Sramana Mitra: I guess I should rephrase the question. Are you going into CRM and researching every opportunity that’s on your salespeoples’ radar and making that information available? What’s the usage model?
Penny Herscher: The customer intelligence is configured for the salesperson, centrally, but it’s not configured automatically from the CRM system.
PH: That’s a security issue for most customers. We have a simple configuration web app, and either the salesperson goes in and does the configuration. That could take the form of, for example, here are my 15 favorite accounts and I’m in the printer business, or I’m in the injectables business. Now, go deliver what I need. Or the sales enablement team or a sales admin [person] can do it for them. We authenticate using the CRM system, but we don’t go pull the territory out of the CRM system. We could. For most customers, that’s a security issue.
SM: Would you talk about the kinds of customers you work with wherever you have permission and use cases, and how they’re using your product.
PH: Our customers tend to be across a narrow set of verticals. We sell to technology, pharmaceuticals and health care, energy, industrials, and financials. That tends to be our customer base. They are the largest customers. Our customers tend to have more than $1 billion in revenue because below $1 billion, you’re probably not sophisticated enough to be looking at the customer’s customers in the customer’s marketplace. Our largest customers, those that spend the most money with us, are the ones that have $5 billion, $10 billion, or $20 billion of revenue across their markets.
The use case tends to be one of two cases. There’s the use case of the salesperson, particularly the major account salesperson. That major account salesperson has a territory. It might be one account. One of the largest computer companies in the world has Chevron as a customer. There are 20 people on the Chevron account. So, that salesperson may actually be on one of the large global teams servicing the end customer. Their person will have a FirstRain view of his customer set in the CRM system or in the social enterprise. It could be on Jive, for example. And he is checking it every morning, receiving email every morning on developments with his customers. Or he could be opening it up on his iPad as he’s walking into a meeting.
SM: What kind of information are they getting for this company scenario that you’re talking about?
PH: He’s getting developments in the customer’s business or the customer’s market that impact his sales strategy. What makes FirstRain different from all the other systems out there is our level of precision, the detail in the relevancy that we can achieve. For example, you’re selling IT systems to Chevron. You want to understand the developments in Chevron’s business that are going to affect its decisions to buy IT. You want to [know] where the company has discovered different sources of energy, where plants are opening and closing, and when the company has lost a bit. You want to know all the things that affect Chevron’s buying decisions. You don’t want to know anything else. Most systems will deliver everything about Chevron. But let’s say you’re the Chevron rep in Germany. What you really want to see is … it’s very high precision. The company you’re selling to, the market in which you sell, the business line you sell, then you cross those together. And you get a high level of precision. The fact that it’s so fancy and precise isn’t visible to the salesperson. What she sees is, oh, I want to read 90% of what you give me. That’s where all the value is in that you open it up. You want to read it because it’s so relevant. The use case is the salesperson saying, what changed in my customer’s market? What changed in my customer’s business that affects my business line?