Salesforce CRM Analyzes Customer Response, Offers Free Analytics
Salesforce.com is a leading player in the world of CRM software development and deployment, and rarely makes a misstep when it comes to serving small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Recently however, the company began offering a new feature-filled version of its CRM, known as Analytics Edition, to its clients, but at an extra charge. Now, thanks to social media discontent from many customers, Salesforce CRMs will come standard with a number of free analytics features--good news for owners and IT alike.
On January 31, 2012, a late blog post from COO George Hu announced that Salesforce.com's pricing structure would change. According to a recent CFOWorld article, the company's original plan was to sell their Analytics edition separately and at a cost of $40 per user, per month--on top of the $125 paid for an Enterprise edition of the software or the $250 for an Unlimited edition.
Salesforce CRM customer Jeremy Faber, who ran a social media campaign against the increased price structure, says that the reaction to the protest against the new pricing structure is "an amazing example of a company listening to their customers and responding quickly." Faber sees his campaign and others as a victory for social media, and judging by Hu's response on the company's blog, Salesforce.com was smart enough to listen. Though the CRM functionality of the company's software has steadily evolved, many SMBs and enterprise users have pointed out missing analytics abilities. Improving their service to include these features was the right choice for Salesforce.com--fortunately, they realized that charging more for them was not.
For SMB owners, this change is welcome news for the bottom line, but it's just as important for IT managers and admins. Building an in-house piece of analytics software or trying to force another piece of software to run along side an existing CRM is often a logistical nightmare, and while some IT professionals might enjoy the challenge, development on that scale takes up a significant amount of time.
Fortunately, it appears that Salesforce.com is getting the message about integration and isn't going to stop with its analytics offerings. ITBusinessEdge reports that Salesforce CRM will now include more effective integration with project management tools such as those made by Clarizen to give salespeople and project teams a better idea of what their "other hand" is doing. Often, CRM technology helps to define and refine a customer service contact, but working in stand-alone project management software, those responsible for delivering on sales promises are left out of the loop. Instead of forcing SMBs to buy more CRM licenses and supply project managers with data, synchronization of information between service providers like Salesforce.com and Clarizen means better communication without forcing IT professionals to build shaky bridges between two disparate pieces of software.
An Ear to the Ground
Salesforce.com is listening to its customers, which means lower pricing for analytics and better service all-around. While it might not be so carefully listening to the voice of IT, more integration with analytics features and cross-platform integration with project management tools means a smoother road for SMB IT and more time to work on development instead of troubleshooting.