So much of business currently moves at a lightning speed, and Consensus is one company that believes in its ability to help businesses to keep up.
Consensus, located in American Fork, is a small but quickly growing company that is carving out a niche in the business to business sales acceleration market. In fact, the two-year-old company has created a new category within the market called intelligent demo automation.
In 2013, CEO and founder Garin Hess had recently sold his prior successful startup and started sketching out his idea for Consensus with pencil and paper.
“In my last startup we were selling to other businesses and we ran into the problem of a lot people wanting in on the purchasing decisions. We found we had to do our sales demos over and over, emphasizing specific parts for different people within the same company,” Hess said.
Hess knew other companies faced the same problem in their sales cycles, and he knew there had to be a better way — a way to automate a process that affects almost every industry.
“There is a statistic that, on average, 5.4 people are involved in all business to business purchasing decisions,” Hess said. “With Consensus, we created a way to personalize the demo specific to each of those five people. Our technology helps those interdepartmental decision makers come to a decision faster, resulting in a faster sales consensus and a shorter sales cycle.”
And when Hess says faster, he’s not kidding. In just the one year since Consensus officially launched, companies using Consensus’s product have increased their average sales closing rates by more than 20 percent and cut their sales cycle times in half.
Jed Morley, CMO of Consensus, said one company used Consensus and ran a case study for 90 days last fall. Half of their sales team used the product and half did not. Of the sales people using Consensus, their sales cycles were cut by 68 percent and their sales closing rates jumped by 44 percent.
“We were absolutely blown away by that,” Hess said. “That company has a great sales organization; they were closing deals at or above industry standards. But it showed how much better you can do with Consensus.”
It’s that sense of wonder and joy at seeing his product succeed that attracts the talent now surrounding Hess.
“We share a culture of experimentation here, and that is because Garin fosters that,” Morley said. “Garin’s very humble — he’s the first to say when he doesn’t know the answer. We all put our best thoughts forward, and then find answers to our assumptions. He’s more interested in what’s needed in the market, then who is right.”
In just a very short time, their experimenting has earned them more than 100 client companies. The industry average for startups to hit that mark is around four years.
This explosive growth caught the attention of investors, and Consensus announced April 9 that the company had raised $2.8 million in seed funds from institutional venture capital firms and angel investors. Investors included Peak Ventures, Albion Financial, Seed Equity, Select Venture Partners, Paul Ahlstrom, Scott Frazier and Greg Schenk. This funding will allow the company of just 25 employees to grow in development, talent and reach. It also allows them to jump on their growth trajectory while they are still virtually the only company servicing this niche market.
Hess can already see areas where they can add to and enhance their sales demo product. As he sits at his desk uniquely made out of plywood edges by one of his employees, he can see future products fulfilling other problematic sales acceleration niches.
At its heart, Consensus is about personalizing each sales demo for every unique decision maker. Their current company facility displays that openness to personalization. In each office, every employee was given an opportunity to personalize their workspace from the ground up. One employee came in on a Saturday for eight hours and “tagged” a wall with the company’s motto — “The Big Mo,” for the motivation that drives the company to innovate and succeed.
From the bright orange chairs in the reception area to the multicolored concrete floors throughout, to the new pickleball court installed last week, the Consensus work culture encourages and inspires the creativity of its employees.
“I joined Garin to launch Consensus because I believed to my core that we could fundamentally transform the business to business sales industry,” said Matt Behrend, co-founder and CSO at Consensus. “It was also critical that, from my first conversation with Garin, I was impressed with his vision and character, and I knew I wanted to work with him.”