Lori Greiner of Shark Tank has famously described entrepreneurs as “the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”
They are that, but also much more. They’re creative. Passionate about their ideas. Risk takers. And the primary source of innovation in the modern economy. (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were social networks started by entrepreneurs. Google+ was a social network designed by a corporation. `Nuff said.)
Through this year, a number of entrepreneurs will share their thoughts here. Companies will include both startups and established companies still being run by their founders. They’ll be sharing their experiences and guidance to inspire and inform you, whether you are a budding entrepreneur yourself or just want to better understand how business innovation works.
Kicking off the series is Mark Galloway, co-founder and CEO of OppSource. Here goes.
OppSource helps B2B sales organizations improve their sales engagement and in turn improve their revenue productivity. In today’s marketplace, buyers are more elusive and hard to reach than ever. OppSource’s sales engagement platform helps sellers execute more of the right touch points, with the right contacts, at a higher velocity than they could using their legacy CRM tools.
Unlike legacy CRM systems, OppSource has developed an integrated engagement platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This next generation of AI-assisted automation helps sales professionals automatically execute a prescribed sequence of different pursuit activities, transcribes their conversations, analyzes key words and phrases, checks the sentiment of the prospect, and automatically captures action items coming from an engaging conversation.
In addition, OppSource provides analytics and insights via its engagement dashboard that help sales and marketing leaders with market response insights, success patterns, and other sales performance indicators that help scale improved success across the entire team.
Year founded: 2008
Funding rounds: Raised more than $3M since June 2017
Current size: OppSource currently has 13 full-time employees and a wide range of customers including Ricoh, FICO, Lifetouch, ArcServe, PROs, Valve & Meter, and Determine Software
Webbiquity: What inspired you to work on a solution to this particular problem?
Mark Galloway: As consumers, we have all been “Amazoned” and transformed in the way we buy. We have brought those expectations and behaviors to the workplace and the net result, businesses have radically changed how they buy. This has forced sellers of every stripe to change the way they sell. We believe this transformation of B2B sales and the related sales coverage requirements is a huge opportunity for next-generation sales engagement tools and platforms.
Sellers need more than CRM to effectively do their jobs, but forcing them to cobble together a bunch of point-based tools isn’t working either. Sellers have tool fatigue. The OppSource Sales Engagement Platform provides a fully integrated engagement toolset that synchronizes with CRM and takes a lot of data entry and data administration off the plate of today’s time-constrained sellers.
OppSource is featured in:
Webbiquity: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your product?
Mark Galloway: For sure email combined with digital thought-leadership content to a scrubbed list of ideal customers was the most effective. We coupled this by building relationships with thought-leaders who helped us gain entree into momentum accounts.
While we use SEO and other digital marketing techniques, these are not as effective for enterprise account selling as the more targeted outbound techniques. As our market momentum grows, we look forward to using more digital marketing channels to scale our sales coverage.
Webbiquity: Finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
Mark Galloway: We would have focused more energy on a very select set of enterprise account targets sooner. We spent some needless cycles chasing too many wrong-fit companies as customers. Getting traction with a high-quality set of initial users in select accounts has proven to drive market momentum more than anything else we have done.
Webbiquity: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
Mark Galloway: Starting something is fairly simple. Finishing something big is really fun. Being in the middle between start and finish take a lot of mettle. It will take much more time, resources, and capital than you think to get to market momentum.
Prepare yourself with the right expectations, and surround yourself with mentors and coaches who have done something similar to what you are doing. Too many entrepreneurs believe that everyone is a potential customer. While in the end that may be true, to get to traction requires deliberate and intense focus on very specific customers.