TechTarget: Priority Engine Enhancements

TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine Sales Intelligence platform, including second-party intent data from its BrightTALK digital event platform and a refreshed user experience. As a result, TechTarget now provides intent data for 32 million opted-in technology researchers and purchasers across twice as many accounts.

Millions of BrightTALK contacts are fully integrated into Priority Engine, providing intelligence around individuals actively researching technology purchases at BrightTALK webinars, virtual events, and videos.  The expanded content provides richer intent data with additional messaging hooks for sales reps.

Prospect-level insights include content preferences, recently viewed content, and each buying committee member’s top interests.

Prospect Insights provide rich details for messaging.

BrightTALK was acquired twelve months ago.  BrightTALK hosts 30,000 new webinars and videos each year, providing multi-media content that complements TechTarget’s text-based research content.  Prospect-level BrightTALK intent data and buyer contact intelligence are now being combined with second-party intent data from TechTarget’s 140+ enterprise technology media sites, bringing the combined pool of buyers and influencers to 32 million.  As these individuals are opted-in, intent data can be tied to the individual instead of the account, allowing for improved messaging and targeting.  Not only is the enterprise software topic collected, but TechTarget gathers competitors under consideration and buying journey stage.  Furthermore, opted-in contact data ensures that the shared contact intelligence is GDPR and CCPA compliant.

BrightTALK Prospect Insights include webinar registrations, views, view times, webinar types, and titles.

BrightTALK Intent data indicates which content was viewed and the duration the demand unit member spent viewing the content.

TechTarget noted that buyers and influencers have distinct digital research styles, with some preferring multi-media content and others opting for white papers and related text-based reports and articles.  Thus, bringing in BrightTALK significantly expanded TechTarget’s ability to identify buyer intent based on different learning preferences.

“Despite strong similarities in overall audience makeup (company size, industry, and job title/function are remarkably consistent), there’s only a 10%-20% overlap in members between the databases, depending on geo,” wrote TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney in April.

“Learning preference and behavior is quite different for members of BrightTALK,” continued Briney.  “While the content topics, focus, and quality is [SIC] very similar to what’s offered on the TechTarget network, BrightTALK members prefer the immersive, interactive learning experiences delivered by webinars (85%) and videos (61%) over downloadable PDF content like whitepapers (47%) and e-Books (42%). Given this preference, it’s not surprising BrightTALK members average more than 30 minutes in view-time per webinar/video.”

Priority Engine Personalized Rankings view

The enhancements also provide insights into “overall buyer content preferences (content type and topic), and interactions with customer content across multiple channels help inform more personalized sales outreach and marketing engagement strategies.”

“Priority Engine delivers the actionable purchase intent data our customers need to drive superior performance.  This new release gets exponentially more data into their hands and gives them the ability to deliver customized experiences their marketers and sellers need to thrive.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

UI enhancements include a new view that calls out “untapped, high potential accounts” for initial engagement in a rep’s territory.  There is also a new timeline for viewing account journeys and recent engagement.  The new timeline helps reps “easily monitor buying changes to better optimize pipeline, identify cross-sell/upsell opportunities and grow revenue.”

Other UI changes include a set of shortcuts located in the left-side navigation bar.  The shortcuts display the following user views:

  • Top Accounts – The 500 most active accounts and prospects (default view)
  • Untapped Potential – Accounts or prospects with whom the rep has not yet interacted in Priority Engine
  • Viewed your Content – Accounts or prospects that have viewed or downloaded company content syndicated through TechTarget’s content syndication program
  • Visited your Website – Accounts that have visited the company’s website (Inbound Converter)
  • Confirmed Projects – Any projects that TechTarget has confirmed are active in the rep’s territory based on direct outreach
  • Favorites – Accounts or prospects that you have selected to favorite in Priority Engine

Finally, the platform now contains separate modules that support sales and marketing use cases.

The Highlights view provides buying journey interactions and new contacts at top accounts.

Demandbase Audience Management Destinations

ABX Platform Demandbase released one of its “largest product launches of the year”: Audience Management Destinations.  While the firm has long supported B2B Campaigns via display advertising and LinkedIn channels, Audience Management Destinations extends its reach into consumer platforms and social advertising.

“B2B buyers are people, too, and B2B marketers can and should be advertising on those channels,” said Demandbase CMO Jon Miller.

New advertising channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Bing, and Adobe Audience Manager.  Additional services will be rolled out next year.

Demandbase does not store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so its social outreach is GDPR and CCPA compliant.  Instead, Demandbase leverages LiveRamp’s identity resolution, an opted-in identifier system that matches individual identifiers across platforms.

Demandbase also expanded its integration with LinkedIn.  Previously, it only supported account-level targeting on LinkedIn, but now marketers can target at either the account or person level.

Demandbase Targeting

Marketers will build audiences using a set of selectors that include first-party data, third-party data, intent, technographics, and activities. (See the image on the right).  They can then activate campaigns to their targeted buyers across the business and social web.

“This will allow a highly consistent customer experience across social networks and other platforms,” explained Miller on LinkedIn.  In addition, the new release expands marketing’s outreach and orchestration across a broader set of channels “using the account intelligence and the Demandbase One platform.”

“We’re constantly learning about how the B2B buyer thinks and acts, and this new account-based social targeting functionality plays a role in reaching buyers more holistically,” said Miller. “By viewing the buyer not just as someone within a target account or in a buying committee, we recognize that buyers are individuals, too.  This mindset shift — and the corresponding ability to engage with them as such across business and social platforms — gives our customers yet another advantage in today’s B2B go-to-market landscape.”

Demandbase claims that it is the only system that runs both “people and account-based plays from one system.”  Marketers can target specific audiences and “then automatically apply the most effective sales and marketing tactics to advance the account in its journey, across every touchpoint, and with the most relevant messages.”

Demandbase augmented its company and contact intelligence in April with the acquisitions of InsideView and DemandMatrix.  The two firms supplemented Demandbase’s firmographics, contacts, and technographics and provided Demandbase with a set of sales intelligence, B2B DaaS, and ICP/TAM tools. 

Demandbase supports its own intent data along with partner datasets from Bombora and G2.  TrustRadius is coming soon.

“Demandbase’s solutions are stronger in certain areas and helps drive top of the funnel engagement or audience targeting, while InsideView has been more focused on bottom of the funnel data.  We realized the two companies are quite complimentary and we could combine our customers to offer a much more complete solution to all of them.  Today we have an integrated top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel marketing and sales data provision to allow customers to look at the full funnel and identify a more appropriate addressable market, including what kind of technologies those companies use.”

InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti to MarTech Series this week

The three companies combined to create a four-cloud solution that supports Advertising, ABX Marketing, Sales Intelligence, and Data.

“What’s exciting about this is the ability to provide all of this to customers as one solution,” continued Milletti.  “We have done a lot of work since the merger was completed to combine all of our technologies and go to our customers with information on how much more we can do for them.”

Demandbase combined its Demandbase One platform with InsideView and DemandMatrix to support four clouds.

Qualified Signals

Conversational Sales and Marketing vendor Qualified announced select availability for its new Signals intent product.  Qualified Signals delivers sales intelligence gleaned from company websites, helping them identify in-market accounts and prioritize their outreach.

Qualified Signals is an “AI product that combines website engagement with Salesforce data to surface the buying intent of a B2B company’s target accounts; helping sales reps focus on exactly the right accounts to generate more pipeline and revenue,” blogged Qualified CRO Robert Zimmerman.

When ABM was proposed as the successor to lead-generation marketing, it focused on defining the ICP and targeting accordingly.  While the ICP concept is still important, it fails to recognize that at any one moment, most ICP accounts are not in-market.  Thus, a further refinement was in order, deploying intent (e.g., visitor intelligence, chatbots, third-party B2B website activity) and engagement data (e.g., email responses, meeting attendance, sentiment) to prioritize accounts so that sales reps focus on the accounts that are in market and marketing continues to nurture ICP accounts with low-level intent signals.

“Sales reps need a simple way to identify the accounts with high purchase intent so they can maximize pipeline more efficiently,” argued Zimmerman.  “Meanwhile, target accounts are poking around the website and signaling buying intent, but sales reps have no idea.  This is a missed opportunity because website engagement is a critical predictor of purchase intent.  It demonstrates patterns of website activity that indicate whether an account is sales-ready.”

Unfortunately, website activity is a “blind spot for salespeople” that leaves them “in the dark as to where to focus their attention, how to engage target accounts, and how deals are progressing.”

Qualified Signals employs an AI-predictive model that collects “hundreds of thousands of website data points to determine which accounts are in-market to buy and sales-ready.”  Models include website activity such as mouse movement, clicks, scroll depth, page views, active time on site, chatbot engagement, live chat, voice calls, meetings booked, recency and frequency of visits, and visitor count.

“In a booming sales tech market, there are countless sales intelligence tools out there, but they often overlook the most important sales and marketing asset—the corporate website,” said Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud.  “Signals arms sellers with an entirely new type of buying intent data, so revenue teams know exactly which accounts to pursue to crush their quota.”

The Qualified Signals Account Trend Report analyzes buyer activity on the company website across a rep’s territory, helping her prioritize activity and identify accounts where activity is cooling.

Signals are displayed to sales reps in the Salesforce Account record and convert complex buyer behavior into straightforward trends such as cooling, neutral, heating, and surging.  Trend data “can also be customized using unique Salesforce Account data to home in on the accounts that matter most, like ABM tier, account owner, region, or industry.”

Signals optionally pushes custom Account intent fields to Salesforce, which can then be built into custom reports and dashboards.

Qualified also displays Signals Account 360, a dynamic graph that visualizes purchase intent fluctuations over time for individual accounts.  Signals are expressed as a current Heat Index temperature, dynamic trend, and detailed account activity view that replays account engagement at the contact level.  The account timeline “offers a detailed, highly visual, timestamped overview of notable website events that occurred throughout the buying process,” blogged Zimmerman.

