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Enterprise sales enablement platform Gong.io today raised $250 million in a series E funding round valuing the company at $7.25 billion, more than triple its previous valuation ($2.2 billion). CEO and cofounder Amit Bendov says the new capital, which brings Gong’s total raised to $584 million, will be put toward product development, hiring, and customer acquisition.
Forty-six percent of business-to-business (B2B) sales reps list lead quantity and quality as their top challenge. That’s perhaps why Gartner predicts that by 2025, 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition from experience- and intuition-based selling to data-driven selling, merging their sales process, sales applications, sales data, and sales analytics into a single operational practice. The stakes are high, given that suboptimal and delayed leads can have catastrophic effects. Harvard Business Review found that there’s a 10 times drop in lead qualification when reps wait longer than 5 minutes to respond and a 400% decrease when they respond within 10 minutes versus 5 minutes.
Gong’s solution is designed to uncover patterns in sales data, leading to insights that ostensibly help increase sales, reduce churn, and increase market share. It captures customer interactions over the phone, video, email, and face-to-face and integrates this with customer relationship management data, mining messaging for potentially relevant topics of conversation and info on the competition. Using Gong, reps and managers can audit the data analytics pipeline, customizing departmental dashboards for heightened confidence in forecasts that support other teams’ productivity.
Gong reveals how sales reps are performing on an individual basis, including the sorts of questions they ask, how they discuss pricing, and their “talk-to-listen” ratio. It juxtaposes this against the rest of the company’s (and industry’s) benchmarks and provides personalized recommendations, while at the same time capturing and indexing every word from conversations to make them easier to find. Users, who the platform automatically sets up with the right data permissions, can program alerts for any time a particular keyword comes up in deals.
Gong offers out-of-the-box integration with all office suites and video call systems and with most cloud telephony systems, as well as an extensible API that allows it to be used with any on-premises or legacy system. The process starts with a G Suite or Outlook 365 calendar integration that scans sales reps’ calendars for upcoming sales meetings, calls, or demos. A bot joins each scheduled call as a virtual meeting attendee to record the session’s audio and video, which it encrypts and uploads to Amazon Web Services servers. Each call is transcribed from speech to text automatically (with 85% to 90% accuracy), and once a call is finished, Gong employs machine learning to perform analysis at the individual and aggregate level.
“Gong uses more than 20 different models that span speech, natural language understanding, prediction, and success analysis. Data is trained across half a billion customer interactions, including emails and calls,” Bendov told VentureBeat via email. “The most popular use cases for Gong include onboarding, coaching, deal execution, and measuring strategic initiatives. Our customers are very innovative and frequently discovering new ways to use Gong which inspire and motivate us every day.”
“The pandemic has increased the demand for Gong’s technology. As remote and hybrid work continues to increase for organizations across the globe, Gong’s platform can help revenue teams make collaborative decisions based on data, not opinions, even among distributed teams. Although the pandemic is waning, remote work is here to stay,” Bendov said. “A lot of companies have implemented hybrid work models and many folks left large business hubs like San Francisco and New York for more affordable regions. We’ve learned it’s no longer necessary to be in-person to close million-dollar sales deals, and the traditional sales tactics are no longer reliable.”
According to Bendov, Gong has over 84,000 paid users and upwards of 2,000 customers, up from 1,300 in August 2020. Annual recurring revenue increased 2.3 times between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, and the company’s global workforce grew to over 550 people.
“With this round of funding, Gong will be able to accelerate product development and innovation as the demand for our revenue intelligence platform continues to escalate,” Bendov continued. “As Gong has grown tremendously over the last year, this will allow us to continue providing top-of-the-line capabilities to our customer base to enhance their success.”
Franklin Templeton led Palo Alto, California-based Gong’s latest tranche, with participation from existing investors Coatue, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Thrive Capital, and Tiger Global. Since its last round, Gong acquired Vayo, an Israel-based startup specializing in data analytics for sales teams, and launched a sales coaching solution for remote work as well as integrations with Microsoft 365 Dynamics, Zoom, and Slack.
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