By Lee Barnathan, California Business Journal
What would you do with a few extra hours each week?
It’s a question asked on the home web page of Cirrus Insight, a customer relationship management (CRM) application, and COO Brandon Bruce says that some people have taken it a little far.
After using the Cirrus application, a message might appear on the screen: “You’ve saved several hours. You can take a long lunch.”
Bruce says such messages are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but he knows of people who received the message, “You can afford to take a day off,” so they do – or at least they try to before their bosses stop them.
The point, Bruce says, is that Cirrus Insight, which he and college classmate Ryan Huff founded in 2011, can help a salesperson do the work in less time.
“It’s fair to say hours a week. Your mileage may vary,” he says, “depending on how many emails you send, how many customers you’re contacting.”
Cirrus Insight, so named because cirrus is a cloud where information is stored and the stated goal is to provide insight into what customers want. It saves people time by letting them work in their email inboxes and not have to jump back and forth between inboxes, primarily Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, and CRMs such as Salesforce.
Cirrus Insight – and its clients — trumpet many of its time-saving features: these include tracking emails so a person knows exactly when an email is being opened – and what page is being read – so he or she can call that person at that moment and say something like, “I wonder if you had any questions about the attachment I sent.”
There’s also email templates so emails don’t need to be cut and pasted several times, a feature in which you can put your meeting availability in your email, eliminating the back-and-forth that sometimes comes with setting them up. There’s also a feature to let a person set the exact time follow-up emails and reminders need to be sent.
“We automate some of that process,” Bruce says. “I want to send an email, and if he doesn’t reply in two days, I want to send another email. Three days later, I want to send another email; and there’s a cue to call him, and a reminder to connect on LinkedIn, and then another call a week later.”
The application was borne out of what Huff and Bruce were experiencing: wasting time having to jump between their Gmail accounts and Salesforce. The two platforms didn’t connect. Then Huff and Bruce noticed “hundreds of people on online forums” making similar complaints. So, they did something about it, although Bruce credits Huff as “the architect.”
“I shouldn’t have to go through Salesforce and Gmail,” Bruce says. “I use Salesforce and I don’t log in to Salesforce. I can do everything without leaving Gmail. Ninety-nine percent of our customers are Salesforce customers, and they’re trying to get the most out of the platforms they’re invested in.”
For that small percentage that isn’t using Salesforce, Cirrus offers less-expensive packages that include all the email-related templates, reminders and services.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Is it ever? But enough has gone right to the point that Cirrus Insight was ranked 41st on Inc.’s list of the 500 fastest growing private companies last year.
“Best Gmail-Salesforce integration I’ve tried,” Blake Cohen, senior customer success manager of DialSource, says of Cirrus Insight. “On my heavier days, it easily saved me half an hour of manually logging all my emails.”
Financesonline.com features 132 positive mentions about Cirrus Insight.
Kelsie Hamilton, a program associate at First Fruit, Inc., says the app is “a great solution to a big problem. We started investigating ways in which we could directly link our Outlook email system to our Salesforce system,” she adds. “What’s great about Cirrus is that you link emails to particular contacts, organizations, projects, and other files/records that you and the organizations might have created yourself. It’s very fluid in that way.”
Chances are, these are the people who have to figure out what they’re going to do with all the time they save. It’s a wonderful problem Cirrus Insight has given them.