The Account 360 view combines heat index trend data alongside visitor intelligence.

Additionally, Signals supports mobile, email, and Slack alerts when an account hits client specified thresholds on the Qualified Heat Index.  Alerts may be sent in real-time or included in a daily or weekly email digest.

“Qualified Signals amplifies Qualified X, bringing purchase intent data to the visitor level within your conversational sales and marketing application,” stated the firm.  “When a sales rep prospects into a target account, they’re instantly notified when that account arrives on the site.  Plus, they have all intent data at the ready. They can instantly meet with the prospect using a full stack of meeting tools, including chat, voice, and screen-sharing.”

Due to the complexity of visitor intelligence and similar data, intent signals have mostly been fed into marketing platforms and not converted into actionable semaphores; however, sales intelligence vendors have begun enabling these signals.

“The website is no longer just for marketers; it’s now a window into your biggest sales opportunities.  Sellers have their standard indicators that an account is interested, and a deal is moving forward; but in between the standard touchpoints, prospects are poking around your website, reading a customer story, or engaging via live chat.  Sellers have had limited insight into how target accounts are exploring this property, but the website is an amazing predictor of intent.  Now, Qualified Signals will surface this invaluable insight for revenue teams.”

Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud

Qualified Signals will GA in early 2022.

Qualified closed on a $51 million Series B round in May that Salesforce Ventures led.  The firm describes itself as “the only conversational sales and marketing platform purpose-built for Salesforce Sales Cloud.”

Qualified Insights delivered via Slack and mobile devices.

Sales Rep Turnover

Leveraging its Economic Graph, LinkedIn noted that sales rep turnover is up 39% over the past three months (overall global turnover is up 28%).  Sales is the second most in-demand position globally.

“Companies need to recognize that the power dynamic has changed — workers are going to demand more from them on multiple fronts,” said LinkedIn Chief Economist Karin Kimbrough.  “Candidates are being much more selective about where they work, and workers are more vocal about what they want.”

Replacing sales reps is an expensive proposition, according to a 2015-2016 DePaul University study.  When factoring in the opportunity cost of an open sales seat and the hiring and training expenses, replacing a sales rep costs $115,000.

Further complicating matters, buying team turnover spiked over the past year, up 31% in Q3.  Thus, demand units are more difficult to navigate, and deals are more likely to be delayed due to key decision-maker departures.  According to LinkedIn State of Sales 2021, 80% of sales reps said a deal was delayed or derailed due to buyer role changes over the past year.

Unfortunately, employee burnout rose 9% between April and July, just as employees were readying to return to the office, but Delta delayed such plans.  Over the same period, employee happiness dropped three points.

“This simultaneous dip in employee happiness and spike in burnout is a warning signal: very few people want to return to pre-pandemic work life, said LinkedIn Head of People Science Strategic Development Amy Lavoie.  “Part of the issue here is that the communications around organizations’ return-to-office plans can carry a dangerous subtext.  It may look to employees that, while their leaders had prioritized their well-being and safety in the pandemic’s first stretch, they’re now focusing on business and advancing their own agenda at all costs, leaving employees’ concerns in the wake.”

“Employee well-being is not a fad; it is a fundamental human need,” continued Lavoie.  “It’s not going to take care of itself as businesses start asking employees to return to the office. Employees are looking to their organizations to value their needs as full human beings and trust them to make decisions about how, when, and where they work. Until that happens, we will continue to see this deadlock between employees and organizations on happiness and burnout.” Employee priorities are shifting, with a greater emphasis on flexible work arrangements, inclusive workplaces, and work-life balance than just a few months ago. As a result, work-life balance is ranked as the top priority among job seekers.

Glint (LinkedIn) Employee Well Being Report (Sept 2021)

Flexibility is key.  Three out of five employees feel they are equally productive working from home and that their overall well-being is equal to or better than working in an office.

A Fortune Analytics survey of over 10,000 knowledge workers found that 76% of knowledge workers want flexibility in where they work, and 93% want flexibility in when they work.  Additionally, 57% of knowledge workers are “open to looking for a new job in 2022.”  However, among knowledge workers who are dissatisfied with the level of flexibility, the open to looking rate rises to 71%.

“Just last year, joblessness in the US was at its highest level since the Great Depression,” wrote Fortune Editorial Director Lance Lambert.  “Scrambling to hold onto their jobs, workers started taking on extra responsibilities—something many of them hold onto today even though the economy has shifted into one of its strongest periods in recent memory. That explains why 19% of workers say their work-related stress is ‘poor,’ and another 33% say it’s ‘fair.’”

Fortune Analytics also found that workers with inflexible work schedules are 6.6 times more likely to report work-related stress.

LinkedIn Senior Content Manager Paul Petrone suggested three areas of investment to retain sales talent:

  1. “Career conversations and career development for your employees.
  2. Providing work-life balance, which should ideally include flex work.
  3. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”

Workers find it difficult to maintain a work/life balance, with 35% of workers telling GlassDoor that balance isn’t possible in their current role.

