Microsoft Dynamics Copilot

Copilot summarizes Teams meeting notes.

Microsoft announced Microsoft Dynamics Copilot, an interactive, AI-powered assistance tool for sales, marketing, customer service, operations, and supply-chain management.  Microsoft is positioning Copilot as an AI that helps businesspeople “create ideas and content faster, complete time-consuming tasks, and get insights and next best actions.”

CEO Satya Nadella promised that Copilot will “transform every business process and function with interactive, AI-powered collaboration.”

In the short run, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s Cloud & AI EVP, believes that “the fastest way to get some of this AI value” will be via “finished app” integrations like Copilot.  Microsoft can tailor integrations into apps that “people are already trained on.”  This augmentation strategy lets Microsoft “move faster,” so there is a “huge opportunity.”

Few people outside of the AI community had heard of ChatGPT, much less experimented with it, until a few months ago, but now it is being widely tested by end users, noted Guthrie.  “People are looking for solutions that integrate with their workflows that they already have and help them kind of accelerate even more.”

“And then, I think, we’re also going to see the next generation of apps that are going to be built on the raw APIs and the services around it that are going to re-envision pretty much every experience that we see,” continued Guthrie.

Copilot operates within Dynamics CRM and ERPs to reduce mundane tasks such as manual data entry, content generation, and note-taking.

And such tools are welcome by front-line workers.  According to a recent Microsoft survey, nearly ninety percent of workers hope AI will reduce repetitive tasks.

Dynamics 365 Copilot offers generative AI to automate tedious tasks and “accelerate their pace of innovation and improve business outcomes.”

Copilot is natively built into Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales.  AI helps sales reps respond to customers and includes email summaries of Teams meetings along with action items, follow-up dates, and voiced concerns.  Additionally, summaries are available for different meeting types, including multi-participant and internal calls.

“The meeting summary pulls in details from the seller’s CRM such as product and pricing information, as well as insights from the recorded Teams call,” wrote Charles Lamanna, CVP Business Applications and Platform.  “With sellers spending as much as 66% of their day checking and responding to emails, this presents a significant business upside to give the seller more time with their customers.”

Email replies are generally available in Viva Sales, and customizable emails will be added on March 15.  “For example, a seller can generate an email that proposes a meeting time with a customer, complete with a proposed meeting date and time based on availability on the seller’s Outlook calendar,” blogged Emily He, CVP Business Applications Marketing.

Sellers will also be able to rate generated content with a thumbs up or thumbs down to help refine replies.  And if the response needs to be tweaked, sales reps can provide a follow-on prompt that updates the response based on the additional context.

Generating marketing text with an emphasized feature.

Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing simplifies data exploration, audience segmentation, and content creation.

Marketers can curate “highly personalized and targeted customer segments by having a dialogue with their customer data platform using natural language,” wrote Lamanna.   Marketers do not need to be SQL experts or wait for an operations specialist to build the query.  Instead, they can build segments in near real-time using Copilot’s Query Assist feature.

“With a few clicks, Copilot produces the results, along with information such as the customers’ average age, product preferences, or average purchase price,” wrote He.  “These insights can then be configured into a segment to support a campaign.”

Copilot also suggests additional segments.

Using Copilot in Dynamics 365 Marketing, marketers can describe their customer segment to a query assist feature and look for inspiration for fresh email campaign content based.  “Copilot makes suggestions based on key topics entered by the marketer, the organization’s existing marketing emails, as well as from a range of internet sources to increase the relevance of generated ideas,” blogged Lamanna.

Marketers can enter up to five bullet points in Content Ideas, which generates an email via Azure OpenAI Service.

“Unique content can be used as a starting point when composing marketing emails,” explained He.  “It can analyze the organization’s existing emails, in addition to a range of internet sources, to increase the relevance of generated ideas.  With Copilot, marketers can save hours of time brainstorming and editing while keeping content fresh and engaging.”

Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Service drafts contextual answers to queries in both chat and email.  It also supports an “interactive chat experience over knowledge bases and case history, so this AI-powered expertise is always available to answer questions.”

Copilot for customer service drafts emails and chats for customer service agents.

Other generative AI tools support product descriptions and supply chain disruption forecasts based on weather, financial, and geopolitical news.

Copilot is in preview across Dynamics 365 and Viva Sales.


Resources:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q1 Release


LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q1 product, focusing on relationships, personas, and enhanced buyer intent functionality.

The new Relationship Explorer surfaces “hidden allies” and best paths into accounts, helping sales reps avoid cold outreach and “spam cannon techniques.”

“Instead of a blanket approach where you target everyone at an account, you can laser in on the people who are most likely to take a meeting with you based on their persona and what connection they have to you,” explained LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Mitali Pattnaik.  “You can also use it to multi-thread deeper into accounts by finding the next-best person to reach out to.  This creates a more efficient experience for buyers and sellers alike.”

Sales Navigator has long supported introductions and TeamLink (colleague) suggestions, but it has never fully leveraged the value of its economic graph for warm communications.  The Economic Graph supports 900-million-member profiles across 61 million companies, along with current and prior employment, educational background, posts, etc.

Sales Navigator has a second advantage: its profiles are maintained by its members, ensuring that profiles are kept up to date and contain rich data around education, interests, skills, employment history, etc.

“Teams have relied so heavily on cold outreach largely because they’re leveraging sales intelligence tools that are limited in showing how to get a foot in the door of an account.  These tools are chock-full of stale data: everything from incorrect contact info to the wrong person in the wrong role.  With reliance on tools full of stale data, reps end up spamming all potential prospects with a spray-and-pray strategy, leading to an abysmal 1-2% response rate,” argued Pattnaik.  “Looking forward, sellers are going to need to be smarter and reach out with a more personalized approach.”

Relationship Explorer recommends prospects at an account, leveraging the interactions and trends across its professional network “to provide sellers with optimal paths to connect with their target personas at their target accounts.”  As a result, Relationship Explorer saves time prospecting, cross-selling, and upselling at accounts, helping reps find the best contacts at target accounts.

The feature offers up to eight “of the most relevant individuals” based on their target persona and relevant, actionable insights (called spotlights by LinkedIn) based on interactions between members and organizations.  Spotlights highlight both biographic and dynamic information, including recent job changes, LinkedIn postings, and past customers.  As such, they provide timely reasons to reach out and content to include in their outreach.

Relationship Explorer suggests the best contact at an account based on the user-defined persona.

Relationship Explorer is available in all Sales Navigator editions.  However, while it displays a dozen spotlights, not all are available in each edition.  For example, Past Customer spotlights are only available in the Advanced Plus edition.

