Salesforce.com tailors for small business

Salesforce.com Inc. will take the wraps off a new CRM service next week designed to give the small business market rich functionality without the cost or complexity of enterprise offerings.

The new Team Edition, tailored for companies with as many as five users or for smaller teams within larger companies, is designed to bridge the gap between simple contact management solutions and the more advanced CRM built for large companies. It features sales force automation, customer service and support, and reporting and analysis, said Cary Fulbright, senior vice president of marketing and of the salesforce.com small business group, in San Francisco.

"It lets you track your customers and prospects as accounts, [and] it lets you track all your open and closed deals as opportunities," Fulbright said. "It lets you track cases and problems submitted to your service and support organizations. You can customize the applications by adding custom field, [and] you can customize the reports."

This functionality comes in an application that has eliminated some of the more complex features vital to larger companies but not commonly used by smaller companies, Fulbright added. For example, salesforce.com has eliminated the concept of user roles and hierarchy in the Team Edition. More than two million U.S. companies have a sales force with five or fewer employees, Fulbright said.

The new edition will allow A Day in May Design, a small wedding invitation company in San Francisco, to manage its business better by understanding who its customer are, where they came from, and why they are important to the company's future, said co-founder Eve Billig.

Team Edition will be available Sept. 27 and costs US$1,995 for as many as five users for one year. Before Dec. 31, 2002, companies can purchase the service for an introductory rate of $995.

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