As venture dollars continue funneling into enterprise solutions, and users have more options than ever in the tools they employ at work, there’s one space that has received little attention yet presents an enormous opportunity for the enterprise at large: sales, and more specifically, sales backed by data.
Until recently, most investments in sales technology have been in products known as CRMs (customer relationship management tools). Now, however, solutions such as ClearSlide, a sales engagement platform co-founded by Al Lieb and Jim Benton, have integrated data analytics and old-fashioned human communication to stretch the limits of what a sales team can do.
“Traditionally, sales has not been a science. There’s always been an important human element,” says Lieb. “So with ClearSlide, we’re trying to merge the human with the data science, and offer a leap forward in the productivity that sales teams can achieve.”
Like many start-ups, ClearSlide began as a solution to a common problem. While pitching an idea to advertising agencies, Lieb and Benton grew frustrated with the limitations of existing sales tools. So for their own use, they designed a prototype of what later became ClearSlide, which attracted more interest from the companies than what they were pitching.
The problem with traditional sales tools, says Lieb, is that as informative as they are, they’re not actually about selling.
Over the past decade, as enterprise solutions evolved into an ecosystem of mobile devices and took to the cloud, the information captured and available for use also evolved in complexity and volume, to the point that it now has a name: Big Data.
In the world of sales, the growth of data comes with a growth of opportunity for insights into a customer’s behaviors and needs. But to sell a product and engage a potential customer, it takes more than a collection of data, as detailed as that data can be.
The key to driving revenue, Lieb says, is using that data to tell a story.
“A few years ago, the choice for businesses was either CRM, where it was all about tracking data on the sales process, or web conferencing, where it was all about general communications,” says Lieb. “ClearSlide is at the intersection of the two.”
As one of ClearSlide’s earliest investors and with his own sales background at Google, Aydin Senkut, Founder and Managing Director of Felicis Ventures, also notes the value of integrated data and the implications of ClearSlide’s analytics.
This article has been extracted from http://www.forbes.com/, please click on this link to read the article in full
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