Ahead of the Game

Ahead of the Game

Adrian Burt

Communications Management vendor CTI Group talks to Comms Business Magazine about how Proteus is reaching new heights and growing at more than 3 times the rate as many of its competitors. New products, internationalisation, an expanded channel support team and a new sales strategy mean further increasing the opportunities for their partners.

In a market where most of our competitors are growing by single figure percentages, our revenue from Proteus has grown by more than 30% in the last year,” says Senior Vice President for CTI Group, Adrian Burt. “We view our excellent product portfolio, our commitment to provide first class pre and post sales support to our channel partners, and our non-stop creativity in marketing programmes, as the reasons for our unrivalled growth. Looking forward, our plans are to accelerate this even further by taking Proteus into new international markets and by implementing an exciting new sales and marketing strategy focused on proactive lead generation and campaign development for our strategic partners.

 

More leads for our partners! – New “Direct Touch” Channel Strategy

To date, CTI Group’s growth has fundamentally been reactionary, with Proteus opportunities being customer driven through the channel. Resellers rarely lead a sale with communications management, more often focusing their efforts on PBXs and hardware implementations. Whilst understandable, this approach doesn’t give CTI Group control of its destiny and freedom to drive sales, nor does it really help the resellers that are relentlessly trying to promote themselves as true converged solution providers.

Our new approach is to implement ongoing direct marketing campaigns to select vertical markets, generating leads that we pass back to our partners for closure. This will position Proteus at the forefront of their minds, give them immediate earning opportunity, and open doors for them to cross sell their other products and services. In essence, we will be helping them to “lead with communications management,” which in many ways is the correct approach, since by virtue of its deployment, Proteus will help resellers and their customers truly understand their communications usage and requirements…and hence make more informed proposals and purchase decisions respectively.

At the same time, we continue to recognise that differentiation is the key to success for our channel partners, with innovative sales kits and tools, such as our return on investment (ROI) calculators and innovative Guide to Selling Communications Management, being so well received. Indeed, we are proud winners of the Comms Business Channel Development Award!

 

New Appointments

Implementing our new strategy and initiatives represents a large ongoing investment for CTI. We have doubled our sales and marketing team and appointed Alan Pearson as EMEA Sales and Marketing Director, to spearhead and execute our strategy. Alan brings fresh software solution selling skills, a passion for proactivity, and a real desire to develop our sales skills and win rates, as well as those of our partners.

Alan has already built a strong lead generation team, comprised of Deborah Bannon and Sean Lydon. Both are focused on implementing the direct marketing and sales activities to cultivate and pass leads back to our partners. We realise the importance of remaining 100% channel centric and channel supportive, so our strategy will not waiver. We will not deal direct and compete with our partners, but we will provide them a “direct touch”; handling everything from lead finding to cultivation and closure.

Additionally, Iain Muirhead has been recruited to lead our financial services sector team, a vertical market we dominate worldwide. Ian has many years experience in this field and will be implementing a similar proactive strategy to support our specialist partners in this niche.

 

International Market Development

Proteus is now being marketed and supported worldwide. We have local operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and now the US, where we already have a growing list of Fortune 500 customers and many exciting new channel partners that we will shortly be announcing. In 2006, we will be strengthening our

Deborah Bannon
Sean Lydon
 

I will personally be spending a lot of time in the US to help drive Proteus sales and marketing. We have a huge opportunity there. And, at the same time, we are now planning to integrate Proteus with our on-line bill presentment and e-care solution, SmartBill Connect, to offer a truly compelling solution to service providers, resellers and their enterprise customers.

 

SmartBill Connect – CTI Group’s On-line Billing and E-care Solution

 

See What You’ve Been Missing?

SmartBill Connect is a comprehensive, online billing solution for service providers that reduces operational costs while enhancing customer lifetime value.

SmartBill Connect enables the service provider to:

 
Generate Revenue

Do you generate revenue from your bills?

  • Leverage the invoice to deliver targeted marketing messages that efficiently enable cross-sell and up-sell.
  • Support your enterprise customers and create new e-business opportunities.
Enhance Productivity

Need to modernize your billing process?

  • Efficiently deliver customer service and self-care, while retaining a valuable revenue stream.
  • Reduce customer billing questions and improve customer loyalty.
  • Eliminate invoice fulfilment, printing, stuffing, and mailing costs.
Increase Customer Loyalty

Is customer service a priority?

  • Deliver services and customer support that improve customer lifetime value by 10%.
  • Reduce churn by over 4%.
  • In the internet age, e-enablement is no longer a desired function, it is a requirement.
Differentiate

Feeling the heat of competition?

  • Be the first to market a billing, fulfilment, and customer service process that is customized to the needs of your customer.
  • Entrench yourself in your customer’s processes.
  • Defend your market position.
 

SmartBill Connect is an on-line billing and invoice management solution. It enables service providers from all verticals to increase their revenue and differentiation, by presenting invoices on-line and creating an invigorating communications portal with their subscribers. SmartBill Connect also presents large operational cost savings by empowering subscribers to self-manage their services, accounts, and transaction data via the web. SmartBill Connect offers multi-services and multi-service provider consolidation.

Together, Proteus and SmartBill Connect provide a complete telephone expense management solution, as well as sophisticated bill verification and auditing tools that provide a new ROI to the enterprise, whilst helping service providers to increase their customer satisfaction and lifetime value. We aim to bring this combined solution to Europe in 2006.

 

Proteus Alarms Server

In addition to integrating Proteus with SmartBill, we will be launching several new modules to complement our integrated portfolio of Proteus telephone management, mobile management, email and internet management, and voice recording solutions.

For instance, our new Alarms solution brings Communications Management to the front office, delivering real time alerts on selected call criteria, business models, and trends. Consider the following scenarios: a Finance Director can receive an email alert if the monthly phone bill exceeds say 10% of the average cost over the last 3 months; or a call centre manager screen pops up if response times don’t meet established business models and goals.

Like all Proteus applications, Proteus Alarms is web based, secure, and highly configurable by the end user. It can monitor an unlimited number of ports and sites and integrate with all traditional and IPT systems. The Alarm server also provides similar functionality on our mobile and email and internet management systems, to provide a front-office, proactive business alerts solution for all voice and data communication devices. It’s a must for all resellers!

 
Proteus Professional Services

Providing the right software solution is only a small part to delivering excellent channel and customer service. To support this, CTI Group has recently introduced a new suite of professional services, ranging from a full-blown ASP Managed Service solution, to consultancy, tariff and database management, extended maintenance contracts, and advanced training programs.

We strongly recommend to all of our resellers and their customers that they utilise our professional services to ensure they maximise the use of Proteus throughout their operation and that their system is always up to date. Typically, if they don’t, they tend not to fully appreciate the wealth of benefits that Proteus delivers across all of their business areas, from sales to customer service and finance and administration.”

 
Top Selling Tips

Communications management products are a great way to find out more about your customer as well as being a vehicle through which your clients can measure and control their costs.

“Lead with Proteus,” says Adrian Burt. Why? “Before talking to a user about buying a new PBX, talk to the customer about controlling costs and the way in which the PBX and other types of communication can be controlled. If you can potentially identify £5k of cost savings at the outset, it makes selling the PBX that much easier.”

“Think about the different functional departments within each of your customers. The old adage, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ is a truism that is as valid today as it has ever been in the past, and one of the best measurement tools for sales and marketing departments has to be call and communications management.”

 
www.ctidata.co.uk – Tel: 084 5123 2761 – Email: sales@ctidata.co.uk
 
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