TechTarget Prospect-Level Intent

TechTarget announced Prospect-Level Intent within its Priority Engine technology sales and marketing intelligence platform.  Prospect-Level Intent builds on the inherent strength of its second-party intent dataset.  The intent data is collected from over 140 enterprise technology media sites owned by TechTarget.  Because its readers have opted into the platform, intent data is associated with buyers and influencers at target accounts and derived from content carefully tagged by topic, buying stage, competitors, etc.

Unlike third-party intent, which is both anonymous and limited to account-level buying patterns, second-party intent identifies account-level activity and surfaces active members of buying teams, including technology decision-makers, economic decision-makers, administrators, or influencers.  Selected via TechTarget algorithms, Priority Engine prospects – individuals intensely engaged in specific research – are likely members of an active purchase decision.

TechTarget’s Prospect-Level Intent informs sales and marketing professionals when prospects are active in their market category or have downloaded content related to the company or its competitors, regardless of whether they are current or net-new contacts.

“Account-level surges do tell you what’s popular with a set of personas right now, but tell you relatively little about who might actually be making a purchase,” blogged Rebecca Kitchens, SVP of Market Development.  “News-based surges tell us something about the mood of the market, but explain very little about impending purchases except in the macro sense.  They may give you something to talk about with accounts, but they don’t tell you enough about actual buying motions to warrant aggressive prioritization.”

Kitchens warned against weak intent signals.  “Most content is designed to be broadly appealing to maximize eyeballs but provides only weak purchase intent at best.   Real-purchase intent is generated by high-quality content that applies to the research task at hand.”

Adds Andy Briney, TechTarget SVP of Products, “Many in the intent market have been wrongly focused only on accounts, when it is the people and teams at those accounts who actually buy…while TechTarget has always provided named, active prospects within accounts, these new enhancements empower revenue organizations with unmatched visibility into opted-in buyers in active buyers’ journeys to accelerate engagements.”

TechTarget has over 20 million opted-in technology decision-makers and influencers.  Depending on the category, around 70% hold technology titles, with the remainder being buying committee members from other departments also engaged in technology decision-related research.   With rapidly evolving changes in tech decision making, TechTarget data capture prospect functions and roles reflecting a wide range of players often not predicted by historically focused models.

TechTarget is so confident in the value of its intent data that it now labels Priority Engine as “The industry’s only opt-in, Prospect-Level Intent™ data.”

“At the end of the ABM process, it is all about having stronger relationships with the customer.  And delivering improved customer experience is achieved in two ways: By caring to do so and then having the insights necessary to cut away noise and speak directly to customer’s needs.  Prospect-Level Intent is the best way to do this.  In study after study we’ve done, we find that when the properly trained salesperson or whoever’s doing the outreach uses the insights successfully, they will get better response and conversions — ultimately leading to more pipeline.”

John Steinert, TechTarget CMO

A redesigned Priority Engine user interface “provides faster access to buying team contacts within the context of their buyer journey, making it easier for sellers, marketers, and ABM teams to act on Prospect-Level Intent.”  The UI also offers a customized view of top prospects based upon a firm’s ICP and research activity, helping define account rating and list ranking.

“You have to make it easy for [sales] to be able to quickly assess what they need to do in order to take the next best action with the accounts and prospects that they’re going after in their territory – it’s all about enablement,” said TechTarget CMO John Steinert.  “Having that [data-based] connection with marketing allows sales to easily do this and take the easiest, fastest path to revenue easily leveraging precise data and intelligence.”


Part II continues tomorrow…

Statzon Market Research Database

Statzon, a market research database that provides tables and charts, is available for licensing.  The service aggregates government and private industry research from over sixty sources, with plans to support over 100 sources by the end of this year.  Charts are available for over one million topics across 4,500 business topics.

Searching is performed via a simple search box with type-ahead suggestions.  Once the topic is selected, users may filter by location, trades (e.g. Output, Export, Import, Consumption, Companies), scales (units), and providers.  For example, Statzon offers global and country-specific beer industry data from five vendors.

