OutStart's knowledge sharing software aggregates CRM, Web, and expert information that salespeople can call on round the clock.
Posted Jun 12, 2007
Sales information residing on a company's server can get stale quickly. OutStart introduced today its SellingEdge.com knowledge-capture software meant to give salespeople around-the-clock access to fresh information from a multitude of sources. The software is integrated with a company's existing CRM databases and corporate learning systems and is further populated with useful intranets and Web sites, including competitor sites, says Massood Zarrabian, president and CEO of OutStart. Users can also contribute their own sales documents to the system.
Salespeople query the system via everyday software like Outlook. They can also access information from mobile devices. "So you sign on and ask a question: 'Do we have info about Company X?'" Zarrabian says. "The system will bring the answers and tell you what format the answers are in--Word or PowerPoint, for example--and the category, like sales, training, or competitive information. So you can then narrow your search to the information you want."
Users can also question experts via the system and join communities of users curious about similar subjects. A community might be devoted to an esoteric area within the financial sector, for example. Questions, answers, and community exchanges are captured and assigned appropriate categories to be called up later by users who seek related information, Zarrabian says.
Such information is also useful to a company's trainers, who can look at certain questions and community exchanges to isolate subjects where salespeople might need to brush up or need further training. New employees can get up to speed faster with SellingEdge.com in hand, he says.
Often companies maintain sales information on in-house servers that house to everything from old PowerPoint presentations to past sales proposals. A salesperson simply looks up pertinent info before making a sales call. "But that information gets outdated pretty quickly," says Dave Stein, chief executive officer at ES Research, which tracks sales force effectiveness and sales performance tools. "If a salesperson needs to make a financial business case to a CFO, they need the latest info relevant to that particular person."
Stein says SellingEdge.com software from OutStart shows great promise as a means to provide one continually updated source for all a company's sales knowledge. Salespeople can search the system for specific information or query experts to get the answers they need. "This will enable sales people in the field to have relevant and timely data to closely match their requirements," Stein says.
Stein is concerned about giving SellingEdge.com a hearty thumbs up, as he's yet to speak with beta users. "But based on OutStart's history we're confident once it's adopted by the marketplace it'll be valuable to sales organizations," he says.
Knowledge management processes increasingly work as part of an organization's resolution of a core contact center conundrum: improving service experience while trimming costs.
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