NetLedger Enters CRM Fray

by Dan Muse

The California-based maker of the Oracle Small Business Suite eyes the midrange market with NetCRM, targets Salesforce.com.

While Web native customer relationship management (CRM) ASPs start to swim up channel in hopes of reaching enterprise customers typically served by large independent software vendors (ISVs) such as SAP, PeopleSoft and Siebel, NetLedger is happy to shoot for midrange customers in need of integrated software to manage their operation.

Less than two weeks after announcing Advanced Accounting (see NetLedger Sets Sights on Microsoft Great Plains), the San Mateo, Calif.-based Web-native ASP best-known for providing the Oracle Small Business Suite today announced NetCRM, which is designed to automate an entire small to mid-size business from front office to back office.

It's no secret who NetLedger plans to compete with: "We're going after Salesforce.com," said Zach Nelson, NetLedger's president and chief operating officer.

NetCRM will be available in October is will be priced $600 per user, per year. Its features, which Nelson said are all included in its standard pricing, fall into four main categories:

  • Sales order management: By tracking pricing levels and product discount information, NetCRM will allow users to not only ask for the order, but also actually take the order.
  • Partner relationship management: NetCRM's Partner Center is designed to let selling partners view leads, orders and submit and support sales cases.
  • Marketing automation: NetCRM's capability to integrate purchase history is designed to allow users to can create marketing campaigns to target specific customer segments. Also, Nelson said, NetCRM is the only solution to provide end-to-end marketing campaign management — from system-provided templates to e-mail campaign creation and distribution to results measurement and ROI analysis — all in one application for one fee.
  • Customer self service: NetCRM's NetAnswers is designed to allow customers to search a knowledge base for answer to their questions, without calling customer support. Forrester Research estimates a 33-to-1 cost savings when customers use for self-service vs. telephone-based support.

"It's amazing that the one thing that all other online sales automation systems can't do is make a sale — you literally cannot take the order," said Nelson. "NetCRM's order management functionality, combined with its integrated marketing, sales and support technology, gives small and mid-size businesses a complete CRM solution. With the click of their mouse, customers can upgrade to the holy grail of business applications — an integrated suite that combines front-office CRM with back-office accounting."

Nelson said that one of the advantages of NetLedger's software architecture is that NetCRM, the Oracle Small Business Suite and the recently released Advanced Accounting are actually one application running on one database. "We're calling this Version 8."

In essence, the new NetCRM comprises new features added to the NetLedger platform, which ensures integration from front office to back office. Nelson said NetCRM's design is becoming more important as businesses find "they can't integrate QuickBooks and Salesforce.com."

NetLedger has historically aimed its products at small to medium size businesses, but Nelson points out that not only is its customer based growing, but the amount those customers spend is also increasing. Nelson said the company currently has more than 5,200 customers (up from 2,200 a year ago) and its average customer spends about $4,000 a year (compared to $2,000 last quarter).

NetLedger is listed by ASPnews as a Top 20 Service Provider.

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  This article was originally published on Monday Sep 9th 2002
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