Social123 Rebrands as Synthio

Synthio Logo

Social123 has rebranded as Synthio to emphasize the “synthesis and maintenance of data sources.”  The rename denotes a shift from data provision to “empowering users with a Data as a Service platform that automates synthesizing non-standard and free-form data into clean, standardized, and impactful solutions.”

The firm also discussed its SynthCenter platform which supports  the following legacy functionality:

  • SynthSearch: Company and contact searching
  • SynthEnrich: Database enrichment spanning 45 fields

And new capabilities:

  •  SynthClean: Merge datasets; remove duplicates; normalize titles, company names, and phone numbers; and validate email addresses and URLs.
  • SynchConnect: Connect freemail email addresses to B2B email addresses and personas
  • SynchTech: Enriches company records with installed technology including back-end platforms.
  • SynthForce: A Salesforce connector for I-frame display of contact information and news.
  • SynthCard: A digital business card following SynthSearch
  • SynthBridge: Integrations with Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua), Marketo, and HubSpot.  The Eloqua and Marketo connectors support SynthSearch and SynthAppend.  The HubSpot connector enriches leads with contact and firmographic intelligence.

The firm did not discuss whether they license their technology data or gather it directly.

“Our goal is to put the new SynthCenter platform squarely in the middle of a modern marketer’s stack,” said Synthio CEO Aaron Biddar. “As marketing and technology management converge, marketers find themselves with the new responsibility of managing increasingly large and complex datasets. Unfortunately, they are still using tools designed for a simpler, email centric, world. The new SynthCenter platform is designed to address and ease many of these pain points, and comprehensively make contact data more accurate, more standardized, and more ingestible directly into major Marketing Automation Platforms and CRM systems. With SynthCenter, users now have actionable intelligence, not just spreadsheets of contact data.”

Synthio’s database spans 320 million contacts gathered from social and other sources.  Emails are validated in real-time.  The firm claims a 40% append rate, but that is dependent upon the quality of the customer’s match file.

Services are available on both a subscription and pay as you go model.

Synthio has been growing rapidly.  Last year, Social123 ranked #377 on the “Inc. 5000” list with a 123% three-year Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR) on $2.8 million in 2015 revenue.

Synthio (FKA Social123) Use Cases
Synthio (FKA Social123) Use Cases

LinkedIn Salary: Expanding the Economic Graph

LinkedIn continues the build out of its Economic Graph with the launch of LinkedIn Salary.  The new tool provides salary data alongside other elements of the Economic Graph including jobs, employees, organizations, skills, and educational institutions.

“This includes salary, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level — all of which becomes critical knowledge as you navigate your career,” LinkedIn wrote. “Also, rest assured that when you enter your salary, it’s immediately encrypted and remains private.”

LinkedIn Salary
LinkedIn Salary

The service provides a set of salary analytics related to job, experience, industry, and location.  The user begins by specifying the position and location.  They can then quickly filter by industry and experience.  Both median salary and median compensation are immediately displayed along with a compensation histogram.  Other details include annual bonus, commission, restricted stock units, and stock options.  Other salary analytics include base salaries by company size, industry, education level, field of study, and top locations.

Another valuable tool is compensation data by position for key employers in a metro area.

LinkedIn Salary data at top companies by title and location.
LinkedIn Salary data at top companies by title and location.

The service is currently available in the US, UK, and Canada with plans to expand globally in 2017.  To obtain full salary details, users must provide their salary details or have a LinkedIn Premium subscription.

Other vendors providing similar data include Glassdoor and

Other recent LinkedIn developments in the news:

  • LinkedIn anticipates that the Microsoft acquisition will close by the end of 2016.  They are awaiting approval from the European authorities and then should be ready to complete the $26.2 billion transaction.
  • LinkedIn was blocked in Russia last week after they failed to comply with Russian rules concerning the housing of data related to Russian citizens.  The service has six million Russian members.  The block goes back to a 2014 law which was enacted after social media-fueled protests against the Putin regime.

Note: The link to the Glassdoor salary site was added on December 1st.




Emissary Launched

Emissary Sales Coach Profile
Emissary Sales Coach Profile

Emissary, a novel concept around account-specific sales coaching from former employees of key accounts, was formally launched this month.  The new service, which recently received $10 million in Series A funding, pairs up former enterprise executives, or “emissaries,” with sales reps to provide account guidance.  The initial set of emissaries focuses on two verticals: Enterprise Software and Marketing & Advertising.

