Salespeople are blessed with a number of tools these days to quickly prepare, present, and track customized sales materials for a prospect.
But American Fork, Utah-based Consensus (now CONSENSUS) oriented toward the groups of stakeholders that jointly make most B2B purchasing decisions, and today it is announcing seed funding of $2.8 million in support of its approach.
“More than five people are involved” in most company buying decisions, cofounder and CEO Garin Hess told me via email. The usual sales effort, he said, finds a champion inside the company and hopes “they can sell the rest of the buying committee.”
By contrast, the CONSENSUS software-as-a-service demo automation platform, launched last winter, allows each stakeholder to automatically customize the demo to their interests.
At the start, specific product benefits are first rated by the stakeholder as “Very Important,” “Somewhat Important,” or “Not Important,” and these priorities are then employed to automatically build the demo from video segments, plus accompanying PDF documents. The material is presented in the order of its importance to the viewer, with “Not Important” content not shown.
“Essentially, we’re mimicking what an expert salesperson would do,” Hess said — finding out what’s most important to a prospective client and emphasizing that. As with other sales engagement software, CONSENSUS also tracks and reports who watched or shared what.
As an example use case, Hess pointed to an unnamed enterprise software company that sells electronic health records (EHR) management software into doctors’ offices.
The gatekeeper is the office manager, who first received the CONSENSUS link to rate her priorities and then watch the resulting demo. Because her interests have customized the demo, and she can rate it, Hess said this increases her confidence in sharing it. The reported results: closing rates for that EHR company were boosted by 44 percent, and the sales cycle was shortened by almost 70 percent.
Whether called sales engagement, sales enablement, sales acceleration, or sales presentation platforms, there are a number of options for cloud-based, customizable, shareable, and trackable sales materials. Vendors of various flavors include Seismic, Highspot, Emaze, Prezi, Clearslide, Brainshark, and Fileboard.
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“We’re fundamentally different from presentation software,” Hess said, in that the interactive video-based CONSENSUS shows the product in use rather than just static slides, and it offers a “consensus-building platform.”
He said CONSENSUS is creating “a new category within sales acceleration called intelligent demo automation,” where demos are personalized to the person’s interests.
The intelligence presented by the CONSENSUS demos is fairly low-level at this point, resulting in inclusion/exclusion and linear organization of video segments, plus accompanying PDF documents. For example, it doesn’t call up dynamically stored product pricing like Seismic does.
But we can expect to see this whole space of customized sales materials get more engaged with the intelligence, dynamic data sourcing, and granular interactivity that marketing automation has fully embraced.
The new funds will be used for marketing, customer acquisition, and product development. Investors in this seed round included Select Venture Partners, Albion Financial, Peak Ventures, Seed Equity, Paul Ahlstrom, Scott Frazier, and Greg Schenk.