Groove and Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform.
“Personalization is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather is an expectation from customers in today’s digital-first B2B sales environment,” said Preseetha Pettigrew, Seismic Global Vice President, Strategic Alliances. “This integration with Groove streamlines the seller workflow, allowing frontline teams to focus on nurturing relationships and deliver greater value to clients. I look forward to seeing how our joint customers benefit from this partnership.”
The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.
“In today’s increasingly digital and remote B2B sales environment, this integrated solution bridges a critical gap between the point of engagement and Salesforce that helps companies quickly realize time-to-value, without a heavy lift from their IT or application development teams. And easing the transition to remote selling is critical. Gartner’s 2020 Future of Sales research projects that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.”
Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein
Speaking to their joint value proposition, Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein said the firms share a “customer-first approach” to engaging clients in a “customized, data-driven, and scalable way while maintaining high compliance standards.”
Sales Enablement vendor Seismic rolled out a set of platform enhancements last month that are “designed to help organizations capture every revenue moment and drive effective, efficient buyer engagement across all digital channels.” The release included Seismic Aura, their new AI Engine for sales content.
Seismic Aura employs AI and machine learning to surface “new business opportunities and increase seller efficacy.”
“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift to all-digital buyer engagements. At Seismic, we’ve anticipated this change for some time now. Our platform exists to make go-to-market teams more effective, whether their buyers are face-to-face or remote,” said Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada. “The next challenge for technology leaders like Seismic will be to enable businesses to thrive in this new era of digital-first selling. The innovations we’re launching at [Seismic’s virtual conference] Shift, along with the product updates we have coming later this year, bring sales and marketing teams closer together, helping them reach new customers and engage with existing customers in a compelling manner regardless of where they are.”
Continued Mantripragada, “humans can analyze only so much. Buried inside data are patterns, behavior, and insights that will hold keys to your questions and undiscovered opportunities. We are combining human intelligence and machine intelligence to harness the power of this data.”
Other Spring 2021 release features include
CRM SmartPlays employ predictive intelligence to recommend the most effective sales plays at any moment. SmartPlays are delivered within the rep’s CRM workflow.
Seismic Sidekick, a Chrome extension powered by Aura, delivers guided selling and content recommendations “based on past engagement, similar buyers, and interests specific to each contact.” Sidekick helps surface engagement opportunities and reduces time spent searching for content.
Dynamic Email Templates
Global Privacy Management supports GDPR and country-specific, multi-lingual privacy requirements and notifications.
Grooveand Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform. The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.
Along with announcing new features, Seismic boasted about its ongoing momentum. Their net retention rate stands at 111%. They have over one million users at over 700 enterprise clients, including deep penetration in the financial services sector. Seismic claims that 22 of the top 25 global asset management companies are customers, along with 7 of the top 10 US banks and 4 of the top 5 North American wealth management firms. Seismic added over 200 employees last year and opened its first Canadian office with the December Grapevine6 acquisition. They now have more than 1000 workers across fifteen offices.
Cyance’s intent signals are gathered from 55,000 publisher sites and capture 24 billion monthly events. Six months of trend data are analyzed. Cyance intent monitoring supports six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch, with additional languages planned. Roughly 40% of signals are gathered from Europe, 40% North America, and 15% AsiaPac.
Cyance already tracks 140,000 intent keywords and allows new custom keywords to be defined for each customer. Keywords are then mapped to custom topics which reflect each customer’s products, services, and value proposition. Custom keyword tracking allows for greater granularity and transparency in their intent data and enables the accurate identification of intent signals and custom topics. Additional global, unified taxonomies are scheduled for a Q3 release.
Our proprietary, highly accurate intent data and ABX platform means our customers’ sales teams have more targeted insights based on the most accurate, geographical data possible at their fingertips. In this way, we enable better conversions throughout each stage of the sales funnel, as well as helping them to retain and grow their existing accounts. For large organisations seeking to successfully identify and close new clients, having the right data is crucial. Other intent data providers on the market today simply aren’t capable of providing sales teams a fully customisable view into what their prospects and clients are searching for in large-scale enterprise IT solutions. At Cyance, we fill the gap in the market for European buyers seeking regional intent data that provides highly accurate, GDPR compliant insights into user intent.”
