NetLedger pushes online CRM

NetLedger Inc. Monday announced NetCRM, its new online customer relationship management (CRM) system, which it said will provide users with a one-stop shop for their various marketing and customer support needs.

The independent San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which makes the Oracle Small Business Suite, said NetCRM is built around the CRM technology of Oracle's Small Business Suite and offers marketing and customer support automation, as well as partner relationship and order management features not currently available online.

In a statement, NetLedger President Zach Nelson emphasized NetCRM's sales order management capability, which can close a transaction and then track the product or service sale through the system.

"It's amazing that the one thing that all other online sales automation systems can't do is make a sale -- you literally cannot take the order," said Nelson.

"In our search for a solution that could automate our process from presale to postsale support and everything in between, NetLedger's offering was the best match for our needs and provided us with the cost-benefit ratio we were looking for," said Bob Lem, CIO at LoJack, a provider of stolen-vehicle recovery services and technology. Lem's comments were included in a statement from NetLedger.

Despite NetLedger's claim that it is unique, Marc Benioff, CEO of rival application service provider SalesForce.com Inc., said his company already offers order management and other technologies NetLedger is announcing. Additionally, SalesForce.com offers contract management and billing -- which NetLedger doesn't have. Moreover, the applications are available off-line as well, according to SalesForce.

NetCRM responded by saying that it offers contract management capabilities that include the tracking of terms, renewal dates and phased jobs. Complete billing functionality is included in the integrated suite of NetCRM and NetLedger Advanced Accounting, said a company spokeswoman.

The following are among NetCRM's other features:

- A customer support automation tool embedded with knowledge management technology, allowing customers to search an online answer base rather than call in for support, thus cutting phone interaction costs.

- A partner relationship management tool, which allows sales partners to view leads, track orders and view and submit support calls.

- A marketing automation feature that integrates a customer's purchase history and allows a company to create specific sales aimed at the appropriate segments. NetCRM also offers templates, e-mail campaign creation and distribution technology, as well as the ability to measure success rates and determine a return on investment for a campaigns.

NetCRM will be available in next month at a base price of US$600 per user a year.

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