The words “I need you to update Salesforce” are the equivalent of saying to a teenager, “Make up your bed” or “Clean up your room.” It’s always met with an attitude, a sigh, and then a half-hearted effort to do a job that was clearly meant to benefit somebody else. Updating Salesforce has always been an incredibly tedious activity for salespeople who spend all of their time on email, text, phone … or in person communicating with customers.
Salesforce, while useful, has always been a product for the managers — not for the closers.
I saw this firsthand back in 2002, when I was the CEO of IronPort and we became an early client of Salesforce. It gave us a much better handle on the status of deals in the pipeline. And as a startup, this critical data helped inform our decision-making on what to spend and when to raise money. In fact, Salesforce became the only way to make sense of what was happening, especially as we started opening offices around the world. For our leadership team, it was an absolute lifesaver.
Yet it was a huge challenge to keep all that information up-to-date. Our sales VPs would chide everyone before and after every pipeline call. We tried adding both carrots and sticks in the compensation plans to incentivize people to update Salesforce. Nothing worked. As I traveled around the world spending time with individual salespeople, I got to witness the problem firsthand.
For years, salespeople have been clamoring for a product that helps them with their actual workflow: communicating with prospects, tracking, and closing deals. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $15M Series B round in sales software platform ToutApp — because it’s software that’s actually made for closers!
Here are some of the reasons I’m so excited about this company:
— With templates directly accessible within Gmail/Outlook, ToutApp helps close deals faster. It also analyzes which communications perform the best within the team and propagates the tools people actually use. And because it’s directly in the rep’s existing workflow, adoption and ongoing user engagement is really high. The salesperson is literally using ToutApp all day long.
— The company was founded by an amazing serial entrepreneur, TK Kader, who has been thinking about productivity tools and workflows his entire career. It catches our eye when founders have been obsessed with solving a single problem. Prior to ToutApp, TK founded HipCal (sold to Plaxo) and built a trading productivity suite for the world’s largest hedge fund.
— TK had a slide in the investor deck that was filled with a16z portfolio companies that had standardized on ToutApp. It’s always a great sign when our own companies are all using the same software. And it didn’t hurt that our own market development team had organically found ToutApp before that meeting and had become disciples, using it for our own operations.
— As sales moves beyond the clichéd image it has had for so long of dull, drawn-out dinners and car-driving salespeople, ToutApp is native to how sales is done today: mobile-enabled sales teams that just get it done. It may even enable the type of people who said they never wanted to be a sales person to become one…
I’m super pumped to be joining ToutApp’s board of directors, and I look forward to helping TK grow the company into one of the new set of SaaS “software franchises”.