CHAPEL HILL – Built by sales professionals, for sales professionals, RepVue today announced that it has officially emerged from stealth mode, during which the company was beta testing its platform, and that it had raised $1 million seed funding round and would expand the company’s board of directors, including adding Triangle entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo as a founding member.
The reason that founder and CEO Ryan Walsh, a former employee of ChannelAdvisor, built and launched RepVue?
There’s a competition for sales talent, particularly in technology organizations and other growth-focused organizations, Walsh told WRAL TechWire in an interview, noting that it “is as fierce as it’s ever been, and will likely to continue to ramp up even more given the enormous amount of capital flowing into many of these companies.”
When capital flows in, expectations increase, said Walsh, and as those expectations increase, companies are put on the hook for very steep growth metrics.
Who drives growth for a technology company? The sales team, said Walsh. And, in order to grow, those sales teams need to expand, adding and training talent, and establishing a company culture that aligns with the growth strategy, he noted.
But talent is hard to find, and because of the required growth that companies seek, an existing issue is becoming more and more compounded, said Walsh. “Pressure to land the talent is higher than ever.”
The acceleration in demand for sales talent is putting sales professionals, even early-career ones, in the middle of a rapidly changing talent market, said Walsh. “Sales professionals are caught in the middle and are being recruited very heavily with a lot of big promises, and don’t have a trusted ‘source of truth’ for what it’s really like to work in these sales roles,” said Walsh.
That’s why he built RepVue: to provide transparency to the hiring process, and to what it’s like to work for an organization, before a job is accepted.
Trends in sales
Walsh recently published a blog post noting four trends in sales that began or accelerated during 2020 and that he expects to continue in 2021 and beyond.
In that post, Walsh notes that at the same time capital is pouring into technology companies, previously existing geographical barriers are no longer in place, as sales teams are now distributed across time zones, and even across countries.
That’s leading many organizations to assess their workplace policies.
“The future of work is not commuting for 20 to 60 minutes and then spending 8:30 to 5:30 at your desk,” wrote Walsh. “It’s flexible. It’s remote. Maybe it’s hybrid. There really isn’t going to be some influx of new information that you’ll have access to in order to make your decision.”
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent transition to remote work, was not the sole factor in this transition, noted Walsh, but it did act as an accelerant. And HR leaders, as well as sales leaders, said Walsh, no longer have the time to wait to assess this future reality.
Walsh is also predicting a coming wave of attrition in the sales industry. Attrition, industry-wide, typically hovers between 35-40 percent, wrote Walsh, but that number dipped in 2020 as many people decided to stay put in familiar roles at familiar companies.
“Many professionals who weren’t hit by layoffs decided it wasn’t the best time to make a move,” noted Walsh, “Once things get fully back to normal, those ‘delayed attritions’ are going to happen.”
How RepVue works
When a sales professional decides to join the RepVue community as a user, Walsh said that the platform assists them in identifying what’s most important in their work and for their careers. The data generated from this questionnaire facilitates suggestions and recommendations on organizations that could be a good match, based on their information.
“To speak generally, what you might expect is that earlier career sales professionals will value the professional development aspect of their career opportunities, while more tenured sales professionals may be inclined to focus more on incentive compensation and product-market fit when evaluating sales roles,” said Walsh. “The challenge is that sales professionals haven’t had the resources to compare sales organizations at this level of granularity.”
But that’s changed, said Walsh, and his company is changing it.
At its core, RepVue is a rating platform, and sales professionals anonymously rate their existing sales organizations within companies. Those could be companies like Raleigh-based Pendo, which is planning to hire hundreds of people in 2021 in an effort to grow, or existing divisions of companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), both of which have dozens of ratings on the RepVue platform.
To submit a rating, sales professionals are asked to identify the company, the role of the individual rating the company, and the relationship that individual has to the company, as well as the target prospects for the organization. Then, professionals are asked to rate the organization across a variety of factors, including a sentiment score on diversity and inclusion, noted Walsh. “If D+I is a key decision point for sales professionals, they can evaluate how their sales peers have rated the organizations in this very important category,” he noted.
RepVue emerges from stealth mode
The company has raised $1 million in seed financing, led by Knoll Ventures, with participation from Alerion Ventures, and was announced earlier today. Their beta period in 2020 enabled the company to generate more than 16,500 ratings of sales organizations, with nearly half coming in the first six months of 2021, the company noted in a statement.
“We know from our existing portfolio companies that attracting and retaining top sales talent is at the top of the list of challenges and priorities facing modern b2b organizations,” said Richard Fraim, partner at Knoll Ventures, in a statement. “Businesses that leverage RepVue for the recruiting and retention of sales professionals will have a distinct advantage over those not embracing data and transparency to drive success in talent. We’re very excited to support this mission and partner with the team at RepVue.”
Fraim, as well as existing investor and advisor Scot Wingo, founder and CEO of Get Spiffy and former founder and CEO of ChannelAdvisor, will join Walsh in forming RepVue’s board of directors.