Vendors Pounce on Demise of Sales.com

By Heather Baldwin

Like vultures on a fresh carcass, CRM technology companies have been swift to move in on the customers about to be displaced from the shutdown of Siebel Systems’ Sales.com. Siebel, citing a slowdown in eCRM sales, said in mid-April it will shut down the online CRM service as of June 30. As soon as the news was out, companies such as Salesforce.com and Oracle swooped in with giveaways and incentives to lure Sales.com customers away from Siebel.

Oracle Corp., on the same day Siebel announced the closure of Sales.com, established a Webpage designed to help Sales.com customers transition from Siebel’s eCRM application to Oracle’s. The page offers a Migration Kit, with instructions for transferring from Sales.com to Sales.Oracle.com, an e-business consulting offering and a test-drive account, which allows visitors to demo the application using their own company information. As of May 17, almost one month after Siebel announced Sales.com’s shutdown, Oracle officials say they have seen more than 3,500 visitors to the site and more than 220 people have completed the registration.

Salesnet was just as quick off the blocks, announcing on April 20 that customers transferring from Sales.com to Salesnet would receive a free, one-time setup with Salesnet’s sales management software. The process, normally priced at $495, involves importing customer data into the new software. The company also is offering 30 days of unlimited phone support. Salesnet officials say they have been in discussions with “several customers” regarding this offer.

Siebel blamed its shutdown of Sales.com on a slowdown in eCRM sales, but rivals say they are witnessing a different trend. Oracle’s online sales automation service, for instance, has gained more than 12,000 customers in seven months. Salesforce.com, just two years old, has seen 10 percent monthly-revenue growth since the beginning of 2001, has already racked up 2,300 corporate paying customers so far and expects to be profitable in the first quarter of 2002. Even PeopleSoft sees the future online and put all its programming code for its newest CRM application on the Internet. In other words, if you’re a Sales.com customer, you have plenty of options.