They say that all is fair in love and war – and most people extend that saying through to business. It was interesting to receive an email the other day from CRM vendor salesboom. A quick disclaimer before I launch into this post – I'm not intending to review the salesboom offering – that's been done before. Rather I'll look at the way salesboom aggressively hunts down customers.
Salesboom.com is a CRM vendor that isn't shy about announcing where it sees its competition. Salesboom came to my attention just after the announcement earlier this year that salesforce would be supporting Google docs. The unreasonablemen, looking at it as they do from a "real-world for enterprise" perspective, posted about salesboom, congratulating them on their integrations with Outlook, a product that in his words can be considered;
a true enterprise app…
Now I don't want to get into an argument about the merits, or otherwise, of Outlook. I do think that Outlook as an installed application will be disrupted, I haven't given up on the idea that Microsoft might disrupt Outlook themselves. Suffice it to say that salesboom were chasing customers by integrating with the tools that those customers are using today, rather than second guessing what they'll be using tomorrow.
Anyway, the email I received the other day had salesboom once again looking down the barrel (both barrels to be honest) at salesforce;
Salesforce.com's stock is at a 52 week low and it has been downgraded to sell from buy, we like to think that we are playing a part in this decline…
I have to say it's a little opportunistic to claim the credit for the stock price – there are perhaps one or two things happening in the economy that might be playing a part in that situation nonetheless it's a ballsy move, designed to cast a bit of a shadow over the "big-boy" of SaaS, salesforce.
Salesboom are also upping the ante with their migration offer.
salesforce customers receive (with some conditions);
- a USD5000 credit
- free data migration
- free training
Putting the credit to the side for the minute – the second two parts of the offer have always struck me as being smart. Software is sticky – plain and simple. Migration is both a cost, but more importantly a hassle, for businesses – the actual migration is a pain, retraining is a pain and integration is a pain. Salesboom are providing some real solutions to this pain with their offer.
The salesboom "magic migration button" which promises to quickly and painlessly migrate data, workflow, customizations and other business implementations from salesforce, Siebel, ACT! and Netsuite is a great marketing feature – people like a simple depiction of a process – "one click migration" is as simple as it comes. As salesboom says;
[the] tried and true migration process alleviates the fear of a lengthy migration process or the possibility of losing data and business requirements while also ensuring a swift ROI due to the minimal transition period
I've always been a proponent of SaaS vendors going heavy on the service – in my opinion a reasonable sized investment up front – in terms of migration and initial support, gives a vendor a better than average chance at converting that sale and, more importantly, keeping that customer on-board. It's an oft-repeated theme – service is the killer app for SaaS.
It's always interesting watching fast followers in a market – traditional thinking has it that "me to" applications have difficulty gaining momentum in a market with a strong incumbent already operating. SaaS changes this a little bit, and SaaS with a major emphasis on the second "S" helps even more.
Add to this the fact that there are those who consider that even salesforce is due to be disrupted, and that their model of creating their own infrastructure isn't ideal. I posted about outsourced hosting previously and, while I'd have to admit that salesforce is in a different situation (leveraging their infrastructure as they do to create a second revenue stream from PaaS) – nimble players such as salesboom could create a chink n the armor of their larger slower moving competitors.