InsightNow was founded in 2007 with the purpose of collecting the voices of customer and employees and using this insight to develop easy customer journeys for their customer’s customers.
As digital channels develop both the amount of feedback available and the richness has increased. Whilst their purpose remains the same our emphasis has moved from gathering structured feedback to a much greater reliance on understanding what customers are saying and feeling in their free text comments. They are able to unpack and classify comments into actionable themes with associated positive and negative sentiments to create a much more accessible and engaging means of understanding customer feedback that connects and resonates through all parts of of their clients organisation.
This enables them to provide direct line of sight between strategic intent and the actual customer experience and identify opportunities for real-time service recovery through to elimination of glitches and their root causes that prevent the intentional experiences being delivered.
SFE is please to announce that NephoScale has hired our accelerated sales service to expand their sales reach to 27 countries throughout Europe.
NephoScale is a cloud technology company that has developed the NephOS OpenStack-based cloud software stack. The members of the core NephoScale engineering team are all pinoeers in the cloud computing industry, and have previously developed and deployed two different IaaS public cloud platforms starting as early as 2005.
The NephOS software stack is a combination of proprietary technology, and multiple open source software technologies, that extensively leverage commodity x86 hardware for network, compute, and storage to achieve a combination of low price, maximum flexibility, and high performance. NephOS is the industry’s only turnkey multi-tenant service-provider-grade software stack that provides a full stack installer empowering a Linux administrator to do an unassisted deployment in only 24 hours. Additional automated upgrade and asset management systems make NephOS the easiest multi-tenant software stack to deploy and manage.
SFE is proud to announce mmuze as a client. mmuze was established to leverage the data on the web to create the best mobile shopping experience for businesses. Mobile messaging platforms will be the new normal for online shopping – Now is the time for businesses to jump in.
mmuze artificial intelligence is savvy enough to amiably chat with customers and offer them the perfect product. It also plays a critical role in notifying businesses what’s trending, enabling optimal product offerings.
To learn more about mmuze, visit: http://mmuze.com
According to research from Vorsight and Insidesales.com, jobs for inside sales rep’s are growing 15x times faster and than traditional field sales; VentureBeat’s Inside Sales Landscape shows there are 669 sales-related technology start-ups in 2017; and the category of sales acceleration technologies has already pulled in more than $1.2 Billion in VC investments.
Sales methodologies have changed, and ‘Inside Sales’ is trending faster than fidget spinners and the latest Minecraft meme. The trend bodes particularly well for companies looking to expand into international markets, as it lowers up-front risks and costs.
Especially in the technology sector—and even more acutely in sales of SaaS services—the time-honored approach to prospecting, qualifying, and closing sales revenues is morphing radically in response to new workforce demographics, new sales technologies, and new customer expectations.
“Source: VB | Profiles”
What does the inside sales trend mean for CEOs and CROs, and what should your sales organization be doing about it? Here are 4 drivers that explain the inside sales trend, and that your sales management exec’s need to understand right now.
1) Sales closing cycles are accelerating: While large enterprise deals in the past might have required 6-12 months from to courting-and-close, a well-oiled inside sales team might do the same in 30-90 days. How?
– Forget getting on an airplane and instead use inside sales to increase the velocity of sales processes. Especially with SaaS products, it’s not about getting 10 meetings per week anymore. It’s about giving prospects the tools and information to qualify themselves at your website, and then answering whatever questions remain so that they feel comfortable moving forward with a free trial or paid pilot.
– Inside sales processes better optimize the handoff from marketing to sales. According to research from HubSpot, at least 44% of inside sales’ pipeline typically comes from marketing, and marketing automation tools allow those better quality leads by analyzing and fine-tuning a larger volume of prospects at the top of the funnel.
– Try rapid iterations in your high-velocity sales approach, and double-down on channels and techniques that are gaining the traction. Start by creating buyer ‘personas’ of your ideal customer and then gather whatever data you can to analyze the buyer journey and decision psychology. Using a more data-driven approach, instead of relying on the ‘gut’ of your best sales reps can increase sales volume and lower your sales costs.
– And finally, make it painless (or automatic) to schedule a meeting or demo by using free online tools like Calendly or Doodle. Remember also to make it easy to sign the contract! HelloSign and Docusign can help there.
2) Workplaces are now global: Companies operate in a global context and target prospects can procure from anywhere. Inside sales teams can be located in any country.
– Connected technologies have created a global marketplace and workplaces where colleagues can be sitting in different parts of the world yet still collaborate effectively. Video messaging apps let people have a face-to-face experience with anyone, without leaving the office.
– Likewise, sales people can be hired anywhere in the world—to localize inside sales processes to suit local cultures, and to call on prospects in their time zones to provide support and that final push.
3) SaaS and Services are proliferating: Mega-$$$ enterprise software deployments are fewer and fewer, replaced by SaaS services and monthly subscriptions. Front-loaded field sales processes are too expensive and risky for these types of deals.
