Facebook’s Timeline keeps track of key milestones in a user’s life, which (somewhat frighteningly) could cover everything from birth to death. Crushpath, a new startup launching today at LeWeb with $2 million in seed funding led by Charles River Ventures, wants to provide a similar experience for the lifecycle of a deal, giving sales staff complete control over every event that occurs along the way.
Crushpath is a play-by-play of a deal updated in real-time, which also acts as a communications and publishing platform. For sales supervisors and managers, it provides a bird’s-eye view look at sales department progress, complete with opportunities to step in and guide junior staff to help head off potential disasters before they happen, or take advantage of opportunities missed by less experienced employees. For sales people, it’s a CRM alternative that focuses on doing, rather than recording, according to company co-founders Sam Lawrence and Matt Wilkinson.
“Crushpath really changes the sales software game,” Lawrence said, explaining why he, having previously created social business software Jive, wanted to zoom in on just one aspect of business with Crushpath. “We really wanted to focus on a specific problem, so that we could make more of a material impact on the bottom line,” he said. ”Sales is the most active and vital part of the business, so we decided to focus there.” Addressing the sales process pain points meant looking at what was out there, and what wasn’t working about current solutions.
“Today, salespeople live in a database; they really just don’t have anything built to help themselves,” Lawrence explained. “We didn’t see anything in the market that attacked that problem head-on. What we saw were really a couple of things: first, we saw big, old, complex systems that corporations use to track their sales pipeline, and the second thing we really saw were a lot of vendors with piecemeal approaches to small component problems.” By contrast, Crushpath wanted to provide salespeople with something that would be an aid, not an encumbrance, in Lawrence’s view, which was instead simply “something to help them sell.”
The name of Crushpath is based on its core feature, a chronological view of deal activity, split into two halves representing internal activity, and client-side actions. Integrations to file sharing, email and calendaring solutions feed things into the Crushpath automatically, making it easy to access information and even respond directly to requests from a single place. Communication with clients can also take place via private customer sites provided by the startup as part of its subscriptions (plans start at $29 per user per month), which can be branded on demand and act as an evolving node between customer and sales staff, for sharing documents, exchanging messages and information, and basically developing a proposal document in real-time.
At launch, Crushpath is also announcing two key integrations, via partnerships with Box and Evernote. The app also works with existing CRM solutions, since Lawrence said that the company wants Crushpath to have as wide an appeal as possible. The Crushpath itself offers easy editing of entries, so that users can append notes and biographical information about contacts, for instance, and highlight who the really dealmakers are for others involved in the process, or if they’re handing off a lead to another coworker. It’s designed to both integrate with a user’s existing workflow, or replace it altogether, depending on customer needs.
Overall, Crushpath is an impressive tool, and given the pedigree of its founding team, that’s no surprise. As mentioned, Lawrence (along with board member David Hersch) helped create Jive, now publicly traded, and Wilkinson was head of product at Socialcast, which was acquired by VMware. Crushpath seems like it stands a very good chance of following in the footsteps of those apps, in terms of attracting users and reaching a wide audience. As with any software designed to run concurrent to a sales process, however, the challenge will be whether it can avoid being viewed as a chore by the people it targets, and instead become an irreplaceable asset.