The Ten Commandments for Sales Managers

Geoffrey James, who writes for the “Sales Machine” blog for BNET, takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at best practices for sales managers. Here’s a sample:

1. Thou shalt not treat every deal as equally important. How often hast thou decreed that thy team must prioritize?  Follow thou then thy own advice, and stop focusing on deals that wilt not add many shekels to thy corporate coffer.

Click here to read.

Posted in: Sales Management
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Cloud9 Pipeline Accelerator Named Finalist for CODiE Award

Cloud9 Pipeline Accelerator was named today as a finalist for the 2011 CODiE™ award in Business/Competitive Intelligence. The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, presents the CODiE awards to innovative software companies in business software, education, and digital media.

Now in its twenty‐fifth year, the CODiE Awards program represents excellence and rewards innovation in the business software, digital content and education technology industries. The CODiE Awards hold the distinction of being the industry’s only peer‐reviewed awards program.

More than 130 nominations from 98 companies were selected as finalists from among 395 total nominations. The judges conducted extensive review on the nominated products via live demonstration, trial product access and analysis of product documentation.

The CODiE winners will be announced at two SIIA events in May.

Posted in: Awards
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Another Perspective on Revenue Performance Management

The conversation on Revenue Performance Management continues. After yesterday’s post, Lauren Carlson, CRM market analyst at Marketing Automation Software Guide, introduced me to an interesting blog post on RPM. Carlson looks at RPM through the lens of Marketing Automation and while there is much validity to that viewpoint, Cloud9 believes that RPM impacts the entire front office including sales, marketing, and service.

Yet the fact that the industry is engaging in conversations around RPM is encouraging. What’s your take?

Posted in: Sales Performance
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Revenue Performance Management Explained

Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research interviews Bruce Cleveland of InterWest Partners about an emerging class of front-office analytics solutions called Revenue Performance Management. A great read. Go to the interview.

Posted in: Sales Performance
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Cloud9 Customer Summit August 30, 2011 — Save The Date!

Cloud9 Analytics will hold its 3rd annual Customer Summit on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at the W Hotel in San Francisco, CA – just prior to Dreamforce 2011. If you are a current Cloud9 customer or are planning to attend Dreamforce and are interested in sales forecasting and pipeline management solutions for your enterprise, mark down the date now.

This year, Cloud9 Customer Summit will run a full day – from 8 AM through 5 PM – providing hands-on workshops, product roadmap discussions and demonstrations from key Cloud9 executives, and a very special keynote from Bob Sanders, President and COO of Axiom Sales Development. Look for an email when registration opens later in April or visit We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted in: Customers on Cloud9, Events
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Sales Coaching: Hot Topic for 2011

Cloud9 attended and presented at the Sales Management Association’s workshop, “Optimizing Sales Management’s Coaching Impact” that was held at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, in Atlanta, Georgia on March 10.

For those of you that haven’t heard of the Sales Management Association (SMA) you definitely need to check them out. They are a professional organization for sales leaders and sales operations practitioners and they produce workshops, conferences, webcasts, and forums dedicated to advancing the profession.

At the sales coaching workshop, sales leaders, sales operations professionals, as well as sales process consulting and training organizations spent the day sharing their experiences on sales coaching. From building competences, benchmarking performance, and evaluation all the way to front-line tools for helping sales managers – particularly the first-line sales manager – effectively coach their team.

Representative organizations were Schlumberger, Google, GE, Microsoft, Merial, Baker Hughes, and Genzyme – real cross-industry representation with sales processes as different as night and day. But the one thing they had in common was the desire to get better at coaching, measuring coaching’s impact on revenue, and making sales coaching a core competency within the sales organization.

If coaching is one of your 2011 sales process initiatives, be sure to check out the SMA’s sales coaching resources.

Posted in: Sales Forecasting, Sales Management
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Sales Forecasting: Accuracy vs. Precision

What do you really want sales forecasts to be? Accurate? Or precise? In a new Beagle Research white paper, “The Case for Modern Sales Forecasting,” industry luminary and lead analyst Denis Pombriant explores this conundrum. Pombriant avers that it’s easy to be accurate in sales forecasting once, but being able to hit your number repeatedly is sales forecasting precision – and much more difficult. Gone are the days of writing forecasts on the back of a paper napkin. Today, modern enterprises need advanced sales forecasting solutions so they can predict their forecasts with accuracy and precision. Their business depends on it.

Posted in: Sales Forecasting
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Cloud9 Customer Summit Recap

Last week we kicked off Dreamforce with our annual Customer Summit. We had a great turn out, and an amazing lineup of presentations as well as an interactive customer panel. We were also pleased to announce the winners of the Sales Leadership Awards. Here is a roundup of the content shared. Please let us know what you thought about the event below in the comments section.