“Very few people both see a path forward and feel support for an internal career move,” observed LinkedIn People Science Senior Researcher Eric Knudsen.  “Luckily, there’s a clear solution.  While it’s natural for managers to worry about losing a team member, employees want learning and growth opportunities.  So, whenever someone starts looking for their next opportunity, a lack of manager support could inspire an external move.”

Knudsen recommends that managers frame internal mobility as an opportunity and not a loss as they place an advocate and partner in another part of the organization.  Furthermore, the organization retains talent, and cross-team collaboration is likely to rise. 

“Work-life policies which are rigid or offer little flexibility are proving problematic for UK employees,” said Glassdoor Economist Lauren Thomas.  “Our research has indicated that workers want autonomy over how they juggle their home and work lives and need employers to offer a range of options to support this. There also needs to be trust between the two parties — avoid micromanaging teams who are working from home.”

What’s more, Glint (a LinkedIn subsidiary) found that only one in five employees feel they can meet their career goals in their current organization, increasing the likelihood of departures.


I also recently wrote about The Great Reshuffle.

HG Insights Contextual Intent

Technology Market Intelligence vendor HG Insights announced the global availability of Contextual Intent, a “solution designed for companies seeking to leverage the power of customer buying patterns.”   Contextual Intent is available through HG Universe data subscriptions and the Snowflake Data Marketplace.  It is currently in “late-stage” beta on the HG Insights Platform, with a scheduled December launch.

Contextual Intent combines firmographics, technographics, contract intelligence (via their 2018 Pivotal IQ acquisition), and bidstream data to deliver “buyer intent data, without all the noise.”  It employs web users’ behavior and content consumption to determine which firms are researching, evaluating, or buying technology products or services.  In addition, Contextual Intent identifies in-market companies for new technology and potential churn candidates, helping prioritize outreach.

HG Insights ingests two billion intent records each week and matches them against 120 million verified technology installations for 14,000 products, solutions, and services.  The HG Insights scoring model measures the frequency of defined topics mined from locations, with observed activity tracked for nine million companies.

“Contextual Intent is the first intent solution to contextualize data with a company’s technographic profile. Our proven, data-driven methodologies now include the use of intent data—providing our customers with what they need to accelerate growth and gain a competitive edge through contextualized buying signals. Our new solution is designed specifically for Go-To-Market teams to remove the noise from intent data and make it actionable. Context matters, and we are able to provide insights that support hyper-targeting for growth and competitive advantage.”

HG Insights CTO Rob Fox

HG Insights cited January 2021 research from Ascend2 that asked sales and marketing professionals about intent data obstacles.  Half said that data quality was an issue, and 40% stated that it was challenging to make intent data actionable.

Revenue teams can select twenty to over 100 intent topics from HG Insights’ taxonomy which spans over 4,000 technology-based topics.

Contextual Intent identifies both buyers in the market and churn risk candidates.

HG Insights employs a scoring model based on the frequency of defined topics being researched across the web for each company.  It factors in the number of locations demonstrating the activity and baselines intent over time to determine the “increases and trajectories” of research.

Like intent models from other vendors, the Intent Score is measured as the deviation from a company’s baseline and normalized from 1-100.  It is updated weekly and incorporates past and present activity.  However, interpretation of the scores differs between vendors.  Concerning HG Insights, the signal strength is deemed high when the topical intent score exceeds 84 and medium when it falls between 60 and 84.

HG Insights provides intent location, a feature that is available from only a few vendors.  Knowing the research location helps identify the potential nexus of the demand unit (or at least the individuals performing initial research).

Contextual Intent supports multiple use cases, including whitespace scenarios (researching a new category of technology for the firm), expansion (current customer is researching additional products), displacement (potential customer take away), and churn.  Contextual Insights is tagging Whitespace, Expansion, and Displacement scenarios in its data feed, with Vendor Threat, Upgrade, and Migration tags in development.

“We provide insights surrounding the buyer’s journey about when the buyer is more likely to make a purchase decision. We can provide the context of when a customer indicates moving to an evaluating phase, further into a late stage buying cycle. We provide this context as researching or evaluating. We use NLP to determine when enough activity is detected that indicates a potential buying motion, where specific vendors or products are being considered.

Darcy Moss, HG Insights Product Marketing Director

The current offering employs bidstream data, which is potentially problematic as a long-term source of data gathering.  Congress has raised questions about the practice and tying online activity to individuals without consent is a violation of GDPR (Contextual Intent is tied to locations and accounts, not individuals).

“We are always evaluating additive intent supply to diversify our signals,” explained HG Insights Product Marketing Director Darcy Moss to GZ Consulting.  “We are sourcing from bid-stream as we develop and refine other techniques and methods.  Should any regulatory matters influence existing processes for us and the industry overall, we are confident that we will have a compliant and high-quality source and methodology to continue to provide Contextual Intent to our customers.”

For the direct data subscription product, customers have access to all topics regardless of their signal strength score.  Pricing for the data subscription is additive for the Contextual Intent offering.

Lusha Series B

Crowdsourced contact vendor Lusha closed on a $205 million Series B that valued the company at $1.5 billion.  Growth equity firm PSG led both the Series A and B rounds.  ION Crossover Partners also joined the B round, which brought total Lusha investment to $245 million.

Following its February Series A, Lusha invested in its go-to-market strategy and trebled its growth rate.

“We were still bootstrapped one year ago when we understood that we have a big opportunity to surge forward.  We have since tripled our revenue growth rate, and that is why we required another funding round faster than we thought,” explained CEO Yoni Tserruya.  “The next stage will be to go public.  I’m not sure when that will be, but it will take at least two more years.  We are seeing many companies that are going public too early and are facing difficulties in making projections and meeting expectations.”

The additional funds will be deployed towards building out its community of 800,000 B2B sales professionals “into the industry’s largest,” expanding its global presence, and continuing to focus on data quality, compliance, features, and ease of use.

“We have been following Lusha’s progress over the last two years and found the team’s vision and execution highly impressive. As sales teams continue to leverage data to drive their go-to-market strategies, Lusha is becoming an integral product for teams to optimize their outreach to improve overall win rates. With Lusha’s data significantly increasing the value and ROI realized by sales teams, we are excited to be a part of this next chapter in Lusha’s remarkable journey.”

Gili Iohan, General Partner at ION Crossover Partners

“Our primary goal is to give every salesperson, regardless of size or budget, access to the highest quality data at the most affordable price while championing world-class standards of privacy and compliance,” said President Assaf Eisenstein.  “With this funding round, we will continue to invest highly in our data infrastructure and privacy standards to provide optimal levels of compliance and security for Lusha’s 800,000+ community members,” said Assaf Eisenstein, Co-founder and President of Lusha.

Contact data is gathered from a Community service that ingests email headers and signature blocks to maintain business card and email signature data.  Data is also collected from publicly available sources, third-party licensing, and algorithmic data appending (e.g., email templates).  Lusha claims that its community members help Lusha deliver “the most accurate data through constant validation and enrichment of its database.” 

As part of its GDPR and CCPA compliance program, individuals are notified when they’ve been added to the database.  Only business data is gathered, with no Personally Identifiable Information collected.

Lusha provides 100 million business profiles, 60 million email addresses, and 50 million direct dials across 15 million companies.

The Lusha browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge sends contacts from Gmail, social media, and B2B sites directly to Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Zoho, SalesLoft, and Outreach.  Users license credits individually or for a team, with the admin allocating credits.  Lusha also supports Salesforce bulk enrichment and a contacts API.

Lusha employs a freemium model for limited contact information lookup, but users must pay to export data, build prospect lists, enrich files, and integrate with CRMs and SEPs. Annual pricing is shown.

Lusha helps sales professionals identify their ideal buyers and tailor their message to potential customers.

“Similar to the shift that marketing underwent a decade ago, sales professionals are abandoning spray and pray outreach, in favor of super-targeted selling based on data,” said Tserruya.  “Lusha enables all salespeople to utilize data to recognize their most relevant opportunities and maximize revenue in a simple, easy-to-use solution.  We look forward to using this funding to be at the forefront of this industry shift and grow Lusha into the largest B2B sales community”.

Lusha is rapidly growing, adding 29 staffers last month.  It grew 45% over the past six months and 103% over the past year to 229 employees.  Engineering grew 170% over the past year to 55 employees.  Their other top departments are Sales (34 headcount, up 106%), Support (22 headcount, up 175%), and IT (21 headcount, up 91%).

The Israeli firm expects to end the year with 240 employees, twenty in its Boston office.

Lusha, founded in 2016, lists 32 open positions: five sales and support openings in Boston and twenty-seven openings in Tel Aviv across engineering, data, R&D, product, marketing, sales, HR, compliance, finance, and customer success.

Lusha’s customers include Facebook, Google, Dropbox, and Uber.  Most of its customers are B2B SaaS companies, but it’s also used by VCs, investors, and recruiting agencies.

SalesIntel Launches Two Products

Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS vendor SalesIntel announced two products at its inaugural SAS2021 user conference last month.  CEO Manoj Ramnani founded SalesIntel a decade ago as Circleback, a contact enrichment and syncing service for inboxes, but pivoted the firm to focus on high-quality B2B data three years ago and rebranded the company SalesIntel. 

SalesIntel was born “with a mission to provide quality data, timely intelligence, and streamlined workflow to help businesses achieve their growth objectives.”  Its guiding principle, and unique value proposition, is keeping humans in the loop.  Human-verified data is re-verified every 90 days, providing them with a 95% contact accuracy claim.

At launch, the company had 50,000 human-verified companies and one million contacts.  Three years later, the company has

  • 87 million machine-verified contacts
  • 10 million human-verified contacts, 90% of which are North American.
  • 14 million machine-verified company profiles
  • 3 million human-verified company profiles

They have also partnered with Bombora for intent data and an undisclosed vendor for technographics.

