Marketing automation startup Autopilot has launched Annotate and Collaborate, a tool enabling marketing teams to collaborate in real-time.
The tool looks to bring the Google Documents experience to Autopilot, allowing teams to work on customer journeys together by leaving feedback on each step through the use of annotations, text, stickers, and images.
According to Autopilot cofounder and CEO Michael Sharkey, Annotate and Collaborate is expanding on the company’s original vision, to recreate the experience of drawing on a whiteboard.
“Whiteboard sessions are collaborative and often include annotations and sketches of how things will work. We wanted to expand on our already visual and simple approach to marketing automation by adding these missing elements of collaboration and annotation,” he said.
“What this means is the whole team can help design the customer journey together and share it with the entire organisation.”
Like others, marketing teams are collaborative, Sharkey said: they’re already using tools such as Slack, Dropbox, and Google Documents, but marketing software hasn’t caught up.
“When it comes to marketing automation software there is no collaboration or shared understanding of the customer journey. Generally, one person in the organisation has the context of how things work and the skillset to build automated campaigns,” he explained.
The launch of Annotate and Collaborate follows Autopilot last year raising US$12 million in a funding round led by Blackbird Ventures and the relocating of its headquarters from San Francisco back to Sydney.
With teams also based in San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, London, Sharkey said the company is now “aggressively” growing its team in Sydney.
“The world-class talent and growing startup ecosystem in Australia are two factors that led us to invest in Sydney. Our goal is to build a long-term, profitable, and high growth business, and what better place to do that from than Australia?”
With the likes of Microsoft, Atlassian, and Greenpeace among Autopilot’s customers, the company is holding its own against big name competitors, with Sharkey said the team is focused on solving its customers problems rather than what its competitors are doing.
“It’s a crowded and competitive market. We like to think we break through that noise with our focus on being the best at one thing: automating the customer journey. We don’t try and be everything to everyone,” he said.
“Staying close to your customer is critical to building a successful company. We’ve found the best way to build software is not to necessarily build the features people say they want but to create a deep sense of empathy to the pain they experience with the problem. Then, we work to remove that pain.”