Sales Sultans or Dukes of Data?

By Paul Field – C.O.O @ Improved Apps

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Salespeople have always tended to regard themselves as tribal icons – they are, after all, the ones who feed the rest of the tribe through successful hunting or farming. Equally well, they are held responsible for those times that the tribe does not eat. So as symbols of success and scapegoats for failure, these specialists in the kill or harvest had little interest in anything else and commanded an exalted position.

 

Sales people were regarded as the Praetorian guard of the organisation; highly capable and highly rewarded, but subject only to the ultimate sanction of being sacrificed if they did not meet their objectives. Anything that was not central to that task of extracting money from the customers’ wallets and moving it into their company’s coffers was superfluous.

Complying with compliance

In recent years, post-Enron, the demands on businesses from regulatory bodies has increased dramatically: Compliance requirements have emerged in every area including financial reporting, revenue recognition, environmental protection, contracts, sales behaviour and just about everything else that a business engages in.

 

As a result, the heroic, maverick sales person has started to look increasingly anachronistic and lonely in this new heavily compliance-driven world. Regulatory demands have reached out and ensnared the hunters in the drudgery of data maintenance for reasons that they don’t care to remember and to which they pay lip (or finger!) service. Sales management often find themselves empathising with their direct reports but also knowing that they must improve their forecasting, account and contact accuracy.

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Effective knowledge transfer through Salesforce

By Paul Field – C.O.O @ Improved Apps

'sales force' monkeys sharing knowledge on a laptop

 ‘The Infinite Sales Monkey Conundrum’ 

An infinite number of monkeys typing at random would eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. One might therefore imagine that, with an infinite number of average salespeople, at least one of them could achieve business-enhancing, target-trashing, customer–pleasing sales.

 

Both of these statements would appear to be truisms, but beware: The odds of any given monkey reproducing Shakespeare’s works are the same as 25,000,000 consecutive flips of a coin all resulting in tails. The other slight problem is that “infinite” is a number beyond the budgetary reach of most companies in their sales hiring policies.

 

Given the general but unfortunate perception that salespeople (in the UK much more so than in the US) are somewhere below tax collectors, estate agents and parking attendants in a hierarchy of “people you would like to spend time with”, it’s amazing that they ever manage to sell anything.

 

Salespeople make a key contribution to customer loyalty

It may come as some surprise then that a recent CEB survey of 2500 customers across various industries and geographies, revealed that 53% of customer loyalty is attributable to satisfaction with the sales process, as well as the way they were dealt with by sales representatives. Salespeople do clearly play an important role in matching the solution that they’re selling to the buyer’s needs. Furthermore, the relationship that they build at a personal level generally serves to define and inform the relationship between their respective companies.

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Let’s make searching a thing of the past

By Simon Thompson – SVP Customer Success @ Improved Apps

graphic image of words 'time for something new'

Life’s too short to waste time searching for information

Endless searching…It’s a pet hate of mine and I’m sure it’s something that resonates with all of us. Searching endlessly for information that we would rather have at our fingertips is frustrating whatever situation but it’s particularly infuriating at work when there are deadlines to meet and targets to hit. So what are you or your company doing to ease these irritations, if anything? If the answer’s nothing you’re not alone.

 

The world it seems is awash with companies that aren’t dealing with this extraordinarily, costly company characteristic. In 2006, Butler Group, a London-based IT research and analysis organisation, released a report titled ‘Enterprise Search and Retrieval’, which concludes that:

 

‘ineffective search and discovery strategies are hampering business competitiveness, impairing service delivery and putting companies at risk.’

 

Specifically, the research firm contends that as much as 10% of a company’s salary costs is “frittered away” as employees scramble to find adequate and accurate information to perform their overall jobs and complete assigned tasks.

 

Companies have tried to crack this to be fair. They’ve invested in a multitude of systems in an attempt to ‘help’ you! Document Management Systems…Learning Management Systems…plugged-in Enterprise Content Management Systems… the list goes on…all created at vast expense to help you with your searches and supposedly offer up content.

 

But none of these systems really offer much advantage to the end user, as they are still rooted in, ‘yes’ you’ve guessed it – searching. Searching on google…searching through menus…searching for PDFs and guides…then searching through chapters of PDFs and guides…need I go on?

But the winds of change are upon us…

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Another 5 Star Review for Improved Apps posted on the AppExchange

Improved Apps Does It Again!…Yet Another Salesforce AppExchange Five Star Review for their innovative solution, Improved Help.

Salesforce AppExchange logo

Gurkirat Singh Daffu, Salesforce Developer – euNetworks Fiber UK Ltd

Fantastic app with great support…

This app is genius at helping Salesforce users. It’s also very easy to setup and use…

In addition to this, I was extremely impressed by the amount of ongoing and friendly support that I received from Simon and his team…

Well done guys.

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Counting the Costs of Customer Satisfaction

 By Rob Bailey – VP Alliances @ Improved Apps

Customer Satisfaction Dial

Pro-active Measurement of Customer Satisfaction

Many companies today are investing heavily in customer success and satisfaction. Some approach this by using measurements such as ‘net promoter score’ and then monitoring how it changes over time.  In the interim they try to tackle any perceived issues that arise. Some companies react to  statistics relating to non-renewal of contracts. Other companies employ ‘Customer Success Managers’ to support the customer and drive adoption/extended use of their products. Increasingly though, organisations are positioning customer success/satisfaction as a key component of next generation SaaS. This is because it potentially helps to address issues of solution adoption. This begs the question then as to whether ‘satisfaction’ is  more a measure of customer adoption or a solution to it.

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Election Time

By Paul Field – C.O.O @ Improved Apps

hands in the air

Customer Elections

For the next six weeks our radios, newspapers and televisions are going to be dominated by just one thing: the elections – they’re coming whether you like or not, irrespective of whether you’ll vote or not, and the hoopla will be harder to escape than taxes or the world cup.

 

In reality, we are the customers of the government; we all pay significant amounts of money every year to the exchequer, and in return receive a whole bundle of services and provisions of which we may or may not take advantage. The fact that it does not feel like a customer/supplier relationship is perhaps down to what historically has been limited, feasible competition. It is a supply-driven market that is not only heavily regulated but also one where the supplier gets to write the regulations.

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