Check out the article in the March issue of CRM magazine talking about sales reps, and whether or not companies were willing to expand their sales teams. The article refers to a study by CSO insights in which they showed that companies who gave their reps access to sales intelligence (SI) had significantly shorter ramp-up periods. Given that 78% of the companies they surveyed said they are planning to add sales people this year – sales intelligence and productivity is a big issue.
“… the level of insights coming from a new generation of SI companies, such as FirstRain, InsideView, OneSource, and ZoomInfo, has expanded dramatically. Today, employing Web-crawling and other data-gathering methods, SI solutions constantly gather information about the marketplaces into which reps are selling, the competitive landscape, and details on prospect accounts and key stakeholders.
Think of it this way: Each sales rep has his own digital research assistant constantly to track key news and events in his territory. Let’s say a new executive gets hired in a prospect firm you are targeting, or a company reports an earnings surprise (good or bad), or a merger is announced in one of the industries on which you focus. The SI system immediately would notify you about any of those developments. Then that information could be appended to contact and opportunity records in the CRM system you are using to manage your pipeline.”
CRM magazine maintains that it’s worth it to invest in such intelligence; the knowledge that it provides is invaluable—and in many cases, unexpected. So if you’re looking to shorten the ramp-up period in expanding your sales team, check out our products!
Before the famous were famous—Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, and many others—they were interns. Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not begin your career where you are welcomed with open arms?
We have a small number of interns working at FirstRain right now and it’s interesting to look at not only the direct benefits for FirstRain, but also the indirect ones. Internships are powerful both for us (the company and the intern); it’s a great alignment of mutual interest.
The benefits to the intern are obvious. Experience drinking from the fire hose, training and rapid learning, the fun of working in a small dynamic company and, because it is small, the opportunity to work on a wide variety of different projects.
We benefit in some obvious ways – first and foremost that we get to interview someone on the job. Since the intern does not have job experience it’s hard to interview them on prior work experience (!) but by bringing them in and having them work on clear objectives we can review their performance and so make a more informed hiring decision.
But the non-obvious benefits are almost more interesting. Our new college graduates are fresh. They have new perspectives and challenge our assumptions – and the assumptions of how a job “should” be done. They are eager to learn and as all teachers know, teaching something causes you to think hard about what matters and really understand what you are teaching. There is also a fun energy you get into an organization when you have a group of professionals, often with 10-20 years of experience, mixed in with new graduates.
While Silicon Valley is coming back for people with experience, it’s still a hard place to find a job if you don’t have experience and this creates a Catch-22 for the intern. As one of our interns told me:
“For many of us recent college grads we have little or no real-world experience. This experimental period not only helps me decide what I would like to pursue in my career, but it also helps me because being able to reference an internship on a resume can make all the difference in a future employers decision. They can see if I have a strong work ethic, if I was smart on the job, and help me bridge from college to my new career. And I can check you out and network with your employees!”
So who knows whether I have a future Oprah or Bill Gates in my organization. But I do know that the added productivity, the energy and the opportunity to help the next generation of graduating students is a win-win for FirstRain – and it’s fun.
Sometimes you have to wonder, are Google and Apple friends or enemies? They compete to move an industry left behind, forward. Is that really competition or is it a concentrated, coordinated effort to bump everyone else out?
Apple and Google are now in full competition for the digital newsstand. First Apple has a new subscription model – and yesterday Google introduced the “One Pass,” a similar payment system for digital content. With both of these competing services, will just one come out on top? Both are a big deal to the publishers and while the initial changes are small the long-term effect is disruptive.
Apple has now made electronic magazine and newspaper subscriptions part of the iTunes app store. Their newsstand will be similar to the iBook store, in hopes of attracting people deeper into the digital world. The newsstand is already selling the digital versions of various major magazines and newspapers, and Apple has readied changes in iTunes so that I (the end customer) am able to use the app store billing system, all on my one credit card.
