Post-CRM: data helping improve sales execution and performance

Customer-relationship management (CRM) changed the way that sales teams operate — suddenly enterprise sellers had a system of record for contacts, opportunities and accounts.

As with anything, there was always a push back about sales people entering in data, because they didn’t necessarily feel they were getting the value back; and certainly it was true that the data in the CRM system didn’t enhance the quality of their engagement with customers.

What it did do, was serve as a “very good foundation”, says Áine Denn, co-founder and EVP at Altify.  Now, the data that’s in CRM can be used to generate insights and generate intelligence that can be used across the organisation.

We’re now in the “post-CRM world,” says Denn.

Providers, such as Altify, can analyse this data by applying augmented intelligence, or ‘AI’ to it, to help guide sellers and sales managers. “As things continue to progress, hopefully they will be more predictive and propensity to buying and predictive buying information as well,” explains Denn.

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Building on the data that’s already out there

In the post-CRM world, it’s all about building on the data that is already out there. There’s already data about customers, interactions, activities, sales best practices and the application of the sales methodologies. Other data sets will include; customer satisfaction, customer success and customer support data. Applying augmented intelligence to all these different data sets should then lead to revenue growth, through making sure that everybody has a far better view of the customer.

Customer revenue optimisation

Customer revenue optimisation (CRO) is a new category for enterprise selling.

CRM is synonymous with selling up to this point, and people have created a huge amount of equity by putting information into the CRM system.

But, the time has come to combine the traditional CRM system, with improving; customer engagement and the personalisation of every selling experience and every customer’s experience with sellers. “Those two elements come together in customer revenue optimisation,” explains Denn.

“CRO,” she continues, “is about having a platform that allows best of breed technologies, plus the full revenue team to engage with the customer very much at the centre of everything they’re doing, so they deliver value on every customer interaction.”

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Pointing to Altify’s own research, Denn says that 62% of meetings still don’t progress to a second meeting, according to sales people. What does that mean? Well, there’s a lot of sales and effort that isn’t delivering value at the moment.

“Similarly, you know the customer support people are probably hearing very valuable information and intelligence about an organisation that could have helped sales, but it’s not being harnessed and it’s not being fed back in,” she continues.

“That’s really what customer revenue optimisation platform is; it’s technology, methodology and strategy, which will help every employee capture their interactions with the customer and map those interactions to the customer’s goals, their people and what their desired results are.”

Áine Denn helped found Altify back in 2005 in Dublin, with the intention of helping companies get a return on the investment they were making in sales.
Áine Denn co-founded Altify back in 2005 in Dublin, with the intention of helping companies get a return on the investment they were making in sales.

Don’t take my word for it

Altify’s customer metrics:

Autodesk — “Following the roll out of Altify, Autodesk achieved an increase of 144% in average deal size and a 21% increase in win rate,” according to Julie Sokley, VP Global Sales Operations, Autodesk.

GES –“The #1 key metric when we began this journey with Altify was reducing dead deal costs, are we were able to reduce these costs by 35-40% in the first year. In concert with reducing the dead deal costs, we also wanted to win a higher percentage of deals, and grow our existing accounts with Altify’s account planning tool, and we have been able to significantly do that over the last two years,” said Jeff Quade, chief sales officer, Global Experience Specialists (GES).

Vocera — “We know that when we have six people identified as supporters on the relationship map, our win rate goes up by 3x,” explains JP Knapp, country manager UK, Vocera Communications.

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The four basics

To succeed, whether in sales, operations or even, management, a data-driven approach is advisable — use the metrics to advise and improve.

In enterprise sales, this can be broken down into four basics: opportunities, deal size, win rate and length of sales cycle. If, by applying augmented intelligence or ‘AI’ to the existing data sets, any of these are impacted [reducing the sales cycle and increasing any of the other three] then it’s going to have a significant impact on an enterprise’s overall sales performance.

“Everything we do, all the data we gather and all the signals that we analyse as part of our AI, they all lead towards measuring those particular metrics,” says Denn. “And that’s what our customers are doing.”

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Data strategy — the business priority

C-suite decision-making will be hugely accelerated if they have the right data to hand. And that’s the key point — the right data. It’s now possible to get that right data and it’s possible to surface those insights.

With Altify, apart from helping their customers with best practice, strategy and methodology, “we’re also helping them apply a data science element to the overall science of selling, to make sure they’re absolutely tracking all the data and all the signals, and are ready to react, based on what they see,” claims Denn.

It’s about understanding all those metrics to actually move the needle on business.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...