REVIEWER: Ray Taylor, senior vice president of sales for Signature Worldwide.

BACKGROUND: Since 1986, Signature Worldwide has helped more than 5,000 companies develop employee training programs proven to enhance customer service. The company offers customized instructional design services, a wide range of training delivery methods and continuous reinforcement programs.

PLATFORMS: Cloud9 Pipeline Accelerator is delivered as an on-demand service and is powered by Cloud9 Analytics’ proprietary pure software as a service (SaaS) analytics platform that eliminates the problematic extract, transform and load (ETL), database and multidimensional cube architecture of traditional business intelligence (BI) solutions. It aligns directly with Salesforce.com.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Signature needed an efficient system for organizing information about our sales team’s activities, improving the usability of Salesforce.com, and gaining visibility into sales operations, forecasts and pipelines. We implemented Salesforce.com but were having difficulty accessing relevant information that we could act upon. To get the sales data we required, I had to pull data every week, merge multiple spreadsheets and rely on my reps to update the spreadsheets manually. I needed something that could push this information to me automatically. We needed a snapshot of what had changed in the sales pipeline since we last reviewed opportunities.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Signature deployed Pipeline Accelerator as a key component of a broader set of initiatives, and we saw revenue double between November 2007 and March 2008. Pipeline Accelerator anticipates the questions that sales managers need answers to and provides these in reports. It shows me what has changed, or in some cases what hasn’t changed, in our pipeline. I can look at the data for any period of time and sort by sales rep, account, amount, stage or probability. I can drill right through to the opportunity in Salesforce without losing my place. Pipeline Accelerator is most effective for my one-to-one coaching sessions with the sales team. Before Cloud9 Analytics, we had to mine Salesforce.com for data and compile our own reports, which really hurt productivity. Now, Cloud9 Messenger pushes it right to us. My meetings with Signature’s CEO are more focused. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out what has happened, we have the information on hand and can talk about what to do next.

STRENGTHS: Pipeline Accelerator is very flexible. It was developed by a team with a deep understanding of sales managers’ needs. It enables us to view what’s changed in the pipeline and drill through to specific opportunities in Salesforce. Pipeline Accelerator is intelligently designed. The information we need to know is synthesized into a meaningful, interactive form. We spend less time pulling data and updating spreadsheets. For instance, our CEO will say, “Where’s our pipeline compared to what it was last week?” With Pipeline Accelerator, all that information is available at my fingertips. Then he’ll say, “What specifically caused that, who’s doing well and who needs help?” I have all of that information on hand as well. Essentially, Cloud9 Analytics anticipates my manager’s questions and makes it easier for me to do my job.

WEAKNESSES: Pipeline Accelerator does not yet provide the ability to export to Excel.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Signature considered hiring consultants to create custom changes in Salesforce.com. However, we quickly realized that as our business and sales needs changed, we would have to call them back to make the changes. Pipeline Accelerator provides exactly the information that we need to know about our sales opportunities in a “live” format to focus on strategies. Pipeline Accelerator was easily configured to our needs, requires no IT support and was up and running in a few days.

DELIVERABLES: Pipeline Accelerator produces historical trend reports based on Signature’s Salesforce.com data. Cloud9 Analytics configured the reports based on our business needs, and we can segment data by date, rep, account, geography, etc. to fit a particular need.

VENDOR SUPPORT: When we started with Cloud9 Analytics, they asked us what types of information we wanted to see in our interface and configured the application to our business needs almost instantly. We didn’t need a lot of meetings to discuss the information I wanted to get out of Salesforce. They know what sales managers like me want to look at. Pipeline Accelerator is smart, easy and configured according to my business requirements.

DOCUMENTATION: Unlike traditional BI solutions, Cloud9 Analytics is an on-demand service and therefore requires no documentation, no installation, no maintenance and no IT support to get it up and running.

Cloud9 Pipeline Accelerator
Cloud9 Analytics
2855 Campus Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 655-8700
http://www.cloud9analytics.com/

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