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Better online customer segmentation tools?

Do you think there is a need for improved, online customer segmentation capabilities to be delivered to the end-user of CRM tools, like actual salespersons, marketing personnel? If so, which vendors are working strongly to implement these functionalities in their product offerings?
Do I think there is a need for improved online customer segmentation capabilities? Hmmm. Aside from the general "there's always need for improvement," I think that several vendors have worked diligently toward providing that information to the sales and marketing staffs online and, in a couple of places, embedded directly into the operational CRM applications. This goes to both enterprise players and the smaller, niche players in both the sales automation and enterprise marketing automation (EMA) space.

It is interesting that you bring this up, because on the sales side in particular, there has been a historic weight toward sales management tools for CRM/SFA such as sophisticated pipeline management, etc. but less thought had been going into the actual benefits for the salesperson-user. SalesLogix is one vendor that has seriously begun to revamp their applications toward the user, without losing the sales management components. They are calling it sales automation rather than sales force automation, but regardless of what the difference in terms is (I don't know), the orientation toward providing better tools for the actual sales person is there.

On the marketing side, EMA tools have historically included a significant amount of analytic tools for the segmenting of the customer base. However, where there had been a problem, wasn't in the ability to provide the information, but the presentation of the information for the ordinary marketing soul out there. Unica did a great job by creating an extremely user friendly interface that made drag and drop an art for providing segmentation as a visual pleasure! SAS has the tools to do this, but are still working on their user friendliness. They have by far the best actual analytic tools but a bit to go with user warm and fuzziness.

If you need to talk more about it, or I'm simply not answering your question, email me at paul-greenberg3@comcast.net I'll be happy to elaborate.
This was last published in September 2002

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