Tellme Networks

By Katherine Bose, Andrew Rachleff
2007 | Case No. E249
In early 2001, following a lack-luster consumer service launch, Tellme Networks made the decision to bet its future on a customer support operator elimination application aimed at enterprise companies. Unfortunately sales associated with the new strategy were not ramping. Tellme Board advisor Bill Campbell, chairman and former CEO of Intuit, grew frustrated with the small amount of information on which strategic decisions were being made and challenged David Weiden, VP Marketing, to develop a plan that could help determine the problem with the new strategy. Weiden embarked on developing a model, “Project Rifle”, to answer these questions. Rifle was a methodology to choose markets and customers most likely to buy the Tellme’s services in large quantities. Rifle seemed to reveal prospects that were far different from the management team’s intuition. If Tellme implemented Rifle, the sales team would not have much of a say with regard to potential customers to target. In other words, sales people would be chosen for their sales ability rather than their relationships or contacts. Sales people who did not buy into the process would likely leave.
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