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It’s All About Nurturing Leads: Q&A With Manticore CEO Jeff Erramouspe

This is the marketing resource management world, according to Manticore CEO Jeff Erramouspe:

There are the enterprise-oriented types of platforms that can handle robust applications. Their downside is that they require consultants to manage their difficult implementations and dedicated personnel for their ongoing use.

Then there are the lower-end tools that give users relatively limited functionality — but are easy to implement and operate.

Where does Manticore sit in this universe? Straddling the middle, according to Erramouspe, with functionality that is robust enough for a complex, enterprise-sized organization but easy enough to use with little third-party assistance.

CRM Buyer spoke with Erramouspe about the company’s recent growth spurt — 50 percent quarter over quarter and climbing — as well as its plans to expand its product functionality.

CRM Buyer: How is Manticore weathering the economic downturn?

Jeff Erramouspe:

Very well. We have had for the last three quarters quarter-over-quarter growth in bookings revenue and new customers. From Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, we grew about 50 percent. From Q1 to Q2, it was close to 70 percent.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you’ve taken?

Erramouspe:

Not many, actually. We have always maintained strong cost controls. But now we are increasing our headcounts across the board. We’ve increased our staff by 25 percent this year and expect to grow it by another 50 percent between now and the end of the year.

CRM Buyer: How can your products help your customers’ bottom lines in the near term?

Erramouspe:

We provide real value for our customers: Our products increase the number of qualified leads and makes the sales cycle more efficient. One client, Intellitactics, for instance, shortened its sale cycle by 30 percent recently; in fact they broke even in less than two months. Our products also help companies do more with less. We get a lot of calls, for instance, from people who say they’ve just had to let go half of their marketing staff and now need to automate what their people used to do.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?

Erramouspe:

We launched a partner program earlier this year that will help us deliver best-in-class strategies to our customers. Our product is very easy to implement — but marketing automation, in general, requires some strategic thinking. Our partner program will help us deliver that.

CRM Buyer: How will your company look a year from now?

Erramouspe:

We will probably be as twice as big we are today from a staffing perspective. Also, from a customer perspective — if I take our customer growth over last three quarters and extend it out, I believe we will have twice the installed base that we have today.

CRM Buyer: How much growth can you attribute to your new partner program?

Erramouspe:

They are not a huge chunk of our business today — about 10 percent of our business is indirect. So that’s not huge, but it was zero not that long ago. Overall, I would say indirect or leveraged business impacted 30 percent of the deals we did last quarter.

CRM Buyer: How do you differentiate yourself from the other MA vendors in the market?

Erramouspe:

At our core, we are about nurturing leads and giving users the ability to create robust multistep processes. This is important to a customer that has multiple products and multiple market segments — it can be very complex for that company to move leads into the right place. Our app handles that well with a simple interface. That is how we set ourselves apart.

CRM Buyer: Can you talk about your product development pipeline?

Erramouspe:

There are a couple of areas of focus for us. One key area is the sales and marketing alignment piece of things. We will be putting more of our capacity into the hands of sales. In other words, we want to give similar functionality to the sales side so they can run campaigns as well. We want to provide marketing control over the message — and give sales flexibility over implementation.

We also are focusing on extending our ability to work with multiple CRM vendors. Right now, we primarily integrate with Salesforce.com. But over the coming six months, we will add Oracle Sales on Demand as well as a general purpose API.

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