According to the firm, “By directly connecting clients to former executives who have accumulated invaluable knowledge throughout their careers, Emissary takes over where Google searches, social networks and sales automation software leave off. Over 5,000 experienced business leaders on Emissary provide personalized insights about the organizations they have previously worked – such as what the company culture is, who the key decision makers are and how the company makes buying decisions.”

Emissaries are vetted by the firm to ensure they have the requisite knowledge and experience to guide enterprise sales reps.  The firm’s Salesforce synch connector matches sales organizations that “demand their insight” with emissaries holding “tacit knowledge” of organizations.  The platform then facilitates communications, much of which is e-mail.

Emissary views itself as a sales acceleration platform, but one that focuses on closing deals instead of generating more leads.  Thus, emissaries assist with much of the account intelligence which doesn’t reside online, helping reps understand organizational culture, procurement processes, and key decision makers.  This tacit knowledge is often lacking online.  Hammer, a former Google Product Executive, noted that even heavily data-driven organizations such as Google often make mistakes because “Often times, we didn’t have access to a piece of knowledge that sat in someone else’s head, and we didn’t know who that person was. I created Emissary because I believed if we faced that problem at Google, that organizations of all sizes must be facing that challenge.”

“At Google I came to realize that we all have valuable, tacit knowledge that was not available online,” said CEO and Founder David Hammer. “With Emissary, we’re using technology to gain access to relationship-driven knowledge from trusted sources that can often make the difference between whether or not you close a deal.”

The Emissary service requires a significant upfront commitment “in the tens of thousands of dollars, with the price depending on each client’s specific needs.”  Contracts run six to twelve months and include a set of Emissary engagements.

Emissary recently closed on a $10 million Series A led by Canaan Partners and G20 Ventures.  The Manhattan-based firm previously received a $2 million seed round from The New York Times, Google Ventures and Nextview Ventures.

Lead411 TrackStar

Lead411 Event Intelligence
Lead411 Catalysts (Sales Triggers)

Lead intelligence vendor Lead411 includes the TrackStar contact tracking service as part of their offering.  TrackStar helps identify executive changes and promotions, allowing sales reps to keep in touch with their champions and reach out to new hires.

“Our business was built on the belief that our customers need a more comprehensive view of their prospect and his business in order to increase conversion rates, improve targeting, and enhance their existing sales technology platforms,” said Lead411 CEO Tom Blue. “TrackStar is a vital piece of the equation, shortening sales cycles for marketing and sales teams by enabling them to target champions with whom they’ve previously worked and providing them with the right information about their accounts, at the right time, to build the right relationships.”

TrackStar is available as a premium offering to its Small Biz 300 (SB300) package.  After adding the $25 premium, SB300 is priced at $150 per user per month.  SB300 features include 300 exported contacts, viewable emails, IT Intelligence, sales trigger alerts, CRM and MAP export, a Chrome extension, and Gmail integration.  There is a six-month minimum commitment with monthly invoicing.  An annual seat costs $1,500.

An enterprise edition supports unlimited downloading or CRM/MAP uploading for their 17 million contacts.  Data list enrichments are also supported for company and executive lists.  Pricing is not available for this edition.

Prospecting supports over fifteen variables.  Most are standard company and exec selects such as SIC, NAICS, location, and size ranges; but users will also find ZIP radius, last email verification date, technology, and open job keyword searches (job and tech searches are limited to the SB300 and Enterprise editions).  Job Title searches are supported, but the firm does not appear to have developed a job function and level taxonomy to assist with list building.  Users may save lists or setup lists with a weekly new contact list email.

Prospecting also supports news searching against sales triggers.

Email trigger alerts are available which provide details mined from the news article.  For example, funding triggers show the industry, state, amount, and planned spend.  The new hires trigger shows the company, exec name and title, and hiring location.

Technology data spans over 2,000 technologies and is mined from websites and job boards.

The Chrome extension displays company profiles from within the browser.  Users may upload profiles to SFDC.  The extension even identifies whether a contact is in SFDC as part of the standard display.  A Chrome extension icon automatically toggles the user to a new browser tab and opens the contact record within SFDC, a feature which I have yet to see in other sales intelligence vendors.

Within the Chrome extension and Gmail, users can view sizing data, social media links, technology intelligence, jobs, and recent news.

Lead411 discusses their product as

Catalysts + Context = Intelligent Conversations that drive sales.

Catalysts are sales triggers spanning eight categories including technology, ownership change, financials, personnel changes, and regulatory.

“It’s when these events happen that executives are most motivated to buy products and services that prove out the value of the decision,” said Blue.

