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Airforce keeps reps on the go in the know

Two businesses using Salesforce.com's new real-time connectivity product say that it's enabled their small sales forces to stay on the road and still access the latest customer information.

Users of Salesforce.com's new Airforce Wireless Edition say that the application is proving helpful in maximizing human bandwidth and keeping sales reps on the road where they belong.

San Francisco-based Salesforce.com officially introduced the Airforce package this week but says it has a number of existing users already up and running on the software. The application allows customers of Salesforce.com's online sales force automation services to add real-time connectivity to their operations using wireless devices. It works with BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion Ltd. or via other handhelds that utilize the Pocket PC or Palm OS operating systems.

On a basic level, the application allows users to access and edit customer information using a wireless device. Capabilities include mobile access to e-mail, sales contacts and account information.

At least one Salesforce.com customer feels the Airforce package helps relieve some of the demands put on his company by its relatively small sales department. Andrew Daminco, general manager of the financial services group at New York-based IntraLinks Inc., said the tool is becoming a valuable resource in keeping his troops out on the street.

"It's a straightforward extension of sales force automation, but it's a very practical step forward," Daminco said. "It keeps the field people out of the office and still allows them to get information or perform tasks they typically have been forced to come in for. We can be more places at the same time."

Daminco said that his sales team has been using Airforce for several months and plans to keep it in the mix because it has helped improve productivity and has armed sales reps who are on the fly with account information that is more comprehensive. IntraLinks, which provides online financial transaction services, is also customizing the software to suit its customer base, Daminco said. The firm has already created functionality for remote users to compare account information, including information about which vertical sector of the financial services industry a customer operates in or whether a firm has ever held a subscription to IntraLinks' services in the past.

Another company working with Airforce is Neomar Inc. in San Francisco, a builder of mobile infrastructure software. Neil Wilson, the company's vice president of sales and client development, said his team has found Airforce useful at keeping sales employees on the same page.

"You've got people working some of the same accounts at the same time from different angles, so it's nice to be able to log on and see exactly where things stand," Wilson said.

While Wilson admits that Airforce might not be the best tool for larger companies looking to sync up information on complex operations such as manufacturing, he said it is effective in bringing together a typical sales force in the small-to-medium space.

Airforce will be available to users of Salesforce.com's Enterprise Edition free of charge. It runs $195 annually per user for customers of the firm's Professional Edition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The Best Web Links on sales force automation

Read why Matthews International is using Salesforce.com to let its remote sales force view data anytime

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