Less than a month after rolling out its channel program, Melbourne, Australia-based ChannelPace has expanded its "bring-your-own" CRM and business networking product to North America, the company told CRN exclusively.
The product, at its core, allows businesses to store contacts and share those contacts across the company to create a CRM system outside of the enterprise. The system piggybacks off of work email systems, so it makes it easier for employees to input information and keeps the system secure, said ChannelPace CEO Greg Furlong. The product is meant to appeal to an increasingly BYOD-infiltrated workplace, Furlong said.
"It's something that can drive real business benefits that we don't know we need. We all put up with the status quo ...You've got information scattered everywhere and it's all disorganized. What that means is that bring your own app and bring your own device has arrived at your company," Furlong said. "It actually makes life harder for people."
The company quietly rolled out the product to 56 countries in September, but access was invite-only to those already using the system. Furlong said that the company will open up the channel program in February, giving partners access to high margins on product sales. Furlong said that he was surprised at the amount of businesses that were interested in buying the CRM product for their entire staff, but the longtime channel executive was excited at the opportunity to open it up to the channel.
"That then enables us to open up a whole channel program. You can have a channel when it's industries buying a product, but all of a sudden if businesses are able to turn that product, you can roll that out through a channel now," Furlong said. "I'm a big believer of the channel. The channel can always do more than a single vendor can do. We'll roll that out next month and make a channel program available."
Furlong said that the channel program will start off with 25 percent margins off list price, stretching up to 45 percent in recurring monthly revenue. Furlong said the program will be modeled off telco, where end users are only charged for those actually using the system and with the partner receiving a cut of the monthly bill.
As the CRM product expands into North America, Furlong said that it will particularly appeal to partners who are looking for a differentiation from their competition, Furlong said.
"Partners have always [wondered] what can I talk to my customer about, what can I do to be different, what can I do to address pain points?" Furlong said. "There's nothing that's quite like us."
Furlong said the customer response so far has been great, and he's hoping it will catch on in North America with the same positive reaction.
A ChannelPace partner in Australia, who wanted to remain anonymous for competitive reasons, said that he doesn't think the expansion will help his business necessarily, but is glad to see the product reach spreading. He said that he expects the product will catch on in North America as word spreads about its capabilities.
"I am sure that once people understand how the product is working, they will embrace it like we did. It has replaced our CRM system, and is making my use of LinkedIn less important," the partner said.
Furlong said that as the world has become more ready to adopt the cloud and put information into it, more and more customers are looking to take on a cloud-based CRM system like ChannelPace.
"I've had this idea for 20 years. If I tried to launch this 20 years ago, or even five years ago, it would have failed because we weren't as a society conditioned to just put information in the cloud yet ... everyone's OK with that now. I would [compare] this to social 2.0, where Facebook and LinkedIn [have] been trailblazers, but they don't solve big business problems. They don't really change things, whereas ChannelPace is quite some fundamental change."
PUBLISHED JAN. 14, 2014