Yesware’s E-mail Plug-In Works “Down In The Trenches” With Salespeople to Close Deals and Kill Data Entry

7/13/11Follow @xconomy

Cambridge, MA-based Yesware kicked off late last year with the aim of building an entirely new e-mail system, one that would help salespeople close their deals and help enterprises actually understand their sales forces, says CEO and founder Matthew Bellows. It even raised $1 million on this premise. Then the company’s board spoke up. You see some of its investors knew the whole e-mail space pretty well, and told Yesware not to reinvent the wheel.

So Yesware scratched its plans for an e-mail reboot, and drew up new ones for a sales interface that would work with existing e-mail systems. Late last month the startup, which works out of Dogpatch Labs, opened up its beta version of an e-mail plug-in that offers customizable templates for salespeople. The objectives are still the same. At the individual user level, “we are down in the trenches with the salesperson trying to help them close that business,” says Bellows. And at the organizational level, “it extracts data that their enterprise needs from their activity, to learn from what they do and report on that.”

There are plenty of companies whose business is to generate and qualify sales leads (think Eloqua and HubSpot), and others aimed at managing sales account information (Salesforce), but few that provide tools for actually making the sale, Bellows says.

Yesware’s plug-in offers pre-set e-mail forms to help salespeople first connect with customers, and also to help them once they start getting objections from the customers they’re chasing. Say a salesperson keeps hearing from potential customers that the product costs too much, or that it can’t stack up to an existing offering from a big-name competitor. He or she can pull the appropriately template from Yesware addressing that concern.

“It’s a templates-on-steroids kind of thing,” Bellows says. “We help the salesperson with the right answers at their fingertips.”

The Yesware plug-in also has a button for automatically copying e-mails to a salesperson’s account on the customer relationship management system Salesforce. “It’s a very low cost way of having salesperson update Salesforce,” Bellows says.

Those updates are key to Yesware’s bigger mission of helping sales managers better track the work of their sales force—by actually looking at their communications with customers, rather than relying on the relatively cryptic notes salespeople often type into CRM systems, Bellows says.

“What a salesperson does from an action standpoint is going to be much more helpful than what they say that do,” says Bellows, who saw the frequent disconnect between the two firsthand while managing sales at companies like Vivox, Floodgate Entertainment, and WGR Media, the gaming media startup he sold to CNET in 2004. What’s more, “if we … Next Page »

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