It’s not often you find yourself in the path of an opportunity to bring a product to market that has a dramatic impact on the lives of customers. I have been fortunate to be part of past successes as an early employee of Avalara and Qumulo where products were thoughtfully designed for solving very acute customer pain. The kind of pain that is visceral and raw. Pain that transcends the workplace and affects people’s personal lives. Avalara and Qumulo are now big companies dominating their categories because they were thoughtful very early in their approach to relentless customer focus and never deviated from this core value.
Reflecting on my past experiences I now know this focus is best described as a signal or fingerprint of a startup indicative of potential long term business viability and growth. But there are a few more signals nearly all successful startups have. They are:
A product or products customers love to use,
solving real visceral pain,
in a big and growing market,
with opportunity to design, create and dominate a category,
motivated by a foundational team committed to delighting customers at every point of engagement (sales, marketing, on-boarding, customer success, product, and design).
I have found all of these signals with Scratchpad.
I met Pouyan Salehi and Cyrus Karbassiyoon, founders of Scratchpad in early Summer of 2020. We met each other virtually right smack in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, through the introduction of a firm working with Accel. Over the course of a few months we talked, a lot. We discussed the current state plaguing sales teams in nearly every organization, the problem Pouyan and Cyrus were setting out to solve, and the remarkable early successes Scratchpad has seen thus far.
Through our conversations I learned (and was reminded), selling in the digital age is really hard. Sales organizations depend on a ton of qualitative and quantitative data to complete a sale and most of that data is spread across random apps rarely finding its way into the CRM. On top of that, CRM systems are merely databases never designed for end users to capture sales notes, update records, collaborate, and follow a sales process that fits naturally into their day-to-day selling workflow. For the job to be done, sales teams in nearly every organization hack together tools consisting of docs, sheets, and a hodgepodge of apps to help update and manage the revenue pipeline. It’s an inefficient mess and makes selling unnecessarily friggin’ hard. And the sad reality is, these inefficiencies exist in nearly every revenue team creating friction between attaining and exceeding sales quotas and paying highly educated, trained and skilled sales people with tedious data entry.
There must be a better way.
The better way is Scratchpad and I joined the team in October, 2020. Today we announced a series A funding of $13 million led by Craft Ventures and participation from Accel to pioneer a workspace for revenue teams. Equally exciting and as strong validation to the early growth and success of Scratchpad, David Sacks of Craft Ventures (formerly of Yammer and Paypal success) has joined our board of directors and Accel’s Steve Loughlin (formerly of RelateIQ success) is taking on an advisory role.
What is a revenue team workspace? Let me explain.
Across the revenue team you have many roles all working together to help the business sell products and grow as fast as possible. Generally speaking the revenue teams consist of account executives, SDRs or BDRs, sales managers, sales ops and enablement, sales engineers, and customer success. Each of these roles are occupied by skilled craftspeople in the art of the selling. Without them, businesses don’t sell efficiently. They don’t grow and thrive. But, when it comes to helping each of these professionals optimize their selling performance, they are encumbered with solutions that don’t fit into their workflows.
Below is an oversimplification of the job functions within the revenue team by role.
The workspace removes the non-revenue generating activities so salespeople can focus on selling and sales teams can operate at their full potential. By removing tedious data entry tasks, consolidating sales notes, getting control of spreadsheets, and reducing or eliminating data hygiene management, the revenue team is more organized, better data flows into CRM and across the organization, and hand-offs are seamless.
The drag on sales efficiency is lifted freeing up more time for top performers to sell more and sales leaders gain increased visibility to help non top-performers sell better. Managers move away from admin whip crackers to helping and coaching their teams so everyone is selling above the bar. And, with better CRM data, sales operations teams can enforce process adherence and forecast with more accuracy. Removing the drag on sales teams through a workspace optimizes sales performance across the revenue team, helping organizations close the gap between top performers and everyone else.
Over the past few months and through countless customer conversations I have witnessed evidence of acute and pervasive pain for revenue teams. It is very real and plagues organizations of all sizes. When I talk to customers about Scratchpad or read reviews about how it solves their pain, I get really excited because we are making a difference. We are helping sales professionals sell better and we are helping companies grow.
There is a big and growing market for a workspace designed specifically for sales and Scratchpad is leading this effort.
Lastly, It was important to me to join a values-driven company of authentic and passionate people. Achieving results is job priority number one for any business, but humanity and personal connection are very important. Scratchpad has one of the most diverse and empathetic teams I’ve worked with at this stage of a startup. This team is talented and committed to the success of every customer.
There’s so much to be excited for in 2021 and beyond! Scratchpad is growing fast and we are looking for new, talented people to join our team. Check out our open positions and what it’s like to work at Scratchpad on our careers page.
So for me, all the signals are there for Scratchpad and we are just getting started. I look forward to the journey ahead with all of our customers, our team, our investors and advisors.