Every month is exciting for a fast-growing software startup like Influitive, but March has been particularly action-packed for three big reasons:
- We hosted the second annual Advocamp conference in San Francisco, with 3X more attendees than last year’s event and over 85,000 people tuning into the live stream. More than 100 people earned their Advocate Marketing Certification on the first day, and days two and three featured thought-provoking speakers like Dan Ariely, Daniel Pink, Laura Ramos, Jill Rowley, Jay Baer, Kare Anderson and many more.
- We also secured an $8.2M extension to our Series B financing from new investors Leaders Fund and Export Development Canada (EDC), returning investors Georgian Partners, Relay Ventures, BDC Capital IT Venture Fund and OurCrowd, as well as several angel investors.
- Last but not least, we announced the acquisition of two Toronto-based startups: first Ironark Software and, today, Triggerfox (press release here).
Why would a business-to-business company with customers like HP Enterprise, Iron Mountain and Salesforce acquire not just one, but two, mobile-only startups? We’re looking for the people and products that will help us enhance the ownership and execution of advocacy across the organization. No matter where advocacy lives in a business — marketing, customer success, product management or sales — Influitive should be there.
This approach is just one part of Influitive’s product strategy, which also includes a deep specialization in B2B referrals as well as the ability to play well with others in the broader marketing technology landscape through our API and integrations. Triggerfox and Ironark have the talent and technology we need to extend advocate marketing into the sales domain and expand our mobile capabilities.
Technology: Extending advocate marketing into the sales domain
The Ironark and Triggerfox acquisitions allow us to take the technology that these capable entrepreneurs have created over the last few years and make our products even better for our customers and their advocates.
Triggerfox, for example, is a mobile app designed to help salespeople build and manage relationships. Today, our platform primarily helps B2B marketers and customer success professionals build better relationships with their customers. With the Triggerfox technology, we seek to extend advocate marketing into the sales domain.
As buyers rely less on sales reps and more on knowledgeable peers to make buying decisions, those sales reps need to place social proof from happy customers throughout the buyer’s journey — and across the social web — when and where it’s needed most. They’re no longer able to close deals alone; they need a lot of help from advocates and they need it in real time.
We need to make it easy for sales reps to tap into their advocate community at the moments when that social proof is needed most. Not only will it create a better experience for the advocates, but it will also reduce the administrative burden for advocate marketers and boost the value of their advocate community internally. The head of sales is already a secondary champion for Influitive on many of our deals — new technology designed for sales professionals will make it official.
Talent: Multiplying our mobile capabilities
It’s not the first time one of these two teams has moved into our office: back in 2013, Ironark CEO Jonathan James (better known as JJ) and his team subleased a small room at the front of Influitive’s old office on Adelaide Street, just two blocks from where we’re located now. We parted ways soon after to accommodate our growing headcount, but we stayed in touch. They continued to impress me over the years as they released Hub and other exceptional mobile apps, so it made sense to see how we could work together.
This month, we welcomed seven new product management and development professionals to our team in Toronto, including JJ and the rest of the Ironark team. Together, these talented, entrepreneurial people have more than doubled Influitive’s mobile capabilities.
It won’t be long before we do almost everything in our professional lives on our mobile devices. Influitive will not wait for mobile usage of B2B enterprise technology to become pervasive before we make significant investments in building exceptional mobile-first products for our customers and, more importantly, for their advocates. Mobile usage of our product has nearly doubled since April 2014.
Remember: your customers are people, not logos. They don’t stop being advocates just because they leave the office. They might want to read up on your company’s latest product release on the train ride home, post an article to Twitter from their couch, chat with another advocate in your community while they’re waiting for their kids to fall asleep, or opt in for a reference call while they’re eating breakfast. Influitive’s AdvocateHub allows them to do that today, but we want to make the advocate’s mobile experience even better, easier and faster.
A mobile-first mindset will also become critical to our success as Influitive’s operations and customer base expand beyond the borders of North America to continents that are even more reliant on mobile, such as Europe and Asia.
I’m confident that, with the help of the Ironark and Triggerfox teams and their technologies, Influitive will be well-positioned to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead — long before our current or future competitors catch on. Wherever there is advocacy, Influitive will be there.