Lack Of Awareness Of Convergent Technologies

London Olympia – 7 February 2006:Despite being under pressure to get more for their marketing pound, many companies are unaware of the benefits that can be gained by merging voice and data technologies and so are ‘missing a trick’.So finds the FrontRange Solutions User Survey, undertaken today at the Technology for Marketing Show (TfM) and designed to ‘take the pulse’ of companies large and small attending the Exhibition at London’s Olympia.The increasing profile of IP telephony was reflected in the fact that, of those surveyed, some 72% understood the term and 57% have either already implemented, or plan to implement a solution over the next three years.

However, as yet, only 34% recognised that they would benefit from bringing together their communication and CRM systems.”This presents marketeers with something of a dilemma,” says Alastair Trower, FrontRange Solutions’ EMEA Product Marketing Manager. “Not surprisingly, 70% have some form of CRM solution, in which the ability to track leads through the sales process is seen as most important by 21% – followed by access to customer data for different teams across the business (18%) and improved speed of campaign turnaround (16%).”Improving customer response”Yet looking more closely at campaign management for example, companies are looking to match internal efficiency gains with an improved customer experience. Better quality customer targeting, for example, is seen to be equally as important as reduced costs (each by 21%) and headed only by the desire for better campaign turnaround times, put top of their ‘wish list’ by 25%.

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“VoIP solutions are useful in delivering operational gains,” he adds, “but in order to secure equivalent customer-facing benefits, end-users need to adopt technologies providing convergence at a deeper level, that of bringing together telephony with other business applications such as CRM.”One example is the latest addition to the GoldMine suite of CRM and contact management solutions. GoldMine IP Voice Suite combines a phone system with a CRM solution – for Trower, ‘an organisation’s most powerful customer contact business mechanisms’ – to produce a comprehensive communications tool which brings powerful business intelligence to derive real business value in every customer interaction.”In short,” says Trower, “there is a real need for some joined-up thinking about joined-up technologies. Without it, marketeers are having to achieve tough targets with one hand tied behind their backs.”Other findings included:•66% of respondents believe that today they are under more pressure from senior management to manage their marketing spend more effectively, with 34% seeing themselves as under the same pressure.

Not surprisingly perhaps, none felt under less pressure;•Interestingly however, some 49% confirmed that they had a larger marketing budget than last year, with only 17% working with a lower budget;•Of those who perceive themselves as under greater pressure, 27% believe that this is primarily focused on improving lead management, with 21% looking to achieve better data management and 18% to achieve improved campaign reporting. Somewhat surprisingly, only 8% cited better forecasting as a major pressure;•For 24%, the most important element of a CRM solution is campaign management, followed by lead generation (18%), customer service (16%) and cost-effectiveness in managing client relationships (15%), with only 8% believing that measuring customer satisfaction/retention is most important;•When investing in a marketing solution, no less than 55% see return on investment to be the most important factor in their decision-making, ahead of increasing total sales (15%) and better customer service (13%). “This is fully in line with our own experience,” confirmed Trower, “as today’s marketeers are under just as much pressure as any other department to show real and measurable benefit on any investment.”FrontRange Solutions is exhibiting its complete range of GoldMine relationship management solutions at Technology For Marketing 2006, the UK’s premier event for marketing-related and CRM technology solutions. This year, the Show will attract more than 200 exhibitors and aims to help marketeers and other management professionals understand, target and reach their client base and maximise customer interaction and retention.”Overall, our survey findings undoubtedly reflect a growing recognition that bringing voice and data together is key to helping marketeers meet tough objectives – both in terms of achieving a faster return on their marketing investment and better service delivery,” says Trower.”However, many have yet to go that extra step in combining their telephony and CRM system which is essential if they are to be truly effective in securing both internal efficiency gains and customer responsiveness,” he concludes.