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Player Gets Smarter with CRM

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Posted August 10, 2004 By Michael Singer     Feedback

SmartCompany enters the hosted applications market to differentiate itself with a full-scale business approach.

A relatively new software and systems provider is stepping out of its customer relationship management (CRM) shell with the launch of a new business model.

SmartCompany said it is now combining its sales automation platform as a hosted service to, as the company puts it, "bring full-lifecycle customer management to the hosted market."

Previously competing with a heavy pool of pure-play CRM firms, SmartCompany will now seek contracts as an alternative to hosted application providers like and Siebel . The company said its hook is that it covers the entire company -- "not just the sales force" -- with project management, order tracking, accounting, product catalogs and extensive reporting and security capabilities. The company also said that its orders can be tracked through the entire payment and fulfillment cycle, including tracking progress payments, gross and net profit on a per-product and per-order basis, change orders and commissions.

With its products, SmartCompany said customer orders could be combined into projects to assist in team selling and complex sales involving multiple products, sales reps, accounts and territories.

CRM addresses all aspects of interaction a company has with its customer, whether it is sales or service related. In the hosted, or on-demand CRM, applications are fed to small- and medium-sized businesses via the Internet as they request them. It places emphasis on improving total cost of ownership and proper application integration. CRM has resulted in an explosion in business intelligence software that provides executives and IT staff a window into their business processes.

"We want to move beyond opportunity management, because that only benefits the sales force," said Joe Zuffoletto, SmartCompany CEO. "Our product benefits the entire company, including accounting, fulfillment and customer service. This is a major leap forward for small and medium businesses that don't want multiple software systems to manage these operations."

Still SmartCompany has an uphill climb against the likes of rising stars like, which has been infused with cash thanks to its recent IPO. At the end of June, counted 151,000 subscribers to its products. In the first two months of the second fiscal quarter alone, the company notched about 14,000 new paying customers.

But Zuffoletto shows little concern, claiming one feather in his SmartCompany cap. James Roten, CEO of Raven Communications, converted his company to the SmartCompany CRM application earlier this year.

SmartCompany is available on a monthly subscription basis, with pricing based on the number of users and features selected. The company's baseline Solo package is free for one person and includes contact management, online calendar and a to-do list.

The SmartCompany Startup edition includes the Solo features plus opportunity management for up to five users for $995 per year. Additional modules, such as project management and order tracking, can be added to a Startup subscription as needed, the company said.

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