Foretuit and The Future of Sales Analytics

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Repost from 10 Minute Strategy – Video insights and interviews for online & offline business strategy from Peter Propp and John Blossom of Shore Communications Inc. Visit for more great insights & services.

Our friend Michael Liebow spent a few minutes at 10MinuteStrategy HQ this week to talk about Foretuit, a platform that uses real world data derived from e-mail and social activity to give a much deeper and insightful view into what is really going on in the sales pipeline. I call it the future of sales analytics, or when I’m trying to say it fast — super sandbag detection. But it’s much more than that.

Youtube: Foretuit and The Future of Sales Analytics

Michael’s background with IBM and in the VC world gives him great perspective on the needs of the financing world when it comes to the start-ups they fund. He also knows the needs of the enterprise at a level that few can top. Foretuit is his baby, he’s the CEO and Founder, and I’m convinced that this is going to become a major change agent in the way smart companies manage their sales force.

And according to this blog post, Foretuit are enjoying a robust relationship with Salesforce.


Why We Like Being a Salesforce ISV

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Cloudforce NYC was held Wednesday and it was a thrill to participate with the other 10,000 or so at the Javits Center.  Someone asked me what’s it like to be a new Salesforce ISV partner?  My answer: really great so far.  Just look at this week’s mobile AppExchange announce!

Many of you may or may not know but Foretuit is a brand new AppExchange partner, barely 5 months since our first security review and posting to the AppExchange, and less than 11 months since we were first introduced to Salesforce’s ISV team (kudos to Andres, Nicole, Leyla and Ron).  The old adage is never more true — you are the company you keep.  And, in the case of the Mobile AppExchange announcement, we were asked to participate first, and second, we welcomed the opportunity to be among a small subset (less than 5%) of the 750 appExchange partners currently in the ecosystem.

Salesforce Takes AppExchange Mobile (ReadWriteWeb) AppExchange Goes Mobile With iOS, Android (eWeek)

We seem to be enjoying a reputation as a motivated and cooperative partner with an industry-defining social sales analytic application. The outcome of our involvement with Salesforce to date has greatly exceeded our wildest expectations and conformed very nicely with our market approach.  To get a jump on the Cloudforce announce, we demo’d our app to nearly 1,000 members of the NY Tech Community the night prior — and the response was nothing short of tremendous given the tweets below and post-demo feedback.


  • @edyson: At @nytm@foretuit real standout. Visualize your sales.
  • “if you’ve ever been trapped in sales force hell, @Foretuit is a godsend.” #nytm#top5
  • Just made a @foretuit sweatshirt sighting at #CloudForce. Dayglow is really ugly but great for attracting attention.
  • “an X-ray for sales” presents salesforce data in MUCH more digestible form – bye bye horrible spreadsheets #nytm
  • Foretuit is an everyday BI tool for diagnosing the validity of sales pipelines. Helpful for active revenue mgmt #nytm
  • at #nytm love #foretuit :-) love Enterprises #toomuchconsumer
  • very cool product! liked the demo, puts sales in a whole new perspective!
  • Enterprise isn’t sexy, but @foretuit has some mighty powerful diagnostics, they’re right that this is gold
  • Am I the only one excited by #B2B and #CRM stuff at #NYTM? (probably)
  • Great presentation, making sales management smarter and efficient @NYTM#nytm Great tool!
  • I was impressed by livestream but @foretuit really hit home for me.”
  • check out @Foretuit , it may make you feel better. “I kind of hate myself for spending $ on crm.”
  • Yay for FREE CRM for up to 10 users! @foretuit! #nytm
  • @foretuit lol Above my pay grade #nytm
  • Foretuit (only enterprise company tonight?) aims to make all that CRM sales data clearer for everyone.
  • @foretuit knows most CRM software is dreary and unhelpful, and they’re trying to change that. I’ll be watching. #nytm
  • Wow, @foretuit is building a predictive visual model based on sales reps productivity
  • Traditional CRMs have too many lists, not enough visualization
  • @foretuit has a good presenter – good sense of humor
  • Cool, Foretuit is up now wearing some bright-ass hoodies

Where to next? ISVforce, of course

We’re excited about the pending ISVforce announcement and look forward to a long and healthy relationship.  The momentum around the ecosystem is real and perfectly suited to any new or existing venture. With ISVforce, we’ll see a greater commitment from Salesforce to our mutual success.  Meaning, Salesforce as a platform (notionally — PaaS or Platform as a Service) can only be profitable if the ecosystem that it spawns is healthy and robust.  In fact, we’ve seen some customers making significant investments in the Salesforce ecosytem to the tune of for every $1 spent on Salesforce, they spend upwards of $2.50 more on AppExchange partners.

