Siebel Taking On Salespeople One At A Time - InformationWeek

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Siebel Taking On Salespeople One At A Time

Siebel Systems Inc., which has long focused its efforts on the high end of the front office, is moving far downstream with Siebel Everywhere, a Web initiative that aims to disseminate Siebel software to individual sales professionals. Siebel Everywhere consists of two pieces: Siebel Sales, a free Web client that pulls in much of the function in the company's flagship sales module, and Sales.com, an enterprise information portal that aggregates selling tools, content, and training in one Web site.

Both products will give Siebel exposure in a market segment where it has virtually "zero" name recognition, says founder and CEO Tom Siebel. Although the company hopes that Sales.com will generate revenue from business sponsors paying to provide content and services such as travel reservations and mapping, Siebel Everywhere's focus is not to create immediate revenue in the low-end market. Instead, Siebel says, it will help seed the market with Siebel products. "We think that many of these individual Siebel users would cluster in workgroups and create demand for servers," Siebel says. "The payoff is in the midmarket."

Analysts are skeptical, however, of Siebel's ability to move individual users into higher-end workgroups and enterprises. "There's no pipeline," says Steve Bonadio, an analyst at the Hurwitz Group. "There has to be a channel to move those users upstream." He added that Siebel's services partners are not used to dealing with such small deals, either. Siebel says the company will address the move from individuals to workgroups with a yet-to-be announced deal with Compaq's services group.

Both products are available immediately, at no charge to users. They will have no pricing impact on Siebel's enterprise products.

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