,” said Clate Mask, President and CEO of Infusionsoft. “It takes a significant step toward reaching the masses of business owners.”
At the close of each event, attendees will receive free tools to implement into their businesses, including an “eMarketing acceleration kit,” personal marketing acceleration plan, Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask’s new e-book, The Edge of Success: 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales, and real world case studies from Infusionsoft customers.
Zenoss, a vendor of commercial open source network, systems and applications management software, has announced that open source CRM vendor SugarCRM has deployed Zenoss for Service Providers to monitor and manage its end-to-end Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, including networks, servers, and end user application performance through synthetic transactions.
Lila Tretikov, CIO of SugarCRM, said, with Zenoss, “we’re able to monitor and manage our entire hosted service offering through a single product.”
Under its SaaS model, SugarCRM maintains instances of its application on networks and servers within ata centers. SugarCRM officials say they commit to high levels of application performance and uptime, and in order to meet its service level agreements, selected Zenoss as its enterprise IT management product.
Zenoss alerts SugarCRM IT management personnel of potential issues based upon performance trends or outages and helps them to isolate root causes via a consolidated event console. SugarCRM personnel then remediate issues.
Apatar, a vendor of open source data integration software, has announced the CDYNE Phone Verification connector for the Apatar Open Source Data Integration toolset.
The new connector determines the validity of any U.S. or Canadian phone number using CDYNE Web services, all without coding. Now Apatar lets users verify and filter customer phone numbers extracted from databases, files, applications (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM), and Web 2.0 destinations such as “Flickr, Amazon S3, RSS feeds,” the Apatarians say.
Over half of B2B marketers plan to put more resources against creating marketing databases, cleaning up customer data, improving sales force automation and CRM integration, according to Forrester Research in its “B2B CMO Investment Priorities for 2008” report.
The combination of contact data from many sources introduces “myriad opportunities for error,” Apatar officials say: “Because the records in each database were entered by different persons, each person may have introduced typos, placed data in an incorrect field or used different conventions for addresses, phone numbers, and abbreviations.”
“Data management is one of those thankless but necessary jobs. Data degrades, gets dirty, or become obsolete,” said William Chenoweth, VP Director of Marketing CDYNE Corporation.
Voxify has announced that it will provide speech applications in support of the Genesys “Intelligent Customer Front Door” products.
The integrated speech products will deliver what Voxify officials call “a virtual front door” for all incoming calls to “enhance the customer experience and deliver a consistent brand image,” by applying business logic to each transaction that considers caller identity, intent, preferences and call context to enable personalized interactions.
Genesys introduced the iCFD product framework in early April which uses Voxify’s self-service products. Already a provider of speech self-service to the Genesys Voice Platform, Voxify provides a suite of customer interaction applications integrated with the Genesys Dynamic Contact Center.
More than 74 percent of consumers surveyed said a great contact center experience has a major impact on their loyalty, according to a study cited by Voxify officials. However, many businesses today use technology to only deflect calls and contain costs, and these systems have frustrated their customers.
The iCFD is designed to use Genesys Voice Platform and Customer Interaction Management Platform, combined with a business rules engine and Voxify’s customer interaction applications and expertise.
The product, according to Voxify officials, is designed to help users discern the identity and intent of a caller in the fewest steps, gather relevant information from back-end data or workflow to understand the context of their call, determine how to treat callers based on established business rules and match the most relevant and available resource.