Companies in the US alone spend nearly $1 trillion annually on sales efforts, according to the Harvard Business Review - but only roughly half of sales reps actually hit their quotas. Especially for companies selling hundreds of products to thousands of different buyer archetypes, building a truly efficient outbound sales organization is nearly impossible.
Most B2B salespeople also struggle to prospect effectively when conducting their outreach - it is extremely difficult to decipher who to reach out to, what to say, and how to prioritize which outreach. Companies have adopted sales automation tech en-masse, so now it’s simple for a single rep to put 1,000 prospects at once into an email drip sequence, with the hope that 1 or 2 will respond. But there are 20M+ sales reps globally, and everyone is now attempting that same strategy. As a result, the bar of quality required in order for outreach to get a response back from an interested buyer has never been higher.
Autobound, a San Francisco Founder Institute portfolio company, is working to solve these challenges - the B2B sales intelligence startup provides a one-stop-shop for “top-of-funnel" outbound sales enablement. In a ready-to-send email format, Autobound's platform works by suggesting who to contact, what to say, and when to say it - empowering sales reps to engage their hottest prospects with the right message at the best time.
Autobound’s system recommends highly contextual, persona-specific outreach, based upon millions of data points on each contact in a sales team’s CRM. Their system couples that with a “digital blueprint” of sales-salient insights on a prospective client.
It’s a much different approach to the processes practiced by B2B sellers today. Co-Founder & CEO Daniel Wiener walked us through an example,
Prior to starting Autobound, I sold for Intralinks. My territory was all of California, I think 7,000+ companies. We were selling software for M&A file storage (called virtual data rooms). We used to make hundreds of calls to corporate development professionals (our buyers) daily to see if they had a use case for a data room. Like every other cold-calling sales org I’ve seen, hit rates are extremely low. Realizing this, I looked at other ways of predicting if a company might be bought or sold… such as a spike in finance/corporate development roles 6+ months following that company’s last growth funding round. As you can probably imagine, it could easily take 45 minutes to do that research on a single company… Through my career in sales I’ve developed a real itch… what if salespeople could input the important traits of their target buyer - e.g. series B companies with open finance roles - link it to pre-saved contextual messaging, pull in additional context from a CRM, and be armed with 'context' at the right time for any prospect in their territory?
Autobound’s system has shown to automate prospecting workflows anywhere from 10-30x faster than average b2b sellers (primarily SDRs and AEs).
Part of what we’re doing is automating the advanced processes of an ‘expert’ sales rep at scale, and part of it just makes it stupid simple to execute the basics much more effectively" Daniel said.
Because sellers can struggle to follow up with leads, they can leave money on the table - but Autobound can automatically resurface such contacts, who previously were tied to an opportunity but who haven’t been contacted in 30 days, for example.
Or, instead of first-party or internal trigger events, external third-party events (like key happenings reported the press, for example) can also be configured to trigger sales actions within Autobound:
Achievements & Funding the Future of B2B Sales
The Autobound team has experienced some tremendous recent success, including an oversubscribed seed round, and adding the USC Marshall Venture Fund as their latest investor. Daniel Wiener enjoyed working with his alma mater at USC, noting,
[Co-Founder] Kyle Schuster and I had a great experience working with USC's MBA students and investment committee during the process. Pitching to their high-caliber committee was a really positive experience for our upcoming round as well. The fund's committee is built of really impressive investors from top tier funds. In a funny way, I think my parents are extra happy - they feel like my education there became a bit less costly.
While the round was raised in the middle of the US covid-19 outbreak, it was nonetheless met with great investor demand. And with the added funds, the Autobound team has accomplished some phenomenal product development as well as team expansion, nearly tripling the team in size from a year ago. Most recently on the team-building front, Autobound made its own first sales hire!
The company has some fantastic advisors, including the ex VP of AI at Linkedin, now CEO of Xactly, Chris Cabrera (recently named Executive of the Year by Business Intelligence Group; Ranjeeta Singh, who recently received recognition among the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology award; the previous president at Adroll, Suresh Khanna; and more.
Persona-Driven, Personalized Sales Automation
Autobound is built with a deep integration into Salesforce, enabling teams to program advanced ‘if this, say that’ logic into their custom SFDC-synced Autobound accounts. And most recently, they launched an “agnostic” option, enabling any seller using Gmail to leverage their platform Autobound. Daniel noted,
Our Salesforce Development integration is really powerful, Kyle and I geek out on watching people’s reactions after connecting their account for the first time. That said, we’ve had a ton of requests from many users wanting to add contacts directly into their account via a .CSV import - now they can!
In addition, Autobound has launched two new data partnerships, and decreased the onboarding time by up to 85% for some new users. The team is at work now experimenting with a new workflow that's enabled some users to send their first personalized campaign within 5 minutes of their initial login.
Coming down the pike, Autobound is about to launch their next integration with Outreach to supercharge the outbound sales process for users. “I think we’re in a really hot space at the right time, both salespeople and investors have been flooding into our market over the past year, especially since remote-selling was propelled by COVID” Daniel remarked. Outreach just raised another $50M at a $1.3B valuation, Gong raised $200M at a $2.2 valuation, Zoominfo was one of the hottest IPOs of 2020. With their own impressive traction and progress in building up key stakeholder partnerships, Autobound is hot on this trail.
For more information about Autobound, you can watch the Founder Institute interview with Autobound CEO Daniel Wiener from ~1 year ago, or check out the latest on the Autobound blog.
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