This post is part of our Executive Interview series where we interview 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 George Brontén, CEO of Membrain.
Nancy: What does Membrain do? What problem/s are you solving for sales and/or marketing organizations?
George: Membrain helps sales teams engaged in complex selling to consistently reach their sales targets. We do this by offering software that makes it easier to execute a sales strategy. A little background: working with B2B sales is challenging, to say the least. Only 46% of reps reach quota, forecasting accuracy is no better than flipping a coin and the average tenure of a B2B sales manager is about 18 months.*
Not reaching sales targets is caused by many underlying problems like: lack of best practices used in daily operations; poor on boarding of new hires; sales training without reinforcement; infrequent sales coaching; undisciplined discounting and poor win-rates. We build software to help solve these problems. We build software to elevate the sales profession.
Nancy: How does your solution uniquely address the problem (or in what way do other solutions fall short from solving the problem)?
George: Traditional CRM systems have failed to help sales professionals as the core functionality focuses on what has happened instead of what needs to be done. They often end up as graveyards of information and are perceived as being “big-brotherly” instead of being guiding companions to help reach sales targets. Also, they are designed as a one-size-fits-all that means that they need to be customized by technical people who usually don’t understand sales management. And you often need to complement the CRM with 4-5 different productivity tools (a prospecting tool, scheduling service, pipeline/process plug-in, sales analytics package, etc.), which drains the promised efficiency gains and ROI.
We focus exclusively on helping sales teams to successfully manage complex sales efforts and achieve predictable and consistent results. As a result, our tools are specifically designed to ensure that each salesperson and sales manager understand their goals and receives the guidance and coaching needed to reach them. We combine all the tools needed to succeed in complex sales, not just one or two productivity features.
What also sets us apart is that we offer Membrain through a partner channel consisting of sales development experts around the globe to intertwine sales process, methodology, training and technology. By combining Membrain with their expertise and services, customers can take theory to practice and execute a sales strategy to consistently reach targets.
This combination also frees customers and sales development experts of the burden of customizing traditional CRM systems with the help of third party system integrators, as customers can easily add Membrain to their existing CRM, or even replace it if wanted.
Nancy: What’s the most important thing that today’s business decision-makers should look for (or ask, or consider, or solve)?
George: Will it be enough to just do things faster in the future? Or do we need to do things smarter and better to be competitive? If we need to work smarter, what new skills and technology will we need?
Nancy: What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?
George: Up till today, we’ve grown the company without external capital. Starting in Q4, we’ll start searching for a strong financial partner to speed up our global growth and take the company to the next level. This will enable us to make a bigger impact in elevating the sales profession through our software and partner channel.
Nancy: What do you think is the biggest underlying theme or trend for sellers and/or marketers in the next 12 months?
George: Stop chasing fool’s gold and get your sales fundamentals in order. From my perspective, this means having a sales strategy in place – which customers to go after, how to follow an effective sales process and coach effectively – and to make sure that it is easy to execute by salespeople, sales managers and sales directors alike, using modern tools. If you’re selling complex solutions, involving multiple stakeholders and long sales cycles, we want Membrain to be your sales improvement software of choice, with or without your current CRM.
Nancy: What would you challenge sellers and/or marketers to think about for the near term?
George: Strive to be effective as well as efficient – don’t chase fool’s gold. If you’re running in the wrong direction, running faster won’t help. Productivity tools alone, for inbound marketing, social selling tools and time management will not close sales opportunities for you (unless you sell transactionally). Realize that your people will be the difference that makes the difference. Design your sales strategy and make sure to make it easy to execute using skills and tools designed to support your specific efforts.
We want Membrain to help our customers convert their sales teams into a competitive advantage. Why? Because in our time of age, HOW you sell is becoming one of your last differentiators.
note: to learn more about Membrain go to www.Membrain.com
* Statistics: 18 months as average tenure for B2B sales managers (Sales Benchmark Index); 54% of B2B reps won’t meet quota this year (Sirius Decisions); 54% of deals forecasted do not close (CSO Insights)