Freshdesk, a leading cloud-based customer engagement software provider, on Wednesday announced that it had launched a new product, 'Freshsales', a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and sales system, designed for sales representatives working in ‘highvelocity environments’.
Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO of Freshdesk, noted that Freshsales came about as a result of their own struggles with different CRM tools, which they found ineffective and expensive dumping ground for data as their organisation strength grew.
Story so far
Girish founded Freshdesk in 2010 after he had a eureka moment when he read an article on Hacker News on global customer support firm Zendesk increasing prices and a comment by a user on the potential business opportunity.
He joined hands with his colleague at Zoho Corp, Shan Krishnasamy, to build a prototype in October 2010. At this stage, they were armed with a Plan B and had decided that they would shut down if they were unable to ship out the product in nine months and if the product did not make $20,000 in another nine months.
The company initially started out as a five-member team working out of a 1000 sq ft office. But the company did well and in 2012, Freshdesk raised a $5 million Series B round from Tiger Global. Backed by further global growth, it raised a $50 million Series E round in April 2015 from Tiger Global, Google Capital, and Accel Partners.
At this stage, the company had expanded to a 400-member strong team working out of a 60,000 sq ft office space in SP Infocity, Chennai. More recently in April 2016, Freshdesk announced its fifth acquisition with Airwoot, a startup that helps deliver customer service on social media, for an undisclosed amount.
The company currently has three main products and services.
- Flagship product, Freshdesk: a cloudbased software solution that allows organisations to support customers through email, phone, websites, forums, and social media.
- Freshservice: a cloudbased service desk and IT service management solution.
- Hotline.io: an inapp support and engagement platform for mobilefirst businesses.
The fourth pillar: Freshsales
From its experience and market research, the Freshdesk team realised that high-velocity sales teams, which deal with all-commodity volume (ACV) of 16K/month and 6.5 deals per rep per month, generally require multiple integrated systems to do their job effectively. This mainly involves lead, deal, and account management, email and phone integration, user behavior tracking, lead scoring, a visual sales pipeline, and reporting. Girish said,
For years, our sales team struggled to integrate all the products we needed into one of the leading CRM tools but in the end, it was still just an expensive manual dumping ground for data. As a fast growing SaaS business, we needed a solution that empowered our sales team with context based on user activity, prioritised leads based on engagement, and enhanced sales rep productivity. Sick of cobbling together a system that had already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, we decided to build Freshsales.
The company claims that Freshsales is the only CRM in the market to offer an easy-to-use interface with the following capabilities:
Builtin phone and email: Sales reps won't need to switch between multiple systems to communicate with leads or track interactions. All conversations are automatically captured on one CRM. Girish noted that phone and email integration were the first features they clubbed together while developing Freshsales.
Lead scoring: Leads were ranked according to a customised list of behavior signals to help reps focus on leads with higher chances of closing.
User behavior tracking: This feature provides visibility into actions taken page visits, downloads, users added to trials, and other feature interests for deeper understanding of prospects.
Mobile apps: Freshsale's iOS and Android apps lets sales reps have access on the go.
Visual sales pipeline: Deals are displayed in a familiar graphical view for an instant read of the sales landscape to give a bird's eye view.
A May 2016, report by Gartner on CRM Customer engagement estimates that vendors' positions in their 'Magic Quadrant' reflect the growing demand for cloud-based customer service applications to support agents who engage with customers through multiple channels. Gartner also noted that there is no 'one-size-fits-all’ solution as no vendor offered a suite that meets all global and cross-industry needs.
Gartner predicts that through 2017, 50 percent of organisations will select SaaS for complex business process support. Also by 2018, as more applications are built for a cloud-based model, and as vendors deploy data centers in Europe and Asia, SaaS will emerge as an essential selection factor for CRM customer engagement centers in all geographies and for all levels of process complexity.
Future plans and revenue model
Freshdesk currently claims to have about 80,000 companies of various sizes relying on their products and services. Freshdesk noted that most large enterprises generally focus on fewer but high-value deals while small and medium organisations generally focus on a larger volume of lower value deals. Hence, Freshsales’ main target audience would be SMEs that get large volume of incoming leads.
As a SaaS solutuion, Freshsales has multiple monthly subscription plans depending on the size and needs of their clients. While Freshdesk has clients from over 100 countries worldwide -- US, UK, and India are among their top three markets.
Freshdesk added that they work with around 120 resellers worldwide and have sales offices in cities like London, Sydney, and Berlin to help them serve the specific needs in different countries. Freshdesk claims to have got great responses from their early adopters and it will be interesting to see if they are able to keep up with the large volume of leads after going public with Freshsales.