Hi and welcome to this Psithur ThinkPiece where you’ll learn how graph technologies will revolutionise the way CRM users’ leverage data.
I’m Jason, co-founder of Australian startup Psithur.
Psithur is a graph technology company helping people get more out of their hard-earned prospect and customer data. We’re all about helping prospecting and sales teams find the gems in their CRM databases to generate more effective asks.
For those who may be new to this field, Customer Relationship Management databases, shortened to CRMs, are a common way to capture and manage information relating to their customers and leads. Some leading CRM vendors you may have heard of include Salesforce, Hubspot and Blackbaud.
This webinar focusses on what data-led prospecting will look like in the 2025 timeframe. We believe there are three enabling elements converging that will turbocharge the way that fundraising and sales teams use their CRM databases to build their pipelines. You’ll hear about these three convergent elements and why we think they should be on your and your team’s radar.
Let’s get started!
Under the hood at Psithur - we’re a graph technology company. Since founding in 2021 we’ve solved the hardest graph technical challenges - meaning we bring the best of graph-technology in an easy to deploy, use and manage product. Our customers, and their IT teams, don’t have time to become graph technology experts, and they don’t have to - our technology opens the door for them to leverage graph while staying focussed on their jobs - that is finding and engaging the best leads!
Our product is built on solid foundations and open source technology, meaning that we have full-control of our technology stack. This ultimately benefits our customers through more adaptability and more options for tailoring to their specific needs.
Although graph technology is what we know best, we are driven by helping prospect research, development and sales teams find and engage the people they need to achieve their goals. We are completely invested in your respective missions, whether that be finding the next major-gift donor for a cancer research scholarship, or your next enterprise customer who is looking for your product but doesn’t know it yet. We aim to revolutionise the way prospect research and sales teams leverage data to grow their pipelines.
Felix and I founded Psithur after spending the past decade working in data and IT projects with the Australian Federal Government. We saw how vibrant and accessible data solutions can be truly transformational for non-technical users. We were so excited to see users with no data science background wrangling complex datasets to find the nuanced insights they needed. We wanted to bring this experience to the prospect research and sales worlds - two worlds that focus on scaling human connections to bring about positive change.
Speaking of our team..
Felix is the brains behind Psithur’s graph technologies. He has overcome many significant technical challenges to make our product market ready.
Felix has a deep and wide-ranging background in data engineering and full-stack software development. Psithur is Felix’s second startup so he brings established business operating skills and know-how. Felix cares about making better software that from the user’s perspective gets the basics right.
Kat is a sales and marketing leader with wide-ranging operating experience in software startups. Kat has developed valuable real-world insights into the challenges and needs of Sales Development Reps and Account Executives (the equivalent of prospect researchers and development professionals in the fundraising world). Kat is driven to grow meaningful connections with customers and seeing them succeed.
And I’m Jason - I lead Psithur’s business and operations side - I bring over a decade of experience working at the interface between researchers, developers and users. Most recently I led teams of business analysts playing a critical role gathering and documenting user perspectives and requirements. I get a real kick out of advocating for user perspectives through the tech development cycle.
Wanting more from your CRM?
Through our engagements with prospecting and sales teams over the past 6-months (we’ve had over 100 conversations!) we were super encouraged to see that the vast majority aspire to better leverage data. Many years and dollars have been spent building out, and modernising their CRM databases - expectations are rightly high! We’ve heard though that many feel there is something still missing.
A core function of any prospecting and sales team is to feed their pipelines with new leads. From our chats with these teams with we’ve learned there are some data-driven insights that would be truly game-changing, such as;
Who are the known leads that should be on my priority list? These are the leads that might already be in your CRM database but due to data overload remain hidden.
Who are the unknown leads that should be on my priority list? These are the leads that aren’t even in your CRM database, but really should be!
Who are the influential champions aligned with my cause? These could be recommenders or public advocators, and should be nurtured.
Which leads meet or don’t meet my due-diligence criteria, right now or at any point in the future?
Another core function of any prospecting and sales team is lead conversion - once I have found and qualified a lead how might we best secure the pledge or commitment to buy? We’ve learned that some data-driven insights that would be game-changing are;
Who in my network could arrange a trusted, warm-introduction to a high-priority, hard to reach lead, for example an Ultra High-Net-Worth individual, Chief Information Officer or a celebrity?
How can I personalise my outreach? And how do I do this at a greater scale? What actually matters to my lead?
When and how should I connect with my leads? Are they primed to be asked to give/buy?
