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A Conversation with a Sales Leader “On the Move”

Transcript of an in-flight conversation with a sales leader on the move:

Dave Brown, Vice President of Inside Sales, Fleetmatics

Q:  When you’re looking for analytics partners, what are you looking for and who would be the best choice to help you move things forward?

A:  Well in today’s market, it’s very difficult to manage a team. You have to be looking at 100 different dials not dissimilar to this airplane. And one of the things we get from Valgen is fast response and immediacy. That’s really the key.

Q:  What do you think of knowledge of other tools that you work with currently like Salesforce, how much does that matter to you in terms of the analytics talent?

A:  Our tools like Salesforce, our interface with the phone systems, that’s critical in an inside sales organization. Over 95% of our inside sales is started and driven from an inside sales perspective, and that’s being driven by data. So being able to partner with somebody that understands that environment and can react quickly is really key to us.

Q:  When you talk about data and analytics, how much is trust important to you. How do you evaluate trust in a partner so that what they are providing you is in the right direction?

A:  The thing with any of the data … it’s feeding the beast. When you are a large sales organization like we are, you’re always going to have noise, and you’ll always have individuals that say “hey, look, you know, the data is wrong, the data is bad.” And it’s never going to be 100% perfect. That’s why you have to be able to trust your team, you have to be able to trust your partners like Valgen, for example, to be able to get you through those bumps and hiccups.

And there’s so many distractions that can take us off our path that we need to be on. Trust is critical, and to be able to work with somebody that’s been doing that not just for our company but many companies, and can bring that valuable knowledge to the table (is important).

Q:   How do you get this information out to your teams? And what do you tell them about how much they need to believe it, how they need to work with it, and when they need to challenge it?

A:  Hey, I’m telling you, it’s always a battle. You’ve got a lot of guys that are pretty old school sometimes, and the recency factor is the most scary thing. If they do a cold call out of a phone book, something that is off Salesforce, sometimes they’ll get a hit. Statistics are what they are. They’ll get a good deal going. Which is great. We love it, we encourage going outside and finding outside sources.

In terms of the actual number overall, if you really look statistically, like staying within the data, and being able to use the scored leads, that’s really in the long run going to be the best payoff. That’s going to give them the odds of success that they need.

So we try to explain that as much as possible. But you’ll every once in a while you’ll see someone go a little rogue, and they want to try something different. And quite frankly, we’ll discover some new sources. But, now we need to get them into Salesforce to be able to manage that.

That’s why it’s critical to have a partnership between Salesforce, between Valgen, between our marketing teams and the sales team, all working together, to be able to keep that intact.

Q:  You bring up a great point there, which is alignment with a lot of groups other than sales. What do you see that Valgen does that helps with alignment between sales and marketing and other teams?

A:  Absolutely. One of the great things is you’re working with a lot of other companies that work in Salesforce. So bring able to bring that perspective to us, and being able to say this is something that may work for us, that’s critical. Because we don’t know what we don’t know.

Concluding thoughts on sales leadership:

Sales management is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. And today, the sales manager has to not only be a good people person, but he has to be able to run the instruments very similar to this airplane. You’ve got your key instruments, your key dashboard, but you got a lot of other data being thrown at you. And you can very easily get distracted.

I’m sitting here about eighteen hundred feet up in the air with Parth Srinivasa of Valgen, and they’ve been doing a lot of data management and keeping us on track and focused for the last five years. We have a beautiful shot of Chicago here, but I’ll tell you, if we didn’t trust in our data, and our materials and information systems right now, there could be a very ugly problem right on the horizon.

And also, it’s great to be able to do visual flying, but if we get a storm or anything bouncing up, instruments are going to be critical to us.

And that’s how we got to be successful. So when you’re thinking about sales management, think about using your instruments, balancing out your gut, as well as insuring you’re a people person. And if you can combine those three, you’re destined for success!

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5 Ways to Boost Call Center Productivity with Visual CRM Tools

How to Boost Call Center Productivity with Visual CRM ToolsCall centers are all about balancing transactions and relationships. On a daily basis, they are measured by wait times, how quickly calls are handled, call resolution and customer satisfaction of the call outcome.  In addition to these short-term metrics of call center productivity, every transaction sows the seeds for a long-term relationship and increased total customer value.

So what can we do to ensure that both short- and long-term are maximized? Of course coaching and training is one way.  A close second are value-added CRM tools. These can help ensure that the focus shifts from repetition to consistency of outcomes. Finally a sales rep’s experience and familiarity with the business also help a rep to make this short- and long-term balance work successfully.

How to boost call center productivity (and morale too!)

We are visual creatures. Research shows that we process images 60,000 times faster than text. Visual tools can help boost call center productivity in several ways through the use of a call planning and visualization tool. Here’s how:

  1. Define the customer outcome: What is the primary goal you have for the call? We often hear that preparation improves the quality. By looking at preparation as a quality issue, you move away from the transactional (simplistically speaking) to the strategic (focused on customer). Visual tools can help reps to do efficient research before calls and set goals for calls.
  2. Know who you are talking with: Before and during calls, reps should be able to access the most important information in an organized way. Things like information about the lead being called, together with nearby accounts who have a similar product or service, and summary statistics of benefits delivered to customers are some ways you can find data that can help build a connection during the call.
  3. Track intermediate metrics: You can easily track which information is useful to the rep, the info they return to over and over again, and which information improves the connect rate. These metrics can be compared to the final customer outcome, so you can make changes to improve outcomes.
  4. Provide time-saving one-click steps: Often the data is insufficient, inaccurate or simply out of date. A single click for a quick search that gets the current, correct data saves ten clicks. Looking up relationships, directions, etc. can be made simple through one-click buttons on a simple layout.
  5. Arrange all this in one spot: All this info should be delivered visually and simply in a single location, so the rep can get information instantly without distraction.

