According to research from Cahners In-Stat, 70% of inquiries are never contacted by sales, yet 43% of inquirers that receive a follow-up typically will make a purchase within 13 months. A recently launched company is stepping up to fill this gap between contacts and sales. They call it opportunity optimization and themselves deuxo.
Deuxo has released their Intelligent Qualification (IQ) engine, which focuses on lead optimization, according to Bob Merlo, chief marketing officer of deuxo. The application captures every raw inquiry that comes into a business and assigns each one to a particular segment based on the IQ engine, he said. Once the leads are assigned to segments, appropriate marketing campaigns can be applied, based on where the customer is in the sales cycle, Merlo added.
"We saw a gap between marketing automation and sales force automation (SFA)," Merlo said. "We were trying to address the relationship gap between marketers and sales (people). Our view is that the CRM space is moving to another level, and people are looking to provide more process automation," he said.
Deuxo's IQ automatically scores inquiries that come in to a company via data entry through marketing calls, Web forms or e-mail, Merlo said. The product has a series of questions and answers that are weighted independently, he said.
As prospects respond, the system automatically evolves them to a higher level of qualification, resulting in more targeted campaigns sent to the prospect, Merlo said. "It is unique in that other marketing automation systems allow (users) to link campaigns, but don't have a loop process that re-scores (prospects)," he said.
"Our company uses deuxo's software to do scoring and generate qualification on leads," said Jeff Ziegler, chief technology officer of Protocol Inc., which primarily identifies, acquires and retains prospects and customers for its clients. "We will then distribute qualified leads" to our clients, he said.
Protocol also engages in targeted outbound lead generation with the same software. "Instead of getting the lead through a marketing or promotional activity, we basically take targeted lists and do proactive outbound communication to people on the list," Ziegler said. "We can use (deuxo) to touch people via the telephone or an outbound e-mail campaign."
"They've identified an interesting niche between sales force automation and marketing automation," said Denis Pombriant, research director at Aberdeen Group. "What deuxo has done is said, 'Wait a minute, high priced sales talent should be focused on closing sales. There ought to be a system and methodology for maturing leads until it's appropriate to hand to sales'," he said.
Deuxo's software fits Protocol's business model well, according to Ziegler. The software is also very flexible. "Most of all of the specific kinds of things we need to do are readily available, such as scripting," he said. The reporting functions are also very comprehensive, according to Ziegler.
The ASP model also works well for Protocol, as the company has locations across the U.S. "The hosted model allows us to share clients between several facilities," Ziegler said. "Having migrated to a completely Web-based application enhances our whole ability to share clients," he added.
Protocol's clients have noticed the difference, according to Zieger. Before Protocol began using deuxo, clients would see sales on one out of 100 leads, he said. After deuxo implementation, clients began seeing sales in one out of 20 leads, he said.
Deuxo partnered with CRM integration software provider Scribe Software Corp. to integrate the deuxo software with other SFA applications. Scribe is providing the adapters and business process integrations, which allow for two-way data transfer via extensible markup language (XML).
"I don't think it's a solution all by itself. It works best in conjunction with SFA," Pombriant said. "Ideally, it works best with SFA and marketing automation."
Currently, the company doesn't have any direct competitors, according to Pombriant. "Many, but not all (other programs), are interested in simply getting the lead, not necessarily qualifying and maturing it. Many of them are built based on the assumption that those activities are the province of the sales force," he said.
"We believe that this is the continuum from marketing to sales closure," Merlo said.
Deuxo has plans to enhance its call center capabilities, which Ziegler is looking forward to seeing. The call center piece "is something that we'd like to see enhanced," he said.
Pombriant can see deuxo succeeding, even as the economy seems more fragile by the day. "A tool like that might sell better in a down economy, simply because companies are conscious of extracting every bit of value... leads being a prime example," he said. "What's interesting about deuxo is that, even in this economic climate, they've been able to raise substantial (funding)," Pombriant added.
Deuxo delivers its Web-enabled software via an application service provider (ASP) or license model. In the ASP mode, pricing is $15,000 to $20,000 for a setup fee and starts at $5,000 per month for 20 users. In the license mode, the company has to meet the same requirements as the host center for the ASP, such as Microsoft-based software and specific servers. The license fees range from $225,000 to $500,000, according to Merlo.
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