ISVforce Wish List

  1. Impact the ISVforce Roadmap: Not to suggest that we #OccupySalesforce or anything even close, but the thinking should be that ISVs have the opportunity to truly capitalize on the opportunity surrounding the Forcedotcom platform, CRM objects, Chatter,, and and create a truly compelling offering for customers — in much the way that Foretuit has achieved.
  2. Access to a direct Account Manager: Having an insider who knows the day-to-day is critical.  Last count, Salesforce is 7,000 people and growing, and the Sales Org is growing faster.  You need an internal advocate to provide assistance and navigation in order to be successful.
  3. Alignment with the SFDC sales teams in all geos.  Perhaps the most critical element of any program is alignment with, and incentive of Salesforce’ direct sellers.  Afterall, the notions around ISVforce and PaaS are very focused on selling to an installed base of customers (some 104,000+ at last count).  That’s a very rich, fertile field of opportunity.  Not to disparage my own fledgling brand, but Foretuit is an unknown to most, so the ability to coat-tail on an already significant investment in customer relationship is absolutely critical.  We’re confident that the ISVforce team will get this right.
  4. Co-Marketing to support ISVforce partners: How the ISVforce team leverages Salesforce’ already comprehensive and impressive arsenal of marketing tactics and activities will greatly impact the success of the overall program.  Will partners be asked to expend significant additional resource to participate in online and offline activities that help create awareness and knowledge of partner offerings?  Or will there be specified partner opportunities like the Mobile AppExchange announcement this week?  The answer seems obvious given recent experience, the latter is much more likely.

At the end of the day, it seems clear that Salesforce really does mean it when they say my success is their success.  That reliance on mutual success we believe is critical to creating a truly robust (and massive) cloud-based ecosystem that will create opportunities (and dominance) for many years to come.  We are glad to be aligned and look forward to our first mover advantage!


Foretuit Launches New Social Sales Analytic iPad App on’s AppExchange for Mobile

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Foretuit taps into the social, mobile and open capabilities of cloud computing to bring its intelligent, predictive approach for sales forces in social enterprises

NEW YORK – CLOUDFORCE NEW YORK – Nov. 30, 2011 – Foretuit today announced it has launched its new Social Sales Analytic mobile application for iPad and Android tablets on’s AppExchange for Mobile, extending the goals of the social enterprise. The Foretuit solution provides a real-time snapshot of sales activities based on actual behavior, greatly improving sales efficiency and effectiveness by an order of magnitude unseen in today’s CRM offerings. The Foretuit application is now available on the AppExchange for Mobile.

By combining real world activity, such as emails, tasks, appointments as well as Chatter and other social feeds together with CRM information (such as opportunity history) a company can use Foretuit to identify patterns within unstructured activities– separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff within the sales pipeline.  Through the use of advanced analytics applied to a real-time snapshot of actual behavior (versus CRM data) companies can greatly improve both sales efficiency and effectiveness by an order of magnitude unseen in today’s sales management solutions.

Foretuit maps social interactions to determine patterns that provide predictive outcomes for any front office scenario, particularly sales. The service analyzes the collaborative structures within the enterprise using unstructured data gathered from employee and buyer digital behavior – such as email and calendar data – then identifies patterns based on their roles, frequency of communication and output,” said Michael Liebow, Founder and CEO of Foretuit.  “The result is better deal lifecycle management, and improved business outcomes for enterprises at a lower cost. Now, the powerful cloud-based application is available on mobile platforms, tapping into the power of the platform,’s social enterprise platform for employee social apps.”

The Foretuit solution is unique in how it captures statistical details and continually refines and expands its models, ’learning’ behaviors within a first-of-its-kind, proprietary structure.  Since most sales teams are essentially mobile, the application provides the social, open, mobile and trusted capabilities of the AppExchange marketplace.  Foretuit helps keep Sales teams updated on activities without entering information, while it gives Management more transparency and visibility into sales processes without relying on a weekly interrogation or subjective reporting.

