Executives at SunTrust Banks hope a companywide system for customer-relationship management will cut sales-call duplication and repair its fractured sales-management efforts. "We've had four different people calling the same customer in a week," SunTrust senior VP Ernie Magazzini says.
So SunTrust last week said it would put 2,000 sales staff on a Salesforce .com Inc. hosted CRM system. Beyond providing a uniform CRM environment, Magazzini says, Salesforce's hosting service means a deployment "without huge implementation headaches." It's a notion that's becoming more popular. Last week, Salesforce said it added Avery Dennison Corp. and Automatic Data Processing Inc. to its customer list, which now tops 9,000 accounts.
Salesforce also released its sforce toolkit for users of IBM's WebSphere middleware. The toolkit will let them create custom modules in their Salesforce portals in order to capture and integrate business data from other applications, regardless of platform. Salesforce has similar agreements with BEA Systems, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.
Although IBM sells a hosted CRM service in partnership with Salesforce rival Siebel Systems Inc., Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff says he's not concerned about potential conflicts. "It's a big market."