Intuit Wednesday unveiled a strategic partnership with customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Salesforce.com that brings Intuit's flagship QuickBooks small business financial software and Salesforce.com's cloud-based CRM into one tidy small businesses software package.
Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) touted the partnership as part of its broader QuickBooks 2012 product announcement.
Dubbed Salesforce for QuickBooks, the integrated small business software package allows users to enter data once and then sync automatically between QuickBooks and Salesforce.com.
"We're taking the number one small business accounting solution, QuickBooks, and combining it with the number one CRM solution, Salesforce," said Jonathan Meltzer, director of product management for QuickBooks.
Meltzer explained that this combination solves a major pain point for Intuit's small business customers.
"Our customers need help managing their customers in order to help them grow their businesses," he said, adding that 54 percent of Intuit's small business customers have reported that a decline in their customer base is their biggest challenge. He noted that 27 percent of Intuit's small business customers have said that thinking about growing their business keeps them up at night.
Salesforce.com said that its customers report a 25 percent average increase in win rate and a 30 percent increase in sales revenue after implementing its small business CRM solution.
"By integrating these best-in-class products, millions of small businesses can now seamlessly connect their front office and back office, sharing relevant information across the business," said Dan Wernikoff, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit's financial management solutions division. "The combination of QuickBooks and Salesforce data provides a powerful expanded view of business information that will help users turn leads into customers."
Meltzer explained that the integrated small business software package gives sales representatives a 360-degree view of customers by providing them with a combination of sales history and key metrics from the financial side.
He said that this combination allows sales representatives to easily understand a customer's history with them. The history includes what the customer owns, what products the customer is interested in and a history of warranty claims and open issues.
To speed order processing and reduce double data entry, Salesforce for QuickBooks automatically creates a transaction in QuickBooks when a deal is closed in Salesforce.
Additionally, Intuit has built dashboards inside QuickBooks to help sales representatives track and cultivate leads from online, offline and social media campaigns.
"Saving time is crucial to running my business, and Salesforce for QuickBooks allows me to do just that," said Richard Holtz of InfiniSys Electronic Artchitects. "It helps my team make decisions faster by providing insights into sales and accounting data all in one place. Additionally, we can automatically keep information up-to-date in both QuickBooks and Salesforce, which reduces the risk of manual errors and lets us focus on closing more deals."
Meltzer said Salesforce for QuickBooks is available immediately in both a Group Edition and a Professional Edition through the Intuit App Center. The Group Edition comes in at $18 per user per month, while the Professional Edition is $60 per user per month.
"Those prices are, we think, pretty compelling for small businesses," Meltzer said.
Both editions are compatible with QuickBooks Pro and Premier in both the 2011 and 2012 editions. Intuit said they also integrate with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise versions 11.0 and 12.0.
Do You Already Have CRM?
Meltzer explained that Salesforce for QuickBooks is primarily targeted at customers who don't already have a small business CRM solution. However, Intuit now also offers an integration package for QuickBooks customers who already have Salesforce, giving them access to the custom home screens included with Salesforce for QuickBooks. He also noted that all Salesforce for QuickBooks customers will have access to the Salesforce Mobile Lite solution, Salesforce's core mobile solution.
Intuit also announced that QuickBooks 2012 will go on sale on Sept. 26, promising it will help small businesses save time on accounting tasks.
"Small business owners tell us they regularly work up to 50 hours per week," Wernikoff said. "Knowing this, we improved QuickBooks to shave off valuable minutes -- and even hours -- in the small business owner's day. By getting time back managing their finances, small business owners can focus on what they love: their businesses."
The newest version features a new calendar view that auto-populates appointments, to-do tasks and other important business dates like invoice and bill-pay deadlines. Intuit has also refreshed its Excel integration and added a library of more than 1,000 customer, user-generated reports by industry, rating and popularity.
QuickBooks 2012 Pro has a suggested retail price of $229.95, while QuickBooks 2012 Premier clocks in at $399.95. Both will be available direct from Intuit on Sept. 26 and through retailers beginning Oct. 9.
Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and a former senior editor at InternetNews.com. He covers operating systems, standards and security, among other technologies.
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