By Sara Campbell
In 2011, BMC Software ranked among the top 20 largest software companies in the world. The company is credited with pioneering the business service management (BSM) concept as a way to help better align IT operations with business needs. Today, the company specializes in both mainframe and distributed technologies that serve multiple functions.
During more than three decades of growth and success, BMC has remained an innovator, always pushing the envelope on technology. The company’s forward-thinking translates into everything BMC does, including its world-renowned Executive Briefing Center (EBC). I recently sat down with Karen Bintz, director of customer experience at BMC to talk about the opportunities a recently developed mobile app has brought to the EBC.
Q: Set the stage. Tell me a little about BMC’s Executive Briefing Center?
A: We are very proud to have a world-class Executive Briefing Center and program that we use as a key strategy in the sales cycle to educate customers and prospects on BMC’s products and services. We hold about 300 briefings per year that range from custom briefings for individual companies, to our standard briefings targeted at multi-company audiences.
The EBC has proven itself to be an important revenue driver. In fact, approximately 85 percent of customers and prospects that visit the EBC purchase BMC solutions and the program itself touches about one of every five dollars of sales pipeline opportunity. Additionally, while the EBC is heralded internally as one of the best selling tools we have, we have also been recognized by the broader industry. In 2011, BMC’s EBC received the prestigious Briefing Program of the Year Award from the Association of Briefing Program Managers.
Q: It sounds like the EBC runs like a well-oiled machine, why make changes?
A: Last spring when we returned from the award ceremony, we were on cloud nine, but we knew we didn’t want to rest on our laurels. We needed to step up our game and take it to the next level. Debuting a mobile app was the obvious choice.
Q: How did you build the mobile app?
A: Once it was decided that we wanted to develop a mobile survey application for the EBC, we knew we had to partner with someone who had expertise in the area. The prior year, we successfully worked with Appirio to roll-out our Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation, and had built an excellent working relationship with their team. It turned out that they also had the mobile expertise we were looking for, making for an easy decision.
Appirio helped develop the survey app with their framework. The app front-ends our Salesforce.com CRM system and has seamless integration to Leads and Contacts. Additionally, real-time survey feedback is managed directly in Salesforce.com.
|Briefing accommodations survey screen|
Q: How has the app changed the way BMC does business through the EBC?
It’s been amazing! Now when our customers and prospects walk into our high-tech facility they see iPads at each station rather than a piece of paper and a pen. This sets the proper image of BMC as a technology innovator, right from the start. And while the wow factor is impressive, the functionality is even better.
Additionally, up until recently, I had a college intern who would spend 10+ hours each week entering the responses from the EBC surveys. It was time consuming, tedious and extremely inefficient. It required us to shuffle work schedules to make sure the survey data was input and compiled within our 24 hour service level agreement.
With the paper survey, most attendees would wait until the very end to complete it. Now, at the start of each briefing, our facilitator asks the attendees to sign-in and rate their confidence in BMC. Since we receive the data in real-time, we have critical information about the audience’s pre-confidence in BMC right from the start. Our presenters go in knowing who the advocates in the room are and who might need a little more attention. We are able to alter our focus on the spot to address the individuals in the room and directly influence their confidence in BMC. And then at the end of the briefing, when the attendees complete the remainder of the survey, and answer the final question about their current confidence in BMC, we have an accurate representation of how the six hours they spent with us affected their perception of BMC.
Q: What kinds of feedback have you received thus far?
A: Needless to say, it’s been extremely positive. We get compliments from customers all the time about the experience our EBC offers, and our sales reps are constantly vying to get their prospects and customers involved in the EBC. Approximately 81 percent of our sales representatives who make their annual quota send customers and prospects through the EBC, so it’s definitely a measure of success.
Q: What’s next for the EBC?
A: In this mobility phase, we are pulling information from our attendees. In the next phase, we hope to push information to our attendees. This would allow them to choose presentations, white papers and other collateral and materials from a pick list and then email it directly to themselves or their colleagues.
Q: What advice would you give to others who have Salesforce.com and are considering mobility?
A: I would first say, don’t reinvent the wheel. Partner with a vendor like Appirio who has strong expertise in both Salesforce and mobility. Also make sure, as we did, to have a strong internal project manager who has both the technical aptitude and awareness of the business impact. In fact, it’s a whole lot like BMC’ s Business Service Management strategy, you need to link IT projects to the needs and goals of the business in order to truly achieve success.