CIO Review >> Magazine >> November - 2013 issue

Aktana: Bridging The Gap Between Analytical Insights And Actions


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thomson Antony Organizations are experiencing tremendous growth in the availability of internal, external and social data related to their customers and prospects. Big Data analytics can be used to derive insight from this data, ideally helping employees, such as field sales people, to make the right decisions at the right time and fine-tune their day-to-day actions. It is now possible for a company to develop deep data-driven insights around which actions will produce the best results under which conditions for which customers. However, there remains a large gap between what is possible and the tools available to most field sales representatives as they go about their daily routine.

Aktana, a company founded in 2008 by a small team of mathematicians and sales professionals focuses on increasing sales force effectiveness by providing sales reps with real-time, in-context, and in-workflow insights in the form of suggested actions with supporting rationale. Aktana’s 'Smart Suggestions' help reps make better data driven decisions and improve their performance. These suggestions are delivered to the field via a dynamic, cloud-based, rep- centric software tool integrated with a company’s CRM. Aktana’s solutions also act as a key to executing strategies successfully in the field, providing practical in-strategy guidance to the reps as they balance a complex array of often competing pressures.

Aktana’s solutions drive results at every point in the sales cycle, from first call to final close, and can be employed across different industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, for instance, sales reps can find it challenging to meaningfully interact with healthcare providers (HCP) due to increased competition for HCP mindshare and decreased physical access. Aktana’s Smart Suggestions can alert reps about changing conditions with any target HCP, facilitating more relevant and timely discussions. In the financial sector, pressure on insurance agents, financial planners, and brokers has never been greater to create strong relationships with customers. Aktana’s Smart Suggestions can arm front-line reps with key information about which products and services would best fit the needs of the customers with whom they are interacting. In sum, Aktana helps companies overcome key go-to-market challenges by providing reps with highly contextual, mobile, intelligent solutions designed to increase the impact of their customer outreach efforts.

Aktana’s solutions can drive significant improvements in sales rep field behavior. For one company in the pharmaceutical vertical, several hundred sales reps now rely on Aktana’s Smart Suggestions to make many of their day-to-day decisions and have increased overall performance by more than 10 percent as a result. In another company, Aktana’s solutions helped lower performing reps raise their achievement from an average of 60 percent-of-target to 80 percent-of target; close to 90 percent achievement of those designated high performers.

Aktana solutions help bridge the gap between insights and actions, whereas most competitors focus only on building analytics. “Figuring out how to provide the right analytic insights to the decision makers at the right time and in an understandable way sounds a lot easier than it actually is. One needs to make sure that all the variables that a decision maker would want to consider are taken into account. Missing out on some of these key variables in analytical modeling could lead to poor recommendations and in turn to low rep adoption,” said David Ehrlich, Aktana’s CEO. The company unlocks the knowledge that exists within organizations and delivers it to the sales reps in a powerful, contextual, and above all, actionable way.