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Salesnet goes unplugged

Joining some of its fellow hosted CRM providers, Salesnet is now enabling users to work offline.

Hosted CRM provider Salesnet is now delivering an offline edition that lets users take advantage of what it describes as a "seamless selling environment."

Salesnet Offline Edition is built on the Microsoft .NET framework with a SQL Server back-end engine. It delivers a user interface virtually identical to Salesnet's online version.

Steve Dahill, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Boston-based Salesnet, said that two functions make Salesnet Offline stand out. Users can select the records that they want to download for offline availability and are not limited in the number of documents that can be accessed. Also, a feature called "Just-In-Time" gives users single-keystroke access to all the criteria within a report or forecast.

Although they differ somewhat in their technology approach, competing CRM services from companies like Salesforce.com, in San Francisco, and UpShot Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., already have offline capabilities.

Aberdeen Group research director Karen Smith said that the ability for sales staff to work offline "can't be left out" of a sales force automation offering. She applauds Salesnet for building on .NET, because most small and midsized companies are committed to a Microsoft environment.

WaterTrax Inc., an application service provider of database software for water quality management, beta-tested Salesnet Offline and currently has a handful of users up and running on it. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company needed a way for its traveling sales staff to access and update contact information on the road.

"The nice thing is that it matches the online version," said Mark Johnson, vice president of marketing and sales. "It looks exactly the same, so there's no learning curve."

Salesnet Extended users like WaterTrax will receive the offline capabilities free, as will existing Salesnet Standard customers. New Salesnet Standard customers will pay $20 per user per month.

To gain offline capabilities, users follow an installation wizard found on the current Salesnet interface; it guides users to a client-side application that needs to be downloaded onto their laptops.

Future plans for Salesnet Offline include support for reporting and analytics, Dahill said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Read about Salesforce.com's Offline Edition

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