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Will the enterprise market spend significant IT budget on Windows Vista in 2007?



What Lessons Can SFA Software Take from a GPS?

By Austin Ford Jr., Founder, The Podium Group

No, this isn’t about talking software!

It’s about getting the most accurate information from motivated users and arriving at your revenue destination on time with certainty. This is the story about how a remarkable insight led to the development of a whole new class of sales software.

Why do you put accurate information into your GPS? Because it helps you get to where you want to go. It’s the easiest way to make sure you stay on the right path, and you don’t have to stop driving to use it.

What if sales software were designed to work like this? It would invite usage and motivate accuracy by helping salespeople sell. It would provide the easiest way for them to get their complex jobs done, and make sure they did not have to stop working their sales opportunities to use it.

Accurate information delivered by motivated sales users would have a powerful impact on the business. CEOs know that shareholder value, and the decisions that drive it, are significantly dependent on revenue – revenue that has been recognized and revenue that is forecast by their sales teams. Decisions can be bold and confident if revenue is arriving on time with certainty, or tentative and wishful if arrival is in doubt. Revenue volume and forecast accuracy - a business must have both. It’s time to start demanding both from your sales software application. And that requires a whole new class of software.

The Problem
For years, software companies have been designing sales application software that claims to improve sales, but in reality only collects stale data and focuses on building management reports.

With the goal of generating management reports, a software developer would be tempted to add as many fields as possible to collect as much data as possible to generate the most thorough reports. But maybe that’s not the right place to start. Maybe the people you expect to fill out all those fields don’t find that as appealing as the developer hoped!

Understanding the personality and working style of the user is critical. Users gravitate to products that provide the easiest means possible to get their jobs done. Anything else and they will find workarounds or create excuses that defeat the purpose of the system... and few are more creative at workarounds than the salespeople you trained to shortcut the buying processes of your customers!

Any approach that forces these people to “pull over and stop selling” to fill out a multitude of forms and fields that serve somebody else’s purpose will suffer weak adoption and poor accuracy… problems shared by of nearly every product on the market today!

And If That Software Worked Like a GPS…?
You would notice high compliance – salespeople want to use it because they receive direct benefit. You would notice increased accuracy, because they input information to keep themselves on top of their sales processes, and they have a vested interest in getting it right. Finally, you’d begin to notice an increase in revenue, because with more time for selling, a tool that actually helped them sell, and everything they need at their fingertips, they would simply get more done.

Introducing ScoreSight
I’m pleased to tell you that such software now exists! It was created by a team of seasoned software sales veterans at an exciting young software company called ScoreSight. As you look for ways to hit 2007 revenue targets, you need to have ScoreSight on your radar. I have reviewed and tested the product. The approach is so different it’s worth taking a look even if you already have a system in place.

About ScoreSight
ScoreSight is a software company serving high technology companies whose products and services require long, complex sales campaigns. The founders are 25 year veterans of major hardware/software/services companies, with deep, practical understanding of the needs of sales management and sales teams working within this market. Their products help salespeople forecast and deliver increased revenue.

The ScoreSight Business Suite
ScoreSight is an information management suite that uniquely addresses the needs of professionals to gather, manage, access and act upon large quantities of information in order to meet business goals. Its foundational capabilities can be applied to complex, information-centric projects of many types; however, the ScoreSight Business Suite hits the market tuned specifically for improving sales and forecasting. Two major products in the suite, ScoreCast and ScoreManager, are described below.

ScoreCast is designed to help salespeople deliver revenue. The designers recognized that in order to achieve their sales goals, salespeople already capture and record all the information they and their management need. They keep it in notebooks, in their heads, in emails, etc. But there are problems with that approach: it limits the number of opportunities that can be managed, it limits the quality of action taken, and information is only provided for management by duplicating it into a reporting system.

ScoreCast is a concise actionable dashboard that organizes and displays everything necessary for salespeople to conduct complex campaigns. It eliminates redundant entry and provides one-click access to the details that define each opportunity, including: Activity Histories, Quote Histories, Opportunity Documents, Selling Resources, and the company’s Sales Methodology. It is integrated with Outlook, the contact manager, calendar and email system of choice for most salespeople. ScoreCast is deceptively simple – it looks a lot like a spreadsheet, but it is really the front-end to a SQL database.

The product was named ScoreCast because it keeps score as salespeople work and builds their forecast – automatically. Its innovative dashboard was designed with special scoring features that appeal to the salesperson and motivate getting more work done. There are excellent videos on ScoreSight’s website that illustrate the point completely.

When you ask salespeople to stop selling and re-enter their opportunity information in a forecasting system, they resist. They put it off until the last minute, overlook inaccuracies, and leave management with low-quality information as a starting point for crucial job of accurately projecting revenue.

With ScoreCast, salespeople input better, more accurate and timely information because it serves their needs. Like a GPS, it helps them get to their destination so they’re willing to provide the input. That information is then automatically formatted and reported to management. High-quality reports are simply a byproduct of salespeople’s productive daily use of ScoreCast.


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