Colabo wants to be the bridge between the old world of customer relationship management (CRM) systems and the newer one of social networks, where many customers reside.
Today, the San Mateo, California-based company is announcing newly raised series A funding of $7 million to strengthen its role as a go-between. And it is unveiling a new integration with Oracle’s CRM that it hopes will give it a leg up.
In March, Oracle founder Larry Ellison made a point of challenging Salesforce for cloud-based sales. But Colabo CEO and cofounder Yoav Dembak told me that Salesforce has another antagonist in the world of B2B sales it should be more worried about.
“The biggest challenge for [Salesforce CEO and founder] Marc Benioff is not Oracle,” he said, “but LinkedIn.” The professional networking site is rapidly adding sales and marketing functionalities.
In addition to the new integration with Oracle and an existing (although less promoted) one with Salesforce, Collabo offers about 130 out-of-the-box connectors to services like Quora, Meetup, GitHub, Twitter, and the IT community site SpiceWorks. Facebook is one of the other supported networks, but it’s not generally seen as a hotbed of B2B prospecting.
A salesperson who finds a prospect on, say, LinkedIn can click an overlaid Colabo button and automatically add the prospect’s info to the integrated CRM’s profile and sales pipeline.
Colabo can also automatically locate and add the info about the same person on other social networks, with what Dembak said was 95 percent accuracy. When the prospect, lead, or customer changes their info in LinkedIn or other connected networks, the CRM is automatically updated.
The software can offer recommendations about what to do next — direct personalized ads, send email, or deliver other messaging to one or more of the prospect’s locations. It provides the template and suggested wording for that purpose, and the communication is sent from within the CRM.
The salesperson can choose a recommended action or just let Colabo automatically choose and send what it deems best. Although it sounds like overkill, Dembak said that a prospect might need as many as eight touches before responding.
He pointed to sales automation tools like InsideSales, Yesware, and SalesLoft as competitors in the sales productivity space, plus LinkedIn itself, which offers a similar functionality for its own network through its Sales Navigator.
But, he said, “we’re the only company able to send a LinkedIn inmail message on your behalf” other than LinkedIn itself, as well as messaging to more than a hundred other networks.
Prior to this series A, Colabo raised a seed round of $2 million in 2011. The new funding, Dembak said, will help support go-to-market efforts through the Oracle sales channel, as well as further development of the platform.
The round was led by Marker LLC, with participation by Kaedan Capital and existing investors Paul Maritz, Ray Rothrock, and The Hive.