Pulver's No Pushover, No Shoemaker's
April 1, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
You might think
these are tough times to be in the enterprise software business.
But Jeff Pulver, vice president of worldwide marketing for San
Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel Systems Inc., is having a ball anyway.
After years of growth, enterprise software--the big, heavy-duty
industrial kind of software--faces buyer skepticism, cost pressure,
consolidation and the threat of new Web-based entrants, such as
salesforce.com. Despite these issues, Pulver and his boss, Siebel
founder and CEO Tom Siebel, are charting just the right course.
a recent conversation, Pulver says the outlook for CRM is good
for three reasons: Large companies are expanding their use of
it; marketers are requiring more analytics; and CEOs are demanding
Siebel’s efforts with IBM to provide a low-cost, high-value, Web-based
$70 per month (per user) version called Siebel CRM OnDemand appears
to be working. At a recent earnings call, CEO Siebel said he intends
to be, “the leader in hosted CRM by the end of 2004.”
Pulver is no pushover and no shoemaker’s child. He’s an advocate
of his product and a fanatical, articulate user.
Tom Siebel asks, ‘What’s the value for these marketing dollars?’
because I’m using Siebel applications, I can tell Tom how many
leads I created and the average cost for each opportunity. That’s
what CEOs want,” Pulver says.
was a little skeptical about CRM when I called Pulver. Then he
reminded me, “All the stats show it’s easier to keep an existing
customer than to get a new customer. Companies from large to small
have come to realize that gaining a single view of the customer
and being able to interact with customers is very important.
seeing Fortune 1000 companies rolling out to more users,” adds
Pulver, who describes a mega-deployment at Hewlett-Packard, which
has “60,000 users of Siebel enterprise CRM.”
a real push around (predictive) analytics, to better understand
the value of your customers,” says Pulver, who isn’t concerned
he’s treading in the land of SAS and SPSS. “We’re trying to make
analytics available to everyone. Someone who runs marketing doesn’t
want to become a statistician.” Pulver sees opportunity in providing
decision-support capabilities that are intuitive and user-friendly.
is a growing area,” he says. “Companies have worked hard to automate
their call centers and get their sales force using CRM. Marketing
is the next major area.” Pulver sees CRM’s potential to segment,
track promotional events, assist with budget allocation and demonstrate
marketing’s business value to the CEO.
wants to migrate marketing from an “art to a science.” “Executives
have to be accountable,” he says. “When things are great and the
economy is booming, it’s easier to allocate a big chunk to marketing,
(and) do the brand thing. Today, marketers have to be smarter
about the dollars and be accountable back to the business.”
Pulver’s most interesting
initiative is the Siebel CRM OnDemand launch (the product went
live last October). In the past, Siebel and other enterprise software
providers sold their solutions to senior corporate executives.
The cost per enterprise was in the hundreds of thousands to millions
of dollars. Typically, small and midsize customers were ignored.
Then along came Oracle alum Marc Benioff, CEO of San Francisco-based
salesforce.com. Salesforce.com’s Web site proclaims Benioff’s
aim is to “create
a Web-based software utility that would replace traditional enterprise
to salesforce.com literature, Benioff fancies himself as “the
leader of ‘the end of software,’ which furthers the growing idea
that Web-based applications deliver immediate benefits at reduced
risks and costs.” Benioff recently signed up his 9,000th customer,
plus he was founded with financial support from Oracle’s Larry
of this fazes Siebel’s Pulver in the least. “We’ve entered this
market with the intention of establishing a leading market position,”
he says. “We’ve had over 20,000 inquiries since launching Siebel
CRM OnDemand.” Pulver plainly intends to have more seats of “Siebel
CRM OnDemand by the end of 2004 than any other competitor in the
One advantage Siebel
has over salesforce.com is expandability and depth. Pulver says
Siebel CRM OnDemand, “shares the same data model as traditional
enterprise Siebel applications. You can grow from the hosted model
to the on-premise model.” He’s quick to mention Siebel’s 10-year
history with 4,000 enterprise-level customers. My guess is that
some of those enterprises have more individual users of Siebel
than salesforce.com has total customers.
there’s the partnership with IBM. “We’ve got the security of IBM
hosting and the domain expertise of Siebel’s CRM capability,”
Armstrong, senior vice president of customer and Internet solutions
for Chicago-based consultancy West Monroe Partners, says Siebel’s
“CRM OnDemand is a good strategy, but one driven by necessity.”
praises the Siebel CRM OnDemand Web site for its responsiveness.
“Siebel follow-up is thorough,” Armstrong says. He received “two
e-mails and two phone calls since looking through their site.”
Pulver will be pleased.
don’t think the on-premise model is going away,” Pulver adds.
“Companies want a choice. We’ve spent years perfecting CRM for
large enterprise customers. We want to take that knowledge and
provide it to any type of company and any kind of user.”
like a plan.
cautiously optimistic that people are continuing to invest and
that budgets are starting to come back a bit. It’s an exciting
time for CRM,” he says.
and an exciting time to be the chief marketing executive at a
global software powerhouse.