Siebel has teamed up with IBM in a bid to expand the uptake of its customer relationship management (CRM) systems by SMEs.
The agreement centres on the two firms developing CRM OnDemand, a product designed specifically for small businesses. Under the terms of the alliance, Big Blue's business partners will sell the offering.
Siebel said that it will build a dedicated SME salesforce, and has enlisted resellers to target this sector. The two teams will be trained side by side and will operate in regional territories.
"We took a scientific approach in developing this go-to-market model by first assessing all the models prevalent in the market today," said Mike Lawrie, chief executive at Siebel Systems. "Penetrating this market is a key component of the next growth phase."
But Siebel's competitors have been quick to rubbish the company's plans.
"The major vendors are all starting to exploit the SME opportunity despite having engineered software architectures built for the larger enterprise," said Phill Robinson, vice president of European marketing at salesforce.com.
"Siebel has failed three times over the past five years. What says they'll make it this time? Siebel does not understand the SME market and does not know how to sell to SMEs in the CRM marketplace."
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