Profiling

How Voice to Text and Artificial Intelligence might help in Business Development / Sales

ETI has always been on the cutting edge of integrating and innovating the use of technology in our sales support and lead pipeline development operations.

With this in mind we continue to explore what applications might ETI deploy to maximize the abilities of its Business Developers (BD’s) as they engage in conversations with clients’ prospects to identify sales lead opportunities.

At ETI our approach to guiding business development conversations is to provide BD’s with a series of prompts (call guides) - many times consisting of profiling and sales lead qualifying questions that motivates prospects to open up and engage in a conversation about their business, their needs, their pain and problems as well as current solutions (if any) used.   

So letting our minds wander we started thinking about if we could provide an additional information layer to the BD - as the conversation progresses - by (machine) listening - in real time - for keywords or phrases and then using artificial intelligence to popup related information or prompts to help guide the conversation more effectively?

For example:

  • Prompt/suggest the BD with follow up questions
  • Display competitive information with how our client’s solution could deliver better results
  • Popup relevant content giving the BD a better way to respond to certain questions and or objections
  • When a question is asked (maybe a technical one) our BD can have real time access on how to respond; we can offer either additional ideas - or better still - because technical questions are often times buying signals we can arrange for an expert (or salesperson) to follow up and answer the question and move the conversation forward
  • And this is just the tip of the iceberg

Exciting stuff.

Rest assured we’re already working on and developing just such solutions.

Stay tuned.

Effective Customer / Prospect Profiling (Part 2)

Imagining Business Profiling Nirvana

Sing along …

  • Imagine all those salespeople selling all the time.
  • Imagine their pipeline that is constantly being topped up with fresh “sales ready” opportunities.
  • Imagine if real ROI is positive.
  • Imagine your salespeople could be held to account for focusing on the prospects and accounts you want them to focus on (not just the low hanging fruit).

Let’s be honest.  You can imagine all you want but unless you have and own the business intelligence (data) to know the makeup of your account and prospect base, you have no real chance of attaining any semblance of Nirvana.

Nirvana (or something close to it) requires a determination and a commitment to deploy resources to achieve it.  Above all it requires a salesforce that is disciplined to focus their efforts on those prospects and or accounts that you (i.e. management) want them focused on because that is where the business and sales growth is going to come from.

Why do you think the military places such an emphasis on good intelligence? How about the importance the US government places on it by spending trillions on the CIA and NSA?  Why does the Financial Industry spend billions on analysts to research the companies they want to invest in?  They do it because if there is any sure way to winning a battle it’s knowing the enemy, their resources, their location/s, their tactics and their operational plans.  

So why is it that when it comes to business, so few companies invest significantly in business intelligence.  Some do research gathering statistics for trend analysis but very little is invested in deep strategic data about targeted and strategic accounts and prospects.

Ask yourself …

  • How well documented is your database (CRM or other database system) with strategic information of your top accounts?
    • Do you know the names and contact details of the key stakeholders?
    • Do you know all relevant locations / geographies that the account operates in?
    • Do you know the potential account size (not historical value)?
      • How confident are you that part of your marginal accounts are not in fact LARGE accounts purchasing from a competitor?
        • If so which competitor?
    • How much do you know about adaptation and potential usage (or the number of installations)?
    • Do you know about growth (or contraction) plans?
    • Is the data accessible to all sales and marketing resources?

If the answer is “.. we know very little” then you have an opportunity to change that by engaging in a structured and ongoing information and business intelligence building effort that will give you a leg up on the competition and will enable your sales and marketing operations to be laser focused by maximizing sales and marketing productivity to increase sales.

See Part 1 of this article

Effective Customer / Prospect Profiling. How well do you know your customers and prospects?

Let’s be honest … 

  • Does your organization know all the important stakeholders (influencers and decision makers)?  In every location?
  • Do you know the potential account size (not historical value)?
    • How confident are you that part of your marginal accounts are not in fact LARGE accounts purchasing from a competitor?
      • If so which competitor?
  • How much do you know about adaptation and potential usage (or the number of installations)?
  • Do you know about growth (or contraction) plans?

OK you’re using a CRM.  And your sales people are supposedly entering some - if not all - of this data.  However, the vast majority of organizations that engage with us find it very difficult to encourage their CRM users to participate and engage in actively building comprehensive profiles.  Truth is, most CRM users generally put in as little data as possible - either because they are lazy,  or they are focused only on selling and don’t want to be bothered or it's because they prefer not to be accountable.  The latter is most often the case and management just lives with it.  

Additionally you may find that even your sales and account management assets know (very) little about your customer and prospects because they focus very narrowly on the easy short term opportunities where they believe that can get quick hits.  Good salespeople (generally) only focus their efforts on the 20% that potentially will produce 80% of their revenues.  However, when you dig around in the remaining 80% there will always be some large potential that is not known to sales at all.   

Information is power.  A salesperson’s mindset quite often is … “If I have the information and you want it, then I can leverage that to my advantage.”  And many salespeople do in fact just that, creating a situation whereby the salesperson is the lynchpin in your company's relationship with your customers and prospects.

If this is the case in your business then relationships with the customer or prospect base are going to be controlled almost entirely by the sales assets engaged in developing that prospect or managing the account.  

So who cares (one may say)?  “As long as they make their sales/quotas then I’m happy.”

True - as long as you’re aware of the potential consequences.  

  • What happens when the salesperson leaves?  Could you lose the lion's share of the investment in his or her sales opportunity pipeline?  Especially if he/she leaves for the competition?
  • What about the lost opportunity factor?  Is your salesperson maximizing the potential by investing in new and lucrative revenue streams?  Or cross or up selling?
  • And what about the company not having much ability to manage sales productivity?  Can you focus selling efforts on those prospects and or clients that you want them focused on - not only the low hanging fruit they prefer to sell to into?
    • Example:  You learn that a competitor is having issues.  Do you have any real time ability to reach into your CRM and identify those clients/prospects using that competitor and then focus sales efforts on turning these companies into your customers?

A company needs to manage its customer and prospect relationships.  The long term benefit gives it the ability to keep its finger on the pulse by controlling, managing and building client / prospect relationships positively and pro-actively.

And to do this the company needs to make sure that customer and prospect data is managed and kept up to date in your CRM system.  

How can you foster such a structure?

…we learned more about our market penetration and position in 6 months than we did in over 30 years of doing business.
— Client quote / Financial Institution

Profile building and helping companies and sales forces understand their customers and prospects better is complex and time consuming.  Generally it’s not in the sweet spot of activities for salespeople or inside sales and generally the major CRM systems require customization in order to store and effectively use the data.  

Let us know if you’d like learn more how profiling can impact sales and marketing productivity and help grow sales by allowing you to improve and manage relationships with both prospects and customers.

See part 2 of this article.

 

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