Your Sales Team Needs Some Good KARM

ISP-Planet Staff

Updated · Apr 12, 2005

Cheltenham, UK-based TPP Limited was founded by salespeople for salespeople. It’s meant to put what salespeople want into the company’s database.

The founders believe that the software sold under the buzzword “sales force automation” (SFA) actually does nothing of the sort, and also that CRM should not just be about finding prospects but should incorporate what a company does after a sale to keep the customer happy.

All too often, a company buys a sales solution like GoldMine and expects sales people to upload their contact list. Salespeople see their contact list as personal property and are generally unwilling to upload this data and share it. Where sales people do upload contact lists, the database fills with data bereft of analysis and salespeople complain of information overload.

TPP Limited’s KARM solution is designed to provide knowledge—not just data—of new business opportunities, opportunities with existing clients, and competitor analysis.

The KARM solution is comprised of four modular tools, Lead Feed, REACTOR (Rules & Events and Cause & Effect Technology), SAM (Sales and Account Managemet), and KEL (KARM Enterprise Layer).

The KARM solution provides user definable rules to feed prospects into a company’s sales and account management process, providing data and analysis that can be acted upon, providing that analysis to the people who need it and can use it.

Mining for events

“Rob was a superb salesperson and had been a consultant,” enthuses Gary Fowles, CTO, talking about Robert Steele, the company’s managing director. “He realized that many companies don’t have a clue about how to sell.”

According to TPP, it’s all about identifying moments of change in your customers and prospects (life line events) that require purchasing more or different services (trigger events). For example, if you’re selling office furniture, you want to call any company that’s just moved to a new office (a trigger event) and you can assume that a company is about to move or at least buy a few new desks if it recently recorded record growth and is hiring new staff (two life line events).

The KARM solution is a tool that learns over time. Building it requires real customization and a period of collaboration between the company deploying KARM and TPP.

The system requires training during the deployment period. “We work out over several weeks what the trigger events are according to our suggestions and theirs,” explains Fowles.

“Initially, it’s very noisy,” admits Fowles. “You view the news article or whatever we found—we look at anything you can cache—and you start getting a lot of results. It’s not billions, but it’s several hundred, looking through the past five years of the web.”

The process is about looking at what the system found and telling it what it did right and what it did wrong. “If it’s a real trigger event, that’s good. Say we found a profit warning that’s three years old, it can then search for newer information on the same criteria. In the first few weeks, you get about 30 percent useful data. Over time, working with the customer, we go to 90 percent useful, 10 percent dross.”

As soon as the Lead Feed ‘front end’ process for KARM is baselined, TPP Limited can then role out the REACTOR, SAM and KEL modules to manage customer engagement, processing, and closing.

Once it’s producing good data, it can be connected to the company’s under utilized sales solution. “Companies buy CRM solutions but they rarely use them effectively. KARM encourages usability because it adds value to sales and marketing teams. It does stuff they can’t.”

“We use KARM ourselves and we get about an 80 percent hit rate (but I don’t know how many we’ve called). We’ve been so successful that we have to limit the number of calls we make because there’s a limit to the number of projects we can handle at any time.”

The product is available now in a variety of different configurations. Pricing was not disclosed.

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