We are excited to announce that we’re continuing the momentum from the beginning of the year and are finishing Q2 on a high note by winning 2 awards this month!
Customer Insights was selected by crowd vote, where thousands of people voted on the top Data + API technologies of 2014.
As DataWeek + API World awards recipients, our team will be attending and participating in this year’s conference & expo. We’re offering 50 free OPEN passes (for the Expo, Keynotes, and Open Talks) to our community. Register here to get your pass!
We were also named a finalist in the 2014 Stratus Awards. The Business Intelligence Group today announced the 2014 winners of the Stratus Awards. The inaugural industry awards competition recognizes those companies innovating in the Cloud and providing innovative offerings that are truly differentiated in the market.
We work hard to provide the most relevant, personal customer insights to our users to help them meet and exceed their own revenue and customer goals. These awards denote the importance of personal business analytics in today’s world and validate the hard work we put in every day for our customers!
When respected industry peers highlight our company and our products, it’s incredibly special for us. So, we are extremely happy that we have been selected by Matt Heinz, founder of Heinz Marketing, as “Matt’s App of the Week.”
Matt selected FirstRain because, as he said, “Even with the proliferation of information available online, getting it all together and keeping it updated has often been a hassle… That’s where FirstRain really shines. You tell them what companies you’re targeting, including the type of engagement or business relationship you’re interested in. They then filter the entire Web for information about the company and specifically related to your focus areas, and share it for you in one easy-to-use Web interface.”
Matt has been using FirstRain and says it is a “huge time saver—and I’ve found it a source of intelligence I’m sure I wouldn’t have found anywhere else.”
Thanks again to Matt for making FirstRain this week’s App of the Week!
This is the final part of a 4-part series addressing how Personal Business Analytics help our customers respond to the emerging mega-trends set forth by McKinsey on the Salesforce blog.
Growth through learning
These days, the market can change so much and so quickly that those who can’t keep up will lose out to those who can. According to McKinsey’s mega-trends, “collaborative technologies and lower experimentation costs are game-changers for business economics” and the “premium today is on learning quickly, not planning.”
But to really get value from learning from every customer interaction, companies need to be much more agile. From their supply chain operations, to human resources, to how their sales people adapt to changing customer situations, every group should be ready and able to pivot and shift on short notice.
When looking at learning specifically for sales teams, there is more data available than ever before, as the amount of content on the Web has boomed. Today, insights can be found in all the nooks and crannies of the web—but many sales intelligence tools only look at a small subset of content available, leaving sales teams with the same insights as their competitors or forcing them to have to spend valuable selling time using non-professional tools like Google to find what they need. As McKinsey previously outlined, in a world where sellers have to keep up with highly-networked super buyers, the emphasis on learning can easily turn to catastrophe if it means that employees are spending too much time searching for the information they need.
To meet this need and stay on top of this mega-trend of “growth through learning,” FirstRain customers are using very personalized information experiences across almost every business function: supply chain organizations use it to track market shifts and spot risk; human resources stays on top of trends in hiring processes; marketers get ahead of emerging industry trends and sales teams grow revenue by maximizing “learning from every customer or potential customer interaction” through insights that intelligently guide them through their sales cycles.
Agility and understanding go hand-in-hand, and having a solution that makes you both smarter and more flexible can change the game.
This is part 3 of a 4-part series addressing how Personal Business Analytics help our customers respond to the emerging mega-trends set forth by McKinsey on the Salesforce blog.
B2C-inspired customer expectations
With the proliferation of mobile in consumers’ everyday lives, as well as increased expectation of BYOD workplaces, both B2B employees and customers are coming to expect the same level of personalization that they get as consumers. In order to meet these B2C-inspired consumer expectations, “sales leaders need to develop frictionless and personalized models to connect with the customer across any channel.”
The need to understand how to really connect with your customers has led to the rise of CRM and enterprise collaboration platforms, but employees tend to resist change in their existing workflows—which can result not only in stagnating customer relationships but also in slowing sales cycles. The answer is to place intelligent guidance right where sales already lives, while providing value-based information stickiness in the tools you need them to use. This can be done with very specific, granular insights based on their role, product lines they sell, regions they cover, industry focus and market and competitor relationships.
Connecting with your customer anywhere, anytime is a priority—and as our FirstRain usage stats show across some of the biggest global sales organizations, mobile is the fastest growing platform to connect sellers with buyers’ needs. But for many organizations, gathering the customer intelligence needed to turn the sales team into customer experts is time-consuming. They are simply unable to create very personal experiences with basic sales intelligence tools they may have previously invested in, many of which don’t even have native mobile apps. Consumers today have access to almost everything they need on their mobile devices, from banking to finding their next date, so consumer expectations now mean having the same experience when it comes to customer intelligence. They want their phone to help them build better relationships with their customers so they can win more deals; so, when selecting a tool to match the needs of these sellers, consider:
Drop us a note if you’d like to learn more about enabling your sales teams with frictionless and personalized views that help them connect with your customers.
Overloaded 2014 has come and gone, and our presentation about role-based information overload was a great success!
Nima Niakan, Executive Fellow and Faith Chiang, Director of UX at FirstRain spoke about how context affects information architecture. People process information differently—we process it given the situation we are in and the task we are trying to accomplish. It’s not the amount of information that’s the problem, then, but the form in which it’s presented to the user. It’s critical to personalize what sort of information to deliver, and how to deliver it, to each business role—because role, device, origin and situation are the difference between information overload and information paradise.
