Lastly differentiating on the extent of experience our customers have had with Internet-based software is useful in defining how much extra time is necessary for software application training.
Discuss your efforts to create customer intimacy.
As our company relies intensively on long-term relationships with customers, taking a very active approach to creating customer intimacy is critical to our business. Our approach is to first concentrate on total accountability for our software by having our CEO visit each and every customer just after an installation to show a high degree of support and accountability. Next, we offer each customer the opportunity to join a customer advisory council specific to their industry and special interests. At present there are three customer advisory councils which give customers an opportunity to discuss their concerns, interested in new product ideas and see what is presently in development.
How will you customize your offering for particular customers?
Our software is highly customizable to the needs of our customers, and we use a variety of software applications to make them highly usable by them. First, we can define what type of interface the customer wants on the software, from very simple and easy to use, to very complex and full of options. Second, our software is designed in modules, and customers and mix and match these modular components to design the specific system they want. All of these aspects of our software are integrated together by our professional services teams.
How do you identify key customers?
Our company looks at the potential share-of-customer for software solutions in specific channel management and customer relationship management areas of their companies, and then works with customers to see how we can provide them with more software in these areas. We look for the unmet needs customers have in their own customer-facing process areas and their channel management challenges as well. In short, we look at those companies with the largest distribution networks and customer relationship management programs and then attempt to show how our software can meet many more of their needs than is happening today.
Discuss your place in the customer data revolution.
Our company relies extensively on data mining to gain insights into how our customers make decisions using our software, so we can create more effective and relevant applications for them. Second, we use data extensively to plan our Google AdWords and online campaigns including our broader Internet strategies. Third, data is used for better defining the unmet needs of customers and educational strategies aimed at increasing our value to them over the long-term.
How do you use event-oriented prospecting?
Trade shows are the most effective form of event-oriented prospecting our company uses as it gives our sales force an opportunity to directly interact with prospects and see what their unmet needs and requirements are. Event-based prospecting through tradeshows also gives our sales force an opportunity to demonstrate our software to show prospects the extent of our functionality as well. Thirdly, the use of event-oriented prospecting is excellent for gaining insights into what customers need, and we often send engineers to these events to interact with prospects and determine what unmet needs we need to include in future application development.
Discuss your customer collaboration strategy.
As our company is based on delivering customized software for channel management and CRM strategies to manufacturers, there is an intensive level of collaboration required with customers to get to our systems installed and integrated to their existing systems. Our approach to collaboration also concentrates on creating electronic means of sharing status updates on project milestones, including the use of Microsoft SharePoint portals that are password-protected yet accessible by our own project managers and customers' project managers as well. Lastly our collaborations strategy also concentrates on creating open lines of communication with customers through frequent use of e-mail, conference calls and frequent on-site visits.
Explain your use of customer service representatives (CSR's).
As the skill set of CSRs is very valuable, our strategy is to focus on aligning hem with the most critical needs-based areas of service and support, and give them the opportunity to gain a very high level of mastery for the specific areas. Second, CSRs are assigned to larger accounts as the primary second-tier support specialists