We talked to Rizan Flenner of iSEEit about building sales methodology, and this is what he had to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rizan Flenner: Thanks for the question. So far, my family and I have been safe from COVID-19 and have taken the right measures to keep everyone safe. We meet virtually via Zoom or Skype and have even cancelled our annual big family Christmas get-together this year.
It’s a very demanding time for everyone, especially for our teenage kids who are still trying to adjust to the ever-changing regulations, distance learning, and not being able to meet up with their friends – which is very important to them at this age.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded iSEEit.
Rizan Flenner: I have been working in the IT industry for the last 27 years. I started at IBM and then moved on to work for great software companies like CA Technologies, Dynatrace, Mercury interactive, BMC, and MongoDB. I was focused on sales & sales management, building up new sales teams, and scaling them to grow the business throughout my career. During this time, we sold state of the art technology, helped our clients manage their business in a leaner, more modern, integrated, and automated way.
However, when I looked at how our sales organization was being run, it still pretty much functioned based on distributed, mosaicked, and old fashioned ways. These primarily included very basic CRMs accompanied by dozens of highly overwhelming and, most of the time, outdated spreadsheets.
This is where I thought that there had to be something for enterprise sales teams that would actually make a difference and help them close more deals.
How does iSEEit innovate?
Rizan Flenner: iSEEit allows salespeople to qualify and transform their leads into opportunities and drive them to closure in a more structured and predictable way. With iSEEit, you can build your sales methodology (MEDDIC, Challenger Sales, Value Selling, etc.) and best practice sales process into CRM softwares like Salesforce.com, allowing sales teams to drive their sales business from a central location. Leveraging CRM data and sales relevant opportunity information like relationships maps, deal qualification scores, and deal progress information, helps salespeople to better understand the sales process and close more deals. It also allows management to create a predictable forecast and avoid slipped deals.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Rizan Flenner: We had a record Quarter in Q1 and started very strong at the beginning of 2020. However, it was clear to us that business will slow down. Hence, we made sure that we could leverage the strong prior quarters to ensure we could survive even if our business went down to zero.
Luckily, the worst-case scenario did not happen to us. However, many of our clients had to undergo cost-cutting measures and reduced their personnel. To support our customers, we have built programs to help them during these hard times, enabling us to stay connected and establish stronger bonds with our clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Rizan Flenner: When you run a startup, you learn to deal with uncertainty from day 1. Managing cash flow is one of the biggest challenges. Keeping business growth comes in at a close second. With estimated growth being uncertain due to the current circumstances, there is even more pressure and importance to keep up with the growth and investments.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Rizan Flenner: To combat work stress, I do a lot of sports like running, cycling, and skiing to keep my brain fresh and energized. I am an optimistic person in general, and I look to the future as an opportunity to make things happen.
In times of a pandemic like COVID-19, I have learned that there are many people around me who feel insecure and anxious about what the future will bring. It’s times like these where we need to make sure we spend time listening to their fears. Staying in touch with friends and family, especially on topics like these, is very crucial.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Rizan Flenner: I would say, “Do it yourself” is still the largest competitor. Many sales organizations still work on spreadsheets or manually add another field in their CRM.
Our biggest strength is the ability to stay close to the client, lead and support them, but also learn about their needs and approaches on the ground, allowing us to feed it back to the development team. Using the patterns that we have identified from our clients and prospects, we can then fuel a roadmap for iSEEit and tailor it to be as close as possible to the market needs.
Once the client understands how their customer-facing teams can benefit from iSEEit, they will never want to go back. On multiple occasions, contacts who have moved on to different companies have even come back to implement iSEEit for their new sales teams.
Lately, we have seen some competitors popping up, blowing into the same horn. We see this as evidence of market proof and an addressable market that is growing. It is now up to us to position iSEEit as the most flexible and visually appealing tool for enterprise sales teams.
Your final thoughts?
Rizan Flenner: I am astonished at how people’s opinions all around the world are driven and manipulated by conspiracy theories and opinion leaders without any substantial proof. I think it’s high time that we turn our common sense back on and double-check some of the information being thrown at us.
No matter if we are talking about business or fighting the pandemic, the future will be driven by every decision we make, and this is in our hands.