Google CRM shows ubiquity of market

Who’d have thought we would one day see an ad for CRM that says, “dude… that’s awesome!” But that is exactly the tag line for CRM for Google applications on the Web store for Etelos, a Seattle-based vendor of OnDemand applications.

Based on surveys of SSPA members last fall, I predicted that mid-market technology companies would spend $309M on CRM in 2007, more than twice the amount budgeted for CRM by >$1B technology companies.  I thought that the mid-market CRM vendors, such as Salesforce, RightNow, FrontRange, etc., would be the recipients of this business.  But who knows, maybe a chunk will go to Etelos and Google.

Accordng to Etelos, more than 1,500 businesses and 15,000 users requested their CRM for Google apps during the beta period. Etelos CRM for Google is now available at three levels:

  • Personal Edition:  Free, designed for single users.
  • Professional Edition.  $12 per month per user, allows multiple users to share tasks and projects.
  • Enterprise Edition: $40 per month per user, offers the ability to customize the applications, as well as select their hosting environment.

With a price point lower than competitors, Etelos will likely attract a lot of attention at the lower end of the mid-market.  CRM is not, contrary to popular belief, a ‘big company’ application.  If you strip away all the bells and whistles, at the very core CRM is a set of packaged processes for common tasks related to customers, and smaller companies typically need even more help with defining and standardizing processes then their enterprise-sized cousins.

Etelos’ CRM for Google applications won’t be competing with CRM incumbents on functional completeness anytime soon, but it does address core capabilities that smaller companies need, such as contact management, content management (though the definition of content seems to be Web specific), task management, centralized appointment setting, and of course, access from anywhere since the applications are Web based and OnDemand.  To give Etelos some Web 2.0 credit, they also have add on modules including online communities for customers, web content publishing, integration with QuickBooks, and even an eCommerce catalog. 

What are the longer term impacts of this announcement?  I’d say 2 things:  price pressure and visibility.  Granted Etelos CRM is not Siebel, and it never will be.  But, the more ubiquitous CRM capabilities become, the less you can charge for them, and that could put even more pressure on vendors still relying on the traditional license model to get anything close to list price. On the plus side, having Google linked to CRM in any way brings visibility to our industry.   The more financial analysts take interest in the developments within service and support, the better for all of us.

If you try Etelos CRM, send me a review!

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