This interview is the first post from our brand new series “Growth Chronicles” which will feature unique accounts of growth and success from the startup world.

Philip Schweizer is the CEO & Co-Founder of SalesWings, a predictive sales tool that ranks leads according to a predictive score which is based on their website activity, making it easy for sales reps to follow-up with the hottest leads first. Read on to gain some valuable insights into the inner workings of SalesWings and to follow Philip’s journey to get the company where it is today.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with SalesWings.

After spending 8 years in technology start-ups in sales and marketing, I understood that if the right technology is deployed, teams are predictably more successful. After designing a few different technology stacks I recognized the importance of being able to test solutions sufficiently, being able to switch easily as we would grow, and complexity of big solutions came with costs and risks. SalesWings started out of a clear business need of teams to quickly deploy a solid website radar on lead activity, and being able to prioritize and qualify leads which went unnoticed before.

What problem does SalesWings solve, in layman’s terms?

SalesWings is pretty much complementary to Leadsift which identifies leads at the top of the funnel, just that SalesWings identifies the hottest opportunities amongst inbound and existing leads at the end of the funnel (closing!).

A sales person working on 30 leads a month is essentially required to control over 300 leads’ buying cycles after a year. That’s not possible, even for the most organized sales people. Prioritizing leads at any time and understanding their need, potential, and agenda, is key. SalesWings has done a lot of research and found that tracking  the lead’s website activity, combined with insights about the lead’s person and company profile, can reduce lead qualification times while ensuring that sales teams are on top of the hottest leads at all times. In technical terms, we provide lead website tracking and predictive lead scoring as-a-service, meaning, you can upgrade any email marketing solution and web form with advanced tracking capabilities in a very cost-effective way. Concretely SalesWings is deployed in a day.

Tell us something about your first big success / moment of pride

The first, most rewarding experience was when our early testers told us how they closed deals thanks to SalesWings, that simple.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in the lead website tracking & predictive lead scoring space in recent times?

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics depend on a lot of skills, manpower and data. Furthermore such lead scoring models are often tied into legacy platforms, which are clunky and expensive. This makes solutions complex and inadequate for smaller teams and locks them into a system. SalesWings has spent months of research to identify key buying signals of leads and we built a real-time predictive engine that brings a reliable output. In short I’d say keeping things simple is something what many solutions are not getting right.

SalesWings is based in Switzerland, but you work with companies in different parts of the world. How do you effectively coordinate your activities across such a wide spectrum?

Time zone is definitely the issue here and we work with a virtual team around the world. Luckily there are good resources around how to manage a remote team, which is the key to working with a global client base. I can recommend the following book from Beat Buhlmann at Evernote. Key points to being successful are:

  • Not everybody is made to work remotely for you, make sure to ask the right questions
  • Schedule regular meeting times to make people part of the team
  • Setup clear, explicit processes
  • Start with part timers, before hiring full-time

The rest is really about the standard processes and technology you’re deploying.

How has using SalesWings improved your clients’ businesses?

SalesWings has 3 main use cases:

Companies which get a lot of inbound leads typically have a process to assign leads internally but have poor visibility on who these leads are and what they need. People in charge of distributing those leads and the sales reps dealing with them, need an answer to these questions. Our client, review.com for instance, has increased the number of deals by about 5 deals per sales rep within 3 months representing up to 170,000 USD.

Marketers who run email campaigns on the other hand, need a reliable way to identify when leads are sales-ready so as to only send the hottest leads to the busy sales team. SalesWings ties into email marketing solutions to score leads that click on newsletters and visit the website in real time, ensuring a smooth work-flow. Our client Expo Genie has been increasing opportunities by 25% by deploying SalesWings and achieved 20% more revenues within 6 month.

The last use case is really linked to both

What makes you different from others working in this niche? Why should prospective customers choose SalesWings?

It’s a lot about how we deliver value to our clients, just as Leadsift we focus on an intuitive on-boarding and user experience. Companies which are looking to deploy website tracking to get insights into the interest and timing of leads have two options today: On the one hand they can opt for an all-in-one platform such as Hubspot or Pardot and replace a set of existing solutions. These platforms are adequate if a company has a thorough content strategy and enough resources to on-board the solution and use them to their full potential. The second option is to keep their email marketing solution, web forms and landing page software, and upgrade their stack with SalesWings. Our solution is implemented much faster, optimized for our key value proposition and very cost-effective.

What would your advice be to someone looking to get started in this industry?

I feel whoever is starting a new technology start-up has to be ready to be in for the long run. Success doesn’t come overnight but it will if you’re building your company in an agile way. Also, I’d recommend innovating early on, as you need to calculate X amount of months and years to catch up with existing market players if you’re simply trying to do something better than what already exists.

Any exciting new feature or product that you are working on currently?

We just launched our intelligent contact data enrichment feature which has been successful, and we’re working on real-time segmentation of leads which will bring a lot of power to marketers who are serious about building personalized journeys. We’re also working on an innovation which I cannot disclose, but definitely follow our journey and you can do that by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.