This Houston startup aims to bring transparency in managing field sales agents
One of the biggest tasks for any organisation with a large sales team on field is managing their time and tasks efficiently. Traditional CRMs have built UI/UX to support the workflow of inside sales representatives. But the workflow of outside sales representatives are very different, and there is a need to create solutions to support their workflow.
This was something 35-year old Austin Rolling saw while he worked for a number of companies in outside sales role. Austin says, he was disappointed by the tools he was provided with for tracking while working out on the field.
“It registered with me that there was a tremendous opportunity for developing tools to support the outside sales and marketing space. In 2015, we started to solve some of the tech challenges that companies with outside sales and marketing representatives were facing, which led us to start Outfield in Bryan College Station, Home of Texas A&M University,” says Austin. He later roped in his acquaintance Adam Steele to be the co-founder and CTO of the startup.
Started in 2015, Houston-based Outfield helps companies acquire and centralise data around companies’ field activities. It also helps standardise field operations across all markets. The team has 15 customers based out of India.
Austin Rolling, Outfield
Background and team
The startup helps companies with accountability (ensuring they are hitting the right locations), field representative collaboration (connecting field reps who are often scattered), and productivity (helping them in better sales).
An aerospace engineer, Adam has been a serial entrepreneur with a series of ventures in nanotech, renewable energy, and software.
“I started my first company at the age of 20. It was a fashion website where I imported and distributed foreign apparel online and throughout my university’s campus. It was a great learning experience,” says Austin.
At present, the startup has 18 people working on rolls.
How does it work?
Outfield is an app where the outside representative inputs and enters their field visit data. This data is then shared with the team managers, who in-turn verify the data and leave feedback. There are also analytics that allows the manager to check the impact of the field visits on overall sales.
The app also provides information on the trends in the space, and tells about different sales tactics to regional pricing. The field visits, meetings, notes, and reports are all geo-tagged and available on the app.
Currently bootstrapped, the startup claims to have Amazon Prime, Sobeys, OnePlus, Olay, Yakima, and Dymatize as their key clients.
The startup, which follows a SaaS business model, refused to share how much it charges its clients, and also didn’t disclose details about its revenue.
“We’ve experienced triple-digit percentage revenue growth almost every year since inception. We have over 17,000 account holders, and about 10 percent are paying customers,” says Austin.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for field sales personnel is fast growing, and many companies are competing in the space. According to a report by Gartner, the CRM space has witnessed revenue growth of $23.9 billion in 2014, and is predicted to grow rapidly for the next three years.
SaaS or cloud-based CRM deployments currently represents more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, and is set to reach 50 percent during 2015. There are also larger startups like Freshworks and bootstrapped Zoho that have sales CRM as a part of their product suite. There is also US-based SalezShark operating in the space.
Speaking of the startup's differentiators, Austin says: “Outfield was created organically out of a need for companies who have trouble managing field sales team, and who often work remotely. Traditional CRMs built their UI/UX to support the workflow of representatives who work in inside sales roles (smiling/dialling/recording touchpoint activities, and closed opportunities). The workflow of outside representatives is completely different, which generates a need for solutions to support their workflow”.
He adds that they offer a gamified experience to outside sales to boost representative productivity and add an element of competitive fun.
“We don’t outsource our development, which enables us to respond to market needs and trends quickly,” says Austin.
Some of Outfield’s top verticals include CPG, CE, Insurance, and more recently Cannabis/CBD. “Outfield is in the process of expanding its product suite. The variety of solutions we’re producing will put us in a position to expand our footprint within and even outside of the CRM space. New products and services will be available as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. We can go into specifics the closer we get to the release dates. The first upcoming product is League Play,” says Austin.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)