Cirruspath is a 1 year old company funded with angel capital. It consists of a team of 8 people who have developed the tool they are presenting within our CRM Idol 2013 contest: Cirrus Insight.
The engaging customer experience with Cirrus starts when you are on the home of their website. It directly invites you with its nice and clean UI, clear product positioning and positive customer testimonials to test the free version. Once registered you start using cirrus from Gmail. And this is really what cirrus is about: it's an app that integrates salesforce.com with Gmail, and apparently the number one app available on Salesforce App Exchange to integrate salesforce.com with Google Apps in general. Like some kind of middleware between two systems.
Ryan and Brandon, the two founders of Cirrus, had the idea for their business model and tool being close to customers. They observed that customers want to use as view tools as possible to manage leads, opportunities, contacts, accounts, etc., and also want to have a simple integration to their communication tools. “Salesforce is the big CRM tool out there, and Google is the big communication and network tool out there” – and Cirrus was born. Their focus is targeting salesforce.com customers who are using Google Apps, the majority of their leads are generated through the salesforce.com Appexchange.
Own development of functionality is scarce, as both salesforce.com and Gmail are quite complete in their domains. It´s the simplicity of integration (1-click-install) and workflow experience that makes cirrus competitive from the user perspective on the one hand, but also characterless on the other hand as nothing really new has been developed. You only notice you are not “purely” using Gmail or salesforce.com by seeing the Cirrus logo on your screen. This simplicity is the reason “CRM haters” like using Cirrus, as it does not remind them of a complex and data capturing = time consuming tool. Salesforce.com CRM functionality is actually being managed in few clicks in a quarter of the screen at the right hand side.
Figure 1 - Cirrus Insight integrated with Gmail
Cirrus stands out by fast deployment towards end users as new features are instantly deployed and its cloud infrastructure scales it on demand. Customer engagement is being perceived from the beginning, and marketing messages are all about delighting customers and making the usage of the app a magical experience. Once a customer is interested in cirrus a structured and frequent communication via digital channels is initiated – and maintained. During the demo some compelling KPIs regarding user acceptance have been showed to capture our attention (cirrus users have created 100K+ new leads, saved 3-4MM emails, looked up 100MM+ records, etc.).
The pricing model Cirrus offers starts with a $15/month/user SaaS subscription. If you want to add Calendar sync, you pay $17 and up to $19 for additional objects and customizable fields. Considering the offered functionality this is quite expensive, as you have to pay for the salesforce.com CRM functionality and the other SaaS services you need in addition to that. Nevertheless Cirrus is growing and its average number of seats is moving from the 1-20 range towards a lot larger seats. The conversion rate from the free trial version to a paid version is also quite high at 50%.
Apart from generating leads through the Appexchange platform, Cirrus has a channel of 125+ signed salesforce.com consulting partners and Google apps resellers.
Cirrus´ future plans include the development of contact sync, the integration of mobile devices, and an extended chatter integration.
All in all Cirrus did a great presentation, very well prepared, very good in answering questions, smart marketing messages, and passionate about what they´re doing. They have a nice product that fits right between two extremely popular platforms. Crucial for their growth will be the relation of price/offer once they start growing into bigger enterprises. We recommend to build more content around support and service to strengthen the current positioning focussed on user acceptance.