San Francisco-based online CRM vendor Salesforce.com is just now trumpeting a list of customers it has stolen away from midmarket competitor SalesLogix -- even though many companies on that list switched CRM vendors more than one year ago.
Salesforce.com made public a list of four companies that have migrated to its outsourced CRM platform from products built by SalesLogix, the CRM applications division of Best Software Inc. in Irvine, Calif., which many analysts consider among the largest providers of lower-end CRM tools. Salesforce.com released the list Thursday.
Faced with the claims, officials at SalesLogix said the tactic ultimately serves as an endorsement of its leadership position in the midmarket. SalesLogix general manager Tim Fargo said that despite a handful of losses, his firm has been consistently adding some 250 new customers per quarter to its base of more than 5,000 clients.
Yet several of the customers highlighted by Salesforce.com criticized SalesLogix's CRM applications.
"SalesLogix didn't work well for us in connecting remote personnel," said Eugene Alfaro, director of IT at Foster City, Calif.-based iManage Inc. "The big advantage in moving to Salesforce.com was in addressing the needs of our globally dispersed business."
About 90% of the online content and collaboration management software maker's sales team operates away from its home offices, according to the executive. Alfaro said his company worked with SalesLogix CRM products for roughly two years before moving over to Salesforce.com's Professional Edition in May 2001.
Another major complaint iManage had with SalesLogix was the cost and time related to upgrading the CRM vendor's software platforms.
"Over time, maintenance became cost prohibitive," he said. "SalesLogix would release service upgrades and we couldn't take advantage of them quickly enough."
Alfaro said his firm spent a good deal of money on outside consulting in an unsuccessful effort to keep up, adding that the application program interfaces (APIs) offered by SalesLogix were not easy to integrate with iManage's own Web-based products.
Other customers Salesforce.com won over from SalesLogix include Callidus Software Inc., Mobile Automation Inc. and ProactiveNet Inc.
San Jose, Calif.-based incentive management software maker Callidus is one of the more outspoken defectors. However, it should be noted that Callidus is also a partner of Salesforce.com.
"We had a miserable time with SalesLogix. The simple fact was that we couldn't get the data we needed out of the system," said Chris Cabrera, vice president of sales for Callidus.
Cabrera said his company could not create the kind of forecasting reports it needed to effectively chart its sales prospects in a timely manner. He said his company went as far as to "virtually keep two sets of books," because it was still using basic spreadsheet technology to address the shortcomings it says it experienced with its former CRM vendor. Cabrera said Callidus used SalesLogix software for two years before shifting to Salesforce.com's Enterprise Edition one year ago.
For Vicki Vance, inside sales manager at Santa Clara, Calif.-based software firm ProactiveNet, the decision to move away from SalesLogix was driven less by disappointment with the vendor as it was by the economies offered by Salesforce.com's "utility computing" model. ProactiveNet moved from SalesLogix to Salesforce.com's Professional Edition two years ago.
"It was a decision that was largely influenced by the outsourced pricing model," Vance admitted. "We also didn't feel we were utilizing a lot of the functionality in SalesLogix, while we've incorporated Salesforce.com piece-by-piece as we go."
Vance raises an important distinction between Saleforce.com and more traditional CRM vendors like SalesLogix. Salesforce.com doesn't license its software. Instead, it offers access as a service, with companies paying a monthly fee per user.
Salesforce.com's list of defectors comes at a time when competition is heating up in CRM's midmarket. Later this month, Microsoft is expected to release its inaugural CRM software. Analysts have called the sector CRM's "sweet spot" because many midmarket companies have yet to make their CRM decisions.
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