Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Industry Trends from the Front Lines of Sales

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As an account executive at Box, I take inbound calls from customers, discover their needs, and work with them to find solutions that help them solve their problems. My clients range from small businesses to large Fortune 500 companies, with decision makers that vary from IT leadership to functional heads, all the way to business owners. The great thing about Box is that every single person who does business on a computer or smart phone can use it, so I see many different use cases across virtually all business verticals.

When you’re on the front lines, you notice customer trends faster than any other part of the company; that’s what happens when you spend every hour of the working day on the phone with potential buyers who trust you to solve critical business problems. And as the market shifts, both from a technological and economic standpoint, you also see how customers react by the patterns of inbound queries you receive.

Here are the 3 biggest industry trends I’m seeing right now:

Synchronized data across all devices

With the rise of consumer focused services like Evernote and the imminent iCloud, business users want access to all their content whether they’re in the office, at home, or on the road. These services permeate the business environment, and IT is taking note. Innovative companies are looking for ways to provide the same level of service that their employees are accustomed to, but at en enterprise level.

Tablets

Everyday, I hear more customers say they’re looking for a secure and easy way to get content onto their staff’s tablets. At first, I primarily saw this trend only with boards of directors and senior leadership, but now, I see it across large functional groups like marketing, sales, and field operations. With the ability to provision accounts, control file access and run detailed usage stats across the entire enterprise, Box is becoming the tool of choice to distribute data literally to employees’ finger tips. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when Forrester ranks you at the top of your class.

External sharing

Opening up your data to the public is hard, especially if you’re a large enterprise. SharePoint is limiting, FTP is tedious to set up, and email is inefficient. When it comes to large quantities of sensitive data, people are constantly looking for ways to provision client or partner access on the fly to help enable business productivity. From secure data rooms for lawyers to shared workspaces for long term projects, we’re helping people collaborate with the click of an invite button.

The beauty of these trends is that for most customers, they’re interchangeable. For example, when a large consumer brand comes to us with an iPad initiative, it’s incredible to see that we can present a solution that satisfies their initial problem, then introduces new possibilities for content management. For example, a construction company that adopts Box to share documents with sub-contractors will discover they can also enable data access via tablets for onsite employees.

On the front lines of sales, it’s our job to notice these trends first and share them with our customers. Though we may see these trends change drastically in six to twelve months, you can trust us to be attentive to the market so your business doesn’t miss a beat.

  • NIck

    Ted is the man!