Extreme Startups grad ExecNote to simplify social for salespeople

With a freshly launched mobile app, a revamped platform, and its startup accelerator graduation day behind it, ExecNote is aiming to change how salespeople get social.

On Wednesday afternoon, the team behind ExecNote presented the premise of their startup to a room of investors and media at the Burroughes Building in Toronto. ExecNote was one of four companies making up the fourth cohort of Extreme Startups, a Toronto-based accelerator for early stage companies in tech.

What it aims to do is to help salespeople leverage social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn efficiently. Instead of getting a salesperson to trawl through their networks, spending time on posting links and searching for people to connect with, it will give them the top four social tasks they can do for the day. Those tasks should only take about four minutes, according to the ExecNote team.

So if salespeople want to do anything social media-related, like requesting a LinkedIn connection with someone recommended by ExecNote, or tweeting an article recommended by their own marketing team, they can do it quickly – which saves them a lot of time and gets them back to the main task of selling.

“The whole premise is, we do all the hard work in the social space for you. So four minutes a day as a sales professional, I can do the four things that really matter in my network,” said Brent Diefenbacher, CEO of ExecNote.

“The whole sales landscape has fundamentally changed. Five years ago, buyers would wait for a cold call from a sales professional. Today, those buyers aren’t answering cold calls anymore … [Buyers are] turning to their social networks to get information,” he said.

“So as a sales professional today in this modern environment, if I’m not part of that buyer’s extended social network, and not socially relevant, and not an industry leader online, I’m not going to get the deal anymore.”

Customers using ExecNote can access the program from their desktop computers, as well as from the new mobile app just launched today.

Right now, the team is looking at a freemium-based model. Signing up and using the service is free, but it plans to charge its customers for data analytics, starting at around $9 a month for an individual and $19 per month for a team of users.

ExecNote originally applied for Extreme Startups’ third cohort in 2012, but it didn’t make the cut as it didn’t have enough of a viable product at the time. But now, it has more than 800 users from 50 different companies, many of whom work at Fortune 1,000 companies, Diefenbacher said. Some of the company’s biggest clients include SAP AG and MeetingZone Ltd.

And now that ExecNote has completed its four months with the accelerator, he has looked back and is calling it “a phenomenal ride.”

“It’s been really valuable to be surrounded by like-minded people. And we’ve had fantastic mentors who are industry experts,” he said.

For example, one of the team’s product mentors helped them realize they needed to simplify their app if they wanted salespeople to use it. So while the startup launched the first version of ExecNote back in September 2013, the new iteration has been considerably pared down, leading Diefenbacher to call it version two of their platform.

“Our big evolution was going from a top down model to the bottom up,” he said.

In the meantime, now that it’s graduated from Extreme Startups, ExecNote is seeking $400,000 in funding. It plans on using its funding to build out its discovery engine, helping its users find more of the connections they want to make through social media.

The startup aims to close an angel round of investment by the end of February.

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Candice So
Candice Sohttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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