The path that lead to ClosingPage.
In 2008, Paul Graham in his blog famously urged all startups founders to “make something people want”.
Last June, when my co-founder and I decided to spend the summer on an interesting tech project, we took a big pause. We decided we’ll read Paul’s blog again and half way through it, we got the clarity we were seeking.
It was NOT an interesting tech solution that we had to chase but an interesting PROBLEM that people want to be solved.
We spent the next few months looking for exactly that. We met with close to 40 technology professionals during our problem discovery, validation and customer research — thanks to the brilliant buzzing startup community in Atlanta Tech Village. There were many tech entrepreneurs, startup employees and seasoned mentors who were more than happy to sit down at Octane and discuss their day-to-day problems at work.
The most interesting ones came from B2B sales. In total, we met with 17 sales reps and 12 sales leaders who were strong voices within the inside-sales industry. We had a particular inclination towards problems around sales content mainly because our first startup was a creative design agency. Sales was also appealing because the problems we noticed were so closely tied to revenue, it just seemed the effort in fixing those problems would be even more rewarding.
Towards the end of November, after a couple rounds of discussions with our beloved mentor, we locked the problem down and decided we’ll pursue it.
To put it simply, B2B software companies (think of Salesforce, Silverpop or Salesloft) invest a lot of time and money in converting “leads” to actual paying clients. It can be a really long journey before a lead qualifies as a prospect and then converts to a paid customer depending on the sales cycle and the nature of the product. However, the key strokes of sales are applied in the “last mile” of the journey which is labeled “the closing phase” in the industry. (Every smart sales organization has a Success Plan aka Mutual Close Plan aka Engagement Plan)
In an age and era where everything until the closing phase is ultra stream-lined and modernized, it is in fact quite a mystique on why the last mile hasn’t been fully revolutionized.
Firstly, sales reps currently send follow-up emails after demos stuffed with multiple attachments that are mostly ignored or repelled by customers for one simple reason. They are email attachments.
Secondly, these documents are key components in the closing phase but they are not being tracked. Because they are buried as email attachments, the reps don’t have analytics or customer interaction data. No data leads means no insights leads means no scope of improvement in the rep behavior.
Thirdly, there is no one central hub where a client can find all the docs he needs to review about a deal. There is no one destination. At least in the modern sense. There are several Dropbox links to sales decks, pricing plans as PPTs, Docusign links and contracts as PDFs but none of them are located under one special magical link.
Presenting ClosingPage: A single web-based doc hub where you can host all your sales collateral with a custom link that sends real-time notifications of your customer’s actions. You will get a “www.closingpage.com/you/client” link that can be fully tailored to your company’s branding and will be able to track all customer opens, views, downloads and forward rates.
We want to combine several forces here: a) The simplicity and aesthetics of Mailchimp in presenting content b) The intuitive doc storage nature of Google Docs and c) The analytical arm of Google Analytics. Simply put, we want to birth a hybrid of the 3, the best kid of the 3 but for sales.
This February, we decided to unveil our covers and announce publicly that we’re officially launching ClosingPage.
Traction so far:
As stated earlier, we have completed problem validation and customer discovery pretty rigorously. We went back to the customers who spoke with us with an early design prototype and signed them up for the beta launch. We finished the entire design of the MVP with customer input and on our way to complete coding the prototype. Check out this space for more updates: www.getclosingpage.com.
The MVP launch will be a huge event for us. It’s the ultimate test to our hypothesis that sales reps need a product like this. We’re a pretty practical team of founders who will be more than happy to pivot if the customers take us to a different direction. But we’re absolutely gritty about solving this problem. It’s a giant one, it’s an urgent one, the stats are in our favor and sales engagement is a hot trend in the industry.
Thanks to everyone who helped us get here, directly or indirectly. The UI designs have been getting such great positive feedback and impressing many sales reps around the world.
We’re excited about our next steps in building a truly delightful Atlanta startup. It’s where our heart & home is.
— — Reach out to me at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more or want to join us in this adventure. We’re actively hiring to complete our team.