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PROS gets personal via CRM

Six months ago, I met Andres Reiner, President and CEO of PROS at Dreamforce, 2015. Speaking with Andres, and subsequently with PROS CMO Patrick Schneidau, I came to realize that what appeared to be a narrow–if robust and popular solution; in this case, revenue and profit optimization software–could be central to a business’s sales and even marketing strategy.

I took the opportunity this week to catch up with Schneidau, calling me from a water-logged Houston, and discovered that PROS is moving ever closed to being a legitimate part of a marketing tech stack.

PROS started out as pure play pricing optimization software in the mid-’80s following the US airline deregulation of 1978. You can read about the evolution of its CPQ tools–and the value of real-time optimal pricing spreads for sales reps–in this earlier piece. I wanted to find out about the implications of PROS’ new emphasis on cloud solutions hosted by the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Traditionally an on-premise solution, PROS’ transition to a cloud-based service is almost complete. While some companies are still committed to on-premise, Schneidau told me that 100 percent of new opportunities from PROS will be delivered from the cloud.

“We’ve been a partner of Microsoft for the better part of a decade,” Schneidau said, “and it really has been a symbiotic relationship. We touch on every part of their business. The transition of our services [Selling PRO and Pricing PRO] to the Azure cloud means that all the transactional and product data is residing there. We can provide a ton of value for customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If a customer wants to understand what a quote should be, they can use our CPQ tools to look at quotes and product configurations in real time, infused by insights from our data science.”

PROS combines historic transactional data with historic and current operational data, and data on general market conditions, to generate pricing spreads which will drive conversions and even create new sales opportunities. Match this data with CRM records, and the process becomes excitingly personalized. “We’re marrying up data which a lot of organizations aren’t putting together,” Schneidau explained.

After all, as Schneidau said, “the first part of marketing strategy is segmentation: understanding what people are buying and how you should bring products to market for them.” PROS thus promises to become more than a solution for sales reps following leads the field: it can set out to answer questions like “Which accounts should you go after? Can the system predict which additional products people might want to buy?”

Among other CRM providers, PROS also has partnerships and integrations with Salesforce and SAP. “The changes you’re going to continue to see,” said Schneidau, “are around how do we make the buying and selling experience as seamless as possible.”

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