At UnifiedVU, the inspiration for the first few products came from our needs to acquire customers. We built a Milestone App, which is helping us to visualise and manage our sales pipeline. We’ve also adopted the same for raising a seed round. In future, we will use the same for recruitment. This shows the diversity of applications that one product can cater for.

Daniel Barber, VP of Node.io recently published an article on Sales Hacker on “The $500 Framework for Evaluating Sales Technology“, which got my attention.

Image below taken from Daniel’s article shows a simple sales tech stack, which encompasses sales engagement tools followed by automation and analytics. Under pinning all of this is your traditional CRM.

sales stack

Image credit: Sales Hacker

If you then explore above against the exploding sales tech startups, you can begin to see the problem. And this will not stop here, as more and more new tech startups bring feature based niche offerings to the market, fuelled by the eagerness of venture capital backing them up.

inside sales stack

Image: Venture Beat

The point Daniel is making is that, should we fix a budget for these tools per sales person, rather than subscribe to the latest tool that could give you a competitive advantage?

Secondly, he identifies the interconnected triangle in which a modern sales person operates in.

sales tech pyramid

Image credit: Sales Hacker

These being:

  • CRM – Place holder for contact information and historical interactions.
  • Data – Helping to drive interactions.
  • Workflow – means of interacting.

It is our belief that all organisations whether one man band or thousands strong need to maintain a contacts database, and not simply rely on contacts functionality provided by email services, such as Outlook and Google Mail. Technology has come down in price so much that its impossible to argue about the cost of a CRM service such as CapsuleCRM, Nimble, etc.

For us, CapsuleCRM’s Google contextual gadget allow us to not just save emails in CRM, but we can also set tasks, opportunities etc without leaving Google. Whilst this improves productivity, we still need additional data sources to help us close sales faster. And this is where feature based services play their role.

Feature Driven Products

When Pipedrive was first introduced in 2010, it provided a Sales Pipeline View that the incumbent CRM vendors did not provide. Keen sales folks started to subscribe to Pipedrive in addition to maintaining their existing CRM. Salesforce is finally going to offer the same in their Winter 2016 Edition. It has taken Salesforce 5 years to catch up. In the meantime, with $13.4 million in funding, Pipedrive is quickly becoming a CRM vendor competing with those they complimented at the beginning.

One of the benefits we bring to the market is the ability to build these type of features above existing core systems such as CRM. We can now provide a Sales Pipeline View over any CRM. We’ve already proven for Salesforce and CapsuleCRM and just started building on SugarCRM.

salesforce pipeline

 

For those chasing UK customers, we’ve built a simple intelligence application which shows prospects’ financial and statutory information when the prospect is selected on CRM. Just like in the case of Sales Pipeline, we can repeat this functionality for any CRM. We call this build-once apply-many.

intel

Our immediate strategy going forward is to facilitate interactions so that sales teams can close sales faster. We’ve just started building an application to bring your communications from other channels into one place. Once again, working with your CRM contacts.

tweet

We will continue to add similar capabilities to help sales teams. At the end, we believe that we could reduce the cost of the sales stack as we apply a flat subscription model, e.g. £45 user/month gets all these apps without a limit.

And this is just the start. Once we have helped sales teams, we will continue the same strategy across the rest of the organisation from delivery to finance and beyond.

Do come and join our journey..

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Categories: General

Manoj Ranaweera

  • Q9 Elements

    First agree (document) your “lead to order” process, and then you can decided on the tools that support it. And as you say in this blog, you can mix and match and get some great software for a lot less than $500/user. But you then need to make sure that staff understand how to navigate across the tools – hence the need for process & Unified.Vu

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