Salesforce.com bolstered its CRM platform today with a deeper integration of FirstRain's enterprise analytics for tighter collaboration and action among sales teams. The move gives about half of FirstRain's customers, which are also on Salesforce.com's platform, greater access to insights about their own target customers and the ability to collaboratively take action on that data within their existing Salesforce workflow.
"The solution we provide is for each sales rep to basically get a view of their customer's business in real time, and the trends that are impacting their customer and the customer's end markets. So the sales rep is able to basically match the sales strategy into the business needs of the customer," FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher tells ClickZ.
FirstRain primarily sells customer intelligence analytics to enterprise and business-to-business sales teams in finance, technology, healthcare, communications, and more industrial markets like gas and chemicals. FirstRain uses linguistic modeling to analyze content across online and social media channels before exploring key trends, interactions, or other events of interest.
"If you can get every rep to really understand in real time how their customer's business is changing, what matters to their customer, and what's happening to their customer's end market, you can change that rep's ability to speak directly to the customer's need when he or she is engaging as a trusted advisor to the customer," adds Herscher.
"If you're say a rep at GE and you're trying to sell some massive turbines or something, you want to understand what's happening at a trend level, at a government level, at a regulatory level, all the trends that are changing that impact your strategy with your target account," she says. "If, however, your customer is a food processing plant in Louisiana and you're selling gases, you need to understand developments in the food packaging industry as it impacts your major account in Louisiana."
FirstRain captures micro-level data that sales teams may not previously be aware of and also highlights positive or negative trends based on activity at a macro level. "We're replacing the poor rep that struggles with Google Alerts and the rep that struggles with some marketing team internally that always gives them information 30 days late. We're automating that process," Herscher adds.
"What's changing is that reps for years have tried to do research on the end customers, and we have waves of sales methodology that develops," says Herscher. "With each wave of methodology and each wave of tools, the sales team is still trying to get the information about the end customer's business. That's what they're still trying to understand."
The new features available on Salesforce.com give FirstRain customers the ability to create tasks, notes, and engage in relevant discussions on Chatter on email. FirstRain is "adding a workflow and set of analytics directly inside our Salesforce integration so that the user can be interacting with the intelligence and sharing it in their enterprise collaboration environment," adds Herscher. "It allows them to take the intelligence they're seeing about a major account or customer and very quickly collaborate around it in a very seamless way."
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
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