Sales Acceleration Platform Cognism closed on a $10 million Series B from PeakSpan, bringing total funding to $16.5 million. Previous investors included Oliver Wyman, South Central Ventures, LCIF, and Newable Ventures Limited. The firm, founded in 2016, grew ARR over 4x last year.
will be deployed for opening local offices in Singapore and New York City as
well as growing its machine learning team. According to CEO James Isilay,
the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions.
Isilay called Asian expansion “particularly interesting” due to SaaS being relatively young in the market. Cognism has already leveraged its partnership with investor Oliver Wyman to acquire two “blue-chip financial clients” in Asia. “Investment here looks to be a promising tonic to the barriers to trade growth that are disrupting business in Europe and America.”
granted our first machine learning patent in December 2018, Cognism is now
building a portfolio of IP which will drive the next evolution of sales and
marketing technology,” said Isilay.
“Sales and marketing technology has been a core focus of ours for many years, arming us with a long-term perspective on the segment and a nuanced understanding of market trends and buyer dynamics that drive strategic value. With such a proliferation of tools and technologies emerging across the marketing and sales landscape over the last decade, it’s no secret that go-to-market leaders today aren’t asking for more software tools – they’re demanding better outcomes. Cognism’s pragmatic application of AI, which underpins the whole solution suite, is paving the way for a new category focused on turning disparate data points into coordinated insights to drive predictive and prescriptive lead generation and improve conversion across all engagements.”
▪ Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner at PeakSpan
database spans 400 million contacts and 10 million businesses. Cognism’s
products support Prospecting, Sales Triggers, and CRM Enrichments.
CRM Connectors are available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics,
HubSpot, and PipeDrive. A cadence tool sends templated emails through
Gmail and Outlook.
Marketing Features include A/B testing, Personas, ICP and TAM Analyses, and webform enrichment.
I am pleased to announce that the first in a series of sales engagement profiles is available through this website and my partners at Tenbound. These reports are written to assist with the purchasing decision. SalesLoft is the first Sales Engagement purchasing profile to be completed, but additional reports for Outreach, VanillaSoft, and Salesforce High Velocity Sales are planned for release.
SalesLoft Buyers Profile
Buyer's Profile of SalesLoft Sales Engagement Profile (Single License)
SalesLoft, based in Atlanta, provides a set of sales engagement tools for SDRs, Account Executives, Sales Operations, Sales Managers, and Sales Training. Features include
Multi-channel cadences spanning email, phone, social, text, and direct mail.
Email templates, snippets and call scripts
Automated meeting scheduling and meeting intelligence
Analytics, dashboards, queue prioritization, and coaching tips
Salesforce bi-directional sync
Partner ecosystem for chat, video, sales intelligence, security, LinkedIn, etc.
This 33-page report covers the following topics:
Return on Investment
Strengths & Weaknesses
GZ Consulting / Tenbound reports are independently written and not sponsored by any of the profiled vendors. Lynne Trocciola of GZ Consulting wrote this report.
I’m not an expert on the recruitment side, but on the sales side there is an integrated Dynamics / LinkedIn Sales Navigator solution called Relationship Sales. The service displays company and contact intelligence across Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity records. Insight features include icebreakers, TeamLink introductions, Lead Recommendations, and LinkedIn intelligence. Daily synchronization ensures that active accounts and contacts are shared between the services and that Sales Navigator activities (e.g. InMails, messages, notes, tags, and call logs) are uploaded to Dynamics 365.
LinkedIn also offers a set of SNAP connectors which provide view only company and contact profiles integrated into CRM, Sales Engagement, and other platforms. Supported CRMs include HubSpot, Inform, Microsoft, Oracle Sales Cloud, Pega, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, and Zoho.
SNAP requires licensing Sales Navigator Team along with the CRM.
SNAP offers a core set of features for CRM:
View LinkedIn profiles within Account, Contact, and Lead profiles
Icebreakers such as Recent Activity and Shared Connections
TeamLink connections which leverage co-worker LinkedIn networks.
InMails (LinkedIn’s email service which hides the email of the recipient).
