In today’s world, it’s easy to suffer from information overload and no one is immune to this, even in the world of sales. With so much information to be had about clients, businesses, individuals, companies and more, how does one determine what’s important and what’s not when it comes to utilizing that information to make the sale? Tune in as Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft.com, joins Brent Leary to share his solution – one that mines relevant information for sales reps and delivers it back in a meaningful way.
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Small Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you do?
Kyle Porter: I have been selling software, hardware and services my entire life. But I have always been looking for ways to use technology to drive additional business value.
We started SalesLoft last year in September, alongside David Cummings who is the CEO of Pardot, which is a marketing automation company. We found sales professionals were suffering from this fundamental lack of a relevant information on the companies they were selling to.
We realized we could connect with CRM systems and mine out the information that was relevant about companies and people for each individual sales rep and deliver it back in a meaningful way.
Small Business Trends: How do sales folks leverage “social” to create relationships today?
Kyle Porter: I think first and foremost you have to look at it from the buyers’ side. Research studies are saying that 60% of the purchasing decisions are made prior to even dealing with the sales rep, so the sales rep is forced to up his or her game.
Sale reps are finding new ways to qualify; finding new ways to connect; and so that data and information is a way to do it. So I think the challenge is separating the noise from the real good content, and using the good content to your advantage in a quick and actionable way.
Small Business Trends: You mentioned the impact on CRM with a service like yours?
Kyle Porter: So what we want to do is we want to create a CRM system, or change a CRM system so that when the sales rep comes in they’re rewarded for adding value in it, adding information. We do that by appending all of these carrots, if you will, or these information triggers and intelligence alongside of that data.
So it is really the future of CRM as making it valuable not just for the executives and managers, but making it a really awesome tool for the people who are putting that stuff in on a daily basis.
Small Business Trends: In addition to putting it in, do you help them once they get certain pieces in? Do you help them fill out some of the other pieces of information on a particular contact?
Kyle Porter: We are not necessarily focused on adding a bunch of information back in the CRM, but delivering you a stream of intelligence, so it is not updating names and phone numbers, address and emails. But it is saying:
“Here’s all the stuff that is happening with those companies and people; here are the technologies they are using; all of the business news; all of the jobs that are posting in their social feeds.”
All of that stuff.
Small Business Trends: How critical is the speed of information to sales today?
Kyle Porter: I think speed is extremely important when we look at how buyers buy and how relationships are formed.
I talked to a guy from IBM recently, and he said that 8% of their clients were 80% of their revenue, and that 100 million dollar deals are generated from their customers, and these sales guys know the grandkids middle name.
So this level of sincerity for them to manage those relationships and show they are looking out for the best interest of the client, social has just added all of this information.
Small Business Trends: We went from 80/20 to 80/8? It’s kind of fascinating when you think about it. Is that the impact that social has if we do have an access to this information, where we are able to really target the people that are really driving business?
Kyle Porter: Social is about people – period. When you have more information on people, you have the ability to mine out who are the right people to talk to, who are the ones that aren’t a good fit, when is the right time to talk to those people.
Small Business Trends: How challenging is this new environment for folks stuck in their traditional ways of doing their job?
Kyle Porter: It depends on the sale, to be honest with you. When you look at those IBM fifty million, 100 million dollar sales, they are not kids making those sales, those are CIO’s and those are gray hairs – and it is gray hair to gray hair. And that is going to happen until those gray hairs are no longer around.
But I think it is very important that the young generation understands social, and understands the important factors that the gray hairs brought to the table which is the actual reason why social matters, which is people and the relationships.
Small Business Trends: How do you attract these folks that have the certain skills that will allow them to be a really good sales person in this particular era?
Kyle Porter: I learned from one of my mentors, David Cummings of Pardot, three things that are the most important when hiring somebody:
- They are self-starters.
- They are helpful.
- They are positive.
So he looks at every single hire from that lens and we have done that as well as we build the business. It has been really helpful for our recruiting in that sort of thing.
Small Business Trends: What are the tools needed to attract the social sales?
Kyle Porter: One of the tools that I think it is an extremely important is email and….
Small Business Trends: Wait a minute….email?
Kyle Porter: There is a huge difference between Outlook and Google Apps for Business. Let’s say that I wasn’t working for SalesLoft, I wouldn’t go work for another company if they made me use Outlook today.
Yesware is an awesome tool for sales. I think that what we are seeing is that Google has taken the cake when it when it comes to email. So that is the first one to be honest with you.
Then I think CRM obviously is very, very important.
Small Business Trends: Kyle where can people learn more about what you guys do?
Kyle Porter: Go to SalesLoft.com
This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.