Google’s “One Pass” does the same thing for Android devices and beyond (accessible via web browsers). They will implement the familiar “Google Checkout” online payment service to users who wish to pay for content. One Pass is in a race with Apple’s newsstand to compete for users who buy digital media through mobile devices. An additional perk that Google offers however is more flexibility in payment options. As long as the user is signed into their Google account, they can purchase publications from any other participating website (whereas Apple’s has to be through iTunes).
Clearly Google is building flexibility in as a differentiator to Apple. Apple is putting in draconian control and a whopping 30% revenue share. Any news service currently offering an app with a subscription must now either offer the app within the Apple store, or allow Apple to offer the same app for the same price or less.
In contrast, Google is allowing purchase of subscriptions, articles, or even day passes at a much more competitive revenue split of 10%.
With Apple at 30% and Google at 10%, are they together trying to become a monopoly in the digital newsstand industry? Will it be worth it to publishers to accept this reduction in revenue just to associate with the “cool” Apple brand – or will they be compelled to access the explosive number of Apple device users? Either way, whoever ends up dominating the digital newsstand, this will revolutionize the news industry.
If done right, these two “frienemies” will drive many more readers to the new digital era of media. And these new digital copies of magazines and newspapers will be anything but ordinary– they are a great outlet for a new generation of creativity of media creation. Can’t wait!
Here is a survey by Josh Gordon, comparing readers’ preferences on digital magazines, versus traditional websites.
There’s an old adage that the UK economy is tied more closely to the US than to “the Continent” – one of the many arguments used to justify keeping the Pound separate from the Euro. But over the past few months we have witnessed a strong divergence in policy to deal with the continuing gloomy forecast.
Newly elected, David Cameron has set out the harshest program of spending cuts since WWII to try to deal with the long term impact of the recession on the UK, and in an opposite approach Ben Bernanke and the Obama administration are trying to spend their way out of the problem – for now.
Maybe this difference in approach is deeply cultural. The British (me included) are good at being tough, dealing with hard times for Queen and Country. With budget cuts being pushed through at record speed, some Labours believe it endangers the recovery of the country and reduces prospects for employment in the short term, and for prosperity in the longer term. This cost-cutting plan mainly impacts the bottom half of the income distribution (although the Royal Family will see a 14% decrease), drastically cutting welfare payments and government programs, but it’s a necessary evil according to the Conservatives.
Americans (me included) are endlessly optimistic. Even if we are running up record debts and many states are bankrupt Obama ran on Hope and he’s not going to back down from the optimistic view of the future even as he moves closer to the middle and Reaganism.
Although the US markets are up, neither approach is pulling their economy out fast enough for the record unemployment. Austerity or spending – neither is working well yet.
Where there is commonality and spending is in the green movement – hoping to save significant amounts of money on future energy consumption. The UK has invested in wind farms to provide a cleaner, greener, secure energy source to the country. In both countries the investment in going green is a spend that can create jobs and show a path forward. The US will spend up to $550 billion on green technology this year.
Or consider cosmetic surgery – clearly another area individual Americans continue to spend. Amazingly the number of Americans voluntarily going under the knife for cosmetic surgery has grown 5% in the last year. Is this because individuals feel a need to cheer themselves up in a down time (or could it be that this is a rising trend that is outpacing any ups and downs in the economy)?
Neither country is on the road to recovery just yet. Spend or save? Dour and tough or endlessly optimistic? Hard to tell yet but having lived through Thatcher’s England I’d bet on austerity paying off in the long run.
Want to track a pubic figure like David Cameron or Ben Bernanke? Follow famous people on our FirstRain Newsmaker pages.
Every recession, every major generation of the Valley, naysayers come out and say the good days are over – but Silicon Valley continues to reinvent itself.
The latest herald of doom is Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun. In a Business Insider interview Scott claims that Silicon Valley’s emerging sectors, like social networking and “green” technology, will not make up for jobs lost due to the software and computer industry consolidation. But with big names like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook planning for expansion, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume it’s all over.
