Salesforce.com rolls out contact-data service

The move follows its acquisition of crowd-sourced data vendor Jigsaw

Salesforce.com rolled out a new service on Wednesday that integrates business-contact information with its own CRM (customer relationship management) application and Chatter collaboration software.

The service is the result of Salesforce.com's $US142 million acquisition of Jigsaw in April. Jigsaw's database uses a crowd-sourcing model to collect data and keep it up to date. It now contains more than 22 million contact records and is updated by a community of 1.4 million people, according to the company.

The Salesforce.com CRM integration provides a new user interface for accessing Jigsaw data, while the tie-in to Chatter gives users real-time awareness of how contact data is changing.

Other features include analytic dashboards for tracking data usage and "health." Pricing for the new service, which is now generally available, starts as US$29 per user per month. Chatter is included at no charge for existing Salesforce.com customers, and available to others at $15 per user per month.

It's becoming more important to get a handle on business contact data, since many organizations are finding most success selling to the installed base, said Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research.

He cited the example of a company making a sale to a particular executive at an existing customer.

That employee, as well as the sales representative who did the deal, may end up moving on to other pursuits, creating a problem when it's time to sell a new product version, Pombriant said. "All of a sudden, a company has a customer but they don't know who the decision maker is anymore."

Jigsaw's competitors include Zoominfo and NetProspex, both of which are already integrated with Salesforce.com.

Overall, Salesforce.com's move to buy Jigsaw "proves the market" for its type of offering, and should give those alternatives a boost, Pombriant said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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