By adaptive - May 22nd, 2015

Signpost aims to point clients to greater growth with its customer relationship management (CRM) software platform. It tracks all interactions from phone, email, credit card transactions, and social media reviews between consumer-facing enterprises and their customers. The New York-based company works with firms of all sizes to create custom applied analytics systems.

Signpost recently raised $20.5 million in a Series C round of financing led by Toronto-based Georgian Partners along with Spark Capital, OpenView Venture Partners, Scout Ventures, and the Launch Fund. Google Ventures has previously invested in Signpost, which has raised a total of $37.5 million. 

Signpost co-founder and CEO Stuart Wall discussed the business, and mobile growth, with Open Mobile’s Robert Gray.

OMM: Stuart, please describe the company and what it does in your own words?
Signpost’s vision is to empower brick-and-mortar businesses to become world-class marketers. Our automated CRM platform allows these businesses to build their customer database and drive core marketing without lifting a finger.

OMM: What size firms do you work with?
We have over 10,000 US businesses signed up (and) our clients range from a single dentist to a national rental car franchise. Our largest client has over 500 locations.
Our average client has over 800 customers per location. The Signpost platform adds another 10% per month, on average.

OMM: What do you plan to use the new infusion of money for?
We will continue to invest in our product to ensure our technology is world class. We also plan to grow our mid-market, agency and partner go-to-market channels.

OMM: Can technology level the playing field for small businesses vs. bigger consumer companies in a mobile world?
Absolutely. Cloud-based platforms are beginning to aggregate data from all small business users, providing any one business with more data and insights than they could generate themselves. And it’s doing this automatically on the merchant’s behalf.

OMM: How have advances in mobile technology helped you in tracking and contacting folks?
Right now mobile is really about empowering businesses with physical locations through digital word-of-mouth. It’s fair to say that mobile is no longer the “second screen”, it’s the first.
We know through studies that a customer who has recently been into your store is more likely to leave a review or positive mention on their social networks if it is timed appropriately and reaches them on their device. 40 percent of our traffic is mobile.

OMM: Can you give any size or scope in terms of your size number of employees and revenue?
We have over 200 employees across offices in New York, Denver, and Austin, Texas. We process millions of customer interactions on our merchant’s behalf daily. We are currently seeing a two-and-a-half times year-over-year growth rate.

OMM: Do you feel Oracle and have foregone these smaller shops as too small?
The incumbent customer relationship management software providers have become complicated platforms for anyone to navigate. Look at the market for contractors. This solution was meant to help drive leads and close sales based off a model that is now decades old. Inside sales has not changed one bit as far as the actions a rep needs to complete for the health of their platform. At the same time, a platform like Salesforce has become so bloated with options and add-ins that it takes a CMO-level marketing understanding to get up-and-running.
B2B businesses with dedicated sales teams are the only firms able to cope with the existing landscape of CRM platforms. B2C businesses of all sizes are not able to use platforms like Salesforce.

OMM: How much are your services compared to theirs?
There aren’t currently any fully automated CRMs for businesses at the level we support. Bear in mind this would take an advanced understanding of digital marketing best practice to begin with, days to set up and then require several hours out of each day to maintain.

OMM: How easily could the larger CRM firms create a small business proposition to battle you?
Not easily at all. recently acquired RelateIQ, a relationship intelligence platform, for close to $400 million. It’s your classic David versus Goliath since it requires a more nimble team for the nuances around the technology. Automation is in our product and engineering team’s DNA.

OMM: Is Facebook a big competitor for Signpost?
Facebook is not our competitor and businesses everywhere see less and less value in doing any kind of ad-spend there since the news feed is completely saturated by big brand advertising.
Mainly, we are disrupting spend reserved for Google Adwords, Yelp, etc. BIA/Kelsey estimates that comprehensive automated marketing solutions are likely to become a growing part of the $50 billion-plus industry in the next several years as cloud software expands for businesses everywhere.

OMM: Who is competing in your space?
Square, Google and Intuit have all entered our space, which we see as incredible validation. Square’s recent Square Marketing announcement is offering segmenting based off purchase behavior, but still requires a high level of time commitment from the business owner to manage email campaigns based of the collected data.

For all the latest mobile trends, check out The Open Mobile Summit 2015 on June 29-30 in London.

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