Around 50 percent of our existing customers first found out about ShoreTel from our dealer network (source: Customer Satisfaction surveys). A sizeable chunk (approximately 25 percent) first found out about us from a friend/colleague or their IT department contact person. This is interesting for a variety of reasons.
- It proves that the IT department (and in particular the IT decision-makers) have a lot of influence in evaluating which solutions to implement and vendors to engage with.In the years to come, and with the proliferation of BYOD, end users too will share in influencing the decision making process. Locating and engaging with these IT decision makers is a key component of marketing campaigns and lead generation.
- It may be an old-school concept, but there is nothing quite like the impact of positive word-of-mouth. There are countless examples of when you first hear about a restaurant, product, movie or service from a friend and then decide to try it for yourself.Branding and awareness plays a big part in this as well. A catchy slogan, easily recognizable name/logo, etc, contributes much to the prospect in identifying and remembering to find out more about the company and the product.
- The dealer network, being the face and end user touch point for the prospect, is in many ways the most visible component of ShoreTel. Many prospects regard dealers as the primary human interface of the company. Dealers that are motivated to promote ShoreTel and can clearly reinforce the benefits of ShoreTel over the other vendors will entice new customers.That 50 percent of customers first hear about us via a dealer suggests that many prospects look at a dealer as a touch point to obtain information. From there, they are made aware of the brand and will probably go on to conduct more research.