With seven transactions totaling $ 150 million, including the $ 90 million financing for new unicorn Anaplan, the first two months of 2016 have been quiet on the funding front for inside sales. The future will tell us if it is a reflection of the overall technology slowdown, or if we have reached an investment peak that precedes industry consolidation.
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The $ 30 million funding from NewVoiceMedia is the largest financing from a pure-play Inside Sales Technology. This externally led round was smaller than the last one, which totaled $ 50 million. NewVoiceMedia scored a second big win with the addition of Moni Manor, former Five9 CTO, as chief product officer. With a total $ 140 million raised since inception, NewVoiceMedia has captured the market’s attention. Originally a Contact Center cloud software provider, NewVoiceMedia has expanded into the Inside Sales space by first repackaging its core technology and later by adding gamification capabilities.
Social Engagement received some attention with two small financings. Insightpool sits at the crossroads of Sales and Marketing, mining social networks to find influencers and prospects. Initially targeting the B2B market, it has been expanding its efforts to encompass B2C. Socedo is a pure-play sales company focused on lead generation on Twitter.
Although not an event of the previous month per se, I came to recognize the growing importance of coaching. You can expect it to become a dedicated category in the next iteration of my Inside Sales technology landscape.
Coaching importance grew because many of the inside sales roles are entry positions into the sales profession. It is also a way to address the high learning and growth expectations of younger generations. Inside Sales initial successes were fueled by email communication, which is text-based. As the market matured, companies have rediscovered the importance of engaging in-person with prospects. It hinges on good conversation skills that are best taught by coaching.
It is not a surprise that voice solution vendors have experienced strong customer demand for recording and coaching. RingDNA, for example, made it a central theme of its roadmap, introducing a Coaching module in its latest release. It departs from legacy recording offerings that target compliance by making sales behavior the focal point. We have also seen the emergence of pure-play providers such as ExecVision trying to innovate the market with a mobile application to make coaching on the go easier. Their vision is to make coaching pervasive in the organization by enabling anyone to listen to his/her calls and mark the important moments.
Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the principal of CaCube Consulting. You can track his 340+ company Inside Sales Landscape on VBProfiles.com.