Over the past three decades, subtle changes have taken place in the theory and practice of marketing which has been reshaping companies. These changes have also been evident in marketing and management related information systems. The transaction based view and relationship based view of marketing is no more. Today, it is the era of information marketing or as popularly called database marketing.
More and more companies are contemplating the need to control an ever larger and rapidly changing market structure and the competitive environment. The information processing requirements of companies are expanding as their industries become more dynamic and volatile. To handle the increasing external and internal information flow and to improve its quality, companies will need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by modern information technology (IT) and information systems (IS). Information System is the intersection of technology (IT) with the processes and people that drive the business.
Managing marketing information by means of IT has become one of the most vital elements of effective marketing. By collecting and sharing marketing information and by using it to promote corporate and brand image, IS offer new ways of improving internal efficiencies of the firm. Information systems allow dynamic marketing communication between personnel in corporate planning, accounting, advertising and sales promotion, product management, channels of distribution and direct sales. Information technology-based marketing database systems (MkIS) have been in vogue for a pretty long time without getting the importance it deserves, especially from the SMEs. Research has indicated that it is the bigger MNCs which have embraced technology for marketing earlier. Traditionally, MkIS has been seen as a system to support marketing management in its decision making. However, it has been found out that the impact in terms of percentage on sales, have been much more for SMEs. In addition to the management perspective, MkIS can be an essential tool for the entire marketing organization. Some researchers have classified IS in marketing by the tasks for which they are customarily used.
Few such systems are gaining popularity day by day, thanks to the marketing of the benefits by IBM, Oracle and SAS. One such of the more popular systems, an emerging concept of marketing and sales productivity (MSP) systems, consists of four subsystems: salesperson productivity tools, direct mail, telemarketing and sales management, is getting popular day by day. However, these new, more operational, IS are yet to realize their potential in the context of the MkIS concept.
These sales and marketing productivity tools combine many of the features of database, catalogue and contact management softwares with often a unique opportunity management and quotation module. Also, they combine the rich features provided by decision support systems made for sales forecasting and planning. Research has indicated that sales are often boosted by as much as 30% by adopting an MSP system such as these.
These new generation information systems controls every aspect of your marketing and sales from cold prospecting to even confirmed orders or e-fulfillment. These even help to integrate and co-ordinate sales and marketing activities for sales pipeline tracking and maximize potential return. These systems are expected to encourage best practice and introduces customer focused methodology to the business. These also enable telesales prompts that develop cross selling opportunities which affect the overall sales by often as high as 80%.
It is time for every marketing manager to rethink, how to drive his sales using the information at his disposal and rethink the entire sales strategy.