Anything that can reduce the uncertainties associated with sales, and increase sales productivity has to be worthy of attention. C9 employs predictive analytics technologies (real predictive technologies and not the simple forecasts some other suppliers employ) to help predict how much might be booked, which deals are likely to close and the next most productive action. It provides a hosted service where sales data from most sources (Salesforce obviously, and connectors for others) is continuously fed into the C9 repository for ongoing real-time analysis.
Some big names use this service, including Yahoo who saw a 13% increase in sales productivity attributable to C9, and StanleyBlackAndDecker who experienced a 17% improvement in close rates. A large operator in the pharmaceutical industry saw a 25% reduction in close time, and commented that “Before C9 we struggled to measure forecast accuracy. Now we’re consistently within 2.5% of our commit.”.
It needs to be stressed that C9 uses some quite sophisticated technology to achieve all this, and may well offer the most advanced service of its kind. Every item of data is used by its algorithms (random forest and elastic nets for those who might be interested) to continually evaluate the factors determining customer behaviour, and how the sales effort should respond.
Thousands of predictive models are generated and tested for predictive capability before the best candidates are used to provide information to sales people, managers and executives.
Sales people can access C9 predictive models on mobile devices, showing scores for deals most likely to close and other metrics. For managers a variety of graphs and reports show how C9 rates various sales prospects, versus how the sales people themselves see the likelihood of a close. And for executives interested in a macro number, C9 will show how much risk is contained in the pipeline and predict the total sales for a given period.
C9 will be focusing on the mobile aspects of its technology in 2015, with a greater number of reports delivered to mobile devices. A guide for C9 pricing is that it generally costs around 40% of the price of a corresponding CRM annual licence.
It is hard to see why a sales organisation might not want to use C9. The predictive technologies are sophisticated (in contrast to many competitive offerings) and the information delivered serves the needs of all levels in the organisation.