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Salesnet Debuts New Sales Strategy

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Posted March 8, 2004 By Kevin Newcomb     Feedback

The 'Guided Performance Selling' strategy extends the ASP model with three core components -- software-as-a-service, configuration-as-a-service, and integration-as-a-service.

Better salespeople lead to better sales. That's the premise behind the Guided Performance Selling (GPS) strategy unveiled Monday by on-demand CRM software provider Salesnet.

"To the extent that we can make salespeople more effective, the company benefits, the salesperson benefits, and everybody else does also," Mike Doyle, chairman and CEO of Salesnet, told ASPnews.

Salesnet GPS takes a three-pronged approach to improving sales -- definition, guiding and tracking. Salesnet GPS enables sales organizations to define a blueprint for sales success to guide best selling strategies, and then accurately track on-demand business and customer data to quickly view and analyze sales performance, Doyle said.

"What is the blueprint for sales success? Is it a branded, pre-configured methodology, or a custom strategy? Whatever it is, our workflow technology can conform to it, and then guide salespeople along that path using best practices -- anywhere, anytime. Then it's important to track where they are against plan, or against another team," he said.

The strategy takes the ASP model to the next level with three core "as-a-service" components -- software-as-a-service, configuration-as-a-service, and integration-as-a-service.

Salesnet has been delivering software-as-a-service since 2000. By expanding the ASP model, Salesnet goes deeper than traditional Web-based customization by offering "clicks-not-code" configuration that is fully adaptable to any selling environment. Today, Salesnet offers three versions of its CRM solution to suit different-sized businesses: Salesnet Express, Salesnet Standard and Salesnet Extended.

By using Salesnet's configuration-as-a-service, organizations get out-of-the-box solutions designed for specific vertical markets or sales methodologies. Users can further customize the product via a new user interface to utilize custom fields, branding, and screen layout capabilities.

"For example, we have several regional banks in our portfolio, and we know how regional banks want to sell to their customer base," Doyle said. "When we bring on another regional bank, we've got a selling process already built into Salesnet that gets that company up and running quickly."

"When you think about configuration-as-a-service, pre-baking an implementation of a CRM system -- only an ASP can offer that. Only an ASP knows how all its customers use the software. On-premise vendors have no idea," added Salesnet's Chief Marketing Officer Dan Starr.

Integration-as-a-service provides more than 200 pre-built system connections, as well as more Web Services Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for customers to push and pull data in and out of Salesnet remotely.

"The risk is taken away from the customer and put on Salesnet. If it doesn't work, the customer can just decide not to use it anymore and walk away. With traditional software, they own the software and it ends up being shelfware," Doyle said. "The beauty of the ASP model is that we're constantly interacting with our customers, finding out what is good, what's bad, what we can make better, and what should be on the product road map."

In addition, Salesnet also announced today that it has raised an additional $10 million in private equity funding, supported by outside funding from WestAM, along with continued backing from Prism Venture Partners and Phoenix Investment Partners. To date, Salesnet has raised more than $30 million in investment capital. The added funding will be used to expand sales and marketing efforts to increase awareness, distribution, and new business and product initiatives in specific markets.

"With the additional capital, Salesnet can further fuel its vision for CRM -- delivering customizable, on-demand applications that drive increased sales," Doyle said. "Online business applications aren't the wave of the future, they are here today, have demonstrated lasting power, and are a necessity for financially responsible enterprises."

The additional capital will support Salesnet's GPS strategy, vertical-specific and private-label OEM editions of its service, and its Business Partner Program -- a reseller program that allows partners to sell, implement, and manage an online CRM service for their customers. Salesnet has grown this program to more than 50 resellers. Currently more than 40 percent of Salesnet's business is driven through its partner channels.

"It's all around the idea to deliver solutions that deliver fast ROI," Starr said. "For us, the fastest way is to deliver the software-as-a-service, to deliver the first implementation through configuration-as-a-service, and then to plumb it into your existing infrastructure through integration-as-a-service. Software-as-a-service isn't enough. We're about extending the model."

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