Cyance CEO Bulent Osman
Cyance has firmographic information for 100 million companies and locations (along with linkage for rolling up intent) and intent signals for 40 to 50 million global companies. Firmographic information is supplemented by technographics and GDPR-compliant contact data licensed from a well-regarded European vendor.
Cyance supports both FIT (Firmographic, Intent, and Technographic) and TCR (Timing, Context, and Relevance) models. FIT models combine an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) with behavioral account scores that trend intent over time, looking for spikes in activity. To simplify intent data for sales reps, they employ a semaphore (colored light) display system.
TCR analyzes Timing, Context, and Relevance in determining intent:
Timing looks at the buying stage of the intent behavior to help improve the prioritization of accounts subject to customer/prospect strategy mode (e.g., acquisition, retention, or expansion). Cyance weights intent signals that are mapped to a buying stage.
Context combines buying stage with the best-fit personae most likely behind the research at each buying stage.
Relevance maps all intent signals to customer topics (customer products or value propositions). This makes it easier for customer teams to translate behavior into best-fit product and content alignment.
TCR maps intent signals to buyer stage (early, mid, late) and value proposition, enabling acquisition and expansion intent to be treated differently than retention intent. Acquisition and expansion look at current activity vs. baseline for early buyer stage, while retention looks for mid-to-late research signals, indicating an existing customer may be researching competitive solutions.
Cyance supports integrations with Salesforce, Drift, and HubSpot, with Outreach and Marketo coming soon. For programmatic, Cyance offers integrations with LinkedIn Campaign Manager, LiveRamp, Avocet, and theTradeDesk.
Cyance’s primary customers are in technology and financial services. 85% of its revenue is generated in Europe and 15% in North America.
Cyance does not disclose its pricing but bases it on the geography licensed and the product tier. Cyance is headquartered in the UK, with remote sales reps on the continent
European third-party intent data vendor Cyance closed on an £860,000 funding round that included existing investors Blackfinch Ventures and Nexus Investments. The funds will be deployed for ongoing product and market expansion, including enterprise customer expansion in Europe and ABX platform development.
Last year, the firm doubled its headcount, grew revenue by 18%, and raised ACV by 30%. It also shifted from being an intent data vendor to an ABX platform. As with many other MarTech vendors, revenue flattened in Q2 of last year and began growing again in the second half of the year. They have built significant momentum in 2021 and are on pace to nearly double ARR this year.
“The fact that we’ve seen such solid commercial and financial performance over the past 12 months, despite the tough market conditions, demonstrates the appetite for accurate and localised intent data and the enormous potential within this market. And as businesses start to look beyond the pandemic and the economic recovery gathers pace, we expect demand to increase further. Taking on this new investment allows us to strengthen our team and further invest in our product. We’re now perfectly placed to take advantage of these new opportunities and cement our position as the leading ABX platform with unique intent data for European buyers.”
Cyance CEO Bulent Osman
According to CPO Jon Clarke, Cyance is “rapidly building out an ABX platform proposition” that drives better decisioning and aligns sales and marketing teams. The platform serves both sales and marketing teams, promoting revenue team collaboration, cohesion, and efficiency with a unified versus siloed data platform.
As with other vendors that have recently begun using ABX instead of ABM, Cyance emphasizes account-based programs and processes across the full revenue team and customer life cycle. ABM has long emphasized sales and marketing alignment, but the bulk of product development has been marketing-centric. The shift to ABX captures both the broader vision of ABM and a greater emphasis upon the customer experience across the full lifecycle.