Personas help users identify their target audience by function, seniority level, geography, and current job title.  They are available on the Homepage, Search, Relationship Explorer, and Account pages.

Users can define up to five personas which act as templates for homing in on ideal prospects.

Persona definitions on the homepage.

Pattnaik suggested several use cases for personas:

  • Creating highly targeted Personas matching target customer profiles.
  • Leveraging Personas in Search, Homepage, or Account Pages to identify the most relevant opportunities.
  • Identifying warm paths and decision-makers at targeted accounts with Relationship Explorer.
  • Using insights from Account Pages, including Persona growth, to prioritize accounts composed of leads matching Personas.

Persona functionality is available to all users.

Over the past few releases, Sales Navigator has built buyer intent into its service.  Its latest intent-based feature is Product Category Buyer Intent, which identifies buyers searching for products in their category.

Product Intent Categories

Previous Sales Navigator intent was based upon research into a vendor.  Product Category Intent identifies prospects researching a product category but may not know a vendor or its offerings.  The two types of intent data can be compared to understand the level of interest in the company versus the interest in the company’s product category, informing sales and marketing strategy.

“Categories are created with AI by combining related keywords into one central category, which is then tied to products using publicly facing product descriptions.  For example, “fintech” and “financial tech” are individual keywords, which the AI model can combine into a single category,” explained Pattnaik.  “Intent is then connected using buyer’s members’ profile as well as recent buying activities on LinkedIn.com to help sellers find the buyers who are likely looking for a solution like theirs.”

LinkedIn is rolling out several new Buyer Activities that will be displayed on Account Pages and the Buyer Intent Account Dashboard.  Additional intent categories are rolling out over the next quarter:

  • LinkedIn Ad Engagement: Clicks and view activity data.  Both of these data points are private, so sellers will only be able to see the general profile of the buyer.
  • InMail Acceptance for a colleague: Displays the public identity of individuals who have accepted InMails from other sellers on the same contract.
  • Company LinkedIn page visits: Clicks on the company page.  Page visits are a private activity, so the buyer is anonymous.
  • LinkedIn profile visits to colleagues and leadership: A new activity that shows sellers when a potential buyer visits the profile of a colleague on the same contract or company leadership.  This is also a private activity.

Buyer Intent is available in the Advanced and Advanced Plus editions of Sales Navigator.

Users can now search against any account list or use an account list as a suppression list.  Other new search filters include:

  • Past Customer (Advanced Plus only)
  • Past Colleague
  • Executive TeamLink – leverages the networks of a company’s executives (Advanced and Advanced Plus only).
  • Viewed Your Profile
  • Product Category Buyer Intent

LinkedIn also enhanced its Sales Insights (LSI) service with the improved matching of companies to CRM accounts and Adjustable Growth Time ranges.

LinkedIn admitted that its previous LSI matching logic may have been inaccurate as it only matched against a few standard CRM fields.  LSI now supports CRM custom ingestion that improves match rates with customer-defined match fields.  There is also an option to force matches based on LinkedIn Ids or URLs.

LinkedIn Sales Insights Field Mapping

Adjustable Growth Time Ranges can be set to 3, 6, 12, and 24-month increments.

Engagement Data Is Becoming Integral to SalesTech

Chorus Momentum identifies deal risks.

One of the most important SalesTech trends, besides the emergence of ChatGPT, is the rapid incorporation of engagement datasets alongside intent datasets for prioritization and messaging.

A few years ago, we saw the emergence of intent data sets such as first-party web visitor tracking, second-party product review site research, and third-party B2B media research.  Initially, this content was integrated into MAPs, ABX platforms, and CDPs, but it was not well integrated into SalesTech.  We are now seeing intent data being integrated into SalesTech platforms in a simplified fashion (e.g., High Intent Topics in CRM profiles and Slack alerts) that is digestible for sales reps. 

However, intent data only indicates whether a company is in-market, not whether the buying committee is considering your offering or seriously engaged with your sales team.  This intelligence comes from a new category of engagement data captured from digital interactions between the revenue team (sales, marketing, and customer success) and the buying committee.  Engagement intelligence consists of both traditional digital interactions (e.g., clickthroughs, downloads) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytics derived from sales and buying team activities.

NLP helps RevTech platforms determine who is interacting with your firm.  It also analyzes buyer sentiment, buyer concerns, deal health, and risk flags.  The primary sources of engagement data are emails, recorded phone calls, and recorded meetings.  However, any digital interaction between buyers and sellers can be captured such as activity in digital sales rooms, webinar attendance, chat messaging, and scheduled meetings.  I anticipate that customer support platforms will also be tapped for engagement data to help gauge churn risk and friction during product trials.

Engagement data indicates whether a deal is on track and what issues could result in lost deals or pushed out pipeline.  For example, engagement data assesses whether:

  • Discussions are single or multi-threaded
  • Key decisionmakers are involved (e.g., has a security review been performed or has legal been included?)
  • Competitors have been mentioned
  • Pricing concerns were raised
  • Follow on meetings have been scheduled
  • Meetings had a positive flow or were dominated by the sales rep

In short, engagement data provides sales reps and managers deal health and risk analytics that improve forecasting and ensure that deal risks are quickly mitigated.  And as interactions are digital, managers can discuss these issues during one-on-ones or offer quick tips on next steps.  They can even review the discussion associated with the risk and identify skills and knowledge gaps for coaching.

Nektar’s Insights Hub details buyer-seller interactions, leading indicators, buying committee engagement, MEDDIC adherence, etc.

The interesting thing about intent and engagement data is they are highly complementary with each other.  Operations teams should be looking at integrating intent data alongside engagement data.  Intent data is valuable for identifying who and when to reach out to ideal customers.  However, once a relationship is established, the focus shifts to engagement data for monitoring deal health.  After a deal is signed, both engagement and intent data are in play.  Intent data identifies cross-sell opportunities and churn risk through second and third-party intent topic monitoring while Engagement and Product Usage data evaluate adoption rates and potential implementation issues.

Engagement data and deal health analytics can be found in Revenue Intelligence services (e.g., Clari, Revenue Grid), Sales Engagement (e.g., Salesloft, Outreach, Groove), Conversational Sales (e.g., Gong, Chorus), Revenue Operations (Nektar), and Sales Enablement (e.g., Seismic, Bigtincan) platforms.

