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Atrium today revealed it has raised $13.5 million in seed funding to drive the adoption of a sales management platform that leverages AI to surface issues and opportunities of specific interest to sales managers.

While most organizations already have a customer relationship manager (CRM) application in place, Atrium is making a case for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that combines data from CRM applications with other applications to enable sales managers to closely track actual levels of customer engagement.

For example, if a deal is expected to close in the current quarter but there have been no communications with the customer via email or any other medium, analytics software infused with AI algorithms will issue an alert, company cofounder and chief revenue officer Peter Kazanjy told VentureBeat. Armed with that insight, it then becomes possible for sales managers to more proactively intervene when necessary, Kazanjy added.

Tracking and forecasting

Sales managers can track a library of key performance indicators (KPIs) using a diagnostic tool that identifies the root causes for sales issues. These might range from consistently poor sales pipeline management to a customer’s tendency to not sign a contract until the very last week of the quarter in the hopes of maximizing discounts and other concessions.

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The challenge sales managers face today is not so much gaining access to data as it is making sense of it all to identify issues impacting the sales pipeline, Kazanjy said. Much of that data, however, resides in indecipherable dashboards that in some cases conflict with one another, Kasanjy added. “Sales managers today are awash in data,” he said.

Atrium claims more than 100 organizations are now using its platform as an alternative to dashboards in other sales applications that lack the context sales managers require. Customers include Salesloft, Chorus, and LaunchDarkly. Atrium also hosts a Modern Sales Pros online community made up of more than 20,000 revenue leaders that work for more than 7,000 companies worldwide. The seed round of funding is being provided by Bonfire Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Bullpen Capital.

Data-driven sales

Sales management has for much of the past decade been slowly evolving to become a more data-driven science. Organizations of all sizes are being required to predict revenue flows more accurately, which Kazanjy noted requires more visibility into the sales pipeline. The level of forecasting accuracy is now viewed as an indicator of the degree to which a sales manager is on top of events occurring within their territory.

Sometimes those events are beyond the control of any sales team. In other instances, however, a salesperson may be deliberately under-forecasting sales opportunities to lower their sales quotas, otherwise known as “sandbagging.” Regardless of their motivation, the sales manager is usually held more accountable to sales forecasts than an individual sales representative would be.

Sales managers today are being held to a higher standard than ever at a time when the signal-to-noise ratio within sales pipelines has never been greater. It’s simply too difficult for the average sales manager to make sense of all that input without the aid of an application platform created for that specific purpose, Kazanjy said.

Ultimately, turnover in a sales team is bad for business. It takes an average of six months or more to bring a new sales representative up to speed on their accounts. The primary goal for investing in sales software should be to minimize that turnover as much as possible by surfacing the insights a sales manager needs to make a course correction while there’s still enough time.

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