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Are Your Outside Sales People Really Working? Nashville Startup: CallProof Can Tell You

Anyone who owns or runs a business with an outside sales force has undoubtedly experienced cheating sales people. You know the type, the ones who come in for the sales meetings, report that they’ve seen a bunch of clients and that none of them were interested in your services. For all you know they could have been sitting at Starbucks all day, running around doing personal errands or even worse, at home sleeping.

Business owners and operators with outside sales forces have probably tried a few CRM solutions, but even those can be ineffective. Sales people forget to update them, or they fudge their entries just to prove they’re doing a great job.

Not all sales people are bad, of course you know your top producers, they’re out there making sales.

A startup in Nashville aims to help those with outside sales forces.  CallProof keeps call logs and appointment records and can allow a manager to monitor the progress of their sales people, even if they’re using their own phone (with permission of course). This way you can see if your sales people are making a bunch of one minute phone calls or they’re actually going through the sales process.

With CallProof you can also see if your sales people are making appointments. CallProof isn’t just about the underperforming or lazy sales people. Managers can use the data provided by CallProof to help coach their sales people as well.

Robert Hartline the CEO and Co-Founder of the Nashville based startup, created out of necessity. He was actually one of those managers managing an outside sales force for a wireless company. He created CallProof to make sure that sales people were doing the necessary activity to actually produce results.

We got a chance to talk with Hartline in the interview below.

What is CallProof?  
We are a phone app for IPhone/Android and web portal that automatically reports calls and appointments to clients and prospects so sales people don’t have to enter data into CRM.  The app also allows managers to see in real-time sales activities for his sales team as well as see where they are on a map.
In layman’s terms, how does it work?
Imagine a foursquare app but with your client and prospect data mashed in a news feed where you can see Calls, Appointments made and recorded calls.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?  
Robert Hartline (CEO) owns a chain of retail wireless stores in TN and created Call Proof out of a need to manage his outside sales team.
Greg Donald our Chief Computer Scientist has a decade of programming experience from building web applications to iPhone and Android development
Where are you based?  
Nashville, TN
What’s the startup scene/culture like in Nashville?
The start-up scene is growing rapidly here mostly in the healthcare space.  Jumpstart Foundry is a local accelerator has been active a number of years has been a launching pad for several new companies such as who received $600,000 in early funding after Jumpstart Foundry
How did you come up with the idea for Call Proof?
I managed an outside sales team for my wireless business selling wireless to local businesses.  And over the last 10 years have used several CRM systems such as and Sugar CRM and the experience was always the same.  The setup was expensive and clunky and after training everyone and a couple of weeks later nobody was using it and I was trapped nagging them to use the tool so I would know if they were working or not.  But nagging only got me crappy data and did nothing to prove if an outside sales rep was doing the sales activity necessary to be successful.
The average poor producing sales rep can work 10 months in an organization “pretending” to be a sales rep.  They go to the meetings and conference calls, show up around the office and tell you they are working on this and that.  But never close anything.  Because your pricing is too high, the economy is bad, your product isn’t a fit etc…  But the reality is they aren’t getting out there and getting in front of people.  They are simply happy with the small salary and will milk the system until you move them out of your organization.
We can identify that type of sales rep in a couple of days saving thousands of dollars and time.
How did you come up with the name?  
We played with a ton of ideas.  Call Proof basically says what we do.  Unfortunately a domain squatter had and we had to pay $2200 for it.
What problem does Call Proof solve?  
Our app gives salespeople a tool that sorts his/hers customers and prospects based on his GPS.  Sales management uses the tool to see what clients and prospects are getting calls and face to face meetings.  Ultimately be able to see what sales staffs are winners and losers.
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?  
Building it has taken over two years.  We began using it over a year ago internally and the beta stage was challenging to get it to work.  Our biggest fear was that we would not be able to get it approved in the Apple store since they are almost 40% of the smartphone market in the enterprise space.  But yesterday we finally got our approval.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?  
Getting the iPhone app approved.
What’s the first thing you would do  with a one million dollar investment?  
Hire 10 B2B sales people to market by vertical.
What’s next for Call Proof?  
We are improving the features of the web portal such as soft phone integration and recorded calls.

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Check out CallProof for yourself here
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