Microsoft Sells Off Dealerpoint

In a flurry of CRM-related deals and announcements, Microsoft Wednesday sold off its MSN Autos Dealerpoint sales lead platform, launched a brand new customer relationship service for the mid-market and debuted a new toolkit for some of its other products.

Dayton, Ohio-based Reynolds and Reynolds , a company that sells software and technology consulting services to auto dealerships, has worked with Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft before, and already is using .NET technology for its Reynolds Generations Series product family.

As a result of the acquisition Reynolds will be able to offer a basic Internet lead management software for auto dealers within its Generations Series.

“We are at the on-set of transitioning Dealerpoint to Reynolds — this transition will be completed by June 30 of this year,” said Bob Sadowski at Reynolds. “Until the transition is complete, we’re licensing the Dealerpoint software from Microsoft as part of an overall package valued at $7 million. As part of the package, we’re acquiring existing contracts and business assets.”

The MSN Autos Dealerpoint CRM service, currently managed on MSN Autos, is a platform used to deliver sales leads to more than 4,000 Ford, Lincoln Mercury, Honda, Acura and Isuzu dealers. The leads come from various sources, including direct from consumers, from the car companies themselves and from third-party online buying services.

Reynolds will offer Dealerpoint to car company and retail users as a core CRM service. It supplements the company’s existing contact management solution. Dealerpoint’s Web-based architecture is compatible with more than 70 lead data formats, including the ADF 1.0 auto industry standard.

Ford has used Salespoint, a private-label version of Dealerpoint, for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers since 2000.

The Dealerpoint service was developed specifically to serve the automotive industry; Microsoft’s other CRM launch is a more general purpose software program that will be integrated with Outlook to let companies automate their customer service and sales activities.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Wednesday also delivered its Right Tools Toolkit for Microsoft FrontPage 2002, Microsoft Project Standard 2002 and Microsoft Visio 2002. The toolkit is aimed at giving users of these products a better understanding of how to manage projects, express complex ideas or create professional newsletters, Microsoft said.

The tools and templates are specific to customers in accounting and finance, government, human resources, marketing and sales, and project management. Customers can register for the Microsoft Right Tools Toolkit free of charge here and new customers are eligible for a rebate program.

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