Blue continued that context is “about knowing as much as you can about your prospect so you can talk to them intelligently and also know what their pain points are.  So it demonstrates a real knowledge about the company and it also sets up a strong connection and relationship.”

Lead411 claims to have over 2,000 enterprise customers including ADP, Wells Fargo, Sprint, EY, and Staples.

Outreach Outbound Analytics (beta)

Sales Acceleration vendor Outreach is promoting its Outbound Analytics module which is currently in beta.  Outreach describes itself as a complementary platform to CRMs which “triples the volume of meetings and increases qualified pipeline for front-line sales representatives.”  The Account Based Sales Development vendor supports sales reps through personalized outbound programs which are logged back to the CRM.  Other Outreach tools include workflow management, email templates, phone dialer, response detection, and a partner ecosystem.  The system also supports integrations with Gmail, Salesforce, and Exchange.

“For far too long, sales teams have been severely underserved when it comes to their technology toolkit, with insufficient tools that act more like obstacles than accelerators,” said CEO Manny Medina. “Outreach takes a completely fresh approach to the old ‘sales as usual’ mentality, freeing up sales reps and giving them back valuable time to focus on selling. Building on the success of our core platform, we’re excited to announce Outbound Analytics that move customers a giant step forward in solving the active selling problem, giving sales reps actionable intelligence on where to spend their time and how best to engage with prospects. Combined with our automated workflows, sales reps become unstoppable.”

The new analytics module, which will be released in early 2017, supports Coaching Analytics, Prospect Intelligence and Engagement Insights.

Coaching Analytics identifies team members that are in need of mentoring as well as high performers who would make good coaches.  “This eliminates the black box of sales communication by revealing insights on top performing sales techniques and providing detailed team performance measurement metrics,” said the firm.

Prospect Intelligence is gathered from Twitter, Owler, Compile, Datanyze, DiscoverOrg, and additional data vendors.  The sales intelligence helps sales reps “monitor engagement and key buying signals at both the individual prospect and account levels.”

Outreach Prospect Intelligence
Outreach Prospect Intelligence


Engagement Insights are a set of recommendations which helps reps “pinpoint the most intelligent first move of engagement” whether that be phone, email or social along with the optimal time of day and content.

“The truth is out there and the question is how do you discover that and how do you put that into action,” said Chief Product Officer Andrew Kinzer.  “When we look at analytics, what we’re really seeing is answers waiting to be discovered.”

Outreach Engagement Insights concerning Best Time of Day to Call.
Outreach Engagement Insights concerning Best Time of Day to Call.

“The best salespeople are people who are able to get into the customer’s head, empathize with the customer, and really solve a problem,” said Medina.  “Our first goal in Outreach is to give them time back, so they can do more of it.  Now what we are doing is we are actually taking some of the learnings that we got from being in the workflow and applying it to be more intelligent so their actions are more deliberate and more efficient.”

Medina argues that sales is becoming more outbound with reps now knowing much more about buyers that they did previously.  Outreach is consolidating this online intelligence to reduce the time spent gathering information across “five to ten different websites” before returning to your “system of action to take an action.”

Outreach’s goals over the next few quarters is to build out their analytics module and have it “permeate every aspect of the product,” said Kinzer.

Outreach clients include Cloudera, CenturyLink, Pandora, Adobe and Zillow.

Outreach received a $17.5 million Series B Round in June.  The firm was also recently named a Forbes 100 Cloud Rising Star.

LinkedIn InMail 2.0

I’ve never been fond of LinkedIn’s InMail service which is limited in its utility.  However,  InMail claims to have a 15% response rate which is 5x that of email.  What’s more the top ten percent of InMail senders net a 30% response rate.  According to Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products at LinkedIn, this disparity demonstrates that there are a set of best practices which improve rep response rates.  LinkedIn is rolling out a 2.0 version of InMail which assists with sales rep personalization.

“The best InMailers don’t treat InMail as a SPAM cannon, they really think about it as a handwritten note,” said Camplejohn.  “They take a little time to personalize things and we want to make it easy for all of you to be that good at InMail.”

InMail 2.0 provides full profile access, a signature block, attachment support, shared connections, icebreakers, and synch to CRM.

The first step was making the InMail box smaller so that it doesn’t cover up the recipient’s profile.  Thus, it is easier for reps to identify a personal hook to the recipient.  InMail is also providing a set of icebreakers (e.g. recent posts and updates) and shared connections to assist with messaging.  A critical new feature is the option to synch the email to CRM, providing an audit trail for InMail communications within SFDC.

