The Economist on the Salesforce.com/Google relationship
AS THE largest search engine on the web, Google mostly helps consumers look for information. Less understood is its role, as the largest online advertising agency, in helping small businesses to market themselves. Those same small businesses also need software to keep track of sales leads, which they increasingly choose to buy from firms such as Salesforce.com that deliver it as a service through the web browser, just as Google delivers search results. It therefore “came naturally”, says Marc Benioff, Salesforce's boss, for the two companies to team up.
And this week they did. In a nutshell, Google will help small businesses to generate leads, and Salesforce will help to turn them into actual customers, says Sheryl Sandberg of Google. Salesforce's customers can now sign up for AdWords, Google's advertising service, right from Salesforce's website. Like all AdWords customers, they can then choose keywords (“car repairs”, say) and bid to have small text links displayed next to the results of any web search for that term. They pay only when users click on the advertisement and are taken to the advertiser's website. At that point Salesforce's service kicks in, collecting information about the user which then pops up on the Salesforce page of the advertiser's sales team, allowing them to follow up and sell something.
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