I attend technology conferences every year, but none of them have had the kind of competative fire that seems to have marked the annual SalesForce.com user event in San Francisco this week. Microsoft, Oracle and SugarCRM all launched campaigns to convert Salesforce.com customers - and launched them right outside the Dreamforce doors. PR Tactics like billboards, Segways, discounts and even faux carolers were entertaining – but the real news is the aggressive discounts offered to SalesForce.com customers who switch to a competing product, especially for Microsoft CRM Online.
Klint Finley, an attendee of Dreamforce, posted an article,
PR Tactic: SugarCRM has people on the street outside the convention center giving away a faux-Christmas carol book and singing carols like "On the first day of Dreamforce, Marc Benioff gave to me: An overpriced subscription fee."
Discount Tactic: SugarCRM is offering free migration to anyone switching to from Salesforce.com to SugarCRM and is also guaranteeing converts 50% in savings over what they're spending at Salesforce.com.
PR Tactic: Oracle put up a large billboard right across from the convention center for all attendees to see. (Apparently Salesforce.com used to do this at Oracle events so I am surprised they did not think of something new).
Discount Tactic: None that I have heard of! (Seems like they may have missed the boat on that one).
To be honest, I have never heard anyone talk about an Oracle CRM product…that says something right there….but the Microsoft offer below is targeted at Oracle CRM users too.
PR Tactic: Microsoft had people on Segways emblazoned with the “
Discount Tactic: Microsoft introduced a hefty “switcher offer” on the eve of Dreamforce called: Cloud CRM for Less. Microsoft is offering a $200 per user cash incentive to switch from Salesforce.com or Oracle to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
In his post,
In his article “
But what about all the SalesForce.com users who were not at the Dreamforce event? Did they miss the fun?
Hopefully they read the Wall Street Journal because Microsoft executive Michael Park wrote an "open letter" to Salesforce.com customers that was published on December 6th. It highlights the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and encourages Salesforce.com customers, and any prospect evaluating Salesforce.com, to ask 5 specific questions to compare Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to SalesForce.com
Andy Leapaldt also reports that this message has garnered a response via Twitter from SalesForce.com CEO Marc Benioff where he attempts to misinform people that Microsoft is betting against the cloud. Which could not be further from the truth. (Does anyway else have the phrase “We’re All In” ringing in their ears?) This CRM Cloud for Less offer is proof that Microsoft is going full steam ahead. The fact that it is getting so much media attention is another proof that the threat to SalesFOrce.com is real. (Personally, I have not much attention given to the offer to Oracle customers, which shows me that is not a main player in this game). Jason Carter sums it up nicely, “the key here, contrary to Benioff's spin, is that this is Dynamics CRM in the cloud. This is leveraging Microsoft's deep pockets to make an offer a Saas vendor operating on tight margins just can't match.”
Next year when I attend the
What do you think about the PR and Discount Tactics used by SalesForce.com competitors? What should they do next year to top this show? Leave your comments.
By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions,