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Publication numberWO2017009768 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/IB2016/054135
Publication date19 Jan 2017
Filing date11 Jul 2016
Priority date11 Jul 2015
Publication numberPCT/2016/54135, PCT/IB/16/054135, PCT/IB/16/54135, PCT/IB/2016/054135, PCT/IB/2016/54135, PCT/IB16/054135, PCT/IB16/54135, PCT/IB16054135, PCT/IB1654135, PCT/IB2016/054135, PCT/IB2016/54135, PCT/IB2016054135, PCT/IB201654135, WO 2017/009768 A1, WO 2017009768 A1, WO 2017009768A1, WO-A1-2017009768, WO2017/009768A1, WO2017009768 A1, WO2017009768A1
InventorsMarc Vollenweider, Jitesh SAH, Vardan MATHUR
ApplicantEvalueserve AG
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
System and method for determining a sales opportunity based on analysis of integrated information collected from online sources
WO 2017009768 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to information gathering and processing system and method for providing a user with integrated information, gathered from various online sources. The system and method provide the user with reliable information pertaining to a prospective sales pitch to be made by the user that enables the user to convert the sales pitch into profitable business.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
We claim:
1. A method for determining a sale opportunities for making sales pitches, the method comprising:
a. receiving primitive keywords pertaining to augmentation of specific business activity;
b. augmenting the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords based on historical data in a keyword repository;
c. conducting a search on internal database and online database based on the primitive keywords and functionally equivalent keywords to obtain search results defining information related to business activity;
d. demarcating relevant and irrelevant results manually from the obtained search results; and
e. modifying the historical data in the keyword repository based on the demarcated results.
2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the primitive keywords are determined based on trigger parameters pertaining to the business activity.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the trigger parameters comprise at least one of purchase pattern of participants of specific business activity (customers), and indicators representative of alliances, growth, sales and marketing activities of entities engaged in the business activity.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating contextual tags for each of the primitive keywords and functionally equivalent keywords prior to the step of conducting the search, the contextual tags based on the trigger parameters.
5. The method as claimed in claim 4, wherein each trigger parameter is assigned a weightage value.
6. The method as claimed in claim 5, wherein modifying the historical data comprises adjusting the weightage score of trigger parameters based on whether specific trigger parameters are demarcated as relevant or irrelevant.
7. A system for determining a sale opportunities for making sales pitches, the system comprising:
a. one or more search user and sales user devices capable of conducting search for making sales pitch; and
b. an analysis server communicably coupled to the one or more search user and sales user devices adapted to receive primitive keywords pertaining to augmentation of specific business activity from the sales user devices and augment the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords, c. a plurality of information repositories communicably coupled to analysis server, the repositories having generic information as well as specific information pertaining to business activities of specific entities engaged in business; and
d. a keyword repository coupled to the analysis server, the keyword repository maintaining historical data used for augmenting the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords,
wherein the analysis server modifies the historical data in the keyword repository based on the search conducted by the one or more search user and sales user devices.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the sales user and search user devices are adapted to demarcate relevant and irrelevant results manually from search results obtained by search conducted by the sale user.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

"SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DETERMINING A SALES OPPORTUNITY BASED ON ANALYSIS OF INTEGRATED INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM ONLINE SOURCES" FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally related to Information gathering, analyzing & processing systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to a system and a method that enables inferring and establishing a sales opportunity by analyzing information gathered from information sources, publically available as well as internally managed, while using a machine learning platform, and pushing the sales opportunity along with pertinent information obtained in course of establishing the sales opportunity and the associated business knowledge. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In today's world of steep competition, most sellers and manufacturers have realized the importance of being the first movers so as to effectively convert sales pitches into active clients. To ensure such an early mover's advantage, the sellers/manufacturers require first-hand information pertaining to the challenges in current business and new business related activities of an existing and/or prospective client. It is imperative that such information is available at very early stages and analyzed with the view of finding an opportunity to offer the prospective/existing client with an effective solution resulting in sales.

The conventional methods in this regard involve browsing through business related materials manually; identify new opportunities; collection of other pertinent information pertaining to the client or his business activities and the like before making a sales pitch. However, the conventional methods completely rely on human intelligence and skills and the results may vary depending upon the skills and experience of the person/team, undertaking activities such as identification of new opportunities or collecting information pertaining to the client/his business activities. The results obtained after such searches would not, therefore, be uniform or standardized. Also, the manual method of searching information sources is not exhaustive and/or is very labor intensive and expensive. Also keeping in view, there is a large volume of information source due to the variety of information channels with the advent of digital media; the process becomes more time intensive. Most often, the results are not accurate, thereby leading to wastage of human efforts, time and money.

