More NewsSalesforce.com, Google in AdWords Alliance

Salesforce.com, Google in AdWords Alliance

Deal allows Salesforce to add Google's AdWords platform to its customer service management software.

Salesforce.com will become the first on-demand reseller of Google’s AdWord platform under a strategic alliance to help both companies win small- to mid-size ad accounts.

The alliance, first reported in the Wall Street Journal last month, will allow Salesforce.com to be a distribution channel for AdWords in 43 countries, the companies said in a statement released today. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“This deal changes the competitive landscape,” said Jeff Kaplan, an analyst at Think Strategies. “It gives additional firepower for both companies to expand and target smaller customers who didn’t have access to these kinds of services before.” It also puts pressure on Microsoft in the ad business, he added. “Salesforce’s entire set of business applications is fair game, and this is a powerful attraction to small companies who find their way onto the platform via AdWords.”

Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords is available today in a five-user edition for a 30-day promotional price of $600 a year, including a $50 AdWords credit. The $50 AdWords promotional credit is available to new AdWords advertisers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico only. (The list price is $1,200 per year.)

It’s the second time Google has struck a deal to get AdWords program in front of a large audience of mid-sized businesses. Last Fall, it struck a deal with Intuit to enable its QuickBooks 2007 software with one-click access to the search marketing system.

“Now there is a single online destination for businesses of all sizes to attract and acquire new customers, while closely tracking the return on their valuable marketing dollars,” Sheryl Sandberg, VP global online sales and operations at Google, said in a statement. “This alliance is about introducing new audiences to the benefits of online advertising, marketing and sales through the integration of two world-class solutions to help small and medium businesses succeed in today’s global marketplace.”

Salesforce Group Edition with Google AdWords lets Salesforce’s 43,000 business users advertise online and create an ad that’s displayed with the relevant search results on Google.com or across the AdSense network.

Salesforce’s software distributes and tracks leads to salespeople, provides metrics for sales and ad campaigns, and integrates 600 business applications. With the new service, marketing and ad managers can analyze ongoing campaigns by tracking which prospects who click on Google AdWords keywords actually become sales leads. The information is compiled, with sales figures, and presented on a dashboard-like interface.

Salesforce last year bought a tiny startup called Kieden that had built an add-on that integrated the Salesforce platform with Google AdWords, so news of the alliance wasn’t unexpected. Salesforce.com’s AppExchange has long provided open application programming interfaces (APIs) and hosting services to third-party developers to encourage additional uses for the platform.

Google has also been moving into the software business dominated by Microsoft with a collection of Web-based apps such as word processing and spreadsheets. Its new Google Apps Partner Edition lets Internet service providers and other companies offer the online programs to customers.

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