CRM software runs my life

Month: November 2008

Making money from SaaS

Internet Cash Machine

Internet Cash Machine

The core promise of SaaS is that it will help you deliver services more efficiently. Instead of trying to manage software projects (which can easily get expensive and out of control) a company can outsource non-core development and deploy an SaaS solution almost instantly. In the current economic downturn many people have been watching SaaS vendors closely to see whether they struggle or thrive. On paper they are cheaper and allow businesses to focus on their core strengths, but would companies shun the risk and element of change in uncertain times?

There have been a few earnings announcements over the last couple of months that are proving the SaaS backers right. Salesforce is the biggest ‘flag bearer’ for SaaS solutions, and it has exceeded analyst expectations and posted a 43% revenue increase from the same quarter last year. The good news doesn’t end there however. Concur, Taleo, RightNow and many other SaaS providers are also posting record quarters.

Integrating your CRM and Website

Closed for BusinessAs far as I am concerned, having a website without having a CRM/sales system behind it is like having a shopfront with no shop. People can view your products, but they can’t offload their hard earned cash. Why do that to yourself?

Unfortunately it seems that companies need to literally see people banging on the store door (via hits, emails, phone calls etc.) before they will open the store. How many customers have you missed in that time? You’re paying for the store location, so why not fit it out inside?

Salesforce announced at Dreamforce that they are taking this view to another level. Your website should be linked into the core of your company. Every process your company runs should be accessible (and deliver value) to the customer at all times. Zdnet give it good coverage, but I think Smoothspan explains it best. The basic premise is know your customers, and then deliver the best experience you can to them. CRM’s have always tried to get close, but it requires a company to be completely online and committed.

Interest Rate Experts

Today the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates by 0.75% (0.25% more than the expected 0.5%. That represents a 200 basis point cut over just the last three months.

When reading an article on the cut on news.com.au, I noticed the “Related Coverage” sidebar. Every single piece of news has a different guess; some thought rates would go up, some down and some the same. In short, no-one really has any idea. How can these people be called experts? Is it really that the conflicting factors of inflation, house prices, consumer spending, the global stockmarkets and employment (to name just a few) are too hard to compare and weigh up? Maybe, but these ‘experts’ get paid for what they do! Or perhaps the experts are just journalists looking to create sensational headlines from titbits of superficial knowledge?

I am inclined to think that journalists play a very large role in the economic crisis, and that the severe fluctuations in the market are driven by fear generated by ‘experts’ and delivered to ‘mum and dad’ and ‘out of their depth’ investors.

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