By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and we’re taking
a break from Frank Sinatra with a CD of Texas country drinking songs. The current
one’s “Una más cerveza” by Tommy Alverson, next up’s “One Bud Wiser” by John
Rich: “Well I’m one Bud wiser/ Than I was a minute ago…”
Siebel Systems, Inc. is announcing the launch of the “CRM Index” for small and
medium-sized businesses. It’s based on data from independent research conducted
by Datamonitor, the findings of which are published today as a report titled “Going
for Growth: Are European SMBs Ready to Meet Customer Demands?”
The CRM Index will provide ongoing performance metrics for this market, according
to Siebel officials, and is supposed to be an online tool that “enables SMBs to
understand and measure how well they attract, manage, and service their
customers,” as it’ll allow benchmarking of CRM, initially against 1,000 other
Siebel officials describe the purpose as being to let SMBs measure how their
organization performs overall or specifically how its sales, marketing, or
service functions rate against the industry standard. Once the results are
assessed, the CRM Index provides a personalized summary and advice guide, as
well as a library of best practices for SMBs to improve their CRM
First CoffeeSM will spoil some of the surprise now: The results of
the survey underscore that while small and medium-sized businesses are focused
on growth, “they are failing to maximize revenue from existing and prospective
Almost half of SMBs, 46 percent, Siebel official say, cite “growing revenues”
and “maximizing margins” as their top business objective. Hence more than half
of European SMBs are investing in some kind of customer management tool to help
them retain and attract customers to fuel this growth, be it basic contact
management to track customers, or simple databases.
However, in many cases “SMBs are not using these tools to implement
customer service principles across all the relevant departments within their
A finding Siebel officials think is particularly pertinent is that “80 percent
of requests for an e-mail response to a phone inquiry are never sent, and 57
percent of SMBs have no time targets for responding to customer inquiries. When
it comes to human interaction, 31 percent of European SMBs do not have a
dedicated customer point of contact.”
European SMBs are also ineffective at measuring the impact of their sales and
marketing investments. Only 41 percent of the organizations surveyed are
tracking how much they are spending on marketing versus the impact of these
expenditures on revenue and customer growth. Fifty percent of European
respondents are also not tracking the performance of sales individuals, meaning
they are unable to identify stronger versus weaker performers.
“It only takes one unanswered phone call or e-mail for a prospective customer
to go elsewhere, and when you’re focused on growth, each and every customer can
be crucial,” Neil Morgan, Vice President of European Marketing, Siebel Systems
And here’s a truth both the New York Yankees and Boston Red
Sox learned in the past week: Money
doesn’t buy results.
There is no direct relationship
between R&D spending and significant measures of corporate success such
as growth, profitability, and shareholder return, according to a new global
innovation study by management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
However, the pace of corporate R&D spending continues to
accelerate as fast as the New York Yankees’ payroll, as many executives
continue to believe that enhanced innovation is required to fuel their future
Booz Allen analyzed the world’s top 1,000 corporate research and development
spenders to “identify the linkages between spending on innovation and corporate
performance, and to uncover insights on how organizations can get the greatest
return on their innovation investment,” according to firm officials.
They found that money doesn’t buy results: “While the study
identified individual success stories, there is no discernable statistical
relationship between R&D spending levels and nearly all measures of
business success, including sales growth, gross profit, operating profit,
enterprise profit, market capitalization, or total shareholder return.” Hiring
a management consulting firm, the results imply, is a great way to start
The top 10 global R&D spenders in 2004 were – in
descending order – Microsoft, Pfizer, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, General
Motors, Siemens, Matsushita Electric, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson.
R&D spending is heavily concentrated in the Technology,
Health, and Automotive sectors. Computing & Electronics tops the list
representing 25% of total spend by the Global 1,000; Health follows with 20%,
and Auto with 18%.
And the annual growth rate for R&D spending from 1999 to
2004 in China and India was 21.1%, significantly higher than in North America
(6.6%), Europe (6.2%), and Japan (4.8%). These lower growth rates are likely
functions of the relative maturity of companies in these countries and the
magnitude of their current spending.
However, the developed economies show a higher ratio of
R&D spending to sales. Here China and India lag, spending only 1% of
revenue on R&D, compared with 4.9% for firms in North America, 4% in
Europe, and 3.8% in Japan.
Interesting announcement from Intercasting Corporation,
which bills itself as “the first Location-Aware Media Networking Operator.”
Seems that several alternative and hard
rock record labels have joined the Rabble community.
(“Weren’t they already?” She puts her bone china cup back on the
Reed & Barton silver tea service and rings for the butler.)
Rabble’s a mobile blogging application for cell phones, which
lets users create, publish and share media and connect with others based on
proximity or areas of interest. Music labels including Nitro, Sub Pop and
Trustkill Records are now using Rabble to connect with fans across the country.
Verizon Wireless customers with select Get It Now-enabled phones can sign up
for Rabble to create and distribute their own content and connect with others
via an interface right on their mobile. Be your own media producer, kids.
“We noticed a few independent bands using Rabble to connect with their fans so
we reached out to some of our favorite music labels, Sub Pop, Nitro and
Trustkill,” said Derrick Oien, founder and President of Intercasting
Corporation. Oien said many of the labels already make heavy use of Internet
sites like MySpace and Pure Volume.
So if you want to be one of the thousands messaging AFI or
The Offspring, Rufio, The Aquabats, A Wilhelm Scream and The Letters Organize, or
Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Postal Service and Rogue Wave, or Fight Paris, Roses
Are Red and Bedlight For Blue Eyes, check it out.
“Direct contact with fans has always been essential for any
indie label. The new challenge is competing with the bombardment of information
that our audience gets from so many different sources,” said Jerod Gunsberg,
Head of Sales and Marketing, Nitro Records.
“I love the idea of giving fans the ability to build their
own communities revolving around music. It’s a great opportunity for us to just
provide the access to music and information and then allow the fans to align
themselves organically around the artists that they actually care about. To me,
that’s infinitely preferable to trying to force our artists on audiences
through fixed marketing channels,” said Dean Hudson, Sub Pop Records Director
of New Media.
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