Users may switch between line, bar, and pie charts.  A slider bar, underneath the charts, allows users to limit the scope of the data display, either to focus on sections of the graph serially or to restrict the period of a time-series chart.  Values and titles are displayed while mousing over the chart.  Licensed data may be downloaded as an image or an Excel table.  Each licensed table includes the scope, definition, methodology, data provider, publication date, and expiration date.

Statzon is priced at €5,600 per annum for five seats.  Government data is available at no additional charge, but private research tables may be subject to an additional €50 fee, which is charged via Stripe to a credit card.  Users may include chargeback codes for project assignments or client billing.

This hybrid model works fine for consultative industries with chargebacks such as management consulting, investment banks, and consulting firms, but is problematic for industries or job functions where the charge either has to be approved or paid by the end-user.  A secondary issue is one of the data structure.  If the user is looking to analyze data by region, but it is only available by time for countries, users would have to license and download multiple reports to build the desired table.  This could be both expensive and time-consuming.  Statzon should look at licensing all research from a vendor (either as a contract passthrough or directly from Statzon).  Licensing all research on a topic (e.g. Petroleum industry data for an additional fee) would also be a valuable premium pricing option.

Free content is focused on commodities, which are tracked by government agencies.  Thus, there are nearly 1,000 government tables available for rice, but the 26 IoT reports all require additional fees.  For those unwilling or unable to pay for premium tables, there is a filter that restricts the display to licensed content.  However, there is significant value in the free datasets which are gathered from national and international agencies, including the United Nations, World Bank, OECD, International Monetary Fund, US Energy Information Agency, and Eurostat.

Statzon is a pre-revenue company with funding from angel investors and a Finnish VC.  It shows a great deal of promise as a research portal for government and market research data but is still in the early stages of its development.  CEO Kimmo Kuokkanen described Statzon as “the fastest way for consultants, analysts, investors, financial industry professionals, media personnel and academic people to access the needed data and gain insights about market size, trends, future outlook, market drivers, major players, etc.”

Insent Integrates with MS Teams

Conversation Marketing platform Insent.AI integrated its service with Microsoft Teams, notifying users when customers and prospects are ready to chat.  The conversation is conducted within Teams via an MS Teams AppSource app.

“With the Insent app for Teams, your team can get notifications for the incoming chats from your buyers, view detailed visitor insights to understand the context and strike up more personalized conversations, and make the necessary hand-offs inside your chosen MS channels,” blogged Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey.

Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform.”  According to Jey ”integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”

Insent offers “Advanced Enterprise-grade routing,” which directs conversations to the CRM account owners.  If the account owner is not available, calls are routed via a set of fallback rules based on time of day and location to other reps or the chatbot.

Insent emphasizes the value of “human-first conversations” with bots serving as a backup channel:

“Chatbots were meant to be your second line of defense, built to support marketing and sales when your team isn’t available – not pretend to be human.”

Insent Website

@ Mentions allow users to include additional staff in the conversation.  It is not necessary to register individual users.  Simply tagging them directs Insent to create a user profile based upon MS Teams data.

Insent also offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack.

Outreach, Cognism, Drift, Alyce, and Sendoso Make LinkedIn’s Top Startups List

Five vendors covered in my newsletters and blog made LinkedIn’s Top 50 US or Top 10 UK startups list, an indicator to the economic vibrancy of SalesTech and MarTech solutions, particularly during the pandemic.

Sales Engagement vendor Outreach placed #6 in the US, its second year making the list.

“We work hard to be a great place to work and to create an environment where [the] top talent of any background feels welcome and can thrive,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “We’re always looking for passionate, tenacious employees who think differently and live and breathe our core value of having each other’s backs. I’m thrilled that we continue to attract the best of the best, and LinkedIn named us one of the top startups in the US.”

Outreach focused on “emerging and resilient startups that are navigating the ever-evolving nature of work in the wake of COVID-19.” The firm also focused on delivering sales management tools during the pandemic, helping “leaders closely monitor their team’s success and keep employees motivated and productive.”

Cognism that was named a top 10 UK Startup to Watch, placing at Number 9.  The firm which, was founded in 2015, has performed well during the pandemic and recently acquired German signature-block messaging firm Mailtastic.  They have already opened a UK Mailtastic office and closed their first UK deals.

