I recently had the opportunity to appear on Atlanta Technology Leaders- a radio show on Atlanta Business RadioX, an internet station focused on helping local businesses get the word out about important work they’re doing for their market, their community, and their profession. The full interview can be heard here but below is a summary of what we discussed.

The host, Kevin Fynn, invited me on the show to talk about my recent appointment to the board of the Greater Alpharetta Technology Network.

Intelliverse and sales acceleration

First we talked about Intelliverse- how we’ve been providing cloud services long before that word was ever used.  I explained a pivot we did a couple of years ago when we started using our existing cloud communications platform to provide sales acceleration- both from a managed service and a SaaS standpoint. We discussed how Sales Acceleration is the next logical step after Marketing Automation in the evolution of the sales & marketing process.

Marketing Automation helps businesses communicate with large groups prospects and personalize this communication based on the prospects individual interaction with the business. Did you click on an email? Did you open it? Did you go to the website? How long were you on it? This is big data and the analytics side of it – to the extreme. We talked about how Atlanta has been a hotbed for marketing automation technology, with companies Silverpop, which just got acquired by IBM and Pardot who was acquired by ExactTarget and subsequently Salesforce.com.

We figured out a way to take our platform, add the SaaS components to it so that sales reps could get those same benefits of big data analytics and automated activities- resulting in what the market is now calling Sales Acceleration.

Sales Acceleration helps salespeople and sales leaders:

  • Increase activity- contact more prospects in less time;
  • Focus time contacting the most important prospects at the best possible time;
  • Unify the message so the best conversation is being had with every prospect every time;
  • Gamify the sales process- to motivate people with healthy competition among teams and individuals

So, it’s combining all those things together but also being synergistic with lead lists and the marketing automation and the CRM – and how you make it all flow. We launched our solution in late 2013 and we’ve had 700% growth on it already, so it’s pretty exciting!

Greater alpharetta technology network (GATN)

I live in Alpharetta- a northern suburb of Atlanta- and I’ve lived there for 16 or 17 years. I started out closer in to town in Dunwoody when I was young. Like a lot of us, I said I’ll never move up to what we call the Tennessee of Georgia- which is Alpharetta, right? It’s funny, it’s only about 12-13 miles from Buckhead but back then it seemed like it was a lot further away.

Fast forward to today, when there are 900 tech companies located in this “greater Alpharetta” area, which includes Roswell, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Cumming, and Johns Creek. So, you have this massive concentration of tech companies with no real structure to bring them together.

Sure, there are a lot of events and groups located in Atlanta but often those events are early in the morning or right after work. For someone at a company in Alpharetta, that means either getting up at 5:30AM or leaving work at 3pm in order to beat the traffic at arrive at a post-workday event. This was just impractical so a lot of these tech companies didn’t participate in Atlanta-area events.

Karen Cashion, an attorney who also worked at a firm down in Atlanta and the moved north to the Alpharetta area, had a vision to create an organization to bring together these 900 companies and offer programs and events that are a lot more convenient to attend. The goal is to get as many of these companies together into the GATN and provide ways for the employees to interact, learn, and discuss issues that are important to them. For example, at our first event in May, David Cummigs- the very founder of Pardot and very well-respected Atlanta technology entrepreneur spoke. He offered the group insight into his journey from tech start-up to a very successful sale of his company. These are the stories that the technology-minded people in Alpharetta need to hear.

We polled the attendees at that first meeting to see what other topics are of interest to them- and that will guide the programming going forward. Our next meeting is Thursday, August 21 from 5:30-7:30pm and will be held at the Golf Glub of Georgia on Windward Parkway. All technology companies in the Alpharetta area- from start-ups to Fortune 500- are invited to attend. Admission costs $ 20/person. Corporate memberships to GATN are available for $ 100 – $250 (based on company size) and members get in free to all events.

I think the biggest benefit to GATN is that it provides access to people who live and work in this community. You’re looking at CEOs of big companies, small companies, whether it’s the Fortune 500 or some start up company that has an office off Mansell Road. There’s a lot of wealth of knowledge. From a networking standpoint, I think that is important.