6/1/2016 Interview with VanillaSoft

Let’s Get Real.

In this series, we interview sales tool providers and get real about the problems they’re solving and why you should care (or not).

This week I interview David Hood, CEO of VanillaSoft.

Nancy: I ask guests to answer the first question using what I call the “You know how…” format. Tell us, what does your solution do?

David: You know how the typical inside sales process has become much more complex? How Prescriptive Selling techniques – whereby there is a specific cadence that should be followed – are becoming even more important than ever to see success in the inside sales space?

The VanillaSoft solution helps inside sales managers document workflows and automate them so that their sales reps can simply focus on the art of selling, not the science of data and lead management.

Inside sales representatives today face many variables when it comes to making decisions like whom to call next, what email to send, what lead nurture path to select, etc. With typical (list-based) CRM solutions, they are left to make those decisions for themselves. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which can create inconsistency in how leads are handled and confusion about how best to prioritize their leads.

  • 45% of companies report that their salespeople need help figuring out which leads to prioritize. Source: Lattice Engines/CSO Insights
  • 80% of the average sales rep’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities, including not knowing where to find good prospects. Source: Telesmart.com

These traditional CRM systems leave a lot of decision-making and searching in sales reps’ hands, and that leads to lower sales productivity and cherry picking.

  • 36% of leads that enter the sales floor decay without ever being contacted. Source: Forbes.com
  • 80% of sales require five call attempts after the first contact, but the average rep stops at one. Source: The Marketing Donut

VanillaSoft empowers inside sales managers to drive results through workflow automation. This is accomplished using VanillaSoft’s queue-based platform, which ensures every lead is worked based upon management’s specified criteria. Sales representatives don’t have to worry about making workflow decisions; they only have to focus on making sales calls.

Nancy: That sounds like a problem worth solving (and a worthy solution). But let’s get real, sales and marketing organizations have a lot of challenges and they have to make choices about which to solve first. Why shouldn’t they continue with things the way they are if they’re getting by? What are the ramifications of not solving the problems you outlined?

David: Solving the fundamental problem of lead follow-up needs to be a top priority for sale managers, as it is the most important cause of lost sales.

First, you risk losing the race. As multiple sources have pointed out, a significant percentage of sales go to the sales person who contacts the lead first.

Second, couple that need for immediacy with the increasing complexity of sales processes, and things become even more daunting for sales people who don’t have the right tools to enable them to focus on the act of selling.

With the traditional CRM solutions, you are inadvertently adding to the complexity and frustration – frustration from marketing because leads aren’t followed up on properly; frustration from sales management because the team isn’t meeting quota, and frustration from sales reps because of the amount of time spent on tasks other than selling.

A queue-based lead management solution like VanillaSoft can help:

  • Increase productivity, with more calls and more contacts
  • Increase speed to lead, directly impacting close rates
  • Ensure follow-up, decreasing lead decay and increasing sales

As inside sales processes become more complex, many people have just accepted the complexity and strain on productivity as “the way things are.” We want to let inside sales organizations know that things can be different – things can be better!

Nancy: What types of questions should sales leaders ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?

David: There are so many questions Sellers, specifically inside sales managers, should ask themselves to understand whether or not solving this problem should be a high priority. These include:

  • How can I be certain if my sales reps are following the designated workflow and lead management methodology?
  • Am I confident that leads are getting called at the correct cadence?
  • How much time are my sales reps spending managing the workflow?
  • How much time am I spending managing sales people managing the workflow versus managing people who are actively selling?
  • Are my sales reps following up on every qualified lead generated through marketing investments?
  • How much money am I losing because of uncontacted or poorly-worked leads?

Nancy: This question is your choice. What do you want to answer that I didn’t ask?

David: I think a question your readers may have is this: “how does a queue-based lead management platform actually address workflow automation?”

VanillaSoft gives managers the power to determine cadence, lead nurture paths, email triggers, and many more criteria in the sales workflow. When these workflows are active, sales reps do not need to start sorting through lists, they just need to be ready to sell.

VanillaSoft automatically routes the next best lead to a sales person and continues that lead along the right workflow from cradle to grave. These workflows in combination with time-saving and efficiency-enhancing features like auto dialing, voicemail drop, email automation, and logical branch scripting mean inside sales productivity increases.

Nancy: What should people do next?

David: We would be happy to help you determine which areas in your sales process could benefit most from automation. A member of the VanillaSoft team can work with you to review current workflow and help uncover ways to make your team more productive.

Request a demonstration for a personal walk through, or start a full-featured, 30-day free trial.