Syncing of engagement activity (e.g. InMails, Notes, Messages, Phone Calls) between the CRM and LinkedIn.
Download Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity intelligence from the CRM to LinkedIn for Account and Lead List Building.
A single-pane pipeline view for maintaining Opportunity data and constructing Buyers Circles (Buying Committee members). An intriguing feature which is only available in Dynamics and Salesforce.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent offering with one major limitation — member data cannot be synced with the CRM. This means that it is view only within SNAP and must be re-keyed. It also means that there is no ongoing enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. As such, a B2B hygiene service should also be evaluated (e.g. D&B Optimizer, RingLead, ReachForce, InsideView, DiscoverOrg / Zoominfo).
Drift, which has quickly established itself as a leader in the chatbot space, is upping the ante by integrating video and chat. Users will be able to share and record videos via a Chrome extension or mobile app. Recorded videos can then be dropped into emails and sent to customers or prospects.
are “private and secure” with single sign-on functionality from Okta, OneLogin,
and Microsoft Azure. Users can restrict viewing to a specific email or
email list and “everyone else will have to request permission, just like you
would with a Google Doc.”
suggests three sales use cases for video: as a conversation starter, as a
second chance to refine a message after a call, and as a group selling tool
Video provides real-time desktop and mobile notifications when viewed. Users
can immediately start a conversation while somebody is viewing their video “so
you can reach out and say hello or follow-up at the perfect time.”
is the immediate notification element which Drift claims to be its product
“There are a few good software products out there that make it easy to capture and share videos. But we took a look around the market and noticed one big thing missing: none of those products create a better buying experience because they don’t actually help you start conversations with potential customers. You still have to make a video, send an email, and hope to get a response. But with Drift Video, you can get a notification in real-time while someone is watching your video and then hop right in and say hello.”
starting Drift, we’ve said there are two mega-trends that would shape the
future of B2B sales and marketing: messaging and video,” said CEO David Cancel.
“Over the last few years we’ve built an industry-leading messaging
platform used by over 150,000 businesses, and now we’re expanding our
Conversational Marketing platform by adding video.”
is driving global IP demand. According to Cisco, one million minutes of
video will be crossing the Internet every second by 2020 and 82% of all
Internet traffic will be video by 2021.
video is available today as part of the Drift offering. There is no
surcharge for video functionality for up to ten videos per month with a chat
option embedded into the video. For $12 per seat per month or $120 per
annum, reps are provided with a Pro license which includes unlimited HD quality
video sharing and storage. Only the Pro version restricts video sharing.
features include Team Analytics, Book Meetings from Video, and integrations
with Salesforce, Pardot, and Marketo.
spent the last year working on Drift Video and it was one of the main reasons
for raising our Series C in April 2018,” stated Cancel. “In looking at
the market over that time, we saw that while there are many products that make
it easy to create and share videos, none of them were built to help to start
conversations and create a better buying experience. After a private beta
with some great early customers, that’s what we’re bringing to market today
with Drift Video.”
has integrated video in its own sales process with 50% of Drift revenue
“influenced by video in the selling process.”
is the greatest conversation starter in B2B buying,” said Alexa Nguyen in a
Drift video. “In a world of faceless phone calls and emails, video has
helped us build trust, and video has helped us close more deals.”
Video is another way for salespeople to engage with their prospects outside of the norm. Prospects are constantly bombarded with emails and phone calls asking for their attention. But it’s hard to cut through that noise because they don’t trust easily. In order to build that trust, you need to build a personal connection. And all personal connections start with a conversation. Video allows people to be personal, show that they’re human, and help build that connection that might be lost through text in an email.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
to research from Forrester and Boston Consulting Group, 75% of B2B transactions
have little or no sales interaction. Thus, video offers a valuable
channel through which sales reps can avoid being disintermediated. However,
sales reps could push this functionality too far. While chat
functionality sounds like the next step for video, reps should be careful not
to step over the line from personable to creepy.
prospects view an email, most understand that the act of opening an email
triggers a notification to the sender, but they don’t expect that the viewing
of a video will be treated as a real-time permission for a call or chat. Immediately
reaching out to customers and prospects may be viewed as a non-permissioned
extension of an asynchronous communication into synchronous. Drift does
not discuss GDPR in the announcement, but this seems to cross the boundary into
non-permissioned communications and the release of personally identifiable
is viewing your video. Call immediately”). The video privacy
permissions are focused on the seller (ensuring they aren’t shared with
others), but there does not seem to be any functionality to limit the “call me
back” immediacy of the service. If anything, the immediate messaging will
drive down the open rate of all embedded video and kill its efficacy.
