Marketers fail to use systems fully

The fifth annual Softworld in Sales & Marketing exhibition takes place on November 14 and 15 at the Ramada Hotel, Heathrow.

The fifth annual Softworld in Sales & Marketing exhibition takes place on November 14 and 15 at the Ramada Hotel, Heathrow.

The show’s organiser, Interactive Exhibitions, has commissioned research to be published on the first day of the event, which shows that IT systems are not used to their full potential within the sales and marketing discipline.

The survey, with replies from 111 marketing, sales, IT and general management professionals at middle, senior and director levels, found that more than 95 per cent of respondents thought their systems could be used more extensively.

The main barrier to effective use was considered to be the high costs of the packages and the long-term nature of the benefits they could achieve (67 per cent). Other obstacles cited included lack of motivation (59 per cent), shortage of cash (57 per cent) and complexity of implementation (50 per cent). One of the areas found most wanting is support for field sales activity, which 80 per cent of sales directors and managers cited as inadequate.

While most industries rate reducing costs as an important benefit of sales and marketing systems, the Hewson Consulting Group survey found that only 51 per cent claimed to have achieved planned cost or headcount reductions, while the remaining 49 per cent had not achieved their targets in this area.

It seems there is plenty of scope for improved implementation and understanding of software, and the Softworld event will focus on this potential. The exhibition is divided into three sections: marketing applications, integrated solutions and sales management.

Many companies will be launching products at the event. Softsolve will be showing Virtual Office, which uses virtual reality to mimic the way people work within offices.

AVG Sales & Marketing will be launching the Windows 95 version of GoldMine, its software for contact management, network scheduling, e-mail, task delegation and group scheduling. It is also launching a remote synchronisation package, GoldSync, to aid communication between mobile staff and head offices.

This is one of a raft of sales management products on show, which include Emphasys Technology’s SIRS, an automated sales and marketing product for both mobile and network-based users; Matrix from Matrix Workstations; Saratoga’s account management package SPS for Windows 95; Co-Cam’s Brock sales performance series TakeControl; Total Computer Systems’ ContactTeam; business process package Xpansions; and the UK debut of UpDate Marketing Service’s popular campaign management package USM Marketing Manager.

Market Solutions is showing off a new call-handling package, MSL-In Call, as well as MSL-Opportunity Management, a product that tracks and manages the sales process.

Clavis from Listmaster Database Marketing is a package for European address enhancement, while QAS Systems’ QuickAddress with FIND dataset offers household income data from a postcode. Tactician’s Geoplan Postcode Directory also provides demographic and business profiles by UK postcode. InfoSys will be showing off its InfoForce with all the hardware required by a mobile salesperson, including a notebook PC, digital mobile phone, GSM connection and modem, plus a briefcase that holds the lot.

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