“Customers are continuing to look to our partners as they reinvent themselves as social enterprises and companies like Foretuit are helping them in that shift,” said Ron Huddleston, vice president, ISV Alliances, “Foretuit, a top 8 finalist in our recent AppQuest challenge, shows it can integrate industry leading technologies like HTML5 with our platform to provide Salesforce customers with enhanced capabilities to drive real business outcomes.”

Foretuit’s new iPad application is available on the Foretuit website and now’s Mobile Appexchange.  A video demonstration of the service is available here: Foretuit demo.

Cloudforce New York Welcomes Attendees to the Social Enterprise

The number of social networking users has surpassed e-mail users. People access the Internet more from mobile devices than from desktops. is helping companies meet the challenge of this social revolution with the social enterprise. Today, companies must change the way they collaborate, communicate and share information with customers and employees to stay competitive. By leveraging’s social, mobile and open cloud technologies, companies can transform themselves into social enterprises by developing social profiles of customers, creating employee social networks and building customer and product social networks. Cloudforce New York attendees will be able to learn firsthand how to join this transformation.

About Foretuit

Foretuit takes an intelligent, predictive approach to business-to-business sales by determining patterns based on employees’ business behavior and analyzing that information in order to increase communication between colleagues, more closely link management to sales teams and to close deals faster and more efficiently.  Foretuit’s initial SaaS solution is available through the company’s website: and on the AppExchange

About the Platform and AppExchange is the trusted social enterprise platform for building and running any employee app in the cloud. powers the Salesforce CRM apps, the more than 200,000 custom apps used by customers such as Japan Post, Kaiser Permanente, KONE, and Sprint Nextel and the more than 1,200 ISV apps built by partners such as BMC, and Fujitsu.

Enterprise apps built on the platform can be easily distributed and marketed through the AppExchange

The social enterprise platform delivers the most trusted and comprehensive cloud technologies for social, mobile and open apps.  It includes, the cloud platform for employee apps, Heroku, the cloud platform for customer apps and, the cloud database to integrate the social enterprise.

Salesforce, Dreamforce,, Heroku, AppExchange, and others are trademarks of, inc.  iPad is a trademark of Apple, inc.  Android is a trademark of Google, Inc.

Press Contact:

Kelly Fitzgerald
Breakaway Communications for Foretuit
(212) 616-6006

To Improve Sales Performance, Fail Faster

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Losing deals stay in a sales pipe more than twice as long as winning deals. To be a winner, start by failing faster.

[Editor's Note: Repost from Selling Power Magazine.]

Want to win? Then make it your mission to lose quicker. It’s hard not to agree that sales, by its very nature, is a highly human-centric endeavor. All good salespeople know intuitively when a deal is going to happen, and conversely, when it isn’t. Yet that internalized knowledge rarely, if ever, becomes institutionalized, meaning it never gets into the system of record or CRM application. This creates a huge barrier to improving sales performance.

The data speaks for itself: looking at a knowledge base of deals assembled from a variety of companies and industries and totaling more than 10,000 opportunities, the numbers are striking. Winning deals on average took only 75 days to close, while losing deals took 175 days to close out ― 100 days longer. During those additional 100 days, management, sales ops, finance, and all sorts of other ancillary groups in the enterprise spent time/cycles on evaluating what, in essence, the sales rep knew all along. The time has come to fess up.

It can no longer be acceptable to maintain an opportunity in a pipe beyond its sell-by date. Moreover, accurately predicting sales opportunities is way too important to leave to a rep’s gut or hunch, as the outcome directly affects the entire corporation. Much of a company’s asset allocation, budgets, and resources are set based on their sales reps’ predictions. Unfortunately, current predictions from sales are more like wishful thinking than science. Or worse, like hide and seek. The reason is simple: humans process this data intuitively and don’t have the time nor inclination to open the kimono and show the proverbial powers-that-be an honest assessment of a deal’s potential outcome.

Mr. Clean® is a registered trademark of Procter & Gamble.

This culture of bravado makes cleaning a sales pipe nearly impossible. Yet what can only be described as losing fodder must be cleaned out of the pipe if an organization ever hopes to leverage its investment in the sales process. Thus, the trick to winning is to find a way to allow for a clear quantitative assessment of the pipe and clean it so that your best people across your organization are available to spend precious resources, time, and cycles on the deals with the highest likelihood of winning. Yes, you need to become Mr. Clean.

