How Does Foretuit, Do It?

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Been innundated these past few days with questions about how Foretuit does what it does. Great question.  But without giving away the farm, let me explain the essence of our approach.

When people connect in a social sense, they are “friends.”  There’s no more simple construct as they are literally peers — friends, neighbors, relatives.

On the flip side, when people connect in a business sense, they are “colleagues.”  People that work together and have a defined role.   Their role defines their social standing in an organization.  They are worker, manager, sales person, marketer, pricer, boss — you get it.

More important, each colleague has a need to collaborate to perform a specified task at a particular time during a particular process. This is hugely important.  Why?  Well, understand the role and purpose, you can understand the business.

This is the very nature of collaborative structures and it lies at the heart of our approach. When applied to a specific context — like sales, you begin to understand our method. Foretuit leverages these collaborative structures to identify patterns of unstructured activities within the chaos of daily business life.

For sales, it creates a real-time model for deal flow, and maps that deal with other deals to create a knowledge base of deal sequencing – like a sales genome.  Understand the genome on an individual, group, organization, industry or global level, and you have achieved the holy grail to determine deal maturity, and the confidence to know the likely outcome, positive or negative.  In fact, our alpha results have been extraordinary and indicate a high likelihood of correctly predicting outcomes at a very early stage.   Thus, we are on the verge of greatly reducing friction in the sales process thereby eliminating the subjective nature of deal proctology.

Think about the impact.  Today, most experts, board members, executive management believe the sales process is entirely ineffective and totally inefficient.  The amount of resources (think capital) required to operate the sales process is burdened by significant over investment in lead generation, pipeline coverage and operational oversight.  Yet with all that investment, deals don’t just slip at the end of the quarter — they vaporize as if they never existed in the first place.

Thus, the environment is dysfunctional at best as it breeds distrust and lives on regular interrogation. The investments required to generate 10x lead flow and 3x pipeline coverage are huge, and the outcomes hit or miss.  Organizations spend over $18 billion per year on CRM applications alone.

A small relative improvement in deal cycle management could yield significant upstream and downstream benefits.  Not just from better allocation of management and operations time, but in improved upfront targeting and resource allocation.  Plus, if you live in a product organization, think about the benefits to downstream production and alignment with supply.

Sales resource is expensive and precious.  With improved foresight, comes better allocation of sales resource.  And with the amount of time compression at the end of any quarter, there is a critical need to understand how best to utilize scarce resource.  Most customers skew their purchase cycle to the closing weeks of any quarter.  With the proper foresight, management would know where and when to focus and, perhaps more importantly, where not to.  More importantly, this benefits the sales rep as sales quota obtainment would be higher and thus compensation and job satisfaction much greater.

Thus it’s in everybody’s interest to improve deal lifecycle management.  Today’s tools and applications tend to enable the current dysfunction but do little to change the game.  Our approach is certain to change that — and that’s a quick overview on how Foretuit does what it does.

An Open Letter of Apology to J. Michael Arrington

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Note to self: don’t say the term “proctology” on stage at a TechCrunch Disrupt Event.

While I’ve heard every expletive imaginable at a Disrupt event, I seem to have crossed some imaginary line.  Apparently the twitterati are in a tizzy over my use of term “proctology” when relating it to what Foretuit does to ease the pain a typical Sales Rep experiences each and every week from Executive Management.

Here’s a sample:

  • @nwjerseyliz: ”Most of what sales managers do is proctology”. Say what?
  • @kdsasser: Proctology! Everybody drink!
  • elliotloh: Even if your product has something to do with proctology, don’t mention the word “proctology” in your demo.
  • keithpepper: Call me old fashioned, but in my Marketing 101 book, I don’t want my product and proctology mentioned in the same breath.
  • lol the foretuit guy says proctology and seems like its now going to be a trending topic at #TCDisrupt .
  • jonmarkgo: People say that proctology has no place at #tcdisrupt – but ButtArt proves them wrong!

So I sent this tweet to J. Michael Arrington, TechCrunch Founder, this morning and by the virtue of the fact that he retweeted it to his followers, I’m going to assume that he has accepted my humble 140-character apology:

mliebow RT by arrington: @arrington, so sorry, didn’t mean to demean the decorum of disrupt “@keithpepper#TCDisrupt is unravelling. First proctology now Butt Art?”

Most people with some history in or around a sales organization know exactly what we’re referring to when we say the words “Sales” and “Proctology” in the same sentence.  For those less aware,  I can see how the term can evoke a rather rude and unappealing vision (no offense to you actual practicing proctologists, we’re glad you’re out there).  But, if you’ve been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a weekly sales pipeline review you know exactly what it feels like.  And I can assure you, it’s not pleasant.

For the uninitiated, the fact is that the data in any CRM system is suspect at best.  So, what sales managers actually do is spend upwards of 20-30% of their week grilling their sales reps to find out what’s really going on and to get a feel for when deals might or might not close.

The CRM application is a system of record for any size enterprise.  The application only tells a sales manager what deals are in the pipe, which deals they hope to close, when they hope to close them, and how much they hope each deal is worth.  Rarely, if ever, does the application give a sales manager a sense of confidence of what is actually happening around the deal.  Sure, most every organization has a some form of uniform selling methodology with required terminology around deal stages, but, and this is a BIG BUT (sorry Butt Art), the terminology is highly subjective and prone to broad interpretation.

The selling process today boils down to a combination of 2 things: Trust and Credibility.  Most sales managers either say they can only trust 20% of what they hear, or 20% of who they hear it from.  Either way, a former boss of mine at IBM once told me that “you get what you inspect”, so the managers, and frankly each tier in the management chain, are forced to spend significant time each week getting a handle on their quarter so that they can feel confident in their resource allocations across their field sales teams and how the information they share impacts other parts of the organization (like finance, manufacturing and procurement).   So they work really hard to get to the truth around their sales cycles, questioning everything the sales reps tell them – which often gets adversarial.  To the sales rep at the receiving end of this process, it definitely feels like a proctology exam.  Every week.

Foretuit’s solution is designed to remove, or significantly lessen, the tension from the process by making transparent all the activity “around” the deal leveraging the communication flows from/to the rep, the internal deal team, and out to the customer and/or partners.  Come see for yourself!

Thank heavens I didn’t say “water-boarding.”  Oops!


Foretuit Tracks and Maps Sales Operations for Organizations

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We’ll we’re officially launched, and TechCrunch has already put us in the news!

Foretuit Debuts at TechCrunch Disrupt, Introducing an Intelligent, Predictive Approach to Sales

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Solution provides a real-time snapshot based on actual behavior, greatly improving sales efficiency and effectiveness by an order of magnitude unseen in today’s CRM offerings

New York City (TechCrunch Disrupt) May 24, 2011Foretuit, a new intelligent, predictive approach to enterprise sales, debuted today at the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt conference.  Foretuit maps employees’ business behavior and determines patterns to provide predictive outcomes for any front office scenario, particularly sales. The service analyzes the collaborative structures within the enterprise using unstructured data gathered from an employee’s digital behavior – such as email and calendar data – then identifies patterns based on their roles, frequency of communication and output.  The result is better deal lifecycle management, and improved business outcomes for enterprises at a lower cost.

“As an early beta customer, preliminary results suggest that the Foretuit solution could improve our ability to manage the sales process and improve our overall sales performance,” said Jim Somers, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Antenna Software. “We expect the predictive analysis capability will reveal nuances in the sales process that we never would have discovered without using Foretuit.  When you’re operating in a market as dynamic as enterprise mobility, being able to identify sales trends rather than reacting to them can mean all the difference in the world.”

Foretuit stands apart in its relevance to the sales process and in its ability to dig into the underlying sales activities, providing a leadership approach to improved sales outcomes that is unmatched in the marketplace today. The 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.

“We are working to alleviate the pain points of both the sales and management teams with the Foretuit service,” said Michael Liebow, Founder and CEO of Foretuit.  “Sales teams are not always aligned because individuals are focused on closing a sale and not updating time-consuming databases. Management teams spend 20% of their resources on weekly checkpoints and data compliance requirements, while sales outcomes remain a mystery. With Foretuit, sales teams can stay updated on activities without entering information, while management will have complete transparency and visibility into sales process without relying on a weekly interrogation.”

Foretuit’s initial SaaS solution is now available as a Freemium beta offering through a wait-list on the Fortuit website and will be available on’s Appexchange in June.  A Premium beta version is planned to launch in late 2011, targeting Sales Management and business operations, and providing enhanced pipeline and risk management across the entire sales team. A video demonstration of the service is available here: Foretuit demo.

