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Sales support platform Orum today announced that it closed a $25 million series A funding round led by Craft Ventures, with participation from several existing backers. The funding brings the company’s total raised to $29 million at a $125 million valuation, and cofounder and CEO Jason Dorfman says the round will be put toward general expansion, mostly focused on product, customer service, and international market expansion.
Live conversation is arguably the cornerstone of sales development. According to a HubSpot survey, 20% of customers want to talk during the decision stage, once they’ve chosen a product to buy. Companies are often forced to hire teams of salespeople to create the activity required to hit their pipeline goals, but these entry-level roles can be inefficient and ineffective. Conversion rates for cold calls are typically about 2%, compared with 20% for solid leads and 50% for referrals.
New York-based Orum was founded in 2019 by Dorfman and Karthik Viswanathan. Dorfman was the first sales hire at Rubrik, where he built out their growing corporate sales team. He decided to start Orum out of frustration with existing sales tools, which he thought were too focused on tracking reps rather than boosting their activity. His reps were making 100 calls a day each, but only a handful of prospects were picking up.
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“Companies leverage Orum to expand their level of sales activity without necessarily expanding their headcount. Reps can focus on hosting quality conversations with prospective customers rather than doing the hard and repetitive work required to get ahold of a prospect,” Dorfman told VentureBeat via email. “Initially, we saw a drop in business as everyone froze their budgets [during the pandemic]. Shortly thereafter, by June 2020, we saw an explosion of new business as companies digitally transformed their business.”
AI-powered call automation
An average sales development rep has 25 to 50 activities per day, and only 22% of opportunities end up as closed business. Despite the low conversion rate, 88% of account-based marketers cite outbound sales development reps as one of the most effective sales channel tactics.
Orum acts like an engine that drives sales stacks, integrating with and drawing data from existing enablement platforms like Salesforce, SalesLoft, or Outreach. It provides full contact details, notes, and campaign information to reps, using AI to determine the difference between human voices, voicemails, and dial-by-name directories.
Managers can listen to transcribed calls within Orum to help reps improve where needed. Moreover, they can search and filter for calls by disposition and type, optionally sharing recordings for training purposes.
Orum’s system processes more than 2 million calls per month and uses that data to retrain its machine learning algorithms, automatically filtering out bad numbers and navigating phone directories. By eliminating the need for salespeople to do this, Dorfman claims that Orum effectively automates half the daily work of sales reps, resulting in savings across organizations.
“Companies [using Orum] see a 10 times boost in activity, 5 times boost in pipeline, leading to 2 times revenue,” Dorfman said. “Orum is building tooling to help sales development rep teams operate remotely in a ‘virtual sales floor.'”
In the $339.4 billion global contact center market, Orum has competition in Connect and Sell, Connect Leader, Xant, the recently acquired Five9, and incumbents like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. But Dorfman says that Orum has powered more than 100,000 live customer conversations to date across over 100 customers and 1,000 users, reflecting its momentum.
During its seed-stage funding in 2020, Orum released a free version of its technology and the ability to automatically navigate dial-by-name directories. Dorfman partially attributes the 290% increase in enterprise customers that Orum saw over the past year to this, as well as the sales industry’s embrace of automation.
During the pandemic, enterprises indeed turned to automation to scale up their operations while freeing customer service reps to handle challenging workloads. According to Canam Research, 78% of contact centers in the U.S. now intend to deploy AI in the next 3 years. And research from The Harris Poll indicates that 46% of customer interactions are already automated, with the number expected to reach 59% by 2023.
“We’ve reached $4.5 million in annual recurring revenue and expect to be at $10 million by the end of the year,” Dorfman said when asked about Orum’s growth trajectory. “We also plan to increase the size of our workforce from 27 employees now to over 50.”
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