VP, Analytics and Technology at MarketStar
Sales as a Service® is much more than just hiring an off-site sales team. It starts with data, taking full advantage of big data and analytics. We spoke to Russ Reed, VP, Analytics and Technology, MarketStar, to understand the core tenets of the model as well as how directors and VPs of sales within organizations know when it is the right time to engage with an outsourced sales vendor.
Tell us about your role at MarketStar and the team/technology you handle.
I lead our technology and analytic services group at MarketStar. Our group manages sales analytics and performance reporting, along with our entire sales technology stack, custom development, and back office systems and services.
What are the core tenets of the Sales-as-a-Service model? How do directors and VPs of Sales within organizations know when it is the right time to engage with an outsourced sales vendor?
Sales as a Service® is much more than just hiring an off-site sales team. The MarketStar Sales-as-a-Service business model starts with data, taking full advantage of big data and analytics. Then we look at delivering repeatable processes with the end goal being to shorten the sales cycle. In addition, we add critical components of emerging sales technology, recruiting, coaching, training, and of course, the right people. In terms of when it’s the right time to engage with a vendor like MarketStar, to provide an off-site sales team, we typically see the following levers: scaling to meet variable demand, new product categories/new motion, and the need to augment established sales processes. While insourcing allows direct control, many organizations come to us to gain access to optimized expertise, greater productivity, and improved ROI by outsourcing all or part of their inside sales.
How do you see AI and Machine Learning impacting the outcome of Marketing and Sales operations?
A couple of interesting areas — utilizing chatbots to provide potential customers’ information when they want it (without having salespeople sitting around idle waiting). At the same time, these bots can take care of some of the tedious tasks such as qualification of a lead and transferring only the best opportunities to your sales employees. You’ll also be able to utilize Machine Learning to identify what elements of your interaction were good/bad and train your sales team on the best phrasing, positioning, etc.
What are the current trends in Marketing Automation technology that you are keenly interested in exploring?
I believe as AI and Machine Learning evolve and we get better at maximizing the value of the vast pools of data available to us, Marketing Automation will become less generic and smart enough to customize every automated interaction. The system will understand the role you have, your preferred methods of communication, phrasing you find engaging, etc. and will engage with you in a highly optimized way. No longer will it be a series of templates/form emails — the email, text, tweet, etc. you receive will be something you find valuable. It will become harder and harder to tell if you’re talking with a human, or with a computer.
How do you work with AI and Automation Technologies for sales journeys?
Today, we use a number of Automation technologies – Outreach.io and SalesLoft being the two primary ones. These tools help improve productivity for our Sales teams by automating some of the typical tasks in a sales role. The tools also help drive a tried and true cadence of communication that leads to more meetings, conversations, pipeline, and bookings. We use Machine Learning technologies to optimize the actual activities that are occurring – how to fine tune your conversation, what positioning is working, what questions should you be asking, what hints are you missing, etc.
What about video technology, in terms of the sales journey?
Videos offer an interesting opportunity to track what topics are being talked about for the sections a lead watches, where they drop off, what do they replay, etc. This is all data that could be used to customize a conversation or email or text back to the lead, or information for you to fine-tune your messages. In terms of a first-touch, personalized video messages are proving to be a really great way to get noticed right out of the gate. Tools such as Vidyard make the video email process easy. The video combined with a targeting platform, such as DiscoverOrg, or ZoomInfo creates the right custom introduction to the right people.
Thanks for chatting with us, Russ.
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