Add a Little Intelligence to Your Sales Leads

By Dan Muse | Posted September 14, 2005

If good marketing is all about generating leads and effective selling is all about qualifying those leads, where does CRM software fit in?

Before the Call thinks that the CRM application should be where leads, sales collateral and market intelligence come together — the end result being that salespeople can focus on only the best leads.

The key, according to Before the Call's CEO Fred Walters, is to allow salespeople to qualify leads inside the CRM application. "Once they leave CRM, it's tough to get them back," he said.


Beyond the Call
Beyond the Call lets salespeople access collateral from within Salesforce.com

With that in mind, Before the Call on Monday announced the availability of an add-in service that's part of Salesforce.com's AppExchange, a on-demand application sharing service.

Before the Call is designed to comb the Web for market intelligence sources to provide information about each sales lead, ranked according to the criteria that the customer chooses. It then provides the salesperson with the most appropriate internal collateral (e.g., case studies, product brochures, technical whitepapers and so so) for each sales call.

That information is retained in a sales portfolio that is associated with the lead record in Salesforce.com and can be shared with peers and partners. "The easiest way to explain the value of our sales intelligence solution is that we enrich leads real-time with best-known market intelligence and applicable enterprise content," Walter said.

By providing access to sales and marketing material from within the CRM application, customers avoid what Walters calls the "black hole of sales collateral." Through partnerships with companies such InfoUSA, Factiva and MarketModel, Before the Call helps the salesperson qualify leads. "They can determine relevance. What industry are they in? How big are they are?"

After sales and company executives agree on what variables constitute a valid lead, Before the Call can "mitigate the chances of working on the wrong leads while others may not be followed up on," Walter said.


Beyond the Call
Vaildate the quality of the lead before you make the call.

The system also allows sales reps to save unstructured data such as Google search results as PDF files in the CRM application. While the Before the Call carries a logo for branding purposes, because it is an applet (or Web service) that runs inside Salesforce.com it looks and feels like Salesforce.com. This is an important fact, according to Walter. "If it takes any time for the sales rep to learn, it's an issue. They'll turn and leave."

Before the Call is currently priced at $50 per user, per month. Customers can choose two paid business intelligences services (Factiva, idExec,. MarketModel and LinkedIn).

Before the Call for AppExchange is one of 70 applications announced for AppExchange.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.


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