Interviewer: Jorge Soto, Host and Chief Editor
Jorge: What is your professional background and how did you get into sales?
Philip: I graduated with a major in Entrepreneurship from the world’s first hospitality management school here in Switzerland, so no evident link to sales really. Hospitality is a “people business” though; typically a good condition to breed good sales people. After graduating, I went straight into technology start-ups, where sales is tough, and exciting.
I’d say my first “WOW” experience from selling I had when I was 7 years old and made 77 bucks from our garage sale. I already loved making deals at that time. Today I have more than 8 years of experience in all kinds of sales areas both B2B and B2C, and both inside sales and field sales.
During my various sales positions I must have worked and tested hundreds of different sales apps. SalesWings was born out of hands-on sales experience.
Jorge: SalesWings offers website tracking and predictive lead scoring based on website interaction and behavior of existing contacts. How does SalesWings work, and how does the sales person use it to execute actionable sales activities?
Philip: Sales teams are faced with a huge problem today: In the past, buyers would contact 5 – 10 suppliers when it came to making a purchase and evaluating options. Today, buyers do 80% of their supplier evaluation online, there’s enough content around, and then reach out to 1 or 2 suppliers only.
The result is that sales people may not get the chance to influence their prospects buying decision at the end of the buying journey, because they just don’t get contacted in time. Most sales outbound tools’ radar stops in the inbox, while SalesWings gives insights to all leads; including those that stay silent.
Our solution is straightforward: Research shows how prospects visit the suppliers’ websites repeatedly, and that there are patterns indicating an approaching buying decision. SalesWings tracks the website visits of existing prospects of a company, and uses its proprietary predictive sales analytics algorithm to identify the “Hot” prospects.
The output again is totally smooth: We simply shoot a notification to the sales rep when a prospect is “Hot”! This allows the salesperson to follow-up with the prospect at the right moment and gain control over the purchase decision.
Jorge: I love how SalesWings‘ Predictive Lead scoring add-on has taken the best from the marketing automation world, and distilled it down to a workflow that is most digestible for the individual sales rep. What was your thinking around how the product should work for the individual sales rep?
Philip: SalesWings is like an opportunity radar for a company’s website. It has a simple goal: Help the rep close the deals that he has been working on for weeks or months, by drastically enhancing the timing of his follow-up actions.
Concretely, we predict buying readiness through Predictive Sales Analytics. But that sounds complicated. To put it simple: We’ll tell you who’s the next customer you should sell to, based on his current level of interest. Again we keep it simple; the predictive lead scoring shows as a flame: the hotter, the more urgent to call back the customer.
“Predictive Analytics” is coming to all areas of MarTech (sales and marketing technology) now, whether it be to increase the precision of forecasting, follow-ups, or even to suggest content.
By the way I like that you’re asking “how the product works for” the sales rep, as opposed to “how the rep works with SalesWings”.
We’re in the age of information overload, administrative overload, multi-tasking overload. Great technology should select what information is relevant for the user (sales rep) and then deliver that information to the user – not the other way around. SalesWings was built to serve the sales reps.
Furthermore, as a sales manager, introducing new sales tools means often changing the way people work – and that’s not popular. I recently visited the Silicon Valley and it is evident that a lot of great sales technology is becoming available.
But adding yet another set of input fields the sales rep has to worry about is non-sense. It means training and inefficiencies. Luckily the trend is sales automation. SalesWings for instance works hand in hand with the tools a sales person is already using and requires no training from the inside sales team.
Jorge: What is your view on the future of sales automation?
Philip: I just came back from SaaStrAnnual where we saw a few trends. Outbound sales automation tools maximize the personalized sales outreach. Successful sales teams should deploy and experiment with an even larger number of sales tools.
The trend is “There is a Sales App for that.” And essentially the sales managers should always look at the level of automation of tools, when evaluating their options. “Smart algorithms” is what sales automation tools should run on. Automation is based on artificial intelligence (AI) that knows what to do if X or Y happens. Imagine complex IF-THIS-THEN-THAT scenarios. So we’re talking ever better algorithms.
The quality of new sales automation tools will depend heavily on the people designing these algorithms, and how much common sense they are able to throw into them. As opposed to falling in love with data and the algorithms itself, product managers will need to focus on the “actionable” side of the output.
(Big) data around sales processes and customer intelligence can be aggregated by now, and analytics tools, algorithms and coders are able to make all possible sense out of it. The risk I see is that many are building something very complex, just because it’s possible now. Great Sales Automation tools will do one thing really well, and in a way that the sales teams can understand.
Jorge: What is the current state of the CRM and sales tool market in Europe? How wide spread is the adoption of these types of tools and are there certain markets that have adopted quicker?
Philip: Salesforce, Pipedrive, Insightly, Nimble… popular mainstream CRM’s in the US are popular in Europe too. The long-tail market of industry specific CRMs is different, simply due to the large number of languages that are spoken in Europe.
When it comes to “next generation sales software” such as SalesWings, I am impressed by the large number of innovative sales tools coming out of the US. Lead gen, prospect insights, network intelligence, web scrapers, automation, emailing, predictive analytics – a lot of highly specialized tools. We’ll probably see a consolidation and various acquisitions here.
My experience says that European companies are more conservative in adopting these tools, as they often prefer to use “what already works”, and then go for technology once it is a bit more mature.
Jorge: Who is SalesWings‘ ideal customer profile today?
Philip: SalesWings works great for teams that don’t have the need or means for resource intensive tools like Hubspot, but are interested in benefiting from lead scoring. SalesWings can be combined with any CRM or emailing tool. It’s highly complementary.