Eloquent Meets Sales Readiness Challenge

By Heather Baldwin

Walk into almost any sales meeting to launch a new product and the scene will be roughly the same – talking heads speaking to endless PowerPoint slides and hoping that something sticks. Thousands of dollars and several days later, reps return to their territory still trying to digest the flood of information that washed over them at the meeting – a process that can take weeks.

When San Mateo, CA-based Eloquent, Inc. prepared to release LaunchForce, its award-winning sales readiness application, it decided to do something different. Managers used their own product to introduce the application in advance of the meeting. They loaded the information reps were required to know into LaunchForce’s Information Center. The Center is a repository of all the knowledge sales reps need to help them sell and a place where users can view collateral brochures, rich media presentations, discussion threads, polls, success stories, links to live WebEx meetings and more.

“We put all the info on LaunchForce into the Information Center ahead of time, and then sent notes to the reps saying: Here’s everything you need to know. We’re going to meet, but you can’t come to the meeting unless you know all this,” recalls David Glazer, Eloquent’s chief technology officer.

After the notices were sent out, managers hit the product’s Tracking Center. There, says Glazer, they were able to gather data such as who was using the Information Center, how deeply they were penetrating it and how long they spent studying the information. Almost all the reps were following their instructions exactly, says Glazer, but there were a few who weren’t. Those few “were very surprised to find an email from their sales manager three days before the meeting saying: I noticed you’re only 2% penetrated into the LaunchForce information. We were serious about you not being able to attend the meeting until you learn it all,” says Glazer. “The manager got back a slew of apologetic emails and all the delinquent reps went through [the information] immediately.” The result: Eloquent’s product launch meeting became a review of material and a forum for sharing information rather than a first-time introduction of the information from a parade of talking heads – in short, a far more effective meeting, says Glazer.

Eloquent released LaunchForce version 7.5 in mid-November. In addition to the Information Center and Tracking Center, the sales readiness software includes a Control Center that is designed to help the marketing department build strong, useful Information Centers. For more information, visit www.eloquent.com.