Marketers Grab Inbound Customers

Companies using inbound customer marketing (ICM) techniques are generating more than a 25 percent ROI, according to an untitled survey released today by Capgemini (in collaboration with Epiphany). ICM is the method of offering a product or service when the customer initiates the contact and is a maturing concept in call centers and on the Web. The research found that some companies are consistently achieving up to 50 percent conversion rates on cross-, upsell, and retention offers, but that there is a long way to go before ICM is common practice. Steven Harris, head of insight driven marketing consulting at Capgemini, says of the survey, "We wanted to understand how inbound channels are being used for marketing purposes, how widespread is it, how sophisticated organizations are, and what levels of success are they achieving. Most organizations are doing [ICM] in some form, but aren't using real-time tools. A lot of organizations are trying to fix their CRM implementations and this will be next on their list." The picture looks healthy for travel and telecom companies, where no companies report a "disappointing" ROI of less than 15 percent and seven in 10 are achieving 25 percent or more. Travel-and-leisure firms have the highest success, with 80 percent of companies reporting more than a 25 percent ROI. It is the only sector using ICM more on the Web than in the call center. Telecoms are seen as "pioneers of real-time marketing," however, with 50 percent adoption of such techniques in call centers and 38 percent on the Web channels. Harris attributes this leadership to the high level of competition and need for customer retention. Forty-four percent of those surveyed across all sectors achieve more than 25 percent ROI, primarily in sales conversion rates, mostly cross- and upsell. There's no clear correlation between level of sophistication and performance, which Harris called surprising, but organizations getting the best results are using real-time techniques. "That tells us it's not just the technology that makes you successful. You need the right selling skills, the right marketing skills, and offers on the Web site." When considering ICM deployment, companies need to figure out how sophisticated they want to be and how long it will take them to become so. IT and marketing must communicate and call center agents must be trained appropriately to handle their new roles. "The majority of call center staff are service-oriented," Harris says. If they are going to start selling, they want commission or incentives like other sales people receive. "Provide good training and give them confidence. Make it simple for them and as they get better and confident, they'll get more sophisticated." Related articles: SFA and Marketing Automation Show Even Growth The leading vendors attracted new customers in 2004; hosted options are in demand. Helping Consumers to Swallow Cookies Winning customer trust is key to gaining access to personal information.
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