The key is bringing modern science and technologies together using big data and analytics to better predict sales outcomes far in advance of expected close dates. The goal is to create an intelligent, predictive approach to business-to-business sales by 1) determining patterns based on actual company and buyer business behavior, and 2) analyzing that information in order to increase communication between colleagues and more closely link management to sales teams with the goal of closing deals faster and more efficiently, without arduous manual effort.

Since many studies show that salespeople are spending less and less time selling, the absolute essential ingredient to success here is to ensure that any effort does not add manual steps to the sales-reporting process ― more key strokes, clicks, needless processes, or internal meetings will only result in less productivity, not more. And since the essence of the social enterprise is, well, social, then something needs to change to allow salespeople to spend more time with the right customers while capturing the very essence of a productive deal cycle ― one that yields a positive outcome.

Thus, the trick to better resource optimization is to automate the process of updating activities without entering information and give management complete visibility into the sales process without relying on a weekly interrogation. All of this empowers a sales organization to fail much faster ― and win much more.

Dreamforce: Our Generation’s Summer of Love?

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Note: Repost from Selling Power.

Back to the future.  Was Dreamforce a corporate event, or a counter-cultural San Franciscan summer of love replete with shouts for an “Enterprise Uprising” (aka Arab Spring)?  Hard not to get caught up in the fervor.

Now that I’m returning to Earth from my Metallica-induced ‘cloud high’,  I find myself searching for not just the meaning of life, but the means in which to make the grandiose vision of the Social Enterprise a grounded reality — and to enable the kind of hard metrics that most senior executives crave in order to rationalize the required investment and resource allocation.

Yet with all the hoopla, one inescapable truth remains.  How is it that companies spend over $18 billion per year on CRM solutions, but studies show they are spending less and less time selling?  Afterall, isn’t the essence of social selling, well, social? And further, isn’t this CRM spend only the beginning, not the end?

These days the average cost of a direct sales rep is in excess of $250,000, fully burdened (meaning, all-in).  Uplift that fixed expense by another 20-30% to cover the cost of sales operations and management — and you get to appreciate the significant day one investment most enterprises are dealing with when it comes to reaching out and touching their customers.  Add to that the burden of feeding the machine — that is, demand generation to create a 10x deal flow so that the organization can run a 2-3x coverage model in-quarter — and the expense makes your CFO’s head spin.  It’s no wonder that Sales and Marketing expenses can run upwards of 50% of revenue in some organizations.

Thus, that first $18 billion needs to be as efficient and effective as possible to yield the kind of operational integrity that leverages the investment in manpower and demand gen.  If not, then why even try?  Creating the right discipline for managing the sales process means helping sales reps to close more business, faster.

But creating the ideal environment for the perfect discipline is challenging.  The best approach should detect real-time winning practices that can be used to quickly guide all reps to the right set of actions and, over time, be used to enhance sales procedures overall.  But how do you learn the most effective practices and then help enable them across an organization?  How do you assemble the most effective deal teams for any given sales situation?  How do you ramp new reps into existing opportunities?  How do you embrace personal style over company style? How do you locate the ‘real’ decision maker (not the most senior title)?  How do you help existing reps find the most lucrative path forward, and the right experts at the right time in the deal cycle?  And lastly, how do you give management the kind of transparency and visibility they require?

And do all this without adding yet more burden onto your sales reps, who already rebel at the level of manual data entry they are asked to do?

The over-riding goal then is to create a set of robust metrics that matter.  Based on our research, here are the top 5:

#5:  Reduced Organizational Costs

Reduce the overhead of administrative tasks and redirecting high value resources to generating revenue not managing process.  Yes — there’s a novel idea — have sales people in front of customers instead of doing mundane chores.  How much time is spent each week in your org on sales reviews?  Some organizations spend upwards of two days each week, allocating hours to understanding what is happening with each forecasted deal.  This burden keeps resource from being with customers which is why you hire a direct sales org in the first place.  The goal should be to reduce the weekly process to minutes, not hours or days.  Do you have metrics in place for meeting time reduction?

