Microsoft Takes ClearLead in Contact Management
- By Scott Bekker
Microsoft Corp. today waded into the lead management market by unveiling a
roadmap with a few partners for a solution called ClearLead.
The service automates lead creation and maintenance from Web site contacts
by routing e-mails to desktops initially, to pagers after two hours, and to
alternate sources after four hours. Previously, e-mail contacts had largely
been faxes that were delivered only to the financial departments of companies.
Additionally, ClearLead will automate follow-up procedures with active
follow-up notifications and reporting summaries.
ClearLead will be integrated with Outlook, Act, Goldmine, and other existing
lead tracking software in the second half of the year. The service is already
implemented in Microsoft's (www.microsoft.com)
DealerPoint auto sales service in the lead management capacity, and it will be
implemented in other vertical markets through Microsoft's bCentral
Customer Manager in April, and eventually to a wider audience through
Microsoft's investment in VerticalNet (www.verticalnet.com).
Integration of the solution with Outlook, Act, and Goldmine will not happen
until the second half of the year, and Outlook synchronization will not happen
until early next year. Integration with wireless devices will also have to wait
until mid-year. However, ClearLead is seen as a first step on Microsoft's
broader XML-based services plan. -- Isaac Slepner
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.