Genius.com, the on-demand software startup that makes the email-based lead generator SalesGenius, said this week that it’s raised $19 million in its third round of funding, this one led by Accel Partners.
Genius.com also announced its largest-ever customer, BT Business, a retail arm of British Telecom, which has 3,000 sales reps and owns more that 40 percent of the markets for DSL and voice in the UK. Both events are big boosts to the four-year-old startup — it had just 400 clients before BT signed on, and the funding round brings total monies raised to $34 million.
SalesGenius is a “push” product that allows salespeople to closely track prospects’ responsiveness to email pitches by tracking when they click through to the web site, what product sites they mouse over, etc. Such data is “highly indicative of what a person might actually be interested in buying,” says Genius.com co-founder and CEO David Thompson. In other words, sales leads.
SalesGenius is a lift up from old-school CRM, says Accel’s Kevin Efrusy (think Siebel), which weren’t really ever designed to help sales people sell more, but rather, help upper management keep tabs on what reps were doing. “When did you last call on that client?” SalesGenius automates it all, including the live chat between a rep and a prospect.
But in an ironic twist, Thompson said he’ll use most of his new capital to hire more of his own live sales people. That’s a lot to spend on show-leather types for a startup, which is sort of odd if your whole business is about selling more, with less. Genius.com ought not to need tens of millions worth of reps — at least, not if the product works as well as he claims.