Outreach — Driving Success for Sales Teams
by Sam Fort and Mark Bailey, DFJ Partners
Today’s Sales Challenges
Over the past decade, achieving success in sales has become harder than ever. More discerning and data-driven buyers, new and evolving digital-first modes of communication, and more administrative overhead imposed by management have created a challenging environment for sales representatives. According to a recent Accenture study released last September, 59% of global sales executives say they are bombarded by too much disaggregated customer data to be effective, and have too many sales tools they are responsible for managing day-to-day. “Sales distraction” is hindering business performance, causing more than half of global organizations to miss their annual sales forecasts.
First Came the CRM
There have been many attempts to solve this problem historically. In the early 2000s, Salesforce.com pioneered the cloud-based CRM, which became a revolutionary tool for the sales professional to track and manage their prospect and customer data. However, the CRM was simply a system of record — a database in the cloud. It was a great place to dump all your contacts and leads, but the majority of salespeople don’t love spending their day updating fields in their CRM. The sales rep workflow involves communicating with customers, building relationships, identifying a compelling buying event, and ultimately closing deals. The CRM keeps track of data, but can often decrease productivity vs. improving selling behavior and enhancing outcomes for the sales rep.
At DFJ, we have been on the lookout for a breakthrough product that can help solve the problem of sales distraction and intelligently manage the sales workflow. How can we use automation and advances around machine intelligence to abstract away repetitive tasks and overbearing administrative work to create a System of Action for reps to complement their System of Record?
This is how we came to find our latest investment, Outreach. DFJ Growth is thrilled to announce we are leading the company’s $30 million Series C round, and will be partnering with Outreach’s stellar team to reinvent the sales technology stack.
Outreach has quickly become the leading player in the emerging category of Sales Engagement, providing an integrated platform that brings together communications, content management, analytics, and predictive intelligence to help drive better results for the sales rep. Outreach’s platform tracks a salesperson’s interactions with prospects and customers, recommends prescribed sequences of communications designed to maximize engagement from a prospect, provides actionable insights and analytics so a rep knows how to best spend their time, and intelligently syncs everything with their System of Record. This process allows reps to eliminate as much as 50% of their time on administrative tasks, so they can spend less time writing emails and managing their internal systems, and more time focused on their core competency of actually selling!
Outreach also sits in the flow of all customer and communications data, which through machine intelligence allows the product to learn and get smarter over time, ultimately driving increasingly better results for sales organizations.
We initially came across Outreach through unsolicited glowing feedback from a number of companies in the DFJ portfolio who are customers. Through our references, we heard again and again that Outreach has had a profound effect on their sales results, allowing reps in some cases to double their outbound email and call volume, double prospect response rates, and increase both pipeline and revenue by 30%. The value proposition came through very clearly, with gains in revenue and time-saving more than justifying the cost of the product.
We are particularly excited to partner with Outreach’s stellar founding team of Manny Medina, Andrew Kinzer, Gordon Hempton, and Wes Hather, as well as their outstanding senior exec team including Matt Millen, Pete Price, Katie Doyle, and Brooke Simmons. We are also delighted to be working with Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, and MHS Capital, who have done a tremendous job recognizing Outreach’s potential early and guiding the company to date.
We’re thrilled to support Outreach in their next stage of growth as they strive to make salespeople more successful. If you’d like to drive more revenue for your organization and learn more about Outreach, check out their inaugural user conference, Unleash, in Sonoma, CA on June 4–6, 2017.