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Salesforce.com, Work.com strike distribution pact

The deal combines an online sales-force automation service with a business-focused Web portal launched by Excite@Home and Dow Jones.

In an effort to expand its customer base, Salesforce.com today said it has formed a distribution pact with Work.com, a business-focused Web portal site launched by Excite@Home and Dow Jones.

Under the agreement, Salesforce.com's online sales-force automation service will be offered to Work.com's customers via its Web portal. The deal helps Work.com bolster content services aimed at its core audience: small and medium-sized businesses.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement marks the second major distribution deal for upstart Salesforce.com and gives Work.com its first strategic partner. Salesforce.com's service allows salespeople to track leads and account information online. The company charges its clients on a pay-per-use subscription basis.

Earlier this month, Salesforce.com inked its first major distribution deal with computing giant IBM. The two companies will provide Salesforce.com's online applications coupled with IBM hardware, computer support and software to small businesses that want to move their operations to the Internet.

San Francisco-based Salesforce.com competes in the growing market for sales-force automation software against rival Sales.com, a venture spun off by front-office market leader Siebel Systems.

Just last week, database software giant Oracle entered the niche market after it quietly unveiled OracleSalesOnline.com. The service gives a company's sales force immediate access to sales productivity tools and customer information over the Web, based on a pay-per-use model.