Foretuit was selected from over 500 promising startups that applied to launch on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt.  Foretuit is based in New York and is and currently self-funded.


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 as a Freemium beta through the website:

About TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2011( is TechCrunch’s second annual conference in New York City attracting over 1,500 leading technology innovators and investors and over 150 new startups.  The format combines top thought-leader discussions with new product and company launches.  Morning executive discussions debate the most timely disruptions in media, advertising and technology.  Afternoons host the Startup Battlefield where 25 new companies will launch for the first time on stage, selected to present from more than 500 applications received from around the world.  Another 100 early-stage startups will exhibit in Startup Alley.  TechCrunch will award a $50,000 grand prize along with other award recognitions at the conclusion of the conference.  The conference is May 23-25, 2011, at Pier 94 located at 711 12th Avenue (at 55th Street & West Side Hwy) in Midtown New York.

TechCrunch ( is a leading technology media network dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies. Founded by Michael Arrington in 2005, TechCrunch and its network of websites reach over 13 million unique visitors and more than 30 million page views per month. TechCrunch was acquired by AOL in 2011 and operates a global network of websites including dedicated properties in Europe and Japan, as well as specialized industry websites including MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, GreenTech, TechCrunchIT, and CrunchBase. TechCrunch’s CrunchBase is the leading open database about startup companies, people, and investors. In addition to TechCrunch Disrupt, TechCrunch hosts other conferences and events, including the Crunchies Awards ( and various meet-ups worldwide, serving as community platforms for industry conversation and collaboration.

For more information, please contact:

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

Alicia Mickelsen
Breakaway Communications for Foretuit
(212) 616-6002


Social+Cloud Has Turned the Enterprise Upsidedown

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The advent of social media is shifting the center of gravity away from the center of the enterprise and out to the edge.  The traditional management hierarchy has literally been turned upside-down on its head.  The status quo has turned into the status ouch!

The socialization of the enterprise is underway.  Today, people with front line contact with the customer are in charge of the conversation.  While management has never had much visibility or transparency into front office process, particularly sales, the need to know more is now hyper-critical but the solution is as elusive as ever.  Most tools at an org’s disposal are woefully inadequate.

Meant in a positive way, social empowers the inmates to now literally run the asylum — which can be an extraordinary turn of events.  But while what could be gained by more intimate contact between company and customer is incredibly powerful, the risk to the organization is equally daunting.  This is more than just simply “disruptive”.

Large, bureaucratic organizations exist on process, control and order – otherwise – you get dysfunction, perhaps anarchy or worse – bankruptcy.  Most shareholders don’t like anarchy. It’s not good for business.

Management needs to empower the front line and exercise constraint or risk rebellion from workers and customers alike. At the same time, management needs the means to gain visibility and transparency into real-time behavior so to avoid potentially damaging events with lasting affects.

Thus any solution to the opportunity needs to both empower the workers on the front line and provide visibility to management, but how?  Traditionally, most applications are built for management and mandated on the worker.  The worker sees little benefit in the application as the requirements are all one-sided — think CRM.  No carrots here, all stick. Thus the data in many of these applications is garbage with unenforceable policies.  And, if employees do comply, data currency tends to be miserably low — think manual data entry.

Organizations are getting flatter.  Like it or not, management and the worker now have an equal seat at the proverbial table as the enterprise becomes more social.  Frankly, it would seem that neither carrot, nor stick are apt to provide the right structure for compliance and context.

This conundrum sets the stage for potentially disastrous outcomes.  The only real answer is to avoid manual intervention and automate the ability to view the information in the proper context while providing real value to the person actually doing the work.  Given the right support (be it coaching or coaxing), the front office worker is apt to do the right thing by the customer and for the benefit of their own career.

At the end of the day, Enterprises now need to empower the front office with applications that enable the work and the worker (as opposed to enabling the process first), and in return, get the benefit of understanding how the process actually unfolds with best practice tied to best results.  The added benefit here is a comprehensive understanding of the practice tied to risk — to ensure the organization stays in conformance with applicable corporate and regulatory requirements — in real time.



What’s good for reps is good for managers


Sales organizations keep bringing in more and more sales tools but sales productivity is actually flat to declining according to recent studies. What’s going on?

