Do you have a small business? Microsoft wants you.

As I’ve been reporting for many months (years?), tech companies are aggressively courting their CRM products at the SMB market. Businesses need good CRM tools to keep in close touch with their customers, this is not some hyped up gimmick technology that is not really needed.
With so many viable solutions and so many consultants eager and ready to help, business owners must carefully consider their options.
TechTarget’s SearchCRM writes Microsoft now has nearly 3,500 customers, nearly 2,000 global partners and more than 500 independent software vendors working with the company, Batt said.
While Microsoft’s entrance into the CRM market might not have played out exactly as people expected, it has been able to capitalize on several factors.
Microsoft has been able to upsell its CRM application to existing customers. It has also been able to take advantage of the fear and prospect of CRM failure. Companies have turned to applications they are familiar with, like those within the Microsoft Office suite, Batt said. In fact, integration with Outlook has been trumpeted by every vendor from Salesforce.com to Siebel.
Yet, Microsoft is still poised to take advantage of the ubiquity of its Office applications, Batt said.
“Others are working on the integration side, for us it’s a look and feel,” he said. “There are people saying, ‘I don’t want to work on another application. [Other CRM vendors integrating with Outlook] hasn’t been an impediment for us. I don’t feel we’ve given up the family secrets.”

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook