by Karen McCandless
Published on 3 August 2015
Breaking into a new software category is a tough job, but it is one that iPresent CEO Phil Lenton is more than happy to take on. Sales engagement (also known as sales enablement, which means improving the way salespeople communicate with customers through the content they offer in a pitch) is the category in question, and it's in this space that Lenton is hoping iPresent will make its name and provide value for both sales and marketing teams.
Here Lenton talks to GetApp about the challenges of doing this, as well as his admiration for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and his love for the Apple Watch.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing at the moment as a business?
Our software sits in a new category called sales engagement (or sales enablement as it's also termed), and getting people to stop and take notice that there is a new type of platform and tool is quite a tough challenge. Most marketers these days don't have time to take a breath, never mind look up from their desks and realize that we offer a tool that can make their lives easier and their jobs more effective.
Basically, we provide a platform that can help create more engaging and visual presentation content across various platforms and devices, and help sales teams tell a story and engage with the customer.
And what kind of challenges are your customers facing today?
The thirst for content has never been greater, meaning marketers face more and more demand to produce something that is fresh and new. Gone are the days when a marketing team could put together just one brochure for a sales team; now they must produce sharable content that is more visual and data rich stuff than ever before. Marketing departments are being swamped by this pressure.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities for your company in the next 12 months?
Despite the pressures they face, marketing teams are realizing that sales engagement tools exist. They are starting to understand that they don't have to be producing reams of content and firing it off into the unknown, but can track how effective these different resources are with iPresent's platform.
How have you adapted iPresent to take advantage of those opportunities and help your customers overcome their challenges?
As iPresent is a SaaS sales engagement platform, we only require a monthly subscription to our software, rather than an upfront payment, making it very easy to cancel. This makes us very focused on making sure that customers are getting the most out of our platform and that we are constantly improving and including new features that add value.
Who has inspired you the most throughout your career, either professionally or personally?
This is a tough one. I'm a big admirer of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. I heard him speak, and I love his commitment to the customer first agenda. He might be a tough guy to work with, but he is very passionate about delivering the best customer experience - and not just in terms of price. This kind of business is a major inspiration for iPresent.
What achievement personal or professional are you most proud of?
This would have to be completing my MBA at London Business School while working at Compsoft (the company of which iPresent is a spin off), and raising a family with three young children at the same time. Luckily for me I have an incredibly supportive and understanding partner who helped make this all possible!
What is your favorite piece of technology you use either at work or at home?
My Apple Watch. It's a love it or hate it kind of thing, but I'm firmly in the love it camp. Wearing it is like having access to my phone no matter where I go. It may seem so simple, but this kind of simplicity requires so many working decisions under the hood.
I recently went to an Apple conference here in San Francisco and there was barely a wrist without one. It may need some more iterations before the masses fall in love with it, but I'm already a big fan. I'm normally an early adopter of technology anyway, although this does mean that sometimes I end up buying things that never take off and fade into obscurity!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I haven't made it down under to Australia yet. There are a lot of Aussies here in Silicon Valley and it reminds me how cool they are!
This post was brought to you in conjunction with sales engagement platform provider iPresent.