The answer is actually pretty simple: Sales tools are selected by management for managers – usually without thinking of the impact on the daily life of your reps. So, you give your reps the shiny new tool, and the reps think “Great, one more thing to waste my time. Why can’t I just spend my time selling. That’s what I’m being paid to do!”

It’s no wonder that the data in a typical CRM is not much better than a heap of trash. There’s nothing in it for the reps. Nothing to make their ability to sell easier, faster, or simpler.

If we want to improve sales productivity, we need to put a fresh set of eyes on the problem because it’s clear that focusing solely on the needs of sales managers is not actually solving the problem. We need to think from the “front line” back. What can we put in the hands of our reps to make them sell better? Because, what’s good for reps, is good for their managers.

Getting to the Battlefield @TechCrunch Disrupt

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Nobody’s more surprised, nor thrilled to get to the battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt than we are.

We’ve been working on Foretuit for the better part of the past year and wondering what would be the right venue to come out of stealth mode. In the early days of a startup’s life, every decision can be a make or break. That said, Disrupt is a no-brainer.

We can’t think of a better forum and excited to have this opportunity. While we believe we’ve already ‘won’ just by having been selected out of 500+ applicants, we’re dead set on getting to the top five — and being picked the winner of the battlefield.


We are making an official announcement at Disrupt, but we’ll let TechCrunch take the honors.  The timing couldn’t be more opportune as we seek to increase awareness for our fledgling company and attract financing to help expedite our product roadmap.

While we’re no 20-somethings with a new consumer app, we do believe the Enterprise is ripe for innovation and the current trends are in our favor.  Our go-to-market model combines the best of both worlds.

We thank all the folks who have helped get us this far and look forward to making new friends as our journey continues — but special gratitude to Michael Arrington, Heather Harde and Erick Schonfeld for bringing us here.

And a special shout out to Marc Benioff and the team.  Marc is a true inspiration to everyone in the Cloud.  His vision and enthusiasm is contagious.  He advised us to pursue the concept and he and his team has been invaluable to us getting our product and our business to this stage.

Lastly, we’d be remiss not to recognize an influential group of VCs without whom we’re sure we never would have ventured down this path.  When they realized we knew this space better than anyone, they advised us to chase our dreams.  Their foresight and intuition helped get us off our collective duffs (no small feat).  Thank you Peter, Patrick, Mark, Scott and Jon, just to name a few.

Good luck to all our well deserving competition — but watch your backs. :-)

Foretuit is in Beta!

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Well, we’ve finally done it: We’re now in Beta! Thanks to everyone that’s helped us get here so far – especially everyone that participated in our alpha and earlier development.

Space in the beta program is filling up fast – so if you’re not already a beta user, you can go to the home page, click on “Join Foretuit” and enter your information to get a spot on the beta waiting list.

Hi, my name is Michael Liebow

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Hi, my name is Michael Liebow.

Let’s start off by stating the obvious.  I’m not 20-something.  I’ve been around the block a few times.  I’ve run many large consumer and high tech businesses, and can easily say, “been there, done that” in many kinds of situations.

Early in my career, I cut my teeth in the consumer packaged goods industry; great preparation for a business career.  It teaches you the discipline of listening to your customers, a skill many techies lack.  An advertising great, David Ogilvy once said, “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.”  David once borrowed spare change from me for a taxi.  I was just starting out.

I was recruited into IBM when it was envogue to hire what the lifers referred to as “Big M” marketing people.  Every business unit wanted their own pet marketer after Gerstner hired Abby Kohnstamm.  I was fortunate to land in the PC Server business, an oxymoron of a unit if there ever was one, and a bastion of early retirement.  I drove the strategy and execution to trash the existing brand and re-launch the business as IBM Netfinity in September ’97 with Sam Palmisano and Andy Grove on stage in NYC.  Grove called the announcement “an inflection point akin to when IBM launched the PC.”  That business went from sub $1 billion in revenue to $3 billion in revenue in three years.  Key to our success was helping the market to perceive value for differentiated higher-end server technologies in our roadmap.  I learned then how to package tech for broad consumption.  To that end, I created something called “X-architecture” and take pleasure in seeing the concept endure some 14 years later.

