June 5, 2014

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Companies to Watch

By Heather Stewart

June 5, 2014

 Elkington says the system contains more than 100 million unique North American profiles—more than half of the U.S. adult population and about 70 percent of the buyers in the United States. “We have billions and billions of sales interactions with those 100 million profiles,” he adds.

In addition to the buyer profiles, the platform incorporates data like weather patterns, stock market performance, the success or failure of local sports teams, and the consumer price index. The algorithms crunch hundreds of external data points to pinpoint the best sales lead at that exact moment.

Poor weather means more people are likely to be at their desks.  A winning sports team means the local population is likely experiencing a wave of euphoria. “What’s happening locally around them, and even nationally, alters the way they behave,” says Elkington. “All of these things affect you and I as humans on how we purchase and what we want to purchase.”

The algorithms also analyze sales prospects for personality characteristics. “It turns into this sophisticated dating game, so we’re making sure the right prospects are talking to the right sales reps; and even those sales reps are saying the right things for this personality.”

He adds, “It sounds like it could be manipulative, but it’s nothing but the opposite. If somebody is not interested, it completely disqualifies them. So you’re saving the sales rep’s time and that prospect’s time.”

In addition to a sophisticated communications system, InsideSales.com incorporates a gamification system to motivate sales reps—the specific metrics and awards are tailored to the personality of each rep.

The company has filed for 18 patents, eight of which have already been approved. Elkington says the company is filing up to three patents every quarter. “The stuff we’re doing is unlike anyone else in the market.”

And the proof is in the pudding for InsideSale’s clients. One Fortune 500 company increased its topline revenue production by 30 percent within a 90-day trial period. “We’ll see mid-market, small business improvements anywhere from 50 to more than 100 percent,” says Elkington.

TRAJECTORY: InsideSales is growing at an astounding rate. One year ago, it had 140 employees. Now it has more than 400 and is hiring 20 to 50 people each month. Elkington anticipates the company will have up to 700 employees by the end of this year. “I’m hiring every qualified person I can find as fast as I can.”

The company’s revenue grew 100 percent year over year and, in fact, it has experienced more than 100 percent growth over the past three years. It currently has more than 1,000 clients and is adding up to 100 more every month.

“Demand is not my problem,” says Elkington. “My challenge is operationally keeping up in a responsible way with that demand.” He says the market is “crazy large,” which “creates opportunities for a multi-billion-dollar, very large company.”

In fact, InsideSales was recently valued at $1 billion when it scored $100 million in funding. The deal was led by Polaris Partners, followed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

In the future, InsideSales may apply its artificial intelligence to other fields, but for now, Elkington wants to stay focused. “There’s so much opportunity in the short term that we want to stay focused and not get distracted with things too far outside the low hanging fruit—and there’s truly very low-hanging fruit right now.”

Blue Lemon

INCEPTION: Blue Lemon is the creation of owners Aaron and Lychelle Day, who opened the first location in Highland in 2009. The restaurant is a fast-casual eatery that caters to families and business people in an airy, modern setting. Its menu encompasses soups, sandwiches, salads, pastas and entrees. 

The Days were not experienced restaurateurs—they just wanted to create a good place to eat that was close to their home in Alpine. “We were tired of driving all the way downtown to find something good to eat,” says Lychelle. “It was something that we wanted to do for ourselves and our family.”

Blue Lemon was an immediate hit. “We were still getting our legs underneath us, yet word spread very quickly,” says Aaron.

In fact, not too long after its opening, the couple was approached by the developer of City Creek and invited to open a second location in the downtown development. The City Creek location launched in May 2010, almost two calendar years before the mall itself opened.

At its opening—and especially in the weeks and months after the opening of City Creek—people stood in long lines for a chance to eat at Blue Lemon. And Lychelle says, “We haven’t really stopped with the lines out the door.”

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