Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Qvidian Helps Sales Optimize Execution

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 23, 2014 10:02:20 AM

Few sales organizations realize their full potential, partly because they don’t execute well. We urge organizations to move beyond conventional wisdom in how they think about executing sales processes and have placed methods for making improvement to sales execution at the center of our research on sales in 2014. In our recent research on sales forecasting almost half (44%) of sales organizations said they have impediments that are motivating management to consider further investment in sales technology, and the most common of those is inconsistent execution (for 53%). Many sales organizations don’t use training in a consistent manner and fail to automate processes to gain efficiency.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Qvidian, sales analytics, Sales Coaching, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Salesforce, SFA

The Business of Sales Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 6, 2012 10:28:00 PM

Investing wisely in sales-related people and processes is a key to business success. In 2012, helping sales staff perform at their highest levels should be a top priority for management. That may take some effort, according to our benchmark research, which indicates that only 14 percent of sales organizations operate at the highest level of innovation and competitiveness. In recent years, most organizations merely discussed moving beyond using only their sales force automation application and Microsoft Office for improving sales efficiency. Now sales organizations can move beyond systems that were designed decades ago, thanks to the availability of a broad range of applications to support sales activities and processes. In fact dozens of new types of sales applications are available to help sales focus on selling, which creates another issue. Where should sales organizations focus their limited resources and budgets?

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Topics: Planning, Sales, Social Media, assets, forecasting, leads, Learning, Mobile Business, objectives, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance, pipeline, Reporting, rewards, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, sales force automation and territory, social enterprise, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), channel, coaching, commission, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), incentives, pricing, promotion, proposal, quota, quoting, Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2011 11:45:21 PM

NICE Systems last week announced an agreement to acquire Merced Systems, a provider of business applications for customer service and sales organizations. This acquisition slipped by with little fanfare, but it marks a significant milestone for NICE, a major provider of applications and technology for call centers and a player in their evolution into multichannel contact centers. Building on a good 2010, as my colleague Richard Snow noted, NICE expects to reach almost $800 million of revenue in 2011, which would make it one of the largest companies in its segment. NICE has made multiple acquisitions to build its software portfolio, including purchases of Actimize, CyberTech, eGlue and others mentioned below. It recently won our 2011 Ventana Research Leadership Award in the contact center category with its customer deployment at Alliance Data. NICE Systems plans to have Merced Systems as a foundation of its enterprise systems and a complement to its contact center workforce optimization offering. This purchase builds on its other acquisitions, including FizzBack recently and IEX and Performix in 2006, which helped NICE establish its customer service and back office agent performance management software. That area has not grown as quickly as NICE would like, mostly due to marketing that was not aggressive enough in attracting customers. NICE recently rebranded its NICE SmartCenter for helping agents, as Richard noted, and is leveraging its assets into the back office, which he also assessed. Our benchmark research on contact center technology found that companies’ priorities for future investments match up well with NICE Systems’ focuses on expanding customer service agent applications and analytics applications.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Marketing, Merced Systems, NICE, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, CFO, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Proposal Software Simplifies Key Aspects of Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 25, 2011 11:39:48 PM

Sales proposals can determine whether a deal is booked or lost. In most organizations the process of creating and delivering a proposal is manual and one-off, with many potential places for mistakes. This lack of rigor and efficiency impairs many organizations’ ability to leverage their resources. Proposal Software helps sales organizations with an application called PMAPS that addresses sales management and operations. 

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Mobile Business, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), DF11, Financial Performance Management (FPM), proposals, Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), sales pitch, SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Salesforce Presents New Social Enterprise with Chatter, Mobility and Data

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 2, 2011 12:45:50 PM

At the Dreamforce conference, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) CEO Marc Benioff unveiled the latest evolution of the company’s strategy and supporting technology for cloud computing and mobile technologies. Its aim is to enable businesses to engage with customers and prospects via social media channels – what Salesforce calls the “social enterprise” – and empower employee and customer social networks to operate individually and together. Note I did not mention CRM, which doesn’t have a role in this platform for basic interactions with prospects and customers and is accompanied by a large ecosystem of partners that provide dedicated marketing and contact center applications. As summarized in its announcement, Salesforce’s strategy is clearly different from that of others in the applications market, including Oracle and SAP, which have products for the cloud computing environment and have made strides into integrating collaboration and social media capabilities into their applications.

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Sustainability, Marketing, Mobile Business, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Cloud, Sales Force Automation, social enterprise, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Chatter, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), DF11, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Service Cloud, SFA, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Varicent Improves Sales Operations Efficiency

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2011 10:01:16 AM

Sales organizations strive to maximize the performance of their staffs to meet quotas and revenue targets in an efficient manner. This focus is part of my agenda to help organizations innovate and maximize revenue in sales. To achieve this requires automation of various sales activities including compensation, incentives, quota development, territory optimization, channel management, analytics and planning. Varicent is focused on these aspects of sales, offering software deployable in three ways: rented in the cloud, hosted for easier management or purchased for use inside the organization. My last analysis of the company and its products was part of our 2011 Value Index for Sales Performance Management; in it we rated Varicent a Hot Vendor overall across our seven evaluation categories applied to its application suite. That analysis included our analysis of Varicent SPM version 7 that made significant advances in the use and process of managing compensation and incentives but also the rest of their application portfolio from territory management, sales quota management and channel management. 

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Varicent, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Get the Most from Dreamforce for Your Sales Force

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 12:31:04 PM

Salesforce.com’s 2011 Dreamforce conference is under way. If you’re in sales and you use the company’s application, here’s how to gain the most value from your time at the conference. 

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Marketo, Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Qvidian, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Zilliant, Zyme Solutions, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Callidus Software, Camelon Software, CFO, ChannelInsight, Cloud9, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Varicent, Vendavo, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Xactly

Xactly What Sales Needs To Improve

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:48:29 AM

In addressing the needs of their sales and operations teams to automate and improve performance, many organizations turn to providers of sales applications designed for specific activities. Many of these activities, including sales compensation, incentives, commissions, quotas, territories and others, Xactly has been delivering for years. This company is no newcomer to the market, with significant experience in meeting the needs of small to midsize sales organizations, and more recently addressing the needs of larger ones. 

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Xactly Corporation

Gaining Sales Traction with Merced Systems

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:23:37 AM

Looking to make your sales force more effective by automating its operations? Merced Systems can provide the traction your sales team needs. The company has been providing applications for more than a decade to customer service and more recently sales organizations, helping both measure and manage performance. Several years ago Merced Systems made a substantial investment to expand to the sales organization with new applications and now offers analytics and reporting, compensation and incentives, and coaching and talent development.  

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Cloud9 Delivers Sales Forecasting

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 29, 2011 10:45:59 AM

If you want to hit the booking and revenue targets required to operate a business, you have to manage your sales forecast and pipeline. Optimally you should be able to monitor and act upon them any day of the week and make adjustments whenever you need to. Unfortunately, most organizations have to wait until they finish their manual efforts at the end of the month or quarter, or they miss critical changes in deals and behavior because they rely only on reporting from their sales force automation (SFA) software.  

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Forecasting, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Cloud9 Analytics, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)