In an effort to foster innovation and deliver solutions shaped by ongoing user feedback, FirstRain, a personal business analytics solution provider, has launched FirstRain Labs, a cocreation community where customers can gain beta access to tools and capabilities that are still being researched and developed. Through FirstRain Labs, users can effectively test solutions before they're widely available, and have the opportunity to participate in focus groups aimed at improving the products.
"We're excited to give our customers the chance to shape FirstRain tools, and are eager for their feedback on what we have to offer," Penny Herscher, FirstRain president and CEO, says. "With the help of the collaborative community, we're aiming to develop a new generation of customer engagement apps that will ultimately drive revenue growth and make life easier for the sales professionals that use our technology," she adds.
The first solution to be rolled out through FirstRain Labs will be an analytics-driven mobile calendar integration that promises to empower sales professionals by improving customer engagement and reducing sales cycle risk. FirstRain's standard analytics solutions work by creating personalized interest graphs tailored specifically to an individual's role in an organization, be that a management position or a field sales job. The graphs are created with a series of algorithms that pinpoint the most important customer insights for different sales situations and prioritizes them for sales teams, which helps the seller better engage with customers. With the new mobile calendar integration, FirstRain's analytics technology will now be pushed to users' mobile devices and integrated with their mobile calendars.
The calendar's key benefit, Herscher says, is that it will allow salespeople to engage with their customers more frequently and improve the quality of engagements by alerting users to any real-time changes in the customers' businesses, giving them an opportunity to reach out during critical times. "This is an important feature because customers don't want their sales rep only reaching out to them when they're trying to sell something. Customers want to have different types of meaningful interactions. This capability gives salespeople a reason to talk to their customers more often," she says.
Additionally, Herscher says the mobile calendar integration will eliminate some risk from the sales cycle. By consistently arming sales professionals with actionable customer insights, the tool can alert them to any unexpected last-minute updates, thereby eliminating the surprise factor for a sales representative about to go into a client meeting, for example.
"Though it's the first of many applications that we hope to develop through FirstRain Labs, this is an important one for us. Mobile devices are increasingly important for sales teams, and they rely on them heavily. That's why building a tool with the capability to deliver sales enablement insights in real time, and where salespeople need them most—out on the job—is crucial to us," she says.