Trapit: End of Year Social Selling Enhancements

Trapit Social Selling Platform
Trapit Social Selling Platform

Social Selling vendor Trapit released a set of five enhancements to assist with relationship management.   The monitoring service tracks over 100,000 curated web sources.  Content categories include blogs, professional journals, social media, and news services.  For Twitter, the service supports Retweets, Replies, and Favorites.  Trapit also supports “robust filtering” by media-type, source quality, tags, and geographic location.  The new enhancements span social listening link tracking, social queueing, message recommendations, and the flagging of content for internal use.

Trapit’s social listening enhancements help reps gather customer and prospect insights from the web and Twitter without the assistance of an administrator.

Link tracking allows sales and marketing to determine which content is driving revenue via social sharing.  “Link tracking bridges the gap between social selling activity on Trapit and revenue by applying the same metrics to social sales that have long been a key feature of email marketing and online advertising,” said the firm.  “Tracking codes, which customers can ‘set and forget’ directly within Trapit, can now be automatically added to all inbound links, providing integration with all of the major marketing automation platforms.”

Social queue scheduling allows reps to schedule social messages throughout the day even when they are out of the office.  An unlimited number of messages can be queued.  Trapit supports social sharing via email, SMS, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks.

Recommended messaging allows reps to modify messages to comply with the styles (e.g. hashtags) and character limits of various social platforms.  Marketing can provide a set of curated messages for various networks which are then posted by sales reps.

Trapit is also a platform for marketers and sales management to distribute internal content flagged as read only.  Thus, “Trapit can be used to deliver updates about market developments, competitive intelligence, HR and internal communications, and other information where salespeople will see it.”

“The completeness of Trapit’s platform sets it apart from the standalone tools that salespeople have relied upon in recent years,” said CEO Hank Nothhaft Jr. “As sales teams move from analogue to digital tactics, they need a solution that is not only comprehensive, but also highly efficient and easy to use. We’ve stayed laser focused on empowering salespeople to uncover opportunities and engage buyers across a variety of digital channels, and we’ve coded best practices into the software itself. As a result, sales teams that leverage Trapit consistently outperform their competitors.”

LinkedIn: Now Part of Microsoft

On December 9th, Microsoft announced closure of its $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition following EU approval.  The full approval process took just about six months.  Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is “even more enthusiastic” about the transaction than he was in June.

Nadella listed the following “immediate term” integration scenarios:

  • LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
  • LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
  • Enabling members drafting résumés in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
  • Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties
  • Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
  • LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
  • Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and MSN.com
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365

The emphasis on expanded opportunities for individuals to learn, compete, network, collaborate, and find jobs was a key justification of the merger.  “While technology tools are not a panacea for current economic challenges, we believe they can make an important contribution,” said Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.  “Microsoft and LinkedIn together have a bigger opportunity to help people online to develop and earn credentials for new skills, identify and pursue new jobs, and become more creative and productive as they work with their colleagues. Working together we can do more to serve not only those with college degrees, but the many people pursuing new experiences, skills and credentials related to vocational training and so-called middle skills. Our ambition is to do our part to create more opportunity for people who haven’t shared in recent economic growth.”

The LinkedIn and Microsoft Graphs complement each other and will help build LinkedIn's vision of an Economic Graph.
The LinkedIn and Microsoft Graphs complement each other and will help build LinkedIn’s vision of an Economic Graph.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner views the transaction as an opportunity to expand LinkedIn’s Economic Graph “and ultimately help create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”  LinkedIn will operate as an independent division with “the same mission and vision, the same culture and values, the same brand, and the same leadership team.”

Weiner reiterated LinkedIn’s commitment to its members, their privacy, and information security.  The firm “remains focused on growing LinkedIn and creating value for our members and customers with a focus on integrating LinkedIn products with Microsoft.

The EU placed a few requirements on the deal, but did not view the transaction as anti-competitive, a position held by Salesforce.com.  The EU evaluated the impact on professional social networks, CRM solutions, and API access.  As an accommodation, Microsoft committed to a five year period in which it will

  • Ensure that PC manufacturers and distributors would be free not to install LinkedIn on Windows and allowing users to remove LinkedIn from Windows should PC manufacturers and distributors decide to preinstall it.
  • Allow competing professional social network service providers to maintain current levels of interoperability with Microsoft’s Office suite of products through the so-called Office add-in program and Office application programming interfaces.
  • Grant competing professional social network service providers access to “Microsoft Graph”, a gateway for software developers. It is used to build applications and services that can, subject to user consent, access data stored in the Microsoft cloud, such as contact information, calendar information, emails, etc. Software developers can potentially use this data to drive subscribers and usage to their professional social networks.

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “A growing number of Europeans subscribe to professional social networks. These networks are important for professionals to connect and interact and to find new career opportunities. Today’s decision ensures that Europeans will continue to enjoy a freedom of choice between professional social networks.”

Data on employees by function from beta company profile page.
Data on LinkedIn employees by function from beta company profile page.

LinkedIn has 467 million global members and supports two dozen languages.  The firm continues to add members at the rate of two per second.  Last quarter, LinkedIn earned $960 million across three divisions: Talent Solutions ($623 million), Marketing Solutions ($175 million), and Premium Subscriptions ($162 million).

