Why did you pivot from a social media management company to a customer experience management company?
We were never a social media company. Ten years ago, when I started using the words ‘customer experience management,’ it was an alien concept. People were like, ‘What is that?’ Prior to founding Sprinklr, I was president of Epsilon Interactive, [where] we put together interactive and DoubleClick email solutions. We were a large email marketing company, probably the largest at that time.
We saw from the get-go that this new wave of channels was really going to rewrite the rules of engagement, so we built an omnichannel interaction-management infrastructure with modern marketing, advertising, care, research and engagement stacks on top of it.
Ten years later, the modern channels changed the rules of the game, and you need to take a unified approach that cuts across silos and is based on real customer data that’s legally available to you. You can never be certain with these things, but we bet the farm on it. And that’s the reason behind our growth.
With all these channels coming out, how do you future-proof your organization?
We have 35 channels that we support: 11 messaging channels and 24 social media accounts. And this is what is staggering. Think about it, right? I mean, there are channels that people don’t think are channels.
But if another channel comes along that would change the game, how do you build that into your platform?
The reason we were able to add channels faster than everyone else is because we built an underlying architecture that allows us to do that very quickly. We spent a lot of energy in the first several years getting that omnichannel is disruptive to reaching, engaging and listening to customers. If you look at the channels that are very popular, some of them are coming to us and we’re working with them to provide business tools for that. So instead of building out their own ad manager, they’re like, ‘Hey, use Sprinklr.’ And they’ve given us their APIs.
How do you capitalize on the opportunity that maybe PR would provide?
Our primary concept is media value. Our customer projects are showing that you can get two times, three times the lift by strategizing across paid, owned and earned as opposed to one at a time. You have your publishing infrastructure connected to your listening and connecting to your paid infrastructure. Right now, I don’t know who else has all this in one architecture or one product and with a global editorial planning and a PR calendar view.
Our customer projects are showing that you can get two times, three times the lift by strategizing across paid, owned and earned as opposed to one at a time.
Have you ever thought about partnering with a communications technology platform like a Cision or a Meltwater?
Parts of them are complementary and parts of them are competitive. They have all attempted to do what we do by acquiring into the space. Many of them have. It’s not something that we’ve reached out and attempted to do. I think at some point we’d get to a “build or buy” decision. We’ll solve it then, but we have a five-year roadmap and we’re just crazily building against it.
Sprinklr has expanded into Central America and Mexico. Are there other markets that have piqued your interest?
We have a different problem: We’re unable to hire fast enough. We’re going to have to hire a thousand people. We have 1,800 employees right now. Mexico is exploding in terms of social media, and this is probably true for most of the Latin market. I believe they’re like the fourth-biggest users of social media channels. In many markets, social media is becoming the primary way to interact with a brand. That’s particularly true in markets where the phone infrastructure is not mature like in Asia. So we have a client in Asia, which turned on WhatsApp as a customer care channel, and in 10 days, it became the No. 1 customer care channel.
We’re growing rapidly around the world, and for us it’s a question of prioritization. We just announced Chicago as our 25th office. How do we grow responsibly? We’re an enterprise software company, we're not going to play the consumer software game of wasting a ton of money and just quickly expanding. We’ve got to do that responsibly.
Do you have to go about raising funds in a different way than a consumer company would?
The good news is growth has been so strong that we’re sustaining ourselves quite well. You can see that the last time we raised money was in late 2016. We’re able to grow fast enough that our growth is funding our expansion and everything we do.