News & Analysis

Startup Autopilot launches sales prospecting and intelligence tool

- February 19, 2014 2 MIN READ

San Francisco-based marketing automation startup, Autopilot, has just launched a Google Chrome browser plugin, Prospect Ace. Solving the sales and marketing automation data problem, the plugin allows high-growth startups to source verified email addresses and demographic information, and build prospect lists from social profiles.

Many believe cold calling is a dying sales strategy – especially in a socially-connected, consumer-driven marketplace. At the very least, it’s losing its appeal. This is because, as Aaron Ross, author of international bestseller Predictable Revenue, says, “an important part of prospecting is the quality of the data.”

Autopilot’s CEO, Michael Sharkey says today, targeted social prospecting is what increases conversions and fuels a predictable revenue model.

“Historically, sales and marketing teams have purchased prospect data from list providers. However, list data is typically out of date and leads to low conversion rates for campaigns,” says Sharkey.

“Incorrect information, coupled with a lack of strategy is a recipe for failure. Hence, Prospect Ace provides sales professionals the tools to build a curated and highly targeted prospect list using social intelligence which ultimately results in a higher conversion rate with an overall lower-cost-per-lead.”

Sharkey says Prospect Ace’s patent-pending technology guarantees verified email address and increases conversion rates of prospecting campaigns. Through the technology, users can identify and reach people who might be interested in their product. Once they’ve found a prospect, Prospect Ace initiates a query in Autopilot’s data and modelling system and reveals that person’s email address.

For example, a salesperson using Prospect Ace can research and find a prospect on Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter; and within seconds, can build a strategic contact list of potential buyers and create an automated email campaign to try and book meetings or close deals.

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The concept behind Prospect Ace is similar to Data.com, Hoovers and other data providers who have been selling data for a long time. However, as Sharkey points out, the data provided by these companies is old, has high bounce rates and low conversion rates: “Our data is verified, up to date and sourced socially.”

Prospect Ace is being used by companies like Bosch, Model N and Voxer. Model N Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Ken Pulverman, says Prospect Ace lowers his targeted data acquisition costs while increasing quality.

“Data vendors today provide information that is mostly out of date as soon as it is acquired, which of course is incredibly frustrating. Prospect Ace provides guaranteed and current information that is highly targetable,” he says.

Peter Stern from Autopilot’s Chief Revenue Office, notes how sales and marketing objectives are converging as a result of the rapid acceleration of technology: Now “organisations are both responsible and accountable for driving qualified pipeline as well as top line revenue.”

“By deploying Prospect Ace, Autopilot and a CRM system like Salesforce, sales and marketing teams are becoming integrated and goals are aligned.”

From an expense perspective, Prospect Ace is more suited to startups in the high-growth phase. Monthly prospect packages start from $199 per month for 250 prospects.

The plugin can be installed for free from the Google Chrome Store or from www.autopilothq.com/prospectace. Those who sign up will receive 25 free prospects with verified email addresses.

featured image: theaustralian.com.au