With advent of technology and the World Wide Web and other digital channels, the process of getting sales related leads has moved the digital way. Sellers and manufacturers no longer wish to rely on conventional platforms, such as newspaper reports, reports in technical journals or business magazines, etc., to adjudge a prospective buyer's requirements before making a sales pitch. US Published application no. US 2010/0185105 recites a method to implement techniques for generating sales leads in sales lead generation engine. The sales lead generation engine receives one or more keywords describing one or more aspects of the product and the sales generation engine performs a search using the received one or more keywords in a collection of problem reports to identify matching keywords therein. A selection of one or more matching keywords pairs is received from a user and the sales lead generation engine performs a sales-oriented operation with respect to a customer associated with a problem report related to a selected matching keyword pair.

In another document, US Published Application no. 2014/0089044, a computer based system to efficiently identify sales opportunity in a business to business market environment is recited. Particularly, this invention identifies a purchase pattern profiles through scientific analysis of customer data. The invention aims to calculate a customer's purchase profile and cluster the customers based on similarity of their purchase profile. Based on these profiling, sales pitches are made to the clients. Also, yet another known invention described in US 7096220 relates to a web-based customer lead harvesting system that accepts criteria from the user that describes a type or types of potential customers. A harvester process searches the internet data according to client-provided criteria and returns names of identifying information about the prospect together with a link to the document that verifies the prospect's match to the criteria.

However, these inventions have an inherent drawback that the same take into account a single criterion, such as purchase profile of the customers, or a user-specified search criterion, and the like to generate pertinent information to make a sales pitch. These systems do not take into account other important factors that may influence a sales pitch and thus these systems do not have a holistic approach. For instance, the prior art US 2014/0089044 takes into account only the purchase profile of a potential customer and this could be disadvantageous in the sense that any new customers/business may be left out from consideration and thus a sales pitch may not be as effective.

In view of the foregoing, there exists a need for a solution that obviates the various disadvantages of the conventional methods and systems, as discussed. Particularly, there exists a need for a solution that gathers and presents analyzed, reliable and integrated information to the sales team for consumption, thereby enabling them to make an effective sales pitch that converts into profitable business.

OBJECTIVE OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Therefore, an objective of the present invention is to provide a system and method for providing a user (sales team and the like) with integrated information, gathered from various online sources, both publically available as internal databases.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a system and method for establishing a prospective business need, and provide/push the user with reliable information pertaining to a prospective sales pitch to be made that enables the user to convert the sales pitch into profitable business. Yet another objective of the present invention is to provide a system and method that presents a user with reliable information pertaining to a prospective sales pitch with minimal human intervention required for information gathering, thereby reducing the dependence on human skills and intelligence in identifying a potential business lead.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention discloses a method for determining a sale opportunities for making sales pitches, the method comprising: receiving primitive keywords pertaining to augmentation of specific business activity; augmenting the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords based on historical data in a keyword repository; conducting a search on internal database and online database based on the primitive keywords and functionally equivalent keywords to obtain search results defining information related to business activity; demarcating relevant and irrelevant results manually from the obtained search results; and modifying the historical data in the keyword repository based on the demarcated results.

The invention also discloses a system for determining a sale opportunities for making sales pitches, the system comprising: one or more search user and sales user devices capable of conducting search for making sales pitch; and an analysis server communicably coupled to the one or more search user and sales user devices adapted to receive primitive keywords pertaining to augmentation of specific business activity from the sales user devices and augment the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords, a plurality of information repositories communicably coupled to analysis server, the repositories having generic information as well as specific information pertaining to business activities of specific entities engaged in business; and a keyword repository coupled to the analysis server, the keyword repository maintaining historical data used for augmenting the primitive keywords with functionally equivalent keywords, wherein the analysis server modifies the historical data in the keyword repository based on the search conducted by the one or more search user and sales user devices. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 illustrates a system for determining a sales opportunity based on analysis of integrated information collected from online sources, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 2 illustrates a flowchart depicting a method for determining a sales opportunity, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary system and method for determining a sales opportunity based on analysis of integrated information collected from online sources, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

This patent describes the subject matter for patenting with specificity to meet statutory requirements. However, the description itself is not intended to limit the scope of this patent. The principles described herein may be embodied in many different forms.

