Tuesday, 7 April 2009

To Customize is Cool

It's cool to customize! It practically has the word "customer" in it, so what's not to love?

Seriously: When prospective customers see the Qualify tool -- part of Austhink's bSelling add-on to Salesforce crm ...

they say two things:
  1. Wow!
  2. Can I customize it?
The "Wow!" reaction is because here is a tool that really helps the salesperson with a vital but difficult task -- sales qualification -- in a fun way. It provides useful feedback -- an overall percentage, and sensible concrete ways to boost the score. Ok: Most of the wow is because of the fun factor and groovy way it plays (like flipping through photos on a Mac).

The second reaction -- the wish for customization -- is natural. Although at Austhink we believe that the out-of-the-box system is quite generic, sales teams do of course vary in their terminology, types of customers, and overall slant sales.

So, I recommend a suck it before you salt it approach:
  1. Try out the generic version (that comes with the free version of bSelling) on a few opportunities to get the feel for the process. Just pick a neutral "card" if a factor doesn't seem to apply.
  2. Make notes about where the terminology needs revision, which "factors" don't apply, and which (if any) are missing.
  3. Upgrade to the premium version of bSelling and make use of our soon-to-be-released customize feature.
  4. If you need extra help, we can arrange consultation!
The customize feature allows your company to change the wording, options, factors, and weightings -- i.e. everything -- of the Qualify tool to tailor it to fit your unique situation. Just like the tool itself, it looks great, is fun-to-use and it has a game-like feel. Here's a sneak peak:

Each line represents a deck of cards in the tool, and each block represents a single card. The length of each line represents the weight of each factor. You just click on a box to edit some wording (shown), or click on an end box to stretch or squash a line (to make a factor more or less important compared to the others). Other operations are similarly simple.

By the way: If you think of the Qualify tool as a level in a game, the customization tool is like the level-designer that allows an obsessed user to design new game levels for their friends to play. In this case, the customization tool allows the sales-manager to tweak (or totally revamp) the qualification process to fit local conditions, and better monitor (and mentor) the sales team.

We are about to trial the customization tool with a select group of beta-testers -- email me at dan@austhink.com if you want to give it a whirl -- and the first version should be available in the next week or so.

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