CRM start-up couples software, live help

CRM start-up SalesGene Corp. emerged from stealth mode and this week unveiled its first product, which combines hosted sales management and collaboration software with an added bonus: the availability of live help for subscribers who need administrative assistance.

Called Landslide, the product and services bundle is designed to address how salespeople like to work, says Razi Imam, SalesGene's CEO and co-founder. "Landslide gives salespeople strategic selling software to help them engage with their buyers, collaboration tools to help them organize live meetings online and an assistant -- a human being -- who's available to them every time."

The Workstyle sales management component of Landslide has traditional features, such as contact management, tracking and reporting tools. In addition, it includes guided selling tools that lay out for users how to engage a prospect, manage the selling process and close a deal. Companies can insert the questions they want salespeople to ask, and the marketing collateral they want salespeople to use, directly into the sales process.

The collaboration component of Landslide, called io Channel, lets sales staff create a private, secure portal for each customer prospect. Using the portal, sales staff and prospective buyers can share information, ask questions and download documents, for example. It also allows users to initiate a Web meeting or run a product demonstration.

The io Channel site tracks the history and status of a salesperson's relationship with a prospect. A salesperson can see what documents a prospect has looked at or downloaded, which can help to gauge how serious a potential buyer is, for example.

The services component of Landslide is called VIP Assistant, which provides each salesperson with access to a live sales assistant who can help research and update accounts and take on other administrative tasks. Landslide subscribers can call an 800 number and get help from an assistant in SalesGene's Pittsburgh call center when they need administrative tasks done, Imam says.

For example, a sales assistant could update a client's contact information or send a message to a prospect while the salesperson is at the airport or stuck in traffic. "We've taken the sales function that every salesperson hates to do and given them a VIP assistant to solve it," Imam says.

Imam is a sales and marketing veteran who most recently was vice president of marketing at telecommunications software maker Cramer Systems. He co-founded SalesGene with Chief Technology Officer Anupam Singh and Saman Haqqi, who is vice president of marketing.

The Pittsburgh-based company has secured $2 million in angel funding, and a first public round of venture funding is in progress.

Landslide is available now, and pricing runs between $90 and $100 per user per month.

This story, "CRM start-up couples software, live help" was originally published by Network World.

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