In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview Alan Greenhalgh, Chief Product Officer of Vortini.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

Alan: We see a number of themes emerge with our customers and in the market more generally. We are constantly asked to demonstrate how they can improve efficiency and drive growth. Customers realize they have a wealth of information about the selling process but are yet to see business gains from it. Whether it be upsell or cross-sell opportunities, Vortini is designed as the place where this data comes together to operationalize the data and not only see where opportunities lie, but through the forecasting process we can set actionable steps to get there.

Vortini’s goals are to achieve greater efficiency, quickly discover upsell and cross-sell opportunities by identifying white space, find “selling nuggets” through relevant insights, and use forecasting to make it actionable.

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

Alan: Of course people have been working with data for a long time using a variety of tools, but organizations need to drive efficiency improvements into a process that can be deployed at scale. Let’s take the scenario of a sales rep that loses a deal to a competitor. It’s likely that business will come up for renewal or revaluation in the future, so a loss becomes a future opportunity. Customers buy many products and services and it’s important to know when to re-engage and this is a task best done using data, and to scale and manage this requires a process. Our challenge is to deliver this kind of process with simplicity.

Having a solution that combines historical snapshots of data with easy to use analysis through to forecasting to drive change means we deliver a complete process, and this is how we differ from other options.

Nancy: What are the symptoms that indicate an organization would benefit from your solution?

Alan: We speak to a lot of organizations that know they need to drive better upsell/cross-sell, or they know that growth is a corporate imperative, but they don’t know how they can get there. Often there has been some kind of “revenue event” that drives this. This could result from a missed quarter, a new management team, or even a significant acquisition.

When it comes to forecasting in particular, organizations that have a CRM but use manual processes and spreadsheets to complete the forecasting process would benefit highly from our solution. Our goal is to remove manual processes and shorten forecasting time for everyone involved.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

Alan: Interestingly enough, our solution fits into three areas: How to Sell More (Repeating and Up/Cross-Selling); Knowing Who to Sell to; and Managing, Forecasting and Analyzing. Some of the challenges we solve in each of these areas include:

Knowing Who to Sell to:

  • Determine ideal customer profile based on success
  • Prioritize prospects for optimized activity
  • Score Leads and qualify them for sales

How to Sell More (Repeating and Up/Cross-Selling):

  • Create customized prospect or deal portals
  • Map account white-space
  • Nurture future opportunities

Managing, Forecasting and Analyzing:

  • Analyze activities to auto-assess deal probability
  • Analyze territories and assign to reps
  • Analyze win/loss
    • Identify at-risk deals (and why)
    • Identify where reps are spending time
  • Judge forecasts on past and predictive analytics
  • Monitor & analyze pipeline velocity & underlying factors
  • Quota planning, scenario analysis, & administration
  • Roll-up the forecast
    • Track and monitor changes in deal status (and causes)
  • Track Sales rep activity metrics

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

Alan: We find Vortini helps customers think more clearly about sales processes and outcomes, and these are issues organizations will always care about. Less mature organizations need to think about how to drive revenue in the long term, and established organizations need to think about how to continue to improve sales effectiveness. We look to work with large companies with complex organizational structures who have a CRM, and are using this for forecasting and analysis and their process largely is run through spreadsheets. We can help organizations deal with their most pressing needs now (How to Sell More, and Knowing Who to Sell to) and also get them where they need to be with long-term goals in relation to managing, forecasting, and analyzing.

There could also be “triggers” in an organization where Vortini can come in and play a significant role. For example, a company has made an acquisition and now needs to deal with two sales teams. We are able to merge sales data quickly and give a high-level view of sales.

Nancy: In what ways is your solution complementary to others that might be in someone’s sales stack now or in the future?

Alan: The main source of data for Vortini is the CRM. We have found that customers gain a better understanding of process when they have a clear picture of how a sales period evolves. The immediate observation customers find is that when they are given the ability to visually understand the data, this allows them to see things that need to be fixed. CRM’s really suffer when the data becomes unreliable. So, the payback is that we present a clear opportunity to keep the data current.

Nancy: What are some of the challenges your solution solves for Marketing/Sales?

Alan: With Vortini our focus is to make it as easy as possible to operationalize sales analysis and forecasting. We use real-time data so that what you see is up-to-date, rather than a high-level sales report, or an old sales forecast spreadsheet. We make it fast and easy to get these processes working well. Some of the challenges we solve include:

  • Giving access to real-time sales data and making it easy to see exactly what’s going on.
  • Sales forecasting is a necessary process, but not the most favorite task for an average sales rep. We make it as easy as possible to deploy a forecast and get back to selling.
  • Sales growth is probably the conversation we have most often. The ability to identify sales white-space through either finding cross-sell or upsell opportunities and then to monitor how well you are doing across a sales organization is incredibly valuable.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, or purchase considerations?

Alan: You can find plenty of information on our website and our blog. We also send out a bi-weekly newsletter called “Friday’s Five Minutes on Sales Effectiveness,” where we create unique in-depth articles and tips related to sales effectiveness. You can sign up through the blog!

Here are several noteworthy blogs and white papers to check out:

Pipeline Management Series (Part 1): Four Ways to Excel in Data-Driven Pipeline Management

Pipeline Management Series (Part 2): Three Tips to Improve Sales Cycle Conversion Rate

Pipeline Management Series (Part 3): The Underrated Importance of Ratios and Rates

Sales Forecasting Maturity Model

How to Use Revenue Delivery and Pipeline Usage to Keep on Top of Forecasts

Salesperson Effectiveness: Measuring Leading and Lagging Indicators