This post is part of a series of Executive Interviews of top sales and marketing solutions company executives. 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 K.V. Rao, CEO of Aviso
Nancy: What does Aviso do? What problem/s are you solving for sales and/or marketing organizations?
K.V.: Aviso provides the leading predictive insights software designed to help sales teams optimize their performance and exceed their revenue goals.
The weekly sales forecasting process is the heartbeat of a sales teams’ activities, and intended to be a roadmap for the selling period. Today, this vital business process is plagued by archaic tools, namely spreadsheets or simplistic and inflexible bolt-ons in CRM applications.
It currently takes legions of spreadsheets and armies of analysts in sales operations to roll up a sales forecast which ends up being immediately out of date. These static sales forecasts are unable to provide true insights into the business. The net result is that enormous time is spent scrubbing the pipeline and rolling up a forecast, leaving sales managers less time for selling and making their number. Sales teams end up relying on gut, intuition, and emotion to make critical decisions around deal prioritization, resource allocation, and pricing/discounting. As a result many executives realize too late that they will miss their number!
Nancy: How does your solution uniquely address the problem (or in what way do other solutions fall short from solving the problem)?
K.V.: Aviso makes sales forecasting easy, by automating the process with a secure and always up-to-date cloud application which produces a trusted roadmap for sales performance.
Our flagship product, Aviso Insights, delivers powerful business analytics that help sales people prioritize deals, deploy resources, get early warning indicators, thereby driving revenue growth for any enterprise. Aviso Insights is integrated very tightly with leading CRM applications and fits seamlessly into existing sales workflows.
Using a unique combination of machine learning algorithms and portfolio management techniques, Aviso discerns patterns from historical data and from market signals, and translates these to insights that help sales teams exceed their revenue goals.
Nancy: What’s the most important thing that today’s business decision-makers should look for (or ask, or consider, or solve)?
K.V.: Business leaders are inundated with information, including a plethora of reports and dashboards that claim to automate decision making. Often these reports and dashboards are simply pretty charts of historical data which provide very little insight about what will happen. What business decision-makers need is an effective decision-support system that empowers them to leverage their experience and judgment to make the best possible decision, given all the available information. Aviso empowers business leaders to trust their judgment and experience while taking into account the risks and tradeoffs, and enables them to make decisions with confidence to consistently hit or exceed their revenue goals.
Nancy: What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?
K.V.: For the last two and half years we have been building the Aviso Insights Platform, working closely with a dozen companies, of which more than half are publicly traded. It has been gratifying to see how delighted our customers are with our product. Sales Managers and Sales Ops are quickly abandoning their archaic forecasting tools and vigorously adopting Aviso Insights. While we continue to build out our capabilities, we look forward to sharing this experience with a much broader audience and bringing these powerful capabilities to 100’s of companies seeking to grow their revenues efficiently.
Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in the next 12 months?
K.V.: Sellers/marketers have access to a lot of information, and they know they need to be smarter leveraging that information. The customer/revenue lifecycle spans marketing, sales, and customer success. The barriers between these different functions are breaking down organizationally as well as from an information systems perspective.
With the right tools that can provide an integrated view of the customer account, including both leads and opportunities, marketing and sales can be much more efficient in targeting their efforts to maximize the value of their pipeline. Incentive compensation and territory assignment plans are becoming more sophisticated to take into account this longer term view of the account.
Nancy: What would you challenge sellers and/or marketers to think about for the near term?
K.V.: Sellers/Marketers always have a tough job ahead of them, and the explosion of data and rapid pace of change has made their work harder. In order to succeed, they need to develop the confidence to execute on that job: confidence in their own experience/judgment while taking into account the myriad signals from the markets and from their past performance. Just as they have a personal financial portfolio they manage for risk and reward, they need to think about their sales/marketing pipeline like a financial portfolio and manage/optimize appropriately for risk/reward.
It requires a bit of a mind shift to think of risks in their sales pipeline, when a typical sales rep is accustomed to thinking about risk in making her incentive compensation. If she can manage risk in her pipeline with the proper combination of judgment and predictive insights, she will be successful in achieving and exceeding her targets.