April 25, 2017

Written by

Steve Rosenbush

Software Companies Rush to Create New Data-Driven Discipline for Sales

NEW YORK – Microsoft’ Corp.'s plan to upgrade its Dynamics 365 sales software with data from newly acquired LinkedIn reflects the deepening integration of digital technology into the world of sales, one of the last corporate domains in which human intuition’s traditional role has remained relatively intact.

“I will have 20 years with the company this summer and a lot of that time was spent selling and leading sales teams,” said Cate Gutowski, a General Electric Corp. veteran who now holds the titles of corporate commercial general manager and vice president, commercial digital thread. “And as a sales manager I spent a lot of time, hours and hours every week, listening to my sales team, and the only tools that I had to determine whether to prioritize this deal over that deal were really my gut instincts and my experience and the point of view of the sales person.”

That decision-making process is a target for established tech companies and startups such as Collective[i]. Big software companies from Microsoft to Oracle Corp., Salesforce.com Inc. and SAP SE are applying digital technologies to sales in new ways.

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