Blueroads Teams with Microsoft for Channel Management Solution

By Herman Mehling

June 6, 2008

The evolving world of customer relationship management (CRM), which embraces solutions that focus on two-way communication between a vendor and its customers, has recently spawned a new solution area that potentially benefits VARs.

Partner opportunity management (POM) helps organizations with multi-dimensional channels to market and sell more effectively via closed-loop systems that enable partners to participate in sales and marketing. One of the early creators of POM solutions is Blueroads, which has sold its flagship Partner Opportunity Management solution to channel-friendly IT companies such as Avaya, Brocade, NetApp, Polycom and Xerox.

The market for CRM software and services is expected to grow at about seven percent annually, growing from $8.4 billion in 2006 to $10.9 billion in 2010, according to Forrester Research.

Seeking to tap into that growth and to broaden demand for its flagship software, Blueroads recently teamed with Microsoft to integrate its POM offering with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM product, creating an opportunity and marketing management solution targeted to companies with multi-tier sales channels.

The combined solution will enable companies and their channel partners to drive, track and manage leads and sales opportunities from first interaction to revenue across all touch points, said Charles Watson, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Blueroads.

“We believe we have created one of the most advanced and comprehensive solutions for companies needing to manage both marketing and sales processes within, outside and across their organizations,” said Watson.

Specifically, the new solution could help companies to align each sales opportunity with the best-fit sales resources, drive opportunities from quote to cash, collaborate on opportunities with channel partners, increase the number of leads, and improve marketing campaign performance.

The “best fit” sales resource criteria can be based on a number of factors, including historical success, account profile, pre-existing relationships, industry, expertise, and location.

“The new solution will accelerate sales cycles, increase conversion rates and reduce channel conflict – equally beneficial for resellers and vendors,” said Watson.

Expected results from the solution include more revenue, improved sales forecast visibility and accuracy, and enhanced tracking and measurement of marketing investments.

The solution will enable vendors and resellers to do opportunity updates, share documents and sales tips about the opportunity, provide deal guidance throughout the lifecycle, establish individual sales rep incentives, and jointly target and market to specific opportunities.

At the same time, resellers can keep the particulars of a deal or lead confidential after they have registered an account, which can be compared against a list of named accounts that a vendor supports directly.

Blueroads recently updated its SaaS offering, mainly by adding an enhanced approval workflow and approval audit capabilities to meet the needs of large enterprises that require multiple levels of approval. It now offers an easy-to-configure, highly customizable approval workflow that Watson described as an industry first.