The first new service, Data Enrichment, provides company, contact, and technographic data enrichment for Marketo, Salesforce, and uploaded CSV files.  Data matching is performed against email, phone, domain, company name, and contact name.  Fuzzy logic is employed for company and contact name matching.

SalesIntel Enrichment Report in Salesforce.

The service includes a PDF downloadable enrichment report that details data quality and fill rates.  If the admin is concerned about the enrichment, she may roll back the process.

SalesIntel also supports webform enrichment.

InboxIntel supports contact data syncing and enrichment from Gmail, Office 365, Exchange, and IMAP.  New contacts are ingested from signature blocks, matched against the SalesIntel database, and uploaded to Salesforce.   It is important to note that SalesIntel is not uploading and storing the data in their servers to build out its dataset but simply using it to populate and enrich its customers’ CRM.

InboxIntel also checks to see whether other new contacts at the company match a pre-defined buyer persona.  The service then asks whether these additional contacts should be added to the service.

InboxIntel identifies additional contacts in target personas.

If both the company and contact are new to the CRM, records may be added to Salesforce as leads or accounts and contacts.

Both products are available as beta services through the end of the year. After that, they will be packaged as separate offerings.  Ramnani described them as “new modules of our Modern Go-to-Market platform that will help with the firm’s continued growth.”

SalesIntel has grown to 400 employees and 2,000 global researchers.  The company supports over 1,000 companies and nearly 10,000 users.

SalesIntel posted 200% revenue growth over the past year.

Apollo.IO $32M Series B

Sales Intelligence and Engagement vendor Apollo.io closed a $32 million Series B led by Tribe Capital, with participation from NewView Capital and existing investor Nexus Venture Partners. In addition, Sri Pangulur, a partner at Tribe Capital, joined Apollo.io’s board.  Total funding sits at $41.3 million.

Apollo is deploying the funds towards building out its product and engineering teams.  It will also expand its sales, marketing, and operational resources, including additional leadership hires.

In a blog announcing the transaction, CEO Tim Zheng admitted that the Apollo brand is not well known and that Apollo will be using the funds to address brand weakness.  “Our next steps include increasing awareness of Apollo, increasing our user base outside of small teams, and building out an intelligence layer in Apollo to make individual sales reps and teams more successful.”

Apollo is growing rapidly, with its customer base increasing 200% over the past year despite awareness issues.  It has been profitable for the past eighteen months and has more than one million users and 9,000 paid customers.

Recent enhancements include an international dialer, contact and company data improvements, and prospecting and Chrome extension upgrades.

“Apollo is challenging the status quo in B2B lead intelligence and sales engagement by making contact data and prospecting tools in this space more accessible,” said Pangulur. “Seeing the company’s incredible growth over the past year, enhanced product offerings, and new client acquisitions, we are confident in Apollo’s ability to disrupt the SalesTech market for B2B companies, offering a more intelligent, more cost-effective, and simpler solution.”

Apollo falls into a category that I’ve labeled Hybrid Engagement that combines sales engagement tools with sales intelligence and B2B DaaS.  Other vendors with Hybrid Engagement capabilities include ZoomInfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie, and VanillaSoft.

“Sales professionals at B2B companies are burdened by a go-to-market process that’s manual, tedious, and complex. It’s stifled by convoluted workflows, very little guidance, lengthy onboarding, and high price tags for name-brand solutions,” said CEO Tim Zheng. “This funding will help us further accelerate our product-led growth model, which has seen tremendous success in the contact data space. 

“Apollo’s vision is to give its customers the most powerful and intelligent GTM platform in the industry, so they can reach their full market potential,” continued Zheng. “We want to make access to B2B data even easier, while enhancing the data with sales intelligence and automated workflows.”

Apollo Job Change Alerts

Apollo has assembled a database of 200 million contacts across ten million companies.  Data include direct-dial phones, emails, funding intelligence, technographics, and job changes.  Apollo’s dataset supports direct research, lead prospecting, and LinkedIn matching via a Chrome Extension. In addition, Apollo Refresh performs real-time updates in Salesforce.

Sales Engagement features include sequences (cadences), automated emails, A/B testing, a click-to-call dialer, and a rules engine.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, buyers want an Amazon-like experience where companies are anticipating their needs. You need user data to better drive the sales experience, and as it evolves more personalized capabilities as well,” said Zheng.  “Apollo has some unique positioning in that they are doing product-led growth, but also covering the data stack as well.”

Apollo employs a freemium model with ten free exports per month, the Chrome extension, a Gmail extension, and limited sequences. 

Basic, at $49 per user per month ($39 billed annually), provides 250 export credits per month, unlimited sequences, email integrations, and a broader set of reports and Dashboards. 

The Professional edition adds the dialer, call recordings, customizable reports, and 1,000 exports per month.  Professional is priced at $99 per user per month when billed monthly and $79 per user per month when billed annually.

