CRN Exclusive: InsideSales Launches Channel Amid Rapid Growth

InsideSales, a predictive analytics vendor backed by Microsoft and Salesforce, formally launched a channel program Thursday, tapping the partner ecosystems of both enterprise software giants to distribute its sales acceleration solutions.

A dozen inaugural partners were announced for the Solution Integration Insiders Partner Program from the company's Accelerate conference in Park City, Utah, Avanish Sahai, InsideSales head of alliances and channels, told CRN.

"This is the next stage for the company," Sahai said of the vendor based in Provo, Utah, that has been honing its analytics tools and building data sets for more than a decade.

[Related: With Salesforce Investment, InsideSales Preps For Another Year Of Triple-Digit Growth ]

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"The space we're in is booming," he told CRN, "and partners are helping us identify opportunities and working with us to deliver customer success with their domain expertise, prior relationships and as trusted advisers."

As a startup, InsideSales spent years away from any limelight, building productivity tools for clients while passively accumulating mountains of sales transaction data.

A few years back, the company developed its Neuralytics engine and began to leverage machine learning techniques, advanced analytics and the cloud to glean from that data insights that could drive more-effective sales.

The technology caught the eye of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce 2014 conference. Since the subsequent Salesforce investment, the company has been on a tear -- its latest funding round, in which Microsoft also participated, imparted a valuation north of $1 billion.

But throughout its recent growth, InsideSales worked with partners solely through a referral program. Sahai told CRN the company recognized that a formal channel program had become a necessity.

Partners "bring capacity, which is key when we're growing at the pace we're growing," Sahai said.

For many partners focused on customer relationship management that are working with Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, however, promoting sales acceleration is still an unfamiliar concept, Sahai said.

Through the new program, InsideSales will try to close that familiarity gap by offering training teams, building certification programs for consultants and participating in field engagements.

Data science is ushering in a revolution inside the sales department, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of sales professionals, said Jim Sheehan, senior vice president at PowerObjects, a Microsoft Dynamics partner based in Minneapolis that's owned by HCL.

"Working with InsideSales presents important new ways for us to add value to our existing customers," Sheehan told CRN via email.

The new InsideSales channel partner plans to combine insights it has developed about its customers’ businesses with the sales acceleration platform to drive further growth, he said.

Scott Mangelson, practice leader for Microsoft Dynamics at Armanino Consulting based in San Jose, Calif., told CRN that partnering with InsideSales "empowers us to build new practices around sales acceleration" that will help customers win business.

’Together, we offer a turnkey solution to growing companies looking to improve sales outcomes," Mangelson said.

Last year, InsideSales made its machine learning algorithms and troves of contextual data available for the first time through a cloud-based platform. That product, Predictive Cloud, enabled enterprise customers, software developers and solution providers to create unique analytic functionality.

More recently, in March InsideSales tapped Dan Freund, a 16-year Oracle veteran, as senior vice president in charge of the company's commercial business unit.