The New Normal of Persuading Decision Makers
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Winning Isn’t about Your Product or Sales Talent

KevinUpdatedPhoto_75x100Today’s post is by Kevin Purcell, WW HP Vertica Big Data Sales (Alliances & Channel) at Hewlett-Packard. Hear him speak during his panel discussion, “Using Real-Time Data to Innovate and Drive Revenue Growth,” at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 10.


A lot of companies think they succeed because they have the best product or because their sales team is the most talented. While a great product and great sales team never hurt, the reality is that, today, profitable businesses are successful because they’re capturing and analyzing lots and lots of data and using that analysis to develop strategies for competitive differentiation and long-term growth.

Since moving into my new leadership role at HP Vertica, I’ve had a front-row seat to see how big data and analytics are transforming the world. Consider how some of our customers are using our product to solve their biggest business challenges.

Vodafone. Churn is a huge problem in the telecom industry. Big-data analytics helps create and optimize marketing campaigns, build better brand awareness, and uncover potentially damaging issues (such as customer confusion about pricing). The more information wireless carriers can glean about customers, the better they’re able to prevent customers from jumping ship to other providers.

Cerner Corporation. The data generated by healthcare companies is massive. A product like Vertica can be used to gain insight into patient behavior, develop new drugs, discover how existing drugs impact the diseases they treat, improve diagnoses, and much more.

GUESS Inc. Retail companies need to be ruthless about supply-chain costs. For example, it’s highly inefficient to have jeans just sitting in a warehouse; not only are these companies failing to move product, they’re also paying for that shelf space (not to mention the cost to ship the product there). By analyzing data, GUESS Inc. could determine which products were most popular in various regions. Now, instead of paying for shelf space to house products that aren’t selling, the company has reduced time-to-inventory and improved overall efficiency.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Government agencies rely on big data just as much as businesses do. I can’t give much away about how the CIA uses Vertica, but it’s become a big tool in the counterterrorism effort.

Gaming companies. The gaming industry has proven to be one of our hottest verticals, because so much data is generated by gamers. Believe it or not, every game decision can be tracked and analyzed by gaming companies and used to craft better, more engaging experiences for users.

Companies generate a tremendous amount of data about customers, but most companies aren’t using it. In fact, as I pointed out in my recent interview with Selling Power founder and CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner, we’re using only about 10 percent of the data available to us.

In addition, although most of the companies my sales team and channel partners talk to are storing data, I estimate that only half of those are combining that with analytics. That means they’re leaving huge opportunities on the table. If winning today isn’t about product, price, or sales talent, then what’s left? Knowledge about what will help your customers create value and how they want to buy.

Many companies are hungry to mine intelligence about their customer base and start doing business better and faster than their competitors. When Vertica was first released, we had a backlog of demand among existing Hewlett-Packard partners to onboard the product. And in December, Facebook adopted our platform as one component of its big data infrastructure. To quote Facebook’s chief information officer, Tim Campos, who spoke at our user conference in Barcelona, data “provides the opportunity to create new product enhancements, business insights, and a significant competitive advantage by leveraging the assets companies already have.”

I invite you to join me at the Sales 2.0 Conference on March 10, where I’ll talk with fellow panelist Lisa Fiondella, CEO of ReFocus Consulting, about how data and analytics can be used to drive productivity, increase efficiency, and differentiate.

Want to learn more about Vertica? Download the free community version.



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