Sales Tracking

How Bullhorn Pulse Steps into CRM’s Future

I’m impressed. I just finished readingbullhorn pulse logo U.S. Patent 9,189,770 Automatic tracking of contact interactions. This was recently granted to Bullhorn, Inc. for it’s “Pulse” sales acceleration technology. The patent and the product point to the same future of CRM I am evangelizing here at SALESPHASE.  We differ in that Bullhorn Pulse is a magnificent step, versus SALESPHASE’s one-order-of-magnitude greater leap, into CRM’s future Bullhorn Pulse provides an automated data analytic method of analyzing actual customer interactions to get a clearer picture of which deals are winning and which are losing.  It uses its own patented remote access to contact tracking technology to automatically add a copy of any detected email message to the activity records of the sender and contact within the Bullhorn CRM system (or other CRM if I read the technology correctly).

I think Bullhorn Pulse advances sales pipeline technology in three important ways:

  1. Automated, which for me means reduces wasted time, unnecessary effort and the potential for mistakes;
  2. Analytic, which for me means it relies on measurement and not manager or sales rep guesses;
  3. Qualitative, which for me means that it can interpret its measurements to determine which deals are simply “a bunch of activities” and which are “customer engagement.”

I agree completely with the co-founder and CEO of Bullhorn: “Sales activity reporting is dead,” Art Papas has stated, “Lots of activity and no engagement equals no results – we’ve learned this from listening to our customers over 16 years.”  Art’s insights resonate deeply with my past experience as a sales rep, account executive and business development manager. It is the same basic reasoning that lead me to found SALESPHASE.

Now that I’ve read the patent, I will start thinking about interesting ways to integrate Bullhorn’s Pulse technology with the advanced never-before-seen methods SALESPHASE will use to extract intelligence out of far-from-perfect information. Bullhorn Pulse analyzes specific customer interactions which it detects as relevant, such as an email to or from a customer.  SALESPHASE is what I call a deal characterization technology.  It provides a higher level of intelligence and feedback about deals without relying on guesses or any particular communications with customers: it doesn’t look at any specific mode of customer interaction and doesn’t care what the deal is actually about or what the buyer and seller’s internal processes look like, etc.  It is independent of any specific context and therefore it can stand on its own or play well with any established CRM system, whatever suits the user.  You might think, how is that possible? Follow me on Twitter @salesphase and keep an eye on salesphase.com for the beta test signup.  –John Clark

 

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Sales Friction & Broken Symmetry

friction“SALES FRICTION” is wasted energy in the form of wasted time and resources during the process of a buyer and seller coming together to close a proposed deal. During 15 years managing complex high value long sales cycle B2B transactions, I found great advantage in finding ways to reduce sales friction. Simply stated, aligning sales efforts with the customer’s buying phases was the key to reducing friction (as happens in any physical system which gains coherence). But, how to do this consistently when starting with imperfect or zero knowledge of the customer’s buying agents and internal processes?

Due to superior knowledge of their sales process, sellers naturally select their internal sales funnel as a “sales gauge.” Unfortunately this is a poor choice of gauge if one is trying to measure the likelihood of a SPECIFIC customer making a SPECIFIC (large or complex) purchase. There are statistical correlations between a vendor’s sales stage and probability of closure, but can we do better than these correlations? Yes, we can.

Salesphase is a methodology that is independent of any particular buying or selling process. The scale and scope of the deal makes no difference. Sounds “universal?” Let’s check:  to claim a “universal solution” to any set of problems (including sales friction), it is well established historically & mathematically that such solution MUST be based on one or more underlying physical or abstract symmetries. “Symmetries” can be difficult to define, and as an aspect of Salesphase is kept securely tucked “under the hood.”  But in the context of the underlying algorithm, symmetries are groups of transformations which leave some property of a system invariant (fixed, unchanged, indistinguishable).

Finding hidden symmetries can be difficult. Customer and vendor organizations and processes often appear specialized, unique and yes, asymmetrical, when compared to one another. Why? Because symmetries can be “broken” by external forces, e.g. culture, terminology, system noise, etc. Broken symmetries, when not purposefully designed into a system, necessarily imply at least two things:

  1. There exists hidden “embedded” useful information; and
  2. Some property or characteristic of the system remains invariant despite observed “local differences.”

Salesphase exploits invariant properties of the selling/buying process to unlock hidden information critical to reducing sales friction and other sales dysfunctions. Salesphase realistically assumes a world of IMPERFECT/INCOMPLETE customer information which can be enhanced as information is learned or modified. Salesphase is a methodology leading naturally to an algorithm, and is not competitive to CRM or data analytics. Instead it is a framework for extending the value of existing tools while reducing total sales effort and increasing the accuracy of sales predictions.

Tweet or follow John Clark, @Salesphase, to discuss.