After two years in development Propeller CRM launched today with a CRM tool its founders say puts salespeople at the center of the workflow.
One of the founders, Eric Bouck, says he has seen his fair share of CRM tools in his day, and he admits it’s a crowded market, but he and his co-founders felt in spite of the number of tools, it still wasn’t a solved problem.
That’s because, in his view, too many of today’s solutions aren’t built with the sales team in mind. They are built for their managers. When he looked at the typical sales workflow, there are only so many things a salesperson does, and most of the tools have been built to do data entry and run reports.
Propeller wants to build CRM around that typical set of sales tasks — making phone calls, writing emails, developing presentations, researching prospects and having meetings.
With a tool like Salesforce, the 10,000-pound gorilla in the CRM market, Bouck says, the database is at the center and productivity tools are layered on top of that. It can get complicated (and expensive) to make it all work. While he acknowledges that’s appropriate in certain settings, it’s not his target market. “There is a place for all those products at large companies, but it’s expensive and difficult to pull together for small companies,” he said.
Propeller wants to simplify all of that, especially for small-to-medium businesses. What’s more, he believes if you make it simple for the salesperson to do his or her job, the data the sales manager needs will be a natural byproduct of that activity.
Propeller is designed to work in GMail because email tends to be the place where most salespeople anchor their work. The product uses templates to make it easy to respond to email quickly and it provides integrated to-do lists and follow-ups. It lets you see who’s engaging with your email and a key feature lets you set up multi-step email campaigns to provide automated follow-ups at pre-set intervals that follow email campaign best practices.
This is obviously the first step and the company is hoping to build a solid customer base beyond its early beta pool. Propeller has bootstrapped to this point, but is looking at raising a seed round this year and hopes to raise a Series A next year.
CRM is a crowded field, but Bouck says that by targeting a market that is often forgotten, and offering a tool that puts the salesperson first, his company can fill a market need where others have left an opening.