There are two truisms that answer most, if not all, questions.
The first: “The butler did it.”
And, the second: “Follow the money.”
For now, let’s follow the money . . . straight to Sequoia Capital in Silicon Valley. Of course, there’s lots of money at Sequoia. Brains, too. And Sequoia has the track record to prove it. So, when an investment firm like Sequoia commits capital, it is worth paying attention.
And, it was recently announced that Sequoia has committed the seed capital to start-up Hearsay Labs, who will focus on “businesses with local branches and representatives.”
Here at Engage121, we say welcome.
As Sequoia’s investment proclaims, there is opportunity in serving businesses with local branches and representatives. Plenty of opportunity – both for Engage121 and Hearsay. But, more importantly, there is an even bigger opportunity for our clients to streamline and improve customer response and so much more. But, as is true with most endeavors, there is a lot more complexity here than is immediately apparent.
We have been providing communications software to franchise companies, dealerships, branch offices and similarly structured businesses for over 10 years. Our Social CRM application, “Engage121,” launched in August of 2010 and we are now proud to count over 700 client logins. As Mashable.com was kind to say, “Engage121 is best in its class at encompassing monitoring, broadcasting and engagement.”
While we have learned a lot about businesses with local branches and representatives, we learn more every day. For example, we have learned that businesses need to engage with their customers wherever those customers are speaking. Often, those conversations occur on Facebook or Twitter. Just as often, however, conversations are developing on Yelp or YouTube or Yippee. And, the ultimate success of a Social CRM is not measured by conversation, but by business metrics. So, Facebook applications that attract new fans, or Foursquare loyalty programs that generate customer traffic are just as important as tweets and posts.
So, we welcome Hearsay and Sequoia. There’s a lot of opportunity for us all. And, a lot to learn as well. And, just to help . . . Hearsay, you are not the first to work with businesses employing a distributed sales model. You are not even the second or third. Engage121, Revinate, ValueVine and Expion have all been here for a while. And, we know there is a lot to learn.