Four-way CRM shootout
We fire up the top hosted CRM solutions from RightNow, NetSuite, Salesnet, and Salesforce.com and put them through their paces
I found Salesforce’s e-mail wizards for bulk support broadcasts and lead follow-ups a good addition for novices. I would prefer to see more selection criteria for list parsing, however, as well as the ability to customize message templates on the fly.
Overall, outbound e-mail marketing remains a little light by today’s standards. Although campaigns can be tracked using Salesforce, there’s no mass-solicitation service here. So the entire campaign must still be exported and executed external to Salesforce. I had to run a list-generation report, export names to a CSV (comma-separated variable) file, where they could be forwarded to a bulk-mail house, for example, and then reimport my list back into the associated campaign for tracking.
That said, Salesforce does provide very good response tracking and cost-justification tools, revealing not only delivery and response feedback but ongoing historic correlation to actual opportunities won and lost over time.
Despite a few foibles, Salesforce still leads the pack as a killer CRM solution, thanks to its feature set, usability, and extensibility. By packing a lot of value into a plug-and-play offering, it helps level the CRM playing field for small shops and enterprises alike. Companies in need of a broad CRM feature set with decent workflow and deep extensibility will find an excellent choice in Salesforce.com.