– Subscriptions services can be found everywhere now, from your dinner meal delivered at home to your e-mail host at work. The proliferation of SaaS technologies has matured beyond hosting and storage and security, and is now driving the rise of inside sales as the SaaS mentality and technology is finding its way into marketing and sales processes.
– Along with inside sales processes, sales compensation models for SaaS products should be calculated based on lifetime value of the deal (expressed as MRR or ARR or TCV) versus price.
– This influx of SaaS technologies and on-demand services is driving the trend to measure and optimize everything, including sales processes.
4) Workforce demographics are changing: Your target buyer is likely a Millennial who is not interested in having lunch and more likely to respond to inside sales’ self-help product materials and marketing’s digital funnel campaigns.
– A sea change is happening in the demographic of tech buyers and tech salespersons. Millennials already dominate the workforces in the majority of technology companies, and GenZ is entering now. These new workers have already impacted everything from HR policies to office food choices, and they are a major force behind the inside sales trend as well.
By using modern inside sales methodologies, companies can capitalize on these trends and lower their overall cost of sales. In particular, companies can reduce the risks and costs of sales expansion into new markets and geographies like Europe.
+ + +
SFE is a pioneer of the Sales-as-a-Service model, starting in 2003. More than 200 enterprises have trusted SFE to expand their sales into Europe and other international regions using our acclaimed Accelerated Sales Platform. Our Platform includes Accelerated Market Analysis, Accelerated Lead-Gen, and Accelerated Sales modules, which can be delivered as an integrated service or as stand-alone modules.
If your company is looking for the latest sales methodologies to reach enterprises and channels throughout Europe, SFE can help you. Let’s talk. –Rick
We are proud to announce that publicly traded telecommunications giant Swisscom has officially signed a strategic partnership agreement with SFE!
SFE’s international reputation and successful track record were key to winning the partnership deal. In particular, SFE has specialized in international channel development and technology sales since 2001.
The strategic partnership with Swisscom is focused on two important collaborations:
- SFE will help Swisscom identify interesting technology innovations and productize them for OEMs and Reseller channels in their home market in Switzerland;
- SFE will help Swisscom to commercialize selected innovations for international markets.
Swisscom is a major telecom player in Europe; in addition to Swisscom’s residential mobile network, which has more than 6.6 million customers, the company operates a broadband network for businesses, a digital TV service, and operates a subsidiary broadband network in Italy known as Fastweb.
Swisscom aspires to offer its customers the very best in today’s networked world. As an exemplary company offering digitisation solutions, Swisscom lets people choose flexibly how to interact, work and live. As a technology partner, Swisscom helps companies improve their products, processes and marketing and, in doing so, remain competitive. The company thereby strengthen and promote all of Switzerland as a business location.
April 24, 2017
This data comes from IHS Markit Ltd. (Nasdaq: INFO) Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) monthly survey of 30 countries. PMI survey data is closely watched by central banks and financial markets worldwide.
Despite the lingering effects of the Greek debt crisis from 2015 and the surprise Brexit vote of 2016, could the European Union GDP nonetheless be pulling ahead of the US economy?
As another data point, the Q1 2017 European Scaleups Report from the Antwerp Management School documented 466 VC funding deals totaling €3.8 Billion in Q1 alone, an 11% increase in deal volume from the same period last year. France, Germany, UK and Sweden led the pack with the most deals. And last year, Spotify broke records and impressed everyone with a €1.3 Billion capital raise.
Importantly, the study counted only VC fundings larger than 1Million Euro, so the €3.8 Billion figure doesn’t even include the thousands of incubator deals, friends and family rounds, and seed investments that precede institutional VC investments.
What do these trends mean for VCs, CEOs and CROs of US technology companies looking to grow their revenue base via global expansion?
Economic growth attracts investors’ attention and dollars (or Euros, or…) and keeps their focus. Germany is currently the top-growing country in the EU, followed by Ireland, Spain and France. Italy’s GDP output slowed a bit and is currently lagging the EU average. Global investors and traders usually move their money into the stock markets of countries where overall economic growth is already evident or anticipated, because an increase in the overall economy translates to good news for constituent corporations and their stock prices. Rising revenues and stock prices for these publicly traded companies means a healthy budget for technology investments and purchases from companies like yours.
In a nutshell, the healthy fund-raising environment in Europe shows investor confidence and maturation in the tech ecosystem, and the rising Composite Index scores means that Europe is a good place for American tech companies to sell their software and products. European companies are buying.
Here at SFE, we have engaged with more than 200 clients selling their technology products to enterprises in 28 different countries within the EU. Depending on what metrics you follow, we believe the economies of EU versus USA will continue to trade places for the lead—which is a good thing. What this neck-and-neck race means for US and EU tech companies is sustained investor attention, and an economic environment that continues to be ideal for expanding sales internationally (both US-to-EU and country-to-country within the EU). Trade fluctuations on either side of the Atlantic may cause short-term index gains in one region over another, but the long-term trend is that both EU and USA economies are winners.
