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.
This week I interview Frank Donny, Founder and CEO of Marseli.
Nancy: What does Marseli do? What problem/s are you solving for sales and/or marketing organizations?
Frank: Marseli is a software and services company that helps sales and marketing teams improve performance through simple, easy to use and affordable diagnostic tools. For sales, we solve the problems of reducing pipeline risk, improving forecast accuracy and the efficiency of a team’s sales process. All to help them sell more, faster. For Marketing, we unlock the intelligence void that exists once a lead passes to sales and becomes an opportunity. We give marketing the insight they need to invest in the right tactics the drive quality opportunities that their sales team can execute against. We also allow marketing to confirm the validity of lead score models, lead quality and show exactly when and where their marketing sourced opportunities struggle in their sales process.
Nancy: How does your solution uniquely address the problem (or in what way do other solutions fall short from solving the problem)?
Frank: Our Marseli Revenue Intelligence solution is very unique as we focus on predicative sales behaviors. These are the actions that sales people take during a sales process that either diminish performance and overall data accuracy or are best practices that need to be shared. The solution is also very quick to provide results. It installs in less than an hour and the user then has full historical, current and future predictive intelligence. It’s also easy to use. Sales reps and managers use simple dashboards and a weekly pipeline review tool. They access to insights in a fast and easy manner, as they do not have time to dig for the information. Sales operations have the ability to dig deep into the intelligence in pre-configured analysis that gives them one-click insight to key areas of sales process performance. For marketing leaders, we deliver the same insight – but in terms and a format that marketing needs. Both sales and marketing use the same database and same algorithms and the same diagnostic tool. This ensures that everyone is using the same version of the truth. Marseli is the only company that give marketing the sales process insight they need to truly understand what happens to their marketing sourced opportunities and what exactly they need to do in order to improve their return on investments.
Nancy: What’s the most important thing that today’s business decision-makers should look for (or ask, or consider, or solve)?
Frank: For sales, one of the largest issues to improve is forecast accuracy. Having the right opportunities in the right stages with the right value and the right close date. Easier said than done, as it all relates to individual sales behaviors. Getting a handle on the behaviors that erode accuracy is key to improving forecasting. For marketing, it’s all about making an impact on pipeline. Both in terms of quality opportunity flow, deal values and helping sales move those deals through the sales process. Marketing can either help make sales very efficient or inefficient. Driving opportunities to sales that come from lead sources that sales does not trust makes a sales team inefficient. Truly understanding the types of opportunities that sales can and want to consume is key. This means that marketing needs to spend more time analyzing the needs of their internal customers – their sales teams.
Nancy: What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?
Frank: What’ I’m most excited about in the next 12 months is the growth in the desire for both sales and marketing teams to manage through metrics. Oddly enough, marketing is ahead of sales in this matter. A successful metrics driven sales organization focuses on historical, current and predictive future intelligence to improve performance. They don’t hide from the metrics, but embrace the data. If I lined up 10 sales leaders right now, four of them would take the challenge of wanting to know the truth in how their sales reps manager their business and use that data to improve. The other six would run screaming in the other direction. Those six typically end up looking for a new job in 12-18 months.
Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in 2014?
Frank: The biggest theme for a combined revenue generation team (sales and marketing) is to generate more qualified and higher quality opportunities. Go for quality and not quantity. Teams have to work more closely together in order to be more efficient. Everyone has to remember that sales people are interested in three things: having more time to sell, to make more money and to be recognized for their achievements. Time is their most precious raw material. So building an efficient pipeline is a big theme for 2014. It starts with understanding the types of opportunities that sales people can efficiently and effectively sell to and go out and get more of those types. Naturally, if marketing get understand those sales requirements, they can make a dramatic positive impact on a sales team’s efficiency and overall success. If reps have to prospect less, they have more time to sell.
Nancy: What would you challenge sellers and/or marketers to think about for 2014?
Frank: It’s not what I would challenge them to think about, it’s what I would highly consult them to do. For marketing leaders, it’s all about treating the sales team like a customer. Understand their needs and service those needs at the highest quality possible. Sales is the recipient of marketing’s investments. Making marketing investments without first consulting and understanding your buyer’s needs is a big mistake that many marketing teams are making. For sales leaders, it’s embracing fact and not opinion. Fact is the true metrics as to what has happened, is happening and will happen to their sales business. Stop running from challenges that you know that you have and actually qualify those issues. Issues like sales process adoption, forecasting quality, sales behaviors, sales coaching – all the things that yes, are hard to improve. But they need to improve in order for a sales team to be successful.