Blog Post

Transforming Websites into Sales & Marketing Machines: Why We’re Excited to Lead Qualified’s Series C

Transforming Websites into Sales & Marketing Machines: Why We’re Excited to Lead Qualified’s Series C
Investment / April 26, 2022
Written by , Rajeev Dham , Demi Obayomi , Iladro Sauls

For most companies, the website is one of the most important channels to impress a potential customer. For B2B companies in particular, the more personalized the website, the better the chance it has to influence key decision-makers and turn them into brand champions.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a common approach to personalizing buyer engagement, but it falls short when it comes to a company’s website. In short ABM’s objective is to strategically identify and engage with key personas through a variety of channels–from email engagement to digital advertising and beyond–so that eventually, they are compelled to engage with a sales rep.

The challenge is that once an ABM strategy leads a decision-maker to your website—then what? If the CEO of your company’s dream customer was browsing your website’s pricing page, wouldn’t you want to know? And shouldn’t this important contact receive a white-glove experience from an inbound sales rep–armed with all relevant buyer intent data–in that exact moment?

The opportunity to make this a reality is why Sapphire is excited to back co-founders Kraig Swensrud (CEO) and Sean Whiteley (President), and the rest of the team at Qualified, to lead their $95M Series C. Qualified is the de-facto platform for companies using the world’s #1 CRM, Salesforce, as their go-to-market hub. With Qualified, customers can boost their sales pipelines through personalized engagement with website visitors. While Qualified is already taking the market by storm, we are in the early innings of the company’s journey to help companies maximize their ability to convert website traffic into sales opportunities. 

Here’s more on why we’re excited to back Qualified:

A Glaring Market Need for Next-Gen Personalized Website Experiences

While targeted marketing has been a defining characteristic of the internet over the past decade, innovation around delivering a personalized experience once a potential customer actually reaches a company’s website has seen little advancement.

Today, many companies effectively sit on their hands when hot leads enter their “digital front door,” missing opportunities to guide prospects to the right information on their website and failing to deliver a concierge-like experience to potential purchasers.

Past generations of website enablement solutions have often lacked in suitability and/or efficacy. First-gen rudimentary chatbots generally have made web visitors feel more frustrated than supported, and the legacy conversational marketing tools that followed weren’t built with data-rich, ABM-focused enterprise customers in mind.

Powering Best-in-Class ABM-Driven Pipeline Generation

Our partnership with 6sense has given us visibility into the importance and accelerated adoption of an ABM strategy, and Qualified enables companies that share this ethos to get even more out of their sales and marketing efforts.

Here’s how: Qualified helps companies design and deliver bespoke conversational experiences to engage prospects browsing their websites. By leveraging data from their company’s GTM tech stack, sales and marketing teams can segment web visitors and deliver unique, relevant experiences to each one. Conversational experiences could range from using a chatbot to proactively guide a top-of-funnel prospect to an educational white-paper, or even alerting a sales rep to reach out via the chatbot to engage with a high-priority lead who just arrived on the website. Qualified is also able to provide intent data and analytics on prospects based on website activity, which is invaluable to sales and marketing teams.

Qualified_Product Shot1

Qualified has proven its value amongst its customers, including large publicly-traded tech companies (e.g., Adobe, VMWare), high-growth venture-backed software companies—including many in Sapphire’s portfolio (e.g., project44, Dremio, Alation, OwnBackup, Braze, ThoughtSpot)—and other B2B companies across industries (e.g, Sodexo, Korn Ferry, Gamma Telecom). Many of these customers rave about the highly-personalized website journeys they’re able to deliver to customers. And what’s more is that many have ripped out legacy vendors in favor of Qualified’s best-in-class solution.

To top it off, Qualified has an exclusive partnership with Salesforce to power “AppExchange Chat.” Companies that sell on Salesforce AppExchange–the leading cloud marketplace enabling companies to supercharge their Salesforce CRM with compatible third-party applications–can leverage Qualified’s customer engagement engine natively within the AppExchange interface. The broadening surface area of Qualified’s product is enabling customers to identify and capture high-value leads across their most important customer engagement channels.

A World-Class Team Led by 3x Co-Founders

Qualified’s CEO, Kraig Swensrud (left), and President, Sean WhiteleyQualified’s CEO, Kraig Swensrud (left), and President, Sean Whiteley (right)

You will be hard-pressed to find a team more qualified (pun intended!) to help companies maximize pipeline conversion from their websites. Co-founders Kraig Swensrud and Sean Whiteley have been business partners for almost two decades. In 2006 the duo sold their first business, Kieden, to Salesforce. They then co-founded GetFeedback, an online survey platform which was acquired by SurveyMonkey, before starting Qualified in 2018.

At Qualified, Kraig and Sean have assembled a dream team to join them on their journey, including CRO Robert Zimmermann (20+ years of experience leading sales organizations at Salesforce and Twilio) and Chief Customer Officer Dan Darcy (13+ years at Salesforce, where he was most recently SVP of Global Enablement).

We look forward to working with these leaders and Qualified’s seasoned Board of Directors, and contributing our experience investing in exceptional B2B GTM tech companies including current Sapphire portfolio companies 6Sense, Adverity, CaptivateIQ, Clari, Highspot, Leandata and Outreach.

We are thrilled to partner with Kraig, Sean and the entire Qualified team! You can learn more about Qualified’s products here and if you’re interested in joining their rapidly scaling company, see a list of open roles here.

Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute investment advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Sapphire Ventures (“Sapphire”). Information provided reflects Sapphires’ views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Sapphire shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Companies mentioned in this article are a representative sample of portfolio companies in which Sapphire has invested in which the author believes such companies fit the objective criteria stated in commentary, which do not reflect all investments made by Sapphire. A complete alphabetical list of Sapphire’s investments made by its direct growth and sports investing strategies is available here. No assumptions should be made that investments listed above were or will be profitable. Due to various risks and uncertainties, actual events, results or the actual experience may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in these statements. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Past performance is not indicative of future results.