Software start-up Promptu wants to help build a bridge between two parts of companies that don't often communicate: marketing and sales.
The San Jose, Calif.-based start-up, which launched this week, is now
shipping its first product, Promptu eMarketing 1.5. This Web-based software creates extranets, hubs where sales representatives along with a company's partners and resellers can share information in real-time.
Problems crop up, Promptu executives say, when companies don't deliver all
their latest marketing information to salespeople on the road or resellers
marketing products worldwide. Without shared marketing tools, these
salespeople and resellers must establish their own sales programs.
Alan Chase, Promptu founder and chief executive, said the company's
clients include Apple, 3Com and Shell.
Analysts say Promptu is trying to solve a problem that a growing number of
companies face--by narrowing the communication gap between large
corporations and their often far-flung salespeople. Promptu's portal also
helps cut the time it takes to update advertising campaign and marketing materials.
"If you're in sales, you feel like you're a day late and a dollar short,"
said Bob Thompson, analyst at research firm FrontLine Solutions. "By the
time a lot of the information the company produces gets to you, you needed
Other companies targeting Promptu's space include Menlo Park, Calif.-based On Demand and Boston-based start-up Cojoin.
Network equipment maker 3Com said the company used Promptu software to help
cut the time it takes to update artwork and advertising materials it provides its partners from a week to an hour.
Before using Promptu's software, a programmer would post and update all
artwork and advertising using HTML code, a process that usually took a week
and was somewhat complicated, said James Peters, a 3Com marketing manager.
Now, 3Com is able to publish images, templates, tools and other content on
a Web site designed exclusively for 3Com marketing and its partners.
Instead of building from scratch, 3Com users can now easily access the
advertising and artwork materials from the Promptu system and then modify
them on the fly.
Thompson said the market Promptu is entering has potential to grow quickly
as companies explore "clever" ways to link themselves with their partners,
their customers, or even other companies.
Promptu, founded earlier this year, recently nabbed a $5 million round of funding from Discovery Ventures and Trinity Ventures.
By partnering with Qwest Communications for data center space, Promptu will
host its applications for customers--with prices starting at $12,000 per
month. Companies can also buy the software directly from Promptu with
license fees ranging from $150,000 to $200,000, plus a $500 monthly hosting
fee. The company said it takes about eight to 12 weeks to get its
applications up and running.