• September 1, 2009
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

The 2009 Rising Stars - InsideView

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Little did InsideView know that a single word — which slipped out unexpectedly during an executive meeting — would serve to perfectly articulate the evolution of the entire sales industry. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the "socialprise."

Moving beyond a contact database and alerts, InsideView is trying to bring structured and unstructured data together in a way that helps the salesperson create a well-informed profile of the prospect, says Michael Dunne, research vice president at Gartner. In 2007, InsideView acquired lead generation vendor TrueAdvantage and its SmartTrigger product, a tool that combs the Web for corporate information and business opportunities.

Just last May, InsideView released its SalesView Buzz tab, which aggregates data from subscription-based services (e.g., Jigsaw — a fellow Rising Star) and non-subscription services (e.g., Twitter — one of 2008's Rising Stars) to create the most accurate portrayal of a customer or prospect. China Martens, senior analyst of enterprise software at The 451 Group, calls the release "a smart and timely move," but warns that InsideView should be wary of "search vendors and social networks...should they start aggregating and filtering their own data."

Dunne says that all sales intelligence tools ultimately have to ask: Can salespeople use our product? More important, will they want to? Creating a sales-friendly interface through the "consumerization of technology," he says, is where InsideView sparkles.

Alex Jefferies, senior research associate at Aberdeen Group, has found that while 74 percent of survey respondents are using sales force automation and CRM tools, most are still struggling with employee adoption and data input — and 24 percent are still using spreadsheets for sales activity. Consequently, companies are employing either the stick (tying adoption to compensation) or the carrot (pushing adoption by bringing prospect data directly into the tool). With the advent of tools like InsideView's, thankfully, Jefferies sees the carrot winning out.

Another leading move by InsideView? Successful integrations with CRM vendors Salesforce.com in 2007; Landslide Technologies, Microsoft, Oracle, and SugarCRM in 2008; and most recently, NetSuite this past May. Martens sees a partnership with SAP on the horizon as well. Moreover, she applauds the company's continually expanding customer base and the $6.5 million in second-round financing it secured this year. As if the year wasn't sweet enough, in June InsideView was named the most popular and top-rated application available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange. That's way inside.

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