|Home - Industry Article - Dec 07 Issue
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
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.
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
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
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
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.