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Podcast Episode

Voices in Cloud – Episode 5: A Conversation with Ian Moyse of Natterbox

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In this episode David Linthicum speaks with Ian Moyse, a leader in technology and cloud sales, about salesforce, speaking the truth to power and the elephants in the room of technology and CRMs.

Today's leading minds talk Cloud with host David Linthicum


Ian Moyse is Sales Director at Cloud Telephony provider Natterbox. He was awarded Sales Director of the Year by the Institute of Sales Management (ISM) and Linkedin awarded him a Linkedin Power Profile as a top 10 Influencer in the UK technology sector.


Dave Linthicum: Hey guys! Welcome to the GigaOm Voices in the Cloud podcast. This is the one place you will hear from industry thought leaders providing no nonsense advice on how to succeed with cloud computing, IoT edge computing and cognitive computing. I'm Dave Linthicum, bestselling author, speaker, executive and B-list geek and joining me today is my special guest Ian Moyse.

Ian has been in the cloud sector as a sales leader for approaching 13 years. He has worked in a number of cloud firms as well as serving as a non-executive (I rarely see that in bios), on several industry bodies and in private cloud firms as guest blog and social influences for Oracle, SAP, Sage, amongst others. You know the story about... we were speaking together at a conference, and what's funny it's like everybody was clamoring for you. I felt left out. No one really cared about what I was talking about, when you were speaking. Everybody was standing room only, not on their phones, listening to you. And this is a conference that we spoke together at in London I believe. So catch us up, what has Ian been doing in the last few years?

Ian Moyse: Yeah well, pleased you saw that. I like to think that the reason that I get that is purely because I ‘tell it how it is’ and often I'm in panels and meetings where I'm the one who sticks a hand up with that awkward comment, and this is something we might talk about as we go through, then suddenly everyone jumps on the bandwagon, "yeah I agree and yeah we have that as well," but I'm usually the one that raises the ‘elephant in the room’ and speaks it rather than holding back. So I guess I've got thick skin and not caring what the reaction might be.

I'm sorry to speak over you, but do you ever get in trouble when you do that?

No. My view is people are going to disagree with you and say their view, but you've got an opinion and you've got an experience, and so I speak from the heart. I do a lot of engagement with customers at all different levels: enterprise, etcetera and I hear the reality. So I just tell it how it is. I'm seeing this and if other people aren't, great! I'll learn from it. Maybe there's something different: we're doing this or I'm finding [that] or everyone jumps into and says ‘we're seeing that as well’ but no one was saying it.

So you know there's always that elephant in the room, that unless you're the first person that says it, no one mentions... the emperor's new clothes thing. No one was willing to say it. So I've always been the one, you know what? I'll stick my hand up throw something out and see where we go with it. So maybe that's why there was people coming up because I tend to put that out there and not be so concerned about [whether] people agree with me. I'm going to give you my opinion. I'm going to give you my context of what I'm seeing and I'm not saying I'm right. I'm just saying that's the background, it's the reality I'm seeing. Let's see what reaction we get.

You know that may be a difference between the UK and the US because lately in the last ten years people have been getting in trouble for their opinions. You know I'm a pundit in the industry just like you, and I provide off the cuff you know, in your face ‘as it as it is’ kind of opinions, and yeah my info world blogs and even on the podcast and it does get me in trouble sometimes. People request that I be fired or drawn and quartered or something like that because I've actually said some truths such as: a big cloud provider is not doing their job or outages were caused by this or... Things that end up... that are definitely the truth and I stand behind them. But man everybody reacts almost in a visceral way, at least in the United States.

That's one of the wonders of social[media], right? Everyone's got an opinion and everyone joins in and gives their opinion back. So you know you get flames and trolls and all this stuff, but I think you just got to have thick skin. Like you just said, saying it how it isthere's no particular agenda apart from, ‘this is what we're seeing and that's part of the mix.’ If it stimulates conversation, it's a good thing.

