We’ve launched a new weekly blog feature. Each week, I interview an executive from one of the top sales and marketing solutions company. We ask the same questions of each so readers can learn about their unique positioning  and their vision, for the industry.

Avention Interview banner2 Smart Selling Visions: Up Close with Top Revenue Leader Jonathan Flatow of Avention

This week I interview Jonathan Flatow, CEO of Avention

Nancy: Let’s start with the big news. OneSource is now Avention℠. Why the change?

Jonathan: 18 months ago we acquired OneSource with the vision to revolutionize and grow the Sales Enablement and Business Information marketplace.  Today we are announcing a new product that does just that; beginning with a totally new user experience that delivers 4 major innovations:  Conceptual Search℠, Business Signals℠, Ideal Profile℠ and Smart Lists℠.  We are also rolling out a totally new, cutting edge website, with a value proposition to match the innovation our new product delivers.  With so many new features and initiatives, we felt it necessary to unite our new company and our new product under one name – a name that stands for action, innovation and inventiveness, that’s Avention.

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

Jonathan: Sales people, marketers and knowledge workers know they should be tapping the explosion of data we all call Big Data to target prospects, find leads and gather the right information.  But how do you access and understand the vast amount of constantly changing business data with applications that only segment data on traditional facets such as location, revenue, employee size and industry code?  You really couldn’t, until now.   Now, with Conceptual Search you can search Avention’s LiveContent database the way you think, using concepts and ideas, in addition to traditional key word searches.

With Business Signals we have gone beyond triggers, to score every company in our product to reflect how likely they are to be engaged in a particular business activity; thousands of activities like entering into joint ventures, being engaged in litigation, doing business in emerging markets, or increasing or decreasing spend on raw materials.  Using Business Signals, you can create an Ideal Profile of a sales prospect, a potential lead or a research target, by assembling a set of Business Signals that reflect what’s most important to you, and weight them as being more or less important.

Avention analyzes your Business Signals and their weighting and creates an Ideal Profile Score.  We then measure every company in our Live Content database against your Ideal Profile Score and tell you how closely they match.  With the Ideal Profile you can very quickly see which companies within your Conceptual Search results deserve your attention in a research project or are likely to be interested in your products.  Finally, with Smart Lists, Avention allows you to pin the Highly targeted lists created via Conceptual Search and Ideal Profiles to your desktop, and know that Avention will be continuously searching the World’s business data for new companies that match your search, companies that should fall off the list or new rank orders for their Ideal Profile score.  Avention works for you 24/7.

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

Jonathan:  For Sales time is critical to your bottom line; studies show that almost a quarter of a sales person’s time is spent researching to prepare for sales calls. Thanks to the data explosion, there is more information available than ever before to help identify prospects, but there’s too much data to sift through alone and simply searching the Internet won’t bring home the analysis you need to be competitive. How do you separate the meaningful from the menial?  Avention’s revolutionary new application minimizes research time while harnessing Big Data to deliver companies, contacts and a level of insight that was previously impossible to attain. Avention makes the most of a sales team’s time with an application that works to uncover prospects and feed the pipeline, even when they are out of the office.

Today, researchers are faced with an amount of available business information that is truly staggering. Research professionals have access to information and insights that have never before been possible. With the advent of all of this data, how do you find the most relevant information to help drive better decision-making and growth for your business? The term Big Data is everywhere, it’s the darling of the media and businesses worldwide are talking about how they can use this information explosion to better understand their customers, prospects and opportunities.

It seems like everyone is interested in Big Data, but with the emphasis on “big” there is literally more data available for dissection than we could have ever imagined. In the year 2010 alone, the world generated enough data to be the equivalent of 18 times the amount of information contained in all the books every written up that point. Avention allows researchers to harness this explosion of data to simply and quickly create research sets based on Conceptual Search and a research vocabulary with 1,200 Business Signals and then filter by standard firmographic criteria to gain insight and understanding not previously available.

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

Jonathan: At Avention we think the most important thing a business decision-maker should look for is information and insights that gets her closer to understanding what her customer wants, the issues they face and how best to position her company to meet their needs.

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

Jonathan: We are excited about rolling out Avention to our 3,500 customers around the world and to see how it truly revolutionizes their sales efforts, research results and marketing efforts.  In our alpha and beta tests we have watched customers use Avention’s new application to find unique insights in ways we had not predicted and we are excited to see that continue.  We are also excited to introduce new functionality targeted at other user groups and to continuously add expended data sets to be leveraged by the new application.  It’s a very exciting time here at Avention.

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

Jonathan: We know the buyer’s journey has changed and everyone is aware of the big data explosion. What everyone is now struggling with is how to efficiently harness that explosion of business information and apply greater analytics to achieve more targeted and timely engagement. We are very excited with this application release as we are confident Avention takes a great step to addressing these 2014 struggles. Buyers expect Marketers and Sellers to have a greater understanding of their business, their business challenges, and timely understanding of when to engage. With the four key capabilities in Avention, Conceptual Search, Business Signals, Ideal Profile and Smart Lists, we help Marketers and Sellers address this challenge.

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

Jonathan: Most Sellers and/or Marketers know they have challenges to find businesses and contacts in new markets that don’t fit neatly into any historical industry code. I would ask or challenge how they today would be able to identify companies that are participating in 21st century emerging marketplaces? Secondly, how would Marketers and Sellers know what companies are participating in “Cloud Computing, Fracking, and Sustainability” for example, with traditional business information applications? Lastly, I would ask them how they would listen and understand business activities of a comprehensive global database, and intercept signals for opportunity to weigh, score and constantly update the relevant priority and indicators of when to engage?  

To learn more, go to www.avention.com

If you have questions for me our Jonathan, enter them below in the comments.

About the author

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin is a recognized thought leader on sales technologies and building a sales stack. Smart Selling Tools reviews the latest sales and marketing software across multiple categories, including Inside Sales, Sales Intelligence, Sales Acceleration, Pipeline Management & Deal Flow, and Predictive Sales Analytics. It's been named a Top Sales Blog by HubSpot, and Nancy Nardin has been named alongside Forbes’ top 30 social sales influencers in the world. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools