Author: <span>Cien</span>

Beyond Sales quota blog post

Beyond Sales Quota: What Keeps Decision Makers Up at Night?

00Blog: The Science of SalesTags: , , , , , , , December, 20

[ 2-3 min read ]

Did you know that, “Only 17% of sales professionals working at companies with more than 250 reps are satisfied with their visibility on their sales pipeline.”

It is no secret that B2B sales leaders spend their days and nights thinking of ways to help their teams make their numbers. However, is quota achievement the only thing that keeps them up at night? 

Cien’s Global Study: The Future of Sales is built on ways to help sales teams make their numbers while improving their performance. Many times, competing priorities leave sales teams wondering where to focus attention. Also, today’s sales leaders face several pressing matters that impact the way they work, revealing common attitudes, perceptions and behaviors among sales professionals.


Sales Leaders Want Greater Internal and External Visibility.

Sales leaders across all segments feel that having more visibility on their pipeline is their biggest priority (45%). Nowadays, it is common to struggle with the right level of visibility to improve team performance. 

Furthermore, according to Harvard Business Review, 44% of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing their sales pipeline. This negative perception is striking, as there is a direct correlation between effective pipeline management and revenue growth.

Moreover, sales leaders also demand a greater understanding of their macro-environment to deal with issues such as seasonality and competitive moves (25%), especially in companies with smaller sales teams.
Knowing how sales people act (16%) or feel (15%), as well as what motivates them and what impacts team morale were often cited as critical points. This is especially true for leaders that do not use Salesforce.

Given that a sales team’s pipeline visibility usually only scratches the surface, companies are usually sitting on top of large amounts of CRM data. Because of this, their data can often become inconsistent, incomplete and inaccurate.




With AI, leaders can see more than just activities, leads and opportunities. AI enables leaders to understand many “hidden” factors (i.e. lead and pipeline, people and macro conditions) that contribute to success, revealing their CRM’s innermost secrets.


How Does Help?

We help uncovering the elements that have the greatest impact on the sales performance of your team. uses machine learning and natural language processing to measure the human element in sales and provides actionable data-driven insights into sales management.

By relying on data rather than hunches, leaders can discover the true drivers of sales and detect which factors have a tangible impact on their team’s performance.

Acting on Cien’s recommendations, you can realize the remaining 20-40% of your sales team’s ​Hidden Revenue. ​In other words, reaching 100% of your team’s potential.



About the Author 

Rob Käll is an accomplished entrepreneur with 3 Successful MM exits in 10 Years. His latest startup, Cien is for tech sales leaders who want to improve Sales Performance accountability & progress. The AI tools help you understand and improve rep, manager, and lead gen effectiveness, even for companies with imperfect CRM data. 

 A versatile leader that has served as Startup CEO, Corporate Exec and Technical Founder, Rob advocates a scientific approach to sales and marketing alignment. Connect with Rob on Linkedin and Twitter.


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get your team's sales performance to 100% -

Kelly Breslin Wright

Seasoned Corporate Director, Leading Sales Expert, and Former Tableau EVP of Sales, Kelly Breslin Wright joins Board of Advisors

00Featured, In The News, Press ReleasesTags: , , , , December, 20

[ 2 -3 min read ]

Dallas, TX, December 15th, 2020 – AI-for-sales company expands its advisory board, and introduces new AI-Driven Assessment for B2B sales teams.

Cien Inc., a fast-growing provider of AI-driven sales performance solutions, today announced the addition of Kelly Breslin Wright to its board of advisors. AI-for-sales company expands its advisory board, and introduces new AI-Driven Assessment for B2B Sales teams.

Ms. Wright is a seasoned board director for high growth companies who advises and builds best-in-class sales and marketing organizations. She is a member of the boards of Fastly, Lucid, Even, and Amperity. Prior to her board work, Kelly ran worldwide sales and field operations as EVP, Sales for Tableau Software, a company built to help people see and understand data. Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in 2019.


“Kelly’s exceptional enterprise sales experience will be invaluable as we continue to build out our go-to-market strategy and sales organization” , said Margot Carter, Co-founder of


Wright’s appointment comes at the introduction of a new set of AI-driven assessments from which use Artificial Intelligence to help sales leaders make better decisions in 2021. There are three areas of focus with a specialized assessment for each area:


Data Quality AssessmentQuantitative analysis of your CRM data quality issues broken down across 6-dimensions, with industry benchmarking and detailed grouping by time and organizational structure.

Sales Team SWOT AnalysisA strategic analysis of your sales team’s effectiveness in 2020 can help improve and optimize for 2021. Compare the effectiveness of your lead gen, prospecting, new selling and upselling strategy against industry peers and highlight areas of concern and excellence.

Coaching Potential AssessmentA comprehensive and tactical analysis of the current skills and behaviors of your sales team. Cien’s AI engine identifies sales rep performance opportunities and inconsistencies, highlighting ways to improve win-rates and increase top-line revenue.


“The AI-driven assessments are a fantastic way to get data-driven insights now, at a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional consulting engagement,” says Rob Kall, CEO.


Cien is working with leading B2B companies and has to date uncovered over $250M of unrealized annual revenue due to sales performance problems for their clients.Cien’s Data-Driven Assessments can be ordered by connecting with


About Cien is for tech sales leaders who want to improve Sales Performance accountability and progress. Our AI tools help you understand and improve rep, manager, and lead gen effectiveness, even for companies with imperfect CRM data. For more information visit




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suspension bridge engulfed in the dark to represent the unknown

Sales Leadership When The Future Is Unclear

00Blog: The Science of Sales, FeaturedTags: , , , , , , , May, 20

[ 2 -3 min read ]

Without A Clear And Adaptive Sales Strategy, Customer Acquisition Efforts Fail

We have heard paraphrased versions of this again and again. Despite this, sales leaders frequently find themselves managing in situations of strategic ambiguity. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, sales leaders are quickly learning management agility and strategic adaptability are the new prerequisites for successful sales management. Yet, indecisiveness remains – Why?

Customers today are faced with an abundance of choice. Market conditions are changing rapidly. Budgets are tightening or restricted. The reasons for why indecision remains could go on. Approaching strategic uncertainty can feel a lot like driving with a blindfold, under a heavy fog, in the middle of the night. Often, this pushes leaders to avoid sound investments, defer decision making, and reduce or freeze resource allocation. As a result, anxiety, doubt, and uncertainty creeps into the thought process thus leading to poor decision making. Everyone feels this way from time to time.

Even so, whether a sales organization succeeds or fails, is largely based on their leader’s ability to move the team forward at the critical moment when the direction ahead is unclear. The best sales leaders are able bring a balance of realistic expectations, lead by example, and communicate with empathy.

A Sales Leader’s Core Function Is To Exercise Judgement

That is, to form views and interpret ambiguous evidence in a way that will lead to a good decision. When the path forward is unclear, the best sales leaders acknowledge what’s unknown – but also look ahead to what’s known.

This can be demonstrated by adopting the following 3 disciplines into daily practice:

  1. Take Action (a decision must be made, indecision is costly).
  2. Maintain Emotional Control (act “as-if” to inspire confidence in others).
  3. Leverage Data and Domain Expertise (learn more, see more – knowledge is power).

Effective sales leaders are proponents of practicality when dealing with uncertainty. The adage “you can’t improve what you can’t measure” holds absolutely true here. At CIEN.AI, we put to practice a data-informed culture by measuring every data point and outcome within our own CRM (Salesforce). This helps our sales and marketing team mitigate forecast unpredictability and improve future outcomes. Predicting the future with absolute certainty is impossible, but utilizing predictive analytics will expedite your ability to determine what’s likely and place intelligent bets.

The modern sales leader today must balance their acknowledgement of what’s unknown, with decision making based on informed likelihoods. They can accomplish this by determining which dynamics are impacting their company (that they’re aware of). They must continuously solicit feedback and ask other stakeholders their opinions of what will happen. As leaders they must act upon what can be done that day, to better prepare their teams and customers for change. In doing so, they position themselves advantageously to take decisive action, demonstrate confidence, and achieve sales success well above the norm – even when the market landscape remains out of focus.

Don’t allow lack of clarity to cast a shadow over your sales team’s confidence or performance. Cien can help you drive your sales organization forward faster.


Sales Leader Confidence


Measuring Value To Succeed In Uncertainty

00Blog: The Science of Sales, Featured March, 20

[ 2-3 min read ]

According to research by McKinsey & Company, there are three scenarios of COVID-19 affecting the world economy.
Unpleasant as it is, let’s look at scenario #3 since they label it as ‘the most likely’.

Scenario Three & Most Likely:

  • The middle of Q2 sees some progress of the containment of the local outbreak, but COVID-19 manages to spread to other countries
  • Demand and customer confidence remain low due to uncertainty
  • The travel bans remain in place until the end of 2020, leaving aviation and tourism completely frozen
  • The economy is largely affected by the setback and lack of customer confidence

We can see all of the above unfolding already; A growing pandemic, long-term ban on tourism, new strict travel limitations, a drop in customer confidence — everything indicates that returning to any kind of normalcy won’t happen any time soon.

That means there’s little to no use in focusing on enduring the new conditions. Instead, your ability to adapt to them and help your business sail on is where your focus should be. 

Defensive moves are entirely understandable but they can easily become counterproductive. 

So, what can you do?

1. Act quickly and proactively to adjust your route to success and chart a new one while capitalizing on dislocations in the market.


      • Cien does the heavy lifting for you with real-time tracking of all applicable data points adjusted to compensate for various CRM quality issues for a high-res image of the state of your current selling environment. 
      • It makes “acting quickly and proactively to adjust your route to success and chart a new one while capitalizing on dislocations in the market”  easy, effective and immediately impacting.

2. Build upon your capacity to be agile — align, identify, and prioritize critical improvement areas to respond to changing circumstances. 


      • Align” – Cien gives leaders a common language for aligning sales and marketing on the expected dollar value of every lead, account, and opportunity created:



      • IdentifyCien allows you to dig into the intangible factors that impact sales performance and measure individual strengths and weaknesses.

Result: Your ability to rapidly “prioritize critical improvement areas to respond to changing circumstances.”

3. Evolve to become more resilient and bear up against unrelenting external forces, recover from hitches, and benefit from new opportunities. 


      • Cien gives you the data, tools, and methodology to “bear up against unrelenting external forces, recover from hitches, and benefit from new opportunities.

Take Care Of Your Team And Be Ready

Cien helps you build the agility and resilience that you, your employees, and your company needs now more than ever.

Rather than uncertainty being an excuse to detach or check out, uncertainty should be a spur to engage and build sustainable advantage.

Keep Calm

Nothing lasts forever, and we will emerge from this with more experience, more knowledge, and more ammo for whatever comes next.  So, our recommendation is to stay collected and focused on maintaining flexibility and discipline with a wise use of digital opportunity. It’s a sure-fire way to keep your sales intact and ready for a boost.

Stay safe and take care!