According to CEO James Isilay, “We have just made a key hire in the US and will be expanding the offering there from October.”

Following a staff survey, Cognism will be moving to a smaller office presence and emphasize WFH options.

“Despite a challenging year with the pandemic, Cognism has continued its strong growth recently passing the key $10 million ARR mark,” wrote CEO James Isilay. “We see growth accelerating next year as we bring our go-to-market intelligence and engagement platform to new markets across Europe.”

Two tactile marketing companies, Alyce (35) and Sendoso (46), made the list.  Both firms positioned direct mail e-gifting as a method to connect with customers and prospects during the pandemic.

“While many companies and entire industries were dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the need to create personal bonds as the world moved almost fully digital in the age of no major trade shows, events, and public networking became ever more paramount,” wrote Alyce. “Alyce actually thrived as a company, and swiftly pivoted to deliver digital gifts for their enterprise customers looking to create personal experience moments for their audience.  Despite the market shifts, Alyce has experienced a milestone year of growth, with a vast percentage of its Annual Recurring Revenue (AAR) coming from its enterprise customer base and new use-case expansion, more than 5x-ing over last year.”

Conversational Marketing firm Drift, which recently broadened its vision to Revenue Acceleration, landed at #21 on the list.  Drift offers chatbots, email, video, and a new Prospector service for intent monitoring.

Firms were based upon four criteria: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list.  Startups must be no more than seven years old and have at least 50 employees.

BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs (Part II)

Yesterday, I began my profile of SMB Sales Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard which supports a global company graph of 100 million SMBs. Part II discusses several BuzzBoard reports titled Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

The Competition tab compares a company against three local peers, allowing reps to take a value-added discussion approach to customer and prospect meetings.  This benchmarking can be performed as early as the first call, helping to differentiate the sales rep.  Should the prospect wish to see other competitors, the representative can quickly remove one of the competitors and add a requested company to the analysis.  The competitive benchmark supports three tabs: Digital Marketing, HR & Organization, and Communications.

BuzzBoard recommends that reps not go through the competitive report line-by-line, but focus on two or three categories where the vendor “has solutions.” Going line-by-line is “the digital equivalent to the PowerPoint presentation,” warns BuzzBoard Director of Community & Training Phillip Cortez.

Category Insights include local advertising intelligence from Borrell Associates.  Borrell data includes industry-specific ad budgets for local markets.  Local data is available for both digital advertising, non-digital advertising, and their sub-categories (e.g. General Paid Search, Targeted Display, Listings Paid Search, Newspapers, Local Broadcast TV, Radio).  There is also a section on Audience Targeting Opportunities for the industry, providing fodder for sales conversations.  This intelligence would also be valuable for the marketing communications team in developing blog and social content that targets top segments.  Other sections include technology trends, threats and opportunities, top products and services, and “know their customers.”

The Recommendations tab provides a set of recommendations and talking points based on gaps in a firm’s digital marketing presence.

BuzzBoard is well-positioned for firms that target SMBs, particularly if they provide digital services of some form.  This focus, however, makes them ill-suited for enterprise sales.  The database does not offer company linkages, long business descriptions, tickers (for quickly looking up the HQ of a firm), filings, financials, etc.  However, they are clear in their positioning as a B2SMB database.

BuzzBoard is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and Hyderabad (engineering).  The firm has 85 employees with open positions in sales, customer success, engineering, and product management.

COVID-19 has “not really impacted us substantially,” said CEO Umesh Tibrewal.

BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard has built a graph of global SMB organizations spanning 100 million companies, 20 million in the US.  The seven-year-old firm supports advanced segmentation and prospecting based upon a deep set of technographic and digital marketing variables.  During the pandemic, they added COVID prospecting and recommendation tools to help customers target segments and personas that are doing well during the recession.

It is their focus on SMBs and their digital signals that they describe as their competitive advantage. “Anyone who sells to SMBs should have deep knowledge of the prospect’s digital footprint, their needs, attitudes, triggers, and ability to pay.  These are reflected in the SMB’s operations stack and in their external presence.”