I raised this concern to Drift, they offered a best practice to address this
issue. Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager, suggested that sales
reps could either wait for the contact to initiate the chat or use a message
such as “Thanks for watching my video! I’m here if you have any
questions.” This approach makes sense. By utilizing a generic
message that sounds automated, it feels less invasive. This may be a
situation where a generic message may be welcome as it serves as an invitation
to chat while a personalized message may be off-putting.
The user can take one of two roads — proactively engage with the video viewer while they’re watching via the chat functionality OR not engage at all and allow the video viewer to chat with them at their own discretion…Other customers have gone the route of not messaging and just offering the viewer another channel to engage with them outside of email or a phone call. Buyers have all of the power. And the ultimate goal is to meet them where they are…and to always be available to help.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
appears to be a Gresham’s
Law of MarTech (“Bad money drives out good”); an effective channel or
marketing tool quickly becomes overused or misused, resulting in lowered
efficacy. Embedded video could quickly convert a golden channel into
chaff through overuse and perceived creepiness. What makes embedded video
so compelling today is its ability to personalize and deliver a relevant
message on a 1:1 basis. If embedded video overwhelms prospects or is seen
as inviting immediate, unwanted contact, it will kill the golden goose. A
softer touch is likely the best practice. If viewers maintain the control
and opt into contact, then it will enhance the value of a video by providing a
Call to Action that the prospect controls.
Human-verified contacts vendor DealSignal released an Enrichment module for maintaining data quality. Along with company and contact enrichment, DealSignal appends Bombora third-party intent data, helping identify which prospects are actively researching key topics. The service supports inbound lead enrichment and scheduled data maintenance.
Because inbound leads are enriched, they can be quickly segmented, scored, routed, and prioritized. ABM companies can immediately determine whether a lead matches a target persona and ideal customer profile, ensuring such leads are immediately sent to sales for action.
Contacts are matched against DealSignal’s universe of
human-verified contacts and enriched with direct dials, firmographics, and
A wizard helps map DealSignal fields to Salesforce or
HubSpot. Admins set sync and refresh schedules.
“We’re always excited when our partners develop innovative new ways of using intent data to help marketing and sales teams drive revenue. By extending lead enrichment automation to include Bombora’s Company Surge data, DealSignal will provide revenue teams valuable insight into whether a buying committee is forming or one curious person just happened to download some content. That added insight will help marketing and sales teams work together more effectively to drive the most value from their inbound leads.”
Charles Crnoevich, Head of Partnerships at Bombora
Inbound Lead Enrichment service is the first B2B DaaS platform to combine human-verified contacts and firmographics with third-party Bombora intent. The platform takes skinny inbound leads and enriches them with accurate, actionable insights and contact details, helping determine which leads should be immediately routed to sales and which should be retained. Reps can then prioritize prospects that are currently in-market for products or services like theirs and craft highly personalized messaging, thereby improving their odds of exceeding quota.
The Greek orator Demosthenes was said to have treated his speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.
In high school, Larry Bird would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.
When I started my professional sales career in 2004, I wrote out every opening, iteration, objection handle, and closing approach. I then recorded myself speaking them until I was comfortable. I iterated on each talk track 20+ times until it was authentic and the language flowed naturally. Then I ditched the scripts and went to work.
What can you do outside of your day to day operations to be exceptional at your craft?
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (LinkedIn Post)
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter is a strong advocate for authenticity. Simply knowing your pitch is insufficient. Sales reps have to master their craft and infuse it with authenticity. This means developing a deep understanding of how to sell your product and service but then combining what is unique about your story (both personal and corporate) with passion for the product or service you sell.
