CRM gaga for Google

Salesforce.com and NetSuite released applications today allowing users to track AdWords on Google by integrating it into their CRM system, the "holy grail of marketing," they say.

BOSTON -- Two CRM vendors extended Google's reach into the business applications market today with tools that integrate

ad word tracking into their systems bringing search engine marketing to CRM.

Salesforce.com added the technology via its second acquisition, purchasing one of the partners on its AppExchange development platform.

At a dinner with press, analysts and customers Monday night, CEO Marc Benioff announced that Salesforce.com had purchased Kieden Corp., an on-demand software company that tracks Google AdWords spending and performance and integrates into Salesforce.com. Terms of the deal were not released. Kieden was founded in January and first launched its product a few weeks later. It has four employees and 45 customers. Kieden's technology has been mentioned regularly by Benioff at public events as he touted the new applications being created on AppExchange.

"Getting from Google to people who become customers can be a tricky thing," Benioff said. "This is an idea we didn't have and it's a great idea. We liked it so much we bought the company."

The deal marks Salesforce.com's second acquisition, following up on its purchase of mobile technology vendor Sendia in April.

Joining the fray

Not to be outdone, one of Salesforce.com's competitors in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market, San Mateo, Calif.-based NetSuite Inc., released its own Google keyword tracking utility today. NetSuite's application tracks keyword clicks through to lead capture through the sales process and provides an ROI calculation.

"It really will add value to small and medium-sized businesses to allow them to track their marketing spend," said Leslie Ament, director of customer intelligence with Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc. "That is where most marketing organizations are adding spending at the highest rates." @24657

The main difference between the two tools is NetSuite's integration into its back-end ERP application. Large companies may require deeper ERP functionality than NetSuite provides, but Salesforce.com customers will need to plug into ERP somehow.

"Organizations are going to choose based on their size, industry and architecture," Ament said. "At the end of the day it's all good for end users because they have a choice."

Kieden will be renamed Salesforce for Google AdWords and is available now. The application provides a tool within Salesforce.com's core CRM application which leads users through Google's AdWord creation, checking against Google's editorial policies in real time via integration into Google's application program interfaces (APIs) on the back end, said Kieden founder Kraig Swensrud. It also tracks clicks from Google searches into closed deals and revenue through Salesforce.com. The tool also allows users to target customers geographically.

Marketing nirvana?

For Sean Marsh, CEO of One Mortgage Network Inc., a San Diego-based seller of discount mortgages and reverse mortgages for seniors, tracking Google AdWords created a "marketing nirvana."

A Salesforce.com customer since the end of the year, One Mortgage Network began using Kieden three months ago. Previously, the company had been trying to track the success of Google AdWord buys by setting up different Web pages with individual URLs linked to the words.

"There were thousands, it was completely frustrating," Marsh said. "Then, one day this application came along which solved the problem."

Marsh is now able to track which Google AdWords perform best and has cut marketing spending 25% in the last 30 days. Marsh also tracks leads geographically and, through a partner company, sells some leads to mortgage sellers in areas One Mortgage doesn't serve. It's also helped One Mortgage compete in an industry dependent on rates and one where everyone knows how to sell a mortgage, Marsh said.

"The only way to succeed is to out-market people," he said.

NetSuite offers tracking into Yahoo! sponsored search as well and integrates into NetSuite's back-end order management system. Both Salesforce.com and NetSuite tools also provide visitor tracking, allowing users to see which customers are coming from which AdWord and real-time dashboards.

"We find a lot of industries where paid search has become one of the most effective if not the most effective marketing tool," Jay O'Connor, vice president of marketing at NetSuite, said, noting that the practice is working for NetSuite internally. "We've reallocated all our marketing programs and increased marketing spend because we could show the ROI to our senior executive team and the CFO to show how much we'll get back in revenue from paid search."

Salesforce for Google AdWords is available on the AppExchange and is priced at $300 per company per month, regardless of size. NetSuite's application is now part of all products that have marketing automation, including its CRM+ application and NetSuite. It is available at no extra charge.

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