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1/28/2004
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Siebel Offers 90 Days Free On Hosted Service

The customer-relationship-management software vendor sees the extended trial period as a way to get those interested in the service to move more quickly.

In an effort to drum up business for its new hosted service, Siebel Systems Inc. is offering customers a free 90-day trial period.

The software vendor, fresh off its best quarterly earnings report in two years, said Wednesday it won't charge new customers of its hosted service for the first 90 days of a one-year contract and would allow them to opt out of the service without penalties anytime within that trial period. The offer is good on contracts for five users or more that are signed no later than March 31.

The move is designed to put Siebel's hosted service, launched in December, in customers' hands sooner. "We've got a pig in the anaconda right now," says Keith Raffel, VP of Siebel SRM OnDemand and founder of UpShot, the hosted CRM vendor Siebel acquired in October. Siebel executives say nearly 20,000 companies have inquired about the service since it was launched. Raffel says the thinking is that with such a large pipeline, getting customers to use the product sooner is the best possible sales technique. "This is a case where using it is worth more than anything we can say."

Siebel's offer one-ups its main competitor in the hosted CRM market, Salesforce.com Inc., which offers 30-day free trials to interested prospects. Siebel had also been offering 30-day trials. Siebel CRM OnDemand, which is priced at $70 per month per user, was developed in conjunction with IBM, which hosts and co-markets the service.

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