Sales Tech Game Changers: How to Exceed Revenue and Profit Projections

May 2, 2018 Jennifer Wyne

In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to describe how their solution can change a sales organization in a significant way. We call it Sales Tech Game Changers.

This week I interview Greg Howe, Senior VP of Sales for Zilliant.

Nancy: What are the top 3 ways your solution changes the game for a sales organization?

Greg: Since our founding in 1999, Zilliant has partnered with our customers by curating actionable insights hidden in their data that drive sales actions, customer relationships, and profitable growth.

Companies choose Zilliant because of our ability to uncover and prescribe specific areas that our artificial intelligence-based solution can help them grow. And they continue to keep us because our customers regularly exceed revenue and profit projections thanks to our AI.

Our AI-based SaaS platform, Zilliant IQ:

1.) Helps B2B companies maximize the top- and bottom-line value of every customer relationship.

We turn a company’s data into actionable intelligence that is proven to drive growth. Our AI software delivers real-time sales and pricing guidance for all sales channels – direct, inside, eCommerce and more. We deliver that guidance in a simple and seamless enough way for sales to use every day.

2.) Up-levels the performance of every sales rep through a complementary but transformative “man plus machine” relationship.

The guidance generated by our AI engines enables sales reps to effectively manage all of their accounts and product SKUs. Prescriptive guidance shows them specific next best actions to take and ensures a consistent experience for that customer whether they engage the sales rep or a company’s digital commerce platform.

3.) Provides your sales reps with a virtual sales analyst that generates customized sales plays for every customer to drive revenue through traditional and digital channels.

Instead of trying to turn sales teams into analysts who spend countless hours digging through reports and business intelligence tools, with Zilliant, sales teams become strategic consultants who know every customer account like it’s their best account. By integrating our actionable guidance with eCommerce systems, companies accelerate digital revenue through smarter pricing and product upsell and cross sell.

Nancy: What are the top 5 things your solution allows salespeople to do better, or faster than they can today?

Greg: Zilliant IQ helps you maximize the immediate value of every transaction and the lifetime value of every customer. Here are the top five things salespeople can do thanks to Zilliant IQ:

1.) Understand every customer and their needs like your best customers, while being highly productive and focused on the best opportunities.

2.) Uncover the total revenue potential of every customer and create customer-specific action plans that you can close to hit your numbers.

3.) Identify and win growth opportunities across your entire customer base through upsell, cross-sell, and pricing opportunities.

4.) Avoid losing business due to customers leaving or purchasing from competitors with proactive customer retention and product churn alerts.

5.) Price every customer, product, and transaction optimally to win business and grow profits accurately, quickly, and consistently.

Nancy: How do you work with prospective customers to help them assess your solution?

Greg: When evaluating AI software or technology, in general, B2B leaders need to first understand the problem they’re trying to solve for and then match an approach that can help. The first thing we do with any potential customer is a consultative, diagnostic engagement. This allows both parties to identify actual problems happening in their business today, and determine how to personalize our solution to address the issues.

Our diagnostic method analyzes a business’s current state and goals along with their historic transaction data. This allows us to understand the business and measure the direct financial impact they’re missing out on within their customer and product portfolio.

We recently published an industry benchmark report based on our combined learnings from these diagnostics and our customer accounts. We’ve learned that, in aggregate, even best-in-class B2B companies are missing out on over 10% revenue potential annually by not harnessing the actionable guidance within their data.

In truth, each company suffers from a wide variety of sales and pricing maladies. And only through our diagnostic method can we prescribe specific opportunities that exist for a company.

Nancy: Describe the first 30 days after a company purchases your solution.

Greg: Up to this point, we’ve partnered closely with the customer to know their business and their data inside and out. Our customers often comment how they view us as a strategic extension to their team because of the level of insight we deliver.

The Zilliant teams that they engage with during pre-sales, implementation, go-live, and even ongoing success stay connected. Every Zilliant employee from sales to solutions to customer success are experts at deploying AI software in B2B organizations.

Our core implementation teams include an industry-expert practice director, an engagement manager, a data architect, a data scientist, and a customer success manager who continues to support the customer. The team uses proven methods that deliver fast time-to-market results while also mitigating risks. This includes agile project methodology and workshop-based iterations that let us converge quickly on workable, business-relevant models.

