Yesterday, I covered VanillaSoft’s acquisition of Autoklose and plans to integrate its email marketing capabilities into the VanillaSoft Sales Engagement Platform. Autoklose will also continue as a standalone offering for SMBs.
The acquisition included the DataUnlimited US B2B contact dataset. VanillaSoft users will be able to subscribe to or purchase leads from both the Autoklose and VanillaSoft platforms. DataUnlimited spans 40 million US B2B contacts that are revalidated in real-time. Contact records include name, company, email, phone, address, SIC, URL, and LinkedIn URL. DataUnlimited is supported by a ten-person data team that verifies data and performs custom research.
Autoklose competitors include Mixmax, Reply.io, Apollo.io, and Cognism.
Following the acquisition, VanillaSoft described itself as a “Tier-2 data provider” that offers B2B contacts. They target the SMB market and “real-world industries,” such as professional and financial services, manufacturing, and educational fundraising. Their clients are not bleeding-edge tech firms or large enterprises but smaller firms with full lifecycle sales reps. Typical customers are price sensitive and resource-constrained with high turnover. As such, they are late adopters of technology that highly value a solution’s ease-of-use. VanillaSoft noted that 40% of their customers have yet to deploy a CRM.
“SMBs are looking for ROI, not AI,” stated the firm.
According to VanillaSoft CRO Darryl Praill, “Sales Engagement will become the primary platform used by Sales teams, just as Marketing Automation has become the primary platform used by Marketers.” Furthermore, the vision of SEPs will expand as they add ABM workflows, marketing automation, contacts, opportunity management, forecasting, chat, and video.
“VanillaSoft will offer a broad, pragmatic sales engagement platform that meets the diverse requirements and price-points of SMB sales teams or individuals in traditional industries,” said Praill. This will include industry-specific versions of the platform to meet the unique requirements of their core industries.
“One of my favorite things to say when a customer or prospect praises our product is to point out that if they like what VanillaSoft is today, they are going to love what it is tomorrow. We’re making this promise a reality by continuing to grow internal development and incorporating great teams and technology to deliver the best sales engagement tools available.”VanillaSoft CEO David Hood
VanillaSoft’s acquisition of Autoklose is a smart, strategic move that enhances both its email capabilities and its B2B prospect intelligence. Sales Engagement vendors have been slow to integrate verified leads into their platforms. Even the market leaders have developed little more than third-party ‘Send to SEP’ functionality.
Integrated prospecting will be particularly valuable to VanillaSoft’s customer base of SMBs serving insurance, finance, and manufacturing. This intelligence gap has led some Sales Intelligence vendors to incorporate a subset of SEP features into their offerings, thus becoming Hybrid Engagement Platforms. HEP features include cadences (Zoominfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie), dialers (Zoominfo, Data Axle Genie), email (Zoominfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie), email signature management (Cognism/Mailtastic), messaging (LinkedIn Sales Navigator), and event-triggered workflows (Zoominfo).
Privately-held VanillaSoft is based in Plano, TX and Gatineau, Quebec. The firm is profitable with 6oo customers and 4,000 users (pre-acquisition). With Autoklose, they now have 88 employees, up 34% this year. New executives include Shawn Finder (Sales GM); Marko Dinic (Fractional CTO); Vladan Djokic (Senior Dev Lead); and Vedran Rasic (Director, Marketing).
Autoklose was on track for a record year at the time of the acquisition, despite a revenue dip at the beginning of the pandemic.
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