That was my first tour of duty at IBM, I left during the first Internet bubble to start a consumer venture with a top engineer from EMC.  It was a great learning experience.  I ended up back at IBM in late 2002 when by happenstance I ran into my old boss at a restaurant in Westport, CT.  Now in the IBM Services business, I was asked to look at something called “SOA” (Service-oriented Architecture) and Web Services — and whether or not it would impact the Services business (answer = yes).

I fathered the SOA initiative into a $4 billion a year services business within 4 years and crafted the beginnings of an asset-based approach to the services lifecycle of design, build, manage.

I got the startup bug again in 2008 when asked to take the helm of a struggling enterprise mobility venture funded by the likes of NEA, Canaan, Sigma, Motorola and Intel.  I was looking for a vehicle to expand upon my work at IBM.  One where I could test out the assumptions of dynamic business over composite applications and a cloud infrastructure.  Integrated workflow on a hand-held device seemed like a natural fit.  Unfortunately, Dexterra was not to be that vehicle. With the recession and a fatigued syndicate, the best outcome was a quick sale which once I had the go-ahead was completed in a record 90 days without the assistance of a banker.

From there, Scott Sandell asked me to be an EIR for NEA.  This was a real treat for me.  I got to see the venture business from the inside, out, warts and all.  NEA asked me to join the board of a portCo that I repositioned firmly in the private cloud space.  While I think I would have enjoyed running the company as the investors wanted, I advised the investors that the company needed to be sold and quickly — having nothing to do with the product, installed base or team, quite the contrary, the asset was that strategic to a broad range of large vendors, but that the window for a sale was miserably short.  The point being that any of the buyers we would want to target could decide to make rather than buy and if that happened, there would be no opportunity for an exit.   Engineering teams are stubbornly proprietary once they get going, so its key to understand where in the product dev cycle they are if you ever hope for a reasonable outcome.  I predicted correctly.   We secured a major strategic in less than a year, and sold the company to Cisco in March.

While at NEA, I sat through many a pipeline pitch and reviewed many a portCo.  Given NEA’s size, there was a lot to look at.  What I didn’t see was the vehicle I was looking for — a dynamic set of business services over a composable application layer with a robust cloud infrastructure.   After one particular pitch last April, one of NEA’s fast-rising stars said to me, “you ought to do it yourself.”  Ever attentive, I said “do what?”

So I fleshed out the concept and an NEA GP encouraged me to go run it by Marc Benioff.  Never the shy one, I found out he was speaking at a Cloudforce event in San Jose last June.  I went straight up to Marc after the event (something most VCs advise never to do), introduced myself as an NEA EIR and asked him what he thought of a behavioral analytics play on top of Salesforce.  He paused for a moment and said, “no one’s doing that, we’re not doing that, you should do that.”  Well, that’s all I needed.

So I formed a team, built a demo and went back to Marc in September.  Marc had me show the demo to his product lead at One Market.  His product guy said he thought what we wanted to do was hard but that we had a clear lane as they weren’t doing it nor was any existing partner.  The product lead educated me on the short-comings of crm apps.

We then got our alpha program started, built a prototype, refined our gtm and financial model, created a brand (with vowels and a dotcom address that actually means something: foresight + intuition) and then went back to Marc on the eve of Dreamforce in December.

Marc got back to me within hours and asked for a demo video which we produced and sent him on Christmas Eve.  Amazingly, he got right back to us again and assigned his ISV lead as a sponsor.  We promised to launch on the AppExchange in the Spring — and have kept our promise.  I marvel at the progress we’ve made in a relatively short time.

We live in a remarkable time.  I’ve been able to boot-strap Foretuit into existence and I gotta tell you, while nerve-racking at times, there is nothing more exhilarating.  Assembling a team from scratch, vetting an idea with investors, prospects and partners, and then getting a new business launched, all on your own — well, it’s more professionally satisfying than anything you can ever imagine.

I’m real fortunate to have had the experiences I have had, met the people I have met, and do the things I have done.

I’m excited about the potential in front of us and hope you’ll join us on this journey, either as investor, customer, employee or partner.  We believe we have the vision and where-with-all to create a real disruptive game-changer while at the same time, enjoying ourselves and the challenge before us.  Oh, and sorry to be cliché but “you know what’s cool” — fully leveraged, this is a $1+ billion opportunity.

Watch this space!  And please, follow us on twitter, @foretuit.