It may still be an embryonic market, but customer relationship management (CRM) software is seemingly where everyone wants to be.
One of the more recent additions to the vendor fray in Australia is On!contact Software.
Via its exclusive distributor, Term Software, On!contact has already landed four local sales of its Client Management Software (CMS) 3.5 package since arriving in April this year.
Among those to have signed on are Mercedes-Benz and P&O Services, and On!contact and Term are now using those reference sites to attract a reseller channel.
According to Steve Holohan, director of Term Software, the decision to hold off on developing the channel had two benefits.
The existing sites not only provide added incentive for resellers to choose the On!contact product over rival offerings, they have also helped Term Software build its expertise to better support them.
But for those resellers who take on CMS 3.5, being able to leverage Term Software's groundwork will require some sacrifices in return.
"We want people with a track record of installing solutions in the medium-to-large business sector," Holohan told ARN. "If they've been out selling, they obviously know how to sell in that market so they don't need specific expertise in CRM software.
"In fact, we're not interested in those who already have multiple CRM packages on their books because we want to build brand loyalty."
Holohan claims CMS 3.5 offers several key advantages over the other CRM packages available on the market: it talks natively to a range of databases including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Informix; is easily customised by end users without the need for programming skills; and can be installed within 12 weeks.
The package, which comprises sales, marketing and customer service modules, is sold only as a complete suite and is priced at $2500 per user, with discounts available on a sliding scale.
Those resellers who do make a long-term commitment to CMS 3.5 and are able to source their own leads will be supplemented by a national marketing and technical support strategy provided by Term Software, Holohan said.
And if analyst predictions for the growth of the CRM market prove accurate, those resellers are likely to share some fairly significant spoils.
The Gartner Group estimates the market will be worth $US16 billion within four years, yet Holohan claims only about 5 per cent of Australian organisations currently utilise CRM software.
That offers a massive potential for growth in the market, and Holohan believes that will come to fruition once companies complete their Y2K remediation programs.
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