Hot Sales for Cool Vendors

Not to keep harking on Gartner this week, but they’ve come out with some good stuff the last few days. Yesterday it was their 2008 Cool Vendors in CRM Sales.

I’ve always gotten a kick out of these reports, as they highlight up-and-comers and startups that are driving innovation…innovation that the Oracle, Microsoft’s, and SAP’s of the world will eventually claim they’ve been doing all along once they realize the functionality’s emerging popularity.

One such company listed in this year’s report is Aggregate Knowledge (AK), a vendor that I’m familiar with from a recent discussion with a customer of ours. AK has developed the Pique Discovery Network, a behavior-based recommendation engine for Web sites similar to the recommendation engine found on – but less expensive and less resource-intensive, putting it within reach of smaller businesses.

Another is Lemonade, a social networking solutions provider that’s good for Web-based ecommerce leaders who are interested in tapping into social networks as a way to increase sales, and offers a nice complement to other social selling technologies.

Companies such as these, and others listed in the report, are examples of startups that are breaking the mold within the CRM sector…kinda of like SugarCRM is doing now (though I wouldn’t categorize us as a startup any longer). And years from now Sugar could be partnered with such companies. Lemonade, and social networking companies like it, is one such example. Businesses have started to understand the importance of social relationships, networks, etc. that these solutions track and store and how they can be used to augment the sales process.

When combined with CRM suite solutions, startups such as these offer unlimited possibilities into what CRM is capable of achieving for sales people around the world.