Salesforce.com already sells online customer relationship management (CRM) software to almost any size company, from giant corporations to small businesses. Now it’s announcing a product aimed at companies that are smaller still, with a simple contact management system for customers with just one or two users.
The San Francisco company’s new Contact Management Edition sounds like it really is just that — a way to store your contacts via Salesforce’s online service, stripped of more advanced tools such as ways to track sales leads, much less manage larger campaigns or build custom applications. It costs $9 per user per month, cheaper than any version of Salesforce except its Group Edition, which is aimed businesses with five users or less. It also integrates with productivity tools like Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook. Those tools, by the way, not to mention any other piece of software with an address book, could be the real competition here; they may not help you manage your contacts as gracefully, but they come with contact management without an extra fee.
Salesforce says that with this new edition, it has really managed to offering tools for “everyone.” This could be particularly useful for someone going into business on their own (and in the current economy, there are plenty of people doing that out of necessity), who just needs a simple way to track their customers. And hey, if enough of those contacts turn into paying customers, they may be able to upgrade to a full CRM system.