When we deliver the first insights for seller validation, a common reaction is “how’d we know that” due to the deep insight and pinpoint accuracy we deliver.

Our teams rapidly iterate with our customers so we can create and deploy a model that delivers accurate guidance and reliably delivers sales. Some implementations can be designed and deployed within the first 30 days. Our largest implementations that include multiple models and multiple types of guidance including price optimization might take three to four months.

Nancy: How have companies determined the ROI of your solution?

Greg: The benefits of most sales technology tools are often described in the form of a productivity gain. This presents a challenge when it comes to measuring true ROI. Zilliant IQ is not like most sales technology tools. Our ROI is measured based on the actual revenue gain and profit lift companies achieve because of our pricing and sales guidance.

Zilliant guidance gets delivered to the point of customer interaction, whether that’s a sellers CRM or CPQ system, a mobile app, an ERP system, a custom-built tool, our own standalone sales and quoting solution, or even an eCommerce system. Our guidance is fully traceable. We know if sales pursued the opportunity and if it resulted in additional revenue and profit capture. This gives management unmatched insight into what’s going on with each of their sales reps and how to grow every account.

Here’s a sample of key business outcomes that I pulled directly from our customer case studies:

  • Grew profit margin by 10.1%
  • 4.5% increase in annual revenue
  • Exceeded sales forecast four-months ahead of time
  • Drove $1 million in additional customer revenue per month
  • Achieved 20% year-over-year revenue increase in same-customer sales
  • 100% of solution ROI realized in less than 1 year
  • 98% adoption rate of prescriptive sales guidance
  • Sales reps sell two-times more with the solution than without it
  • 50% reduction in sales rep ramp-up time

Since we partner with the customer to quantify the missed revenue and profit opportunity during the diagnostic engagement, this helps customers very early see how we can help them identify the most reliable, predictable, and actionable way to grow revenue and profits.

Nancy: What should companies do to ensure success of your solution?

Greg: We go to great length at every step of customer engagement to ensure their success. So while there are many, I’ll mention just one of the best practices that we see at our most successful customers: Bring the sales team on board early, especially with AI-based technology!

Sales can be averse to change and reluctant to adopt new things. Bringing them in early and helping them to see value is important.

Especially with AI.

There’s a common misperception about sales-based AI in that it’s going to replace sales reps. Sales reps at our customers quickly see just how far from the truth this is with Zilliant IQ.

Instead of replacing sales reps, we make them significantly more productive and efficient. They hit their numbers faster and more reliably. They get to spend more time delivering value to their customers instead of simply trying to keep up.

The other thing I’ll mention is to give us as much data as possible. With our machine learning models, the more data it can learn and train on, the more and the better the results it can deliver.

The engagement teams I mentioned earlier are experts at helping companies get the most immediate value from their data. I invite you to challenge us to see if we can help you get value today that you can parlay into other improvements.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, and purchase considerations?

Greg: The best resource you have is hidden in your data, and our diagnostic method will help you uncover and quantify exactly what that looks like. We put together a quick guide that you can download to learn more.

You’ll be able to find other valuable information on our website including customer case studies, webinars, product material, eBooks, and our blog.

If you happen to move fast enough after reading this, you may also be able to join us and our global customers at our industry event, Mindshare, taking place in Austin, Texas, May 8-10.

Nancy: Who benefits most from your solution?

Greg: Those who benefit most from our solutions are:

  • B2B manufacturing and distribution executives who have exhausted traditional levers of growth such as cost reductions, market-share wars, or sales force expansion.
  • Chief digital and data officers who are seeking to capitalize on the most under-utilized asset in their business – rich transactional data – while simultaneously positioning their business to thrive in the world of rapidly emerging digital commerce.
  • National and global sales leaders who are asked to achieve ambitious growth targets using the same (or fewer) sales resources in competitive environments which are tougher by the day.
  • Companies who are seeking a way to gain an early advantage over their competitors in the real-world application of AI technologies.

A common trait amongst our customers is often referred to as business complexity. With tens of thousands of customers, thousands of products, hundreds of sales reps, and multiple sales channels, it’s simply inefficient or not even possible to expect to grow their business without using AI-based guidance that accelerates profitable growth.

 

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