Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Archive for February 2007

The Creepy-Cool SalesGenius Experience

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As Coupa grows we’re getting serious about prospect followup, etc. One aspect of this is evaluating the quality of leads. In CRM terms, suffice it to say “quality” can mean whatever you want – in this case let’s say it measures interest-level (vs. budget-approved, is-the-right-sized-firm, etc).

For small firms like Coupa, the SalesGenius service seems pretty interesting. At its core, it tracks what prospects do with email you send them. It’s very cool, but in a creepy, big-brotherish kind of way..

Say I email Joe Schmo at fictitious company MotoRo with a nice email explaining my product offering. If Joe chooses to read the email I’ll get a real-time pop-up on my desktop saying “Joe is reading your email!”. The pop-up will include Joe’s contact information if I’ve added it to the system. If I embed a link in the email, say back to my website, and Joe clicks the link – voila, the SalesGenius service will shoot a message to my desktop: “Joe is on your website!”.

The thinking behind the tracking, which is clever and inescapably logical, is that if Joe is reading the email or perusing the website it might be a very, very good time to call him. The question I have is whether this crosses some sort of privacy boundary. A good test of whether it does is whether you’d be comfortable calling Joe and saying “Hey, I noticed you were reading my email 2 minutes ago and had clicked to our website so I figured I’d call in case you had any questions.” Now I’m no sales guy, but my gut tells me that wouldn’t be the best ice breaker.

…But hey, if you’re a sales guy and you think your competitors might be effectively using tools like SalesGenius to increase their close % it may be time to keep-up-with-the-Jones’. And on the surface, it seems pretty neat

I’d be interested in your feedback on other lead followup tools you like! Add your thoughts as comments below.

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Written by Dave Stephens

02/27/07 9:08 PM at 9:08 pm

Posted in Coupa, IT, Opinion

Buyer Line Item Veto

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Although many organizations like to pretend they never stoop to performing any non-strategic, transactional work, let’s face it – they do. Ill-formed requests come in, and often times they’re important. Whether a price check or a complex buy, the question is how to involve a professional buyer (at the right time and in the right way) to maximize company efficiency and optimize for better outcomes.

My mind has been turning to the notion of a buyer “Line Item Veto.” The thinking is that buyers could use an increase in their authority and ability to help the company make better decisions. All too often they get involved way too late to help – and sometimes so late that they simply slow down a bad process en route to a bad outcome.

Systems don’t help with this issue. Those I’m familiar with direct buyer involvement to the “last hoop” in a queue of approvals and signoffs. Yet to review a problematic transaction at the end of the line is WAY TOO LATE in the approval cycle to be helpful.

The flaw in logic (in my opinion of course since I’m being controversial & anti-establishment here) is that by pushing the review to the last possible moment you can ensure the number of items requiring attention by the buyer is the least possible. But I doubt this happens, and it’s far more likely that each transaction, thoughtfully garbled by approvers as well as the requester, becomes much harder to unwind and correct, just like the strings of holiday lights I have to untangle each year.

So consider getting your buyers involved earlier, even if you fear a higher workload. You may find each transaction takes much less work “to fix”. And if you’re already working this way, drop me a line and let me know your experiences..

-Dave

Written by Dave Stephens

02/26/07 10:52 PM at 10:52 pm

Posted in Procurement

Purchasing MIA

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Sometimes you just don’t have a good excuse for going missing from the blogosphere for so-o-o-o long. Truth is, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in Coupa startup stuff, and it’s been a blast. But the days of “grip it and rip it” posts discussing the inner workings of Coupa are probably in the past. But we’ll see, once we’ve completed our next series of announcements there will be a lot of recent history to cover that, frankly, I can’t wait to share.

Michael of Sourcing Innovation is headed over here to the West Coast tomorrow for his bi-annual soak-it-up and share-it visits with Procurement and Supply Chain vendors in the Valley. It will be good to catch up with him again.

And apologies in advance if I offer a few content-light posts to get back in the blogging groove.

Written by Dave Stephens

02/26/07 10:39 PM at 10:39 pm