'How May I Help You?' Could Mean So Much More

E.piphany's software aims to take guesswork out of the sales process.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 15, 2002

2 Min Read

E.piphany Inc. had a revelation: Why not push needed sales and marketing data directly to sales professionals rather than making them hunt for it across applications? The customer-relationship management software vendor this week will ship E.piphany 6.0, which is designed to make it easier for sales staff to access customer data, receive relevant sales information, and track customer inquiries.

The hardest part of a CRM deployment isn't the technology, though, it's getting users to adopt the system, says Steven Hills, director of application development for Staubach Co., a privately held commercial real-estate firm in Dallas. "The new release is attractive because it's more intuitive and has more point-to-point navigation [features] than 5.5," Hills says. Staubach is beta testing E.piphany 6.0's Sales module and plans to go live with it April 18.

E.piphany's new ActivePath technology pushes users to needed information and makes recommendations on the next step a salesperson should take with each customer. Instead of having to find specific customer data such as buying history, E.piphany pulls all of the relevant information from various applications and presents it to the salesperson. Sales associates who open the calendar within the sales application, for example, will see an icon next to each customer's name. When highlighted with a mouse, the icon provides specific suggestions for the salesperson, depending on the status of the account. If the customer hasn't bought a product yet, the system may suggest ways to prepare for the sale. The application will pull all relevant product and sales data and customer interaction history.

The system can also pull external data such as driving directions to the customer site from MapQuest or company information from Hoover's. Users can also view marketing campaigns and evaluate suggested cross-selling opportunities.

Other improvements include Dialogs, interaction-management software that lets executives deploy real-time dialogues across contact centers, Web sites, and sales applications, to guide sales, marketing, and support people through customer interactions.

Hills plans to give his employees a year to adopt the application before he decides whether to add other modules. He's established "user champions" within the sales organization to help drive adoption.

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