Revenue Grid Deal Guidance

Corporate Visions Acquires Primary Intelligence

Sales Research and Advisory firm Corporate Visions acquired win/loss analytics firm Primary Intelligence.  Primary Intelligence’s TruVoice platform conducts surveys, online interviews, and live phone interviews.  In addition, buyer feedback is displayed in Competitive Intelligence platform Crayon and available in battlecards, newsletters, and dashboards, providing “more depth, context, and insight from the buyer’s perspective.”

TruVoice can also be used for customer experience, competitive analysis, and churn analysis.

Primary Intelligence has collected win/loss intelligence through manual post-mortem deal interviews for twenty years.  Automating the process both lowers the cost of intelligence collection and widens the scope of intelligence collected.  Survey response rates are between 25% and 35% due to the request coming from the sales rep.  Online surveys run ten to fifteen minutes and are dynamically adjusted based on the responses.  TruVoice collects both qualitative and quantitative responses.

Primary Intelligence Buyer Insights provide a roll-up of win/loss insights at an account. Users can drill down to “direct evidence” from the interviews.

“We’ve taken the live interview model that we have honed over our entire existence and turned it into an online experience, where we call it an online interview.  But it really is something that a respondent can do in ten minutes on a mobile device.  There are some quantitative questions for them to record voice responses, which we then transcribe and…publish that data.  And then we still do the live interview.”

“The value of win-loss-no decision analysis at scale is that you have continuous, near real-time feedback on a higher percentage of accounts for improved insights and confident strategy adjustments across all of your revenue teams,” said Primary Intelligence CEO Ken Allred.  “But the biggest breakthrough is having the ongoing rep-by-rep, deal-by-deal intelligence to drive situational training and enablement.  This eliminates the bias of reps providing their own feedback or requiring managers to review hundreds of hours of call recordings.”

Gong and Crayon Partnerships

Primary Intelligence recently partnered with conversational sales platform Gong to integrate in-cycle deal intelligence.  Primary Intelligence delivers a daily log of competitive mentions to sales reps, providing them with battlecard links and links to call transcripts that help them write follow-on messaging that parries competitive statements.  The Gong integration ensures that conversational intelligence from deals is available alongside post-deal analysis, providing a clearer view of why deals are won or lost, comparative strengths and weaknesses versus competitors, and improved messaging.

“Our approach in the last five years or so has been [asking] ‘How can we take the operational lift and automate as much as possible?” explained Primary Intelligence President Nick Siddoway to GZ Consulting.  “Now it’s a process that begins in Salesforce or whatever CRM you’re using.”

The Performance Gaps view displays competitive strengths and weaknesses as seen by buyers and displayed by priority.

Primary Intelligence also recently partnered with Competitive Intelligence Platform Crayon, marrying competitive and win/loss intelligence in a common platform.  The joint solution “helps teams better understand their competitors.”

“In today’s competitive climate, competitive intelligence and win-loss analysis are essential for B2B companies looking to increase win rates,” stated the firms.  “While win-loss interviews and surveys with buyers are filled with critical competitive insights, getting these insights updated into competitive intelligence deliverables, such as battlecards, has traditionally been a slow, manual process — until now.”

Crayon and Primary Intelligence highlight competitor offerings’ relative strengths and weaknesses, providing improved positioning for sales and marketing teams.  A separate pricing module helps debunk sales rep claims that deals are regularly lost on price, providing a more accurate view of deal loss.  By helping differentiate offerings and identify why deals are won or lost, vendor offerings become less price sensitive. 

Primary Intelligence also provides views at the rep level, providing insights into the strengths and weaknesses of reps and where they would benefit from coaching.

“The future of sales enablement is providing custom, rep-specific coaching in the flow of work.  Ideally, those recommendations are based on actual performance feedback from real customers,” said Erik Peterson, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Visions.  “The acquisition of Primary Intelligence will enable us to make invisible problems visible and then provide personalized coaching to individual reps and revenue teams based on how buyers and customers respond.”

“What better evidence that your strategies and spend are actually working as intended than actual customer feedback connected to wins, losses, and no decisions, as well as renewals and expansion cycles?” Peterson added.

B2B DecisionLabs

The acquisition provides Corporate Visions with 100,000 buying decisions spanning twenty years, which will be incorporated into its B2B DecisionLabsresearch and advisory business.  Corporate Visions, which positions itself as a Decision Science company, calls Primary Intelligence its “fourth lab.”  B2B DecisionLabs incorporates behavioral research, brain studies, and field trials, alongside customer feedback.

TruVoice customer feedback is Corporate Vision’s latest B2B DecisionLabs laboratory.

“We will engage our B2B DecisionLabs research director, Dr. Leff Bonney, co-founder of the Florida State University Sales Institute, to effectively leverage the incoming data points into insights using all applicable and appropriate academic research-based approaches, tools, and techniques,” explained Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Visions and Chief Visionary at B2B DecisionLabs, to GZ Consulting.

“Our expectation is that this steady flow of buyer-driven deal insights will completely distinguish B2B DecisionLabs among other research and advisory firms who rely on their subscriber clients to provide data snapshots and self-reported survey responses to formulate their industry insights,” continued Riesterer.  “This will be in addition to our completely unique brain study lab and ongoing field trials with actual clients.”

The Primary Intelligence dataset provides a deep set of historical and cross-industry data that captures deals both in progress and after closing.  This research complements its other three research laboratories.

“This will give our advisory clients even more confidence in the B2B DecisionLabs recommendations compared to opinion surveys and moment-in-time snapshots of data,” said Riesterer.  “It will also mean we can provide more reliable tools than you otherwise get from peer communities that only curate unexamined personal experiences and unsubstantiated claims of expertise.”

“This ongoing flow of customer-sourced data will also be used to continually expand and enhance our revenue growth services to ensure Corporate Visions’ clients always have access to the industry’s best and most updated intellectual property,” Riesterer added.

Corporate Visions offers science-backed revenue growth services for sales, marketing, and customer success.  Along with hosting conferences and training, Corporate Visions helps firms “articulate value and promote growth” in three ways:

  1. Make Value Situational by distinguishing your commercial programs between customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.
  2. Make Value Specific by creating and delivering customer conversations that communicate concrete value, change behavior, and motivate buying decisions.
  3. Make Value Systematic by equipping your commercial engine to deliver consistent and persistent touches across the entire Customer Deciding Journey.

By April, Corporate Visions plans to combine automated win-loss-no decision customer feedback with automated skills coaching and customer messaging content from Corporate Visions.  Riesterer intends to launch the “first fully automated, situational enablement solution that identifies rep-by-rep weaknesses based on actual customer feedback, to direct specific, custom coaching videos to help address these challenges – in the rep’s flow of work.”

