Contact Management is the heart of CRM and SFA

Saleforce is smart to jump in with their “gateway-drug” pricing for core Contact Management. Their new offering targets a universal issue – organizing your rolodex – and markets to those who might not think they want the bells, whistles and complexities of Salesforce’s full product.

The Arch at sunrise
Creative Commons License photo credit: slack12

SugarCRM, and others in the space – (Act!, GoldMine) – are foolish to have allowed Salesforce first-mover advantage on this front. They’ll be more foolish still not to counter.

I call out SugarCRM as the base price-point of their very-capable platform is $0; they could offer (and should have been offering) core Contact Management at even less than $9 / user / month that Salesforce offers. Their product does Contact Management well – as they’ll tell you, completely devoid of sexiness (and Sales Reps appreciate sexy) – and their licensing flexibility is very business-friendly.

Upselling opportunities from providing core Contact Management are myriad:

  • Initial installation and configuration work
  • Moving all “siloed” Contact information (FileMaker, Act!, spreadsheets, other custom databases) into the one new centralized Contact Manager
  • Hooks into your company’s web site, Facebook pages, twitter feeds and other marketing efforts

And Contact Management certainly is the gateway drug to additional CRM and SFA wants: once you have your base rolodex setup well, organizations will want to take advantage of simple ways to actually manage the communications with those contacts, track activities around them, and report on which of their contacts and activities around those are actually producing positive results for their organization.

If SugarCRM isn’t ready to take on this kind of market with their Services teams, it’s a great opportunity for 3rd-parties to come in and do it using Sugar’s own open source platform.

Smart companies will focus on improving processes during slowdown

Software Development Predictions For 2009

McAllister writes, adding that smart companies will realize that ‘process automation is one of the best ways to reduce costs in any business,’ making 2009 the ideal time to ‘revisit old software schemes that got shelved back when staffing budgets w
ere flush.'”

Focusing inward, and paying heavy attention to expenditures, is the right move most of the time, and especially during a pervasive slump. Red Hat, e.g., posted solid Q3 ’08 results based on growing interest in their open source-based infrastructure. Their guidance for Q4 is strong, as well, based on growing customer interest.