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Can Interaction Driven SaaS Address the Elephant in the Room?

Enterprise sales tools until recently were all about how efficiently they store and retrieve data and generate reports.

Enterprise sales tools until recently were all about how efficiently they store and retrieve data and generate reports. Data was the backbone of the entire value chain. But this data was used to generate meaningful reports used in sales reviews & such. How was most of the data funneled? Of course, via CRMs. One could assume that the traditional ones were built to please the people who signed their cheques and the developers figured out how much was enough to please them. On the flipside, reports generated via such an approach only provided a top-down view of data. The high implementation costs, delayed ROIs, limited coverage, etc. are a few reasons because of which I use the word ‘flipside’.

Times are changing and things we can achieve via technology today are drastically different. For one, we are in a mobile-first world and mobile devices have sensors which enable contextualized notifications to capture our sentiment after, say, eating at a restaurant. We do not sit and search for the restaurant to rate it; gratification and retribution are instantaneous.

In this context, let me expand on a few other issues with classic CRM tools. To start with, for all the effort put in by employees, they themselves see little personal gain. For instance, there is no data on what transpired between the sales rep and the customer in the interaction. There is so much to be gleamed from this interaction that it can affect rest of the sales pipeline including sales forecasts, forecast accuracy, etc.

1. Adoption – We discussed this in an earlier blog post too. Adoption is the biggest reason for failing to achieve ROI from CRM investments. Managers try to either motivate or incentivize their reps to update the CRM regularly but most of these efforts fall short.

2. Mobility – In an ideal world, CRM updates by sales/service reps would be prompt and instantaneous. However, reps often need to use a PC/tablet to update the system because most traditional CRMs don’t support a mobile app which has the capacity to capture contextual data.

3. Marginal Value Add – For field sales reps, there is no value add in having to record every detail of their client interaction, especially when a mobile device can detect and report, say, the meeting location. CRM tools insist that users make the extra effort to fill all this data.

New age SaaS startups have been quick to realize the opportunity and have developed solutions which capture workflows, ensuring higher visibility, quick ROI, and automatic data detection among other things. These SaaS solutions are now capable of capturing the entire journey of an opportunity. One need not wait for a field rep to come back to a branch or to a laptop to fill in all the required information. Data is captured by utilizing technologies like geo intelligence, conversational AI, predictive intelligence, etc.- what I call Interaction-driven SaaS.

Data from these interactions flows into the system-of-record automatically, without any latency and hence, readily actionable information for every item in your pipeline is at your fingertips. Want to know who contacted the customer recently or what was the last customer conversation like? The interaction is recorded and available for reporting. On the other hand, if your premium customers are not getting adequate coverage, you can nudge your sales team to schedule a meeting with the customer using smart interventions. Organizations are utilizing such insights to optimize their daily schedules, lead prioritization, target completion rates, etc. specially for mobile sales teams.

This is just one way in which interaction-driven SaaS tools can work around the draw backs of existing systems. Since these solutions are developed to either work independently or with existing CRMs, it is easy for large enterprises to adopt these systems with minimal effort. And the value-add for every stakeholder is significant and direct.

Contrary to the traditional mindset towards reports as an end output, the new idea of treating reports as a by-product of the workflow has many other advantages including real-time and actionable insights. Sales Managers will be happier knowing that the sales rep has indeed spoken with the customer, before forecasting the deal.

This shift towards reports as a by-product of an activity’s workflow has been welcomed by the SaaS market. For instance, in Vymo, we implement workflows, intelligent analytics, predictive learning, etc. based on interactions. It is an apt example of an interaction driven SaaS solution that can provide organizations the ability to address the elephant in the room.

In summary, conversational AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning are cutting-edge technologies which are out to change our basic notions about modern-day selling. They are efficient enough to capture those insights which existing CRMs fail to capture. These new age solutions are seeing easy adoption in the enterprise market due to their ability to coexist with traditional CRMs. These solutions are not only enabling companies to optimize their profits but also ensuring good returns on their CRM investments in the long run. Innovations like these are not only helping individual employees grow and develop, they are also providing an exponential overall value add to enterprises.



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