Visualizing the World of Sales Technology
“Always Be Closing.”
This infamous phrase was popularized in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, and has become a mantra among fervent salespeople.
While sealing the deal is always the ultimate goal, salespeople actually spend the majority of their time on other tasks like generating and nurturing prospects, following up with customers, and finding new sales opportunities. For this reason, nearly three-quarters of sales professionals rely on technology to do those less glamorous tasks faster and more efficiently.
Today’s graphic from Raconteur shows the value of technology in today’s sales world and how artificial intelligence (AI) technology ultimately helps sales reps win more business.
Artificial Intelligence in Sales
Globally, 40% of salespeople use or are implementing AI technology into their workflows to automate or streamline sales.
AI-based sales technology helps to:
- Identify the best leads to target using past customer data
- Improve the quantity and quality of leads
- Increase omnichannel customer engagement
- Personalize customer information in real-time
- Automate sales tasks such as contact information data entry
Using AI tools could mean the difference between closing a deal or losing a prospect.
Companies that automated their contact form responses, for example, saw a 71% increase in open rates and a 152% increase in clickthrough rates.
Growth of Sales Technologies and Tools
With at least two dozen major sales tech segments projected to grow in the next few years, five technologies stand to gain the most traction.
1. Account and Opportunity Planning
Refined data from past and existing customers offer valuable insights on which future prospects to target. Using these insights and other key data (company lists), sales intelligence tools can create custom search criteria to narrow down the best leads to approach.
These tools merge seamlessly with analytics, marketing, and data management to prevent information silos within a company.
2. Sales Methodology/Workflow
Customer relationship management (CRM) is now the fastest-growing software sector in the world. The CRM market is expected to double from $40 billion in 2019 to $80 billion by 2025.
Salespeople can use tools like Salesforce to manage leads and customers effectively and even assist other internal teams with more personalized customer interactions, such as customer service.
3. Content Management
In this information-rich age, companies are expected to keep customer information secure. Content Management Software (CMS) such as Confluence or Paperflite allows sales teams to instantly organize, collaborate on, and distribute internal documents and resources with one another to maintain up-to-date files.
4. Prospect Engagement Management
Customers want products and services tailored to their specific needs and desires. Many companies using a series of personalized emails to welcome or re-engage online customers found they could close 75% more in sales.
5. Online Training and Coaching Delivery
With new technologies, more nuanced client data, and shifting public perceptions of brands, top salespeople are seeking out efficient methods to maintain their skills. This helps them to better connect with prospects and manage sales pipelines.
Technology in the Sales Workflow
Top sales professionals have weighed in—sales technology platforms and tools are invaluable to their success. An overwhelming majority of salespeople use these tools every day:
- 98% use sales intelligence solutions that provide insight and automation.
Examples: InsideView, Nimble, Clearbit
- 94% use collaboration tools to keep their finger on the pulse of sales activities.
Examples: Wrike, Basecamp, Slack
- 92% use email tracking tools to track campaigns and conversions.
Examples: Ebsta, Clearslide, Hubspot Sales
Using more refined software tools, salespeople are able to make better-informed decisions about which prospects to nurture and which ones to grow organically.
And as Glengarry Glen Ross reminds us: “Coffee’s for closers only.”
How Many Music Streams Does it Take to Earn a Dollar?
Streaming has breathed new life into the music business, but as new data shows, these services pay out wildly different rates per stream.
How Many Music Streams Does it Take to Earn a Dollar?
A decade ago, the music industry was headed for a protracted fade-out.
The disruptive effects of peer-to-peer file sharing had slashed music revenues in half, casting serious doubts over the future of the industry.
Ringtones provided a brief earnings bump, but it was the growing popularity of premium streaming services that proved to be the savior of record labels and artists. For the first time since the mid-90s, the music industry saw back-to-back years of growth, and revenues grew a brisk 12% in 2018 – nearly reaching $10 billion. In short, people showed they were still willing to pay for music.
Although most forecasts show streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music contributing an increasingly large share of revenue going forward, recent data from The Trichordist reveals that these services pay out wildly different rates per stream.
Note: Due to the lack of publicly available data, calculating payouts from streaming services is not an exact science. This data set is based on revenue from an indie label with a ~150 album catalogue generating over 115 million streams.
