REVIEWER: Fiona Bell, associate director of sales operations and automation for Sepracor.

BACKGROUND: Sepracor Inc. is a research- based pharmaceutical company dedicated to treating and preventing human disease through the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative pharmaceutical products that are directed toward serving unmet medical needs. Sepracor's drug development program has yielded an extensive portfolio of pharmaceutical compounds, including candidates for the treatment of respiratory, urology and central nervous system disorders. Sepracor's corporate headquarters are located in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

PLATFORMS: At the present time, we use Windows 2000 on Dell hardware. We're considering adding new hardware that will enable us to support StayinFront's e- signature capabilities.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Sepracor's expansion included increasing our sales force from 45 representatives to 425. Our existing system, which we were able to modify to some extent, was not going to be able to handle the next phase of our growth and beyond. Sepracor needed to identify a CRM system that was designed to handle growth and featured ease of use and data synchronization. The latter was extremely important, as our old CRM system had fallen short in its ability to keep track of important data.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Sepracor refers to the StayinFront product as "Sepracor Territory Analysis and Reporting System" or STARS. That accurately describes how we are using the StayinFront Visual Elk and Panorama products. We use them to manage and analyze territories, support new product launches, share data and track results ­ all business critical functions within Sepracor.

STRENGTHS: StayinFront's well-designed CRM product, Visual Elk, is very solid. Its core functionality is stable, and its data synchronization feature works flawlessly, which means we have never lost data. Visual Elk is streamlined and easily configured to meet the needs of our 425 sales representatives, 45 managers, 10 regional directors and six members of the sales operations staff who are using it. In terms of successful implementation, we started that process in November 2001 and rolled out the system to our users in May 2002. The feedback has been very positive.

WEAKNESSES: If I had to cite one area where I would like to see improvement in Visual Elk, it may be the Segment Manager. Though it is a powerful tool, it is not user friendly. I would like to see the usability of the feature increase because it can be valuable for the field for analysis and call plans.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We assembled a team of 20 to make the CRM decision. Sepracor accepted RFPs from three major CRM vendors, including StayinFront. Vendor responsiveness was a big part of our selection process as was the financial stability of the vendor.

DELIVERABLES: The StayinFront system is successfully deployed by the sales operation department. We've also added use of StayinFront's Panorama product for analysis, which is being used by 45 area business managers, 20 regional specialists, 10 regional directors and five home office users.

VENDOR SUPPORT: StayinFront's team is very helpful. They work well with the other vendors involved in our CRM implementation, and we feel that our relationship with them is a true partnership. StayinFront works hard to understand our business; and if there's any issue, we can even count on a call from their CEO to make sure the situation is resolved to our satisfaction.

DOCUMENTATION: StayinFront has taken a straightforward, simple approach to documentation and the products' user interfaces. Sepracor was very involved in building true-life exercises to ensure success, which was especially important.

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