Google, Salesforce.com partner on Web site

Site aims to allow the online customer relationship management software maker to act as a reseller for Google's AdWords.
Written by Dawn Kawamoto, Contributor
Salesforce.com and Google launched a Web site on Tuesday that is designed to allow the online customer relationship management software maker to act as a reseller for Google's AdWords.

For Salesforce.com, the alliance expands its efforts to tie its hosted CRM software with Google AdWords, following its acquisition last year of privately held Kieden, which had created an add-on to Salesforce's hosted services for purchasing and managing Google-driven ad campaigns. Salesforce.com will expand beyond allowing its customers to launch Google AdWords from a Salesforce.com application to one in which it will act as a reseller of the Google AdWords platform.

The two companies jointly developed Salesforce Group Edition, which features Google AdWords, and will jointly market the offering, said Kendall Collins, senior vice president of marketing for Salesforce.com.

Salesforce Group Edition is designed to allow companies to connect to Google AdWords and have their advertisement displayed on Google.com when related search terms are entered on the site. They can also distribute their ads on Google AdSense, the advertising program that allows Web site publishers to earn a portion of ad revenue by hosting Google-sponsored ads on their sites.

When potential customers click on the advertisement, they are taken to the company's Web site and are encouraged to fill out a form that records their name. This information is then transmitted to a company's sales team as a potential sales lead via Salesforce's technology.

"This alliance was a natural fit for us," said Collins, noting that the two companies are similar in the way they approach delivering services over the Internet, such as leveraging open application program interfaces (APIs).

The Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords targets midsize to small companies and costs $1,200 per year for five users, although a 30-day promotion is under way that offers the product for $600 for five users for the first year. That promotional price includes a $50-per-year Google AdWords credit.

As part of the nonexclusive deal, Salesforce will receive all proceeds from the sale of its Salesforce Group Edition and share a nominal portion of any Google AdWords sales, Collins said. The remainder of the proceeds from Google AdWords will go to Google.

While the joint-development efforts between the companies has produced one product, Sean Whiteley, director of Salesforce's search marketing, said its customers will drive future development plans.

"We're hoping that as people use these products, it will become evident what we should do next," Whiteley said.

The two companies also share common values, such as placing a high priority on services, multitenancy and ease of use, Marc Benioff, Salesforce chief executive, said during a presentation Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco to introduce the Google alliance and debut the company's Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords.

"We have a dream to create millions of AdWords users," Benioff said.

Google, meanwhile, said the alliance will aid them in their effort to make marketing campaigns and advertising, as cost efficient as possible for their advertisers--a customer group that supplies the Internet giant with the bulk of its revenues.

Citing a common complaint in the advertising industry, Sheryl Sandberg, Google vice president of global online sales and operations, said advertisers lament: "I'm wasting half of my ad budget, but I just don't know which half."

The alliance is designed to provide advertisers with information and graphics on how their customers are responding to their ad campaigns, via following their movements on their respective Web site from the time they click on a banner ad to the time they exit the site.

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