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Market Effectiveness – The 12 Critical Marketing and Sales Software Systems

Market Effectiveness – The 12 Critical Marketing and Sales Software Systems

By: Jim Gitney   |     February 21, 2024

Market Effectiveness™ is about how well you service your marketplace and your customers. It includes how you create products and services, how you market, sell and service them and how you manage the product revenue lifecycle. Planning, measuring, and managing market effectiveness is the most important activity in every enterprise. Market Effectiveness drives profitable growth.

The technologies and business processes that companies use to interact with their customers have become much more complex as technology and changing customer needs have dramatically impacted how companies go to market. This article talks about the technologies that affect a company’s Market Effectiveness.

To start to understand the impact of technology on Market Effectiveness, let’s look at the components of Market Effectiveness as shown in the following graphic.

Market Effectiveness

A company’s strategic plan should be the blueprint for driving all activities. Effective technology backbones provide customer insights and market intelligence to help leadership teams create an effective strategic plan and know “Where To Play” in the marketplace. Utilizing technology to understand customer preference and behavior drives the decisions supporting product portfolio management and product development. These three segments of Market Effectiveness prepare the company to sell its products and services to its customers and are heavily technology dependent.

That leaves marketing and sales. 82% of customers (both D2C and B2B) use the internet to get educated about products in the marketplace and identify places to buy a product they want. To understand how technology impacts customer behavior, it is helpful to look at a customer journey map as shown below.

Business Level Customer Journey Map

 

The first challenge is to make customers aware of your products. This challenge applies to both Direct to Consumer (D2C) and Business to Business (B2B) marketplaces and applies equally well to products and services. Once aware, the next challenge is to educate potential customers on the Value Proposition of your products and services and the things that differentiate your offering from your competition. From that point, it is important to direct a customer to an appropriate place to buy the company’s products and services. Once a customer has made a purchase, the sales and marketing strategies include post sales activities that follow-up, improve and encourage advocacy. These activities are also technology driven.

The Technology Behind Market Effectiveness

Group50® Consultants define business in the form of three cross functional processes: Market Facing, Technology backbone and Value-Added activities as shown below.

Market Facing Activities - Market Effectiveness

The following list highlights technology systems that drive high level Market Effectiveness. It is important to note that many newer systems have multiple capabilities that are described below, meaning that companies may not need to buy all standalone systems.

  1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a software solution that manages, tracks, and stores information related to your company’s current and future customers. It provides a centralized database of customer information that can be accessed by anyone in the organization providing a complete customer history and giving them the insights they need.

  1. Order Management

Order management is important for businesses so that they can properly service their customers. Some CRM systems have order management capabilities. Most companies use their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage the production of orders and delivery of services.

  1. Contract Management

Contract management systems provide a central repository for companies to manage their contractual requirements with vendors and customers. Most companies do not do a good job managing contracts and waste a lot of time trying to figure out what their true obligations are.

  1. Project Management

Project Management software has three critical roles in Market Effectiveness

  1. Implementation of new business software systems
  2. Design and development of custom product configurations.
  3. Product development

Cloud based Project management systems provide a central repository for stakeholders to see the status of complex projects and to communicate with the project team.

  1. Quote Management

Just about every customer has a unique buying program in the B2B space. They get special discounts and different terms and conditions. This is often managed inside an ERP system, but for custom products a quote management system is important.

  1. Product Lifecycle Management and Content Management Systems (CMS)

Product Lifecycle Management systems are designed to manage the entire lifecycle of a product from start to finish. Most PLM’s also provide the ability to centralize all associated content with the product including but not limited to pictures, graphics, marketing materials, videos and other important content that are used by sales and marketing people on a routine basis.

  1. Computer Aided Design CAD – Computer Aided Manufacturing CAM

CAD/CAM software is an integral part of designing products and making them producible in the factory. These systems significantly improve speed to market and product design quality as well as serving as a repository for product design documentation.

  1. Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Software

Email marketing and marketing automation software provide the benefit of making customers sticky. When properly applied, these systems address the six pillars of the customer journey map providing routine communications with a company’s customer base. These systems are critical to successful customer acquisition and customer retention strategies.

  1. Website(s) and SEO

Every company should have a website. There are cloud-based systems that can handle the entire customer transaction. Websites provide important product and services content that addresses many of the elements of the customer journey map. Websites have become a major asset to all companies and that content forms the basis for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is a process for optimizing web content that highlights the content you want search engines to focus on, so these two software systems are inextricably linked for Market Effectiveness.

  1. eCommerce Portals

As consumers, we have become spoiled by Amazon, Walmart, UPS, USPS, and many others who allow us to have an account and enable us to see the status of our orders through notifications. As a result, we have begun to expect this from every supplier we deal with. Your customers expect it too, making eCommerce Portals a basic requirement.

  1. Business Intelligence

Many clients we deal with have a lot of data and little information. Business Intelligence systems are necessary to make sense of that data. These systems provide information about the demographics of your customer base, what they bought, how much they spend and their preferences. An important part of this is the interface with Point of Sale (POS) systems if you do business with Bricks and Mortar companies.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is all the rave. Many companies are adopting these systems to accelerate designs, create labels and marketing materials. When properly applied, AI systems can significantly reduce time to market and increase productivity in the product management function.

The above 12 software systems make up the elements of a company’s OMNI Channel strategy. At Group50® Consulting, we define OMNI channel through the 6 A’s:

  1. Digitally Acquire research on your products and services
  2. Buy from your company Anything you sell
  3. Do it Anytime
  4. From Anywhere
  5. Using Alternate payment methods and have
  6. Access to the status of their order always

Market Effectiveness is fully dependent on a company’s OMNI Channel strategy. This strategy will make or break success. As noted earlier, every company will likely only need a subset of the 12 systems defined in this article and making those choices can be a daunting task. Those choices will be dependent on the size of the company, served markets and its unique customer journey map. It is important to create the digital technology strategy for the company and implement a building block approach so that as the company grows, it doesn’t need to scrap previous systems and efforts.

Most companies will engage a consulting firm to help them craft an appropriate OMNI Channel strategy and the appropriate combination of technologies to support its business both in its current state and its future state which is defined by its business strategies.

Group50® Consulting is uniquely suited to help create and implement those strategies, utilizing our Marketing and Sales expertise as well as our Digital Technology Consulting Practice. To talk to a Digital Technology subject matter expert, call (909) 949-9083, drop us a line at info@group50.com, or request more information here.

About the Author:  Jim Gitney is the CEO and founder of Group50® Consulting which has worked with over 200 companies in improving their top line performance and bottom-line results. Jim and the Group50® team specialize in working with D2C and B2B companies and they fully understand the current challenges in marketing and sales as well as optimized supply chains. Group50 clients routinely see a 10X return on their consulting investment.  You can see some of the clients and results of their efforts here.

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This entry was posted in Information Technology, Market Effectiveness, Product Development, Strategic Planning 5.0, on February 21, 2024

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