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Altify - augmented intelligence can improve sales effectiveness

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher July 26, 2018
Throwing tech at salespeople and hoping for adoption is a classic enterprise mistake. But as Barb Mosher Zinck explains, Altify is working to change that. How? By integrating sales methodology into their tools, and linking sales and marketing. Then add augmented intelligence.

I recently had a great conversation with Pat Morrissey, CMO of Altify and Nigel Cullington, Sr. Director Product Marketing, Design & Data, about the challenges with sales today and Altify’s solutions and approach to help organize meet those challenges, head-on.

One of the biggest challenges Morrissey said organizations face is that while they want to sell more effectively, their approach is flawed. The problem is that an organization takes the time to train its salespeople on a methodology: it pulls them out of the field and gives them books and exercises, and tells them what they need to do, and then sends them back into the field. Unfortunately, 90% of that knowledge is lost after the training and most salespeople simply revert to old methods.

Why does this happen? Because the methodology is not operationalized. It’s not a part of the day-to-day operations, Morrissey explained. So what’s the answer?

Bridging sales methodology with sales software

Altify believes the right way to enable sales is to bring the methodology into sales software changing the way Sales reps and leaders evaluate and manage opportunities on a daily basis.

Altify started out around thirteen years ago as the TAS Group. Its founder purchased the targeted account selling business from Oracle before it acquired Siebel (formerly known as Dealmaker) and developed its Opportunity Manager Application, a configurable sales methodology software platform.

Over the next few years, the application transitioned to a SaaS solution, and the company added additional solutions including Account Manager and Sales Process Manager. Altify also decided to focus solely on integration with Salesforce (it was the first to have native integration with Lightning) and in 2016 rebranded as Altify.

Altify’s ultimate goal is to help sales teams implement successful opportunity management and account planning programs. It believes the best way to do this is to operationalize the sales methodology by integrating it with the tools that Sales teams already use on a daily basis.

There are three things Altify aims to help companies do, according to Morrissey:

  • Win the deals that matter the most
  • Expand and maximize growth in existing accounts
  • Improve sales execution with guided selling, creating a consistent sales process that improves over time

The need for augmented intelligence

Altify recently introduced the idea of augmented intelligence into its solutions. Morrissey said that for Altify, the goal is not about automating routine transactions or getting rid of salespeople but helping them understand the activity around the account and giving salespeople the insights they need to make decisions.

Cullington explained that there isn’t a way to get a computer or artificial intelligence to do what salespeople need to do, but there is data in what salespeople do every day that can help them on the guided selling side. This is especially true when working with enterprise customers with complex sales environments.

So they created Max. Max is built-in augmented intelligence that monitors account plans, identifies gaps and vulnerabilities and recommends actions all within your Opportunity Manager or Account Manager (essentially best practice coaching while you work). Max is configurable and extensible to match how you work.

There are over 500 plus signals that track what sales are doing throughout the sales opportunity and process, and Max analyzes those signals to provide real-time insights to salespeople.

Right now, the insights are in the solutions on an account or opportunity basis. But Altify did something else that is getting the attention of its customers. Its Data Science division works with customers to pull some of these signals out, analyze them and then provide feedback to the organization on ways to improve or identify things they are doing well.

For one customer they analyzed the data around the Relationship Map (a dynamic org chart within their solutions that shows things like influence, inner circle and political mapping between people). They found that in one instance where a map had four key players, two who were in the inner circle and one who was the decision maker, that opportunity was 75% more likely to close within the desired time frame.

The point of this level of reporting, Cullington said, is to provide enablement, improve the profiling of potential opportunities and it’s an incentive for Sales teams, “here’s what it looks like using your data and here’s what you need to be doing.”

Altify is looking at how it can provide this reporting in its applications as well as anonymizing the data, so they can share it with other customers, so they can see what good looks like.

Examining the intersection of sales and marketing

A big discussion these days is the misalignment between marketing and sales. Even account-based marketing, while beneficial when done well, isn’t putting sales and marketing on the same page.

Morrissey said the problem is that marketing and marketing tools are not connected to the way sales go to market strategically. There needs to be more than a lead hand-off, a way to facilitate the customer journey and more tightly align the two groups to drive consistent success.

It comes down to people and problems Morrissey explained:

  • Do we understand who we are targeting in the account?
  • Have we done our homework and are we able to bring unique value in a way that helps the customer execute and do their job better?
  • Are we enabling this intelligence across the entire team?

Marketing tools are not necessarily used or understand by salespeople, Morrissey said (and I am inclined to agree). They also don’t map to sales processes and methodology, and this creates real tension between the two groups. Morrissey said many don’t have a methodology that prescribes what should be the sales process all the way through in a way that shows sales and marketing understand the customer, the market, and the target.

Cullington described something Altify does that helps this alignment. Part of the methodology in the Opportunity Manager Solution is qualification. They will select opportunities and bring them to the wider team (including marketing and product) to review and discuss ways to improve. He said they might do this five times throughout the sale process for a million dollar deal.

My take

Communication is an amazing thing, something we don’t do enough of between sales and marketing. Collaboration is another. My initial thoughts on seeing some of the functionality of the Opportunity Manager and the Account Manager (via described screenshots - still waiting on the demo) is that these tools could be incredibly helpful to marketers as well as salespeople.

Marketing would use it slightly differently. They aren’t on the front-lines doing the relationship building and the selling. But the augmented intelligence provided by Max, and this view of what is happening in the sales team can help marketers build marketing programs that are tightly aligned with sales, including ABM.

And it’s true that while AI can, and will, help with many things, it can’t do the actual selling. Providing intelligence alongside the work salespeople do while following a methodology that aligns with the market they work in, is very useful. My biggest issue is that overall, top-down reporting isn’t available in their solutions.

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