Yeah it is a good thing and I think that we should probably check our egos and lower our ‘give a damn’ levels because I think lots of people have very good opinions. You may not agree with them, and may even make you mad. But I think that the ability to have the debate and the ability to communicate thing is really the only way you can learn.

You're going on status quo and you're trying to be overly technically correct or politically correct and whatever it is. And certainly [with] technology there's a ‘PC’ version of that where we're really not going to learn anything. So I looked at a LinkedIn article you wrote "How do you get Salesforce 360 view of mobile cell phone activities." And this is something I think that a lot of people are looking into right now. Everybody's using Salesforce, Salesforce is in the cloud is probably the biggest SaaS provider. It's just hugely popular, [so] tell us about this article and what conclusions you came to?

Yes. I wrote it really because I thought that's the world I work in, to put the caveat in that box who I run the sales for. We put our telephony fully in Salesforce and that's unique out there in the Valley. The question that keeps coming up, in fact it came up at a large corporate... we were meeting with just over a week ago and it comes up as it sounds like an easy question of, "How do handle the mobile stuff?" Because firstly is how do you get normal telephony data in social and sa Salesforce as you say, is becoming a core piece. And it's the data that's important. Without the data in Salesforce, Salesforce has no value. It's just an application, so it's always about the data.

And then how it handles the data, what it let’s you do with it and the insight you can gain from it. So the more business data you've got in there that correlates, the more insight you can get, the more you can be effective for customers, whether it be the performance of your own people being more informed,making better decisions, or its customer experience, whatever it is. So we do the phone system in there so you have your core business system. But the question of that, without mobiles because it seems easy in today's world you'd imagine handling mobiles, all the power of the apps, you get mobiles and the advancement of them, easy just to plug them in, and it's not.

And it's nothing to do with cloud or all the wondrous stuff we're doing. We're held back, and I think we are on a number of cloud areas. You're held back by what's feasible to do easily by legacy technology. And that's really true in the telephony world. We've sort of fixed that in the way we've delivered the core telephony; and a cell is different because you're reliant on the cell phone providers, and you can't interject into that data stream.

So that's really what the article was about, was laying out what we keep hearing from customers is a simple question that is more complex to answer, and in simple terms I got fed up trying to explain it and then get everyone else to explain it. So I wrote a blog on it so we can point people to it and say “Look, here's the definitive that everyone has to live by: the technicalities of cellular technology and where the data works when you make a call or receive a call, and the limitation that imposes, what can you do to get around that?

How can you capture the data around the recordings of calls into Salesforce inbound and outbound, and what are the limitations? It affects everyone, it's not us as a particular vendor, it's the cell providers work in a certain technology way. So we've got a lot of input on that interestingly from the Salesforce community, I guess that's been out there just over a week.

What was the input?

Well just a lot of a lot of sharing, a lot of comment. And you know the customer I met with last week, I explained it and that explains it, it's simple when you know and it's simple when it's explained. It's logical as to why there's that barrier. And then here are the 2,3 or 4 options of ways to get around it and handle it with the technology we have today. Unless the cell phone providers change how they work, there's no fix to this. So you have to work around the edges.

So there is a way of achieving the end result if you want to know what's going on with your remote users and increasing mobile users with, ‘bring your own device,’ which makes it even more difficult. But it can be done. So thank you for mentioning it. I'd encourage people to go and have a look at that. It's on the LinkedIn on the Nextbots blog as well because it's the most definitive explanation. I couldn't find anywhere else explaining it out there. So we've put it out there.

So what are the core best practices that you're saying in the article?

So there are some limitations, but if you want to capture the data, you've got to have some app on the phone that people call out from. You can't do it from your native mobile phone, and on the inbound, the clever trick is you need to get a different mobile number for users, a masked number so to speak, a false mobile number and to redirect that to their true mobile number, because as soon as you get their mobile number out and someone calls it, you can't capture the inbound data because the call could be routed by the cell network directly to the SIM card, and how are you going to capture that data? And there's no apps that are going to grab on the phone.

