Just kidding! Let’s all just sit back and take a breath. You’re done. For now…
FirstRain had a pretty awesome DF13. We met over 1,200 people at our booth in the Cloud Expo, had a lot of in-depth discussions, and many booth visitors were very interested in setting up time after the show to learn more about how we can help them “Step into Their Customer’s Reality.”
Penny hosted two panel discussions focused on customer testimonials on Monday and Wednesday, with QTS and Cisco, respectively. These sessions were well-attended and generated a ton of great questions from the attendees. YY also led a very successful Table Talk on Tuesday about FirstRain and how to make a great app (she should know… have you SEEN FirstRain for Touch?)
Led by Chassis the Drink-Serving Robot, our booth staff had fun and worked hard. We loved getting to meet everyone and show off our FirstRain products… and had a great time explaining what a fitbit is. And what you could use those cute flip-flops for (you squeeze them!). The potentially best part of DF13 is how people reacted to Chassis. For some, you could see the trepidation and fear in their eyes as they skirted around him. Others seemed confused as they poked and prodded poor Chassis (it’s ok, he probably liked it). And I can’t even count how many pictures we took for people!
We also gave over 600 demos, which means that FirstRain will donate $1,200 to Soles4Souls to help with the relief efforts in the Philippines. We’re so happy to be able to help!
The biggest thing our customers confirmed during our many meetings and demos is that in today’s ever changing world they need ongoing real-time data analytics across the web. Salespeople need to really know their customer, and marketers need to truly understand their markets–in order to help their customers AND themselves. Like Marc Benioff repeatedly expressed, a customer-focused company is good for everyone involved, and having a firm grasp on the critical events affecting your customers is the first (and biggest) step!
So thanks to everyone for coming by our booth–see you again in 321 days!
Imagine it’s 2025, downtown San Francisco is pulsating with large inflatable structures that seem to grow from the ground. Customers have had their ‘revolution’ and the Internet of things is no longer an idea–there is now a platform for “listening and acting on information from connected devices by creating a workflow around not only identifying the anomaly within a device, but also figuring out what to do with the anomaly.” Developers can now deploy to a range of social, mobile, and connected devices. Platform services include 10X more API functionality then one ever thought possible. Developers can build customer apps, wearable apps, product apps, whatever apps they want in a scalable flexible platform. It is now the era of the “Internet of Customers.”
But proliferation of global and social business web information has made accurate insight into the business an intractable problem because companies and markets change every day. Robots, that were supposed to assist humans in everyday tasks, are still not a reality.
But wait, it is not 2025 but 2013, and Dreamforce is happening, and while salesforce.com has managed to crack many of the items listed above, all but for the last two- and that is where their partner, FirstRain comes into play…
So after you see the amazing inflatable structure and listen to the Salesforce 1 annoucement, come by booth #N1924 to see how FirstRain delivers into the salesforce platform real-time analytics for true business insights. All while visiting with Chassis the Drinking Serving Robot- because everyday tasks like pouring a drink should by now be fully controlled by a robot, no?
Stop by, get a picture with Chassis, and have a drink on FirstRain.
Moscone North Booth #N1924, Expo Hours:
Monday 12pm-8pm (Possible Dance-off with @TooSaasy during opening reception 6-8pm?? No Twerking allowed!)
Thursday 9am – 2pm
We’ve made a big fuss about what we’ve got going on at Dreamforce. But one thing that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of airtime is the Table Talk that our intrepid COO, YY Lee, is running on Tuesday. And we think it’s really interesting!
YY will lead a discussion about how enterprise mobility and BYOD have dramatically shifted the work-life landscape, giving enterprises an incredible opportunity to take advantage of how connected people are. With the amount of personal time people spend time on their smartphones and tablets, however, enterprises need to think about how they fit into the multitasking employee’s mobile world.
The discussion will cover the opportunities that the constantly connected environment presents to enterprises. She’ll address the differences between enterprise and consumer apps, what enterprise apps can learn from the consumer world and how to reconcile the two spaces to turn BYOD and multitasking into revenue for your company.
This topic is even more relevant now with the release of Salesforce One! So swing by her table to learn a thing or two about how to make a kick-ass enterprise mobile app.
Become a Mobile Hero: How to Turn BYOD and Multitasking into Revenue
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Yerba Buena Garden, Main Tent, Table 8
Step into Your Customer’s Reality with FirstRain
FirstRain is ready and excited for Dreamforce—and we want to see you there! We’re doing a lot from Sunday to Thursday, so take a look below to see everything we’ve got going on… then follow us @FirstRain!
Booth hours are:
Monday 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Tuesday 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm
Our booth is going to be our home base, and we’ve got some great activities going on constantly. Swing by Booth N1924 to:
Want more? We’re hosting some great sessions and talks at Dreamforce this year. Come see how our customers changed their sales and marketing game:
Women in Technology Table Talk: Achieving Effective Communication
Time & Location: Monday, Nov. 18th: 10:30–11:00 AM | Moscone Center West, Women in Technology Salon
How can women take a seat at the table with other developers and make sure their ideas are heard? Join us at the Women in Technology Salon for an informal talk, featuring Penny Herscher from FirstRain and Lori Williams from Appirio, on how to get your message across with confidence and persuasion.
Changing Sales: How Enterprise Sales Use Customer Insights To Drive Sales Growth
Time & Location: Monday, Nov. 18th: 3:00-3:30 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Foothill G1 + G2
Arming your sales team with insights and analytics within salesforce.com that actually drive growth and improve sales productivity is one of the biggest challenges most enterprises face—but is essential for positive ROI. Join FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher and Quality Technology Services’ VP Sales Operations Chris Oberkfell as they discuss how QTS is addressing this challenge.
Become a Mobile Hero: How to Turn BYOD and Multitasking into Revenue
Time & Location: Tuesday, Nov. 19th: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM | Yerba Buena Garden, Main Tent, Table 8
Enterprise mobility and BYOD have dramatically shifted the work-life landscape, giving enterprises an incredible opportunity to take advantage of how connected people are. With the amount of personal time people spend time on their smartphones and tablets, however, enterprises need to think about how they fit into the multitasking employee’s mobile world.
YY Lee, COO of FirstRain, will lead a discussion about the opportunities that the constantly connected environment presents to enterprises. She’ll address the differences between enterprise and consumer apps, what enterprise apps can learn from the consumer world and how to reconcile the two spaces to turn BYOD and multitasking into revenue for your company.
New Reality: How Big Data Insights Help Cisco Stay on Top of Its Marketing Game
Time & Location: Palace Hotel, Presidio | Wednesday, Nov. 20th: 10:30-11:00 AM
Empowering strategic marketers to take action in a changing market is challenging, especially in today’s post-recession economy—but to compete, it’s essential. Join us as Cisco’s Charlie Treadwell and Zunesis’ Evan Escobedo discuss with FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher how Cisco uses a revolutionary market insights solution to develop and implement their go-to-market strategy.
We’d also love to meet with you. Schedule some time now!
By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Market Development
Understanding your customers has never been more important than it is today. Customers have greater access to information than ever before, which means they have more choices and it’s more challenging to build long-lasting loyalty. But companies need to do this to retain clients long term and generate more revenue. Being customer-focused has its benefits for you as well.
Customer-centricity has four main requirements: recognizing and understanding the differences between each of your customers, realizing the quantifiable value in each individual client, learning who your high-value clients are and how to retain them and utilizing customer data to create a highly personalized experience. Although every person in your organization is responsible for improving customer centricity, your sales representatives need to establish themselves as strategic consultants who play a vital role in your customers’ businesses.
Moving Past “Sales” to Be Seen as an Essential Partner
Sales professionals are usually extroverted and are great at closing deals. But what happens after the sale? Are your reps continuing to check in with clients, or is their contact information just sitting in your CRM? Customer-centric organizations know how to move past the strictly sales mentality to form lasting relationships with their clients. These reps aren’t just people who sell new products and services—they’re viewed as critical business partners who can advise and direct. But your team can’t accomplish this without actionable information.
“A successful salesperson knows how to strike a balance between the science of being a salesperson and the art to match their customer needs,” said Nima Niakan, FirstRain Fellow.
He added that FirstRain can help organizations embrace different methodologies, such as TAS and Challenger, to ensure any information that comes into the organization is analyzed and directed to the right sales rep—the most relevant information in the right platform, categorized under a particular selection based on the methodology. This allows the salesperson to quickly take action on this information.
“FirstRain ups the game for the sales rep and helps them be more efficient with that ‘science’ side of the equation,” Niakan stated.
Bridging the Gap Between Salespeople and Strategic Consultants
While actionable science may seem like a lofty goal to some, companies can’t become more customer-oriented without the right data. So how can salespeople transform their enterprise relationships into more of a partnership?
“By understanding their customers’ ecosystem, knowing what legislative, regulatory and macroeconomic issues are facing their customer and working backwards from there to see how to positions and time the deal to assure it matches the customer’s priorities,” Niakan said.
