Business ISP Star has introduced a pay-as-you CRM service aimed mainly at mid-sized businesses looking to take their first steps into CRM.
However, Martino Corbelli, Star's marketing director said that there could be a wide range of customers for the product, a version of Microsoft Dynamics. "I'm confident that we'll find customers wherever we go," said Corbelli. "From enterprises who already have CRM software and who are looking for another option right down to mid-market enterprises who don't have the resources for traditional CRM but are looking to use something a little better than a spreadsheet," he added.
The CRM service will be available from £19.99 per seat per month. Corbelli said that companies with more users would pay a lower price, although he said that that price would be that of a typical configuration.
Corbelli said that one of the key challenges would be to make CRM work for organisations who were not used to employing CRM software. " A way to making it work within the business is a real challenge. We've partnered with key business partners to ensure that the software is implemented properly - without that there's a risk to any CRM implemention. What we've done is work with local partners, CRM specialists, who will go in and do the professional services for the customers," said Corbelli.
Star's new CRM comprises modules for marketing automation, sales force automation, and customer service complemented by analytics technology to provide reports. Corbelli said that the software slotted well with Star's existing email client, a version of Microsoft Outlook, so most of its appeal would be companies based around Microsoft products.
Corbelli said part of the appeal of the product would be the fact that the data centres would be situated in the UK - something of a concern to legal organisations - "that's something that Salesforce can't offer, you don't know where they're holding the data," said Corbelli.
Corbelli said that the product could be for as little as one seat with no maximum number. He added that the licence could be available immediately with anything from a few days to a few weeks to complete the implementation. He added that it was important to implement it properly. "This is not something that you can buy and it's working instantly. We have to make sure it's working properly. We're not hitting for hit and run sales; it's got to be right for the customer," he said.
Analysts at Tier1 Research (T1R), in a 2008 report, estimated that, while the on-premise enterprise CRM market has reached relative maturity and is expected to experience annualized growth of 6.2 percent through 2010, the on-demand CRM market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 41.0 percent through 2010.