Sales Leadership Awards

We really enjoyed presenting the Sales Leadership Awards. These awards honored customers that have successfully implemented Cloud9 pipeline management solutions and best-practice sales processes to positively impact their organizations bottom line. See pictures and winners for Forecast Accuracy, Win Rates and Best Sales Management process in the post from Monday.

Swayne Hill’s Presentation: The State of Cloud9

Swayne Hill, President & CEO of Cloud9 Analytics shared his passion and vision for sales analytics and how Cloud9 will continue to meet customers needs. He covered highlights of  best practices we’ve learned about from customers, how customer have and continue to influence the product, and where we are headed next.

Joe Galvin’s Presentation: The Pursuit of the Perfect Pipeline

Joe Galvin, Vice President and Research Director at SiriusDecisions will gave a keynote covering a recent study conducted with Cloud9 on Pipeline Management and Forecasting. Here he presented preliminary results as benchmarks for you to compare yourself to your peers and understand the importance of pipeline analytics to the acceleration of predictable revenue.

Pictures of the Event

We took plenty of great pictures of the speakers and attendees during the summit and the party. They have all been posted on Facebook. Please let us know what you think, and don’t forget to become a fan!


Mark Ellison, Director of Global Field Technology spoke at Dreamforce about how Avaya uses Cloud9 Analytics to drive their sales management process and achieve higher win rates. Watch this video on Vimeo

Posted in: Awards, Customers on Cloud9, Events
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Congrats to the Sales Leadership Award Winners

Last week was jam-packed full of great events, sessions and keynotes at Dreamforce. We kicked off the event Monday with our annual customer summit. We had a great turn out, and lot’s of good conversation. Joe Galvin of SiriusDecisions gave a keynote covering a recent study conducted with Cloud9 on pipeline management and forecasting and presented some preliminary results as benchmarks to help us understand the importance of pipeline analytics to the acceleration of predictable revenue.

The highlight of the afternoon was presenting our customers with the Sales Leadership Awards. These awards honored customers that have successfully implemented Cloud9 pipeline management solutions and best-practice sales processes to positively impact their organizations bottom line.

Splunk: Winner of Best Forecast Accuracy

Splunk, a global provider of software used to monitor, report and analyze live streaming IT data, was recognized for its achievements in forecast accuracy. Using Cloud9’s Pipeline Accelerator Suite, Splunk increased forecast accuracy during the first week of the quarter from 60 percent to 95 percent, providing executive management with the predictability they need to manage their high-growth business.

Brainshark: Best Increase of Win Rate

Moving beyond forecasting, Brainshark, a global on-demand presentation technology provider, was awarded for its increased forecast win rates – a five percent increase that translated to $1.6 million of found revenue annually. Using Cloud9’s Pipeline Accelerator Suite, Brainshark sales leaders gained critical visibility across multiple sales teams and opportunity types to identify deals that were at risk and which deals their sales teams should focus on. Continue reading…

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7 Reasons Most CRM Systems FAIL at Forecasting

Are your forecasts accurate? Latest research from CSO Insights notes that only 44% of forecasted deals are won, and much of what’s left never closes at all.  To many of you, a “perfect forecast” is a pipe dream, but guess what, entirely possible to get within at least 5% of your forecasted goal. Best-in-class companies are not magicians, they simply understand that CRM is not enough, and now you can too! Here are 7 reasons why CRMs FAIL at forecasting:

1. Out-of-the-box Percentages
Most CRM systems provide “percentages” associated with stages in the pipeline, but there is no historic data, so there’s no way to adjust and keep your forecasting accurate.

2. CRMs Focus on Sales Activity, Not Buyer Behavior
CRM systems focus on sales activity for tracking leads through the pipeline rather than focusing on the decision making process. Because Sales activity is from the inside-out, it tends to be inaccurate. There should always be a check in with the buyer, to make sure that the sales process is aligned with where they’re at, at each stage, this will make for more realistic opportunity tracking.

3. Don’t Know How Often Deals Close From their Current Stage
A simple analysis of the actual average close percentages from each stage in the pipeline can be tremendously illuminating. If you’re CRM doesn’t provide this information (most likely it doesn’t) then it’s worth looking into a performance management application to monitor and reach to this in real-time.

4. Don’t Know How Long it Takes for Deals to Close From Current Stage
Sales Pipeline Velocity is a great framework from measuring pipeline health, and due to the lack of historic data stored in most CRM systems, it’s a major report that’s missing from the weekly review. There’s usually a natural cadence to winning deals; how long, on average, does it take to win a deal from each stage of your pipeline? It’d be nice to know, but you won’t find it in your CRM. Continue reading…

Posted in: Pipeline Management, Sales Forecasting
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