This post is part of a series of Executive Interviews of 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.
This week I interview Darren Chamberlin, CEO and President of Perenso.
Nancy: What does Perenso do? What problem/s are you solving for sales and/or marketing organizations?
Darren: Perenso has created a cloud based Field Sales Solution that helps companies with reps on the road sell more products whilst saving them money. It’s an easy to use product that doesn’t require too much IT involvement, so the Sales Department can run the whole solution themselves if required. Our aim is to give Sales Managers and their reps the tools they need to run their team as effectively and efficiently as possible. We allow companies to give the reps all the information they need, when they need it to help them make the sale. We also allow the rep to give feedback what’s happening in each account in a structured way, so that reporting on what your Competitors are doing is a breeze via a cloud based reporting portal.
Nancy: How does your solution uniquely address the problem (or in what way do other solutions fall short from solving the problem)?
Darren: That’s a great question. We believe it’s more about “How” the software works rather than “What” the software does. To us, it’s all about the User Experience. Reps in the field need to see the tool as helping them do their job, not something that gets in the way but they have to use it because the company says so. A great User Experience for the Rep is one that is enjoyable to use, it’s intuitive. We have thought long and hard about when reps need access to certain bits of information and have tried to present them in a logical sequence in the call. We believe most calls have a Pre-call phase, a Walk the Store and have a look around to assess how the store looks phase, a “I’m with the Buyer” phase and a Call Summary/next call Objective phase. These phases we call work flows, and we present the information the rep needs logically in each phase. We have made the Admin Portal and the Reporting Tools of the solution easy to use, so that Sales Admins can run the whole solution themselves.
Nancy: What’s the most important thing that today’s business decision-makers should look for (or ask, or consider, or solve)?
Darren: How do I make my existing resources work harder for me, or how do I get the best out of my existing resources. All companies need to be leaner and more effective. Along the same theme, what resources do I have at the moment that are being wasted or under-utilized? As an example, if you have given your reps a Laptop to help them sell more, and they are leaving it in the car or at home, because it’s too heavy, or too slow to boot up, or too big to carry around the store with one hand, then you have wasted your money..
Nancy: What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?
Darren: The power of Big Data over the internet allowing companies to equip their reps with even greater insights into opportunities with their customers. Companies need to do a better job of giving the reps the information they need to close the sale, not just supply them tons of data and expect the rep to wade through all that data extracting the bits they need for each call. Big Data has the power to deliver key market insights that will set your reps apart.
Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in 2014?
Darren: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. All companies are looking for solutions for their Sales Teams and the marketers that allows them to reach out to and from their customers quickly and efficiently. I think the days of giving Field Teams Laptops is numbered. IPads, Androids and Tablets will be the dominant tool in the next 12 months.
Nancy: What would you challenge sellers and/or marketers to think about for 2014?
Darren: In the past it was acceptable to give reps a CRM of SFA tool on a laptop and say, “Well I gave them all the equipment they needed, it’s not my fault if they don’t use it” Now after so many failed CRM implementations it’s clear that you must equip them with a tool that they will use every day and enjoy using it. The User Experience of the rep is the most critical part as it’s the 1st step in getting good quality real-time data from the field, and if you’re not getting good quality real-time data from the field, then you can’t make agile tactical changes to your marketing plans, and when that happens, your competitors will eat you alive.