Tuesday, June 26, 2007

B2B Leaders Pulling The Trigger
On Automated Sales Alert Tools

Looking to improve sales acceleration and overall sales effectiveness metrics, many leading edge B2B organizations are adopting trigger-based selling solutions. These automated tools provide sales execs with leads and insights into news and events within their territory or existing account base, which may indicate a readiness to buy.

Depending on the solution a company offers, these triggering events can include management changes, new product announcements, mergers and acquisitions, new financing, new locations, etc. The leading trigger-based tools monitor and mine large bases of business information sources and filter the information based on pre-set profiles so that only information relevant to their account base is provided. The alerts are typically delivered via email or through a web portal right to the sales person’s desktop or mobile device, utilizing a pre-set profile.

Many companies are finding that trigger-based tools are accelerating the closing cycle and making their sales staff more efficient. Condensing the amount of time sales people spend researching their accounts (estimated to be as high as 15% to 30% of the average work week) these trigger-based sales tools have proven to be effective for sales execs managing a small base of large accounts, as well as someone with a large geographic territory.

“Knowledge is the price of admission for sales people today,” says Jill Konrath, a leading sales strategist and author of Selling To Big Companies (www.sellingtobigcompanies.com). “It is a huge competitive advantage to have timely information about your existing clients and prospects. It has really become a baseline item. You either have it or you don’t and if you don’t you can’t compete.”

Joe Chappell, CEO of TrueAdvantage, one of the leading suppliers of trigger-based subscription services, points out that another key benefit of these solutions is providing the ability to be in front of clients early in the buying cycle. “One of the biggest issues we keep hearing from our prospects is that they want to know more about the buying cycle,” Chappell says.

With more buyers making their early-stage decisions without the involvement of vendors, companies want to make sure they aren’t left out based on an analyst recommendation or another factor. “By knowing all of the key triggering events that are going on with an account, you are greatly reducing the risk of being left out of a deal,” he says.

Integrating With Sales Systems
Unlike some of the other complex sales automation tools, trigger-based solutions are relatively inexpensive and can be easily integrated into most of the major CRM systems. Frank Filippo, director of product management for Dow Jones' Factiva SalesWorks product line, points out that the company’s solution has been easily integrated with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Siebel and many other sales management systems.

Factiva SalesWorks has north of 200 companies utilizing its solution, including major tech players such as Cisco Systems and Microsoft. Factiva SalesWorks sits on top of one of the largest news and content sources via Dow Jones brands such as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s. Beyond the vast content, Fillipo says another key feature of the tool is the mapping and chart functions that allow sales professionals to monitor their territory in a single view or build a breakdown of a single company.

Thanks to the easy integration low cost of entry, proving the ROI of trigger-based solutions has been a relatively easy exercise for the early adopters. TrueAdvantage’s Chappell says most of the company’s clients have started out with 20-40 sales executives who test the solution over a two to three month period and then roll it out to the larger sales force based on the initial success. TrueAdvantage also has more than 200 accounts, ranging from large tech players (IBM and Tech Data) security services (ADT) and office furnishings (Herman Miller).

“We go as far as guaranteeing the results for our clients,” Chappell says. With TrueAdvantage’s solution selling for approximately $1,200 per sales person per year, he points out that most companies will see ROI from the margin on 1 incremental deal. “We’ve seen the solution work equally well for sales people that have a concentrated territory of 1 to 10 very large accounts, as well as account executives that have 300 to 400 accounts across a large geographic territory.”

1 comment:

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