Some teams we’ve spoken to have begun dabbling with data and technology attempting to address some of these challenges BUT we’ve learned that nearly all teams face significant hurdles to gaining the valuable insights they need from their CRM databases. Business Intelligence reports, although useful for reporting metrics simply aren’t providing the nuanced, granular insights front-line development and sales professionals need.
We’ve heard from many in the industry that it feels like there is so much data available but so little time to make sense of things. As a consequence, teams often find it hard to be proactive and strategic with their prospecting - with a lot of tasking being reactive in nature and heavily focussed on wealth-screening.
We have also experienced these same frustrations and challenges. Kat, our VP of Sales and Marketing comes from the software sales universe and has lived the frustrations of data overload. Over and over again Kat has seen companies that have 10k, 20k, 30k leads in their CRM database but they still don’t know where to begin.
It’s no wonder prospect research and sales professionals want more from their CRM data! The secret here, and this is a key takeaway from this ThoughtPiece - the secret is that the problem is not your CRM database! Most CRMs are fantastic in what they do - serving as a system of record and management. But, we feel this is akin to paying for a 4K-high-definition streaming subscription but only running on a dial-up internet connection. There is no way you could possibly enjoy the full viewing experience you’re paying for!
At Psithur we believe that graph technology will play a key role in helping CRM users get more valuable insights from their CRM databases.
Graph has arrived!
It is becoming increasingly evident that graph technology really has arrived in the market. In fact, you’re likely to already be using services built upon graph technologies. Examples include Google search engine, LinkedIn connection recommendations, UberEats meal recommendations and Gmail’s autocomplete feature.
Some really interesting applications of graph technologies can be seen in financial fraud investigations, IT security breach analysis and optimisation of manufacturing processes.
Leading technology market research anticipates that by 2025, only 3-yrs down the track, graph technologies will underpin the majority of data and analytics innovations.
Behind the scenes there is feverish innovation and development occurring in the startup world. A new generation of firms are building business-tailored solutions using this new technology, Psithur obviously being one and we’re really excited to be an active participant during this time.
Basic graph principles
So before we go any further - you might be wondering what graph technology actually is - and what it’s comprised of, and how does it work?
At its most basic level, graph technology is a way of storing highly connected data that makes it easier to derive insights that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. By highly connected I mean data that contains ‘one-to-many’ characteristics - for example, one person in your database has many known attributes or associations. CRM databases are a fantastic example!
Graphs are built upon Graph Databases. Graph databases are unique because they assign equal value to both the data node (ie. people, places, things) and the relationships or connections between data nodes (ie. knows, is a member of, participant in an activities etc.).
Knowledge-Graphs are a specific application of graph technology. Knowledge-graphs map and visualise the relationships between data and provide information that helps humans and machines understand what the data actually means - this is also called a ‘Semantic-Layer’.
Here’s a somewhat trivial example of a knowledge-graph..
Graph analytics are the algorithms used to automatically derive hidden meaning and insights in knowledge-graphs using statistical techniques. Taking graph analytics to the next level is Graph Artificial Intelligence (AI) which are analytics that can be built in an unsupervised fashion.
2025 vision for prospecting and sales data ecosystem
Reflecting on the challenge of how to get more out of your CRM - at Psithur, we believe that by 2025 three key elements will converge in a seamless, dynamic ecosystem; data, analytics and graph.
The headline, and exciting news is that this will revolutionise the way that CRM users interact with prospect and customer data.
The next generation of prospects and customers will be EXPECTING that they are treated as individuals, with unique interests, passions and motivations. The only way to do this at scale is to leverage technology and data in new ways, and we believe that adoption of graph technologies will be critical.
Vision for data-driven prospecting in 2025
Now I know there’s a fair bit on this slide - let’s step through each of these three elements one by one..
Starting with data
In 2025, your in-house CRM data will still be your ‘crown-jewels’ - it is however even more valuable through enrichment with third-party data. This will enable a more up-to-date and holistic view of a prospect.
A key point here is that by 2025 you’ll be able to tap-into a rich ecosystem of third-party data providers - you’ll be able to switch them on/off as you need, only paying for what you use and leveraging the economies of scale that come with wider adoption.
By 2025, Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is the automated comprehension of free-text - ie. the meeting notes captured in your CRM will help you find the key bits of information you need without have to read back through potentially years of messy notetaking!
Moving to analytics;
I call the Business Intelligence (BI)I++ because BI is just the start
Visualisation using knowledge-graphs will enable you to immerse yourself in a dynamic Relationship Map of your prospects and customers, not quite Minority Report style but you get my drift! You’ll be able to quickly get a ‘360-degree’ view of your lead without reading through endless tables and slabs of text, you’ll see pathways for warm-introductions to new leads and you’ll see highly connected or influential prospects stand out.
