An Interview with Entellium CEO, Paul “PJ” Johnston
By: Mandy Kemp
Q: How does Entellium endeavor to better meet the needs of salespersons with the new Rave CRM solutions suite?
Our goal with Rave CRM is to provide smaller businesses a suite of products that help their sales teams spend more time and be more successful doing what they love – selling!
With Rave, we’ve built in a variety of features – such as pre-built activity sets and sales processes, and ‘leader board’ dashboards that give salespeople instant insight into the activities that will help them close the most business. We’ve also taken an innovative approach to the user interface by giving salespeople the ability to radically personalize Rave so that information is presented in a style that works best for them.
Another way we’re helping our customers is ensuring that on-the-go salespeople have access to customer information anywhere, anytime – even if they are not connected to the Web. I know firsthand how much time salespeople spend on the road and in the air, and I also know how critical it is to make good use of that time. We’re able to offer this seamless access to data because Rave uses a smart client delivery model, which is a hybrid software-as-a-service and desktop client application. With this delivery model, Rave customers have all the benefits of ‘cloud computing,’ but also 100% access to data that is stored in a database on the salesperson’s laptop.
Q: The Rave interface is unique amongst other CRM software products. What inspired the new aesthetic?
Rave’s new aesthetic is designed to help sales people answer one simple question: “how can I spend my time most profitably today.” When we created Rave, we took a revolutionary approach to the software design by incorporating many characteristics that are found in good video game design. We call this ‘gamer influenced design’ (GID) and the idea behind this approach came about two years ago while watching my kids play Xbox. I saw how quickly they mastered game after game without training, and I realized there was a lot to be said about the intuitive design of games. After coming across research by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) that proved a large number of adults also play video games, we wanted to incorporate as much of a game-like feel into Rave as possible, to create software salespeople would actually enjoy and be more inclined to use.
Q: Rave has a number of unique features. You’ve described Rave as having a “gamer-influenced design”. What does that mean exactly, in terms of functionality?
Rave incorporates features that are commonly found in video games so that it not only works, but is intuitive and easy to use, and taps into the competitive spirit that is an inherent characteristic of salespeople. For example, Rave’s homepage features a ‘leader board’ that provides salespeople real-time information about their performance and how it stacks up to their peers and their quotas. The leader board also provides information into key statistics of top performers – such as the number of calls made in a day, or average deal size – so they can use that information to be more successful in their own sales efforts. Imagine if this type of information was only available to the manager after running a report – which is typically the case. How would that help individual salespeople improve their performance?
Another game-like feature we’ve incorporated into Rave is ‘star ratings’ that help users visually prioritize leads. We’ve also revamped the user experience by incorporating incredible drag-and-drop capabilities within Rave, so that individual users can personalize the way they interact with the information in Rave and bring a sense of excitement to otherwise mundane tasks.
Q: How easy is it to integrate data between existing business applications and Rave CRM?
Today, Rave has the ability to automatically import data from other systems, helping smaller businesses get up and running with their CRM solution more quickly, and saving them time and money. We also have web services using REST-based API’s so that our clients’ IT resources can easily integrate their data with Rave. That being said, we know many of our customers – typically businesses with fewer than 100 or even 50 salespeople – don’t have an IT staff on hand to help with data integration projects. Therefore, we recently announced a solution called Rave Integrate that will be available later this year. Rave Integrate will provide an affordable, managed integration service that will facilitate integration of data between small business applications such as QuickBooks® and Rave CRM without the need for costly, dedicated IT resources.
Q: Who can most benefit from using Rave CRM?
Rave was designed specifically for smaller businesses – particularly small businesses that don’t have an automated system to manage their customer data, or have outgrown their homegrown or basic contact management solutions. Through extensive research, we’ve gained a deep understanding of the issues facing smaller businesses every day – such as their need for solutions that are feature-rich but not complex, affordable, and easy to implement and use with little or no training. Most importantly, we understand our customers need for solutions that are easy to customize to their needs and can integrate with other mission-critical business applications. Rave CRM was specifically designed to meet these smaller business requirements.
We also want to be sure our small business customers have the support they need to achieve long-term success with Rave, so we offer a number of services and resources free of charge – including 24/7 live chat and online training tutorials – to help customers make the most of Rave.
Q: How can our readers find out more about the Rave CRM solutions suite?
We’re very excited about the breakthrough’s we’ve achieved in business application design, and we encourage anyone who would like to experience Rave for themselves to download the Rave CRM free trial at www.ravecrm.com. You can also find information about the Rave CRM solutions suite at this site.
[Photo courtesy of indierockmusic-en.]