The thesis behind Cirrus Insight is pretty simple: Salespeople spend most of their day in email, so why not bring the other tools they need into their inbox?
That’s what the customer relationship management (CRM) startup has been working on since its 2011 launch. In the last two years, Cirrus has transformed from a tool that connects Salesforce with Gmail into more of a platform, offering Gmail integration for nearly two dozen apps on the Salesforce AppExchange.
As of today, that list includes Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, ExactTarget, and several other automated marketing solutions.
“When we looked at the apps people wanted, marketing automation was really at the top of the list,” said Brandon Bruce, Cirrus Insight’s chief operating officer and cofounder, in an interview with VentureBeat.
Marketo and its kin collect all sorts of information on leads and customers throughout the sales cycle. Based on their activities, they assign prospects a lead score and enable “drip” campaign messaging through email and social channels.
“What Cirrus is doing is it’s bringing that intelligence and functionality into the inbox,” added Bruce.
Cirrus Insight costs $19 per user per month, though you also need to subscribe to Salesforce to use it. And if you want to integrate any of those marketing automation offerings, you’ll need to pay for them, too.
The Cirrus team has also integrated others kinds of apps with Gmail, including software for gamification (LevelEleven), document workflow (Drawloop, Conga), and productivity (CalendarAnything, TaskRay), among others. And more integrations are coming, promised Bruce.
“It did take a long time to re-architect our application to take advantage of all of the third-party apps on Salesforce, but now it’s very much out of the box integration,” he said. “And on the customer side, there’s no customization or setup process — it just works.”
Cirrus is also working on a mobile app that’ll include your Gmail inbox with built-in Salesforce CRM functionality. It’ll come to iOS in the first quarter of next year, followed by an Android release some months down the line.
The startup has yet to raise outside funding, but it has continued to grow substantially every month, according to Bruce.
“We definitely got a big boost from [Salesforce's] Dreamforce conference in November,” he said. “We’re poised to close out the year on a high note.”
Cirrus Insight is based in Laguna Hills, Calif. with an additional office near Knoxville, Tenn. It currently has 11 employees, but Bruce expects to hire a few more developers before the end of the year. Cirrus customers include Change.org, HootSuite, and The Boston Globe.
Other companies are also working to bring additional functionality to Gmail. MxHero, for example, makes a free extension that acts like an “in-app store” for Gmail, providing access to email services built by the startup and third-party developers. It also has a suite of offerings for corporate email users that can do things like send giant attachments and create self-destructing messages.
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