Written by Kevin Volz.
Sales are the lifeblood of any business, but one Ohio company is looking beyond the bottom line to find value in every conversation with prospective customers, whether a sale is finalized or not.
SpearFysh, located in Twinsburg, Ohio, has developed software that turns conversations into retrievable, searchable data that businesses can use to improve customer service and boost sales. The company’s app captures audio from conversations with existing or prospective customers, and the recording is then uploaded to a cloud-based program. It is translated into text and compiled for insight, and that data is stored on a server that is searchable and available to team members 24 hours a day.
“Every day, salespeople engage in meaningful conversations with customers in the field and over the phone, and typically those interactions are only deemed successful if a sale was made,” said Marc Miller, founder and chairman of the board for SpearFysh. “But there is so much more value to those interactions, and we’ve developed a way to help companies capture that information.”
Miller says the idea for SpearFysh came after attending a sales conference with the vice president of operations, Lisa Banach.
“I asked my sales team for thoughts on their performance, and they said about 20 percent of the people they interacted with would ultimately become our customers,” said Miller. “Which isn’t bad, but it made us wonder what went wrong with the other 80 percent of those interactions. So we developed a way to learn more about the entire process.”
SpearFysh recordings can also be used to train sales staff and to help in product innovation.
“Too often, project managers have to come up with new products or services without the benefit of hearing directly from the customer themselves,” said Miller. “This now gives developers insight they didn’t always have.”
The name SpearFysh underscores the company’s approach to managing information. Instead of casting a wide net into a vast sea of data, Miller says their philosophy is to precisely target what you need, and allow you to access it quickly. The information can be used to analyze a number of different variables.
“We can tell which calls were successful, which weren’t, and why,” said Miller. “The technology can also analyze reactions from prospective clients on the other end of the conversation and gain clearer insight into what they want,” said Miller.
The software developed by SpearFysh has more than 3 million lines of code and required a great deal of testing before the final product could be put on the market. An $800,000 Innovation Ohio Loan from Ohio Third Frontier allowed the company to complete this intense testing phase. SpearFysh also worked closely with JumpStart, a northeast Ohio Third Frontier regional partner, to secure initial funding and for mentoring services in late 2011.
SpearFysh expects to double its employees by the end of next year, adding engineers, sales staff and marketing executives. For now, the software is only developed to analyze sales, but SpearFysh plans to develop programs for IT, consulting, healthcare, project management, education and legal firms. This growth and development will continue in Cleveland.
“We think Cleveland is a jewel,” said Miller. “We plan to stay and grow right here. There’s a great quality of life, and it’s been a real pleasure to see the northeast Ohio tech community blossom.”