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Dell, Salesforce.com Join Forces in SMB Territory

By Erika Morphy
Oct 13, 2009 4:00 AM PT

Dell and Salesforce.com have added another tie that binds -- a service offering Salesforce.com's flagship CRM applications to Dell's SMB customers. Data integration and quality control are among the value-add features Dell is bringing to the table through its integration services division.

Dell, Salesforce.com Join Forces in SMB Territory

This initiative stand out from the myriad collaborations Salesforce.com and Dell have entered over the years targeting this constituency, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer.

"Dell is providing the migration of data -- and that is a valuable service," she said. "The big stumbling block for CRM -- even in a hosted environment -- has always been data, especially for smaller firms."

Salesforce.com first targeted the small business space when it launched a decade or so ago, then expanded to medium-sized firms and enterprises with a richer feature set. It further broadened its reach with its Force.com development platform, followed by the launch of the AppExchange marketplace.

Now, the company wants to make further inroads into SMB territory. The Dell partnership "helps introduce us to an entirely new audience of these companies," spokesperson Bruce Francis told CRM Buyer. "Dell can be the bridge for those companies that have existing hardware in place and want to start working in the cloud."

Product Highlights

The offering includes the following features and functionality:

  • Salesforce Contact Manager Edition works with any email application, including Outlook and Gmail, and provides a cloud-based contact management application for one or two users. Features allow users to store contacts, track customers, run activity reports, manage tasks and meetings, and more. Users of Dell Vostro laptops and desktops get a free six-month subscription to Contact Manager Edition.
  • Salesforce Group Edition provides basic CRM for groups of up to five users. In addition to the features in Contact Manager, it offers Salesforce for Google AdWords.
  • Salesforce Professional Edition includes everything in Group Edition with no user limit. It has reporting and analytics functionality, a custom dashboard, sales forecasting tools and mobile access.
  • Salesforce Enterprise Edition is a more robust application than the Professional Edition. It offers workflow and approval management, advanced security, territory management and offline access.
  • Dell Integration Appliance is an out-of-the-box integration app for Salesforce that includes data cleansing and migration tools, as wel as a library of rebuilt integration templates for connecting many commercial Software as a Service products.
  • Virtual Integration Appliance, another Dell-originated offering, enables users to deploy integration appliance functionality on any hardware.
  • Cloud Integration Service is a Dell service for integrating Salesforce CRM with other cloud computing applications.

The subscription based pricing for the Dell-Salesforce.com offering starts at US$9 per user per month.

Strong Presence

The new feature lineup will deepen both Dell's and Salesforce.com's presence in the SMB channel, Rebecca Wettemann, principal with Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.

"Dell and Salesforce.com have worked together for a long time -- but this new offering is giving Salesforce.com a cost-effective new channel for SMB firms," she said -- namely companies that may not have considered cloud-based applications, especially CRM applications, because they were deemed too difficult or too expensive for their cost structure.

Despite all the marketing that Software as a Service companies have devoted to raising awareness among these companies, the penetration rate is still low.

With Dell as the channel, these apps "will have a lot more visibility among these companies," Wettemann said.

At bottom, the offering is all about pricing and targeted packaging -- not new technology, Kingstone said.

"This is two major brands targeting a sector -- the SMB -- that has not had much success with CRM," she remarked.

The hardware element is irrelevant, she added, noting that Salesforce.com can operate on just about any machine. "You can go to a kiosk and use it."

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