It can be challenging to establish this type of relationship with your customers, but it pays off in the long run. Being viewed as an essential consultant has benefits in the sales process after the relationship has been developed.
“Once the customer thinks of you as a key partner, now they will come to your first, before looking to a competitor of yours,” he added.
After this trusted status has been gained, the rep can leverage his or her knowledge of the customer to direct clients toward the company’s solutions. This allows customers to get where they want faster, more efficiently and have a desired impact by utilizing your products and solutions.
“The relationship will open a channel for the customer to ask for new features and products that put you in the lead and help you get more ingrained inside the customer’s organization,” Niakan stated.
By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Market Development
In sales, there’s been a lot of hype about the importance of knowing your customers. While it’s easy to talk about, the truth of the matter is companies are struggling to gain insights into their clients’ realities. Although there are a number of tools available to help make sense of all the disparate data sources out there, many sales teams are still getting bogged down with complexity, and that can negatively impact sales productivity. With disrupters entering the market more frequently, businesses need to know their customers and their customers’ market conditions. While this sounds like a daunting task, making processes simpler can improve revenue gains and customer relationships. When you focus on customers, it’s easier to design processes with them in mind.
Stop Using Complexity as an Excuse
New sales methodologies crop up all the time, and it’s pretty clear that some organizations are agile enough to adapt. Despite this, firms need to put customers first. But if companies hide behind the excuse of tricky market conditions, difficult-to-know customers or internal operations, a competitor can easily enter the market and snatch business away, according to an article by Dave Brock for Salesforce. Many organizations default to doing the things the same way they always have.
In fact, organizational complexity can make it harder to solve problems because sales teams or other departments are trying to approach them the wrong way. Some companies have a set way of approaching issues and are afraid to diverge, even when there’s a new opportunity. Brock noted startups are often better at solving problems and addressing clients’ needs because they aren’t stuck in the same rut of taking an established route. Startups don’t necessarily experience less complexity, but they don’t rely on the same approaches all the time.
Simplifying sales methods, processes and organizational attitudes isn’t always an easy task. Past habits and beliefs can prevent team members from seeing the big picture and maximizing productivity. But if your sales reps are spending more time arguing in internal meetings than serving customers, something needs to change. You need to consider things from your customers’ perspectives to make adjustments.
Putting Your Customers—Not Your Pitches—First Will Improve Sales
They say you catch more flies with honey, and your sales team may land more deals by catering to customers’ needs and preferences, rather than having a pitch ready at all times. Although your reps should absolutely know your product or service offerings back and forth, this shouldn’t be the information they lead with. If you want to boost sales, you should address customers first. Talk about them—their companies, their markets—and ask questions rather than just speak, Tom Searcy wrote for Inc. magazine.
In the past, salespeople would go to meetings and talk about why their products were the best, but now your team needs to be more subtle. Don’t be caught selling. Your team can be a lot more successful by focusing on issues related to your clients’ businesses. You can then offer insights into these problems by placing the emphasis on the context of the business, rather than the context of products you are trying to tell. Reps that take this approach wait to be asked to solve the problem. They do not push their own solutions. But expressing this concern about customer pain points helps establish a deeper sense of trust. These salespeople transform themselves into strategic partners and advisors instead of just a contact after the sale.
Market Insight Is Key
Without a firm knowledge of the conditions, competitors and geopolitical events in a customer’s market, your team can’t deliver this kind of service to clients or prospects. Although your customers are more informed about their options, you need to know what they are facing to meet them on their own terms and sell without selling.
As Dreamforce approaches (it’s November, and that means there are only 17 days left!), we’ve finalized our booth design, have finally all agreed on what we’re going to wear, and have our giveaways ready to go. We’re preparing for a GREAT show.
What we’re most excited about, though, are our breakout sessions. This year, we have two—one with Cisco’s Charlie Treadwell and Evan Escobedo, and the other with QTS’s Chris Oberkfell. They’ll discuss how big data insights are helping their sales and marketing teams drive growth.
Charlie and Evan will be talking about how Cisco is using FirstRain’s Market Insights to develop and implement their go-to-market strategy. They’ll discuss some of the challenges their organization faced, the goal it’s trying to achieve, as well as the characteristics that were important to them when they were trying to find a solution.
Chris, on the other hand, will be speaking to Customer Insights, and how it’s helped his entire sales organization replicate the behaviors of the top salespeople—and why having deep insight into your customer’s business is essential to compete in a fast-moving, constantly changing market.
We hope to see you there! To get more information on our sessions, click here. You can also enter to win a Fitbit Flex!
So, what are you waiting for?