Sales Tech Simplified: How to Track All Sales Leads and Interactions and Drive Your Sales Process @vanillasoft

September 21, 2017 Jennifer Wyne

In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview David Hood, Founder & CEO of VanillaSoft.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

David: The whole buyer’s journey has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Buyers are reaching out to companies at a much later stage in the buying process, and can reach out to multiple companies at the click of a mouse. The vendor that follows up the fastest will often establish the relationship and secure the deal.

In addition to outbound lead generation, where productivity remains important, inbound leads are now an important part of the marketing mix. Speed-to-lead, persistency, and cadence automation have become crucial to sales success, especially as it relates to inbound leads. VanillaSoft’s queue-based lead management system not only drives productivity but also dramatically reduces lead follow-up time and increases follow-up attempts. This leads to reduced lead decay and better sales.

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

David: The last few years have placed a massive focus on inbound marketing, but that only creates the lead. Lead nurturing can move the lead from top of funnel to middle of funnel. However, none of these tactics will result in a sale — the bottom of the funnel. Since companies pay so much for content creation and marketing automation, they critically require a CRM solution with a focus on rapid lead follow-up to justify their spend, that includes the ability to automate sales cadence to ensure follow-up and close the deals they’ve spent so much on developing.

Nancy: What are the symptoms that indicate an organization would benefit from your solution?

David: One of the first questions we like to ask a sales manager is: “How confident are you that your sales process is being followed, and that all of the results are being captured?” We find that in many cases managers are not confident that their sales strategy is being followed by the team, as opposed to each sales person doing what they think is best. This manifests itself in multiple ways; lack of visibility into activity, leads not being followed up on or only being touched once, and an inability to accurately gauge the sales and marketing results due to a lack of tracking. These are all fundamental problems that can undermine a company’s success and make it impossible to scale for growth. This is where traditional, list-based, CRM solutions fall short.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

David: VanillaSoft sits at several levels in the hierarchy. By enforcing a consistent sales process through automation and capturing all interactions, you are able to effectively test and gauge your sales strategy and use tools such as recording and dynamic sales scripting to help develop and coach your team. The automated workflows based on custom queues and next-best-lead technology ensure that your salespeople get to leads quickly and are persistent in their follow-up.

Finally, the ability to customize the information presented to your salespeople, all within a single screen, develops their adaptive selling skills and leads to enhanced value communication and interaction with the potential buyer — it ensures a consistent prospect and client experience regardless of who is engaging with them.

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

David: VanillaSoft often sits at the base of the technology stack, allowing companies to track all sales leads and interactions and drive their sales process. As we ourselves do, companies will then often integrate VanillaSoft with other platforms such as marketing automation and account management in order to close the loop. Effectively, VanillaSoft becomes the system of record.

Nancy: What are some of the challenges your solution solves for Sales/Marketing?

David: VanillaSoft was originally designed for Inside Sales teams. As the buying process has evolved, our core strengths have proven to address the current challenges and requirements faced by sales and marketing professionals.

  • Productivity: Industry studies have shown that the average salesperson makes only 8 calls per hour, as compared to 24 calls per hour in VanillaSoft (study, Telfer School of Management).
  • Speed-to-Lead: It generally takes an average of 60 hours to respond to a Web lead, with only 6% being contacted with 5 minutes. In VanillaSoft, it takes an average of 45 minutes with 74% being contacted within 5 minutes (study, Telfer School of Management).
  • Persistency: The average salesperson only makes 2 contact attempts to reach a prospect. In VanillaSoft, the average salesperson makes 11 contact attempts (study, Telfer School of Management).

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

David: Although there is a lot of vendor-driven content available, I am particularly interested in the nascent research work around sales. The importance of sales is starting to be recognized at the academic level, leading to model- and statistical-driven analysis. For some of the latest work in this area I would recommend B. Ohiomah’s and P. Andreev’s paper “Driving Inside Sales Performance with Lead Management Systems: A Conceptual Model” in the Journal of Information Systems Applied Research, 9(1), 4, 2016.

For a good introduction to queue-based technology, I would recommend the following resources:

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