It also means that you cannot be giving a robotic pitch or a one-size-fits-all spiel. Great salespeople adjust their message and approach to the prospect. This adjustment is across many dimensions:
Job Function – What is their department and role within the department?
Job Level – How high in the organization are they?
Industry – What is your value proposition with respect to the purchaser’s industry? How do they benefit?
Buyer Role – As part of a purchasing committee, are they the economic buyer, technical buyer, influencer, etc.?
Prospect Knowledge about Your Offering – You need to understand how knowledgeable they are about your offering and those of your competitors and then speak to that level.
Concerns – The larger the value or strategic importance of a B2B purchase, the greater the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). FUD is also higher if the total cost of ownership or switching costs are high. If you are inauthentic, you can raise the level of FUD. If you can connect authentically with the buyer, you build trust and drive down the level of FUD.
Individual – What are the individual concerns of the buyer? What is the buyer’s communication style?
Scripts work well for novice reps and those learning a new product category or vertical, but they should be viewed as building blocks towards a polished, authentic sales voice.
One should also avoid focusing on features. A feature-focused monologue says to buyers, “you figure out whether my product / service will help you because I don’t understand that myself.” The focus should always be on benefits and value with features only used to justify your value proposition or to address concerns of technical buyers.
And the conversation needs to be interactive. Meeting intelligence analytics display who is talking during a call. A sales rep can visually review whether he / she controlled the conversation or it was a true conversation.
Sales trainers have begun emphasizing the value of storytelling as a way to connect with the emotional buyer. Marketers long approached consumer sales as an emotional pitch and B2B as a rationale pitch, but are now arguing that rational B2B pitches ignore the inherent FUD involved when making strategic purchases.
As sales reps begin to be coached by sales engagement analytics (directly and via feedback from managers and trainers), they should shift away from controlling conversations and become more interactive, present, and empathetic.
While most of my blogging is published here, I also write commissioned blogs where I own the editorial. This provides me with additional channels for discussing sales intelligence, sales engagement, and B2B DaaS.
Here are my ConnectLeader blogs with their opening paragraphs:
Marketing Approved Templates and Scripts, “For at least a decade, there have been discussions about sales and marketing alignment and the inability of sales and marketing teams to provide a unified go-to-market strategy. Marketing is concerned that sales reps fail to use their leads, share their copy, or conform to the company’s positioning.”
Drive Sales Productivity with Integrated Sales Engagement, “At their recent Dreamforce show, Salesforce rolled out a Sales Cloud upgrade called High Velocity Sales which helps “identify the best leads, eliminate busy work and boost pipeline.” High Velocity Sales adds customized sequences for sales teams which incorporate best practice sales cadences within Salesforce. Features include email and phone sequences, templates, and call scripts.”
Closing the Loop on Inbound Leads, “My career began as a tele-support rep for an insurance agency automation system. Our role was to quickly return calls from customers and help resolve their system problems. Speed was paramount with emergency calls placed at the top of the queue. Because inbound calls were categorized with brief descriptions and codes, we also gave priority to problems that could be quickly resolved (while it was good for our quotas, there was also no reason to make customers wait an hour for a two-minute fix).”
How to Improve Your Sales Productivity Using a Sales Engagement Platform, “As soon as I submitted my last blog on Sales Productivity, CSO Insights published an update to their quota attainment research. The good news is global sales rep quota attainment rose from 53.0% to 54.3%. The bad news is that it falls within the range of error, so we probably won’t know if sales productivity is truly improving for another year. Even at 54.3%, sales reps remain well below the 63.0% quota attainment level of 2012. When CSO Insights Research Fellow Jim Dickie looked at the underlying metrics, 22 of the 23 operational metrics declined over the past five years.”
How to Think about Sales Productivity, “Research performed by CSO Insights found that sales reps are failing to meet quota at alarmingly high rates. Global B2B quota attainment was a mere 53% in 2016, dropping ten percent over five years. That means that only one in two sales reps is likely to meet quota this year with only a small percentage entering Q4 confident that they will reach quota.”