For most sales and marketing professionals, there is too much content on the Web to be able to efficiently find useful, relevant business intelligence. Being able to find what you need to know, and knowing why you need it, are essential to do your job better. But in today’s world, it’s a problem of noise. And we at FirstRain are solving information overload every day with our personal business analytics solutions.
Watch the video below to see the whole talk!
This is part 2 of a 4-part series addressing how Personal Business Analytics help our customers respond to the emerging mega-trends set forth by McKinsey on the Salesforce blog.
Today, shifting buyer demographics are forcing companies to change their go-to-market strategies. For example, they must reflect the new buying behaviors that are emerging as millennials outnumber Gen-Xers and as cities in emerging economies contain the majority of new urban consumers globally. These shifts are leading simultaneously to more granular geographic opportunities and new but shared global behaviors. In order to be competitive moving forward, companies will need to develop strategies and philosophies that are flexible to meet both sets of needs.
These shifts are why FirstRain customers are leveraging personal business analytics to help their sales teams stay on top of the trends that are happening in their customers’ target markets—down to spending patterns. They need to know what’s top of mind for the consumers their own customers are targeting—is it security, ease of use, cost—and monitor those things based on how their own solutions can provide value down the line. What we are seeing more and more is that business professionals need a very dialed-in view of their customers’ customer, down to the micro-segment they are targeting. Getting specifics is difficult due to the amount of information available on the web today.
Using analytics to see emerging trends while they are still in their nascent stages is nothing new to large B2B companies, but when it’s delivered with intelligent guidance to sales so they know exactly what to do next, all sizes of company can develop a go-to-market strategy that is agile and responsive. And when they are the first to see what’s coming and adjust accordingly, they will always be one step ahead of the competition.
This is part 1 of a 4-part series addressing how Personal Business Analytics help our customers respond to the emerging mega-trends set forth by McKinsey on the Salesforce blog.
Highly-networked super buyers
According to McKinsey, new technologies are making gathering information—and processing it—easy and cheap, resulting in a community of “super-user” buyers, who interact with and influence each other by learning from each others’ challenges and solutions. In an age where social media is prevalent and options for whatever products you need are easy to find—74% of B2B decision makers are using LinkedIn for business reasons, while 42% use Twitter—sales leaders today need to deeply understand context, provide relevant answers to customers’ questions, and shape their customers’ thinking in order to improve the quality and frequency of customer engagements – and win.
So how can sales leaders achieve the same information experience that buyers have, but from the seller’s point-of-view? Only with powerful tools that scan the entire web for sales-driving insights can they become “super-sellers” and trusted advisors in the eyes of their buyers. It’s clear that without targeted, role-based enterprise tools, the noise and information overload from consumer-grade solutions is just too much. As many of our customer success stories demonstrate, having a dynamic, 360-degree view of customers helps sellers in verticals like technology and communications understand exactly what their own customers’ challenges are—along with WHOM and HOW they should engage. Reaching B2B decision-makers is not an easy task, so when you get there you must be well-equipped to strengthen those relationships with meaningful conversations that both teach and influence their buying decisions.
Whether a sales team needs to know about Data Center adoption trends, government regulations, or changing industry buying practices, getting the right breadth and depth of content and insights about their customers is the first step to adding value for these highly-networked super buyers.
Ask yourself: in order to go head-to-head with these new super buyers, are your sales teams easily able to:
If the majority of them are not, tell us why!
Much of a company’s success—whether that’s a driving force behind a complete turn-around or simply a shot in the arm—hinges on new product releases and updates. A product manager’s role, then, is vital to driving revenue. But they have to get it right, and that’s not always an easy task.
An article by Eric Nguyen on ProjectTimes.com lays out the 3 main challenges for product managers. The first is planning an accurate product roadmap. Many of the challenges that come with creating one stem from a lack of information, leading to discord within the team and/or products that don’t drive real value for customers. Having a solution that would allow the PM to track and receive updates on what the customer is saying in the marketplace about a solution like theirs, as well as understanding market trends and competitive activity, will help them understand how the market is trending and what the customer really wants and needs—creating a better product and a more accurate timeline. If their team has the same information as they do, they will have to spend less time dealing with conflict from the different business groups and get down to business.
The second problem is embracing change to speed product development and delivery. Product managers—and other business stakeholders, for that matter—are used to seeing a detailed plan and timeline. But by having insight into the changing market and competition, they can be more agile and take advantage, knowing what to develop and when to release it. They can get ahead of the market and claim innovator status—putting them in front of the competition and driving revenue.
Lastly, the project manager needs to be able to align all of his teams and facilitate communication between them. Giving everyone access to the same information is one thing, but they also need to be able to collaborate and communicate key information they find. Once they can, the process will run much more smoothly, driving innovation in products and a more agile approach to the market.
A product manager has to juggle a lot of different viewpoints and input—from sales to marketing to the customer—in order to develop a product that will move the needle. By having relevant, real-time information, his team will be able to stay ahead of the market and create great value for both his company and his customers. See how Rambus is using FirstRain to identify strategic opportunities in new markets.