While many people talk about the cloud in many different ways, to business people, all the talk doesn’t matter if it doesn’t lead to customers, revenues and profits.
Giles House, SVP/CMO of sales and marketing effectiveness platform CallidusCloud, joins us to talk about what he calls the most important cloud to business people: The Lead-to-Money Cloud. He describes what the Lead-to-Money cloud is, how it helps align marketing and sales to the needs of customers – current and prospective, and how it should build a more efficient platform for customer engagement. (This transcript has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the audio player at the end of this article.)
* * * * *
Small Business Trends: Can you tell us a bit about your personal background?
Giles House: I’ve been in software for a good ten years. Spent all my life in it, in my professional capacity of course. Joined SAP and spent five years there in sales, pre-sales and business development.
Small Business Trends: Can you tell us a bit more about CallidusCloud?
Giles House: We’re an enterprise SaaS company. Our focus is on helping sales people, and the marketing teams as well, close more deals faster. We want to get more deals, bigger deals, and do it as easily as we can.
Small Business Trends: How do you do that?
Giles House: Essentially, it’s a process. To acquire a new customer starts with mining all that intelligence of what they’re doing on your website and how they’re responding to your marketing campaigns. How do we execute those campaigns more efficiently, get better quality leads, get more intelligence out of our website (often a neglected resource for companies)?
But it’s their shop window, so you have to be able to track all those anonymous visitors. Something like 90% of your traffic can be anonymous, so that’s a huge amount of traffic you’re losing insight from. So we have to sort that out, and that’s something we do.
Then it’s really about…how does marketing enable the sales force? Having the sales people being able to go into the portal, look at what content they should be using based on where they are in the sales cycle, where the buyer is, etc.
I think it was Forrester who published a survey last year of B2B buyers globally, and said something like only one in five meetings with a buyer resulted in a successful follow-up meeting. So four out of the five meetings with the sales person were useless and of no value.
So there’s a sort of performance angle. How do we get the sales people to be better? But there’s also an effectiveness angle. Think of it as let’s remove friction from the process.
Small Business Trends: Let’s look at it from a couple different perspectives. You have sales and you have marketing. It sounds like this is actually changing the relationship between the two.
Giles House: We’re trying to change the way sales and marketing teams behave. It feels like it should be a non-issue because I’ve spent time in the field and now I’m in marketing, so I’ve got that perspective. But a lot of people haven’t got that perspective, and sales cast their aspersions on the effectiveness of the marketing team, and vice versa.
Small Business Trends: They want better leads, right?
Giles House: Yeah, better leads. It’s a well-trodden path, but what we believe is sales and marketing have to be joined at the hip.
Back to the Forrester survey – one in five meetings was successful. If we take our company, for example, we have our lead-to-money suite and in that, there are eight different products, let’s say. If you come to our website, and you’ve just watched our overview video. And then you’ve filled in a form to download our lead-to-money white paper. And then my sales development team calls you, with just that knowledge they’re not going to be prepared to go into any kind of detail on any of those areas. They’re not going to have a clue what you’re interested in.
Small Business Trends: Right.
Giles House: But if that inside sales person knows, for example, that you’ve not only filled in this form. But all that anonymous browsing you were doing before that, where you spent 2 minutes 36 seconds on the configure price quote page, and then spent 2 minutes watching the configure price quote overview demo video, then that sales person’s got a much better idea that what you’re really interested in is a configure price quote.
Small Business Trends: Right.
Giles House: Marketing captures that information, but doesn’t always get it to the sales person. So we have these lead alerts that go out to all the sales force, exec team, marketing team, etc. And the sales guys can also set up their own individual alerts. So if any of their accounts are on the website looking at anything, they’ll get that intelligence in real time.
Small Business Trends: What are the immediate results, or the immediate metrics, you can point to that says this is working or not working?
Giles House: The overriding thing is, think about the customer experience. The first part of the customer experience is that first date, when you speak to a sales person. They’re your first representative. Now if that sales person doesn’t do a good job of articulating the value proposition, or worse still, is trying to talk to you about something that you’re not even interested in, or they’re trying to talk to you about something that you’ve already bought from them, that is a dreadful experience.
Small Business Trends: Yes.
Giles House: And I can tell you, I’ve had vendors who want to sell to us, running lead-gen programs who we’re already working with, telling me why I should be working with them. Guess what happens when that contract’s up for renewal?
Small Business Trends: You’re not going to renew it.
Giles House: I’m not doing a renewal because it’s a bad experience. It leads me to believe that if they haven’t got a handle on me as their client, then how on earth are they going to do a good job for me elsewhere?
Small Business Trends: Can you tell us where people can learn more about what you guys are doing at CallidusCloud?
Giles House: Easiest way is CallidusCloud.com. We’ve got videos, white papers, content galore.
This interview on how to turn leads into cash is part of the One on One interview series with thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This transcript has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.