There are additional fees for full Salesforce synchronization, API access, Apollo Refresh, and exporting up to 10,000 records at a time. In addition, advanced dialer features (e.g., international dialing, call transcription, local presence, and CRM logging) are only available as part of custom packages.

Apollo employs a freemium model with 9,000 paid customers.

The Great Reshuffle

According to LinkedIn, “The Great Reshuffle” has increased turnover amongst buyers and sellers, leading to greater deal risk.  Over the past three months, executive departures (Director and above) have increased by 31% globally.  Among sales reps, the rate is up 39%.  Thus, the likelihood of a deal being delayed due to a key member of the demand unit or sales team leaving has grown sharply.

Before the pandemic, the standard decay rate of contact records was between 25 and 30%.  If the rate has jumped by one-third, then the likelihood of a specific member of the buying committee departing over a three-month sales cycle is approaching ten percent.  Thus, a demand unit with six members will likely have one departure every three months, increasing the need for executive change alerts, multithreading of deals, and a deeper understanding of the demand unit.

If the deal is more complex, the odds of delays and stalled deals due to executive changes increase rapidly.  A six-month deal cycle with a dozen members of the demand unit (financial, technical, and functional decision-makers, purchasers, influencers, lawyers, compliance, etc.) could lose two or three members.  And that doesn’t even factor in the risk of churn on the vendor side.  What’s worse, single-threaded sales reps have close to a 20% risk that their champion leaves the company or assumes a different role over the deal lifecycle.

The renewal math becomes scary as well.  If the customer success team regularly interfaces with four individuals on the customer side, one or two of them may depart over the year, increasing churn risk.  Furthermore, a higher churn rate among customers necessitates greater administrative and training tasks.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 80% of sales reps have had a deal delayed or lost due to departures.

LinkedIn Senior Director of Global Sales James Burnette argued that multithreading is key to managing deal risk.  “Multithreading – i.e., forming relationships with multiple people on the buying committee at an account – is always a best practice.”  Burnette noted that sellers with at least four connections at an account are “16% more likely to close a deal with that company, compared to sellers who have less than four connections.”

“The most beneficial thing you can do right now is to learn how to master multithreading,” JB Sales Training Director Morgan Ingram said. “Gathering champions, influencers, and talking directly to the decision-makers is the key to success when it comes to closing deals faster in a difficult environment.”

Conversely, departures can foster relationships at new accounts, so knowing that a key demand unit member has departed is important for both risk mitigation at current opportunities and accounts and building relationships at new organizations.  LinkedIn can both flag executive departures and maintain an open line of communications with a champion after he or she has settled into a new position.

“Resources are scant with so many people exiting key roles, so there are opportunities where they might not have been opportunities in the past,” Assist You CEO Robert Knop said. “Look through your connections – there are uncovered sales there.”

Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst at Forrester, predicts that the Great Resignation will also impact marketing teams, with CMOs assembling more virtual teams consisting of freelance talent, fractional executives, and agency partners.

“We’re seeing clients in places like the Midwest having trouble keeping the talent they’ve built because their team members can get 25% more by working remotely for a New York agency. The distance and untethering from our geographies give people a lot more options, and they will minimize their pain and maximize their gain.  So, there will be some stress on those internal competencies.”

Job turnover is likely to continue in the near term. The labor market remains out of balance with 100 open jobs for every 75 unemployed professionals, driving the quit rate to 4.4 million in September, a record high.

“You’re essentially seeing demand continuing to increase without an offsetting increase in talent,” Ryan Sutton, a district director at staffing company Robert Half International. “Until some new talent comes in, until we get employees who are on the sidelines back into the market, it’s very likely this is going to continue.”

Linked Sales Navigator Repackaged SKUs

LinkedIn will be repackaging its Sales Navigator SKUs in late January.  The service has already begun notifying customers of the change.  Unlike product releases which they roll out over multiple weeks, the new packaging will be implemented across all customers simultaneously.

Sales Navigator retains its original SKUs from its early days, so repackaging was in order.  Before making any changes, LinkedIn interviewed or surveyed over 2,000 customers, discussed customer requirements with sales reps, and analyzed product usage.

LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins discussed a number of her team’s learnings with GZ Consulting:

  • Users want to increase their productivity with an integrated sales stack that avoids data silos and app switching.  “Our customers believe that in order to effectively meet this need, it is critical to seamlessly integrate sales workflows both within and beyond Sales Navigator (e.g., sales stack, CRM).”
  • CRM integrations are a priority for customers.  To prioritize customer value delivery, the future Sales Navigator lineup has CRM integrations as the only top differentiator.  This will “massively clarify” lineup positioning and deliver more value to customers.

    Currently, Sales Navigator only offers full integrations and data synchronization with Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.
  • Customers are looking to increasingly leverage the data stored in their CRM and expect applications to bisynchronously share data.
  • Buyer intent is “hot in the market” as customers are looking to leverage intelligent signals in a real-time manner.  Sales reps want to “know when to act.”

