In 2014, after years of consulting and establishing process improvement initiatives for companies of all sizes, salesEQUITY’s Founder and Chief Client Officer Thomas Cates noticed a consistent theme: regardless of industry or company size, none of his client’s truly understood their customer base–were they satisfied with the product and service they had been sold? What motivates a customer to buy more? How do you increase the lifetime value and tenure of existing customers? And, most importantly, why do 80% of customer who claim to be satisfied leave?
Determined to solve this problem, Cates took some earlier work he had done with Harvard Professor Bob Stringer, a longtime investor and author of books about motivation in the organizational development world, and developed a model to help businesses better understand their customer’s perception.
The model, which consists of six different “dimensions” or areas of a customer’s perception, helps predict your retention—or churn—rate and identify upsell cross sell opportunities. The dimensions are:
- Integrity - Are you reliable and trustworthy?
- Competency - Am I confident you can deliver a high-quality result?
- Recognition - Do I value you, or are you just a number to me?
- Proactivity - Do you stay ahead of trends in the market?
- Savvy - Do I think you understand my industry?
- Chemistry - How compatible is my company culture with yours? Do I want to interact with you again?
After initial pilot launches with existing customers from his consulting business, Cates began discussing how to turn the model into a digital platform, one that could help companies better predict churn and improve customer retention in practical, real-life situations. One that could, if you will, increase sales equity by bringing the data to sales and client facing teams..
“That's where the name came from: salesEQUITY. How do I measure a company's product and team, and where can I find more equity? That's where we started,” said Chief Executive Officer Scott German, who has been with the Boston area software company since the very beginning.
In early 2015 the application was launched with digital survey templates along with data points and industry benchmarks. The company also landed their first client that year, and have since evolved the tool to include a number of different ways to ingest customer experience data and a robust reporting engine with action modules.
Here’s how the application works:
- salesEQUITY collects customer experience data via surveys and data feeds.
- The data is then organized through industry-specific algorithms and given scores for each response based on the Six Dimensions model.
- Data is organized and presented to the customer in an easy-to-use, cloud-based dashboard using scores to identify which clients have the highest potential for churn, pinpoint potential problem areas (as well as cross-sell and upsell opportunities), and guide customers toward solutions to these issues via a resource library.
While salesEQUITY identifies potential issues, it’s up to the users to ultimately act on these insights.
“We like to use this analogy: it's like getting up every morning and stepping on the scale. We're going to tell you how much you weigh, but it's going to be up to you to decide what you want to do about it,” German explained. “Everything we've done is about taking data and making it easy to understand, and then putting it into the hands of the people that can really make some change.”
salesEQUITY’s main clients are organizations that have high-value customers and want to make sure those customers are having a positive experience. Some of their clients include FM Global (who specializes in loss prevention insurance for large companies), Barrett Distribution Centers (a third-party logistics company based in Franklin, MA), and Genpact (a professional services firm spun out of GE).
“70% of the US is made up of a services workforce, so there's a lot of opportunity to go after,” German said. “A lot of our data points can be gathered even if they don't have a technology platform. Warehousing, for example, is not at the forefront of technology. So it's about getting data into the system, and that's where we’re strong.”
In the beginning, salesEQUITY was 100% bootstrapped, but they changed that earlier this year through a “small amount” of money raised with angel investors. Looking forward, the nine-person company plans to pursue a seed round within the next quarter.
The company’s overall goal, German says, is to become the “central repository for customer experience data and distribute to all interested parties that can take action.”
“We want to be the place that's aggregating all B2B customer experience data. If we do that effectively for our customers, we can save them time and money because customer experience data collection is typically not their core competency and they are missing opportunities to use this data to power their business,” German said. “If we can do that, we will be happy.”