Though he graduated from West Point Military Academy, the entrepreneurial drive that is at the core of Pete McChrystal couldn’t be contained as an infantry officer during peace time. After six years in the Army, McChrystal began a journey that eventually led to him create one of the most successful SaaS (Software as a Service) companies in the sales enablement technology sector, Accent Technologies.
“We help sales and marketing teams increase their revenue by aligning these two teams and arming them with the right material and information to sell more effectively,” McChrystal explained. Using artificial intelligence and big data tools, his company enables salespeople to understand the needs, expectations and challenges potential client companies are facing. That way they focus on the companies with the greatest opportunities for sales, with the solutions they are seeking. This is coupled with providing a repository of materials to quickly respond to would-be customers prior, during or after to a meeting.
Accent started in 1990, as a specialized presentation management solution, for major companies on the Space Coast, like what is now, L3Harris. Some of their clients challenged them for help to manage resources, documents and presentations, which led Accent to an automated solution, which helped them become the global leader in sales enablement technology. Now, unlike any other sales enablement software vendor, their products are used by companies in more than 100 countries around the globe. Adobe was their first big client, then Merrill Lynch and UBS found their solution was a great fit for the financial market.
“The only way to break into what seems to be a very saturated market is to solve a very specific problem that they aren’t solving,” McChrystal said. “We enabled them to pick the slides and information that would help them build presentations tailored to a particular client.”
It wasn’t an easy transition from being a service company, with several big and reliable customers, over to a software company. Nor was bringing their software to market without challenges as well. Yet, they weathered the internet bubble of the early 2000’s. Then during the 2008 recession they adjusted their approach with major clients, so that despite the downturn, they grew every year.
McChrystal and Accent were early adopters of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, using a subscription approach to deliver their products and services. It was another timely innovation that has, and continues to keep Accent Technologies on the cutting edge of their industry.