Future Of Enterprise Computing

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Future of Enterprise Computing

Future of Enterprise Computing

If you're the owner of a small business, you've probably started the process of automating some of your daily business functions. Your accounting process is likely somewhat computerized. Your customer and prospect lists are probably in a database somewhere. You may even have a computerized scheduling system or an electronic Rolodex. But, like many of your fellow business professionals, you haven't evaluated how it all fits together.

Systems integration doesn't have to be expensive. The goal is to help you use your information wisely, and you don't have to spend a fortune to achieve that.

Enterprise computing, or connecting all the pieces of your company, helps you make more informed business decisions. When your entire business is connected, information gleaned from all over the company is added to your database and put to work for you. For example, has a customer ever had to remind you of something you should have known, such as what he ordered last time? With an automated information system, you can track customer and prospect information through your entire company, ensuring that every person who comes in contact with a customer is armed with the right information. From the moment a lead enters the system, all pertinent information about the prospect is attached to it. As more information is added, it is accessible for everyone to use.

Here's a picture of how enterprise computing can help in your sales, marketing, and customer-support departments:

•Database marketing. With an enterprise-computing system, information from sales reps, vendors, trade shows, advertising, and more is added to your existing database and shared with everyone who needs it. As you plan your marketing efforts, you can analyze lead-generation data, prospects' interests, company sizes, and other criteria. When you target a subset of that data with direct mail, you can track the results, evaluate the cost per lead and cost per sale, and know where to invest your marketing dollars in the future.

•Telemarketing. An enterprise-wide system arms telemarketers with data. Not only do they know the lead's history, but they have at their fingertips lead-qualification scripts, electronic pricing, and product information. Programmed scripting can put your least skilled telemarketer on a par with your top salesperson. Plus, all the information learned by the telemarketer is added to the database for others in the organization to use.

•Inside or field sales. What salespeople really need is a way to attach a marketing encyclopedia to customer and prospect data. That way, they have an easy-to-use, one-stop mechanism to access a variety of data that is useful to them--everything from customer history to product pricing and inventory levels.

For example, if the prospect mentioned a competing product to a telemarketer, the salesperson can access competitive research and build his sales strategy accordingly. If the prospect has previously indicated on a direct-mail piece that he will make a buying decision in the next 90 days, the salesperson is alerted to that ...
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