I was recently reminded of the meaning of value innovation: Marc Benioff once said that, “innovation is taking something that works somewhere else and applying it to your world.” A major theme at Salesforce World Tour London, recent innovations promised to make this year all-new and exciting. As this was the biggest Salesforce event in Europe, I had a feeling of curious anticipation. There was certainly the right vibe, with more people than last year, an overflowing expo hall, and lots of Star Wars costumes. But most striking were the event speakers, all of which had one thing on their mind- innovation.
For the Love of Data
One of the most exciting themes from the event centered on data science. Even if you don’t consider yourself a data expert, you are most likely becoming one. As professionals in sales, marketing, operations, management, IT, finance, etc. we are all becoming data scientists in order to prescribe the best behaviour, do the right thing, and win more business.
Experts in other fields (robotics, cars, computer science, etc.) have shown how machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data can transform the path towards creativity & productivity. B2B companies are taking note, as software leaders like Salesforce & Apttus are beginning to apply this logic to our world.
What is Data Science?
First let’s agree on the fundamentals of data science:
1) Stick to the scientific method: Ask Questions, do research, form a hypothesis, and define an outcome.
2) Create a vision based on your findings. Allow software to become the expert. Invest in applications on one platform.
3) We still need humans to work with robots: your data has to align with your people & their goals. Have your best & brightest influence your process.
In his Keynote session, Apttus’ Global Chief of Sales & Marketing Kamal Ahluwalia covered some of the latest innovative products- which I’ve shared with you below – and why companies are choosing Apttus.
Why Apttus? Take Salesforce: they had a legacy Quote-to-Cash system that, believe it or not, was not fully integrated in the cloud- it was slow and a bottleneck for even top-performing sales reps. They asked questions, did a bit of research, and decided they needed a new solution to transform their sales. Apttus worked with them to transform the way they sell, and how they engage their customers.
Salesforce selected Apttus for a complete Quote-to-Cash process, including E-Commerce. Here are a few of the outcomes they saw:
– Scaled across all channels, global locations, and achieved true business agility.
– Improved contract generation time, quicker renewals, and self-service for customers.
– Significant revenue increase.
– 80% of transactions have minimal to no touches.
On top of Salesforce, Apttus solves business problems for 9 different industries, and partners with their leaders automate their mission critical Quote-to-Cash processes.
The Reign of Data Science and the Intelligent Cloud
Now some of the latest innovative products that I promised. Kamal when on to describe Apttus’ recently announcement of the new Apttus Intelligent Cloud, which sees process automation as only the beginning and instead focuses on taking a more outcomes driven approach. The Intelligent Cloud adds 2 layers on top of process automation: Behaviour and Machine Learning Intelligence. This is all the shiny AI, prescriptive intelligence, and real-time incentive programs that drive greater results. As data accumulates, the machine learning intelligence provides sales reps with continually improving recommendations on everything from pricing to what contract clauses.
Fundamentally, this is about the difference between customer satisfaction and customer success. Satisfaction is hard to quantify, which is why we reach for success: determining the outcomes you want out of an investment, build a business case on how it impacts your top & bottom line, and lay out how we’ll get there together.
Kamal ended the keynote by going back to the fundamentals– listening to the customer and customer experience. DSV, a logistics leader spoke about how they and Apttus have partnered together to achieve the perfect shipment, and what outcomes they’re working towards: hyper-intelligence quoting & customer self-service quoting. You can see DSV COO speak about this and more here.