SFE is a pioneer of the sales-as-a-service model, starting in 2003. More than 200 enterprises have trusted SFE to expand their sales into Europe and other international regions using our Accelerated Sales Platform. Our Platform includes Accelerated Market Analysis, Accelerated Lead-Gen, and Accelerated Sales modules, which can be delivered as an integrated service or as stand-alone modules.
Our platform is deployed through our international team of 75+ Sales Professionals who represent your brand in-country/language, blend into your company culture, and use their local market knowledge and sales contacts to make revenues and ROI manifest quickly.
If your company is interested in setting up channel sales or selling direct to enterprises in Europe, SFE can help you so let’s talk.
April 5, 2017
In our previous post, we offered ‘4 Best Practices’ for how to sell SaaS technology products to enterprises throughout Europe—from choosing the right country as your entry point, to how to act like a local in each territory. In this post, we’ll talk about how to hire and manage the sales teams to deliver stellar results.
Sales teams that are accustomed to typical software license deals often take an expenses-be-damned approach to making the sale. However, a SaaS license does not generate the same kind of up-front fees, so a more measured approach is needed to keep customer acquisition costs in line with revenue ramp-up. Below we talk about how to build the right sales team to go after SaaS sales, and how to keep them motivated.
Identifying the Right Talent
Sales teams are usually built either from the bottom-up or from the top-down. Bottoms-up teams hire young account managers and promote from within; top-down teams find a VP of Sales who then attracts a senior team around them.
Hiring large teams of entry-level reps tends to be expensive-per-dollar-booked, because each rep books a smaller quota. Less senior teams also require more training. On the other hand, you can recruit a top VP of Sales who will bring with them a team of senior account exec’s and a spreadsheet of enterprise buyer relationships—but they will be more expensive.
The SaaS business model is a relatively new invention (from the late 90s), so if you can find an experienced VP of Sales who knows SaaS, hire them! That said, it’s rare for a startup to have the resources to attract such an experienced sales executive, in particular when launching in foreign markets.
Setting Commission Expectations
Because SaaS products are sold on a subscription model, the value of a deal is difficult to measure up front and therefore your justified cost-per lead and cost-per-acquisition is hard to nail down as well. You need to factor in sales, the sales cycle time, renewal rates, and other factors that are beyond the control of the initial salesperson.
Due to the opacity in the up-front value of the SaaS sale, it’s equally imprecise to put an exact value of a sales person’s contribution. A fair and objective formula for compensation is to value the deal based on a formula based on recurring revenue. You might also want to factor in the total acquisition costs and expected lifetime customer value when setting goals.
In addition to gross sales goals, keep in mind that improving the sales conversion rates at any stage of the cycle goes straight to top line revenue. In a high volume sales operation like SaaS sales, you can’t afford to waste time on window shoppers, or custom deployment requirements, or highly competitive bake-offs. Increasing conversion ratios requires sales reps to properly quality opportunities, then provide timely feedback about a prospect’s true level of commitment.
Accelerating Revenue (Leverage Through Marketing)
Successful SaaS sales executives can’t do this alone. Outbound calling and in-the-field meetings can quickly mushroom acquisition costs by sucking up too much sales investment in relation to too little commitment from prospects. Instead, SaaS price points demand that sales teams have a tight working relationship with marketing.
Marketing provides leverage for your sales investments.
By providing leads in bulk (vs. sales reps creating leads one-at-a-time), and automatically (digitally) qualifying and nurturing leads until precisely the point that they are ready to make a decision, sales teams can leverage marketing to scale their own efforts and accelerate their revenues. Clients often implement these marketing strategies in their home markets, but then forget or delay marketing when expanding to new countries, and this creates a huge impediment to success.
For our clients at SFE, we offer an ‘Accelerated Lead-Gen’ module where we take responsibility for finding and qualifying leads for sales, using the latest digital marketing technologies and inbound-marketing techniques.
The skills needed to deliver on a $1 million quota when the average SaaS deal value is just $10K are different from the skills required to land a single $1M deal: your sales reps need the stamina (and support) to deliver 100 deals vs 1.
Public acknowledgement of sales wins, creative perks, and team-building activities can make a big difference in performance—as can ongoing mentoring and coaching. Especially for international sales, sending a team off to figure it out for themselves (even an experienced team) will lead to frustration. Sales staff members need to be backed by quality leads, efficient internal processes, and time and attention from senior management.
Sales as ‘Service Delivery System’
The SaaS software model presumes large scale economies—volume and speed—to make low subscription-based pricing work. Likewise a SaaS sales operation needs to function with an efficiency that can deliver sales within optimal cost parameters. It requires a capable front-line sales team, supported by an efficient marketing process and lead hand-off, and a management infrastructure that can monitor, guide, and mentor.
SFE has honed its SaaS sales experience across 200 companies in 28 different countries, and has developed its ‘Accelerated Sales Delivery’ system to bring those efficiencies to you.
If your SaaS company is considering the daunting challenge of building up sales teams to crack open international markets, please consider the services of SFE.
CEO & Founder