InMail 2.0 also supports a signature block, attachments, and a new Inbox with threaded messages.  There is also a pending tab for tracking InMails that lack responses.

InMail 2.0 Inbox
InMail 2.0 Inbox

InMail is included as part of the Sales Navigator service.  Professional users receive twenty InMails per month while Team accounts are granted thirty InMails per sales rep per month.

Improving rep messaging is a key aspect of their Navigator product strategy.  LinkedIn is also working on integrating the PointDrive sales messaging service into Sales Navigator in Q1.

LinkedIn has begun rolling out InMail 2.0 to users.

Sales Messaging & Analytics Tools

"Chili Piper helps your team book more meeting and impress your prospects. Schedule meetings directly within the SalesLoft platform, use meeting templates, and automatically record your meetings in Salesforce."
“Chili Piper helps your team book more meeting and impress your prospects. Schedule meetings directly within the SalesLoft platform, use meeting templates, and automatically record your meetings in Salesforce.”

Yesterday, I wrote about plans to integrate PointDrive into LinkedIn Sales Navigator.  This integration is part of a growing trend in SalesTech to tie together sales acceleration tools with information services and CRM/MAP platforms.  I have touched upon a few of these examples over the past few months so I thought I’d provide a quick recap:

Salesforce acquired RelationshipIQ in 2014 and now offers its messaging workflow tools to sales reps as SaleforceIQ and Salesforce Inbox.  These offerings reduce toggling between services and delivers insights to sales reps from social networks and the sales cloud.   SalesforceIQ recommends new accounts and contacts, offers pre-written email templates, and assists with calendaring meetings.  Other features include one-click email logging to Salesforce, cloud storage connectivity, and mobile apps.

Salesforce recently acquired the Quip messaging service and is rolling it into its service.  Quip re-envisions email and associated document creation tools as a single workflow for team document creation and commentary.

Salesforce Engage provides marketing approved emails and nurturing tracks to sales reps.  The Engage service is provided as part of their Pardot B2B marketing automation platform.

Sales Acceleration firm SalesLoft is building out its ecosystem with workflow partnerships to assist with prospecting, messaging, analytics, and workflows.  The SalesLoft ecosystem includes

  • Content partners such as InsideView, Datanyze, DiscoverOrg, and Owler
  • Workflow tools such as Sigstr (signature management) and Chili Piper (meeting scheduling)
  • Sales coaching vendors ExecVision (call transcription and analytics) and Crystal (executive psychographic)

SalesLoft has additional partnerships in the works for 2017 including additional content, messaging,  and attachment analytics.

Likewise, sales acceleration vendor Outreach is also rolling out expanded analytics and partnerships.

Other sales acceleration vendors with partner ecosystems include Quota Factory and KiteDesk.

Finally, a few information services have build some sales acceleration tools into their services.  Salesgenie offers a phone dialer and integrated email support while RainKing has added a dialer service.

LinkedIn: PointDrive-Sales Navigator Integration

LinkedIn is planning to integrate the recently acquired PointDrive sales engagement solution into Sales Navigator in Q1 2017.  PointDrive, which was acquired in July, helps sales reps package, share, and track sales presentations which are distributed via the PointDrive web app or an email link.  The platform then gathers viewing analytics.  Content includes images, video, embedded maps, and documents which are mobile optimized for presentation.

Bill Burnett, Director of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, said that PointDrive is designed to solve two email problems:  attachment laden emails lack “control over narrative” as emails provide little flow, story, and “experience for the buyer.”  Also, they provide no visibility into who is viewing the email.  Thus, post-demo messaging is haphazard as emails don’t communicate a story very well.

PointDrive Embedded Contact Profile
PointDrive Embedded Contact Profile

According to LinkedIn, there are 5.4 decision makers involved in the buying decision which means that there is a high probability that sales emails with rich media attachments are being forwarded to others.

Burnett stated that the goal of PointDrive is to “turn this [email] exchange into a truly more engaging experience” which provides real-time sales signals about what content decision makers are viewing.  Instead of sending long emails, buyers are directed to a PointDrive landing page which allows the sales rep to control brand, content, and commentary.  PointDrive was designed as a “mobile first” interface with landing pages supporting both traditional and mobile browsers.

Brand and product information are “now presented in a way that truly differentiates and engages the buyer” through personalization and organization.  PointDrive also provides easy access to sales rep bios and contact information (see image on left).  Each attachment is displayed in a framed box with sales rep narratives and document descriptions alongside the marketing piece.  PointDrive supports embedded collateral, pricing sheets, presentation decks, multimedia, and images which are all displayed within the PointDrive landing page.  Users do not need to download content or window out to other documents.

PointDrive is customized to the seller allowing firms to convey their brand identity.  Burnett claims that creating a PointDrive is “as simple as creating an email.”  Users upload content and grab links, videos, and Google Maps.  “We’ll lay your brand and identity on top of it for you so that when you are ready to share with your leads [and] share with your connections,” said Burnett.

Sales reps have control over actions taken on PointDrive embedded content.  They can block downloads, password protect the element, set expiration dates, and track forwards.

An embedded User Guide is displayed within a PointDrive page.  Commentary is provided by sales reps.
An embedded User Guide is displayed within a PointDrive page.  Commentary is provided by sales reps.

Real-time alerting metrics are provided for each document view.  Thus, PDF analytics indicate who viewed the document, when viewed, how much total time buyers or influencers spent viewing the document, total pages viewed, and how much time was spent on each page.  It even captures the viewing browser and location of the viewer.  This intelligence is available for both the original recipients and any forwarded viewers.

Burnett calls this a “new way for sellers within Sales Navigator to engage with customers and prospects much deeper into the sales funnel.”  The service also provides “tremendous value for account managers or anybody inside of your organization that’s communicating on a regular basis” with customers and prospects.

The firm plans on rolling PointDrive into core Sales Navigator Team functionality at no additional cost.  LinkedIn sales reps are already using PointDrive with their customers and prospects.

“The new Sales Navigator features are to enhance the overall customer experience of Sales Navigator, and to integrate it into daily workflows to get people the information they need as easily as possible,” said LinkedIn Senior Marketing Manager Derek Pando.

LinkedIn’s System of Engagement ties together email, CRM, and LinkedIn workflows. (Source: LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016)
LinkedIn’s System of Engagement ties together email, CRM, and LinkedIn workflows. (Source: LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016)

LinkedIn Head of Products Doug Camplejohn noted that sales reps live in three applications: their email, CRM, and LinkedIn.  LinkedIn’s objective is to become the “System of Engagement” that manages the workflow of sales reps.  Expanded functionality such as PointDrive, connectors, and InMail 2.0 (see below) will sit between the system of communication (email) and the system of record (CRM).  Thus, InMail, PointDrive, CRM uploads (InMail, Notes, Tags), email and Chrome integrations, and the CRM partnerships should be viewed as part of LinkedIn’s broader workflow strategy.

Sales messaging and analytics tools are becoming much more prevalent in sales intelligence, sales acceleration, and ABSD platforms.  That will be discussed tomorrow.

Data Strategy Must Support Both MAP and CRM

IDC Chart from "The Data Advantage for Marketing and Sales," June 2016 Research (N=200)
IDC Chart from “The Data Advantage for Marketing and Sales,” June 2016 Research (N=200)

A recent IDC survey of 200 sales and marketing professionals in North America found that the largest source of leads was the Direct Sales Force at 37% of organizations.  The remaining top sources were generated by the marketing department.  Direct Marketing was still the second most important source (21%) with digital ads (14%), corporate websites (10%), and trade events (7%) also generating significant leads.

Thus, any attempt to improve the quality of leads must include both sales and marketing departments.  A focus on only those leads generated by marketing and stored in the marketing automation platform (MAP) means that a high percentage of your leads are not being impacted by your data quality efforts.  Furthermore, even if the MAP is being regularly cleansed and enriched, once leads are sent to the CRM, they still need to be maintained.

The good news is that at firms which focus on sales rep lead identification, the percentage of bad leads (incomplete, inaccurate, duplicate) was only 22%.  Only trade event focused companies had a lower lead quality rate (20%).  So which programs generate a high percentage of bad leads?  Those which are led by social content (49%), off-line ads (42%), and direct marketing (33%).  In these cases, attribution issues and incomplete data are likely sources of errors and duplicates.

What is shocking is that four of every nine firms surveyed with at least one hundred employees have no data services strategy.  Of these, 38% see no need for a working with a data services provider.  34% were put off by cost, but fail to recognize the cost of bad data is felt in sales, marketing, and downstream platforms with a host of both direct and indirect costs.  What’s more, once bad data is propagated downstream, the remediation costs go up several fold.

There are a number of vendors that address data quality in both sales and marketing platforms.  These include ReachForce, D&B NetProspex, InsideView, Avention, and Zoominfo.