#4: Improved Sales Efficiency

Support automated task planning, streamlining labor intensive and error prone activity.  What is the compliance rate of associating information within opportunity records?  How many clicks does it take to add a task or associate an e-mail?  And what is the currency of the information?  If some actions take upwards of 30 clicks, then is it any wonder why adoption, compliance and currency are so low.  What if you handle the same load in one, two or no clicks?  Wouldn’t that yield significant improvement?

#3: Increased Leverage/Effectiveness

Better target sales effort at prospects that are winnable and redirect resources away from lost causes as early as possible.  On average, losing deals stay in the pipe twice as long as winning deals.  Orgs are loathe to ‘de-clutter’ the pipe of what can only be referred to as “coverage fodder”.  For some reason, big coverage factors on a 1x target seems to make management happy, that is, until deals begin vaporizing at quarter’s end (they never slip, now do they?).  Having a clean, clear pipe helps allocate resource better but requires a degree of organizational integrity to let go of the failed opportunities.  Lowering deal maturity days is critical.

#2: Better Risk Management

Reduce the need to build in margins and improve the accuracy of projections – projections that are critical to right-sizing production and other upstream and downstream decisions.  Intellectual honesty in forecasting can be difficult to achieve primarily due to subjective and highly interpretive nature of deal stage maturity assessment.  Making the process fact-based has been elusive at best, but can be done with the right pipeline management capability and transparency.  What’s your forecast accuracy?  How is it measured and tracked?   Do you use standard measures of deal maturity?  Are they uniformly applied?

#1: Improved Employee and Process Assessment

Provide the opportunity for detailed performance assessment and continual sales process improvement, not to mention allocate incentive compensation more fairly, to those most responsible for winning deals.  Many organizations find attributing contribution difficult and thus overpay incentive compensation two and three times over.  With a clear understanding of actual contribution to the deal and an understanding of behavioral characteristics associated with internal and external activity — an organization has better odds of improving productivity and process, not to mention retaining the most valuable performers.  Critical to this effort is understanding and measuring key quantitative metrics surrounding individual contribution across different roles in the transaction, inclusive of actual contribution and frequency of contribution, responsiveness and timeliness of interaction, throughout the entire deal lifecycle.

Extreme ROI

Bottomline, modest improvements in sales efficiency and effectiveness can yield significant short term ROI — not including higher deal win rates which would boost the return exponentially.  Take a solution that costs an incremental $45/per user/month but yields a certifiable 25% increase in sales operation efficiency and a 10% improvement in management time.  Based on average comp, you would likely see a 400% ROI within 12 months.  Now you can rationalize the underpinnings of a socially connected enterprise, one that engages with customers using less, more-focused, resources.  Seems like a huge win for the Social Enterprise.

All together, an organization that is not only able to create these metrics, but improve these metrics will become the envy of their industry, and the overall market leader, if not already.  But, to quote one industry pundit, “it’s not about using media, it’s about being social, to engage with customers through multiple means and touch points.”  For any leading enterprise to be social, its sales people must become more effective and efficient — in other words, they must spend more time in front of and with customers.  Now that’s love.

Note: This is the long form of a guest post in Selling Power.


Enabling Social Enterprise X-Ray Vision

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Growing up, I was surrounded by women who were deeply enthralled by the soaps, particularly General Hospital and the whole saga of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis).  Luckily, I was left in blissful peace reading my comic books and looking at the ads for x-ray glasses … and sea monkeys.  Now, I didn’t believe that x-ray vision (or, for that matter, sea monkeys) were possible, but it didn’t stop any one from selling them or, I imagine, buying them.

Grown-ups in c-suites in most companies have much in common with my younger self.  They want foresight, that is, vision and transparency into objects that they desire.  Management would like to peer through functional walls and down corporate hierarchies.  They want to know where and when to focus and, or perhaps more importantly, where not to focus.  The benefits of x-ray vision are significant to any company. And more so, within an environment of capital constraints where management must create higher yield from the same or less investment in selling resource.

Sales reps have similar needs as well.  Driven largely by a single desire – better compensation, x-ray vision could also improve longevity (i.e., retention) and job satisfaction.  More over, in a socially connected world, the rep is now the company’s Ambassador, engaged at all stages of the customer lifecycle.  This creates more opportunities for revenue creation, but also more opportunities for distraction.