This vision shifts sales rep training from “just-in-case” event-based generic classroom training to “just-in-time” situational coaching and enablement that is customized to each rep and deal.  This training will be “always on, deficit-based situational coaching and enablement” that does not require managers to “listen to a bunch of calls or read a lot of feedback and then formulate a custom coaching plan.”

Data Anonymization

Corporate Visions has already considered which data can be employed for aggregate analytics.  Research protocols are subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval.  Data will only be available for aggregate analysis with the consent of customers.  Unique identifiers are stripped from the data and replaced with arbitrary data identifiers, and no individual customer’s data will be published. 

B2B DecisionLabs has “partnered with Florida State University as the primary means of data analysis and have taken the steps as outlined in GDPR protocols regarding ‘Information Processors’ to ensure that data is passed to FSU without any unique respondent identifiers,” explained Bonney.  “To decrease any risk of inadvertent identification of a customer in the data, Primary Intelligence will assign the ‘ID number’ to customer data and then pass [it] to the B2B DecisionLabs and FSU research team, who will have no input or insight into how data ID numbers are assigned.  Additionally, Primary Intelligence will remove any data fields that may be used to ascertain the identity of any one customer.”

The FSU IRB will review Primary Intelligence’s anonymization protocols.

Real-time Coaching

Managerial deal coaching “just doesn’t happen and won’t happen at scale,” remarked Riesterer.  Furthermore, “because the system continues to run and generate customer deal feedback, you will be able to monitor, measure, and modify enablement interventions on the fly to see the impact and make continuous appropriate adjustments.”

Thus, the merged company will combine neural research concerning purchasing behavior and buyer studies, with in-the-moment situational coaching tailored to each rep and deal.

Primary Intelligence’s TruVoice platform

LinkedIn: Using AI Responsibly

LinkedIn posted its AI principles today. These are all high-level which is a good starting point, but implementing rules and policies requires more details.

AI is not new to LinkedIn. LinkedIn has long used AI to enhance our members’ professional experiences. While AI has enormous potential to expand access to opportunity and transform the world of work in positive ways, the use of AI comes with risks and potential for harm. Inspired by, and aligned with our parent company Microsoft’s leadership in this area, we wanted to share the Responsible AI Principles we use at LinkedIn to guide our work: 

  • Advance Economic Opportunity: People are at the center of what we do. AI is a tool to further our vision, empowering our members and augmenting their success and productivity. 
  • Uphold Trust: Our commitments to privacy, security and safety guide our use of AI. We take meaningful steps to reduce the potential risks of AI.
  • Promote Fairness and Inclusion: We work to ensure that our use of AI benefits all members fairly, without causing or amplifying unfair bias.  
  • Provide Transparency: Understanding of AI starts with transparency. We seek to explain in clear and simple ways how our use of AI impacts people. 
  • Embrace Accountability: We deploy robust AI governance, including assessing and addressing potential harms and fitness for purpose, and ensuring human oversight and accountability.
“Using AI Responsibly,” LinkedIn In the Loop Newsletter (March 2023)

As with every new technology, it can be used for either the betterment of society or malign purposes. Setting out principles helps frame product management and engineering in building their models, promoting trust, and setting guidelines to reduce negative effects (e.g., recapitulating bias, spreading misinformation and disinformation).

Transparency helps reduce negative effects as well. If it isn’t known why a recommendation was made, how can it be trusted? Furthermore, how does one know that the AI isn’t recapitulating somebody’s IP; gathering information from incorrect, malign, or outdated sources; or making incorrect assumptions? Thus, black box AI should be avoided.

Microsoft is the early leader in implementing Generative AI, a category of AI “algorithms that generates new output based on data they have been trained on” (Gartner). The best known of these is ChatGPT which generates text and carries on chat conversations. Microsoft recently invested $10 billion in OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools. It is quickly moving to integrate it into Bing and other products.

On Monday, I will post about ChatGPT being integrated into Microsoft’s Viva Sales product.


GZ Consulting Resources

Groove Plays Announced

Groove Plays are triggered when one or multiple conditions are met.

Sales Engagement vendor Groove introduced its Plays service to the market this morning.  Groove observed that most sales engagement vendors tout flows (aka cadences and sequences) but that sequenced, linear processes fail to capture the increasingly complex nature of modern enterprise sales.  Furthermore, flows were initially designed for SDRs and appointment setting but are inadequate for meeting the broader needs of the revenue team.

Along with the introduction of Plays, Groove is shifting from sales engagement to a broader vision of “Connected Sales Execution” that unifies team, strategy, and technology.

“When my co-founder Austin and I founded Groove, we were sales leaders facing the exact challenge that Groove Plays solves,” said CEO Chris Rothstein.  “We knew that in order to digitally transform sales as a profession, we had to start by building a foundation in advanced data capture and linear-process automation.  With Groove Plays, we are introducing the next generation of Groove to solve the biggest untapped market in sales.”

Forrester recognized this transformation in its Q3 2022 Sales Engagement Platforms Wave report, noting that Groove’s activity capture and interaction management are “top-notch.”  Groove collects and aggregates signals from interactions and scores from Salesforce and external sources such as Clari, Seismic, 6sense, and Snowflake.  “This information is used to connect buying group members and make suggestions based on broad data sets.  Groove specializes in industry-specific and customer-specific suggestions and signals.”

“We’re launching Groove Plays as a way to take your playbook finally out of your head and put it into software so that you can assist reps at the right time, rather than after it’s too late,” explained Rothstein to GZ Consulting.  “And then the second huge benefit: if you can constantly see what’s being done, what’s not being done, and what’s correlated with winning, then you can evolve and constantly get better.

Plays are designed for complex, non-linear sales processes.  Sales Operations set up Groove Plays to monitor accounts for risks and opportunities.  Plays are triggered when specified conditions are met (e.g., stalled deals, single threading, missing participants by role).

Groove Plays also monitors rep activity to see whether plays contributed to positive outcomes.  Thus, sales managers and operations teams know whether sales reps follow company playbooks and which ones are effective.  Play analytics are broken into outcomes without intervention (the playbook was followed), with intervention (the playbook was followed but after a reminder), or ignored.

Furthermore, by monitoring activity, Plays prevent reps from failing to follow critical steps (e.g., sending a follow-up message after a call, quickly turning around meeting action items).

Groove Play Outcomes analyzes the efficacy of Plays

Alerts are fed to Groove’s Master Review List, which is displayed in its Chrome extension and visible across Salesforce, Groove, and email.  In addition, timers can be set to prevent plays from automatically firing, thus reducing the likelihood that reps are overwhelmed by automated triggers.

Plays provide proactive coaching instead of waiting until account reviews or forecasts.  Delayed recommendations are generally reactive instead of proactive.  “At that point, it’s too late.  And then you react way too late.  Our goal is for you to put the rules in the system, so it’s assisting you at the right time when there are signals…so you can be more proactive and consistent,” stated Rothstein.

Plays recommend actions when specific criteria are met.  For example, a play can be built for deals with negative sentiment concerning price and slowing engagement.  The play could then recommend an ROI calculator to a prospect, helping shift their thinking from cost to ROI.

Plays can also be built around handoffs, ensuring that crucial transition steps are not skipped.

Plays are also integrated into Groove’s conversational intelligence service and generative AI, providing meeting follow-up emails based on insights.  Reps can choose to regenerate the email or add snippets.

Groove suggests “ideal email content based on insights gathered from earlier in the deal process via Groove Conversations and advance activity capture.”

Plays can also be designed around deal risk, suggesting actions if key buying committee members are not engaged.  Likewise, plays can be setup if MEDDIC steps have not been completed, the primary contact has not responded to a renewal message, or internal approval timelines are not being met.

Groove’s RIO AI engine consists of three underlying engines:

  • NLP: Analyzes emails and generates insights for coaching.
  • Association: Ties actions to outcomes across the tech stack.
  • Guidance: Suggests actions based on sales plays and generates personalized content and best engagement times.

Groove supports “Connected Sales Execution” across sales, marketing, and customer success.   RIO ingests account and activity histories with feedback loops to refine plays and recommendations.  Thus, Connected Sales Execution spans teams, processes, and technology. 

“We’re a platform to help you execute your sales strategy,” argued Rothstein.  At its heart, Groove employs AI, processes, rules, and sensors (e.g., email capture, calendar capture, logging, phone calls) that analyze activities and generate insights.

“We’ve always been a company that connects all these things: the technology and the process, the team and the process,” stated Rothstein.  “Where we can help is getting everyone on the same page, executing the playbook in real-time, and seeing what’s working and [what’s] not.”

Groove Plays is in Alpha with a planned Q2 beta.  Groove Plays will be available to all customers at no additional cost when it GAs this summer.

Lavender Series A

Lavender Insights

Lavender, which markets an AI-powered sales email coaching platform, closed an $11 million Series A, raising its total funding to $13.2 million.  Norwest Venture Partners led the round with participation from Signia Venture Partners.  The funding follows strong growth in 2022, with revenue rising 865%.

Funds will be deployed towards expanding its team and introducing “new AI-powered features that help revenue teams not just understand why their messaging is falling flat but also provide actionable coaching to improve productivity and generate faster responses.”

“Lavender’s new investment helps it build out a generative AI solution at the intersection of email marketing, sales enablement, and news and information,” wrote Outsell Lead Analyst Randy Giusto.  “It shows where sales and marketing intelligence vendors must head next.”

Lavender integrates with a user’s email workflow, helping reps improve response rates.  It also delivers prospect company and contact intelligence.  Lavender scores emails and recommends steps to improve response rates.  It also “coaches sales reps on how to build meaningful relationships and close more deals.” 

Along with raising response rates, email composition time is significantly reduced.  Lavender claims that rep time writing an email drops from fifteen minutes to one while raising email response rates fourfold to twenty percent or more.

“Using Lavender is like giving every seller on the team a dedicated coach, making them more effective, more efficient, and more confident in their job,” stated CEO William Ballance.  “This funding quickly accelerates our ability to build the best email experience for sellers around the world.  Most importantly, we’re creating new jobs as our team of #EmailWizards rapidly expands.”

The Lavender Team Dashboard

Lavender recommendations are initially based on “millions of successful sales emails and your historical emails.”  However, it continues to adjust recommendations based on “what works best for you.”

Lavender evaluates the subject and body to improve open rates.  It will identify subjects that are too long, not in title case, or contain numbers and punctuation.  For the body, it looks at the length, layout, spelling, and grammar.  For example, long sentences and paragraphs are difficult to read on mobile devices, so they are discouraged.  According to Lavender, 80% of buyers are viewing emails on their phone, “so making emails easily scannable on a mobile device is imperative.”  A mobile preview window displays the email as it would appear on phones.

“We recommend things across multiple categories, including formatting, phrasing, tonality and emotional intelligence, mobile optimization, personalization, and more,” explained Lavender COO Will Allred to GZ Consulting.  “The data is always shifting though, and as trends shift in sales emails/what works well for that user and/or their team, Lavender’s scoring and recommendations dynamically adjust accordingly.”

Other Lavender features include a coaching dashboard, AI for Sales emails, and a personalization assistant.  The coaching dashboard provides individual and team email scores, open rates, reply rates, and writing time.  It helps managers determine which reps require additional coaching, what is working, and why it is working.

Lavender includes a “Start my Email” function that employs generative AI to “draft impactful outgoing email messages” based on seed bullet points from the rep or as email responses based on the email thread. 

The generative AI is OEM’d from OpenAI & Cohere.

The personalization assistant displays recipient context to assist with personalization.  For example, lavender surfaces social data, personality insights, news, events, job listings, funding announcements, and other intelligence within the composition workflow.  Lavender AI also recommends “personalized intros to tailor your email and make it relevant to the recipient.”

Lavender is integrated with Gmail, Outlook, Outreach, and Salesloft.  Lavender Anywhere, a Chrome extension, supports email composition for HubSpot, LinkedIn, Groove, Apollo, Engage, Outplay, and Mailchimp.  As Lavender Anywhere is not directly integrated with these platforms, users must cut and paste the resulting text into the communication window.  Lavender Anywhere is available with Pro and Teams licenses.

“Lavender is delivering exceptional value to our customers.  Their integration provides real-time email assistance to help Salesloft customers build and deepen their relationships with prospects through better emails,” said Salesloft VP of Global Alliances Devin Schiffman.  “We share in the mission of helping sellers be loved by the buyers they serve.”

Customers include Twilio, Sharebite, Sendoso, Segment, Lucidworks, and Clari.  Allred said Lavender sells into a “large range” of companies, “but our sweet spot tends to be mid-market tech or tech-enabled companies.”

“Lavender is marketed toward ‘sales emails’ – but many things are a sale,” continued Allred.  “Our users use Lavender for B2B sales, recruiting, customer success, marketing, and many more.”

While output is English only, features such as the email generator or summary tools can ingest foreign language input.  Thus, Lavender “works great for ESL (English second language) selling into English speaking markets,” said Allred.

“Lavender’s platform goes beyond basic AI-generated writing to augment—rather than automate—sales outreach and humanize every interaction.  It supercharges sales reps by reducing their time spent writing emails so that they can focus on building relationships and selling products,” said Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners.  “We were blown away by the ‘customer love’ for Lavender’s product, which is a testament to the founding team’s deep understanding of their end user and the tight-knit community of sales leaders it has already built.  We’re excited to partner with this team on the journey ahead.”

The firm has benefited from the recent interest in generative AI and ChatGPT.  “We were using GPT-3 long before ChatGPT was a thing, but ChatGPT has definitely increased interest in Generative AI more broadly.  Users have created UGC (user-generated content) of them using Lavender to edit ChatGPT–generated emails,” explained Allred.  “But before ChatGPT was released, thousands of users were already getting the benefit of it within Lavender.”

“We view the process of emailing as four parts: research, creation, editing, and learning,” continued Allred.  Lavender assists in all four.  Generative models can assist along the way to streamline things for our users.”

Lavender employs a freemium pricing model.

Lavender is sold on a freemium basis.  Free users receive email analysis and personalization for five emails per month. 

Reps can license an Individual Pro license for $29 per month that provides unlimited emails and recommendations.  In addition, the Pro service includes Lavender Anywhere, multi-inbox support, analytics, and Gmail and Outlook 365 integrations.

For $49 per user per month, companies can license a Team edition that includes Team AI coaching, Team Insights, a Manager’s Dashboard, and SEP integrations for Salesloft or Outreach. Lavender offers a seven-day free trial and free premium licenses for job seekers, students, and bootstrapped entrepreneurs.

Crayon Integrates Primary Intelligence

Primary Intelligence Buyer Insights provides a rollup of win/loss insights at an account. Users can drill down to “direct evidence” from the interviews.

Competitive Intelligence Platform Crayon announced an integration with win/loss insights platform Primary Intelligence, marrying competitive and win/loss intelligence in a common platform.  The joint solution “helps teams better understand their competitors.”

“In today’s competitive climate, competitive intelligence and win-loss analysis are essential for B2B companies looking to increase win rates,” stated the firms.  “While win-loss interviews and surveys with buyers are filled with critical competitive insights, getting these insights updated into competitive intelligence deliverables, such as battlecards, has traditionally been a slow, manual process — until now.”

Win/loss analysis is conducted after deals close.  Primary Intelligence acts as a third-party collecting data concerning why they selected the vendor, who else was considered, their selection criteria, and how the vendor stacked up against other vendors across the selection criteria.  Historically, this was a human-driven service, making integrating the intelligence into the CRM challenging and restricting availability to the top B2B firms.

“Our approach in the last five years or so has been [asking] ‘How can we take the operational lift and automate as much as possible?” explained Primary Intelligence President Nick Siddoway to GZ Consulting.  “Now it’s a process that begins in Salesforce or whatever CRM you’re using.”

Primary Intelligence reaches out to decision-makers associated with an opportunity as soon as the deal closes.  Primary Intelligence sends an email from the sales rep requesting an online interview.  Automated surveys increase the number of buying committee members that can be interviewed before hitting budgetary caps and make the service available to a broader set of clients.

Survey response rates are between 25% and 35% due to the request coming from the sales rep.  Online surveys run ten to fifteen minutes and are dynamically adjusted based on the responses.

“We’ve taken the live interview model that we have honed over our entire existence and turned it into an online experience, where we call it an online interview.  But it really is something that a respondent can do in ten minutes on a mobile device.  There are some quantitative questions for them to record voice responses, which we then transcribe and…publish that data.  And then we still do the live interview.”

Primary Intelligence President Nick Siddoway

Furthermore, the firm has “democratized” win/loss research for “smaller organizations that can’t budget $1,000 an interview,” said Siddoway.

Primary Intelligence also analyzes Gong recordings during the sales window, providing both in-flight and post-mortem deal analysis.

Primary Intelligence’s TruVoice platform conducts surveys, online interviews, and live phone interviews.  In addition, buyer feedback is displayed in Crayon and available in battlecards, newsletters, and dashboards, providing “more depth, context, and insight from the buyer’s perspective.”

TruVoice can also be used for customer experience, competitive analysis, and churn analysis. It also offers an aggregated Performance Gaps view that displays strengths and weaknesses according to buyer prioritization.

The Performance Gaps view displays competitive strengths and weaknesses as seen by buyers and displayed by priority.

Primary Intelligence battle cards, available with Crayon, rollup feedback on competitive deals.  Reps can see all related deals, outcomes, and competitive insights with quotes.  Siddoway described the battlecards as a frequently used feature by sales reps as they can find direct competitor-related quotes from previous deals and forward them to current prospects.

“Today, every deal is a competitive deal,” argued Siddoway.  “Through our 20+ years of win-loss analysis, we’ve seen the impact competitive intelligence has on win rate.  If you can provide your reps with that insight and help them have confidence when selling against competitors, it makes all the difference.  This integration is going to be game-changing for our mutual customers.”

“Competitive intelligence professionals and product marketers have historically struggled to include critical win-loss insights within the competitive assets their revenue teams use every day to win more business,” stated Crayon VP of Strategy Chris Pope.  “Due to this unique integration, our mutual customers will now be able to solve this problem in an automated way for the very first time.”

Siddoway noted that sales reps are often in the dark about why they lost a deal.  “They’re wrong more than half the time about why they really lost an opportunity.  So, we just stopped asking [them].”

Primary Intelligence offers a separate module for price.  Back when I did competitive intelligence, deal price was the reps’ favorite explanation for lost opportunities, so having third-party win/loss data with comparative prices and decision criteria helps with pricing analysis.

“Here’s your wins and losses, and here’s the percentage of time you are higher, lower, or similarly priced.  Every sales rep’s favorite reason for losing is price.  I love coming in with their data and saying, ‘Yeah, but you actually win half the time as the higher price option,’” said Siddoway.

Furthermore, by helping differentiate offerings, vendor offerings become less price sensitive.  Crayon and Primary Intelligence highlight competitor offerings’ relative strengths and weaknesses, providing improved positioning for sales and marketing teams.

Primary Intelligence also provides views at the rep level, providing insights into the strengths and weaknesses of reps and where they would benefit from coaching.

Last June, Crayon announced a partnership with Gong to deliver a daily log of competitive mentions to sales reps, providing them with battlecard and call transcript links that help them write follow-on messaging that parries competitive statements. “Product marketers and competitive intelligence professionals dedicate a tremendous amount of time ensuring sales reps are equipped with the most up-to-date competitive and market intelligence,” stated Crayon CPO Erica Jenkins.  “However, despite these efforts, there’s still friction around the adoption and use of these enablement materials.  The integration between Crayon and Gong gets competitive intel into an account executive’s hands quickly and easily, drastically improving competitive positioning for reps to level up their game.”

Kyle Porter Steps Down as Salesloft CEO

Salesloft Chairman Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter, who founded and led Salesloft for the past dozen years, stepped down from the CEO role and was named Salesloft’s Chairman last week.  In his place, the firm named SaaS veteran David Obrand its new CEO.  Obrand is also joining Salesloft’s board.

Porter grew Salesloft into a unicorn with a $2.3 billion valuation.  In December 2021, Vista Equity Partners took a controlling interest in Salesloft

Over the past six years, the company grew ARR 20-fold and now supports 4,500 customers.  It also began its international expansion with offices in London and Singapore.

The firm began as a contact email enrichment service based on email guessing but expanded its vision to Sales Engagement with the launch of its Cadence service.  It continues to widen its scope, with the addition of modules for Deals and Conversations.  Functionality includes sales engagement, conversational sales, meeting scheduling, a partner ecosystem, and forecasting.  Its Rhythm service, which dynamically provides prioritizes a sales rep’s day, was announced at its August Saleslove conference.

I’ve known Kyle Porter for around a decade. I was impressed when he mothballed his first email guessing product because it wasn’t aligned with his belief in sales authenticity. It was a gutsy move. While he didn’t burn his boats (i.e., immediately remove the product from the market), he stopped selling the service and phased out the product while fulfilling current contracts.

Porter is also a gifted storyteller, which he emphasizes as a skill that sales reps should hone.  His personal story is embedded into his management style.

I had the opportunity to interview Kyle on Friday. The conversation below was edited for length.

Why have you chosen to move upstairs?

There are two major reasons.  The first is for the greater good of the business.  I’ve seen this market unfold and the opportunity that we have in front of us just open up.  It’s unlimited what we can do in sales and revenue generation.  And our mission has always been to fundamentally change the profession of sales forever and really build a world where sellers are loved by the buyers they serve.  I want every Lofter to have our mission as their primary focus within this business.  And that means I need to have it as well.  My goal is to always do that.  And when I looked out to the future of everything that we could achieve, the biggest fear I had was that I wouldn’t be the right person to help us get there – that I would leave something on the table.  

My skills are always growing, always developing.  I consider myself a lifelong learner.  And I’ve worked really hard to be just as good as I can at this stage as I was when there were zero people at the company. That evolution, however, is hard work.  And that self-development is a deep investment.

Tangerine Groves, Winter Haven, FL

The second piece of this is more of a personal perspective.  On my very first date with my now wife…she asked me what my dream was, and I told her it was to run a technology company that makes a dent in the universe.  I asked her hers, and she said it was to restore the glory that was the Florida citrus industry…

Now with someone like David, he’s already gained that wisdom, experience, know-how, and recall.  It’s so natural for him.  And I felt like we could accelerate the development of the CEO’s capability to take us to the next level by bringing in someone like David.  So really, it’s based on my limitations as CEO.  The opportunity ahead of us is just so big.  And we have an amazing future in this business.  We do the right things, and we serve our customers with excellence.  There’s no limit to what we can achieve, so I wanted to accelerate the office of the CEO’s capabilities and really improve the handicapped chances to achieve our mission. 

Porter with his family.

Some opportunities came up to really achieve that mission that she’s been on.  And I realized that my talents and resources could greatly assist her just as she sat on the sidelines and helped me achieve my mission for over twelve years.  I realized that it’s not right for this organization with so much growth ahead to have a CEO that’s not singularly focused on the mission of the business…I’m going to do tangerines with my wife, and that meant that it was the best decision to have someone that would be singularly focused on the mission of this business…

Of course, there are also my three children. While my daughter Brooklyn (8) is still going through the change curve of me no longer being CEO, I’m incredibly excited to pour more time and attention into her, my son Clark (5), and daughter Abby (1) as well!

How active will you be as the chairman?

Pretty active.  We have a founder lunch that I’m going to continue.  I’ve been corresponding with many customers this week, and I will retain those relationships and meet with them continuously.  I’ll be a board member.  David has asked for a once-a-week meeting indefinitely with him.

I just have really deep relationships with so many people inside the organization and with so many of our customers and partners.  My enjoyment and my passion are to continue to work with those people.  So customer meetings, board meetings, and one-on-ones with the CEO.

We got some really fun content projects that we’re working on.  We’re going to be doing some work together to really show the market what’s happening and what’s changed and how to be more effective in this new world of modern sales.

What were the top criteria for selecting your successor?

Number one is that they are aligned with the mission of the business.  When we talk about fundamentally transforming sales and revenue forever, this person that we brought on board had to have that in their heart already.  Number two is they have to realize and understand that organizational health is the biggest sustainable differentiating advantage that any company can have.  So when we love on our Lofters, they turn around and love on our customers, and the CEO needed to understand those dynamics and be willing to continue running this business with that framework and mindset.  Three, I wanted someone that was well-rounded functionally.  Not just a sales leader, but someone that understood product engineering, finance, marketing, [and] customer success.

I saw it firsthand when David Obrand got up and spoke with the product and engineering team.  I sat, and I listened to someone say things that I wish I had thought of saying to them in the past.  Things that I didn’t know and didn’t experience.  And the way he connected with them was on a very deep level.  And it was really refreshing for them to see someone that understands them even better than I did.  So that was really cool.

When you think about succession as a founder, there’s a point at which your skillset, knowledge, or experience isn’t the right fit for taking the company to the next level.  And many executives, out of hubris, choose to continue in that role, even though they may not be the best person for that role.

I believe exactly what you said.  But I also believe that we really don’t have any limits except for those imposed upon us by ourselves.  I’ve always believed that we can grow and develop into that next stage, and I’ve always believed that for myself, but that investment sometimes takes time.  And if you have other things that you’re focused on, it’s more difficult to get down that development path.

You had a quiet layoff last week.  Usually, you’re more transparent about these things.  Why the shift away from the prior transparency, and why was it necessary to do so?

Necessary is an interesting word.  I teach our leadership team that they don’t need to do anything; they always choose to do certain things.

On the transparency front, we did have a layoff after COVID.  And we didn’t make a public announcement on that, as well.  We believe that’s a private thing for the people that are part of the organization.  We want to be super transparent internally about everything that happened.  And if someone goes out and posts something, we don’t stop them or send them a note saying, don’t write that by any means.  But that is a private kind of situation for the people who are impacted and affected.

Now, I am certainly helping people to find jobs.  And we’ve assembled a list.  And I’ve made many introductions.  I’ve brought a lot of investors in, And we are helping those folks to find their next path.

SalesLoft, like many companies, saw lots of growth in the market and then saw some headwinds in front of us.  And the way we think about it is that you’re in an airplane, and when the headwinds come, you can do two things: you can accelerate through and burn all your fuel, or you can lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and pick back up.  The decision we made was to lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and then pick back up with the business.

What advice would you give founders of technology startups?

Really obsessing over the problem you solve is the first and foremost most critical thing that founders need to do.  And when I say obsessed, I mean you need to get everybody in the organization on board with caring so much that they love their customer; they love solving the pains for them.  And the company that cares the most is the one that’s going to win.  Number one is that customer obsession and a really deep focus on the problem that you solve to the point where it becomes just a daily rhythm of your life.

The second one is aligning your organization to go after your mission.  The mission statement is something where you’re one stop short of changing the world.  We want to fundamentally transform sales forever.  And that’s what we’re here to do.  And so we need to hire people who believe in that mission, even down to the engineer.

We’ve created this whole community of people from every walk of life who love sellers and who understand the beauty of what sales is and how it transforms economies and markets.  How it helps companies hire, invent, bring new products to life, and really change the fabric of our society.  Making sure that your team is focused on that mission is critical.  Then you got to have the rhythms in place where they’re being held accountable [and] where you’re achieving your goals.

You’ve emphasized the importance of culture.  How did Salesloft benefit from your five core values?

Salesloft’s values are listed on its “Who We Are” page.

What we’re looking for when we hire people is not that they’re five out of five A+, but that they have many of the core values [and] also believe that the other ones that maybe they’re not as strong in are important enough to work towards.

The other thing is that core values are a way to stop yourself before you make a mistake.  Once a mentor told me [that] a good leader makes a mistake and quickly fixes it, [but] a great leader is about to make a mistake and fixes it before they do.  And for me, that’s what the core values are.  If we say that we want to be glass half-full, and I find myself about to say something negative.  In the old days, I would say it, learn it, and fix it.  But now, before it even comes out of my mouth, my head says, “glass half-full,” and I change the way I deliver that message.

Or if I’ve got a decision where I can go left, and it’s maybe better for money and then go right, and it’s better for customer experience.  Then, customer obsession comes into my mind before I make that decision so that I can go right for the customer.  We look at core values as triggering mnemonic messages in your head that help you to be the person you want to be.

As a CEO, you’ve got to repeat those [values] over and over again.  Reward people who exhibit it.  You’ve got to praise those who showcase it.  Repetition is persuasion in that regard.

What is one mistake you wish you could have avoided?

We never anticipated the market would come back so fast post-COVID.  Nobody did.  Had I understood that, we wouldn’t have slowed down like we did.  But then, we also never anticipated that the SaaS market would crash the way that it did.  Had we understood that, we would have slowed down a little bit more before we did.  Hindsight is 20/20.  If you can predict those things, you can be a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager. 

We’re always trying to align market demand with the resource supply of the organization.  So that’s a continual trade-off that we’re working to make.

Are you looking forward to more time on the citrus farm?

Tangerine Gift Box from Salesloft

I’m really excited.  One of the things we do is send tangerines out to our customers.  Every single year we do it, and I’m not going to miss that.  We’ve got to keep producing great tangerines, so we can keep getting them into the hands of our customers. It is a joy and a passion of mine and my wife’s.  She’s been so helpful to me on this journey, and I’m excited to help her follow her dreams.

Any last thoughts?

Yeah, we’re in a great spot.  As a company, even with what we’ve seen in the downturn in the marketplace, we saw a really strong end to our Q4, and Q1 is off to a great start.  Our CEO is highly capable.  He’s wise.  He’s been welcomed with a huge Salesloft hug inside the organization, and I’ve seen our customers and market participants really appreciate who he is and what he’s going to do.  We’ve got a big opportunity to fundamentally transform the sales profession ahead of us.  And we’re going to do it.


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Vainu’s Nordic Coverage

Vainu’s Nordic Coverage

Scandinavian Sales Intelligence vendor Vainu released a new platform for its Swedish and Finnish databases.  The new platform includes expanded datasets, CRM connectors, usage-based pricing, and an updated UX.

Customers can migrate to the new platform or stay on the old one near-term.  However, future development will only be made for the new one.

The new platform offers a “simplified and unified” UX to “better represent what we offer clients: Actionable and reliable business data,” blogged Vainu Marketer Nikolai Bang.  Changes include a simplified prospecting module for Norway and Sweden and updated profile displays.

The platform includes a new filter architecture that will allow Vainu to “develop new filters in the UI faster as our databases expand with new data sets without compromising the platform’s speed or usability.”

Users can now define custom table layouts for reports which are reflected in the product and when downloading tables.  Users control which fields to display and their order.  In addition, Vainu added a JSON download format.

Vainu’s updated Build a List UX.

As the new platform pricing is usage-based, it includes a usage dashboard that tracks records downloaded and CRM account records matched.

While the old platform supported 400 financial variables, they were “incoherent and unmaintained fields, with duplicates, poor documentation, and poor naming.”  The new standardized financials display “100 carefully picked financial terms,” and financials are segmented for improved display and navigation.

Along with field display, the reports include definitions, making it easier to understand KPIs and how fields are calculated and rolled up.

To help with customer outreach, Vainu added 26,000 GDPR-compliant, human-verified contacts for Finland and Sweden.  Contact records include title, phone number, email, and LinkedIn handle.  Contacts were collected for firms with at least 10M€ (Finland) or 100MSEK (Sweden) in turnover.

Scandinavian Business ID connectors are available for Salesforce, MSD 365, HubSpot, and Pipedrive.  Global Domain-based connectors support Salesforce and HubSpot.

Bang noted that some customers and prospects had found Vainu to be a “significant financial commitment.”  The new usage-based pricing model “helps alleviate this worry” as it “lowers the barrier to entry for trying out data.”

SMB Pricing for one of the Nordic country databases begins at 4,200€ per annum with a 750€ onboarding fee.  The Team level supports one user and includes data updates and workflow triggers for 1,000 accounts.  The Business edition is similar but supports 8,000 updated accounts with triggers for 9,900€.

The Global Business database, which is domain-based, supports up to 10,000 company exports or enrichments and provides full access to the global database.  The Global Database is priced at 12,000€, with each band of 10,000 additional enrichments priced at 1,000€.

Vainu has shifted to a usage-based pricing model that monitors the number of downloaded and enriched records.

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