It was not the rumored grand anti-Microsoft alliance, but Google and Salesforce.com announced a joint offering today that links Google AdWords advertising with Salesforce.com’s online CRM service.
Salesforce.com Inc. and Google Inc. announced a strategic global partnership Tuesday, but it wasn’t the widely expected tight integration between Google Apps and Salesforce.com’s hosted CRM (customer relationship management) software. Instead, the two vendors brought out their first jointly developed and co-marketed product combining Google AdWords with Salesforce on-demand CRM.
Speculation reached fever pitch in recent weeks that Salesforce.com and Google would integrate their respective hosted applications to counter Microsoft Corp.’s move into on-demand software with its Live applications, which will include a hosted version of its Dynamics CRM offering. There were even suggestions that Google was ready to acquire Salesforce.com.
Using the new product, which is called Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, a company can immediately connect to AdWords and create an ad linked to particular search results. Customers clicking on that ad are taken to the company’s Web site and encouraged to complete a form with their contact details, which then automatically becomes a new lead in Salesforce CRM. Those leads can then be shared around the company and managed through Salesforce CRM.
Linking an AdWords campaign to ordinary business processes entails a certain amount of complexity that may be beyond the IT staff at the smaller businesses that use Salesforce.com, so it looks like a win-win for both parties. Google would do well to do similar deals with other vendors. In any case, the official press release claims this is just part of a “strategic global alliance” so there may well be more to come.