By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Hayes Carll's Trouble In Mind album:
Sales force effectiveness in the global pharmaceutical industry is the subject of Eularis's new report "Pharmaceutical Sales Force Effectiveness Metrics: Are You Measuring the Wrong Things?"
The report finds that while sales forces represent the largest spend in pharma sales and marketing, "return on this investment has declined sharply in recent years."
Written for CEOs, marketing executives and sales executives, this research project examines market data and case studies and reports that "the very metrics currently being used to assess sales force effectiveness are in fact the ones causing its decline."
Focusing on the pharmaceutical industries in the United States, Europe and Japan, the report dissects these current metrics and their limitations, and then offers updated metrics which, according to the report's authors, "can help solve the declining effectiveness crisis."
A pharmaceutical organization's spending on sales force is second only to research and development, said the author of the report, Andree Bates, president of Eularis: "Better metrics must be used to measure both the effectiveness and financial impact of this very significant budget element because the current measurements used by most top pharma today actually contribute to the decline in effectiveness of the field force,"
Data emerging from the research concludes that current metrics are more focused on efficiencies rather than effectiveness, "and do so to their own detriment." The report also addresses such topics as why sales call frequency metrics are deeply flawed, what impact the marketing message has on the customer during the detail, which SFE issues vary by region, how to target the right audiences and how to incorporate appropriate influencing behaviors into SFE programs.
"Implementing new sales force effectiveness metrics that actually improve effectiveness, and navigating the tricky paths of assessment, changing behaviors, and incorporating eDetailing and CRM systems can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be if you're measuring the right things," Bates said.
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Bristol, England-based SmartFocus, a vendor of enterprise marketing software, has been selected by Internet fashion retailer Asos to provide customer relationship management tools, SmartFocus officials say.
Launched in 2000, AIM-listed Asos claims 1.7 million registered users, and company officials say the Web site attracts over 2.6 million shoppers a month. Asos officials say the company will use the SmartFocus software as a marketing platform in an effort to improve their standing as an online retailer.
The partnership with SmartFocus is part of an overall effort at improving customer communications, including advertising campaigns, press events and customer magazines. Asos's goal is to increase customer numbers and to encourage existing customers to spend more, and company officials say "the key to achieving this is through engaging marketing communications that are easy to manage."
As a self-described pure-play Internet fashion retailer, Asos can use the information it holds on customer behavior and spend patterns to personalize its offering. The CRM and strategic marketing program will focus on the British market in the first half of the year, the Asosians say, followed by a global deployment. Planned campaigns include "refer-a-friend" viral activity, a reactivation strategy to re-engage former customers and loyalty programs to reward Asos's best customers.
Mhairi Brown, CRM Manager for Asos, said the implementation of the SmartFocus software/application is expected to give Asos a product "to facilitate our ambitious marketing strategy and plans," and "understand our customer preferences."
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Business communications vendor Avaya has announced that it has created a wholly owned subsidiary that will focus on sales, service and products for the U.S. Government. The new subsidiary, Avaya Federal Solutions, launches August 1.
Avaya Federal Solutions will include approximately 400 people dedicated to providing IP telephony, contact center, unified communications and services for the military and civilian branches of the government. Jeff Hansen, currently vice president, Avaya's Federal Sales division, will serve as president for the newly formed subsidiary.
Intelligent communications can help the government "improve citizen services and security, while bringing more efficiency into its operations," said Hansen.
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Neocase Software, a customer service products vendor, has announced that the company has been selected as the 2008 Independent Software Vendor for customer service applications for the Microsoft's Dynamics CRM 4.0 product.
Neocase's line of products -- Neocase CS, Neocase HR and Neocase CRM -- are marketed to customer service and HR departments.
Neocase Software was chosen for the ISV Showcase based on its product integration with Dynamics CRM, Neocase officials say. Neocase was one of six software vendors chosen to be featured in a video and written product brief, which will be highlighted at Microsoft's WorldWide Partner Conference in July 2008.
Since 2001, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Neocase Software has sold customer service applications to large corporations. To create the integrated product, Neocase CRM, Neocase embedded its stand-alone customer service product, Neocase CS, to replace the standard customer service module within Dynamics CRM.
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CDC-CRM Solutions India, a provider of enterprise CRM and related products in India, has announced a new campaign management product in India with "local support and a further possibility of customization."
Campaign management products are still relatively new to Indian companies and agencies. According to Shubho Battarcharya CEO, CDC-CRM Solutions India, it "might be a surprise for many" that a global CRM firm "has a focused and specialized product for campaign management. The independent campaign management module emerged out of our attempt to make our overall CRM product provide a 360-degree view of the customer."
Bhattarcharya said the product "also goes to reiterate the micro-specialised product for verticals approach that CDC-CRM is adopting in India."
The product lets users link every campaign communication to the account history, so "employees from marketing, sales, customer support and accounting can share a complete view of all the activities and updates. Even bulk actions for campaign can be generated through the system, milestones can be defined and status of each prospect can be reviewed any time with the help of CRM tools," company officials said.
Specifically, the product tracks response rates and ties revenue to specific campaigns, and enables campaign management analysis by lead source, region, media type, and products sold. It tracks information and provides such analytics as campaign details, marketing plan, budget planning, expense mapping, events tracking and result tracking.
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According to "European RFID Industry Outlook (2007-2010)," a market research report by RNCOS, the European Radio Frequency Identification industry is expected to contribute about 40 percent share in the worldwide RFID industry in 2016.
The report says that the RFID technology has been in use in applications in Europe for a long time, and is now "a vital point of discussion on the agenda for many logistic service providers, food manufacturers and retailers of the continent."
The RFID technology is most widely used in the supply chain of Europe's retail sector, and "there has been low in-store retail sector activity in Europe, but it is likely to grow in future," the report finds.
Major retailers such as Metro and Tesco have shown a willingness to implement wide-scale introduction of the technology, the report finds: "With this trend, the application of RFID in supply chain will become very common at the Stock Keeping Unit level, while item-level tagging will remain limited to the high value goods. The market for RFID tags in the retail industry of Europe is projected to surpass 3.4 million by 2010."