An upgrade to the company's suite of CRM and sales force automation software aims to extend the relationship between sales and technology.
Posted Feb 5, 2008
Getting your salespeople to use sales force automation (SFA) or CRM software has been notoriously compared to pulling teeth. Sales people simply want to sell: They want to be on the phone, not on the computer. This is even more strongly the case when it comes to salespeople at small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
"What happens is non-use, if these [applications] are too hard to use," says Laurie McCabe, vice president for SMB insights and business solutions at Access Markets International (AMI) Partners. In an effort to address the problems of complexity that many sales teams face, SMB specialist Entellium made available last week a solution appropriately named Simplicity Release 2008.
"The idea here is that we have powerful, feature-rich software -- but if you can't 'simply' get your work done then we haven't helped," explains Jared Ruckle, senior director of product management and design at Entellium. "This release focuses on features that improve productivity and increase efficiency with the least amount of time spent."
The software is an upgrade to the vendor's existing CRM suite, known as Entellium eSalesforce and eCustomerCenter. Current users can take advantage of the upgrade at no additional cost. One of the main pain points the company seeks to address is the inefficiency attributed to working with a list riddled with duplicate records. Entellium CEO Paul Johnston reports that anywhere from 11 percent to 15 percent of all leads are duplicates, a problem that can unnecessarily cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, an amount Johnston notes does not include resources lost on inactive or cold leads. Therefore, with the introduction of Lead Duplicate Checker, Entellium will employ "de-duping," a process widely familiar in the data quality and data cleansing arenas. Entellium's version will automatically cross-check new leads coming in from various channels -- via online form or manual input -- in an attempt to eliminate duplication before it occurs.
"Entellium differentiates by integrating your marketing efforts with lead management," Ruckle says. "Our system doesn't just catch a duplicate but rather identifies multiple marketing touches and provides sales professionals the intelligence they need to close sales."
Simplicity, McCabe says, has been sought after throughout the the long history of SFA and, later, CRM. The goal is to make everything easier for the user, even though it requires increased sophistication and depth of functionality on the vendor's side. "The interface for the user has to be easy, intuitive, and in context, so that businesses can very easily optimize the use of the [software]," she says.
Entellium's upgraded release also features real-time lead alerts that immediately notify sales representatives when a consumer is accessing company data. This allows the sales team to respond to a lead at the point the consumer is most interested, not hours or even days later.
Additional features include:
In the end, Ruckle says the improvements its made are all about simplicity, and the company hopes to break down the barriers to entry for new users getting started in CRM and SFA, as well as improving the processes of existing customers.
McCabe says the company, along with other vendors making similar moves, may be onto something. "You're not requiring these salespeople to take some left turns and go out of bounds to do what they have to do with the sales system," McCabe says. With more and more vendors focusing on easing the frustrations of sales and technology, she sees a more amicable future. "Over the years, vendors have taken a lot of strides to simplify their solutions -- so the ball is going in the right direction."
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