Making Mid Market Sense

Editor Ian Hunter attended the recent Oak Innovation Road Show in Reading along with resellers to learn more about the company’s mid market contact centre offerings and how to take a single view of a customer.

Oak Innovation signalled their mid market intent this year in two significant moves. Firstly they developed and launched their Evolve call recording product and secondly they purchased New Media Software, the developer of the successful Adapt contact centre applications.

Oak has never said that a mid market user is purely defined by its size preferring instead to differentiate an SME from a mid market user by the type of features they require and use. Having said this the two Oak products mentioned above both scale in to the traditional size segments associated with mid market.
The session in Reading was one of several Oak has held throughout the UK this summer. It was a small and intimate session but with all the seats occupied by their reseller partners.

OAK-Single-Customer-ViewThe objectives of the session were simple and entertainingly achieved. Oak Joint CEO James Emm quickly introduced Phil McGowan the former owner of New Media Software who is still under contract for a while before he starts his next venture. What can I say? I’ve known Phil for a while and he’s as bright as a button, innovative and guaranteed to do things differently.

This was not a session to sit back and be slowly killed by PowerPoint. OMG – we’re doing group activities by table and having to think! And now we are analysing 20 different customer types by vertical markets and what’s that? – we’ve got to come up with a case study solution!

They say you learn more when you are having a bit of fun – and so it proved.

Much was made of the ‘single customer view’ theory; an important strategy for those wanting to cross sell their existing customers with a range of products and services. Oak described it well and the inter-table exercises helped cement the idea. Experian has produced a useful 16-page white paper on the topic that was also made available.

The takeaway quote was, “40% of businesses still have more than 80% of their customer data stored in separate systems across their organisation.”

The Market:

Oak says that the UK market for call centre products is significant.

  • 10,000 businesses use telesales with an average of 6 telesales employees per business
  • There are 5,800 formal call centres with an average of 126 agents per call centre
  • Approximately 12 Billion outbound minutes a year.
  • The Oak Innovation product portfolio was then described and matched to a wide range of vertical applications.

The whole process and implications of selling in to the mid market is very different to selling in to the smaller SME market and there was a focus on how to sell to buying teams, identifying who the decision makers will be and uncovering all their needs. Oak had an exhaustive checklist for their resellers to make sure all bases were covered.

Oak is clearly making it as easy as possible for their partners to sell their new Adapt and Evolve products in to the mid market call and contact centre market with full pre- and post-sales support for their channel.
Whilst all this was packed in to just a morning session it didn’t seem rushed and I left feeling that I could sit in front of a user, get a conversation under way, easily establish need and then call in the Oak cavalry to help close the deal.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine