Salesforce.com and Google today announced a strategic global partnership. Contrary to expectation, Google and Salesforce's first collaboration wasn't a tight integration between Google Apps and Salesforce.com's hosted CRM (customer relationship management) software. Instead, Google and Salesforce brought combined Google AdWords with Salesforce on-demand CRM.
Analysts speculated that Salesforce.com and Google would integrate their hosted applications to take on Microsoft's Live applications, which include a hosted version of its Dynamics CRM offering. There were even suggestions that Google was about to buy Salesforce.com.
Google and Salesforce have a lot in common. "There's a natural fit," said Kendall Collins, a senior vice president at Salesforce.com, of the relationship with Google.
Google and Salesforce have been looking at where their businesses intersect and where they could both derive substantial business. They decided to work together on a new offering to target SMBs (small to midsize businesses) and integrate AdWords with Salesforce CRM.
AdWords allows companies to advertise their products to people using Google's search engine and to associate their ads with specific keyword searches so the ads may appear next to particular search results.
Using the new product, which is called Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, a company can immediately connect to AdWords and create an ad linked to particular search results. Customers clicking on that ad are taken to the company's website and encouraged to complete a form with their contact details, which then automatically becomes a new lead in Salesforce CRM. Those leads can then be shared around the company and managed through Salesforce CRM.
Users will also be able to link existing AdWords accounts to Salesforce CRM and to create new AdWords accounts, Collins said.
Potential customers can try out and then purchase the new product from a special Salesforce.com and Google microsite on the Salesforce's website.
The new product will immediately replace Salesforce.com's Team Edition offering, Collins said. It will be available in 14 languages and in the 43 countries where Salesforce.com operates.
Salesforce.com's goal is to ensure that all of its CRM offerings have some component of AdWords, Collins said.
It's likely that this is the start of an intensification of the Google, Salesforce.com relationship, with perhaps the tight integration of Google Apps and Salesforce CRM to come.
"Where will we go next?" Collins asked. "Stay tuned."