Claiming that every new transition creates less job opportunity than before, Scott lacks confidence in the future potential of contemporary partnerships to flourish. But he’s wrong. Not only is it anticipated that social networking industries will more than make up for lost jobs, but we are likely to see unprecedented growth in the consolidation of software and hardware companies. The technology sector never fails to impress me with new innovation and change, and this “recession” is no exception.
Even Obama sees it (although maybe he is here fund raising at the same time). He says that our tech companies are the heirs to the industries that made the United States the worlds biggest economy. He is in the Bay Area today to discuss job creation and innovation around the Silicon Valley with executives like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and many more.
Maybe the irony is stinging. Facebook announced last week that it will in fact move its corporate headquarters to Sun’s old facility in Menlo Park (Sun having been swallowed by the Oracle whale). This is Facebook’s second move in the last two years and they have now leased a 1-million-square-foot campus. Google has announced a big addition as well, introducing a new campus in San Francisco to help alleviate long commutes. Google has also experienced a record 75,000 job applications over the last week, and they expect to grow more than 30,000 employees by 2012 (Dow Jones).
It is software technology that is driving this growth. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, claims that more than 300,000 Android devices are being activated everyday, requiring more engineers and sales people to keep up with the high demand. “This will be our biggest hiring year ever,” said Jordan Newman (a Google company spokesman). Note — FirstRain is currently hiring in California and India.
Sadly I think Nokia is trying to get back to growth by partnering with Microsoft for their phone OS but my personal opinion is they just killed what was once a great phone provider. Microsoft may gain – they are trying to make the new Windows Phone 7 a success – and they are hooking up with Nokia’s strong hardware but I doubt the combination will compete. But they are not the only ones focusing on Valley software innovation. Their old competitor, Sony Ericsson, is shifting resources from its headquarters in Sweden to Silicon Valley in order to keep up with the shifting increase from hardware to software demands in the mobile phone industry.
I think Scott is just plain wrong, or certainly colored by his predominantly hardware background. He believes that Silicon Valley is “not the best place in the world to start a company,” but the evidence in the software world is to the contrary. Maybe it’s just his personal preference, but as Senator Mark Warner of Virginia correctly claims, the Internet and social networking have been “one of the rare areas of growth in the U.S. economy” in a decade that didn’t spur much innovation.
As for “green” technology not being able to make up for lost jobs that is certainly true in the short term, as it typically takes a full generation for a new industry to take effect. However, the key to the Silicon Valley economy is now software innovation, and we’re excited to be a part of it.
Monday and Tuesday of next week we will be at the first Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum. This is a terrific new technology showcase for the sales enablement and marketing professionals and is being held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
The focus of the show is to help buyers understand the new tools and methodologies now available to help their sales teams generate more revenue.
We’ll be showing how our market intelligence platform is enabling sales teams to:
- easily monitor the changes impacting their major accounts and so be knowledgeable and have smarter conversations with them
- detect new, hard to find sales opportunities using advanced market-based triggers and filtering mechanisms
Come and meet us at Booth #304, we will be happy to give you a test drive!
We started our new fiscal year on Tuesday of this week – our year runs Feb 1 through Jan 31 – and I brought the sales team in from the field for training and forecasting. Q4 of 2010 was very good for us and so we had a little fun alongside of the serious business of training and preparing for the next year.
After a long day in the conference room in our San Mateo office the whole team – R&D, sales et al went bowling together. Some ringers (Reiko that’s you…), some pretty weak bowlers (our resident Frenchman…) all mixed up together and having fun.
One of the teams
As is typical at this type of affair we bought pitchers of beer and pizza for sustenance in the intense competitive environment. And for the few of us who really don’t like beer we went to the bowling alley bar to buy a bottle of wine. Ha! This is how they sell wine – little airline bottles – and when I asked why the bar tender told me – this is a BOWLING ALLEY lady!