When it comes to investments, spring showers are bringing inside sales flowers. In March and April, more than $200 million was invested in nine inside sales related companies, a $50 million increase from the $150 million of company funding in January and February.

Inside sales landscape 05/2016

Above: VB Profiles Inside Sales Landscape. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.)

A high-resolution version of the VB Profiles Inside Sales landscape is available for download here.

Sales intelligence remains a hot space

Four funding events related to sales intelligence illustrate the importance of data in the sales process and the diversity of approaches needed to realize a meaningful dataset of information.

CrowdRiff took in $2 million in seed funding. The startup focuses on building an influence platform, mostly used for curating visual assets based on social activities. Its Riffle chrome extension provides a useful sidebar for visualizing someone’s Twitter activity when prospecting on the web.

Mattermark received a $7 million B round of funding. The company has made itself an indispensable source of insights for companies prospecting startups.

HG Data snagged $12 million to expand its “technographic” analysis. It provides intelligence on technologies installed at companies. This information can be used either directly by vendors pursuing displacement or augmentation strategies or as an indicator of an enterprise approach to buying technologies. The latter is a powerful proxy to define Ideal Customer profiles or explore propensity to consider certain purchases.

The value of DiscoverOrg‘s recent investment round was not disclosed. The company has become a visible player in the space, exemplifying a new breed of providers combining list building with web crawling for additional insights and timely signals. The company is also known for its high-quality standards and for having invested in building analyst teams to verify information gathered. It has announced plans to broaden its coverage of companies and to make acquisitions in adjacent markets.

The rediscovery of phone calls

In the analytics space,  Domo got a whopping $131 million to continue its aggressive reinvention of the business intelligence and visualization markets. It used the occasion to announce it had reached $100 million in billings. Invoca received $30 million led by Morgan Stanley, with additional investment from Accel Partners and Upfront Ventures. The company addresses the challenges of identifying calls from mobile phones and marketing attribution. Indeed, smartphones are driving 50 percent of web searches, and, according to BIA/Kelsey, will be used to make 162 billion calls by 2019 as more consumers engage with businesses with a click to call button right after a search.

Source: BIA/Kelsey

Above: Source: BIA/Kelsey

 

Meanwhile, outside sales intelligence and analytics firm Consensus, formally known as DemoChimp, raised $4 million to personalize video demos to engage the diverse stakeholders involved in a purchasing consideration. Lesson.ly is a new entrant in the sales training category. Their $5 million A-series will be used to to deliver great learning experiences.

Predictive Analytics sits at the crossroad of analytics and sales intelligence  

Before receiving its $15 million round, Mintigo was a modestly funded company among its peers in the predictive analytics space. But its impressive list of customers sets it apart.

This notable investment prompts us to examine the broader predictive analytics market, where 20 companies have received $722 million of investment. This figure arguably includes $200 million received by InsideSales.com, which is being used across numerous segments beyond predictive analytics. All companies are private and I estimate this segment to be generating between $150 million and $450 million in revenues.

Most predictive analytics providers address targeting and scoring use cases. In particular, their technology can uncover patterns among existing customers and help define ideal customer profiles. To do so, these firms augment in-house information coming from CRM and other systems with third party data. This combination is particularly powerful and makes predictive analytics companies participants in the sales intelligence category.

Many of these investments are tied to the renewed importance of account based approaches, requiring more customer insights and better intelligence. We can expect it to remain a key theme in the foreseeable future.

Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the principal of CaCube Consulting. You can track his 340+ company Inside Sales Landscape on VBProfiles.com.