Graph Analytics will help build automated predictions about propensity to donate/buy so you can focus your teams efforts on the best leads. Graph Analytics will also allow you to see people who are similar some of your best customers - think of this as being like a meal recommendation from your food-delivery app - if you liked the chicken curry you might also enjoy the new goat-curry!
AI, Artificial Intelligence will enable analytics at scale, unsupervised - almost as your personal research assistant
Like with third-party data, by 2025 there will be a rich ecosystem of third-party analytics providers - you won’t need to build these in-house! You’ll be able to buy, build or rent tailored analytics that suit your needs, when you need them!
And finally to graph;
- We believe that graph will be the underlying enabling technology to make this dynamic ecosystem a reality - helping you find and engage the gems in your CRM database.
Alright, let’s take a brief pause - we’ve seen how users want more from their CRM databases - we’ve seen how Graph technologies are emerging and will play an increasingly important role in helping prospect research and sales team get more from their CRM databases.
What might that actually look and feel like to a user? And what does that mean for my team?
How will graph help me?
Well, what its looks like is going from tables to immersive dynamic knowledge-graphs. Top right is a screen capture of a simple demo in our Psithur graph platform. The dots, or nodes represent people or organisations and the lines represent relationships or associations. You can see people and organisations linked and we’re already seeing that there are two, previously unknown people who may know or may have similar interests to your current customer Ramon.
By using graph technologies in conjunction with your CRM database..
You will see your data come to life, seamlessly integrated in a single window
You will be able to see and track opportunities to purchase third-party data, without having to jump across to a different tab and log-in to your third-party accounts
And with a bit more development, you could even receive recommendations when the analytics engines see opportunities you don’t
What this means for prospecting and sales teams is;
- You will amplify the value of your hard earned CRM and customer data, deepen your understanding of your prospects and in doing so find those opportunities to grow your prospect pipeline. At the end of the day, graph can help you land more successful asks!
Where do I start?
The next logical question is - where do I start?
The simple answer is, there are plenty of low-risk, low-cost things you can be doing right now to set your team up for success. We’d recommend a five-step process to building data-driven prospecting capability that delivers early value for your organisation.
Campaign pipeline strategy - what’s important to your organisation and how does data support that?
ID a strategy-aligned core-business problem to address through a pilot of graph technologies - at this point you should be thinking about time- and scope-
What data might I need to deliver a successful POC or trial?
What data quality issues do I need to address first? Duplicate records, Incomplete Records, Different Spelling and use of Acronyms.
Visualisation (Knowledge-Graph) - so now imagine you’re fundraising officer at a major Australian University - you’ve got business support to run a small-scale POC using graph-technologies to test it out. And you’ve identified and addressed the limited dataset needed and its quality.
The next step is Knowledge-graphs to visualise the relationships in your data. You have the data available to know that two individuals worked together at the same time - there’s a pretty good chance they know each other!
Enrichment - To step this up to the next level - enrichment.
Graph analytics - by this stage you’ll have a powerful new way to interact with your CRM data via the knowledge-graph, and you have confidence that your data is the most up-to-date and accurate due to third-party enrichment. You know who to talk to and who you can ask for a warm introduction. But now you’d like to scale this up and this is where graph-analytics and AI come in handy.
We know prospecting and sales teams are super busy - we also know that many probably feel quite fatigued by their most recent CRM modernisation push. This five-step process will make sure you can continue delivering on your core business while preparing for the future with graph.
In our opinion these are the key takeaways;
Your CRM database is great, and you probably don’t need a new one - at Psithur, we think you simply need a new way of looking at it!
Graph will make interacting with your CRM database go from feeling like its running over dial-up internet connection to lightning fast high-definition! Graph makes prospecting fun!
Graph gives you a way to find those nuanced leads and hidden opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise
Graph is already delivering real-world value to businesses and will soon be mainstream
Like the leading market research firms we believe that the adoption of graph technologies is inevitable. We think CRM users can look forward to a fantastic generation of new graph technologies that will bring their data to life. Early adopters will have a leg-up and will be in a powerful position to leverage emerging graph technologies as they are brought to market.
Thanks and wrap-up
A huge thanks for your interest in learning more about graph technologies for prospecting and sales teams.
Feel free to reach out via email, [email protected] to arrange a chat about your specific data challenges or to see a short live demo of Psithur’s graph platform for prospect researchers and sales professionals.