CallidusCloud held their Connections conference last week at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Connections is an annual event for anyone, customers and non-customers alike, who is interested in “discovering new ways to modernize their business and embrace the evolving customer.”

This year was bigger and better than ever with over 70 breakout sessions, keynote speeches from CallidusCloud CEO Leslie Stretch, Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell, and Data Scientist David McCandless.

CallidusCloud has long claimed the mantra “Lead to Money.” Let me tell you, they are serious about that mission. For them, it’s not enough to just have products that span the entire marketing and sales funnel. They aim to offer tightly integrated solutions that, when used together, not only feed information to each other but also provide added value by way of true automation.

The concept is to have the system be greater than the sum of its parts, and to have the system do much of the heavy lifting. A key element of this approach is one that took 3 years to develop called Thunderbridge.

Thunderbridge is key to CallidusCloud’s over-all mission of revolutionizing business processes to deliver increased productivity, greater customer engagement and top-line results.

Their acquisition of Click-Tools also plays a key role. Click-Tools is an enterprise survey solution that was acquired by CallidusCloud in the fall of last year. Their customers are using Click-Tools in a surprising way that demonstrates the power of the CallidusCloud suite of products. Imagine a salesperson using their CPQ system to configure a quote and to get immediate internal approval, then processing the order and paying commissions to the salesperson using their Commissions solution. When the order is booked, a survey automatically gets sent to the buyer. The survey uses intelligence based on what was included in the sale along with past orders and delivers questions that are specifically unique to that customer.

As an example, the system might identify an opportunity to cross or upsell based on the data of the system. The survey could then contain specific questions about the sales process and whether those products or services were discussed (or of interest). Based on the response to the survey, the system can auto-generate a proposal for those additional products and services (even factoring in the correct discount factor based on past orders). Additional revenue can be generated without the participation of a salesperson. This is what I would consider true sales-automation. You can hear Leslie Stretch describe this in detail in his recorded keynote.

There were other equally impressive examples given, among them was micro sales training reinforcement through CallidusCloud’s Litmos solution using an iWatch.  Litmos Boost is a mobile and wearable-based application that sends “booster” questions at scheduled intervals to reinforce learning and overcome the “forgetting curve.”

I was most surprised by how excited I got about the notion of “playing” with data. Yes, I know how odd that sounds. However, after hearing David McCandless, Data Scientist, and author of “Knowledge is Beautiful” talk it would be nearly impossible not to get excited. David’s presentation—which was based on his book and his TED Talk—drove home the point that data can be beautiful, interesting, rewarding, and addictive if it’s done with visualization. Spreadsheets of numbers and graphs just don’t portray the real insight that remains hidden in rows and columns. He talks of the “language of the eye” and how we rely upon color, pattern and shape and that 3 out of 4 of neurons in our brain are dedicated to the visual system. Thunderbridge would not be effective if it weren’t visual.

c3-partyWhen you go to sales technology events, the best you can hope for is that you’ll leave having met interesting people and having heard interesting ideas.

If you also take with you a little inspiration for how things can be and a desire and motivation to take action – all the better. That’s what I got from CallidusCloud’s C3 event; that and of course, a spectacular time—after-all—it was Vegas.