Top 25 customer engagement and CRM startups 2017
It’s easy to see sales technology as ‘done’.
Salesforce happened. There was an explosion of cloud-based companies offering CRM-like features. Now the market is populated with lots of software products, many of which do roughly the same thing.
This is probably not too far from the truth, if you’re talking about traditional CRM. It’s not that it’s impossible to launch a CRM product - but it is a crowded market, and your marketing team will have their work cut out convincing people that your product is any different to the previous eight systems they have shortlisted.
Yet the world of sales technology expands far beyond this. As the table above demonstrates, there’s still plenty of room for new companies to innovate and take advantage of new technology and markets.
Advances in AI and analytics technology have undoubtedly helped this, as has the trend for market-specific sales software which can better fit the needs of companies in specialist industries.
Below, we list 25 sales technology companies to keep an eye on, and profile five of the most innovative.
|Company||Social media ranking||Search ranking||Growth ranking||Overall ranking|
|Sorry as a Service||9||12||19||11|
Suitable for: companies who want CRM their way (and have the developers to make this happen)
OroCRM is an open-source CRM solution designed for the B2B e-commerce industry. The company was founded in 2014 with a view to, in the words of cofounder and CEO Yoav Kutner “displacing expensive, inflexible and proprietary platforms to be the market leader in customer management and B2B e-Commerce applications.”
Their most recent funding came in March 2016, when they raised $12 million of venture funding from growth-stage technology fund Highland Europe, allowing them to accelerate the high rate of organic growth they had achieved since launch. This is currently being used to expand sales and marketing activities and develop partner relationships.
OroCRM currently has over 18,000 enterprise users across a diverse client base, which includes motorcycle insurance company April Moto, medical device manufacturers HandLab and Frankfurt Airport.
Suitable for: companies with significant training needs or those that sell training courses
GO1 allows users to develop, share and sell cloud-based software to train their staff and customers. It’s mobile and tablet friendly, can deliver content securely and offers customized reporting features, so that training in key areas like compliance can be tracked. Users can also list and sell courses they create on GO1’s online marketplace.
“Our client was very impressed with the functionality and ease of use of the GO1 system"
GO1’s latest investment came in the form of $4m in seed funding in December 2016, led by Tank Stream Ventures. This is being used to grow their sales team by 30 staff, open new offices in the US and Europe and contribute to further product development.
Clients come from a diverse range of industries across the world - from horse training modernization group Equitation Training International to business consultancy The Boston Consulting group (BCG). BCG principal Mark Van Beuningen was impressed with the usability of the software when creating tools for clients, even for non-technical users, saying “Our client was very impressed with the functionality and ease of use of the GO1 system and how much more effective training will be as a result going forward.”
Suitable for: companies who want to find the best candidates, rather than waiting for them to find the job advert
Beamery is a specialist recruitment CRM and marketing tool for companies that ‘are proactive about engaging the best talent, and don’t just rely on applications.’ The software’s focus is on treating recruitment activities like customer acquisition - from the initial prospecting stages to targeted engagement.
Beamery raised $5m in their last funding round in April 2017, with multi-stage international venture capital firm Index Ventures acting as lead investor. CEO Abakar Saidov says “In short think of it like Salesforce + Marketo for recruitment. We are an API-first CRM platform that lets companies track the entire candidate lifecycle from Lead > Application > Hire. This changes how companies recruit on a strategic level. We use AI and automation to scale this process.”
Despite launching just two years ago, Beamery have managed to draw in an impressive list of clients, including House of Fraser, GitHub and Facebook, whose head of global leadership recruiting Courtney Erin describes it as “a global tool that will enable us to capture everything and improve our strategic advantage for years to come”.
Suitable for: legal cannabis sellers and dispensaries who want to build brand loyalty
Budding retail tool Baker caters to the rapidly expanding US cannabusiness industry. Their product aims to enable dispensaries and brands to engage with customers and build brand loyalty through providing great shopping experiences. Billed as a ‘Shopify for pot’, key functionalities include online ordering, real-time analytics and online shopping.
“It’s a cool and new industry in the U.S. So investors all want to take a meeting, even investors from big Silicon Valley firms"
In March this year, Baker Technologies raised $3.5 million investment from various sources. This came shortly after raising $1.6 million in seed funding and graduated from the internationally acclaimed 500 Startups accelerator.
Whilst, due to increased legalization and part legalization of cannabis across the US, cannabusiness is a growing area of investment, it isn’t always plain sailing. CEO Joel Milton explains “It’s a cool and new industry in the U.S. So investors all want to take a meeting, even investors from big Silicon Valley firms. But many say they can’t invest because of limited partner agreements. So you sort of have to safeguard your time,”
Suitable for: collaborative sales teams who want to seal the deal quicker
Nudge is as sales tool that helps users leverage relationship strength to close deals and retain customers. As it integrates email, calendar and social media, Nudge can pinpoint opportunities for engagement, and can also work across teams to share network information and identify who has the strongest relationship with potential clients.
In June 2016, Nudge raised $5 million in seed funding, with OMERS ventures as the lead investor. The company is using this to improve the platform, focusing on features that allow users to use relationships across teams.
Nudge counts sales professionals from tech giants Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle among its expanding list of customers. Users love the insights it provides on contacts and accounts, which get sent straight to sales teams’ inboxes. This allows salespeople more time to sell, and keeps them better informed whilst doing so.
Spiro is an AI-powered CRM with a built-in personal sales assistant, which allows sales professionals to manage their pipeline efficiently and feeds them proactive recommendations about future prospects.
After a $1.5 million seed investment from four investors in November 2015, Spiro have gone on to achieve rapid growth.
Companies were ranked based on search presence, social media presence and potential for growth, taking into account growth rate and equity funding. All rankings were drawn up from publically available data.
10 of the best CRMs for project management
Ten top project management CRMs to kickstart your selection shortlist
Recruiters need to proactively engage candidates, says new report
Key findings from Bullhorn and Herefish's recent survey into candidate engagement by recruiters
CRM's value for SMEs: what Maximizer's Benchmark study shows
A guide to Maximizer's Benchmark Study shows about CRM use by SMEs