What GDPR Means to American Firms?, “Back in May, there was a good deal of news coverage around the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Unfortunately, most of the coverage was hyperbolic with a focus on penalties and how few companies had complied. While the GDPR fear mongering has died down, there is still a need to understand GDPR and comply with the law, even if you have no operations in Europe.”
Local Presence: Handle with Care, “Sometimes, the most effective sales approach may be the wrong strategy. One of these techniques is local presence. For generalized telemarketing, it can lift call connection rates and revenue, but for strategic selling it may result in a negative return on investment”
Artesian Solutions, the UK Sales Intelligence vendor, has been teasing its Artesian Risk and Compliance Hub (ARCH) compliance service for over a year. The new offering, now Generally Available, “enables relationship managers, underwriters and frontline teams within banks, insurance companies, and other financially regulated industries to quickly assess and better understand their corporate clients at the start of the customer journey and throughout the life of the customer.”
Financial services generally perform KYC / AML (Know Your Customer / Anti-Money Laundering) processing during onboarding, but ARCH moves initial processing to frontline staff at the top of the sales funnel before a client is signed. This “distributed compliance,” helps expedite the process, sets client expectations when processing may take longer than normal, and allows relationship managers to avoid prospects that will have arduous compliance processing or which may not meet the institution’s “appetite.”
flags risks which may require additional information from the client. By
flagging them at the outset, the RM can request the missing data before it delays
ARCH performs event-driven reviews which begin before onboarding and continue through the life of the loan or policy. Thus, KYC is no longer subject to periodic reviews but is performed dynamically as new information about the client is ingested by ARCH. Instead of client reviews determined by the calendar, events can trigger full client reviews as needed.
ARCH supports commercial insurance policy writing “with a combination of data and sophisticated rules, bringing efficiency, consistency, and accuracy so that underwriters can focus on underwriting. Decisions can be recorded whilst both justified in the future and used for decision analysis and pricing optimisation.” Artesian’s fine-grained taxonomy and assisted machine learning help to identify potential underwriting risks “according to the predetermined definitions of an insurer.”
moving compliance reviews to front-line workers, commercial insurers can
perform a KYC check and risk evaluation prior to quoting a policy. “One
reason for using it is that they might want to look at what gets declared to
them by the new customer compared to what they can see from ARCH,” said
Artesian VP of Risk Solutions Matt Elsom. “To do that they can have a
look at some of the fraud-focused data sources and financial data.”
survey by Fenergo of global financial services executives found that poor
onboarding negatively impacts client experience and reduces the lifetime value
(LTV) of clients. 36% acknowledged losing customers due to onboarding
issues and 84% tied the onboarding experience to reduced LTV.
Figure 2: “The Cost of Poor CX,” Fenergo, January 2019. N=250 global Financial Services executives (Source: Artesian Solutions)
noted that KYC compliance team workloads have “grown beyond all expectations”
due to the availability of international ownership linkages and ultimate
beneficial ownership data. “The overall effect of this is an MLRO [Money
Laundering Reporting Officer] and board being put under pressure to reduce
onboarding delays whilst maintaining adherence to regulation – and the only
effective solution has been to recruit more compliance analysts. The cost
associated with this approach has become unsustainable as the work queue
continues to grow simply to maintain current levels of new business.”
to Artesian, “ARCH is not only an innovative new technology, but a huge leap
forward in the drive for ‘distributed compliance’ – the ability for central
teams to distribute KYC and AML tasks to their frontline colleagues who are
best placed to engage with the client and solve issues in the fastest, most
productive way. It places compliance and powerful risk data at the heart
of the business – front of mind for every member of staff, informing every
decision, instructing every interaction and shaping every relationship from
pre-screening prospective new customers through to ongoing tracking and
long-standing client development.”
“configurable decision engine” monitors real-time credit risk and KYC data sets
and applies bank or insurer policies to the compliance decisions. Each
client determines which data sources to ingest and “applies custom policies to
that combined data in the form of multi-dimensional rules” which are screened
and interpreted based upon institutional policies. Flagged issues are
delivered through a browser interface or loaded into other compliance systems
via an API.
