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Sales pitch impresses ex-Xero boss

Chris, Joel, Aaron

Former Xero Australia boss Chris Ridd has joined local tech startup SalesPreso as an investor and adviser as it gains traction for its ‘PowerPoint on steroids’ platform among some of Australia’s largest organisations.

Mr Ridd invested in SalesPreso as part of a $2 million seed funding round last September which was led by Sapien Ventures, but he has now joined the company in an official capacity as a strategic adviser as it looks to make the transition from highly rated startup to successful company.

SalesPreso was started by former Mojo digital communications and marketing creatives Joel Thomson and Aaron Cooper, and differs from Microsoft PowerPoint or highly backed startup Prezi in that rather than just focusing on an app to create sales presentation, it also acts as an enterprise-wide cloud-based platform to host and evaluate presentations.

Therefore large sales teams can share the presentations, work on them together and also track the sales staff out on the road to make sure they are delivering the correct and most up-to-date version of a sales presentation.

Mr Ridd said he first came into contact with SalesPreso when Mr Thomson and Mr Cooper were presenting it as a sales pitch to another company he was advising. While a deal wasn’t struck, he liked the idea of the company and ended up as an investor.

“I sat there reflecting on my 26-odd years where I have managed a lot of sales teams and I thought ‘wow, this is this is really compelling’ as it fills in a real gap that I always felt at Xero,” he said.

“When the rubber hits the road and the salesperson is out presenting the company story to a client, as a sales manager you really don’t know what they’re doing. You hope that they’re using the latest presentation but this allows you to track and measure and look at all the details.”

Unlike Mr Ridd’s former company Xero, SalesPreso is not a high-volume business in terms of customers. Rather than winning hundreds of thousands of small customers, it targets higher-value larger organisations with significant sales teams to manage.

It has already signed up large clients including REA Group, Australia Post, StarTrack and MYOB, and Mr Ridd said it has another five coming on board in the next three months, plus another ten that are in pilot phase.

Mr Cooper said Mr Ridd’s involvement had already made a big difference, as he had challenged the founders to think differently about how to scale the business in order to pursue larger enterprise customers.

“The big shift we’re seeing is towards far larger-scale implementations. Until recently, we were talking 100-plus users per client, but now our newer engagements in Australia and across the US and UK are for enterprise organisations with distributed sales teams numbering well over 1000,” he said.

From: Paul Smith @SaysSmithy, Technology Editor

Read more: http://www.afr.com/technology/apps/business/former-xero-boss-ridd-joins-powerpoint-killer-salespreso-as-backer-and-adviser-20170224-gukztv#ixzz4Zxf5drba