With all the benefits associated with sales force automation, repetitive data entry has become what most would consider to be a necessary evil. Job satisfaction issues aside, however, the most ‘evil’ dimension of that data entry burden is the reality that the more opportunities a salesperson is engaged in, the greater their administrative burden becomes. That's why user adoption suffers and why the data available for analytics becomes increasingly compromised over time. The other side of that coin is that the expanding data-entry burden will also dramatically reduce the number of sales opportunities that a salesperson can realistically engage in. As a result, it also represents an obvious barrier to sales growth. How much sales productivity can you unleash by removing that barrier? And how much better will your legacy analytics perform with a more complete and more accurate data set? We’d love to help you find out. Contact us for a free trial. Additional incentives are available if you’re willing to let us publish the results!
Regardless of which Sales Force Automation (“SFA”) system or BI application your company uses, the old axiom of “garbage in, garbage out” still applies. Much like in the old analog days, if data is missing or misfiled in the digital filing cabinet, it is of no value to anyone.
However, if you were to have a database composed of quality data that includes the appropriate level of detail and context, then many CRM and BI solutions (including Salesforce.com) could deliver extraordinary results. The challenge is that, in the real world, the intensive labor required to obtain and maintain that level of quality in the database generally results in workforce resistance and ultimately a less than optimal ROI. The reason is that salespeople understandably view data entry as a tremendous burden and a bane; one that distracts them from revenue generation.
Ensuring that your SFA database is accurate, complete and up to date is a key part of the Ophio mission. The way we get there is by leveraging metadata to alleviate the traditional data-entry burden and deliver front-line end-user value; value that transforms data capture from a painful obligation into something that salespeople will do for themselves.
The “sweet spot for sales enablement” is defined by analyst firm IDC as “the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward.” Of course, making sure the 'right information' is in the system in the first place must be a critical consideration for any sales enablement strategy.
The problem is that getting that "right information" into SFA systems has historically required a time-consuming commitment; and consensus estimates are that 70% of salespeople won't make that commitment of time and effort.
User adoption of Sales Force Automation ("SFA") systems has always been limited by the onerous data-entry burden that they impose on salespeople. That data-entry burden not only conflicts with every salesperson’s natural focus on selling, it’s also in direct conflict with the types of personalities that choose a sales career in the first place. The inevitable result is that the data that does get captured in SFA systems is generally less timely, less rich and less accurate than it should be - if it gets entered at all. Reliance on manual data entry has always been a recipe for missing, incomplete, wrong and duplicate data records; all of which greatly diminish the ability of SFAs to improve outcomes or deliver better business visibility.
But the rewards for success are too compelling for companies to give up on pursuing great data. For example, recent research by the Aberdeen Group asserts that good adopters of SFAs see average sales revenue increases of 26%.
Ophio was founded on the realization that machine metadata could offer a better way. Ophio alleviates SFA's onerous administrative burden by leveraging metadata to automatically identify and log activities without manual data entry. Ophio then empowers salespeople to rapidly add important context to those sales process data records; enabling them to realize the sales benefits of great user adoption without the traditional administrative burden required to achieve it. In other words, salespeople can have their cake and eat it too.
From a company perspective, Ophio enlists salespeople to add structure to captured metadata and maintain an unprecedented level of data-hygiene for better managerial insight and unprecedented analytics performance - but the critical point is that salespeople add that context to captured metadata out of self interest (to avoid repetitive data entry, save time and better leverage their SFA to sell more) and not because they are hounded to do so. As a result, Ophio effectively aligns the interests of all stakeholders in the sales process and "the right information" is always available to whoever can benefit from it. That's sales enablement powered by metadata.
How much time (and money) is your company spending on data entry? The ROI of using machine meta-data to auto-populate SFA data fields
Consensus estimates are that salespeople who are ‘good’ user adopters of Sales Force Automation ("SFA") systems spend an average of 5-6 hours per week updating their SFA records. In the aggregate, that’s 6-8 weeks a year.
Multiply that by your cost of wages and sales support and the ROI of reducing the SFA data-entry burden starts to make a lot of sense. Consider opportunity costs and the case becomes even more compelling.
That's one of the problems that we set out to solve as founders of Ophio. Today Ophio empowers salespeople to leverage metadata in order to easily initiate follow-on actions related to sales process events and to deliver facts and insights about those events to peers and managers much more quickly and easily than they could before — without the burden of time-consuming and repetitive data entry. That enables them to spend more time nurturing relationships, more time cold calling and more time closing deals. The result is better productivity and better quality data that is less time-consuming to obtain.
The ROI doesn’t stop there. Reducing SFA data entry requirements also increases job satisfaction, not only by reducing the administrative burden on salespeople but also by improving the relationship dynamic between salespeople and their managers; because getting data into SFA systems will no longer be an adversarial process. Improved job satisfaction is not restricted to salespeople, as managers also hate having to to hound salespeople to enter the data that they need. Now most of that data can get captured automatically. Of course, job satisfaction is a strong correlate to reduced employee turnover - and the ROI of reduced turnover is obvious.
