Howard Brown creates Revenue.IO to streamline digital sales, marketing, and service

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The Revenue Enablement Institute stated in its 21NS Century Commercial Model Report: Digital technologies and the advent of advanced analytics and AI – offer tremendous potential for improving the productivity, engagement, speed and visibility of sales teams. Overall, while we’ve seen sales and marketing technology deliver real value for sales teams, it never delivered on its immense promise.

This is about to change. A mix of customer, demographic, financial and market forces will finally force companies to take the digital transformation of sales seriously. Over the next five years, an exponential increase in digital interactions between buyers and suppliers will disrupt traditional sales models as 85% of B2B sales are made through digital channels, according to Gartner.

A company that is leading this change is Sales (formerly known as ringDNA). Founded in 2012 by CEO Howard Brown, Revenue.io is a revenue operations platform that collects loyalty data from live representative conversations, CRM and digital touchpoints and uses that information to help sales and service reps automate sales tasks, create opportunities prioritize and give recommendations tracking actions and content.

After selling one of his previous companies, Brown advised companies like Marketo, Salesforce, and Workday, helping them integrate their sales and marketing platforms to deliver better experiences and help sales reps perform better based on data. “And then the idea of ​​ringDNA [now revenue.io] was really born of it. We were at a Dreamforce conference in 2011 and I and my developer ran a hackathon where we hacked the Salesforce SDK with a new Twilio API and a Google Analytics and AdWords API and created a distributed call center on an iPad. And we won first place in this hackathon. The good news and bad news was we won $ 20,000, which was great. The bad news is that they gave away a million dollars in cash the following year, ”says Brown.

Brown and his small team studied their invention while working in their consulting firm, building it as a product on the side. “We really focused on that in 2013 and we developed what we thought was a great opportunity because it wasn’t just the inbound use case. There was a company at the time, Inside sales.com, and I had done a number of implementations of this thing. And it was terrible. The telephony was terrible. The integration was terrible. And I thought, okay, well, we have an inbound use case to provide context and support the inbound use case. I’ve worked with Salesforce. I saw the outbound use case grow and there were opportunities, ”says Brown.

He continued to build and iterate the platform based on feedback from the few customers who had it. Then, in 2015, the company landed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, then AWS and Twilio. “We had really great customers from whom we could learn. And one of the things that really became clear to me. The whole thing was a data exercise for me. I wanted to study which ads worked and gave the best results. I wanted to know what repetitions they were doing, what they were saying, what they were doing. I study everything from marketing to first touch to conversations, texting and the cadence of how they do things. Then we realized that we need to give managers better insight into their activities. It’s not just the activities. It is their performance in these activities. So we started developing tools that managers could use to listen to calls, ”says Brown of the development of ringDNA.

For Brown, the mission was bigger than just helping sales reps or support teams deliver a better shopping experience. It helped fix what he viewed as a breakdown in people’s communication based on his training and experience as a clinical psychologist.

“We sit on the phone all day. We don’t really connect. The lost art of actually having a conversation to understand what builds trust, what builds a relationship, how to connect with people, that’s what we really study. And we happen to be using it in an area of ​​marketing sales support that is being paid for. But I’m studying language. It’s an important piece of data, but what makes it incredible are the results. You can recognize the results through changes in the disposition. Has a meeting been booked? Has the opportunity evolved? So you can tweak all of those variables and then essentially see what works and what doesn’t, ”says Brown.

Brown said his platform has a proven track record of helping companies grow revenue and improve sales productivity for companies like CVENT, SAP Concur, Nutanix, and Autodesk, as well as retain its original customers. Today the company is growing rapidly, has around 120 employees and over 300 customers, most of them large corporations.

Although the company attracted $ 32 million in venture finance, it has not requested any new finance since 2018. “We are focused on building a solid business. We are capital-efficient, research and development-oriented, product-oriented, customer-oriented towards customer loyalty and expansion. I want more options for myself and the investors who have accompanied me through some companies. I also want to maintain shareholder value, which means that every one of my employees owns shares. And what people don’t know is that as you keep taking more and more money, you’re watering down your employees. And it makes it impossible for them to ever have payday, ”says Brown.

Brown grew up in Beverly Hills, California, where his father was mayor. “I grew up very interesting. My first sales assignment was going door to door with my father, asking people what they think of the city’s services, and introducing them to my father. I was mainly involved in sales. I asked them what they needed that would be helpful, ”says Brown.

He studied political science at the University of Arizona to follow in his father’s footsteps. He became a speechwriter and campaign manager in Los Angeles for a few years but felt less than fulfilled. He started volunteering with the homeless. “One of the guys from the volunteer organization said, ‘I’m going to do my Masters in Clinical Psychology. You should try. ”Of course, my parents thought I was crazy because I had a nice house on the beach. I drove a nice car, the whole thing. In the end, I made up my mind and found a passion for helping people. And I think that’s what we’re doing here [at revenue.io]“, Says Braun.

Upon graduation, Brown received his PhD in psychology and began private practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. He then founded his first company, 4Therapie.com Network in 1998, which was then acquired by the CRC Health Group in 2005. He then founded the nation’s leading senior referral service, Senior Transitions, which RealPage acquired in 2013. He also advised and founded another company, DemandResults ringDNA (now sales.io).

Brown attributes his entrepreneurial drive to watching his father succeed. “My father was a good businessman. He has been very successful in real estate in Los Angeles. I think what I got from him was the endurance gene. He never really stopped. What drives me every day is that I love solving problems that people say cannot be solved. Be it treating a patient who couldn’t be treated or solving a technology problem. I didn’t make myself CEO. I learned on the job. I have to work with amazing people. I’ve surrounded myself with people who keep pushing me to do better. I’m always learning, “says Brown.

As for the future? “I think that in order for any company to be successful, it has to put the customer at the center of its sales. And I think they don’t have to talk about sales operations anymore, but actually have the governance, organization, data and tools in place to get the results that customers need. And that’s exactly what we’re focused on. And I think any business that wants to thrive and see hypergrowth needs to focus that way, ”concludes Brown.


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