Salesnet gets nearer to full CRM suite functionality

Hosted application vendor Salesnet is moving closer to offering a full customer relationship management software suite with the release of Salesnet 25.

Hosted application vendor Salesnet is moving closer towards offering a full customer relationship management (CRM) software suite with the latest version of its software released Monday. Known as Salesnet 25, the new release expands the focus of the software to include the automation of marketing functionality along with its long-standing sales process management capabilities.

Salesnet has been working towards Salesnet 25 for the past 18 months, according to Jonathan Tang, co-founder and president of Salesnet. "This is the largest release we've ever had," he said in a phone interview Monday. The vendor is on track to provide a full CRM suite by year-end when Salesnet intends to unveil another major release of its software which will include service automation, Tang added.

The increased functionality should help Salesnet compete head-to-head with hosted CRM player Salesforce.com, particularly in the wake of that company's recent service outages, according to Tang. "We'd like to be known as the Salesforce alternative," he said.

Salesnet includes service level agreements (SLAs) with all of its customer contracts, he added, entitling users to some form of compensation for any outages should the software's availability fall below 99.6 percent. By contrast, Salesforce.com has yet to offer SLAs to the majority of its customers.

Over the course of 2005, Salesnet customers only experienced two service outages with a combined duration of one hour, Tang said.

Citing its status as a privately-held company, Tang wouldn't disclose how many companies are using Salesnet. Typically, the software is being used in midsize companies or the divisions of enterprises, he said, by 30 to 100 salespeople per organization. The vendor's largest customer, which Tang declined to name, has more than 2,500 salespeople using the product, he added.

While Salesnet is primarily focused on North America, the company has begun to expand its operations into Australia, the U.K. and South Africa, according to Tang.

Salesnet turned profitable in the second half of 2005. "We're at an important point in our development," Tang said. "We don't require any additional [venture] capital to fuel the company, but if we decided to grow at a quicker clip, we could go out and raise more capital." Salesnet is still determining how quickly it wants to grow its business, he added.

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