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Sales Meets Big Data

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New software tools are taking sales into the 21st century by bringing big data into the picture. By analyzing things like the opening of emails and success rates of phone calls, these big data startups can identify the best time of day to reach a CEO or when it’s best to reply to an email. Here are a few of the tools that are available through these startups:

  • Salesforce IQ: Salesforce’s latest software is an aid to sales people, as “it proffers tips on how to interact with specific customers and nudges salespeople when, for example, they haven’t spoken lately to a client they tend to contact regularly.”
  • ClearSlide: This software “alerts salespeople when a potential client reads a pitch email, so they can follow up just when the prospect may be most receptive. It also tells them whether a prospect lingered on the message once they’ve opened it…”
  • The Full Picture: Many departments are already employing plenty of software, sometimes “more than a dozen digital aids. One analyzes records of millions of transactions stored in sales databases to serve up lists of potential customers, ranking them in order of their likelihood to buy. If a prospect doesn’t pick up, another program, at the click of a mouse, leaves a voice-mail message from a prerecorded template. When a salesperson closes a deal, a third program triggers a morale-boosting gong sound.

Salespeople need to step up their game as business are increasingly looking to take out the middle man in transactions. Many positions will be vanishing within the next five years, and as such salespeople need to increase their efficiency by using software aids to keep a leg up on the competition. Ensure your sales team is doing its best by looking into the options above and seeing what works best for your company.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here.

Fixing a Sales Team

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“Yesware” is a 4-year-old company that designs and sells software intended to make it easier for sales teams to record and analyze essential data. Released in 2012, Yesware’s basic version, which can be downloaded free, quickly attracted more than 100,000 users. However, the company experienced difficulties converting those free users into paying customers (an unfortunate irony considering it is sales software they’re looking to sell).

Yesware’s chief executive Matthew Bellows came up with 3 solutions to fixing his sales team:

1) Clean up house: trimming that fat by firing 7 out of 10 salespeople.

2) Hire a vice president of sales: have this VP do the firing, hiring, and supervision while Mr Bellows remained as chief executive.

3) Appoint a manager: promote the best sales person among the 3 he deemed worthy of keeping to manage the team.

What would YOU suggest? Click here to see the full article in the New York Times.