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6/15/2005
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Siebel Adds More Marketing Smarts To Its On-Demand CRM

Siebel OnDemand CRM 8 was designed to include more of the capabilities of its traditional business software in its subscription-based service.

Siebel Systems Inc. today will begin offering the fifth update in a year of its on-demand customer-relationship-management software. The latest release was designed to provide more of the capabilities of Siebel's traditional business software through its subscription-based service.

Siebel CRM OnDemand 8 introduces a wizard tool for creating segmented marketing campaigns, and a tool for tracking interactions with prospective customers. Siebel CRM OnDemand's embedded analytics--technology transferred from its core software platform a couple of releases ago--can then be used to analyze such campaigns and interactions for their effectiveness. "What we're trying to do with this release is to bring to bear enterprise-type functionality not just for enterprises, but for smaller companies, too," says Keith Raffel, group VP of on-demand products for Siebel. The new version also beefs up the ability to share accounts, contacts, opportunities, and calendars.

The added marketing functionality will make it easier for marketers to pull data from multiple sources and run it through Siebel's analytics engine to manage campaigns in real time, says Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone. Giving businesses more marketing management tools is something all the on-demand CRM vendors are trying to do, says Kingstone, but it's unlikely that competitors like Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies, which don't offer traditional CRM apps, can match the depth Siebel can borrow from its business-software platform.

Siebel's traditional competitors, Oracle and SAP, don't offer subscription-based CRM, although SAP is rumored to be preparing to do so.

Exercise equipment-maker Technogym USA wasn't looking for marketing campaign support when it started beta-testing Siebel CRM OnDemand 8 earlier this spring. National sales manager Dave Hannum was more excited about the ability to share contact lists, letting his geographically dispersed staffers provide tag-team service to prospects, and he credits that ability for a sale he expects will close later this week.

But Hannum says he now sees potential for the beefed-up campaign-management capabilities. Technogym is starting to import sales leads it receives from a third-party service directly into Siebel's software, where a built-in rules engine distributes those leads to the appropriate regional sales managers. "That's always helpful, when our sales managers come in Monday morning and have a few hundred leads waiting for them," Hannum says. Eventually, he plans to track the progress of the leads and explore the abilities to deliver targeted messages, and the embedded analytics can give Hannum a clearer view of why leads do or don't pan out.

Technogym, which is the U.S. subsidiary of Italy's Technogym S.p.A., has Siebel CRM OnDemand seats for all 50 of its U.S. employees. Hannum says he expects two or three other subsidiaries to become subscribers by year's end.

Siebel CRM OnDemand's added functionality hasn't forced a change in the price: Subscriptions still run $70 a month per user, or $100 for a vertical-industry edition.

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