Illustrative embodiments of the invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

Fig. 1 illustrates a system 100 that is adapted for determining a sales opportunity based on holistic gathering of information as well as analysis thereof. The analysed information is then used for making sales pitches. The present invention envisages improving the efficiency in sales process in a manner such that sales pitches are converted into profitable business. To achieve this, the system 100 is enabled to conduct a search on all available online open sources as well as paid digital information sources and internal business information databases so as to generate search results that are indicative of highly probable sales opportunities. The present invention further envisages that the search results so obtained are analysed by human minds for other value adding information before passing on the information to the sales team for making a sales pitch. Such value adding information may include, inter alia, inputs regarding what can be sold, what could be the value of sales, who are the buyers and the like. The system is adapted to learn from every search it performs. Also, the system parses the search results using software techniques and picks the keywords that could point to a potential need of a potential buyer. The picked keywords are automatically appended to a library of keywords and are used in subsequent searches that are performed automatically by the system 100. The present invention also envisages that a feedback loop receiving inputs from the end user, i.e. the customer is enabled in the system 100. When an opportunity is sent to the end user, he/she can provide feedback on whether the opportunity is useful or not. If the end user accepts the sales opportunity, the system further learns and updates the library of words to enhance the search queries by providing more articles similar to the accepted one. If the end user rejects the opportunity, the system utilizes this input to remove or modify the library of words and search queries to reduce the occurrence of similar articles. This will be achieved using machine learning algorithms that can apply heuristics to utilize not just the current feedback, but also historical feedback on opportunities and keywords. This way the system 100 is dynamically evolving and improving itself so as to give better search results in every subsequent search the system 100 performs.

The present invention would be explained in conjunction with Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 that illustrates a method 200 implemented within the system 100. As shown, the system 100 includes an analysis server 105 that is communicably coupled to one or more search user devices 110 and sales user devices 120. The search user devices and sales user devices may be a computer, a notebook, a PDA, a mobile phone and the like. Additionally, the analysis server 105 is communicably coupled to various repositories 125a, 125b...125n of information. The repositories may be available over worldwide web or are internal repositories maintained by various entities, and may include generic information as well as specific information pertaining to business activities of specific entities engaged in business or business regulators. In addition to above, a keyword repository 130 is also communicably coupled to the analysis server 105. The functioning of all these hardware features would be evident by referring to method 200 in the ensuing paragraphs. To explain the invention better, the description refers to an exemplary case. However, the scope of the present invention should not be construed to be limited to the described example only.

Referring to Fig. 2, the method 200 commences at 202 with the search user receiving inputs as to conduct a search for enhancing the business prospects of a specific client engaged in a specific business activity or to generate a sales pitch proposal for a potential client. The method 200 ensures that a holistically generated search is presented to the client so that the sales pitch could be successfully converted into business. At 204, the search user, using search user device 110, determines certain primitive keywords for enabling search to be conducted. The primitive keywords pertain to the business activity and more particularly, to trigger parameters pertaining to the business activity. Trigger parameters may include activities, events, products, competitors, business related developments and the like that related to the business activity. To elaborate with an example, assuming that a client X intends to identify sales leads to expand their business globally. Based on this intended purpose in mind, the sales person defines primitive keywords based on trigger parameters as per industry terminology as well as buying triggers and patterns of client X's customers. In an embodiment of the present invention, the trigger parameters may include at least one of purchase pattern of participants of specific business activity (customers), and indicators representative of alliances, growth, sales and marketing activities of entities engaged in the business activity. So the keywords may be devised for triggers like scope of expansion, mergers and acquisitions, promotions, Joint Ventures, new product launches in the same line of business as that of the client X, new plant setup, investments in the business, new Government schemes and regulations and the like. At 206, the primitive keywords determined by the sales user are augmented to include keywords that represent the functional equivalent (in business parlance) of the same. This is done by the analysis server 105 based on historical data stored in the keyword repository 130. The historical data is built up over the course of time based on the learnings obtained by the analysis server 105 over the course of various searches conducted by it, as will be explained later. Once the primitive and functionally equivalent keywords are available, the sales user generates contextual tags for each keyword based on the context in which keywords are to be used. Few examples of such contextual tags are "amazon expand", "amazon invest", "amazon announce" and the like. The analysis server 105 provides sales user with an option to qualify the contextual tags with the word distance within which the tags should exist. For instance, "amazon expand" within the word distance of 5, "amazon invest" within the word distance of 8 words, "amazon announce" within the word distance of 10 words.

