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Siebel sets sights on reluctant reps

The latest sales force automation tools from Siebel Systems leverage Microsoft's messaging platform in an effort to win the hearts and minds of CRM-skeptical sales professionals.

Siebel Systems Inc. today released an update to its sales force automation suite that leverages Microsoft's messaging platform and aims to win over sales professionals who have been reluctant to use CRM tools.

Siebel Sales 7.7, which is now generally available, includes pay-for-performance employee compensation, user adoption monitoring, enhanced integration with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server and improved mobile support and usability, according to San Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel.

The SFA suite of applications now @3883 contains such specific features as role-based sales dashboards and a sales content portal to assist in consolidating relevant sales information into a single location; a Siebel Exchange Connector that allows users to automatically synchronize calendar and contact information between Siebel sales and Exchange; automatic synchronization between the local and corporate Siebel databases for employees in the field; and Rapid Form Fill-In and Quick Print, which have been designed speed the completion of frequently used tasks.

Jeffrey Summers, general manager of Siebel Sales, said version 7.7 tries to tackle salespeople's natural resistance to using CRM software. For instance, the release gives them disconnected access to Siebel Analytics from the field. It also integrates with widely used BlackBerry devices so representatives can check on accounts or update opportunities while on the road.

"The No. 1 thing in terms of adoption is that you've got to provide value to [the rep]," Summers said. "You never hear about adoption problems with voice mail or e-mail. Why? Because it's the way we communicate."

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