Gmail is great. Their maps could be better. But their spreadsheets (and overall online file management services and productivity system) are what really impress me.
Google has basically made it so I do not use Microsoft Office anymore. That’s pretty impressive. Sure, they might not make money directly from me not using (NASDAQ:MSFT) and using their applications, but who cares about money when you’re sitting on $10 billion in “cash and equivalents.”
But they have also made our office more productive. At my old job, I ran the sales department for a rapidly growing online magazine. I generated some $7 million in sales, closing some thousands of advertising deals with several hundred clients. I found it clunky. I also though that integrating it with Outlook was not so obvious. Mind you, this all says more about me than Salesforce.com, a company whose CEO and founder Mark Benioff defined the word cojones, and whose stock I regret never buying, cause I incorrectly thought that its market was limited.
Its market, I still think is limited in some ways, but it’s nonetheless a huge market. The stock IPO’d at $15, plunked down to $10.95 and is now flirting with $40 a share, valuing the firm at $4 billion.
As much as I thought as a sales guy that the service was clunky, as a President, I view Salesforce.com as a great tool for my sales guys and for myself. As such, sooner or later I would consider subscribing to the service. But as I tweak the Google spreadsheet and think of what made my old job hard for myself and our team (Finance, Ad Implementation, President, Sales) I realize that Salesforce.com’s product can become limited pretty soon.
Think about it: Google can essentially take:
- Docs and Spreadsheets
- Google Payment (what’s the name again?)
- Google Talk (replace all of the other instant messaging services you use as a sales person)
- Google Maps (for directions to clients’ offices, or meeting spots)
- Google Calendar (obvious, to track dates, calls, meetings, etc.)
- Picasa (so you can see what people look like or people can put a face to their favorite salesperson’s voice and name)
- Video player (for demos, presentations etc.)
- Analytics (prospecting tool par excellence, I mean most sales people rely on Alexa, not Nielsen Net Ratings or comScore)
- Blogger (so your clients can read about you, your products and services)
- Jotspot (so employees can share intelligence, or clients and salespeople can share information)
- Alerts (a prospective client announces something, you can hit them up ASAP)
- Finance (so you can check out the size of the company you are hitting up)
- I could go on.
Catch my drift? I am not telling anyone to short Salesforce.com here. I’m just saying Google can technically aggregate its products and features and deploy a pretty strong strategy in many markets.
Oh… That’s just half of it: Google should then integrate Ad Sense to create an embedded lead generator. That would be insane. That, my friend, would be the Salesforce.com killer.