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Qualified, a Salesforce-native platform that helps companies convert website visitors into paying customers, has raised $95 million in a series C round of funding.
Salesforce needs little in the way of an introduction, given its lofty position as one of the most used customer relationship management (CRM) tools — it claims an estimated one-fifth of the CRM market. But in a world that has rapidly transitioned to the digital realms these past couple of years, companies need new ways to help salespeople and marketers convert prospects — e.g. website visitors — into customers. And that’s where Qualified enters the mix.
With big-name clients such as Adobe, Databricks, and VMWare, Qualified is all about helping B2B companies “generate pipeline,” as it puts it, by targeting people that have demonstrated an interest in a particular product. Through Qualified Conversations, for example, companies can connect with potential buyers in real-time during their website visit, through voice or video calls, messaging, or chatbots. But more than that, it gives companies insights into who exactly is on a website, to ensure that they can target the main buying decision-makers (or “VIPs”).
Through combining Salesforce information with other techniques such as reverse IP and data enrichment, companies can see who’s on a site right now, and segment them into relevant categories, such as company size or industry, and even specific companies.
On top of that, Qualified Signals gives companies account-bases sales intelligence to see which visitors are red-hot and ready to buy — it does this by monitoring website activities and engagement over time, which helps correlate specific actions with buying intent. So, companies can throw their best sales personnel at the visitors who are most likely looking to make a purchase.
Qualified is spearheaded by cofounder and CEO Kraig Swensrud, who sold a company called Kieden to Salesforce back in 2006, and who then went on to become Salesforce’s chief marketing officer (CMO) five years later.
“Nearly every B2B CMO has struggled to generate pipeline over the last two years,” Swensrud told VentureBeat. “With the Qualified platform, B2B companies can tap into their most valuable asset — the corporate website — to meet with buyers and generate pipeline faster. With Qualified Conversations and Qualified Signals, sales reps can understand which accounts are showing high buying intent, when VIP buyers are on the website, then engage with them in real time to answer questions and book meetings.”
A quick peek across the competitive landscape reveals a slew of similar platforms that help companies converse with would-be clients — for starters, there’s the likes of Drift, which was effectively acquired by Vista Equity Partners last year, while Intercom is currently eyeing an IPO. But Swensrud said that Qualified offers enough differentiating features to set it apart from the pack, including its ability to predict a specific account’s “propensity to buy” (via Qualified Signals). But more than that, Swensrud argues that Qualified offers a more “human-centric” approach to converting web visitors, even though chatbots are very much part of its arsenal for customers that want it.
“In general, the Qualified platform is focused on human-centric selling and making your sales and marketing teams smarter,” Swensrud explained. “While other conversational platforms aim to replace your sales reps with chatbots, Qualified believes in humanizing business. That’s because sales cycles progress when conversations happen — real, live human-to-human conversations.”
Backed by Salesforce
Founded out of San Francisco in 2018, Qualified had previously raised around $68 million, with Salesforce Ventures investing in each of its previous rounds of funding. And true to form, Salesforce’s venture capital arm has returned for the series C round, which was led by Sapphire with additional participation from Tiger Global, Norwest Venture Partners, and Redpoint Ventures.
With another $95 million in the bank, Qualified is well-financed to build on the 400 percent revenue growth it said it has seen over the past year, and double down on driving B2B sales at some of the world’s biggest companies. Moreover, today’s announcement comes just a few weeks after Qualified announced its so-called “Pipeline Cloud,” which packages a set of “technologies and processes” to help revenue teams “generate more pipeline.”
“Our investors recognize that we have a unique opportunity to disrupt the legacy B2B pipeline generation process,” Swensrud said. “With this new capital, we will bring the vision of the Pipeline Cloud to Salesforce customers around the world.”
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