It's got to ring their native phone. IoS makes it totally impossible because obviously it's locked. So you can direct it to the mobile natively, but you need to route it via whatever telephony platform you're using, so the trick is to use a false or a pretend mobile number in a way. You put that on the business card without the signature and then route it through that, which means it gets forced through your cloud provider to capture the data and Salesforce and then it gets given to the user. So to the customer and the user it looks no different, but you've got to trick it to get it. You've got to... interject into that channel to get to capture the data.

What data are we capturing?

So it is the telephony data, who's called, who they called. So what you want to get is ‘this customer called my sales rep and spent 22 minutes on the phone.’ You know with the rep not having to really manually enter that, because they probably won't. If you've got that, you can then start doing... exception reports such as how many calls did this rep have this week when no notes were made? Because you know the call took place now. And you don't know if it's a meaningful call... was it 30 seconds? In which case, you can probably accept nothing was logged. If it was 20 minutes, nothing was logged against it, and if you want to you can capture the call recording. What we're about to do is transcribe that.

So you could then say actually automatically that call is captured, the details that it happened, we've recorded it, and that's down to your policy and your legalities and all the rest of it. And we've also transcribed it.

Yeah that would help me a lot because I do have conversations with clients I've had a week ago because I talked to hundreds of people over a very short period of time. You just lose context after a while and I used to...I was very impressed with myself, my ability to keep track of things in the order of what I would have communicated, but now I've reached a tipping point where I have so many conversations and so many emails and so many text conversations, I kind of forget the context of it.

And you lose credibility if you start bringing up the same thing over and over again and you make a call that you've already made, and the ability to have something pop up to tell you, "Hey dummy, you already had this conversation, because we've transcribed your system and we found these these past patterns and had that pop up," and I said you know we had this conversation a week ago, how ever I'm iterating, I'm covering for myself. These are tools that kind of lead to actually getting the impressive environment and leading to professional sales. Is that what you're going for?

Yeah. And what we're looking at is a couple of things: one is reducing the effort on your staff. It might be sales, might be service, people doing support, but reducing the manual effort. The big challenge generically, and I worked in CRMs, that market as I think you know for a number of years, is it's not the wonders of the technology or the platform, it's the human element. The more we can reduce the human element if I'm to manually enter data or prompt them where data should have been entered and hasn't, the better. Because who wants to do admin work? Which is what it is, at the end of the day, particularly [for] the salespeople, particularly as they're increasingly mobile on mobile phones.

So it's great, saying we could enter on the keypad on the phone. Yeah really, the more we can capture data without having the user have to key it, the better. So what we've done is a number of things where [in] anything to do with telephony, we capture the data natively. Secondly we've reduced the number of clicks it takes where you are putting stuff in. So we've done some neat interfaces. We're improving that as we come through this year. We've got some interesting announcements we'll make, and then the third one is can we do some transcription, do automation of that piece and the vendors are also working on some of this stuff as we know outside the telephony space. How can they automate some of the data capture? Because it's hard... if a user doesn't put the data in, it didn't happen.

Yeah I don't see too many salespeople keeping up the data. You know they keep the calendars and they certainly have notes. But as far as the central repository where the information is going to exist, it doesn't exist. So what are the best practices around Salesforce, besides leveraging mobile computing in an effective way, emerging these days?

Well what we're seeing is a trend of like we are, where it happened in the app exchange of enhancing the platform. I think we're still, with any CRM, still in the age of ‘it's not just about the technology, it's about the business process around it’ and the support downwardly and understanding of leadership. I spend a lot of my time in the Salesforce platform looking at how do I produce reports and/or dashboards that will empower my team to find those exceptions. So that... I can’t hold them accountable if I don't give them the tools to do so.

