Welcome to our biweekly blog feature. Every two weeks, I interview an executive from a top sales and marketing solutions company. We ask the same questions of every executive so readers can learn about their unique positioning  and their vision for the industry.

Smart Selling Visions

This week I interview Mark O’Connell, President and CEO of SAVO.

Nancy: What does SAVO do? What problem/s are you solving for sales and/or marketing organizations?

Mark: At SAVO, we provide software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales productivity technology solutions that enable organizations’ marketing, sales and sales operations executives to be more efficient, effective and engaging. Our portfolio of applications simplifies the day-to-day lives of sales reps, manages the information from CRM and marketing automation solutions, reinforces training best practices, supports reps on-the-go, and promotes alignment between marketing and sales. The solutions also provide real-time insight into sales performance and process adherence, collateral usage, coaching, and multimedia engagement and mobile capabilities.

Nancy: How does your solution uniquely address the problem (or in what way do other solutions fall short from solving the problem)?

Mark: SAVO’s sales productivity platformis the industry’s first end-to-end solution that focuses on enabling individual sales reps and empowering them to sell smarter so they can close more deals. With our applications, reps are able to have the right conversations at the right time using prescribed collateral that has been proven to be effective. They are also able to easily interact with their colleagues across teams to ensure the right pieces of collateral are being generated, are consistent with corporate messaging, and adhere to the elected sales process.

The SAVO platform is unique from other solutions in that its underlying core platform and applications work effectively both individually and together. The applications seamlessly integrate with each other, as well as with marketing automation systems and CRM solutions.

Nancy: What’s the most important thing that today’s business decision-makers should look for (or ask, or consider, or solve)?

Mark: Many companies today are focused on putting the customer first. This isn’t wrong, but to more consistently realize or exceed revenue goals, companies should make sales their first priority. Regardless of size, pretty much every company has a salesforce, or is engaged in sales activities, and the interactions between that salesforce and your prospects and customers are what ultimately dictate your success or failure as an organization.

Executives must enable their sales teams so they are as productive as possible and meet revenue goals. CMOs, CSOs, CEOs and CIOs all need to ask themselves, “Are we a sales first organization? Are we standing behind our sales force and providing our reps with the right tools, content and context, coaching, access to experts and more to make them successful?”

Nancy: What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?

Mark: Over the next year, we’re excited to make our mark on the Chicago tech scene, and further help customers drive more business by overcoming challenges pertaining to sales productivity, and ultimately, revenue attainment. We plan to do this by expanding the depth of our existing solutions, introducing a few new applications, and continuing to develop key partnerships.

Additionally, we just launched the SAVO Sales First Nation, a best practices community for our customers and industry thought leaders. I know all of SAVO is looking forward to seeing how the program evolves, as well as contributing to its development.

Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in 2014?

Mark: I think the biggest theme for marketers and salespeople this year is increasing sales productivity, and rallying support from the entire organization for sales enablement.

Sales reps have always been motivated to meet their quotas. However, we’re seeing a fundamental shift in marketing roles, and the expansion of their responsibilities. More and more frequently, marketers are being held accountable for sales outcomes. As a result, they’re heavily invested in sales activities, qualifying leads and making sure reps are enabled to convert those leads into opportunities.

Nancy: What would you challenge sellers and/or marketers to think about for 2014? 

Mark: I would challenge marketers and sales professionals to ask themselves the hard questions: “What am I doing today to enable my sellers? Could I be doing more?”

I would also task executives with defining what it means to them to truly be “Sales First”, and outlining what that will look like within their organization.

For more information on SAVO, go to www.SavoGroup.com. or watch their video.

Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert increasing sales productivity through the use of tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Click to get Nancy’s What & When weekly digest with invitations to complimentary webinars and informative publications. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools or subscribe to her Sales Productivity blog. Nancy can be reached at 916-596-3035. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation click here.