For years, sales teams have used CRM software to keep track of their wins and losses, but had few tools for predicting which leads would actually pan out. But now sales teams can use data, from both internal and external sources, to help determine which customers are worth going after. With the help of new startup Infer, sales organizations can add predictive scoring to their sales toolboxes.
Infer has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with other investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Social+Capital Partnership, Sutter Hill Ventures, and individual angels including Pejman Nozad. Along with the funding, Redpoint partner Satish Dharmaraj joined the Infer board.
The platform works by ingesting all sorts of corporate sales data from various CRMs and other sales and marketing databases, and combines that proprietary internal data with various signals available on the web. That means stuff like corporate job listings, company financials, legal filings, and the social media presence of potential customers — basically anything with the potential to show whether or not a potential customer intends to invest in whatever type of business or technology an Infer client is selling.
The information that it spits out provides a view into which potential customers are most likely to buy, providing sales teams with the ability to focus on those clients. That results in shorter sales cycles, and ultimately, the ability to sell more stuff over the long term.
Over the last few years, Infer has been working with various clients to help refine its product and provide better results. With a machine learning algorithm, Infer uses internal data over time to determine which signals end up being strongest or most important for each client. Since no two sales organizations are alike, the platform adapts to each one, and provides models for which leads are most likely to yield results as time goes on.
With that knowledge, Infer has been able to very quickly get some serious customers on board — companies like Box, Jive, Tableau, Yammer and Zendesk. And it’s gotten a lot of companies to commit to multi-year deals as a result of its ease of use. More than just providing a better predictive model for sales leads, it also is drop-dead simple to plug in to customers’ existing CRM solutions.
Infer was founded by data scientist Vik Singh, who was an entrepreneur in residence at Sutter Hill Ventures, after stints at Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. He’s joined by co-founders Yang Zhang, who was also ex-Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, as well a Chung Wu, who was formerly the front-end tech lead of Google’s Public Data project.