“We have the great privilege of serving 80% of the UK’s major banking institutions, providing powerful sales engagement insights to relationship managers. We asked what we could do to make our software even more useful and the answer was ARCH. Almost two years of engineering and millions of pounds later we’re announcing ARCH’s general availability for customers. We believe this puts Artesian in a unique position to be able to combine customer engagement capabilities together with credit and risk in one single application delivered through a browser or mobile device.”
We’ve built a strong team of specialists to extend our core competencies and have worked closely with our key partners at Experian, LexisNexis, and Refinitiv (Thompson Reuters) with more partnerships to come. This allows our customers to select the data sources they already rely upon and trust and easily integrate them into ARCH”
Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates
a beta test with a top UK bank, ARCH decisioning was fully consistent with
existing bank processing while flagging 14% more “critical risk” issues than
current bank processes. ARCH also reduced average case time from two
hundred minutes to eight, “allowing relationship managers to know more, know
sooner and save time – enabling them to focus on delivering a better customer
recently added ARCH to its eleven-week incubator program Scale InsureTech which
is “aimed at identifying and developing fast-growth technology companies in the
financial services clients include RBS, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, EY, and
North American sales intelligence firms do not normally support client onboarding and risk assessment, but UK and European firms support these functions due to a richer set of registry data. European vendors such as DueDil, Bureau van Dijk, and Artesian support sales, marketing, and regulatory compliance.
I’ve been covering Q2 enhancements to LinkedIn Sales Navigator this week. On Monday, I discussed their Sales Coach enhancements and on Wednesday their Alerting enhancements. There were also a set of communications enhancements to Sales Navigator (an area of strength vs. other Sales Intelligence offerings). Communication enhancements include conversation histories, improved filtering, more visible icebreakers, and InMail credit status.
searching speed has been improved and a guided search experience helps the user
expand or narrow the search term (see image on left).
save and bulk remove accounts and contacts from lists.
Lead to Account – As not all leads (people) are attached to accounts, the match
feature allows users to assign leads to any company for alerting purposes.
A live org chart integration is being introduced For Microsoft Dynamics which supports saved accounts. The functionality is being delivered through LinkedIn SNAP.
chart displays LinkedIn member profile photos and additional profile details which
provide additional insights into the account.
Q2, Lucidchart also became a SNAP partner. Lucidchart users can now view
lead recommendations, save leads to Sales Navigator, view contact profiles and
updates, request introductions, and send InMails from within Lucidchart.
“Sales teams work faster and smarter when they work visually. Bringing the power of the world’s largest professional online network into Lucidchart in a more seamless way underscores our ongoing commitment to enhance the sales experience.”
Lucidchart CEO Karl Sun
Note: This is the final chapter on the Q2 2019 LinkedIn Sales Navigator release. Part 1 | Part II
Last month, LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out a set of alert enhancements as part of its Q2 release. Alerts are intended to deliver “timely, relevant, and actionable insights” which allow reps to shift from researching to selling and building relationships. As with other recommendation engines, Navigator alerts call out the “Next Best Action” with an “instant snapshot of the things that matter most about your prospects along with recommended action step for each.”
LinkedIn, our goal is to arm you with timely, relevant, and actionable insights
so you spend less time sifting through information and more time focused on
what matters: building relationships and closing deals,” stated the firm in its
release notes. “Alerts on the homepage gives you all the functionality of
Newsfeed in a compressed, easy-to-use dashboard. Don’t worry about missing
anything — all of your favorite items from the old Newsfeed live on as alerts.
We’ve also added some new types of alerts as well!”
alerts are highlighted in blue at the top of the feed. Each alert
contains an action step (e.g. Message, See Article, See List). Alerts may
be filtered by type and individual alerts may be deleted or turned off.
new alert categories were released
An account has had a funding event
A colleague shared a custom list
Pending actions in Sales Navigator Coach
recommends that Navigator Alerts be reviewed once or twice a day.
“Every sales professional faces the challenge of how to best spend their time, maximize their productivity and close more deals,” said Camplejohn. “That’s why Sales Navigator is now centered around alerts — making it easier for salespeople to identify important changes and prioritize the best next steps to take.”