Conversation Starters

LinkedIn rolled out a new Conversation Starter feature to promote system messaging via a lightbulb icon.  The feature analyzes the target individual’s profile to provide a series of conversational options.  After selecting a potential opener, the user can modify the text to their voice.  Starters include recent profile updates, work anniversaries, recent posts, mutual connections, and shared backgrounds (e.g. alma mater, former employers, groups).

li-conversation-starter“We know that reaching out to reconnect, ask for advice or network for potential job opportunities can be intimidating, so we’ve added personalized conversation starters in LinkedIn messaging to give members authentic ways to break the ice,” the company said in a blog post.

Unfortunately, the Conversation Starters on their marketing video are mostly focused on connections.  This could result in a spate of similar sounding openers that could quickly become SPAM.  This focus could be simply a marketing oversight, but variations on “Hi Suzi, I noticed you have X connections at Google.  Have you heard…” seem like a weak set of Conversation Starters.  While better than cold messages such as “Hi Suzi, I’m reaching out to you because my company…”, their sample seems uninspired.  Furthermore, the Conversation Starters do not contain any stored messages from the sales rep to expedite the message creation process.

Meeting Scheduling

LinkedIn will soon be rolling out a bot to assist with multi-party meeting scheduling.

Decommissioning Professional Edition Features

According to Intero Advisory, a LinkedIn coaching service, LinkedIn is looking to migrate sales clients from their Professional edition to Sales Navigator.  As part of this effort, LinkedIn is dropping two features from the Pro service: 1) Premium Search Filters and 2) Notes and Tags for connections.  LinkedIn said these features will be available through the end of March.  Users have until then to download any Notes and Tags.  To help accommodate users, LinkedIn is offering a free three-month trial of Sales Navigator which includes the transfer of Notes and Tags.

Bureau van Dijk Integrates RepRisk Reports

RepRisk Issues span 28 topics
RepRisk coverage spans 28 issues and 45 topics across 70,000 global firms.

Bureau van Dijk partnered with RepRisk to integrate RepRisk’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk reports into their global ORBIS database.  Content includes ESG risk metrics and analytics from the RepRisk ESG Risk Platform.  RepRisk claims to provide “the world’s most comprehensive database on ESG risks.”

The RepRisk Index combines company and country risk intelligence alongside Bureau van Dijk’s corporate ownership data.  RepRisk  screens 80,000 third-party sources spanning fifteen languages.  Company, country, and industry risk data is updated daily.  The company tracks 28 specific issues and 45 topics (e.g. fracking, indigenous peoples, illegal mining) across 70,000 companies.

Use cases include client onboarding, credit risk, compliance, and supply chain vetting.  Content will also be available via Bureau van Dijk’s Catalyst workflow solutions.

“In today’s business climate, there is a growing demand for information on environmental, social and governance reputational risk,” said Louise Green, Bureau van Dijk’s global marketing director. “RepRisk is an industry leader in the field of dynamic ESG risk analytics and metrics whose data complements our own extensive combination of financial, compliance, sanctions and risk-related information and gives our users the ability to make better-informed business decisions with a greater degree of certainty.”

“Our research focuses on capturing and analyzing data from media, stakeholders, and other public sources external to the company. This insight helps balance and substantiate the information provided by the company itself, and helps assess whether a company’s intention – policies, processes, and commitments – translates into practice,” says the RepRisk website.  “We believe that corporate responsibility goes hand-in-hand with sound financial and reputational risk management, operational excellence, and profitable growth in the medium and long term.”

Earlier this year, Bureau van Dijk rolled out an improved user interface for ORBIS.

Trillium Software Sold to SyncSort

"Why Good Data Matters" Statistics from Trillium Software
“Why Good Data Matters” Statistics from Trillium Software

Harte-Hanks, which has been looking to sell off its Trillium Software data quality division for several quarters, found an acquirer in SyncSort.  The $112 million transaction will combine the data quality and integration capabilities of the two firms with a focus on extending Trillium services into the Hadoop big data platform.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

“With most large enterprises making significant investments in Big Data for business and operational analytics, core data integration and data quality workloads are moving into Hadoop at a rapid pace,” said SyncSort CEO Josh Rogers. “As a pioneer in bringing high-performance data integration software to the Hadoop ecosystem, Syncsort sees an opportunity to extend our unique value with Trillium’s proven, best-of-breed data quality products. Together, we are a clear leader in the data integration and data quality market, and the logical choice for large enterprises seeking to chart a path to Hadoop. We look forward to working closely with Trillium’s customers and investing in the great products they have come to rely on.”’

Harte-Hanks has been slimming itself down the past few years.  They sold off both their publishing group and Trillium Software and spun off Aberdeen Services (Aberdeen market research and Access CI technology database).

“Our announcement today is the result of a comprehensive process to maximize the value of the Trillium Software business in the growing Data Quality and Data Governance segment,” said Harte-Hanks CEO Karen Puckett. “Now Harte Hanks can wholly focus resources on our core strengths and capitalize on our unique combination of marketing strategy, analytics, and execution capabilities. The sale of Trillium Software, along with the cost reduction program we implemented in 2016, provides Harte Hanks with a stronger balance sheet as we move the Company on its path toward revenue stability and historically strong cash flows and improved profitability.”

In a recent Magic Quadrant on Data Quality Tools, Gartner placed Trillium in the Leaders quadrant and gave them high marks for the “strength and stability” of their core profiling, parsing, standardization, and matching functionality.  Trillium also was noted for its “strong mind share and a very long and solid track record of delivering data quality solutions” and its growth in the cloud-based deployments.

On the negative side, Gartner noted concerns about pricing, “ease of installation, upgrade, and migration,” and the uncertainty that surrounds the Harte-Hanks divestment (the analysis was prior to the announcement).