FirstRain’s case submitted on ‘Personal business analytics platform for reasons to call’ was selected for NASSCOM Top 50 ‘Excellence in Analytics’ 2015. The case study was selected from over 200 submissions received. As a result, NASSCOM has released a report reflecting the application, innovation, and maturity of analytics. The evolution of new technology that drives analytics adoption is trademarking globally. Shifting to a analytics centered culture is an exponential, high-powered change.
Read the report here.
IDC’s Private Vendor Watchlist Profiles provide detailed data and analysis on emerging technology vendors, markets, and deals. If you are not familiar with IDC’s Private Vendor Watch Service it is “designed by financial and strategic investors to address a gap in the marketplace for accurate information and expert guidance on smaller, private tech vendors before they hit the public radar”.
FirstRain is proud to have been selected to be profiled and highlighted as being at the forefront of a rapidly emerging and evolving market that IDC calls “value-added content”. The report, highlights FirstRain in the business analytics and value-added content markets, and reviews key success factors: market potential, products and services, competitive edge, corporate strategy, and customers.
FirstRain is proud to have been recommended as an Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) Vendor to Watch. EMA “Vendors to Watch” are companies that deliver unique customer value by solving problems that had previously gone unaddressed or that provide value in innovative ways. The designation rewards vendors that “dare to go off the beaten path” [one of our favorite things to do!] and have defined their own market niches.
FirstRain was recognized based on our advanced data science, smart content acquisition, and information space modeling that drives personalization for every business professional at hundreds of global Fortune 1000 companies. As part of this endorsement, FirstRain was evaluated on our ability to provide accurate and meaningful insights to customer facing teams in real-time, reducing risks through instant understanding of customer and market events. FirstRain was proven to advance both the quality and frequency of customer engagement as well as guide activity that drives growth and opportunity.
Download the copy of this EMA report here
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.
Guest post by: Jan Willis, Calibra.
Customer success stories are an important and necessary sales tool. Just like having references for any job interview, they aren’t going to make the sale but without good ones, it may cause a delay in the sales process. Yet, customer success stories are often cookie cutter in style and not engaging. Even worse, you may struggle to get your customers to approve them.
I’ve been working with companies on success stories across industries – from semiconductors to software development tools to software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. I have experienced the frustration of writing a customer story only to have the customer not approve it, or worse, approve it and then pull it after its been published. There will be many customers who won’t share their brand value with you for fear of diluting it. There will be others that you simply don’t have the relationship with to “override” the policy of not doing them. But there will be customers where you do have the product and people relationships that gain you the necessary approvals. Make the most of these customers and seize the moment as your champion might move on. Most of all, tell a great story for your company and their customer.
Here are three tips from my recent experiences that I hope will help you tell a great customer story. Let the story begin!
Tell the story in your customer’s own words
Don’t fall into the trap of marketing speak! It’s easier to just write the problem, solution and benefits using all the company’s great messaging, but it’s dry and boring. Tell the story as if it were unfolding as you read it. And to do that you need to interview the key people and collect as many usable quotes as possible. Don’t forget to ask for their picture to make it even more engaging and realistic. I like what I see for pulling all three of these elements together in the customer case studies by RelateIQ, a Palo Alto, California-based start-up that is quickly becoming the go-to relationship intelligence solution for professionals seeking to build better relationships and make smarter decisions.
Use surveys to help gather facts and interesting user commentary
Not another survey! I know we’re asked to respond to surveys almost daily now. But companies who are SaaS providers are one of the best examples of where knowing if customers are successful is not just nice to have – it’s crucial to achieving very high renewal rates, a key metric for a SaaS company. These surveys are usually quite effective as they are often run internally by the customer to validate the ROI. Provided there are open ended questions, this can be a rich source of additional commentary from the users by incorporating direct quotes that can help bring authenticity to the success story and have it sound less like marketing speak. I have seen this work for myself while working on case studies such as Nuance Communications for FirstRain, a pioneer and leader in personal business analytics solutions for the enterprise.
If you hit the wall on permission, try new approaches
Beware of the marketing police! I always find it a bit awkward to coach people on how to get through the marketing controls on the use of their brand since I used to enforce them myself. The truth is every decision is a business decision and with the right case made by the right person, there are exceptions. There are many companies who have business reasons to want to work with their suppliers on telling their story. The keys are having senior relationships between the companies and finding the win-win scenario. Should you still hit the wall on permission, there’s a new approach that I really like if you have 50-100 customers to work with. Founded in 2007 and based in Emeryville, California, TechValidate solves the problem of extracting quantifiable operational and financial metrics from your customer base, and then instantly turning that data into usable, third party verified marketing materials.
Jan Willis founded Calibra in 2007 after holding senior marketing positions at Cadence Design Systems, Simplex Solutions, Synopsys, and HP and completing an MBA at Stanford University. Calibra is a B2B business consulting firm specializing in helping high-tech companies enhance their brand and accelerate the market adoption of their products. Its consulting practice includes whole product strategy, company and technology branding, strategic options analysis, industry alliances, and interim leadership.
When it comes to landing a sale, there’s just one concept that sales reps need to know. Make it easy for your prospects to say yes. Henry David Thoreau got it right when he famously wrote these three words: “simplify, simplify, simplify.” Although that’s technically only one word, and if Thoreau was really following his own advice, he wouldn’t have repeated it three times.
According to Executive Board, making the decision process easier for customers makes them far more likely to buy. Brands that simplified the undertaking were 86 percent more likely to close a deal, and more than 100 percent more likely to be recommended. All because these brands removed any elements that distracted clients from their main goal: determining if the product would solve their problem.
How is This Achieved?
Essentially, being a resource for this information reduces the amount of thinking your potential customer is forced to do. It makes it easy for them to say yes. And, of course, you’re doing this through completely honest means, and not trying to dupe them into buying your product when it is not, in fact, the best choice for them.
Use these tips to make the sales process more straightforward and increase sales:
If you’re truly making the sales funnel easier to navigate, you are going to have to do a lot of research on behalf of your potential customers. Research customer markets using sales intelligence software and get a better idea of what’s going on in their industries. Use this information to empathize with your customers. Why are they seeking your services? What problem are you going to help them solve?
As Michael Boyette puts it on Salesforce Blog, simplifying things for your prospects does not mean being condescending. Buyers are usually very smart people, and highly intelligent individuals tend to get bogged down in details, which can be overwhelming. One way to reduce the noise for potential customers to get rid of jargony language. Don’t speak with it and don’t include it on any materials. This may be a good exercise for salespeople, as well. How many words does your sales pitch take? Are all of these words truly necessary to get your point across? Do any of them have more than four syllables? Try to use layman’s terms that are comprehensible across different fields.
Streamline Your Online Materials
Prevent sensory overload by having an easily navigable website with an obvious call to action. According to Ellie Mirman on Hubspot, this could mean actually getting rid of a few calls to action. They don’t need to jump out on every page. With your website, you should provide a clear pathway to the information users need. Once again, a little customer research goes a long way here. Use customer intelligence analytics to understand your customer. Rather than telling your potential buyers what you want them to know, try reversing the equation. If you were a decision-maker seeking your services, what information would you be looking for. Reorganize the website based on this perspective and you will have made the research process easier for prospective customers as well.
Be an Open Book
Pricing information shouldn’t be a secret. This is a key piece of information for people looking to buy a product. As has already been noted, you’re dealing with smart people here. If they can’t find the answer to this question, they will probably assume the number isn’t obvious because it’s unattractive.
Unclutter the sales journey, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results
Is your email marketing game up to par in today’s mobile-oriented landscape? For B2B enterprises, email is generally still the preferred means of communication. You use it to maintain contact with current clients, nurture potential leads and identify sales opportunities. As mobile phones take off, email is more important than ever before. However, if you’re not taking mobile devices into account when you create email campaigns, you may be losing your audience.
If your routine is like that of many professionals, you are probably attached to your phone. You check your email while on the subway, waiting in line for coffee and maybe even on your lunch break. Now think about what happens when you get an email that isn’t mobile friendly, or click a link that just never loads. You probably move on from that message pretty quickly and never look back. Once you start looking at it from your customer’s perspective, it quickly becomes clear that you need to think in terms of mobile.
The first thing you should do is switch to a campaign platform that automatically does mobile optimization, or create your own responsive design. This means the email will open with its format intact and won’t require too much maneuvering on the part of the viewer. Now it’s time to start writing.
If you thought subject line space was at a premium before, this is a whole new ballgame. Doing research using customer analytics could help you determine the key buzzwords for your customer’s industry. But use them wisely. According to email marketing platform Constant Contact, you only have about 30 characters. Creating a decent subject line with such limited space is a challenge. One thing to keep in mind is that you should try to come up with a line that actually reflects the content of the email. Think of it as the world’s shortest elevator pitch. Sometimes, posing a question is another good way to get users to open your message.
Nope, you’re not done yet. Most email providers show a preview of the email after the subject line. Just like the subject line, it shows up immediately. This is prime real estate, so use it to provide consumers with another incentive to open the message. According to digital marketing expert DJ Waldow for Entrepreneur, you need to make sure the first line is something important. It could even be a good spot for a call to action.
Generating email messages that are easy for your customers to read will help you keep them engaged, giving you the opportunity to improve sales productivity.
D&B’s Business Information Products Now Powered by FirstRain’s Advanced Analytics; Customers in Any Market Can Immediately Maximize Sales Opportunities
SHORT HILLS, N.J. & SAN MATEO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– D&B (NYSE:DNB), the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, and FirstRain, a leading provider of customer insights for the enterprise, today announced a partnership to deliver a ground-breaking solution combining structured and unstructured business data and analytics. The solution will provide a 360-degree view of a company that unifies relevant social content with D&B’s leading commercial content in a simple and seamless manner that is easy to use and integrate into business applications, in near real time.
“As we continuously look for opportunities to strengthen our position as the market leader in B2B data intelligence, finding and identifying solutions that solve unmet customer needs is crucial to our success,” said Laura Kelly, Chief Product Officer, D&B. “The relationship with FirstRain will enable our customers to receive up-to-the-minute insights on prospects, customers, competitors and key markets, especially in today’s social age where companies have immediate needs for deep insight. FirstRain’s company and industry social analytics combined with D&B’s world-class structured data gives customers advanced warning of sales and growth opportunities in their markets, when and where they need it.”
Under a long-term strategic agreement, FirstRain provides D&B with customer and market intelligence, which D&B delivers through its world class solutions. The agreement with Silicon Valley-based FirstRain, an emerging leader in big data analytics, builds on D&B’s commitment to investing in and providing its customers with breakthrough and innovative services.
Going far beyond traditional news feeds, FirstRain big data analytics on unstructured information, including social media conversations on Twitter and blogs, deliver highly relevant, real-time insights on companies, markets and competitors to sales and marketing teams. FirstRain users have a superior understanding of their customer’s businesses, uncovering greater opportunities and risks, and ultimately driving smarter business decisions and accelerating growth.
“The integration of FirstRain’s analytics with D&B’s sales and marketing intelligence will enhance D&B’s profiles, setting them apart from commoditized products in the market,” said Harry Henry, VP & Practice Leader at Outsell, Inc. “This partnership allows D&B to offer relevant new content, from a wide range of sources including social media, to millions of users across different industries.”
D&B users now have access to FirstRain’s first-level analytics integrated directly within the D&B solutions including Hoovers, D&B360, D&B Direct and First Research®. The combination of D&B data and insight on more than 230 million businesses, 100 million business executives and three million corporate family trees linked via the D&B DUNS® Number with FirstRain’s real- time insights on customers and markets sets the standard for business data analytics.
“Our partnership with D&B is a tremendous milestone for FirstRain,” said Penny Herscher, CEO of FirstRain. “D&B is the global leader in business information and we are excited to bring the powerful insights that FirstRain extracts through real-time unstructured data analytics to their customer base through this partnership.”
About Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)
Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE:DNB) is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, enabling companies to Decide with Confidence® for 172 years. D&B’s global commercial database contains more than 230 million business records. The database is enhanced by D&B’s proprietary DUNSRight® Quality Process, which provides our customers with quality business information. This quality information is the foundation of our global solutions that customers rely on to make critical business decisions.
D&B provides two solution sets that meet a diverse set of customer needs globally. Customers use D&B Risk Management Solutions™ to mitigate credit and supplier risk, increase cash flow and drive increased profitability; and D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions™ to provide data management capabilities that provide effective and cost efficient marketing solutions and to convert prospects into clients by enabling business professionals to research companies, executives and industries.
For more information, please visit www.dnb.com.
FirstRain is a pioneer and leader in customer insights solutions for the enterprise. FirstRain’s cross-platform solutions provide sales, marketing and finance professionals with analytics tuned to their specific company strategy, allowing them to deeply understand their customer’s business and their markets. FirstRain’s patented, advanced analytics technology finds business-focused Web and social media and then integrates it seamlessly into the world’s premier CRM and social enterprise platforms, including Salesforce, Salesforce Chatter, Cisco WebEx Social, Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics, Jive and Yammer. This intelligence is similarly incorporated into leading research platforms such as Fidelity.com, Interactive Data and Mergent. Based in San Mateo, California, FirstRain also has offices in New York and Gurgaon, India.
Wayne Roberts, 404-995-4533
By Penny Herscher
Your sales team is the backbone of your company, but how do you get stellar sales reps to stick around? Turnover is an issue everywhere, but one of the secrets to sales success is finding a way to maintain rock star salespeople.
Costs of turnover
Aside from losing top talent, whenever a salesperson departs, it leaves human resources working overtime to find new talent. Recruitment can drain precious resources. In addition to onboarding and training, you will be paying significant salaries to employees who have yet to achieve full productivity. On the other hand, there are less obvious costs. When a valued team member leaves, it can cause ripples among other employees, according to Christina Gomez for Executive Board sales blog. Losing a trusted colleague can cause decreased morale and sales productivity. As a result, clients can receive gaps in continuity, and sales can be lost. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to lose salespeople, but how do you get them to stick around?
