May 8, 2015 1:00:00 PM
Having been in technology sales for over 25 years, you get to see a lot of things. Some you see for the first time, many are the same movie plot coming together again. I was fortunate to be around to see several market spaces come together and mature. Two of the more prominent are ERP and CRM.
I remember when companies would buy separate systems from different vendors for financials, manufacturing and distribution. They would then invest lots of time, money and resources integrating the various systems and the processes. Upgrades were a nightmare and productivity gains level out quickly. When SAP came along with a single unified system (along with a little catalyst called Y2K), the space really took off.
Before companies like Siebel developed CRM applications, Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Support (Help Desk) were individualized solutions.
Having attended and spoken at several conferences over the past 4-6 months, it is evident that Sales Acceleration is rapidly moving in that same direction. Sales Acceleration sits between traditional marketing functions that develop/score/manage “leads” (epitomized by Marketing Automation Platforms) and the sales function that performs and measures Opportunity Management (CRM functionality).
While Sales Acceleration is still in its infancy like the days before CRM and ERP, all the signs indicate déjà vu. Sales Acceleration started with efficiency tools like dialers. These solutions have matured, but the business need to close the gap between marketing leads and the resulting sales cycles (opportunity management), is much greater.
There has been a huge increase in the available tools, protocols and technologies that are designed to accelerate leads turning into sales cycles. Everything from sales intelligence tools, prospecting applications and protocols, data cleansing, dialing, email tracking, automated demo tools, content management apps, analytic tools and more.
This is what SFA and Help desk looked like before CRM.
While these Sales Acceleration tools each do a great job, the promise of Sales Acceleration has not yet, and will not be realized until they are integrated from a process and technological perspective.
Having seen this movie plot before, it’s only a matter of time.
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