BuzzBoard assigns a Buzz Score to each of the companies in its database.  The Buzz Score is a digital marketing score that grades a company’s digital presence based on a 0 to 100 scale.  Users may drill into the score to see the underlying components.  Thus, a web design company can determine whether a prospect has multi-screen compatibility.  Initially, an estimated score is provided, which is +/- 10 points of the probable score.  When adding a profile, BuzzBoard automatically regenerates the Buzz Score and digital profile, though the process takes 60 to 90 seconds.

Prospecting variables include firmographics, technographics, website, SEO, advertising, social, estimated spend, etc.  A new set of COVID-19 risk filters let users select companies based on location, industry, operational status, ongoing Google Ad spend, and recent technology investments.  For example, restaurants may be filtered operationally by Temporarily Closed, Dine-in, Delivery, and Take-out.

On the user home page, they added two recommendation cards.  The “COVID-19 – Categories to work on now!” card highlights verticals that are growing and “need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The “COVID-19 – Recommendations” card contains personas and segments defined by BuzzBoard’s data scientists “based on target locations that need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The homepage consists of a customizable set of cards for training videos, COVID recommendations, Knowledge Base, Favorite Signals, etc.

The fixed search bar at the top of each screen lets users search by location combined with business name, URL, category, or keywords.  A left-handed filter bar lets users revise the prospecting list.  For example, a user can quickly search for roofers within 40 miles of Los Angeles with websites and Google ad spend, but a poor mobile experience (e.g. slow loading, not responsive).  Lists are displayed via a card-view or plotted map.  List parameters may be saved for future re-use.

Prospects may be added as profiles.  When added, BuzzBoard goes out and re-evaluates the Buzz Score based upon its current digital footprint.  Profiles contain a summary view along with tabs for Detailed view, Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

Beyond prospecting lists, users may also quickly research a company from a BuzzBoard Connect Chrome extension or via a file upload.  When visiting a web page in Chrome, users click on the BuzzBoard icon in the right corner of the Chrome bar, and BuzzBoard opens a window with company details including firmographics, Buzz Score, Website and SEO details, technographics, social media, competition, communications, and recommendations.

Up to 300 records may be uploaded at a time.  The file must contain either name and URL or name and address for matching.


Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of their Competition, Category, and Recommendation tabs.

Zoominfo Beats Back the Summertime Sales Blues

Zoominfo analyzed their Out of Office (OOO) emails and phone call connection rates over the past year to determine whether there was a dog days of summer impact on their business or whether it was a convenient excuse used by sales reps for taking their foot off the pedal in July and August.  It turns out that there is a sustained drop off in phone connectivity and an increase in OOO messaging in July and August.  For Zoominfo, the potential income loss was equal to $400,000 in monthly new Annual Contract Value (ACV).

Brian Setzer as Eddie Cochrane playing “Summertime Blues” in La Bamba

If we extend that loss over the last week of June and the first week of September, the summer lull would result in a million dollars in lost ACV (half a million dollars in 2020 revenue, but that is only because subscription revenue is recognized over the length of the contract, not when booked).

But a firm like Zoominfo has a very high retention rate, so stratifying the million dollars over the lifetime value (LTV) of the lost opportunities means that the cumulative LTV is likely in excess of $5 million (their 2019 dollar based net retention rate was 109%)

For a company that went IPO in June after touting strong new ACV growth in their May S-1, new revenue growth is key in maintaining confidence in your revenue teams.

“How did we respond to this data?  By stepping on the gas – we sent out an additional ~14k+ emails (~10% of normal volume) over the past two months and making an additional ~23k dials (~35% of normal volume) per month. 

Sales is — and always will be — a contact sport. 

This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a vast array of contacts at prospects. Without being able to tap into our own data this wouldn’t have been possible.  That’s not cheap promotion, it’s a fact.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Around 90% of Zoominfo’s revenue is domestic, so they aren’t dealing with the long August vacations taken in Europe. The strategy of working harder over the summer allowed them to maintain new ACV growth during a soft period, but it might not be effective in Europe when business activity is reduced much more significantly.

