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 George Brontén, Founder & CEO of Membrain.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

George: Because HOW you sell matters and existing tools focus too much on efficiency (do things fast) and not enough on effectiveness (do the right things). And you’re tired of too many point solutions…

In my opinion, there are a number of faulty assumptions about selling that lead to mistakes being made, which leads to poor sales performance. Three of the main ones are: 1. assuming that salespeople know how to sell your solutions because they have sold someone else’s, 2. assuming that salespeople (human beings in general) have discipline and are disciplined and, 3. that a CRM system will help you sell better.

If you make these assumptions, you may hire the wrong people, not train them well, not provide them with clear goals, forget to coach them effectively, and try to use unstructured historical data to manage their performance.

If we drop these assumptions and realize that selling is not an art, but a profession that needs to be artfully executed, we also see that the tools needed must need to be purposefully built.

The purpose for which we’ve built Membrain is to make it easy to execute a B2B sales strategy in order to consistently achieve your targets. The centerpiece in Membrain is an informative and actionable sales process and methodology (easily customizable), tied to activities, objectives, and goals for each salesperson. With this in place, each salesperson knows what to do with whom and when and sales managers know who to coach about what and when.

On top of this, we’ve added powerful sales analytics that provides sales managers and company leadership the insights they need. We’ve also integrated sales efficiency tools, such as a built-in meeting scheduling service, email templates, email tracking, pre-pipeline qualification, and prospecting workflows to simplify the daily work for each salesperson. And we’ve designed a smartphone app for salespeople to use when they’re visiting customers, in their car, or in front of the TV.

Simply put, we want salespeople to live inside of Membrain and help make them more effective.

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

George:  No single point solution is the salvation. Too much technology will decrease effectiveness. Just doing more of the same (i.e. email faster, call faster, analyze faster) will not necessarily help you increase effectiveness and sell more.

If you’re involved in a complex B2B sales environment, HOW YOU SELL matters and every deal counts. This is the type of environment Membrain has been custom built for – companies selling business-to-business, in longer sales cycles and with multiple stakeholders. In this kind of sales environment, your sales process needs to be so much more than a drop-down list in your old-school CRM. It needs to be the vehicle for sales methodology, best practices, enablement content, and coaching.

I can’t imagine running the business without Membrain. It would be like flying a jumbo jet in a blizzard without any navigation equipment!” said Paul O’Donohue, CEO of SalesStar.com

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

George: Failure to reach quota, low win rates, prolonged sales cycles, poor forecast accuracy, margin pressures, lack of accountability, long ramp-up times are usually on top of the list.

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

George: We’re not a point solution, but a B2B Sales Effectiveness Platform; hence we touch most levels of the pyramid. Our main focus is on sales process & methodology execution, performance management, and sales coaching.

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

George: For B2B selling companies, we usually replace a failed implementation of a traditional CRM, like Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics. These prospects have concluded that big brand CRM platforms weren’t designed to help salespeople become better salespeople. They have grown tired of spending outrageous amounts of time and money on customizations and realized that adding too many point solutions on top of them will not be cost effective, or user-friendly.

Our customers use best-of-breed software for their other customer-facing departments as well, such as marketing automation software and customer support software. Common tools added for salespeople (on top of Membrain) are video conferencing, social media tools, and e-signing software.

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

George: We do offer parts of our product – like our opportunity management and sales analytics modules, to users of traditional CRMs, like Salesforce.com. This way, they can benefit from some our best of breed functionality without having to leave their CRM, if they’re happy with it for other intents and purposes.

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

George: Using a flight recorder (CRM) instead of a GPS (Membrain)

  • Traditional CRMs are little more than glorified rolodexes. Salespeople are asked to input information, but are not given any guidance on HOW to work to succeed in their job. With Membrain, sales leaders can convert a strategy into an informative and actionable workflow. This drives sales effectiveness and allows sales leaders to easily make continuous improvements to make their sales teams into a competitive advantage. Because HOW you sell matters!

The gap between sales training and execution

  • Billions are spent on sales training and most of the knowledge is forgotten quickly. Membrain makes the sales process; methodology and enablement content come to life in daily operations, converting knowledge into new behaviors, habits and skills.

Managing numbers instead of coaching behaviors

  • Sales managers spend too much of their time tracking lagging indicators in excel sheets and not enough time on leading indicators and coaching their teams to higher performance. Membrain provides the operational cockpit for salespeople and managers to become better professionals.

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

George: Please visit our website, www.membrain.com, or email us: info@membrain.com.

Also, here are links to some resources about sales process, methodology and sales technology:

  1. A Guide to Effective Sales Process Execution
  2. 10 Top Sales Methodologies Compared and Explained
  3. A Sales Leaders Guide to Choosing the Right CRM
  4. Webinar: Can Checklists Stop Deals from Dying?