Vendors Can Offer Resellers Quotes and Proposal Services With eXalt

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The eXalt system helps solution providers develop solution configuration quotes and proposals that more accurately match their customers' needs, said eXalt CEO Leslie Swanson, while demonstrating the on-demand service Tuesday at XChange '07. The system leads resellers through a series of questions to develop customer quotes that include hardware, software, services, and support and training, Swanson said.

Vendors and distributors provide the application to resellers through their channel partner portal. Such a value-added service can give vendors a competitive edge when trying to recruit and retain the best solution providers.

United Business Media, CMP Technology's parent company, acquired an equity stake in eXalt earlier this year and the technology powers the CMP Channel Sales Accelerator. Trend Micro, CDW and Extreme Networks are among the companies using the on-demand service.

The eXalt system helps improve customer quote accuracy: As much as 5 percent to 10 percent of customer proposals developed by resellers contain significant errors, according to Swanson. The system also provides an effective way for vendors to provide channel partners with reference materials needed to accompany a proposal, such as product photos, product data sheets and warranty information. "Surveys show that solution providers spend as much as 20 percent to 30 percent of their time looking for reference materials," she said.

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The eXalt application incorporates XML technology which allows vendors to develop an unlimited number of XML-based proposal style sheets. XML also provides a way to integrate the application with CRM applications such as, according to Swanson. And the system records click stream data as resellers use it "- data that sales and partner managers can review and analyze.