The Data-Driven Rebirth of a Salesman

September 23, 2016 Alicia McCarty

Willy Loman, the beleaguered road warrior of “Death of a Salesman,” wouldn’t recognize the technology-dependent sales staff at GuideSpark Inc.

Employees on the sales floor of the Menlo Park, Calif., human-resources software firm lean on more than a dozen digital aids. One analyzes records of millions of transactions stored in sales databases to serve up lists of potential customers, ranking them in order of their likelihood to buy. If a prospect doesn’t pick up, another program, at the click of a mouse, leaves a voice-mail message from a prerecorded template. When a salesperson closes a deal, a third program triggers a morale-boosting gong sound.

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