Smartsheet Gives Small Businesses another Reason to Choose Google Apps
Smartsheet’s integration to Google Apps will enable Google to retain thousands of small business customers, who would otherwise be siphoned off to the Salesforce AppExchange ecosystem, the current leader in PaaS. [Platform as a Service – “delivery of a computing platform and solution stack as a service” - wikipedia]
Business applications, particularly for small to medium size companies are all headed to the cloud. Heavyweights Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, as well as Intuit are all competing to be the ISV development platform on which the cloud-based business applications are built and accessed. These titans are vying to be the one-stop shop for your business needs.
This competition and the surge of interest in cloud-based applications have created optimal conditions for Smartsheet's simple CRM solutions.
- Simple CRM demand remains high
- The Google Apps ecosystem needs 3rd party small business applications
- Google needs CRM solutions that make Google Apps more sticky
Smartsheet’s Solutions Feel Like an Extension of Google Apps
Given the market need and Smartsheet’s product flexibility, it was inevitable that two of our fastest growing segments would be customer and pipeline management. The volume of small businesses using spreadsheets to do CRM related functions trumps even Salesforce’s customer base. Rather than ‘converting’ their spreadsheet lists into the new interface and workflow of a purpose-built CRM tool, they can one-click import them to Smartsheet. They look and feel exactly the same as before, but now have all the powers and capabilities they wished had been present in their spreadsheet.
Smartsheet’s solution design complements Google’s primary applications (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, …) , in ways that further incent small business to utilize the Google Apps product family. This is important, because CRM solutions and their satellite applications can be a big draw for customers to shop in a competitive marketplace. Read on for the more detailed outline of this perspective.
CRM is in the top 5
CRM remains a top search term in application marketplaces. Selling to and managing customers is the single most important aspect of any business. Following the infrastructure basics - website, email, calendar and accounting , there is nothing more important than winning and supporting customers. It’s no accident that Salesforce (a CRM company) is the only billion dollar SaaS business software company.
CRM is one of the 3 ISV Integration Pillars
Useful 3rd party business applications tend to concentrate around one of 3 core business systems – Messaging, CRM and Core Accounting. Google Apps supplies one of the three pillars – Messaging, but is exposed in the other two. A survey of the 120+ applications available in the Google Solutions Marketplace reveals small business applications primarily focused on project management and calendaring. This concentration is a direct result of Google supplying the Messaging pillar. Specialty application demand is a by-product of needs not addressed by the core business applications. The higher the number of customers using core applications, the higher the demand for specialty applications. An example of an ISV application dependent on the CRM pillar is email marketing, which relies on the prospect and customer lists housed in the CRM system.
CRM is a hole in Google’s Dike
Google apps customers use Google Spreadsheets for customer management in a variety of ways, including pipeline management, contact lists, support ticket escalation, etc. Looking through the Google Docs template library is a good way to see how their customers harness the potential in Google’s core tool set. But, just like every business or team that uses a spreadsheet to manage work, this model quickly breaks down as the needs of the operation outstrip the core attributes of a spreadsheet. At this point the team leader searches for a purpose built CRM tool. If Salesforce is the only viable CRM tool in the Google Marketplace, Google Apps customers are siphoned through the hole in the dike to the rich pastures of Salesforce’s ISV marketplace. Goodbye.
It is not by chance that Smartsheet is focused on customer management. Our customers are dragging us that direction, the market opportunities are ripe, and our largely ex-Onyx Software team possesses some of the deepest CRM domain DNA in the world. Being lucky has been responsible for creating more online software winners than has being good. Smartsheet just may be one of the few technology companies that will benefit from both.