Measuring the impact of x-ray vision

Thus, the reason why companies spend over $18 billion per year on CRM solutions is to gain the foresight into new revenue generation and create a discipline for managing the sales process.  The goal then of any CRM implementation is straight-forward:  Done right, sales reps should be able to close more business.

Unfortunately, most organizations acknowledge that accomplishing this goal is not an easy task.  The best solution should detect winning practices in real-time that can be used to guide all reps to the right set of actions and, over time, be used to enhance sales procedures overall.  But how do you learn the most effective practices and then help enable them across an organization?  How do you assemble the most effective deal teams for any given sales situation?

Take new reps as an example.  They should have easy access not just to best practice, but to opportunity history – the complete unadulterated history, not just a handful of entries associated with a typical opportunity.  Additionally, new reps should have an environment that helps structure their tasks and make the necessary contacts – to the most relevant and helpful people in the account, not just the ones with the fanciest titles – without the need for undue training or transition.

Established reps, on the other hand, should be able to evaluate their own historical performance and that of their own contacts, helping them find the most lucrative path forward, and the most responsive specialists in times of need. In short, reps at all stages should have transparency and visibility.

Most importantly, though, how do you do this all without adding yet more burden onto your sales reps, who already rebel at the level of manual data entry they are asked to do?

Generating true x-ray vision using the Sales electronic paper trail

The overarching goal must be to provide sales managers and business operations with deep insight into the status of their pipeline – insight that’s based on facts not opinions or spin: a level of transparency that rarely, if ever, exists in a typical sales team. With the right level of transparency sales teams can (1) know where to spend their time and focus, (2) provide predictability and (3) optimize the outcome and exceed their quota – and, with the right tools, sales teams can do this while also significantly reducing the overhead of pipeline management and better allocating constrained management and specialist resources, particularly towards quarter end.

We are far from the proverbial 11th Hour.  With these capabilities, management will realize the promise of X-ray vision across the Social Enterprise.

Note: #Awesome Dreamforce ’11.  Enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing our vision.  Looking forward to upcoming Salesforce events throughout the year.


Foretuit Selected Top Finalist in AppQuest Challenge

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Great news!  We’ve done what many thought impossible.

A small bootstrapped startup, only a glimmer of an idea less than a year ago, is one step closer to the stage at Dreamforce,’s premier event, and becoming the industry’s newest Cloud Idol.

Every Vote Counts!

You can send us to Dreamforce and present to 40,000 people!  Four of the eight remaining companies move on to the finals at month’s end based on popular vote via Facebook “likes.”

How to Vote (Ends August 12 @ 2pm PT)

We’ve made the voting real simple (much simpler than Round 1) and automated the process for you.  When Facebook asks if it is OK for Foretuit to access your account, please confirm – yes.  We’ll take care of the rest.

And, for a little bit of fun, pick from one of the four choices below, and then click on the “vote here” link:

  • If you think the “Germans bombed Pearl Harbor,” vote here.
  • If you love hugs and puppies, vote here.
  • If you like seeing a grown man cry, vote here.
  • None-of-the-above, I just need to get back to work: vote here.

And if your travel plans include a trip to Dreamforce at the end of August, let us know via e-mail ( or twitter.  We’d like to discuss your sales org needs over coffee, or perhaps a cocktail, and celebrate our becoming — the next Cloud Idol!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to support us.


Bringing Foretuit to

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Visual Pipeline

As you may know – beyond Foretuit’s keen ability to predict whether opportunities will be won, lost, or slip – one of the things people really like about it is the rich interactive visualizations, like Foretuit’s Visual Pipeline view.

So, when we looked at how to make Foretuit run within, we had some tough choices to make about how to do it.  So, we surveyed the market to see how other vendors do it.  And, frankly, we came across unimpressed for the most part.

