Originally posted on Deseret News
LEHI — Utah tech unicorn InsideSales announced a rebranding Monday, with the sales optimization platform moving forward under the Xant — short for cognizant — moniker.
Xant CEO Chris Harrington, who replaced InsideSales founder and longtime CEO Dave Elkington earlier this year, said the rebranding decision reflects an evolution of the company’s bigger focus on enterprise clients.
“Xant is changing how (business-to-business) enterprises buy and sell to each other, and our former brand did not capture that,” Harrington said in a statement. “No group has benefited more from the continued proliferation of data and digital access than buyers — think about how much a buyer knows about a company they are considering buying from before they ever talk to a sales rep? How does a sales professional adapt in this world? Xant will do for sales what Waze did for navigation by using collective user experiences to improve sales interactions.”
The 15-year-old company got its start marketing an autodialer for sales teams that also collected data on the seller-buyer interactions it mediated. The dialer system did well, but an innovation pivot would happen years later when Elkington recognized that the collected data, along with the ability to interpret it, would become a far more powerful tool than the original product.
In a 2017 Deseret News profile, Elkington described the aha moment.
”We were collecting a lot of data, but really for the first seven years, we were selling productivity, not optimization,” Elkington said. “Then we hit a tipping point with the data, and all our models started working exactly as we had thought they would.
“It was stunning.”
What that modeling showed was that Elkington was spot on in his thinking about how to combine a huge and seemingly disparate number of data points in a way to create accurate, predictive directions for how to approach, engage with and sell any type of product or service to any type of customer — anytime and anywhere.
His core idea for the data engine at the heart of InsideSales, he said, came from the work he did on his senior thesis as a philosophy major.
”I believed I could systematically represent the way people learn and categorize that data and information,” Elkington said. “It’s based on the idea of propinquity, that similar people act and behave in similar ways.”
When you attach a gigantic body of information about how people behave in sales interactions with that philosophical concept, and then push it through the sieve of a proprietary machine learning engine, you get a product that has led InsideSales/Xant to garner $250 million-plus in investment and earn a valuation in January 2017 of $1.5 billion, according to tech business data site Crunchbase.
The company said it has also expanded its automation tools to enable marketing and account management teams to optimize their productivity, visibility and effectiveness.
Utah online tech giant Pluralsight is one of Xant’s customers. Heather Zynczak, Pluralsight’s chief marketing officer, said her company has used the platform to leverage positive outcomes from customer engagement opportunities.
“When we were looking for a new partner to help our marketing and sales teams, we wanted a solution that could accelerate a prospective customer effectively through the sales and marketing funnel,” Zynczak said in a statement.
“We are now able to leverage this engagement solution powered by real data to avoid unwanted and untargeted outreach,” Zynczak said.