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Salesnet eyes bigger prize

While hosted CRM has long been attractive to SMBs, Salesnet and its new CEO are focusing on the enterprise market and using integration to help get them there.

With a  new CEO, comes a new approach to the market for hosted CRM at Salesnet Inc.

According to Alan Goldsworthy, the man who took over the helm of the Boston-based company in November, the company will focus on the enterprise market and not small and midsized businesses (SMBs).

"As we move upstream, we realize the SMB market, for what it's looking for, doesn't appreciate what Salesnet is really about," Goldsworthy said.

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While SMBs have typically been attracted to hosted CRM providers for the low upfront costs and minimal IT requirements, Salesnet said its sales process-driven approach plays better with the larger businesses.

"Salesnet is all about optimizing sales processes," said Erin Kinikin, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "It takes 30 or 50 sales reps to need a sales process. It's hard to have best practices with only five people."

The move stands in contrast to Siebel Systems Inc.'s efforts to capture a portion of the wide-open SMB market and's success there.

Salesnet will continue to serve SMB customers and they will receive new functionality through value-added resellers and partners, according to Goldsworthy. But he also acknowledged that some will probably leave.

"If we lose customers, it's because they don't value the process-centric approach," he said. "They're not necessarily the right customer. We're aiming for a target well above the feature-function frame."

To help serve these larger customers Salesnet is touting its integration capabilities, including its integration links, which pass along Salesnet data to selected Web pages through intelligent hyperlinks. Another feature, Web Services Application Programming Interfaces, leverages Web services to push and pull data in and out of Salesnet. And its Integration-as-a-Service program offers prebuilt connections to link Salesnet with other systems such as ERP applications and campaign management.

Most recently, Salesnet unveiled its site, which offers developers' blogs, downloads, discussion forums and FAQs to help accelerate integration.

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