Salesforce Opens The Door To Competitors

By Christine Crandell

Salesforce Opens The Door To Competitors

When was launch in 2000, it revolutionized the software industry and the cloud movement was born. While the motto was ‘the end of software’, back in those days the company was also all redefining CRM /SFA (sales force automation). The Salesforce promise was its application was designed for and to help sales people be more effective. A message that resonated with sales leaders since Clarify and Siebel were basically sales management reporting applications masquerading as CRM platforms.

As this $5 Billion company grew, it changed from a SaaS application provider to a platform provider. For good reason, platforms have stronger staying power in a rapidly evolving market. As more application vendors build on, the platform becomes sticker and revenue more predictable. It’s a nice business to be in.

In that transformation to a platform provider, Salesforce opened the door to upstart competitors that could seed its demise. That door is their SFA/CRM application. The very application that was built for sales people has not kept up with the needs of sales. Today’s complaints about the application sound haunting familiar to those made about Clarify and Siebel over a decade ago: Cumbersome, not intuitive, problematic reliability, and difficult to customize.

Not good considering the state of sales performance. Accenture’s latest report – Powering Profitable Sales Growth – points out that in 2014, “just six in 10 (59%) sales representatives are expected to achieve his/her quota, down from 67% in 2013.” That costs companies, according to Accenture and CSO Insights, 3.2 percent in potential revenue.

Contributing to the decline is sales performance is that “only 51 percent of sales organizations use a formal step-by-step selling process, only eight percent have a formal sales methodology implemented, sales teams spend less than 40 percent of their time selling, and less than 20 percent use analytics to spot cross-sell opportunities or at-risk customers.

Recapturing this potential revenue requires a combination of training, technology-enabled sales tools and better use of data and analytics. “The combination of mobility, the cloud, sales analytics and cutting-edge content management has created a new opportunity to enhance the performance of the average sales performer,” said Robert Wollan, global managing director, Accenture Strategy, Sales & Customer Service. “This opportunity is being missed, and companies need to improve their focus on the right combination of these resources to help improve competitiveness and deliver higher sales and margins.”

An opportunity that Salesforce, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft have missed as each diversified, broadly, its focus and mission. Walking through that open door is a handful of upstart competitors like Pipeliner CRM and Base.

Pipeliner CRM has three guiding principles: Flexibility, simplicity, and visualization. According to Eric Quanstrom, CMO, “[tweet_quote display=”People absorb visual information 60,000 times faster than tired, tabular data”]People absorb visual information 60,000 times faster than tired, tabular data[/tweet_quote] . It is through our highly graphical interface that much of the complexity in sales data is eliminated.” Unlike the majority of …read more