Monday, March 31, 2014

4 ways to getting Sales Analytics through The Trough of Disillusionment

One of Gartner’s proprietary research methodologies is the so called “Hype Cycle”, which attempts to measure on a curve, where a technology or technological term is in its popularity maturity cycle.  The main components as you would expect are 1) the sharp rise as visibility increases and the technology is the talk of the town, 2) the peak, 3) the trough of disillusionment where the technology’s value delivered does not exceed the early excitement generated, 4) climbing the slope back upward as the hype wears off and the technology proves its worth, and 5) finally the plateau where the technology has matured and is in better line with consumer expectation.

Late last year, there was a lot of buzz about how Big Data is hitting its peak where its benefits and value are near-term overstated and expectations are highest.  After its rapid uphill climb, Big Data is for the first time looking down the other side of the slope and now it will have to prove value against dissenters and trek to the other side of the valley.  Information Week, had a pretty interesting article about it here.

What struck me the most was the steep descent of Sales Analytics and Gartner’s expectation that it will be mired in the trough of disillusionment for the next 5 years . I find this to be a shame as so much work and investment is going into sales analytics, and results thus far are not living up to the hype.  

Having worked in enterprise business analysis, I have seen firsthand the behavior, characteristics, and technological limitations of sales users -- and it drove the vision to start Bimotics.  With that, I have gathered insight about the subject of Sales Analytics and sales dashboards and have listed a few suggestions that may save the subject and get the group as a whole over to the slope of enlightenment!

  1. Speed things up! - With the volume of relevant data and analytics, it is easy to make users wait for the information to load. Sales people are stereotypically impatient with shorter attention spans, so if you want them too look at analytics don’t make them wait.
  2. Clean it up! - Sales dashboards and analytics should look as polished as the sales materials that sales reps give to to their customers. I found usability is profoundly important with this user group.  Do not expect them to click around to look for something.
  3. Show the money! - Sales dashboards and analytics that don’t show the monetary impact are just not interesting to sales representatives who are generally incentivised by commissions and making a revenue quota. Blending information on commissions, pipeline value, opportunity size and bookings will certaining make the analytics more interesting and valuable.
  4. Encourage sharing and collaboration!: When planning a sale to a Sales Executive, a rule of them is to highlight how easy it is to share and communicate. This is because being able to work as a team and communicate to others is very important to sales.  Analytics and insights from a sales metric should be captured in the tool itself and sharable with a team.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our 7 Whys

I am an avid follower of David Cumming’s Blog on Startups. Any entrepreneur with a technology startup can benefit from a quick read of his posts, especially if you have a SaaS.   The content that posts each week is both easy to read and often timely. Recently, there was a post on the questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves frequently. This is how Bimotics answered:

  1. Why are we doing this?
@Bimotics our mantra is shine a light on the path that leads to that “Good to know!” moment.  We truly believe that we can strengthen and improve small and medium sized businesses by giving them real-time analytics and information about their activities and operations. Our developer tools enable big data analysis as well.
  1. Why is now the right time to do this?
The time is now for Bimotics because non-technical people have begun accepting and using cloud technology in their daily lives. Cloud technology has finally evolved to the point where thousands of people can access extremely vast amounts of data at lightning fast speeds. These two conditions make it the right time.
  1. Why are we going to win?
We built a solution that seasoned developers said was impossible.  We now have a track record of proving our naysayers wrong.  We have a growing list of businesses that are signing up for our service even when others said that it would never happen. We are listening to these customers and steadily improving our product line. With our persistence and support from a highly qualified team, we are going to win.
  1. Why aren't we doing even better?
Fund raising has been slow; and we need to sharpen the way we communicate our offering. We are improving how we reach the right people but we can do it better.
  1. Why do employees want to work here?
Our team is excited about our position on the leading edge of innovation. They are also good people who believe that a robust and profitable business can flourish while maintaining a positive mission statement and the highest standards of ethics.
  1. Why is this the right product?
From the very beginning, our analytics software has been tailored for the small and medium sized business specifically. We didn’t simplify a product that was built for enterprise needs.
  1. Why do customers love us?
Our customers have said that Bimotics has become an invaluable tool to them in their day to day business. That’s “Good to know!”, and we couldn’t be happier!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Google Cloud Platform Training at Google HQ

What A Week It Was…Google Cloud Platform Training @Google HQ

Hello!  Roberto here, stepping in to write a quick note and give you an update on the trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.  I had a great time, and after an intense week and a series of grueling exams, I am happy to say that we are now an official Partner on the Google Cloud Platform Program!

Here we are, with our Bimotics name in lights: Google Technology Partner 

Google’s Cloud Platform Training for Partners is by invite only and allows cutting edge technology companies like Bimotics to train and receive education on the best practices of the Cloud platform.  Google’s training was not limited to Partners only, but to Googlers that use their own Cloud platform to manage internal products. I mingled with Googlers (Google employees) from the Cloud Platform solution as well, toured the campus, and even dined at the famous Charlie’s CafĂ© (chef of the Grateful Dead band).

The training focused on 5 cloud platform products and services:
  1. Google App Engine is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that lets you build and run applications on Google’s infrastructure.
  2. Google BigQuery solves the problem of querying massive datasets by enabling super-fast, SQL-like queries against append-only tables, using the processing power of Google's infrastructure.
  3. Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time.
  4. Google Cloud SQL is a MySQL database that lives in Google's cloud.
  5. Google Compute Engine is a service that provides virtual machines that run on Google infrastructure.
It was a busy week, but a wonderful and rewarding experience.  We are sure to build on the success of been now a Qualified Partner as this raises our profile and gives us great exposure on a global level.  More notes to follow in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 things we are looking for in our next employees

Since the beginning of the year, Bimotics has made significant progress towards catching the attention of people from different backgrounds and skills who would like to join our startup.  This is in stark contrast to just a year ago, when we were greeted with encouragement but far more skepticism. Since we are growing, we are looking for team members both on the business and marketing side as well as the technical developer side. Aside from the specific expertise desired, here five common themes we will be looking for in our next employees.

  1. Passionate about innovation: our team members need to have a burning desire to learn new ways of doing things or new technologies that can propel Bimotics forward.
  2. Good natured: we want teammates that are are not “jerks”.  We want people who are both nice and respectful inside the office and out.
  3. Self-propelled: startup culture requires people to be extremely self-motivated while working to create something as a team that the world has never seen before.  Our new hires will always find active ways to be helpful and productive.

Do you have these traits?  How would you apply them to our team?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Defining culture

There has been a lot of literature lately about creating and defining startup culture from the beginning.

Many seasoned entrepreneurs and famous founders talk of regret for not cultivating an organizational personna from the outset of the endeavor. As a startup, Bimotics is currently a handful of people that enjoying working together. As we grow, we are bound to face challenges to maintaining the productive and enjoyable atmosphere that we cherish.
What do you think?  I’m excited to find out and equally excited to be a part of a culture like this!
Looking ahead, Roberto and I set out to define the core principles and values that are the cornerstone of Bimotics. The following is our first attempt at a cultural policy.

0. Have fun!  You should enjoy doing your job!
1. No jerks allowed, be humble
2. Do no evil, business decisions should not bite us back
3. Don't spend money if there is a similar service for free
4. Teamwork, no decisions are made in a vacuum
5. Innovation, automation and ease of use are a priority
6. Business processes should not interfere with policy #2
7. Explore new concepts and actively share them
8. Bring your personal passions and interests, what drives you?
9. Don't be afraid to fail, take educated risks and learn from mistakes
10. Speak up!

What do you think?  I’m excited to find out and equally excited to be a part of a culture like this.