When you leverage machine metadata to eliminate the need for time-consuming data entry, less really is more: more time saved, more productivity gained, more knowledge shared, more job satisfaction and more compelling results.
Imagine being able to prospect more effectively by accessing business intelligence about the companies that meet your target profile in whatever geographic area you happen to be in. Now imagine being able to do that instantly and dynamically from your mobile device. In situations where a scheduled meeting is cut short and you find yourself "all dressed up with no place to go," Ophio now empowers you to prospect or manage your relationships that matter, in your immediate vicinity, based on data filters that can be optimized for your business.
The Ophio GeoAssistant empowers salespeople with dynamic, on-the-fly BI that is location-aware. It's built into the Ophio app and runs natively in Salesforce1 on both iPhone and Android. We're really proud of this innovation and are very excited to show it to you. Click on "contact us" to schedule a demo.
After my last post about how Ophio metadata can offer a crystal ball for sales forecasting, some other uses for Ophio metadata sprang to mind.
The first is in the area of billing management for companies delivering billable services. Ophio can identify events that should be billed, and, by cross referencing other systems, Ophio can remind those delivering such services to bill for them (based on elapsed time intervals) and even alert managers to the existence un-billed service events.
Another example would be expense management optimization. Here's an example of how Ophio metadata can add value to that: since Ophio can track your route in getting from one appointment to the next, it can also be used to automatically create mileage expense reports through integration with third-party expense management systems. Ophio could also automatically embed such routing data into SFA sales process event records, empowering salespeople to claim their mileage expense in the expense management with a single tap on their mobile devices without the need for additional manual data entry.
Do you have any thoughts on how Ophio metadata can help optimize your business processes? Let us know! Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Like any CEO, I'm often asked "what's next"? Looking beyond what Ophio currently delivers to what Ophio metadata can do for our customers and partners, there are many opportunities to optimize business processes and decision-making by leveraging machine metadata for better analytics. One area that that we're serious about is Sales Forecast Analysis & Success Modelling.
According to Accenture and a 2012 CSO Insights report, the top third of salespeople working at companies with over a billion dollars in annual revenue accurately forecast which deals they will likely lose only 24% of the time. They accurately forecast which deals are likely to result in “no decision” only 22% of the time. Most importantly, those “best-of-the-best” salespeople correctly forecast their wins only 54% of the time – only marginally better than a coin toss.
As a result, many managers rely on a highly unscientific approach to sales forecasting – gut instinct and the application of large "haircut" discounts to the pipeline in an attempt to under-promise and over-deliver. A correlative historical analysis of metadata around successful vs. unsuccessful outcomes offers a more scientific approach to the problem. For example, if in the history of a company, no one has sold a deal larger than X million without Y site Visits and/or Z calls or emails, then deals in the pipeline that don't fit the data model would become suspect. If the metadata traffic is far below the norm, factoring in deal size and seasonality, the explanation may be as simple as the buyer being a close friend or relative of the salesperson - but it also may be a clear indicator of an overly optimistic assessment. That's the kind of data that managers need to better assess and commit to their sales forecasts. But building those data models and applying them to real-world sales opportunities requires more data than what salespeople can reasonably deliver via manual data entry.
Ophio’s automated data capture, however, fills that gap and empowers companies to better forecast outcomes for every opportunity in the sales pipelines on an individual basis. By recording the metadata around both successful and unsuccessful sales efforts, over time sufficient metadata can be accumulated to both identify opportunities in the sales pipeline that require more scrutiny as well as to empower identification of sales processes that are more likely to lead to success versus failure - or vice versa.
With an understanding of the metrics that drive good instincts, metadata can help salespeople flag sales process and sales pipeline issues and help managers to be more effective. What they're both missing today isn't more tools to create sales outcome scenarios in the absence of meaningful data, but rather tools that provide objective, new and correlative data that empower them to optimize sales processes and better predict the likelihood of success for what they include in their sales forecasts.
Sales forecast analytics driven by metadata is one area that we'll be pursuing with partners.. Do you have any ideas on how Ophio metadata can help you see the future in order to make better decisions today? Send us an email at email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!
Ophio has passed security review and is now authorized to deploy natively in Salesforce.com. Ophio leverages metadata to save salespeople up to 5 hours a week, accelerate insight contribution & provide managers with unprecedented business visibility. Ophio runs natively inside of Salesforce.com and in the Salesforce1 mobile app (which runs in both iPhone and Android). Support for other CRMs/SFAs is coming soon. For a limited time, you can try Ophio at no charge (and with no obligation) to see for yourself how Ophio can boost sales team productivity, improve sales process outcomes and increase sales pipeline visibility!