It's great saying “CRM! and we haven't filled this in and we didn't do this or your intelligence on these opportunities isn't as good as it should be.” It's the data not the system, and then they go to fill it in post your comment. What I'm trying to do is give them better visibility of where they should be focused by using reports and dashboards and third party tools more effectively so they can see what's going on. And I think that's true of any of the platforms out there.

These automation platforms that give you an underlying data repository, they can enhance that as much as they like, but if the human doesn't take part and you don't empower them to do it as quickly and easily as they can, you're always gonna have this uphill battle. And we're still facing that today with CRM type technologies as we were 5, 7 or 8 years ago. It's got a bit better because we're all getting better at using other tools to improve the process flow but it's never easy, right? It's still effort.

So you're a unique animal. You kind of focus on... you’re a technologist, you’re a social media expert and sales automation expert. Is that a good way to describe your career?

So "expert" is always a dangerous word right? [It] implies you know everything and yeah so I’m a practitioner who works hard at it I guess. But I'm still learning on all of it. I'm still looking for best practices particularly on social which is changing every day, and social selling and all those sides. I'm always looking for the angle of what is someone else doing? What have I missed? What can I be doing better?

And I still attend a lot of events and I'm a member of lots of professional bodies for sales of where can I get those marginal gains? I like to think there's not really a big golden key moment where... I have an epiphany of ‘There's this major thing I've missed over all my years’ but there's always marginal gains you can get in all these areas of ‘What are the little things someone else has done that can give you that 1% better outcome?’

What's a good example of that recently?

Oh crikey that's a good one. Well I guess on the social side is I had some engagement like this recently with some experts in social media and social selling where we've done this or that. We've had a conversation about doing some things together and they've given me some tips on my social profiles and some things I didn't realize you can do in terms of how you can profile and search different ways using the engines.

If no one's told you unless you find it by accident, you're not going to know. So if I've had some good insight where I did some calls and made copious notes of lots of little things I just missed, but because no one had ever told me you can do it that way. And I think that's the thing. I challenged people to do anything I speak of when I speak at events is even if you walk away from anything I say, and you've picked up two small nuggets that mean you can do two little things better, but 90% of what I said you already knew, well the two nuggets are worth it, right? Because that's the bit you need. But you've got to go through the rest of it to find out which bits you didn't know.

Yeah I think that's good advice. And so what advice would you have to enterprises that are shifting over to Salesforce right now from say a traditional CRM system, maybe the one you used to work with. And then, what are some of the things that they can do to integrate those or that Salesforce implementation into social media?

Sure. Well I guess the obvious one if they haven't really figured it out is it's a journey. It isn't buy a tool, go through a short implementation to scratch an itch and you're done. The first thing is where can you get those initial gains? What are the wins, the early wins? We do that with our system and that's a box where we sell the telephony into Salesforce. They're trying to boil the ocean. What are the key things you need to achieve out of the gate and let's identify a few early wins that make you better than you were, rather than replace what you've got and get you the gains.

And then let's map out okay: What are the other things you could do. There might be 10 or 20 things because of the function we've got the same as Salesforce, that wow I didn't realize we could do that. But don't try and boil the ocean and do all in your initial phase. Break it out. Phase one is get over from wherever you were on before and make some gains, make some early wins that can immediately get your users positive with the platform, then have mapped out what's the next bit you're going to bite off. We've got that done, the users are happy, they're getting benefit. Now move onto the next bit and treat it as that journey. The phased journey, it's like doing a long drive.

I guess if you got a seven hour journey ahead... I always try and break it down in my head. You know we're going to stop at that point, three hours I'm going to stop here, the first phase I just focus on the three hour journey. Don't start as you set out thinking about the seven hour journey because it just feels too long. Break it into smaller manageable chunks. And that works well on projects. Otherwise it just becomes too [much]- and I think that's true of cloud. People are this: ‘We're going to go cloud.’ And whichever platform you've chosen: public, private or whichever vendor, ‘We're going to do it all.’

