UPDATED 07:30 EDT / JUNE 03 2021

AI

Revenue intelligence startup Gong raises $250M in late-stage funding

Sales revenue intelligence company Gong.io Inc. has raised $250 million in a new round of funding that brings its total amount raised to date to $584 million.

Franklin Templeton led the Series E round, with participation from Coatue, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Thrive Capital and Tiger Global, Gong said today.

Gong is attracting big money for its artificial intelligence-based analytics platform that’s used by business-to-business companies to boost their revenues. The platform works by recording sales representatives’ conversations with buyers and analyzing those interactions to suggest ways they can improve. The idea is to help sales reps be more persuasive during interactions with customers.

As an example, Gong might identify if a sales rep needs to spend more time explaining the benefits of a particular product. It can also flag more specific items of interest, such as highlighting if mention of a certain selling point increases or decreases the chances of a deal being made.

Gong’s platform also provides revenue forecasting capabilities. It analyzes the data it collects from customer interactions and works out how likely each deal that’s still in process is likely to close in the seller’s favor. It also estimates when the deal might close. Further, it flags potential issues that might reduce the seller’s likelihood of selling a specific product.

Revenue intelligence isn’t unique to Gong. There are a number of competitors in the space, including names such as Chorus.ai and Loupe Software Inc., which does business as Canopy.

Gong Chief Executive Amit Bendov told SiliconANGLE that Gong’s biggest advantage is that it’s the pioneer in the space and that it has a much larger database of sales interactions than any of its rivals. Hence, Gong’s insights and recommendations are more useful and effective as it has more data to use as a baseline for training, he said.

That situation is unlikely to change anytime soon either, because Bendov insists that Gong dominates the revenue intelligence market.

“From a customer traction perspective, Gong has over 2,000 customers across sectors and company sizes,” he said. “Some of our notable customers include Paychex, LinkedIn, Slack and more. This represents over 75% of the revenue intelligence market, based on company estimation.”

Gong only recently raised $200 million in a Series D round of funding in August, and since then it has grown rapidly. It said its annual recurring revenue jumped 2.3 times between the first quarter of 2020 and this year, though it didn’t provide absolute numbers. It now counts more than 2,000 customers, up from 1,300 in August. Of those, three are said to be Fortune 20 firms that recently signed up.

Bendov said the additional funding would give Gong the resources and flexibility it needs to continue scaling up its platform. “It will help the company to build better products, services and functionality by focusing on research and development,” he added.

Gong is confident that with today’s funding round it can grow its business even more rapidly. Bendov explained that most business leaders still use static reports, anecdotal evidence and self-reported information to understand what drives their revenue, and that means they lack a full understanding of why certain outcomes are achieved, and more importantly, how they can adapt to improve sales.

Gartner Inc. believes there’s a bright future for companies that can provide this full understanding. In a recent report it forecast that more than 60% of business-to-business sales organizations will transition to “data-driven selling” by 2025. To do that, companies will need to merge their sales processes, applications, data and analytics into a single operational practice, it said.

Bendov said Gong does this, primarily by integrating with customer relationship management platforms such as Salesforce and collaboration tools such as Slack.

“CRM systems make very poor systems of engagement,” Bendov said. “While they contain a wealth of information for business leadership, getting staff to put information into them or utilize the information that’s in them is an ongoing battle. What organizations need is a simple and intuitive way of capturing and analyzing all customer and prospect interactions in order to provide the highest degree of insight into what makes a successful customer relationship.”

Ryan Biggs, a partner at Franklin Templeton, said technologies such as Gong’s that optimize productivity and customer satisfaction have become more important as business has transitioned to a remote-work model.

“Once businesses experience Gong’s revenue intelligence, its value is undeniable,” Biggs said. “We believe this product has become a fundamental requirement for professionals looking to drive sales based on the true needs of customers.”

Image: Gong

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