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Salesforce.com focuses on SMB segment for growth

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Dec. 10 2014, Updated 12:00 p.m. ET

Introduction of Desk.com App Hub

On November 24, 2014, Salesforce.com (CRM) launched the Desk.com App Hub, a platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses (or SMBs) leverage customer service to accelerate growth. The company claims that the new platform lets SMBs access more than 50 partner apps from an ecosystem that spans e-commerce, email marketing, telephony, and text messaging support. Partner access through Desk.com allows companies to enhance customer support, which in turn leads to company growth.

According to Forrester Research, channel partners are expected to increase their dependence on cloud software and services from 22% in 2013 to 27% in 2014. A majority of this growth will be in SMBs.

SMB

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Key features to enhance customer service

The Desk.com App Hub offers third-party display apps directly on the console, thus providing a unified view of all customer data required. The platform’s telephone and multichannel support enables clients to deliver customer service through various channels:

  • chat
  • email
  • self-service
  • social media
  • web
  • phone

Improved productivity after using app

According to Desk.com-commissioned research, companies like HotelTonight, SoundCloud, and ZenPayroll are using Desk.com. On average, these companies have experienced a 42% increase in response time, a 38% increase in agent productivity, a 36% increase in customer satisfaction, and a 27% decrease in support costs.

Customer service quality and SMB growth

IDC forecasts that global SMB cloud revenue is expected to grow by 22% between 2014 and 2018 as more and more SMBs use a wider set of applications to integrate and interact with customers. Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg called SMBs the “Holy Grail” of advertising. According to BIA/Kelsey, less than 25% of SMBs advertise on Twitter (TWTR). A Cisco (CSCO) study found that the SMB commercial-services market that is addressable by service providers is expected to exceed $200 billion by 2015 in the US.

As the chart above shows, SMBs present strong growth potential. As a result, social networking companies and tech players are targeting the SMB space.

Salesforce.com is looking to widen its SMB revenue base. Positive news about Salesforce.com will benefit the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLK), which has significant exposure to the company.

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