I would say to people whiteboard what you would do today for your business if you were starting from scratch. Great. That's the panacea. Now which are the easiest ones to buy off? Is it migrating your Outlook and all that stuff into the cloud with Office 365, then do that, get some early wins, don't go ‘we're going to do all of it in three months.’ Because you will have problems, unexpected problems with anything, nature of the beast, right? Whether it be integrations with other products you’ve got you didn't foresee, whether it be user adoption etc. So just just don't boil the ocean, build manageable chunks. Make sure you're going to get wins at each stage that impact user adoption, so you don't leave the user positive stuff ‘til right at the end, so they just see a changed platform, they don't see anything out of it. So it's all pretty fundamental, but a lot of people I've seen miss this, and they just start the journey without thinking it through.

Yeah I think it's a common mistake. Get in your time machine to go forward five years. What sales automation technology are we going to be talking about, what's going to be hot, what's gonna be most productive?

I think the big shift we're seeing now being talked about and starting to ebb it's way in is AI. You know what can be done to be predictive, can we predict the time to phone a customer? Can you predict in a perfect world for me as a sales leader looking on the other side, wouldn't it be great if you knew ‘going in day’ here's 100 opportunities across the sales team, knowing which ones aren't going to win would be the perfect world, right? Which ones have got propensity to be the high risk based on the data patterns you've seen previously and then focusing in on those, which everyone tries to do today, but how much science is in it really?

But do you really want to go through a tendering process and eat up how much resource across the business if there was a 3% chance of winning it? You know a lot of time is spent in sales. You can't win them all. The perfect world would be only bidding and going after the ones you would win. We're never going to get to that perfection, but the more insight you can get, the more big data and AI analysis that you can trust, that guides you to behaviors to ways to truly spend time and gives you warning. I guess that always has to be human.

For me, my gut as a sales leader, and I've done this a long time, is black and white: a machine telling me do it or don't do it. But more red, amber, green flags to point me where actually I need to spend more attention here because the data's picked up on patterns that I wouldn't have picked up on based on the last three years. There's a number of metrics here that based on previous experience say “This is going to be a loss.” And these are why we think so. Now go and make a human decision on it. [That] would be helpful, right?

So I think we're going to see more AI in this and more automation of data sucking into systems through transcription and through other things. Wouldn't it be nice if technology could tell us: ’This customer needs management attention because there's something not gone right here, because the phone calls we've had and the data and the email tone, the tonality of all the data we're seeing says someone should take a look at this,’ rather than looking for a salesperson to flag it, which they might not. They might not even realize there's something wrong. So I really think we're going to see more big data and AI in these tools, making more empowerment of sales skills.

Well I'm going to need it, man. I'm a good technologist, but not a very good sales person. Now I’m finding that you have to do both. Anyway, please pick up a copy of my book Cloud Convenience, Silo Convergence available on Amazon and other places books are sold. Also please do follow me on Twitter @DavidLinthicum, as well as LinkedIn, where I have several cloud computing courses. So Ian, where can we find you on the web? What are your social media handles?

Sure, so I guess, I'll do a little trick away here, so you can find me on LinkedIn, at www.IanMoyse.co.uk, and you can find me on Twitter at @ianmoyse.cloud, so the shortcuts are nice and memorable, and they'll take you straight to my profiles.

Yeah, I urge you guys to follow Ian, because he's not only a technologist, but an expert in social media, and really the ability to kind of take your company, your enterprise to the next level. Engage him, and tell you what, everybody listens to Ian and I understand why. He's a great resource in his field of expertise.

If you enjoyed this episode of Voices in The Cloud, please check out the other ones, Removing Hyper Cloud and Multi-cloud Complexity, as a focus of the report that I wrote for GigaOm Research. Check that out, if you're interested in taking IT to the next level. Download the single report, subscribe to GigaOm research, future-forward advice on data driven technology operations and business strategies. So until next time, best of luck building your cloud computing projects. You guys have a good day, thanks.

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