SalesTechStar Interview with Dan Fleetwood, President, Research & Insights Platform at QuestionPro
A large part of sales, is still truly about networking and connecting with people, feels Dan Fleetwood, President, Research & Insights Platform at QuestionPro in this chat where he shares a few observations on B2B sales trends:
Hi Dan, we’d love to hear about your journey in tech through the years and a little about your role at QuestionPro..!
I’m President of Research and Insights here at QuestionPro, a leading online survey and insight platform partnering with the majority of the Fortune 1000 companies to help guide them with their market research needs. My role in tech really started early in my career where I saw rapid growth in the market and always knew I wanted to do something in tech. I got my start in market research after graduating with degrees in Marketing and Communications from Central Washington University in Washington State. I worked in the market research industry at Informa and Pacific Market Research utilizing technology platforms and then had the opportunity to work for QuestionPro which at the time was an upcoming leader in the space. So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Can you share a few highlights on how automation is changing the game for marketing and sales today and how it is set to revamp processes for these teams in future as well?
Prospecting tools that help automate the lead generation process have really helped change the game. Not only when we talk about speed and agility but accuracy as well. The affordability of these tools with a lot of human intervention is pretty amazing. For example, if you want to target an industry and job title, there is little work involved as the tool on the market allows these easy searches. Yet the data coming back is robust. Also, the integrations and API access from tools is key. Users of many products can get market data and have that seamless flow into BI or data visualization platforms where dashboards are already set up for sales or marketing teams to consume the data.
One thing that automation can’t quite deliver is the strategy behind the data exercise. For that, you still need senior, experienced researchers to deploy the automation. That said, the “time to insights” is much faster these days.
How do you feel today’s sales and marketing leaders need to revisit their sales processes and choice of salestech or martech to empower their teams more while being remote?
There are two things to consider when thinking about the intersection of tech and sales. First, when you are considering a technology solution to a problem or an opportunity, make sure you’re using the right tool. There’s no single tool that can do everything, so take care to not ask it to do more than it was built for. Second, human beings want to connect with human beings. A large part of sales, especially in B2B, is truly networking and connecting with people. If you solely rely on tools for automated follow up and everything in the process, you’ll be missing out on developing relationships. Use the tools that are available to help you become more effective and efficient but don’t let it replace true human connection (albeit remotely) when dealing with customers or prospects. There are many tools we use to help in sales and marketing process from CRM, sales lead management, prospecting, etc. but these are tools not a replacement for authenticity.
What kind of tools and software do you feel smaller to mid-sized marketing and sales teams need to be relying on more today? (Besides online survey software!)
Well, since I can’t say online survey software like <ahem, QuestionPro!>, I’ll mention a few others. LinkedIn is gold when it comes to connecting with people in any space and forging new relationships whether that’s for sales or marketing. When used correctly, I feel it can be really authentic and truly a win/win for not only the company but potential prospects as well. It gives the ability to build a network around the individual and brand. Plus it is largely free which can be a benefit to smaller businesses. Also, make use of Clubhouse which has a large reach and the barrier to entry is minimal. Aside from these, having a good CRM platform and sales management software like Copper are key as well.
How according to you will the future of tools like online surveys as well as sales tech and customer management tools change and evolve? Can you throw light on a few top providers in the space you’ve been following?
Largely, the future of regtech and martech will continue to be more about automation and feeding insights to users. This is true from online surveys to sales. What nuggets of information can be brought to life with the user having to dig for the information? I also think that as organizations continue to become more flat, the democratization of data and tools will continue. Where there are no longer specialized groups solely utilizing the tools, it’ll become more widespread especially when it comes to online survey software and other martech tools. I also feel that companies will look to one integrated tool that can accomplish many objectives and can cross functions within an organization, rather than have a number of single-point solutions that only do one job. This becomes more important in larger organizations where there is usually a strong need to mitigate risk which comes with more platforms and people accessing different systems.
A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales and business leaders need to do to motivate, train and uplift their teams to optimize business performance while driving a remote workforce? And how you feel leaders need to use technologies to better breakdown and understand changing customer trends and behaviors.
I feel it’s super important to have a weekly remote meeting on Zoom, Teams or whatever platform where the only agenda is to motivate and uplift your team. Play an inspirational video, share an uplifting story, or take them through a course that really helped you personally. I’ve done this with my teams and have noticed a huge benefit. On a side note, it’s now more important than ever to make use of employee experience/workforce tools to help get up to the minute insights on trends and behaviors so not only marketing can be more effective and ensure you’re hitting the right notes but sales well. There are many tools that provide these insights which make the lives of sales and marketing professionals easier.
Founded in 2006, QuestionPro is a global provider of online survey and research services that help companies make better decisions through data.
Dan Fleetwood is President of Research and Insights at QuestionPro, where he plays a key role defining the research technology and innovation that QuestionPro provides. He has 15+ years of market research experience and believes that software can help companies get better feedback, uncover actionable insights, and ultimately develop better products and services.