OOO messages often provide alternate contacts that may be part of the buying committee. Acting on this intelligence and extending relationships to additional decision makers and influencers may improve both current and future close rates.

Zoominfo has a reputation for effective revenue operations management. They assumed the summer doldrum lore to be true and double downed on their outbound communications. But they also measured their sales and marketing efficiency to better understand the nature of the summer slowdown, allowing them to model and refine their summer sales strategy in the coming years.

Source: Zoominfo Blog, “Leveraging Sales Intelligence in the Dog Days of Summer

6Sense – Outreach Integration

A new 6Sense integration with Outreach helps reps plan account activities from within their CRM and then take actions through the Outreach Sales Engagement Platform.  6Sense insights help reps “prioritize their Outreach strategy, understand their buyers, and time their outreach based on AI-driven predictions of where accounts are in the buying journey.”

6Sense warms up accounts and determines when they are in-market and ready for sales outreach.  With a single click on a contact record, reps can start an Outreach sequence.  If a sequence is already underway, the rep is notified.

“The combination of having comprehensive account and contact data, the right workflow, a customized cadence, and personalized messaging based on buyer behavior can be the difference between a loss and a win,” blogged 6Sense.

The two platforms are complementary with 6Sense managing marketing outreach, enriching data, and scoring prospects and Outreach managing multi-channel sales communications, including email, phone call, text message, social media, direct mail, video, and calendaring.

While SEP ecosystem profiles often rehash features and one partner’s messaging, 6Sense and Outreach focused on their joint value proposition:

“For customers of 6sense and Outreach, our partnership means a union of insight and education around intent and engagement data necessary to target the right accounts and contacts, as well as the predictable, real-time pace at which to engage and ultimately increase conversion rates.  Sales intelligence technology such as ours helps sales reps focus on the more human moments throughout the buyer journey.  Together, 6sense and Outreach help marketing and sales spend less on the time-consuming, calculated risks of sifting through seemingly qualified leads and haphazardly reaching out to them.”

6Sense Blog

The partners highlighted additional benefits, including more relevant sales conversations based upon 6Sense sales intelligence, expanding messaging across the buying committee, and next-best-action recommendations that help reps “better prioritize their day and make stronger connections with buyers.”

Seismic Interactive Content

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic released Interactive Content, a set of microapps and LiveContent presentations that lets remote sales reps “come close to mimicking an in-person environment, in which they are adapting to buyer reactions and feedback in near real-time.”  Interactive Content helps revenue organization deliver “immersive, engaging” digital experiences “with just a few clicks.”

A Tiled integration supports Seismic microapps that delivers “memorable evergreen content like digital brochures, pitch decks, 3D interactive visuals, and more.”

“Microapps unleash creative storytelling.  Organizations that deliver their messages in conversational, self-directed ways will win.  Those that don’t will be left behind,” said Tiled CEO Darrell Swain.  “Linear content will ultimately go the way of print.  We are moving into an experiential era that requires a new interactive content format that allows for the creation of rich, immersive experiences, without the need for code.”

Tiled microapps deliver “immersive experiences” with “evergreen content that captures buyers’ attention.”  The apps are interactive and drive engagement through stories “that resonate in a way buyers will remember.”

Seismic describes microapps as “a new content type that combines the interactivity of a mini-website or an app with the ease of document delivery.  Use cases include event invites, digital product brochures, buyer’s guides, and eBooks.

The microapp builder resides within Seismic’s Content Manager and supports drag n’ drop, interactive ‘tiles’ that deliver content as “scrollable image galleries and panes, in-line videos, quizzes, and more.”  The builder is a no-code service that supports adaptive display across mobile, desktop, and tablets.  Microapps may be reviewed and approved before publishing to targeted audiences.

While microapps support one-to-many interactive communications at the top of the funnel, LiveContent supports one-to-one, personalized communications at the bottom of the funnel.  LiveContent is built with familiar authoring tools that “easily transform traditional presentations into personalized, memorable, dynamic stories.”  Content is delivered in an “always-on” mode, as it is “intended to be.”

