Innovation and Entrepreneurs: 4DSales on way to becoming an Oklahoma success story
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2015 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Angels and early stage investors such as i2E make a first-round investment in a startup with the expectation that the company will achieve prescribed milestones that mitigate risk and lead to substantial returns for all.
The first milestone is usually to build out a customer-ready version of the firm’s prototype solution. Next is signing up some number of paying customers and determining whether revenues will sufficiently offset the cost of producing those sales.
Last year 4DSales, a Tulsa-based firm that provides a mobile sales application to help sales reps achieve more and larger sales, closed a $500,000 investment round led by i2E.
With that funding, 4DSales created an enterprise version of their application platform that works for widely diverse businesses and includes interactive content.
The result? Today 4DSales has a scalable enterprise solution and a client base of companies that range from $5 million to $50 million to $150 billion in sales. 4D customers have proven that the 4D solution helps increase revenue.
The 4DSales enterprise solution allows exciting sales tools and all current sales material to be put in the hands of sales reps when they need them — from video demonstrations of products to facility tours to interactive cost justification models that allow sales professionals to estimate return on investment and other benefits based on assumptions that they input with customers during sales calls.
Now 4DSales is tackling the next milestone of seed stage start-up success — efficiently and cost-effectively reaching more potential customers and closing more sales. That’s particularly challenging for business-to-business (B2B) solutions as the early stage funding model is almost never large enough to support creating a direct sales force and fully developing a sales channel.
CEO Brian Carpenter and the rest of the 4D founding team are especially qualified to take this hill. Collectively they bring career-decades of sales and sales-executive experience.
“To scale our sales, we want partners that have both shared values and shared commitments, where what we do is complementary with what they do so that synergy can be built in what we do together,” Carpenter said.
4DSales hit on the creative plan to scale up their momentum through distribution relationships with sales training and executive consulting organizations.
“These organizations already have relationships at senior levels with their customers. 4DSales provides our partners with additional opportunities to bring value to their end customers,” Carpenter said. “We’re delighted with the reception we’ve received.”
Innovative products are the price of admission for startups. Forging innovative sales channels and distribution relationships, as 4DSales is doing, by making your company attractive to organizations with existing sales relationships in the target markets you hope to serve — now that’s the holy grail.
Did you know? More than 50 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best return on investment.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.