They tended to fall into one of two camps:

  • Thin wrappers – these vendors take their existing UI and just dump it within the salesforce UI in what’s called an iframe. Unfortunately, the problems with the iframe approach are many.  Firstly, it’s not really integrated.  Basically, other than being embedded in the page, there is no relationship between this UI and the UI (so you can’t mix-and-match data or components).  It’s basically like having a separate browser tab. Secondly, it doesn’t act like a web user experience.  You end up seeing things like scrollbars within sub-frames; if you resize the browser the content don’t resize to fit; etc.  An additional problem for us is that we wanted to integrate really tightly with Chatter, and this approach wouldn’t let us do it well.
  • Native Interfaces – On the other hand there are vendors that have built their UI’s natively in is a great platform for building web interfaces quickly, with lots of different components and capabilities.  So, there are some great products out there.  The downside was that most of these vendors didn’t achieve the same level of interactivity or visual richness we were shooting for.  So, initially, we weren’t sure how possible it would be to create an immersive experience on

In the end, we decided to take a risky, but potentially fruitful path: Rebuild our interfaces as native interfaces in Visualforce, but augment this with HTML5 and JavaScript to keep the visual richness and interactivity that our users love.  The good news is that we learned that makes it really easy to do this – you can mix and match Visualforce components with native HTML5 and JavaScript pretty well seamlessly.

Frankly, our final result ended up exceeding our expectations.  We got the tight chatter integration, and kept all the visual richness and interactivity. We’ll be launching it at Dreamforce ’11 at the end of August.

While you’re waiting for Dreamforce, check out a video demo of Foretuit in Salesforce.

Big Data + Analytics = new possibilities to predict sales outcomes

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Sales is highly based on human interactions and relationships rendering analysis and automation to be considered impossible.

Now new behavioral analytic techniques are possible given the growth of both data and computing power.  Such analytics have the potential to streamline any unstructured business process by identifying deficiencies and excesses allowing resources to be better allocated and managed.  This is no more true than across the “front office” (as opposed to the “back office”) and creates an opportunity to automate previously manual processes.  If so, are we on the verge of a new industrial revolution powered by analytics applied to social business, specifically front office operations?

If the weatherman said that there’s an 90% chance of showers today, would you carry an umbrella?  Salesmen are often characterized as “rain-makers”.  As such, how certain are you about your  company’s “weather forecast”?  Is there a downpour in your future?  Or a drizzle?   What would it be worth to you to know how your quarter will fare – with 90% accuracy?  Up to 3 months in advance?

Advances in science and technology have given unprecedented precision into nearly all aspects of forecasting.  Meteorologists are able to make accurate predictions of the path and strength of hurricanes to avert disasters and save lives.  Missile and rocket paths can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy.  Even the stock market has been changed by automated algorithmic trading systems.  Businesses are just starting to take advantage of the wealth of data that has been available due to the increasing use of technology in the workplace, and the availability of lower cost cloud-based platforms.  Transactions of all kinds from phone records, emails, shared document repository records, Internet usage, and other records are now stored by the terabyte on on-site and off-site computer servers.  This large volume of unstructured records necessarily precludes manual processing for anything other than the most basic, search-friendly tasks. Yet, this same digital data is a treasure-trove of social behavior, and predictive and institutional knowledge.

As with other forecasting technologies, tapping into this data can help corporations avert disasters and hit their targets with pinpoint accuracy.  A challenge has been how to get all this unstructured data into a digestible format that machine-learning algorithms can use.  Such representations need to be flexible enough to absorb new forms of data, yet robust enough to be accurate.

What’s been missing?  The first is a top-down approach where a model is used and iteratively refined with insights from the second, bottom-up approach.  This second approach uses a proprietary machine representation, pattern recognition, and decision engine that discovers its own models based strictly on the data.  The collaboration allows the method to quickly converge on useful models that provide the greatest predictive abilities.

Sales offers a unique challenge with an equally unique prize.  Sales is a highly human-centric endeavor.  All good salespeople know that their relationship with their customer can seal or break a deal.  The old adage about selling ice to Eskimos is a testament to the very social nature of sales.

Accurately predicting sales opportunities directly affects the entire corporation.  Much of a company’s asset allocation, its budgets and resources, are set based on the predictions from their sales department.  Unfortunately, current predictions from sales are more like fortune-telling.  The reason is simple: humans process this data intuitively; therefore it is difficult to come up with quantitative values.

Until now, that is.  Foretuit brings modern science and technologies using big data and analytics to better predict sales outcomes.  Think of the possibilities when applied to your own business!


Is it time to spend on sales performance management software?

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SearchCRM talks about Foretuit in an article on sales performance management software:

Sales performance management software can be a tough sell at companies with precious few IT dollars, because many managers still believe a spreadsheet application can do the job of tracking compensation.

But some industry analysts are suggesting companies take another look at sales performance management software, now that new functionality is hitting the market that could help sales teams work faster and smarter.

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