1. Hire right the first time
Do an impeccable job of hiring from the beginning. Hiring can be difficult process at the best of times, but putting in maximum effort will give you greater returns. Don’t be lazy about recruitment. Realize there are different types of salespeople and no one personality type creates the ideal salesperson. What kind of seller does your team need right now? Asking candidates to take a personality test can help to guide you in whether they’ll be a good fit, as Brittany Griffin suggests on Inside Sales. Even if a candidate seems like a winner, delve deeply into their background. Be sure to actually check references and ask follow up questions to find out if there’s anything they aren’t telling you.
2. Provide incentives for top sellers
A big problem with some companies is that they quickly advance salespeople out of vital roles. According to Griffin, a lot of businesses use appointment setters as sort of a training pool before salespeople move on to other more prestigious jobs. These valuable employees specialize in finding sales opportunities for closers and every month they remain, they become 40 percent more productive. Instead of making this an entry-level position, provide incentives for workers to remain there. Every time you advance someone from appointment setter position, you have to replace them, and you’re starting over at zero productivity. Make this a job to aim for, not just a rest stop on the way to something better.
3. Find the right climate
A good company culture can encourage salespeople to remain. According to Gomez, a judgment-oriented culture results in about 15 percent less turnover than other types of management systems. A judgment-oriented culture is defined by an organic environment that is geared more toward building relationships than a sales agenda. Such businesses are innovative and open, with guidelines but no strict rules. Give your employees space to be creative and develop their own methods and they will reward you by sticking around longer.
4. Build leadership and community
For businesses across the board, relationships among staff are the prime drivers of happiness in the workplace. Strong salespeople value good leadership and a staff that can work effectively as a team. According to a recent survey from TINYpulse, transparency is the No. 1 factor that influences employee happiness. Workers want managers to clearly outline their expectations and be open with them about what works and what doesn’t in the sales setting. Even more than that, employees value openness from supervisors, they want it from co-workers. In fact, co-workers were the single most-cited reason employees were happy in their jobs. To make sure sales teams are working together optimally, schedule frequent team-building activities.
By Daniela Barbosa, Director of Business Development
It’s no secret that companies of all sizes are adopting tablets in the office. According to this poll of 610 professionals by CDW, more than half of the American workforce have used a tablet at work for more than a year. From being able to take a presentation on the go to accessing vital information outside of the office, tablets are the perfect gadget for today’s professionals. But if we are talking about revenue enablement, there isn’t anyone that benefits more from tablet use than salespeople.
Salesforce.com recently pointed out that 40% of sales teams use a tablet, according to the Sales Management Association, and they outlined six ways how tablets are transforming sales. How? For example, portable devices allow you to conduct B2B market research when you’re about to head into a client meeting and even to optimize your product pitch based on the sales intelligence you gather. Yet these aren’t the only reasons tablets are ideal for sales reps.
Makes Multitasking Easy
Tablets are everything rolled into one—laptop, your product catalogue and even means of communication with the rest of your team. In the CDW survey, this ability to do many things at once provides us with more than 1.1 hours in gained productivity every day. According to the survey’s info graphic, 84% of the respondents said tablets make them better multitaskers.
This is essential to sales reps who are driving revenue. It frees up time when you’re able to add another slide to your presentation before entering a client meeting and take notes right on your tablet instead of having to transcribe them into the computer later on. With sales reps already pressed for time, salesforce.com suggested tablets provide teams with access to insights in real-time, which results in smarter selling strategies—and here at FirstRain we have many enterprise customers that are already seeing these benefits with FirstRain for Touch solutions.
Increase Customer Visibility
You always need to have your finger on the pulse of your customer’s market, but this can be difficult when you can’t access information when you’re away from your desk. Apps from FirstRain and companies like salesforce.com provide teams with a way to collect customer insights, which can do more than just help you maximize sales strategy.
Salesforce.com suggested reps use tablets to boost customer engagement by loading the device with videos, slideshows and other types of media. When your client is able to see your pitch in action, they’re often more willing to purchase it.
Stay Constantly Connected
One of the greatest advantages of tablets is the ability to always be connected with the rest of the team. According to the survey, respondents said they couldn’t live without email access when they are away from the office—we all know how that feels! In addition to being connected, being able to communicate with co-workers can help sales reps improve their sales pitch and receive additional insight about their customer’s markets.
In fact, salesforce.com says that being able to communicate with colleagues on the go is a great advantage to sales reps. With cloud-based CRM systems, professionals can access customer records and keep track of opportunities. There is no question that being able to connect with your team and your CRM system is essential to maximizing your time and ensuring no opportunity is lost.
So yes, tablets are transforming the sales environment—is your team ready?