March 12, 2013
I’ve written before about Crushpath, the startup founded by ex-Jive marketing wunderkind Sam Lawrence. As I said when I first covered there slightly stealthy launch, the premise of Crushpath is that traditional CRM, where salespeople have to record deals, introduces a barrier to entry – salespeople simply want to get out there and sell. While traditional CRM is very much pipeline focused, Crushpath sees itself as a customer engagement tool – meeting salespeople’s need to “always be closing”. Crushpath offers a single view into the play-by-play of a deal as it unfolds so salespeople can see and do everything they need to get a deal done.
Since then Crushpath have been pretty quiet – beavering away building the product and getting feedback from beta customers. Today they’re opening the kimono a little more and in a way sure to get attention, by announcing a pretty impressive $6M funding round from Social+Capital and Charles River Ventures. While that’s a fairly eye watering figure – the cachet of Lawrence, alongside his initial angel backers (Aaron Levie (CEO Box), Phil Fernandez (CEO Marketo), Dave Hersh (former CEO Jive) and Phil Libin (CEO Evernote)) ensured that anything this company does is sure to get plenty of attention.
Alongside the funding news, Crushpath (does anyone else wince at that name? I sure do, even if the sales guys must love it) is launching Pitch Sites, an easy way for sales people to create micro sales sites (Crushpath calls them online elevator pitches) for their product or service. Users cab create tailored one page websites and populate them with photos, text and video. These sites can then be targeted to specific parts of a user’s market and, most importantly, tracked within the Crushpath application.
According to Lawrence, the rationale for Pitch Sites is thusly:
Today, 90 percent of people are pitching something… These ‘sometimes salespeople’ are recruiters, journalists, realtors, business unit managers, agents, entrepreneurs. They spend their days convincing others but have nothing to actually help them do it. They’re stuck in emails, cold calls, and CRMs are just too complicated. 1988 called, they want their sales software back
Well, yes, but then again they could always whip up a simple webpage on their own and use Google analytics to track activity on it or, even better, link it to their CRM to really engage customers and prospects – the way that Salesforce’s marketing products are adjuncts to its core CRM. That said I do buy into Lawrence’s perspective that sales folks don’t want to use a big clunky CRM, they want the very lightest weight tools – preferably as close to their customers and prospects as possible – Pitch Sites delivers that I guess. To make it even easier, Crushpath offers customers industry-specific templates to help them build pretty landing sites. Again this feels a little like Myspace customized sites, and we all know how that went…
Pitch Sites I can take or leave but the core Crushpath product is obviously resonating with customers – since launch the company has attracted over 5000 customers including McAfee, Cox Communications, TriNet, StateFarm, and BeachBody. According to the company, users range from people in sales functions, to marketing, human resources, and business development.
As is often the case, the people behind the product are more important than the product itself – with it’s a list of backers, its star studded executive team and its headline grabbing name, Crushpath is pretty well assured of success.