NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Cloud-based sales software startup, InsideSales.com has hired Jim Steele, former chief customer officer of sales automation giant, Salesforce.com (CRM) , further cementing the ties between the two companies.
Steele joins InsideSales as president of worldwide sales and chief customer officer, in charge of accelerating the company's sales growth as well as overseeing customer service, implementation and account management. The new hire suggests a broader reach for the Utah-based InsideSales, and raises questions about Salesforce's interest in the startup.
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Salesforce was an investor in InsideSales' $100 million funding round valuing the business at $1 billion this April, and is a Salesforce App Exchange Program Partner. Salesforce would thus stand to gain handsomely from InsideSales' growth, whether by making use of or partnering on new technologies or, as some speculate, by helping to bolster its value for an initial public offering.
InsideSales is mum about a potential IPO, preferring to say it will evaluate the opportunity based on "market conditions." But it's clear the two companies share plenty of common DNA. As Steele himself says:
"The partnership between InsideSales and Salesforce is strong and the parallels for market impact are striking...I also see a lot of similarities between Marc Benioff and InsideSales CEO Dave Elkington: big thinkers who are unsatisfied with the status quo with a lot of passion, drive, and charisma."
InsideSales is part of a growing trend favoring use of predictive analytics and aggregated data, better known as "big data," to help guide company processes and decision making. The company's proprietary predictive analytics technology is designed to help companies' sales organizations refine their processes, make better decisions and improve sales.