Episode 53: Losing Your Largest Distribution Platform with Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight
What would you do if your business suddenly lost its largest distribution platform? Brandon Bruce, COO and co-founder of Cirrus Insight, was thrown a curve when his company’s application was removed from the SalesForce App Exchange, its largest distribution outlet. While this blow might signal the end of most application’s lifecycle, Cirrus Insight’s branding and unique lead generation capabilities kept the app alive and well.
What is CRM?
Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform allows salespeople to track their correspondence with clients, providing them with valuable data about leads, trends and relationship advancement. CRM systems typically require a significant amount of manual data entry, especially in regard to email correspondence. Brandon explains how this additional work required by most CRMs hurts user adoption, ultimately leading to a CRM’s failure. Software Architect and Co-founder Ryan Huff saw an opportunity to develop a Salesforce plugin that automatically maintains record of these communications, while connecting with email and mobile devices without leaving Salesforce.
Prior to starting Cirrus Path, the parent company of Cirrus Insight, with Ryan Huff, Brandon worked in the advancement department at Maryville College in Tennessee. When Ryan approached Brandon with the idea of Cirrus Insight, Brandon’s background in both sales and CRM systems immediately told him they were onto something. Cirrus Insight lives inside of a browser plugin that automatically transmits data from Google Suite and Office 365’s calendar to the Salesforce ecosystem. Cirrus Insight launched on the Salesforce App Exchange in 2011 with great success, becoming the #1 application ranking on the app exchange for five months in 2012. The massive growth and success of the application even caught the attention of Inc. Magazine, placing them on the Inc. 5000 List three years running, peaking at #41 in 2016.
Leaving the App Exchange
Despite their high rankings, large userbase and stellar reviews, Cirrus Insight was removed from the Salesforce App Exchange without warning. Brandon shares his thoughts on how companies launching within somebody else’s sandbox should anticipate and prepare for critical situations like this, and how despite losing Cirrus Insights’ biggest distribution platform, it also opened the door to exciting, new opportunities with customers
Supporters of Hope
One of the greatest satisfactions for Brandon is finding good people with great ideas. Cirrus Path is always looking for the next opportunity, nurturing entrepreneurs primarily in the tech industry, showing them the company’s playbook for success and helping them launch their own businesses. In the tech world where there always seems to be “an app for that” to make life easier, Brandon cautions that this is not always true. Sometimes there’s no replacement for hard work, so you just have to hunker down and do the work, even if it’s manually. To those interested in seeing for themselves what Cirrus Path has to offer, Brandon invites you to be a guest at his weekly company lunch on Fridays if you are in Knoxville, Tenn.
Connect with Brandon Bruce