Further, the sales user assigns weightage to each trigger parameter so as to assign an importance level to each parameter. This would help in segregating the search results obtained by using the trigger parameters, as will be explained later. Further, at 208, the method includes the search user conducting search using the primitive and functionally equivalent keywords and contextual tags on various repositories 125a, 125b...125n of information, such as online databases and internal databases, to obtain search results. The search results are related to information related to specific business activity. The online databases are those available on worldwide web and having generic information. Internal databases are those maintained by different entities and having information pertaining to business activities of various entities. The search is conducted through web crawling. Referring to the specific example explained above, following articles (search results) were obtained upon conducting the search with identified keywords - "Amazon invests USD 3Bn in India", "Amazon to open three more fulfilment centres in Illinois", "Amazon invests USD 200,000 to open four brick-and-mortar stores in California", "Amazon plans to hire for 1000 jobs to Kansas". The search results are provided to a search user on his/her sales user device 110. At 210, the search results so obtained are demarcated as relevant and irrelevant by the search user such that only relevant results are presented to the client. The demarcation is done based on the combination of search user's domain knowledge and contextual suitability of specific results. For example, following results would be demarcated as relevant - "Amazon invests USD 3Bn in India", "Amazon to open three more fulfilment centres in Illinois", "Amazon invests USD 200,000 to open four brick-and-mortar stores in California" as the same are pertinent in context of the intended goal of the search, i.e. expanding the sales of the client. The result "Amazon plans to hire for 1000 jobs to Kansas" is marked as non-relevant as the same is not pertinent in context of the desired goal.

Further, the present invention is capable of using the learning obtained from relevancy of the search results to modify the historical data in the keyword repository based on the demarcated results. In an embodiment of the present invention, the analysis server 105 adjusts the weightage score of the trigger parameters, at 212, as shown in Fig. 2. For instance, in the described example, the weightage score may be adjusted based on the number of times the keyword/trigger exists in the selected results. Particularly, the analysis server 105 determines that the keyword "hire" is of no relevance in the context of business augmentation, and therefore the weightage score of the same is reduced. Thus, the historical data is modified to store the information that the word "hire" should appear at least twice in an articles for the same to be shown as a result in the search. The method ends at 214, with the demarcated results being presented to the sales user for final verification of the demarcations done on the search results. The sales user would be the end-user of the information before presenting to the client and aware of the requirements of the client. Based on the same, they would demarcate the search results yet again. For instance, the sales user would demarcate "Amazon invests USD 200,000 to open four brick-and-mortar stores in California" as irrelevant because the same was not consider relevant as per the domain knowledge of the sales. As per fresh demarcations, the weightage scores of the keywords are yet again adjusted. A final report of relevant search results is generated for presenting to the client. It is pertinent to note herein that a machine learning algorithm in the analysis server 105 may be implemented based on one or more approaches, such as an artificial neural network (ANN), an inductive logic programming approach, a support vector machine (SVM), an association rule learning approach, a decision tree learning approach, and/or a Bayesian network. Notwithstanding, the disclosure may not be so limited and other suitable learning approaches may be utilized without limiting the scope of the disclosure.

Thus, the present invention envisages to provide a solution that preempts a sales opportunity by learning from the information available on digital platforms, such as web, databases etc. The envisaged system 100 intends to replicate the learnings of a human mind which has spent a long time searching for relevant information and uses that inherent intelligence to infer if there is a potential sales opportunity. Besides, the system 100 also provides sales user with the sales intelligence, aggregated and synthesized from different internal sources, such as CRM, and external sources, such as internet, social and professional media, paid data bases and the like, to help them convert a sales opportunity into a successful business pitch in comparatively lesser time. This helps in improving the overall efficiency in sales process and reduces cost of sales. In this way the present invention aims to enable sales users to proactively identify sales opportunity at the earliest stages of a potential buyer's need. The present invention envisages establishing key influencers in the potential buyer's organization and their buying behavior to help sales users in creating value message while providing all market and competitive intelligence they need to close the business opportunity faster. Therefore, the system of the present invention serves the afore-said benefits which are missing from the existing state of the art.

As one of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate, the example system and method described herein can be modified. For example, certain steps can be omitted, certain steps can be carried out concurrently, and other steps can be added. Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited correspondingly in scope, but includes all changes, modifications and equivalents coming within the spirit and terms of the claims appended hereto.

Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments are apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention. This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined in the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims.

Patent Citations
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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *No relevant documents disclosed
Classifications
International ClassificationG06Q30/02
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q30/0201
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