By Sramana Mitra and guest author Sudhindra Chada
Sramana Mitra: So, basically, on the transactional side you have fairly well-defined and simple process The number of stakeholders who are going to be making the buying decisions are fewer, and at this point, the assumption is you have identified that buyer. Then somebody from the sales team is just going to go and finish the sales cycle with that particular buyer, right?
Greg Brush: Yes. The ultimate decision maker may not be that far removed from the people who may be on the call. It may be that during the first presentation the lead says, “Hey this looks great; you know, we need to have another call to get my boss’s boss on the line and see this.” It is much simpler that way.
SM: And that is for the small and medium business (SMB) accounts?
SM: On the enterprise accounts side, you have multiple buyers or multiple decision makers. So, are you saying that the sales organization and the marketing organization both need to be part of the demo process? And maybe the head of sales and head of marketing both have to be brought in, and then there are sales ops who are also decision makers.
GB: That’s right. In the enterprise, IT could also be involved as well.
SM: Do you try to get all these people on one call and have a joint meeting, or do you have to do five or seven different demos according to their convenience?
GB: It varies. Oftentimes, you need to do a few different runs.
SM: It could be a longer process.
SM: Once you have identified an opportunity, how long does it take to finish this process of doing multiple demos and getting an audience with all relevant decision makers?
GB: On average, the enterprise is 146 days and the SMB is 40 to 43 days.
SM: OK. And these 40 to 43 days or 146 days are from the point of identifying a qualified opportunity?
GB: That is right.
SM: So, it is a fairly long sales cycle.
GB: For the enterprise, yes. I think it is pretty reasonable on the SMB side right now.
SM: What is your tracking mechanism for all this? One thing I have always looked at, especially in these complex sales cycles, is the sourcing of the account: Who is the decision maker, who are the people who have to be sourced during the sales cycle, and what is your process of tracking that whole process? How do you do this sourcing, and how do you do the tracking of the source leads?
GB: Two ways. If you are asking about lead sources, if it is inbound, we use Eloqua and Salesforce.com.
SM: No, I was asking more about the organizational mapping, actually.
GB: We use two different applications for that. If it is an organizational chart we look at, we use MindJet, and we also use target account selling.
SM: Would you talk about MindJet? I have never heard of this.
GB: MindJet is most known for their ability to do visual thinking. They have taken their expertise in visual thinking and created this org chart capability, so it is a plug-in to our Salesforce.com instance, and we use it for account planning. It is nice to have all org charting at the accounts level because we [use] org charts from new business into our customer success and onboarding team.
SM: I see. So it is a visualization tool. What about the actual data of who needs to be called and what is [being done] and who are the people in the org chart? How are you doing that mapping? Where does that data come from?
GB: That data comes from us.
SM: That comes from you; that is where I was going.
GB: Yes. We have a great application for that. It aggregates contacts, company information, and news events and pulls them all together in a single place as an elegant integration of social media sources as well as LinkedIn and Facebook, so it is especially productive to our team to have all that in a single place and within our Salesforce.com instance.
SM: So, InsideView is integrated into Salesforce.com, and then you have MindJet to visualize the org chart data.
GB: That is right. That and Dealmaker from the TAS Group.
SM: What is Dealmaker?
GB: It is an application that allows for the application of the sales methodology. It looks at things such as business initiatives, compelling events, access to budgets – a number of different things that help sales people to assess the quality of their opportunities and understand where their areas of vulnerability and opportunity might be. It helps them inform the sales rep about different sequences of events they may want to pursue with their prospects.