SM: Webex is a very special case. They enabled a lot of the telephone selling by making it possible to demonstrate products over the web.
AS: Exactly. Not only do they provide the technology, but they are a showcase for using the technology they provide. It is an incredible machine in terms of process. They measure everything, and they are very technologically savvy.
SM: What do you think of SalesForce.com?
AS: They are a great example. I was going to mention I have been interviewing the VP of sales at Genius, which is a small startup. They have been able to double their connect rate using their own product. They are doing very innovative things with their inside sales group.
SM: What is their offering?
AS: They enable you to track response to your email campaigns by tracking when someone clicks on the link to your website. You can see when someone opens that link, and you can see where they are in your website, when they are on your website, how long they have spent on each page. For example, if you are having trouble reaching someone because they are never at their desk, if you see they are on your website, you assume they are at their desk and now might be a good time to call them. You just have to be careful about how you position it.
SM: That is a bit spooky isn’t it? I am on your website and now you are calling me?
AS: I think you have to be very careful how you phrase it. I think something like “I am following up on my email campaign” or “I am following up on a previous call to you”… something like that. Obviously you are at the top of their mind at that very moment. It is kind of interesting.
SM: It works?
AS: It does. We have actually tested it ourselves internally at Phone Works. So far people have not complained. My concern is that people are going to view this as being too intrusive. I guess when people are ready to talk, they are on your website, and that is a good thing.
SM: Are there any other technologies you have seen besides Genius?
AS: We have been studying the field lately and have seen a lot of things. Of course you know LucidEra is a brilliant example of on demand sophisticated business analytics for sales and finance. They give you total visibility, and they are measurement oriented. I know Ken well from Oracle; they have a good team and a good product.
The other week, we saw a company called Demand Base, which is using an iTunes-like model for buying names and calling lists. There is no minimum. If you are testing markets, and you do not want to go the traditional route, you can go to their website, define your target market by title, by size of company, etc, and you come up with a list. You can see a little bit of information and then just drag and drop to a cart and off you go.
SM: That is useful. What do you think of Jigsaw?
AS: Similar idea, but again you have to test and see how they work. I do not have any specific results in mind for them, but I know folks who use Jigsaw are happy with it. We are always looking for new ways to reach the right people.