Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

ClearSlide, Super Simple Sales Pitches in the Cloud, Lands $11 Million

How many times a week does someone try to sell you something for your business? Probably lots of times, and the tools they’ll use will vary from the old-school cold call by phone to the occasional WebEx conference and the like. Sometimes they get the job done, but often they just waste time for both the person receiving the pitch and the person doing the pitching.

ClearSlide, a start-up headed up by Al Lieb, the co-founder of Evite, and Jim Benton, the co-founder VP of Sales at AdBrite, aims to make certain kinds of sales calls more low-impact for all involved. It just attracted a nice $11 million series A investment led by Greylock Partners. Prior investor Felicis Ventures is also in on the round.

Nothing in sales is more important that using the customer’s time wisely while also making a good first impression. Spend too long fumbling with a PowerPoint deck attached in an email or struggling to get a video conference working just right, and you’ve lost the prospect until you can get their attention again, which isn’t likely.

ClearSlide is a cloud-based service that makes presentation decks as easy to call up as a Web site. You have a dedicated, personalized URL. No attachments to send, no applications to install. Just give your customer a Web address and show off your presentation. The service supports graphics and video. The point is to improve your first impression and raise the odds of closing a deal. Customers who are using it include Expedia, Rackspace and LivingSocial.

The service is being aimed very specifically at sales teams, and is meant to work as well whether in person, over the phone or via email. Later this fall, new features will include advanced analytics and a version intended specifically for field-sales pros.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus