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Tops in CRM get the Willys

A CRM software analysis Web site recognizes the best applications with an award named for the most famous salesman in the history of drama.

Willy Loman may not be the best role model for salespeople, but a line at the end of Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" is the inspiration for an annual CRM award from, a Web site that analyzes CRM software.

Nine tools in nine categories each garnered a Willy, which is awarded to applications that "genuinely help salespeople take better care of their customers," said Richard Bohn, the site's executive editor.

The inspiration for the award comes from the line, "A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory."

Bohn singled out NetSuite Inc., the San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of CRM and accounting software, as the vendor with the best hosted solution.

"Salesforce is the one doing all the advertising, but NetSuite has been sitting there grinding out the software," Bohn said. "An underlying message here is when people integrate front and back office, it is a powerful benefit to the users. [NetSuite] did the hard part first; the accounting is the more challenging project."

Additionally, a function that takes lead information directly from a company's Web site and triggers CRM processes may be easy for vendors to produce, but Bohn said NetSuite has actually done it.

Prophet, a tool from Avidian Technologies, Bellevue, Wash., was awarded the best Microsoft Outlook-based CRM solution because it "doesn't redo anything that Outlook already does."

"This is kind of an obvious thing, but there are a zillion people who use Outlook," Bohn said. "Why force them to use something else to take care of their sales contacts if they're already comfortable with Outlook?"

Other winners were Best Software's ACT application for best small-office/home-office solution, FrontRange Solutions' Goldmine Plus Accounting for use with QuickBooks for small-business solution, Best's SalesLogix for best midmarket solution, Microsoft CRM for best small-enterprise solution, Onyx Enterprise from Onyx Software for best medium-enterprise solution, Interface Software's Interaction for best professional services solution, and Nurture Marketing for Microsoft CRM, from I.B.I.S. Inc., for its relationship marketing add-on to Microsoft CRM.

One category left off the list this year was the large-enterprise solution. In the past, Bohn has awarded software from PeopleSoft Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., but no enterprise application suite stood out in 2003, he said. Many of the larger vendors had difficult years and focused on maintenance improvements, Bohn said.


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