• November 15, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Brainshark's Improved Communication

Brainshark Tuesday released the latest edition of its Brainshark Communications Platform. The new version includes enhancements such as built-in workflows, improved integration with Salesforce.com, new mobility capabilities, and text to speech capabilities, all focused on making it easier for sales and marketing organizations to work more effectively. Brainshark provides on-demand software that enables companies to transfer marketing and sales content, such as PowerPoint product presentations for clients, between departments from within CRM systems, and then track their progress to gain insight into sales and marketing campaigns. A company's sales and marketing department is typically focused on improving four areas of sales effectiveness, says Joe Gustafson, CEO of Brainshark. "They need more opportunities, shorter sales cycles, up-to-date information on products and services, and alignment between the marketing and products department. Richer content is a big help when it comes to solving those problems," Gustafson says. "Integration with CRM systems is big because that's where sales and marketing people spend most of their time." Content approval now offers built-in workflow functionality for organizations that require content to be approved prior to usage. Designed to enable marketers to ensure outbound messages are consistent, managers can regulate communications and check to see when content is altered, according to Greg Flynn, vice president of product management. Tighter integration with Salesforce.com will let end users send trackable communications to prospects and customers and gain feedback into how information was viewed and when. The latest Salesforce.com integration now includes single sign-on authentication, new dashboards for sales and marketing KPIs, such as tracking which presentations are being viewed the most by customers, and the ability to associate viewing activity back to opportunities, cases, and products in addition to contacts and leads, Flynn says. The new release also offers enhanced support for mobile devices, allowing users to deliver content via mobile-enabled sales forces in the field. New text to speech functionality lets users generate voice audio from Microsoft PowerPoint notes, enabling authors to test voice-enriched drafts of presentation scripts, send internal messages with voice for approval, or put messages into one of eight different languages "Brainshark is clearly thinking globally with this feature," say Liz Herbert, senior analyst at Forrester. Herbert is also impressed with Brainshark's focus on mobility and content approval, two areas of functionality that she sees a lot of demand for from Forrester clients. "Mobility is big right now with sales forces," she says. "Being able to deliver content via a PDA or other wireless device will be well received, as will the content approval." She also says tighter integration with Salesforce.com is a no-brainer. "It makes a lot of sense given that both Salesforce and Brainshark are on-demand providers." Related articles: Selling Is All About the Setup
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