The tool tracks leads, accounts and orders–features he said can improve sales force productivity and customer satisfaction. Microsoft CRM will also help service reps track and resolve customer service cases.
Microsoft CRM will be priced from $395 per user to $1,295 per user, depending on the features people pick, the company said. It will run on a Windows 2000 server.
The software maker’s CRM is tailored for companies with between 50 to 500 employees. Microsoft said it’s looking to compete with FrontRange Solutions’ GoldMine, Interact Commerce’s Sales Logix, and products from SalesForce.com and Upshot.com.
Small- and medium-size businesses are a target of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who faces declining growth in Microsoft’s core Windows and Office software franchises. But he has already had to perform a delicate balancing act with Great Plains.
Although Microsoft insists the new customer-relationship management product won’t compete with higher-end software sold by current business partners such as Siebel Systems Inc. and SAP, many analysts said they believe Microsoft will eventually try to move into the higher-end market.
Microsoft’s next battleground is the enterprise software arena. Two-thirds of Microsoft’s revenues still comes from the desktop (Windows and Office), a market whose growth is slowing. Recent acquisitions of Great Plains and Navision have given Microsoft a base to enter into the SME segment in developed markets. Emerging markets need software which is much much cheaper. That opportunity still lies untapped.