SalesGene, a provider of a relatively new CRM subsector technology dubbed “marketing-sales effectiveness,” has introduced Landslide, a portal-styled application that provides guidance on how to navigate certain sales situations, as well as live administrative assistance for one-on-one advice to individual salespeople.
This application, and others similar to it in this niche, is designed with the sales rep’s day-to-day activities in mind, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer.
“These vendors are addressing the sales process from a content approach — they are focusing on getting the right information to the sales person at the right time,” she said.
This process is facilitated by the fact that most of the newer applications are delivered on a hosted platform, Kingstone added.
The most distinctive feature of the application is the Live Administration functionality. Part administrative assistance, part professional counseling, and part research service, it offers live help to users through an 800 number.
“A sales rep can go into a meeting and then contact the Live Rep, asking him or her to update his records or research a new opportunity,” CEO Razi Imam told CRM Buyer. These activities are then reflected in the records maintained on the portal.
Until now, most sales applications focused on forecasting and pipeline visibility. Both are important to corporate operations, Kingstone said, but there has been a lack of functionality centering on the actual sales process. “These applications fill that gap by providing guidance through the content.”
Imam agrees. “That is why we developed this application — everything on the market today has been designed for a VP of sales.”
Link to Marketing
These applications also do a better job of linking the sales process to the marketing process.
Companies are focusing more and more on what has been termed the business problem of sales effectiveness, Jeff Summers, senior vice president of marketing for The Savo Group, another vendor in this space, told CRM Buyer.
“Studies have shown that as much as 85 percent of brand image can be impacted by the interaction between customer and sales,” Summers pointed out, while advertising, by contrast, has a minimal impact on the brand.
Not surprisingly, he continued, the marketing departments of companies are realizing they need to get involved in the sales communication process because of the effect it has on a company’s image.
Pain Points Pinpointed
A new Yankee Group survey set to come out within a few weeks identifies some of these pain points, Kingstone said.
Seventy-six percent of respondents indicated that they would love a more closed-loop business process to give marketing more feedback on sales activities. Because many implementations are departmentally siloed, it has been difficult for sales and marketing groups to collaborate effectively, the responses suggest.
Also, an overwhelming 86 percent of survey participants wanted sales representatives to dynamically generate appropriate marketing collateral based on customer needs. Many sales automation implementations cannot adequately handle unstructured content, which hinders the marketing department’s ability to create personalized information for sales consumption, the survey found.
Other relevant findings:
- Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they want marketing and sales to collaborate on the creation of more cogent and compelling sales proposals. Many businesses consider Microsoft Word templates as a tool for improving sales proposals. A good proposal should contain such key elements as customer context, artistic layout and persuasive messages. Sales success demands marketing insight.
- Sixty-six percent of the survey participants indicated they would like the application to be more role-sensitive for improved navigation based on business processes.
- Forty percent of the respondents agreed with the statement that their current application does not provide flexibility for line-of-business managers to make changes to current processes. Although many vendors have improved their applications for usability and flexibility, older client/server implementations do not meet current line-of-business demands, the survey found.