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Totango, a realtime platform that allows software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to better understand their customers, announced today that it has closed a $3.8 million round of Series A funding, led by Pitango Venture Capital and Gemini Ventures. The Israeli startup will use its latest infusion of capital to ramp up hiring and marketing efforts.
The company is also officially announcing the launch of its public beta, which aims to enable sales teams to better understand how current customers or prospective customers are using their service in realtime in order to more effectively manage customer conversations and engagement. For now, the service is completely free. Down the road, Totango plans to scale its platform to address the entire customer lifecycle, and will add pricing tiers, but at this point is primarily focused on optimizing the way sales teams, specifically, are interacting with their customers.
To accomplish this, the startup allows SaaS companies to track the progress of a prospective customer, of new customers during their early interactions with the service, or of existing customers — in order to better understand each phase of user engagement. Sales teams can get the status of a customer at a glance, segment customers in the pipeline based on their usage profile, like, for example, which modules are being used, when and by how many people, and how much time is spent interacting with those modules.
Totango also offers a “personalized daily digest”, which gives teams a report on how on-track or off-track sales representatives are in onboarding new customers, and suggests actions that can be taken to improve the possibility of a sale. Teams can also view activity pages, which offers account history over the course of a customer’s lifecycle, notifications and alerts of customer status updates, as well as realtime tracking of customer usage during and after trials.
But perhaps the most notable feature in the startup’s new public beta is its integration with native Salesforce.com apps, which enables Salesforce customers to continue working within the same apps they’ve grown used to, with the added benefit of a broader set of tools to improve sales outcomes. In that way, Totango presents customer interaction data within the sales team’s existing CRM tools to enable them to more effectively increase free trial conversions, lower customer acquisition costs, and increase retention and renewals.
“Most SaaS pricing models are based on subscription or usage, which allows customers to stop using — and stop paying for — the service at any time”, said Guy Nirpaz, CEO and Co-Founder of Totango, via the Totango blog. “That, plus low switching costs, mandates that SaaS companies constantly monitor customer satisfaction and improve the value that is being delivered”.
Nirpaz continued on to say that engagement between customers and their SaaS companies remains fairly indirect, with a lack of customer visits, sales calls, and overall interaction. Without this kind of real human-to-human interaction, companies often fail to truly understand their customers, he said.
Yet, thanks to the ability SaaS companies have to track and analyze prospects and customers, cloud-based software companies have a leg-up over their traditional counterparts. Thus, the founders have built a series of tools they believe will allow sales teams to increase their effectiveness by improving conversion rates and keeping existing customers happy.