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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 Barry Nelson, CEO of FactorLab.

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

Barry: After an executive team thoughtfully defines strategy, what do they do next? How can they transform that strategy into successful execution across the sales team? That’s the biggest problem we solve. As the saying goes, “Everything looks good on paper until people get involved.”  That’s where our software comes in.

FactorLabs platform enables organizations to measure, track, assess, and iterate on sales process execution, making it possible to rapidly, and continuously improve sales performance.

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

Barry:  It’s what we call “high-performance conditioning” for creating elite sales organizations. We help make success a habit throughout the entire sales team. FactorLab does this better than anyone because:

  • It’s customized to an organizations best practices and processes without a massive consulting project.
  • It’s a simple to use application that is so natural salespeople will use it. This is incredibly important.
  • It includes a platform for coaching and collaboration that drives continuous improvement in behaviors and tactics – across time and across the organization.
  • It delivers unique analytics so you can identify easier and simpler ways to improve.

If organizations are ok with “getting by” without a structured method for iterating on improvement, then they don’t need FactorLab.

On the other and if they want continuous rapid improvement FactorLab is the way to go. To make significant improvements or to discover new ways to do things, you need insight. It’s tough to get meaningful insight using the processes sales leaders currently use.

Here’s an example of how our customers typically tried to connect execution and sales strategy, before FactorLab.

  1. They gathered customer information one-on-one with salespeople. One-on-one sessions typically happened days after the client meetings occurred.
  2. They held the information in their heads and used recall to coach each rep—instead of putting a system in place for tracking and analyzing outcomes
  3. They only coached to the forecast. That meant coaching was tactically, not strategically, applied.

In their hearts they knew that managing to the forecast, keeping information in their head and having one on one conversations, days after the actual sales call, is fraught with waste and highly ineffective. However they just didn’t have better way to get the information they needed, in a form they could use, in time to use it where and when it was needed most.

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

Barry: If you believe your team engages with customers, and that their behaviors and actions with customers have the intended impact on outcomes, then how do you measure this engagement and how do you continuously make it better?

What are the three most important sales behavioral changes that will have the greatest impact in 2015? That one’s a biggie. The answer to that question is at the heart of strategy decisions. You might “write it down” on paper, but how do you execute on it?

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

Barry: Personally, I’m most excited about the rapidly approaching intersection of technology (wearables, health, mobile, big data…) and human behavior in the workplace.  There’s no reason why a highly dispersed service business like sales or account management can’t take part in that transformation with the right technology.

Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in the next 12 months?

Barry: The expectation “vice” is going to get tighter. The need for visibility is going to be greater. This will be especially true in businesses that find it harder to innovate.  Innovators that have good products will be able to continue to mask some of their waste. For everyone else, they’ll need a way to rapidly and continuously improve.  FactorLab customers are going to have a huge competitive advantage as they take share from laggards who are slower to adapt.

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

Barry: Have a system. To better understand what I mean consider the book by Atul Gawande – The Checklist Manifesto. His work in the practice of medicine has been transformative. Customer facing teams can see similar results and overcome similar challenges if they adopt this approach.

Eliminate waste. Stop doing behaviors, tasks, training, coaching—wwhatever it is—that you can’t directly link to better outcomes.  A great example is a customer who was trying to train on twenty behaviors. They learned that two or three mattered much more than the others. This allowed them to redouble their focus on these behaviors, and spend less time worrying about or investing in the others. This provided the incremental time necessary to serve their customers better and to secure more business without adding more resources.

note: to learn more about FactorLab go to www.factorlab.com

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