The new Sales Navigator SKUs are based on a pair of packaging design principles: Customers can use all of the features in the licensed package, and it should be clear which package best meets the needs of each customer.

According to Desjardins, the new packaging enables positioning that is “clear and easy to understand” and aligns to value. In addition, the new packaging will help customers and sales reps  “easily identify the offering that best suits their needs.”

“What I’ve been preaching is that SN is not just one product – it’s an integrated approach to the daily sales process.”

LinkedIn Customer

The legacy SKUs followed a Good / Better / Best packaging structure, but the new SKUs support a Good / Best / Best with CRM packaging with the top tier similar to the mid-tier but containing all of the CRM connector and data sharing functionality. The new packages consist of a “foundational use case, the best of Sales Navigator for non-CRM integrated customers, and the best of Sales Navigator for CRM.”

“Customers will be able to use all of the features they have purchased: CRM features will be the only differentiators for the top tier.  Additionally, we have planned investments to further expand and deepen our CRM capabilities.”

The Core offering is designed for quota-carrying sales reps and supports targeting, lead and account tracking, and communications.  Features include

  • 50 InMails per month (this allotment is the same across all three SKUs).
  • Advanced Search
  • Account and Lead (contact) List Building
  • Guided in-product best practices
  • Account Map, a tool for mapping out the buying committee
  • Up to 10,000 Saved Leads and Accounts

The Core edition is designed for quota-carrying individuals with limited tech stacks.  Core helps sales reps “target the right buyers, understand who they are, and reach out in an informed way,” said Desjardins.

The Advanced tier supports sales teams with administrative and reporting functions, including usage reports.  Product differentiators include

  • CSV Account uploads for tracking key customers and prospects
  • Smart Links (customer-specific landing pages with attachments and multi-media links).  Smart Links may be shared by email, InMail, chat, etc.  Smart Links Analytics tracks who has viewed and downloaded which content. Sales Navigator also tracks Smart Link forwards, providing deeper insights into the Buying Team.  Sales reps are alerted when content has been viewed or forwarded.
  • Team collaboration tools such as shared lists, shared searches, TeamLink (leveraging co-workers’ networks), and collaboration alerts based upon shared features.
  • Buyer engagement alerts and buyer intent.  “Buyer interest is a predictive score based on LinkedIn data from employees at this company,” states the firm.  “This score is an indication of an account’s interest in buying from your company.  It considers key factors like employee interaction, InMail acceptance, ads engagement, company page engagement, and more.”
  • SNAP integrations such as embedded profiles, BI integrations, and a CRM widget.  SNAP integrations are available for CRMs (Salesforce, MSD 365, HubSpot, SAP, Oracle, SugarCRM, and Pega), SEPs (Outreach, Salesloft, Groove, XANT/InsideSales, YesWare, MixMax), and ABX Platforms (Demandbase).

    SNAP integrations do not share data, but they support profile viewing and limited Sales Navigator functionality.  For example, the HubSpot connector provides sales reps with profile viewing, InMails, Icebreakers, Introduction Requests, Related Leads for companies and contacts, and Connections.

The Advanced edition helps teams “forge deeper relationships through real-time sales intelligence and seamless collaboration,” said Desjardins.  “Advanced is the best Sales Navigator for businesses if you’re not integrating with CRM.”

The Advanced Plus edition adds full CRM functionality, including

  • Auto-saving Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from CRM
  • CRM information in Lists such as Opportunities and past customers who have moved to new companies
  • CRM-powered Lead Recommendations
  • The ability to include or exclude matched CRM leads in Sales Navigator searches
  • CRM Activity writeback (e.g., InMail, Notes, Messages, Smart Links)
  • Create CRM Leads and Contacts directly from Sales Navigator.  These are limited information records (e.g., Company Name, Contact First and Last Names, and Title) as LinkedIn does not share member data.  Contact and Lead Creation also upload fields entered by reps such as email, phone number, and opportunity role.
  • The Data Validation flag warns users when a contact is no longer at a company listed in the CRM.  If the company differs between LinkedIn and the CRM, a “Not at Company Flag” is written to the CRM.  The flag is displayed to the rep and available as a trigger for contact clean-ups and removal from marketing campaigns.

With the Advanced Plus edition, users will be able to “surface actionable intelligence on your books of business, improve productivity by automating key processes, and leverage data to update stale information and make better decisions,” said Desjardins.

At renewal, customers will be offered one of five customer service packages that are “set by the size and scope of your program.”

“We know that onboarding is a critical stage for customer success, so we’re investing in hands-on, human-led onboarding for new customers and existing customers when they grow by a significant amount to accelerate their time-to-value,” stated a LinkedIn FAQ on the new service plans.  “Our customers have different needs and expectations for training, so we’ve invested in world-class resources: on-demand training for all customers at every stage of the customer journey in seven languages. Training is created and led by specialists who are experts in best practices and our product.”

Programs with a minimum of 50 licenses will have a Customer Success Manager that supports periodic Program Health Checks, a tailored Customer Success Plan, Strategic Value Reviews, and ongoing Success Coaching.