Enabling Customer-Led Growth
For decades, enterprise software has been sold, not bought. The software selection and purchasing process typically goes like this: a prospect lands on a customer website (which lacks transparent pricing info), they are forced to schedule time with sales, they get walked through a pitch and staged demo that lacks transparency and the ability to get their hands on the product, and then they spend weeks or months going back and forth discussing functionality, pricing, license, and more. On top of that a buyer isn’t just doing this process with a single vendor, it’s often 5+ different vendors!
Discovering what options exist for different types of software has already been tackled by companies like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, Gartner, and many others. But, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to completing a purchase. The most complex, time-consuming, and painful part of the process is the evaluation component which to date has been placed out of the control of the buyer. Even companies that do offer a trial or demo environment provide a completely empty sandbox which either needs heavy lifting by a buyer’s team to populate it with the appropriate data or is completely useless as it doesn’t give a sense of how the product would function under normal company demands.
TestBox is flipping the script and going back to first principles when it comes to evaluating enterprise software. They’ve envisioned a world where the buying process is customer-led and fully productized, putting the power back into the buyer’s hands and removing the many gates put in place by sales, sales engineers, and procurement.
They take the software evaluation process from months, down to hours by enabling the buyer and end users to test as many options as they’d like side-by-side in a unique sandbox environment. Each environment is pre-populated with customized synthetic data using OpenAI’s API to match the workflow and data needs of the customer creating a true apples-to-apples comparison which has never been possible before. What’s more, TestBox better aligns incentives as they are not trying to sell software that isn’t the right fit. They are agnostic to software vendor and are incentivized to help each buyer find the right piece of software for their needs. Additionally, they empower sales professionals to be the champions of their customers, building strong relationships and helping them achieve true success with their products.
Software spend in the US alone is over $500B annually and one of the most dramatic shifts over the past decade is the democratization of software purchasers. Historically, purchasing decisions were centralized among IT or Technology departments but as we moved away from monolith ERPs to a world where best-in-class point solutions have come to dominate, the power of the purse got distributed among the different teams that make up an enterprise. Now a CMO or VP Marketing is selecting which marketing automation system and social media management tool their team should use. A VP sales is choosing which CRM and call intelligence software meets their needs. And, a Head of Customer Success is selecting between Zendesk, Freshworks, and Hubspot for their helpdesk software. On top of this trend, we now see Millennials rising into management positions. These leaders don’t want to talk to sales, but want to self-serve and make their own decisions after testing each piece of software. This desire goes against existing software sales processes and requires a new set of tools to enable them to buy in the way that they want. TestBox is the first truly customer-led buying platform to put the power back in the decision makers hands.
The Right Team, The Right Vision
When we first met Sam Senior and Peter Holland, we knew that this well-balanced duo had big ambitions and the right complementary skill sets to rethink software purchasing. We were struck by their intuition about the need to reimagine and productize something that had never been streamlined and productized before. If they are successful, TestBox will create an entirely new category of software and champion an entirely new go-to-market strategy for software vendors to take a customer-led approach to their growth. This is a vision and mission that we are excited to get behind. We could not be more excited to lead Textbox’s Seed round and get the opportunity to join them for what is going to be an amazing ride in disrupting an extremely entrenched sales model and evolving the $500B software purchasing market.