|By Howard Brown||
|January 2, 2014 08:45 AM EST||
Slide Deck from Howard Brown's Cloud Expo® Presentation: Context to Solve the Big Data Problem for Sales & Marketing
It's a simple fact that the better sales reps understand their prospects' intentions, preferences and pain points during calls, the more business they'll close. Each day, as your prospects interact with websites and social media platforms, their behavioral data profile is expanding. It's now possible to gain unprecedented insight into prospects' content preferences, product needs and budget. We hear a lot about how valuable Big Data is to sales and marketing teams. But data itself is only valuable when it's part of a bigger story, made visible in the right context.
What Is Contextual Data?
Historically, business data was analyzed periodically (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) in order to help businesses make better revenue projections and long-term decisions. While decision data enables executives and corporate leaders to make periodic strategic and tactical adjustments, it can't influence workflow in real time. Contextual data, on the other hand, is data that is delivered to the right person at the right time. This data is actionable and can be leveraged by employees in various roles to impact decisions in real time.
An easy-to-understand example of contextual data is Facebook Birthdays. Facebook asks users for their birthday when they sign up and stores that information in a database. Those birthdays are weaved into a story when, on a user's birthday, all of their friends get a notification. By presenting birthday data contextually, Facebook helps remind us of our friends' birthdays and even offers options of gifts to purchase for them.
Why Context Matters
In an enterprise setting, there are huge opportunities to help reps crush quota by delivering contextual data during the engagement phase of the sales cycle. As a prospect interacts with your company by viewing web pages, filling out forms or calling in, you amass an increasingly sophisticated profile of that prospect. This is data that sales reps should be able to access in real time. The first time a prospect calls, a rep can view a lead's marketing referral source to predict what they are interested in purchasing. Screen pops can trigger talking points that can help reps close deals. Through progressive profiling, there's no limit to the amount of data that can be made actionable. For example, reps can view a prospect's job title, company revenue, purchase history, CRM profile, content downloads, social media streams and more before even picking up the phone.
Presenting prospect data contextually can radically accelerate revenue. However, according to a CSO Insights study, nearly half of sales reps feel that they don't have the data they need when talking to prospects. The result is that the majority of sales teams don't meet quota. Often, the data reps need to close deals exists, but businesses have no way to leverage this data to influence workflow in real time. Marketers are great at capturing all sorts of information about their prospects in Google Analytics, CRM systems, business intelligence software and marketing automation platforms. The right data can help reps to predict prospects' intentions, deliver better messages and close more deals. But far too often, data that could be igniting sales remains siloed in various systems of record. That's why businesses need to invest in solutions that provide reps with this data at key moments.
Contextual Data in Action
Some innovative solutions are already helping B2B companies sell more by making prospect data actionable in the proper context. Demandbase is a great example of a company that presents contextual account data about prospects on landing pages in order to optimize conversions. Companies can use Demandbase to automatically tailor-fit content to specific accounts. Imagine the impact of visiting a landing page and not only viewing content specific to your pain points but also featuring your company's name.
The best marketing automation solutions also provide sales reps with real-time views of prospect activities. Marketo, for example, provides a lead view for sales reps that helps them prioritize leads based on quality and urgency. This reduces the time that reps spend deciding which leads to dial and enables them to spend more time on the phone closing business.
My own company, RingDNA, was built on the premise that the more you know about your prospects, the more business you can close. In addition to automatically routing campaign-specific calls to the right sales rep or group of reps, we deliver contextual data that helps reps have more successful sales conversations. One way we do this is by providing reps with a lead's marketing referral source. For example, if a prospect clicked on a paid search ad from Google or Bing, a rep could instantly see which keyword they were searching for. Seeing which keyword caused a prospect to call enables your reps to presuppose which product they are interested in buying. Once a call begins, RingDNA triggers a screen pop with sales talking points directly related to the channel, campaign or keyword a prospect saw before calling. This helps reps stay on message and overcome common sales objections.
In addition, RingDNA delivers a prospect's social media feeds during inbound and outbound calls. According to a Nielsen study, 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase. Customers use social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to vent about frustrations when they are unhappy with a brand, recommend products to colleagues and communicate when they have a need for a solution. Viewing a lead's social media feeds in the context of calls can help reps have more successful sales conversations. For example, suppose a prospect posted on Twitter asking for advice about one of your competitor's products. Your rep could then deliver a pitch focused on ways your product exceeds that specific competitor's solution. But even a simple tweet about the score from last night's Patriots game could be leveraged by a great rep to bolster engagement.
Finally, RingDNA enables sales reps to access collaborative team data from Chatter at the moment of a phone call. This is vital when multiple sales agents are working on closing the same deal, a common scenario in many B2B sales environments. This prevents reps from delivering information to prospects - such as price quotes - that contradicts what has already been stated by another rep.
RingDNA and other trail-blazing solutions that provide reps with rich contextual data are helping to usher in a new era of enterprise sales. From here on out, customer experiences need to be data-driven. Remember that customers almost always call when they are either conducting product research or when they intend to buy. Either way, when your customers call you it's a critical branding opportunity. Your reps' pitches can determine whether your customers have a good or bad experience.
When your prospects call, they don't mind hearing a sales pitch. They just want to hear a pitch that speaks to their individual needs. With the right data, your business can personalize every interaction. This will not only result in your customers walking away with better experiences, it will also empower your sales reps to close more revenue than ever.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 7, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 605
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Jul. 7, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 623
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 7, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 875
Connected things, systems and people can provide information to other things, systems and people and initiate actions for each other that result in new service possibilities. By taking a look at the impact of Internet of Things when it transitions to a highly connected services marketplace we can understand how connecting the right “things” and leveraging the right partners can provide enormous impact to your business’ growth and success. In her general session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, discussed how this exciting emergence of layers of...
Jul. 7, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,385
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Jul. 7, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 757
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
Jul. 7, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 850
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Jul. 7, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 834
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 7, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 728
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
Jul. 7, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,544
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jul. 7, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,941
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 7, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 796
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...
Jul. 7, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 899
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jul. 7, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,712
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Jul. 7, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,589
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 7, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,542
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 7, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,231
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manu...
Jul. 7, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 675
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 7, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 649
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer’s modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation pro...
Jul. 7, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,578
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
Jul. 7, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 625