5 Emerging Sales Productivity Tools

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Mobile Collaboration

Product: Customer Insight for Sales OnDemand, a mobile sales intelligence app
Price: Available for free when purchasing Sales OnDemand; $80 per user per month with tiered pricing and volume discounts
Company: SAP

Web address: www.sales.ondemand.com

Organizations are realizing that deals can be accelerated in collaborative environments, because more people have access to historical context, input from experts, and tools to gauge their personal performance.

Rieber is one of the leading providers of kitchen equipment in Europe. The German manufacturer has more than 28,000 customers, with transactions ranging from single-item household purchases to large-scale professional kitchen equipment. The company's sales leaders needed to have accurate insight into any project at any time and from any location.

Although Rieber was already using SAP ERP and CRM systems, in July, the company deployed SAP's Customer Insight for Sales OnDemand mobile app, which features a "sales cockpit" for visualized sales intelligence. Sales reps and managers can use the tool to alert them of upcoming sales meetings and customer news and updates. It can provide sales performance analytics and reports and offers sales professionals the ability to tag and "favorite" actions within Sales OnDemand accounts for easy retrieval.

Perhaps one of the product's most compelling features is its context-based social collaboration feed. Thanks to the ready-to-use social collaboration feed and integration with social solution SuccessFactors Jam, sales reps can call on internal experts or update colleagues on any client-facing activities.

"We said, 'Let's take the people-to-people concepts that exist on Facebook and Twitter and apply it to data objects within the enterprise,' so when updates happen on your account or…something changes on your leads or opportunities, you're automatically pushed a notification in your feed," explains Bill Hou, SAP's vice president for Sales OnDemand.

For strategic sales organizations, which are typically characterized by longer selling cycles, multiple meetings, and an evaluation process before purchase approval, the tool is designed to bring together multiple account representatives who are looking for a single view of a customer throughout the sales process.

"The problem is not that we don't have CRM systems on the market; the problem is motivating your sales guys to maintain the data," comments Rolf Schumann, general manager of Rieber. "There is [an activity] feed that is generated automatically when you do your normal work in the CRM system…. Your team and managers can see win rates and lead" with nothing more than a click in the app.

This enables Rieber to "make a better prediction about what we need in the warehouse or for preproduction," Schumann says.

Proactive Relationships

  • Product: Relationship Manager, an account news alert system
  • Price: $99 per user per month
  • Company: InsideView
  • Web address: www.InsideView.com

For a mature company that deals mainly in the strategic account space, it's estimated that new sales generate only 10 to 20 percent of revenues, while the current install base generates about 80 to 90 percent. That's why sales intelligence software and solutions company InsideView, which currently counts 300,000 users across 1,000 client companies, launched its InsideView Relationship Manager. The product helps companies retain more repeat business and strengthen relationships by combining professional and social identity data.

"The Relationship Manager product is about allowing account and relationship managers to automate the process of monitoring their customer base and automatically notify them when something compelling happens with one of their customers," explains Umberto Milletti, CEO of InsideView.

A "compelling" scenario could be that a client company hires a new chief financial officer, which means the company may look for a way to cut costs. Or a company raises new capital or acquires another company, which could pose an upsell opportunity. Marketing automation provider Marketo, a customer of InsideView Relationship Manager, uses the tool to stay apprised of its strategic accounts and monitor executive moves that might affect a renewal opportunity.

"Relationship Manager provided immediate benefits," comments Amanda Schmidt, senior director of customer success at Marketo. "The product allows us to be proactive rather than reactive. In the past, it could take our customer success managers thirty to ninety days to track a customer when they left [a company] without our knowledge. Now, we can immediately know where they are going to maintain continuity with our customers."

Or, an account or relationship manager can use InsideView's Relationship Manager in conjunction with other tools, such as People Insights, to follow key customer accounts; social and corporate graphs link an account manager's connections to viable influencers and decision makers. Automated watch lists flag users when there is a competitive threat, and alerts can be set when a customer has a potential need for new products.

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