LAS VEGAS, Nev. – When Accpac International Inc. wanted to develop and release a sales force automation (SFA) system they did not have to look too far; they took it from the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) product.

According

to Mike Bongiovanni, senior vice-president of sales for Accpac, the company’s VAR channel had difficulty making a case for CRM to the small business market.

“”It is part of our existing CRM product line and what we have done is that we realized that the CRM product has certain components in it that, while they appeal to a broad range of clients, do not necessarily appeal to some of our smaller clients,”” Bongiovanni said.

The SFA product is completely Web- and wireless-based and features tools for managing, forecasting and reporting for all phases of a sales cycle. The package is WAP-enabled, customizable, can analyze historical account details, give probability of sale closing, provide a solo interface to synchronize data on and offline, and integrate other CRM components with interactive inbound and outbound telephony automation.

“”What we have done is remove some of the areas of CRM and (are) now offering the strength of the CRM package without some of the other pieces,”” Bongiovanni said.

One of the key areas for this product is that it can be integrated into an end-to-end business management environment very cheaply. Accpac SFA is available in small business, corporate and enterprise editions starting at just under US$1,000, plus an additional US$595 per user.

Bongiovanni said that other enterprise level developers such as SAP and Oracle may have the products for the mid market but their products are hard to integrate into a business management solution at an affordable cost.

“”They have tried to go down to the mid-market but they do not understand the mid market and they do not have affordable products. Mid market companies are not willing to pay $500,000 to implement a piece of software no matter how cheaply they get it,”” Bongiovanni said.

He added that the mid-market is looking for is a broad sweep of end-to-end business management solutions and applications that not only address their core accounting needs but all of their business management applications.

Accpac, at its Partnership 2002 conference, also released Version 7.0 of its Pro Series for advanced accounting for small and mid-sized businesses that need to integrate back office and front end functions. The company also released Accpac eCRM, which integrates with Pro Series. eCRM, similar to SFA, is Web- and wireless-based with tools for marketing, call centre and customer care automation through either a Web browser, PDA or WAP-enabled device.

Accpac’s eCRM will also contain a sales force automation tool.

“”What they are looking for is a suite of products with a very high level of integration to run their businesses in an effective manner. That has not be really available to the mid-market,”” Bongiovanni said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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