Database Marketing, Sales Force Automation

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

In a recent survey, Best Practices noted that financial companies often use sales force automation to improve prospects. A financial services company may use sales force automation to successfully improve product lists, leading to sales. In this situation, the techniques have segmented customers, and revenue per salesperson may increase at a double-digit rate (Kaneshige).

There are numerous other examples of sales force automation in the real world. For example, sales force automation can be used by companies that employ telemarketers. Long-distance companies use sales force automation to keep track of current and potential customers.

Pharmaceutical companies often use sales force automation to optimize the efforts of pharmaceutical sales representatives. Finally, sales force automation is absolutely crucial in the operation of traditional delivery personnel. Further, sales force automation often employs the use of wireless technologies for salespeople on the road.

Sales force automation is a continually growing field. As businesses grow and diversify, and the speed of business increases, the use of sales force automation will likely only increase. The use of wireless technologies is one of the most important trends in sales force automation. This technology enables salespeople to access invaluable client information without ever having to return to a central location. As a result, the salesperson gains valuable time, and can increase the number of sales calls he or she can make in a given amount of time.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is one of the most recent technologies to emerge in the field of marketing. Virtual reality encompasses a wide variety of technologies, but is most commonly used to describe three-dimensional images.

Virtual reality marketing materials require specific and complex technologies to create. They include the use of interfaces like 3D computer mice needed to control the virtual world. Virtual reality hardware and software work together to create a three-dimensional view of the world (NCSA).

Virtual reality marketing has a wide spectrum of benefits. Virtual reality marketing is an invaluable marketing tool for companies that want their customers to be clearly able to view their products. In addition, virtual reality can allow customers to clearly view new products before development or manufacturing occur, significantly reducing costs. Further, the computer software used to make virtual marketing materials allows images to be quickly changed and edited. This allows for customer feedback, and greatly improves efficiency. Virtual reality marketing also offers a powerful impression of a highly-technologically advanced company (Wightman).

Virtual reality is an obvious marketing tool in the high-technology arena. It easily showcases the technological abilities of computer games, and new software. Virtual reality is often used even within industries that are not heavily involved in high technology. For example, BTU (a major industrial furnace manufacturer) incorporates virtual reality into trade show exhibits (Argus). Virtual reality is also highly useful for realtors, who often have 3-dimensional representations of properties on their Web pages. Similarly, virtual reality is often used on the Internet by a wide variety of companies to provide a 3-dimensional product image that can be easily manipulated by the customer. Three-dimensional imagery has been used by online clothing retailers to provide customized clothing fitting services.

In this scenario, a customer selects a specific model (who is selected based on the customer's own measurements) and then uses virtual reality technologies to view the clothing on the model.

One of the greatest disadvantages of virtual reality in marketing is its prohibitive cost. Virtual reality marketing materials require the employment of not only expensive software and hardware, but the employment of highly trained and in-demand individuals who create the virtual reality materials. In addition, virtual reality marketing materials may be off-putting to customers who are not technologically adept, like seniors or individuals who have had very little computer experience. In addition, virtual reality marketing can be seen in certain situations as unnecessarily slick and manipulative, creating unwanted and counterproductive resentment against the product. Further, virtual reality marketing materials can be relatively time consuming to produce, and often difficult to employ at the point of sale, due to the need for specific technologies.

In conclusion, database marketing, sales force automation and virtual reality all have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

The usefulness of each marketing technique is clearly dependent on a variety of different factors. These include the specific target market, the nature of the product, and the potential cost vs. return of the specific marketing strategy.

As such, database marketing, sales force automation and virtual reality are all important components to consider in the development of any overall successful marketing strategy. Any one of these components is not a magic bullet that will guarantee increased sales, but taken together they may have an important positive effect on the marketing strategy of a company.

Works Cited

Argus. Press Release: For Immediate Release: January 3, 1995. Virtual Reality Developed as Industrial Marketing Tool. 04 November 2002. http://www.argusvr.com/core/press/pr_btu.htm

Copulsky, Jonathan. What are the major reasons why sales force automation (SFA) initiatives fail? 04 November 2002. http://dcrm.infotoday.com/articles/default.asp?ArticleID=1889 db-marketing.com.

An Overview about Database-Marketing. 04 November 2002. http://www.db-marketing.com/DBM/DEFAULT.asp db-marketing.com.

Which tools to use in Database-Marketing? 04 November 2002. http://www.db-marketing.com/dbm/tools.asp

It's All Good Web Design: Database Marketing. Database Marketing Defined. 04 November 2002. http://www.itsallgoodwebdesign.com/html/database_marketing.html

Kaneshige, Tom. Best Practices in Sales Force Automation. 04 November 2002. http://www.destinationkm.com/articles/default.asp?ArticleID=957

Middleton Hughes, Arthur.

Keeping Bank Customers by Database Marketing. 04 November 2002. http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art102.htm

Middleton Hughes, Arthur. The Merits of a Gold Program. 04 November 2002. http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art101.htm

National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Virtual Reality: Technology. 04 November 2002. http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Cyberia/VETopLevels/VR.Tech.html

SAS Institute Inc. SAS Analytic Intelligence: Data & Text Mining. 05 November 2002. http://www.sas.com/technologies/data_mining/

The Data Warehousing Information Center (DWIS). A Definition of Data Warehousing. 04 November 2002. http://www.dwinfocenter.org/defined.html

Wightman, Paul.

Virtual Reality Marketing Materials. Wigan & Leigh College. 04 November 2002. http://www.wigan-leigh.ac.uk/bdicp_virtreal.htm