Tell us about Sales Performance International.
At SPI, we’ve been fortunate because a great amount of our revenue comes from existing clients and referrals. Not a week goes by that we don’t get a company saying that they came from organizations that have used it and it was successful. That’s great for us. Since I’ve been running sales, one of my focus areas has been forming prospects from people who are not actively looking, which we call latent operations. You have to do that through intense prospecting, cold calling, and lead generation.
What challenges were you facing?
One of the challenges is that 98 percent of the sellers are virtual-office–based. With that type of environment, you need to have a tight process to follow and qualify lead generation. In the second half of last year, we were looking to provide a consistent process for our sellers. We wanted them to be able to use and qualify leads in the field. You try to delegate that and outsource as much as you can, but it always comes down to the sales rep easily and quickly getting in touch with the prospect.
Why did you turn to Jigsaw?
We engaged with Jigsaw [an online directory of business contacts] in October 2007. We’d looked at some other organizations—ZoomInfo, LinkedIn—that provide those [contact-management and -generation] services. I received an email suggesting I try Jigsaw. Right off the bat, I was impressed by the exponential growth in its database. I viewed the Web site and tried to go through the application. Then I talked to Jigsaw and realized just how far along they were in terms of service and simplifying it for the seller. It wasn’t just all of a sudden we decided we needed this information. We really needed this application.
We like Jigsaw for a number of reasons. It’s done well integrating with our platforms like Salesforce.com, and works well in terms of our prospects. There are a few things that stand out: The quality and size of its database is impressive, but it also has more of a business focus. They’re a leader in the space versus the others. Even though they have the element that they’re taking information from others and updating it, they also provide other business processes behind it in terms of how to position yourself and utilize the tools already in your business. And they have excellent support. We’ve also implemented Jigsaw Team and Jigsaw Clean—Team uploads contact information for an entire enterprise, and Clean goes through pre-existing contact data and updates and corrects incorrect or incomplete entries.
What have been the main rewards?
We always try to look at how an application is going to work with what we already have. I’m adamant about making sure that anything we implement links into our processes.
Right off the bat, we linked Jigsaw into Salesforce.com: Our salespeople use database information in Salesforce.com and use a subset list of that as a prospect list. Now our research tools link directly to Jigsaw so we can find out if the data matches up. The beauty of it is that it gives you more detail of these contacts, which can be a real challenge. We have that information right there and that saves a tremendous amount of time. Prior to having Jigsaw, those activities [searching for a prospect’s correct contact entry] could take a rep a couple of hours, if not more. And there’s benefit for them, as well: They can update the Jigsaw database and ultimately gain access to more Jigsaw contacts.
We haven’t done an ROI study, but I know enough to know that there’s a definite cost-savings, and that it pays for itself. There’s an uplift that you get—an emotional factor—in terms of seeing the value of it. When you make an investment to help employees, especially those virtually based, and make steps easier for them—it’s hard to quantify, but there’s an advantage to any support they see you giving. It’s also a competitive advantage in terms of hiring. The most turnover in companies is with people who think another company will provide support to allow them to do their jobs well. When potential hires see how well we’re utilizing the tools and our CRM, they see we’re a company that knows what the sales environment is about.
SIDEBAR: 5 FAST FACTS
- AGE OF THE INITIATIVE? 7 months
- WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE DECISION PROCESS? It began with our director who is running the sales office innovation group. He brought me in and that was the end of it.
- BEST IDEA? Being able to capture all of this information, having it in one place, and easily managing it.
- BIGGEST SURPRISE? How simple a program such as Jigsaw is. Each contact index has three tabs. I can search easily and get the information I requested. I click a button to buy. Information’s there so quickly, you can’t help but think about the time spent before the Internet made this possible. It really is so easy—a straightforward, simple concept that turned into a competitive-advantage business tool.
- BIGGEST CRM MISTAKE MADE? We weren’t pursuing latent opportunities as efficiently as possible before integrating Jigsaw. But in 2007, we grew by close to 40 percent in terms of revenue. We are on that pace this year, as well.
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