Okay, so how does this boost morale? Time after time, sales managers have told us that reps work best from a single “go-to” location that empowers them with information. In addition, this can reduce the fatigue of transactional calls, and it helps to elevate the rep to the realm of a relationship, so they enjoy every conversation. And that is the most priceless gift you can give to your reps to increase call center productivity.

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cfMAPP Salesforce Map App – What Do Users Say?

cfMAPP Salesforce Map App AppExchange Reviews

Our cfMAPP app just launched on the AppExchange only two months ago and already has hundreds of users and more than 65 reviews from users! What do they say?

We’re hearing the app does what it was supposed to do – it saves inside sales rep’s time so they can get more done. It does this by pulling critical information for each call into one convenient screen. It streamlines their info visually. It gives inside sales reps a better warm lead call. It helps reps find nearby accounts. Incidentally, cfMAPP is a great replacement for the former Salesforce Lab’s Nearby Accounts app which is now no longer available. (That’s not just us saying these things – these are coming right from the AppExchange reviews!)

One sales rep uses the mapping tool to tell prospects about nearby customers that use the system he sells. This adds credibility and confidence to his conversations with prospects.

Users are appreciating the embedded LinkedIn and Google search buttons so there’s no more cutting and pasting into browser windows to find information. This saves a lot of time.

One user who has tried cfMAPP’s secret sauce says “it’s finger lickin’ good!”

We’re so happy to hear! Of course we thought we were delivering something very useful, and a strong boost for inside sales productivity. But what we think doesn’t mean anything if users don’t agree.

Some users have recommended some changes and updates and we are listening. We’re currently at work on these features and modifications for the next version to be released soon. That’s what we love about the reviews and visiting our customer’s offices – we can hear directly from them.

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New Salesforce Analytics Cloud

Reporting from Dreamforce 2014, San Francisco — The Salesforce Analytics Cloud is announced this week at Dreamforce ’14. It’s a new platform for business intelligence and analytics.

Recently Marc Benioff tweeted a “confidential” agenda that showed an “Analytics Cloud” keynote. Then the tweet was deleted, the name was changed to the “Wave Project” and media outlets have been all atwitter about what that meant. Salesforce sure knows how to get attention where it wants it! We’ve been watching Salesforce’s recent analytics acquisitions. So an analytics platform is not a surprise. In fact an Analytics Cloud would be a welcome addition.

So tonight it is confirmed. If you’re watching the Twitter accounts for Marc Benioff, Salesforce and Dreamforce you might have spotted it already:

Wave: The Salesforce Analytics Cloud

A free mobile app for iPhone and iPad called Salesforce Analytics is downloadable right now from iTunes. So anyone can get a sneak peek at Wave. Salesforce describes it as not just for sales and marketing, but the first mobile analytics platform for everyone. From our initial glimpse tonight, it’s a business intelligence tool that brings together your Salesforce data along with financial data, and even online traffic and product use data.

Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Salesforce Analytics Mobile

We’ve already downloaded it, so yes we are catching the wave! And we will report on what this new Salesforce analytics development means for you. Since 2009 we’ve been helping clients get the maximum value and ROI out of their Salesforce sales and marketing data, and our roots are in predictive analytics. We believe it’s important to be strategic, focused, and ask the right questions so the data delivers action recommendations. We believe while the behind-scenes analysis might be complex, what the users see must be very simple. We’ll review the Analytics Cloud and Analytics Mobile with this in mind.

Meanwhile follow Valgen on Twitter and LinkedIn for developing news during Dreamforce ’14 about the Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Salesforce Analytics Mobile app.

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cfMAPP Goes Salesforce1 Mobile

cfMAPP Salesforce1 Mobile

Within one month of release on the AppExchange, Valgen’s cfMAPP reached a key milestone by getting Salesforce1 Mobile approval. We’re proud to join the apps that have this recognition. Because cfMAPP is designed for visualization and call planning with high-volume sales organizations, you might ask why do we need to be Salesforce1 Mobile ready?

First, we loved mastering the Salesforce1 platform and wanted to push ourselves to achieve this goal early. We are among only 20% of Salesforce apps that have been Salesforce1 certified as of today. We are aware of global trends that users are increasingly accessing apps via mobile — which is a top reason why mobile internet usage is going up — per a recent Comscore report. We want to be where our users are.

Second, we knew that building mobile will also enhance the browser-based software development. We got inspired to move from bulky text-based buttons to recognizable, crisp renditions of symbols and images that are familiar to our users. So mobile is informing browser-based user experiences. It also led us to think about the navigation from screen-to-screen, and how to work on external services like web search while letting the user still be in control. And did I say we were having fun with all types of devices lined up the whole width of the conference table! Laptops, smartphones, tablets … we played with cfMAPP on all of them.

Third, and reflecting our user focus, we wanted to allow both inside sales and field sales within the same organization to collaborate on accelerating business development. While inside sales will gather a lot of info quickly, field sales can use cfMAPP to selectively research further into high-potential accounts, use the mapping feature to scout local areas, and then get directions to plan visits.

As we get feedback, we’ll post more Use Cases of how our customers are integrating cfMAPP Mobile in their sales process, to paraphrase Salesforce, to “run business from their phone.”

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