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Ex-Microsoft execs connect dots between marketing content and sales performance

Which of your company’s pitch presentations translate into revenue most often? For that matter, which ones are modified most often by the sales team?

Three-year-old startup Highspot, founded by several former senior Microsoft managers, uses machine learning to answer these notoriously elusive questions.

“Marketing teams create an arsenal of content, when it changes in the field, they lose all visibility into its performance,” said Highspot CEO and co-founder Robert Wahbe, the former corporate vice president for Microsoft’s server group. “They can’t see who is using it, how it is resonating with the customers, and how effectively it is helping to convert more sales. Content Genomics lets marketing and sales find out which content is performing well and what is falling flat.”

Highspot’s technology measures how often specific brochures, presentations, white papers and other marketing content are modified or customized. It works with cloud applications that businesses already use to manage and share documents of this nature, including Salesforce, conferencing applications such as WebEx, email apps including Outlook or Gmail, and collaboration services including Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. From there, the software traces which pieces wind up in the hands of prospects and whether those leads are eventually closed, Wahbe said.

Highspot scored $9.6 million in Series A funding last November, led by Madrona Venture Group. Technically speaking, this marketing intelligence feature is still in “beta.” Still, it’s being rolled out this week to the startup’s roughly 100 customers including SAP’s Concur business unit, human resources data company PayScale, and travel site

“Content marketing is not a new way to reach the customer, but there is a lot of time wasted on creating and sharing content that just doesn’t get read,” said Madrona managing director Tim Porter, when the round was disclosed. “Robert and his team are bringing data science to the workings of sales and marketing to allow them to close more deals and do it more quickly.”

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