Seattle-based Stride, which is trying to provide “sales software for the rest of us,” launched in private beta in March 2012 and just launched its web-based sales tracking software to the public. It’s targeting freelancers, independent contractors, and small businesses who want to focus on providing their core services and not spend time figuring out how to work a complex sales software full of functionality they don’t really need.
Co-founders Andrew Dumont, Nathan Carnes, Adrian Pike, and Amiel Martin said the idea for Stride came from recognizing that sales software isn’t targeted or designed for people who aren’t salespeople themselves. “It was actually the idea of Nathan, he owned a small design shop, and what he found was when he playing with different tools was that his primary function wasn’t sales, it was design and running his business, but he still needs to bring in new clients,” Dumont commented in an interview. “Every tool he found and tried out was far too complex, and it was built for salespeople. It used terminology that sales people understood and it required a lot of in-depth information upfront when you entered a contact.”
The platform leaves out contact management tools, which are core to many other CRM and sales platforms. The site is built around providing deal management, and it provides the functionality to set tasks, reminders, and allows users to invite other users for real-time collaboration without having to pay an extra user setup fee. It also provides standard sales templates that shows a progression of sales activities that can be customized, and shows metrics on things like how many deals a user closes, how much time they’re spending per deal and how much money the user has in the pipeline.
“We wanted to avoid what a lot of tools out there do, they charge for the number of users you have, we didn’t think that was the best way to do it. It’s better to have more people working on a project together, and we didn’t want penalize people for that,” Dumont said.
The company runs on a freemium model, allowing users to sign up for a free account that gives them all the features and functionality to manage up to five deals. As soon as the number of deals increase, users have to pay a monthly subscription fee of anywhere from $9-$49 depending on how many deals they want to be able to manage.
There are still a lot of other more established online softwares that provide more advanced functionality in contrast to Stride, including Highrise, Pipelinedeals and Base, all CRM and sales tools aimed at a small business market that doesn’t have the volume or need to subscribe to Salesforce. There’s also a CRM plugin for Gmail, Streak, that allows users to manage their pipelines from their inbox. Dumont believes those tools still focus on salespeople and providing contact management functionality, which is already accessible in a number of other platforms. Stride just wants to provide a dashboard to keep track of clients and deals, with no bells and whistles.
“The big distinction between us and other folks is the focus on contact management rather than deal management. Whereas their primary function is adding contacts, and keeping a database of contacts updated, with our product that’s not the primary function, the reason being we feel that can be done elsewhere. We’re working on features that will allow users to pull in that information dynamically and magically without manually entering that information,” Dumont added.
Stride currently has iOS and Mac desktop apps in the works, in addition to building an API that will allow users more integrated functionality with other services frequently used by freelancers and independent contractors, including Freshbooks, BaseCamp, and Box. The company has primarily grown its user base from word of mouth and private beta invites, and for the time being their focus remains on building a product that provides a simple and effective experiences for individuals that need clients but not necessarily a complex CRM to manage them. With so many other CRM and sales platforms out there, the startup will need to convince users that its freemium model and simple focus on deal management is a better alternative.