3 startups that remove inefficiency from sales and marketing

By Omar Elorfaly October 16, 2017

Sales has always been an industry built solidly on human to human interactions. No matter how many new sales automation tools sprout up, when push comes to shove, the glory or blame that comes with a deal, won or lost, always falls on the shoulders of a real flesh and blood person. And it is that same human element that allows for a rather large margin of error and discrepancies, that engender sales and marketing departments with the feeling of being a bit of a gamble. “You win some, you lose some”.

But consistently high performing sales and marketing teams know how to use tech solutions to buffer for the inevitable human error. So here are the top 3 tools that have proved themselves useful in removing inefficiency from sales and marketing, and help teams work more efficiently, together.


Showpad is a SaaB that provides salespeople with a unified platform where they can monitor incoming data from different sources. Through a cloud-based solution, salespeople can now view their activity on Gmail, Salesforce, outlook and Powerpoint from a single interface.

The Belgium-based startup, recently opened their first North American office in Chicago. They essentially, remove the need to check different resources, such as Gmail or Outlook to get information on a customer – portraying latest details about their activities with the company, monitoring all communication, and showing it on a unified interface.

The success of the platform has earned it a spot on Inc’s top 5000 list. “Showpad is thrilled to be in the top five percent of companies surveyed by Inc., and one of the ten fastest growing private software companies in the region,” said Pieterjan Bouten, CEO and co-founder of Showpad in a press release. “More importantly as a global company, the Showpad platform is a key part in the growth story of our own clients’ businesses.”


Launched in 2015, this startup developed a tool that has been adopted by thousands of employees from tech giants, such as Google, Amazon and Nielsen.

Shelf.io launched its content management platform in 2015, and since, has been helping employees centralize all of their documents and keep track of the mountains of digital content running a modern company creates. The app generates a directory of all documents from the connected sources, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and even email addresses. Files are also marked with the name of the document provider, content topic, and a time stamp using an intelligent algorithm.

This not only saves time finding the right document but also reduces needless inter-departmental communication (aka, the adult version of the childhood game of Telephone) to request little information. The founder and COO of Shelf, Colin Kennedy said, “Sales is always asking marketing for the best collateral for a given opportunity and marketing folks often end up serving as an information gopher, but that is a poor use of Marketing’s time. With Shelf, Marketing can post the best content, organize it in a way that Sales can easily find it in a self-service kind of way.”

This account-based sales tool is mainly aimed at providing sales departments with all the information needed to contact ongoing and prospective clients.

On the outreach platform, salespeople are presented with an interface that shows all ongoing sales process, classifying clients into different industries, progressions, and priorities. The program also logs any information included in communications between salespeople and their clients, including calls and emails. Lastly, the program also creates tasks based on requests within the communication channels between the two parties.

Outreach has also managed to rank first in the Seattle Tech Impact competition.

Manny Medina, CEO of the company explains the core beliefs driving the development of his product, “Outreach is a platform that helps sales teams to work more efficiently and effectively so they can deliver for their organizations. And, let’s be honest, those sales teams have a really hard job. As the first sales rep at Outreach, I know this first hand. You face a lot of rejection. You hear no many times every day. People hang up on you, and most of your voicemails and emails never even receive a response. But you must continue getting up and doing it all over again because your mission is vital. Sales is how innovation gets to market. Behind every great entrepreneur or inventor is an even better sales team. When sales teams are successful, companies grow, innovation spreads, and people live better lives.”