SalesLogix: Still Right in the Middle

During a year when all the enterprise software heavyweights are coming after the CRM mid-market, the SalesLogix division of Best Software wants to remind the world that it always has focused on the small- to medium-size enterprise. SalesLogix general manager Tim Fargo told CRM Buyer this is an important point, because the definition of CRM differs in the mid-size and large-enterprise arenas.

“In 90 percent of the cases,” Fargo said, “small and mid-sized businesses start their CRM efforts with sales force automation. They gauge the success of CRM by whether or not they’re effective driving sales performance.”

Channel Strategy Advantage

With its content management package, ACT!, and now with SalesLogix, Best has built a strong network of channel business partners. “Those partners provide front-office services, CRM implementation, back-office integration, and an array of other services that include market research, marketing consultation and sales methodology,” Fargo said.

Channel resellers also can provide advanced tailoring of the SalesLogix application for customers. However, because the software includes the customization tool within the domain of the application itself, organizations often choose to do the customization work themselves, Fargo said. Even individual sales reps can modify data organization or user interface elements.

Happy Sales Reps

As many CRM vendors have learned the hard way, if the sales force is not happy with an application, nobody is happy. “We know how to drive sales force adoption,” Fargo stressed. “Without the salespeople loving the CRM application, management can never get the information it needs.”

All that happiness begins with a user interface that features clearly labeled buttons and access tabs, lots of drag-and-drop capabilities, and the ability to leap from one record to another easily, according to Fargo. “When interacting with a customer directly — on the phone or through any other channel — it’s an advantage not having to find yourself in an encumbering data structure,” he explained.

The account management tools also draw raves from users, said Fargo. Tasks that sales reps perform with them include identifying all contacts in an organization and tracking the intricacies of organizational structure. Information can be transferred through Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes integration and back again, which allows reps to use the office productivity software standard in their companies.

Multimodal Capability

Nearly half of any given company’s sales force is working in disconnected mode at any particular time, Fargo noted — away from any local area network or Web access. SalesLogix is designed so that users can access full functionality even when working remotely. When the rep’s computer recognizes that it is connected to the network, he added, the application immediately begins the process of transferring data — in the background and without the rep having to initiate any commands.

“What we’ve recognized over the year is that our application has to serve users in the way they work with their clients,” said Fargo, “whether they use it in disconnected mode from a lobby or airplane, or whether through the Web.”

Fargo also stressed his company’s financial stability in a period when that quality is not a given for software firms. He claimd SalesLogix is the only point solution in the marketplace that is both profitable and has growing revenues. “We have over 5,000 sold customers, 225,000 individual licenses and over 15 years’ experience,” Fargo said.

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