Full Stream Ahead
One would expect streaming services to have fairly similar payout rates every time a track is played, but this is not the case. In reality, the streaming rates of major players in the market – which have very similar catalogs – are all over the map. Below is a full breakdown of how many streams it takes to earn a dollar on various platforms:
|Streaming service||Avg. payout per stream||# of streams to earn one dollar||# of streams to earn minimum wage*|
|Google Play Music||$0.00676||147||217,751|
*U.S. monthly minimum wage of $1,472 **Premium tier
Napster, once public enemy number one in the music business, has some of the most generous streaming rates in the industry. On the downside, the brand currently has a market share of less than 1%, so getting a high volume of plays on an album isn’t likely to happen for most artists.
On the flip side of the equation, YouTube has the highest number of plays per song, but the lowest payout per stream by far. It takes almost 1,500 plays to earn a single dollar on the Google-owned video platform.
Spotify, which is now the biggest player in the streaming market, is on the mid-to-low end of the compensation spectrum.
The Payment Pipeline
How do companies like Spotify calculate the amount paid out to license holders? Here’s a look at their payout process:
As this chart reveals, dollars earned from streaming still don’t tell the full story of how much artists receive at the end of the line. This amount is influenced by whether or not the performer has a record deal, and if other contributors have a stake in the recorded work.
The Pressure is Heating Up
When Spotify was a scrappy startup providing a much needed revenue stream to the music industry, labels were temporarily willing to accept lower streaming rates.
But now that Spotify is a public company, and tech giants like Apple and Amazon are in the picture, a growing chorus of industry players will likely dial up the pressure to increase compensation rates.
The Global Fiber Optic Network Explained
An informative look at the global fiber optic network, how the cables actually work, and the technology that will power the 6G network.
The Global Fiber Optic Network Explained
As we scroll through Instagram or cue up another episode on Netflix, most of us give little thought to the hidden network of fiber optic cables that instantaneously shuttle information around the globe.
This extensive network of cables – which could stretch around the Equator 30 times – is the connective tissue that binds the internet, and thanks to our insatiable appetite for video streaming, it’s growing larger with every passing year.
Today’s video, by TED-Ed, explains how fiber optic cables work and introduces the next generation of cables that could drastically increase the speed of data transmission.
A Series of Tubes
The late Senator Ted Stevens drew laughter for describing the internet as a “series of tubes” in 2006, but as it turns out, most of the information moving around the world does, in fact, travel through a series of tubes. Undersea fiber optic tubes, to be exact.
The way this system functions is deceptively simple. Light, which is beamed into a fiber optic cable at a shallow angle, ricochets its way along the tube at close to light speed until being converted back into an electrical signal at its destination – generally a data center. To increase bandwidth further, some cables are able to carry multiple wavelengths concurrently.
Impressively, this simple method of bouncing light through a tube is what moves 99% of the world’s digital information.
The Glass Superhighway
Since the first undersea fiber optic cable, TAT-8, was constructed by a consortium of companies in 1988, the number of cables snaking across the ocean floor has risen dramatically. In fact, over 100 new cables will have been laid between 2016 and 2020, with a value of nearly $14 billion.
Increasing bandwidth requirements have transformed content providers from customers to cable owners. As a result, tech giants like Google and Facebook are taking a more active role in the expansion of the global fiber optic network. Google alone has at least five cable projects set for completion in 2019.
The Last Mile
Much like Amazon struggles with the “last mile” of deliveries, the transmission of digital information is much less efficient at the data center level, where servers are connected by traditional electric cables. These short-range cables are far less efficient than their fiber optic counterparts, losing half their running power as heat.
If this inefficient use of energy isn’t solved, internet-related activity could comprise a fifth of the world’s power consumption by 2030.
Thankfully, a related technology – integrated photonics – could keep the high-definition videos of the future streaming. Although the silicon wires used in integrated photonics do not guide light as effectively as fiber optics, the ultra-thin wires are far more compact. Photonic chips paired with burgeoning terahertz (THz) wireless communications could eventually form the backbone of a 6G network. Short-range THz signals would hitch a ride on silicon wires via tiny photonic chips scattered around population centers.
Before this efficient, high-capacity future is realized, researchers must first solve the puzzle of manufacturing photonic devices at scale. Once this method of data transmission hits the mainstream market, it could drastically alter the course of both computing and global energy consumption.
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