The 2015 CRM Watchlist named PROS one of its three “elite” winners this year alongside industry giants Microsoft and Salesforce.com. The annual award winners are decided by CRM guru and ZDNet Contributor Paul Greenberg, owner of The 56 Group.
Salesforce is an obvious choice for creating a powerful ecosystem around its cloud CRM platform and driving SaaS adoption in general across the enterprise. Microsoft is also making make serious inroads into CRM with its Dynamics platform.
At first glance, the PROS selection might seem like an interesting choice to some, but the factors behind Greenberg’s decision can be found in the trends section of the awards announcement article.
While governance, corporate culture, thought leadership, and customers all played an important role in the decision and are areas where PROS is proud of its accomplishments, it is more likely that PROS strong product portfolio and unique ability to combine data science with automation in the CRM environment pushed us over the finish line.
As the article mentions, many of this year’s entrants claimed data science as a capability. Whether many vendors can accurately make that claim is another discussion but it illustrates how the practical and smart application of data in the sales cycle is becoming top-of-mind for many business leaders.
Why is data science becoming an important part of the CRM conversation? After years of hearing about Big Data in usually abstract or opaque terms, businesses are now focusing on how to use Big Data to their advantage. And that’s where science comes into play. Data science is what mines Big Data to power the prescriptive analytics that deliver actionable recommendations to your sales channels, whether B2B or B2C.
This concept is becoming more important in an era where sales and sales ops leaders are feeling increasing pressure to do more than hit the revenue target and also deliver YoY margins improvements along with revenue growth. Comp plans are changing to reflect this trend and and sales leaders are starting to pay more attention to the pricing function.
While the first wave of solutions built on CRM focused on tools such as billing, contract management and configure, price, quote (CPQ) , the next wave will focus on arming these efficiency tools with the data needed to increase both revenue and profitability.
PROS is leading this second wave by delivering optimized pricing data right into CPQ , giving sales reps real-time guidance on what a customer is willing to pay.
Strong support for this approach is starting to bubble up in customer conversations, trade and industry conferences, and in the analyst community.
A perfect example can found in a recent Gartner Report: “Five Best Practices to Improve Your B2B Road Map for Sales Enablement.” In the report’s Sales Efficiency and Effectiveness Matrix, CPQ and Guided Selling join Price Optimization in the top right of the quadrant, demonstrating that the analyst community is seeing the convergence of sales and pricing as a definitive trend in the marketplace. To read the report, click here.
The PROS annual Outperform thought-leadership conference, March 11-13 in Houston and April 21-23 in Berlin, will also address this convergence in more detail, with sales and pricing expert presentations from HP, Gartner, Cargill, Panduit, and many others. To learn more, click here.