Beazer and, MultiFactor, CRM Mastery, Customer Effective, ILinc, Xactly

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David Sims
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Beazer and, MultiFactor, CRM Mastery, Customer Effective, ILinc, Xactly

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll's drolly acerbic music, nicely understated for maximum impact:

Beazer Homes USA, an Atlanta-based national home builder, has adopted SalesforceCRM to "enhance sales and customer care processes," according to consulting firm Bluewolf.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Beazer had a cumbersome CRM product with limited capabilities, and as a result - all together now - the sales reps ignored it.

Hit hard by the housing downturn of the past several years, Beazer officials say they see the company "in the midst of a makeover that will enable it to take advantage of the slowly recovering housing market." Part of that makeover, evidently, is looking to strengthen the sales and customer care processes.
"Now we are seeing glimmers of hope that the negative market trends in the housing industry are moderating," said Cindy Tierney, CIO, Beazer Homes. 

Beazer Director of Information Technology Joe Harris participated on Bluewolf's panel on "Extreme Makeover: Customer Care Edition" at Dreamforce 2009,'s user and developer conference, "sharing experiences of undergoing an extreme makeover of the home builder's customer care processes and technology," according to Beazer officials.

The builder is looking for improvements throughout the sales organization, including improved customer interaction and agent productivity, an increase in user adoption, improved overall data quality and decreased time required to generate sales reports from days and hours to minutes.

Company officials say with the technology, they can now "capture and centralize data on potential and existing home buyers, realtors and other partners," and enhance sales performance management through analytics and reporting.

MultiFactor, a Web application security vendor, has announced its SecureAuth product has been tested and certified by
Effective immediately, the authentication is available on's AppExchange marketplace.

SecureAuth is designed, company officials say, to enable "seamless single sign on" while "enforcing 2-factor authentication into internally-hosted applications," as well as SaaS applications like Salesforce CRM and GoogleApps.
"The ability to enforce a bilateral authentication throughout the SSO process across network, cloud, and Web applications is unique in the industry," claims MultiFactor's CTO Garret Grajek.

Many folks who like cloud computing's flexibility and cost savings are leery of the security concerns - especially enterprise IT departments. This product is designed to be a way for cloud vendors to guarantee the "integrity and reliability of their applications and data centers," MultiFactor officials explain, adding that the enterprise customer "must control identities of their users for access to those applications and data."
The SecureAuth product implements a secure authentication to both legacy onsite and cloud-based applications without forcing the enterprise to migrate or synchronize their existing user credential stores, since it directly accesses an existing native directory, including Microsoft's Active Directory.
What this means, according to MultiFactor officials, is that an enterprise can migrate to cloud computing with a single or multiple applications at a time, while using their existing IT infrastructure and "retaining full control of their users' identities.

From Telluride, Colorado comes news from CRM guru and jazz maven Jim Berkowitz, a guy you need to add as a Facebook friend just to get his music suggestions.
Saying that while CRM's a "hot topic" in business today as "both small and mid-sized companies struggle to compete," Berkowitz notes that picking the right CRM technologies for Salesforce automation, customer service, marketing, or social networking, from the literally thousands of technology solutions that are available, "can be a daunting task."
Berkowitz, CRM Technology Coach and Industry Analyst with CRM Mastery, says that although there are a number CRM directories available on the Web, "they are not organized in a way that's useful to potential technology buyers."

CRM Mastery's Technology Directory, he explains, helps potential CRM buyers by "segregating On Demand from On Premise and Open Source offerings, distinguishing CRM suites from products designed to focus on just one functional area and also by separating sales force automation products that offer sales pipeline tracking from contact management products that don't."

Directory content is maintained directly by Berkowitz himself, between shifts as jazz DJ on KOTO community radio. He describes the directory as "complete, in terms of the available products, and each product offering is properly categorized."

"CRM Mastery is all about being buyer-focused," Berkowitz says. "Ultimately as our directory expands and matures our goal is to have it become the premier source on the Internet for companies that are trying to put together a list of products that they should be considering for use in their organizations."

CRM Mastery, founded in 2004, is described by Berkowitz as "an independent, unbiased firm that specializes in coaching SMBs through a CRM selection and deployment process."
And join Jim in line for Turkey Bingo -- "a true Telluride tradition."

Customer Effective, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and value-added reseller of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has completed a customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation for CapTrust, an investment advisory and retirement plan consulting firm.
CapTrust chose Customer Effective for their Microsoft Dynamics CRM expertise, company officials say, using the product's "technical and development services" to implement CRM using the xRM platform to "build more than 20 business applications on a single platform for CapTrust."
These business applications are intended to give CapTrust more efficient processes, help recruit financial advisors, and provide differentiated services to clients, according to Customer Effective officials, who added that the xRM platform was especially attractive "because of its technical flexibility allowing CapTrust to maintain control over business data."

As part of the project with Customer Effective, CapTrust created an online fiduciary management tool for retirement plan sponsors. The company was also able to build a portal for financial advisors.

"We sought out technology that would make our processes more efficient and consistent across all client touch points and let us make rapid changes," says Garrett Klas, Application Development Manager at CapTrust. "With xRM and the expertise offered by Customer Effective, we are able to support the expansion of our business with unique advisory tools that we can get to market quickly."

Customer Effective, with headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, sells customer interaction products based on Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management.

ILinc, a vendor of Web and video conferencing products and services, has announced the availability of iLinc for Salesforce CRM on the AppExchange. ILinc was a Gold sponsor of the event.

The offering "combines iLinc's Web collaboration and conferencing technology with the data management functionality of a Customer Relationship Management system," company officials say, with the idea being to let organizations host "high-impact online events" while "ensuring real-time visibility into registration and attendance information."
By adding Webinar data to Lead, Contact and Campaign records within Salesforce CRM, iLinc for Salesforce CRM "automates processes that make up the customer lifecycle."
To further streamline interactions with customers and prospects, company officials say, the application lets organizations launch virtual meetings and demos directly from Salesforce CRM.

ILinc for Salesforce CRM is being billed as a way to let users "who move their Webinars and online training sessions to the iLinc platform" not only see productivity from the integration of two business systems, but also benefit from "increased visibility into metrics from the Web meetings and online events they host." customers "may conduct Webinars and sales demos with iLinc," says Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, Built using the platform, iLinc for Salesforce CRM is immediately available for test drive and deployment on the AppExchange.

And yet more mop-up news from Dreamforce 2009: Xactly Corporation, a vendor of on-demand sales performance management, has announced Xactly Incent Express, a sales compensation product for small-to-medium (SMB) businesses that use Salesforce CRM.
Built natively on's platform, Xactly Incent Express lets companies using Salesforce CRM create sales compensation plans, calculate commissions, and export payments to payroll, "all from a single application."
And here's the kicker: "As a completely self-service product, Xactly Incent Express can be deployed entirely on-line by a non-technical user in a matter of hours - no professional services required."

Real-time visibility into compensation and commission management is considered a desirable feature by most companies, Xactly officials say, adding that most companies "are still burdened with managing the sales compensation process in spreadsheets - costing them valuable time and limiting real-time visibility into sales performance."

Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, noted that Xactly Incent Express is a product billed as being for "the smallest businesses to afford an automated compensation product, eliminating human error and providing access to performance data."

The product gives users pre-built plans and examples help users get started quickly, automated reporting and real-time dashboards as well as the integration with Salesforce CRM. The product also lets users model and analyze plan changes prior to implementation.

Pricing is $29.95 per subscriber per month with a "nominal" one-time setup fee, company officials say.

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