Seismic LiveContent converts standard presentations with embedded animations, transitions, videos, GIFs, and voiceovers “delivered remotely, exactly how a seller would deliver in person: in presentation mode.”  Seismic stores the original presentation file, allowing content creators to update LiveContent presentations based on page-by-page engagement analytics quickly.  The initial release supports Microsoft PowerPoint, but additional presentation formats will “follow soon.”

“Presentations are not intended to just be scrolled through,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “LiveContent allows a buyer to engage with a presentation remotely in a similar way that a seller would engage a buyer in person.  With our Summer 2020 release, we are bringing sales content to life.”

According to Seismic, interactive content is preferred to static material, with double the conversion rate of “passive” content.  91% of buyers prefer interactive/visual content and are twice as likely to share interactive content.  81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention, and 45% believe that its effective for educating prospects (vs. 6% for static content).  88% contend that it is effective at differentiating the brand.

The CSO Insights 2019 Sales Enablement report found that 57.7% of buyers saw little difference between sellers with vendors blending together.  Only 31.9% of buyers felt that at least one vendor succeeded in differentiating itself.

Interactive content supports flexible navigation allowing reps to quickly transition to relevant use cases, products, or services during sales conversations.  “You can get a broad set of content—as large as any slide deck—and deep content that drills down into the details of your business solutions,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Manager Neicole Crepeau.  “But it doesn’t have to feel burdensome, and it can be easy to navigate in the middle of a meeting.”

Users can embed questionnaires, videos, assessments, and calculators.  They can let clients drive the discussion, “asking them to enter information or answer questions and choose what they want to know more about,” continued Crepeau.  “By flipping the conversation and putting the customer in the driver’s seat during a meeting, you ensure engagement and that you’re truly talking about topics that resonate with the prospect.”

“Buyer expectations are high, and if the content brands are serving them is not relevant or engaging, they will disregard it.  Today it’s not just about what you say; it’s also how you say it.  Content fatigue and information overload have become particularly pronounced in our new all-digital work environment.  Sellers and marketers are in need of content types that captivate their audiences and move them through the buyer journey faster.”

Seismic CEO Doug Winter

Interactive Content will be available as an add-on service.  Seismic does not disclose its pricing.

Validity Launches Everest Email Deliverability Platform

Email deliverability vendor Validity announced the global availability of Everest, a new platform for email optimization, analytics, and delivery.  The platform combines the capabilities of 250ok, Return Path, and BriteVerify, businesses that they acquired over the past two years.

“Validity built Everest to give marketers everything they need to ensure email success,” promised the firm.  “Everest is a complete email analytics platform powered by Validity’s exclusive data feeds, the largest data network in the industry, and widespread integration and support within the email ecosystem.  It offers marketers a complete set of tools to prepare, test, optimize, and measure their email campaigns.  With fully configurable dashboards, a highly intuitive user interface, and seamless integration with many of the leading email service providers, Everest makes it fast and easy to optimize campaigns.

Other features include performance tracking reports, customizable alerts, list hygiene, and campaign benchmarking versus competitors and global senders.  Unique features include email certification for avoiding spam filters, View Time Optimization (VTO) for Verizon Media mailboxes, and enterprise-grade managed services.

Everest pre-send optimization features include form validation, bulk upload verification, and design and content tools.  Emails are checked against over seventy device-mail clients.  Email links and images are tested, and A/B testing is supported.

Competitive intelligence features include message samples, subject lines, sending volume, message patterns, and performance metrics.  Everest also flags competitor list hygiene issues, authentication gaps, and blocklist history.  “Beyond that, you’ll be able to compare brands side-by-side to identify low-hanging fruit and quick wins around sending volumes, accessibility, mobile compatibility, image animation, localization, and sending best practices.”

Verizon VTO delivers emails at the top of the inbox when the addressee is in her email client, quadrupling open rates and doubling click through rates for Yahoo, AOL, Verizon.net, and ATT.net mailboxes.

Everest “is, by a wide margin, the most comprehensive, insightful, value-add email platform ever offered in our industry,” said Validity CEO Mark Briggs.  “Any business that relies on digital marketing should consider Everest as the key to delivering email success.”