“Cyance has transformed account-based marketing by developing and integrating a sophisticated SaaS solution with global, third-party intent data which addresses the needs of the European market,” said Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch Ventures. “They have demonstrated solid growth from global B2B brands in the last 12 months, despite the challenging times we find ourselves in. We’re excited to continue supporting Cyance as it helps some of the world’s leading companies to transform their demand generation and account-based marketing programs and achieve more efficient ROI.”
Their January release sports improved intent signal tailoring and segmentation, beefed up technographics, new customer dashboards, and improved service and support. The platform offers an updated UI, enhanced ICP definition, and buying journey stage identification.
First and third-party intent data vendor Bombora closed on $20 million in growth capital financing from Runway Growth Capital. The cash infusion “will be used to help Bombora capitalize on market opportunities, build stronger partner relationships, and accelerate its pace of innovation.”
The funds will help them expand data partnerships across the sales and marketing ecosystem.
“We want to make it easier for brands and their agencies to use it in their own stacks and chosen solutions, and for our platform partners to enhance the value of their own offerings,” said Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.
The firm is also looking to “deliver solutions that enable addressable advertising across the cookieless landscape for publishers and partners alike,” Matlick told Adweek.
“The B2B intent data market is growing quickly, and marketers are seeking better, more efficient ways to identify and engage with in-market prospects. We have been impressed with Bombora’s expertise, and its ‘data collective’ approach really stood out to us in the market. This partnership adds to Runway’s already strong history of supporting key players in the data and marketing technology space and we are excited to have Bombora join our portfolio.”
Mark Donnelly, Managing Director, Head of Origination at Runway
In other news, Bombora announced that it implemented BERT-based natural language processing in its intent categorization, resulting in a 26% increase in topic prediction. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) looks at the context of each occurrence of a word.
“Bombora’s engineers and data scientists never stop looking for ways to serve our customers better,” said Bombora Data Science VP Nicholaus Halecky, Ph.D. “The BERT-based B2B Topic Classifier demonstrates a substantial performance increase in Company Surge intent signal quality, and we know this will improve our customers’ business results.”
The BERT implementation was spearheaded by former PwC and DialogTech data scientist Amber McKenzie, Ph.D., who joined Bombora as VP Data Science. BERT is an open-sourced NLP developed by Google. It was implemented in Google Search in late 2019 and has since been deployed by Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wayfair. BERT distinguishes meaning by assessing word order context, seeing the difference in meaning between “the stock of apples has dropped” and “Apple’s stock has dropped.”
ZoomInfo hinted at an even broader vision of automated lead qualification and workflows in a recent blog that listed four categories of qualifying data:
ZoomInfo does not support programmatic advertising, chatbots, or Slack notifications, so there is significant running room for product development, particularly around expanded intent. For example, a recent study by XANT found that inbound lead response rates decay quickly, but reps fail to respond promptly, and many fall between the cracks. The study analyzed three years of inbound leads at over 400 companies. XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes. However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.
“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT. “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead. Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”
XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times: the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.
Tying inbound leads (emails, webforms, chatbots) to workflows is the next step beyond enrichment. It allows for immediate lead scoring, assignment, and routing decisions, speeding up the response rate while determining each lead’s best course of action. The Trigger / Filter / Action methodology for intent and event-based leads fits perfectly with these other inputs. Furthermore, Chatbots and FormComplete often gather a few extra qualifying details that would be filter inputs.
“There is perhaps no greater need than for sellers to be calling on the right people at the right time,” said SalesTech analyst Nancy Nardin. “Fortunately, the level of accuracy and timeliness of data has improved by leaps and bounds with the emergence of AI, and improved data collection, cleansing, and enrichment.”
For over a decade, Sales Intelligence vendors such as Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Artesian Solutions, and ZoomInfo have offered sales triggers based upon executive changes, funding events, M&A, etc.. D&B Hoovers, along with many European vendors that process registered filings data, includes data change alerts (e.g., credit score change, revenue growth) and registered filings. As vendors are now adding in visitor intelligence and intent signals, there is the risk of quickly overwhelming sales reps with alerts. And since most vendors do not yet offer workflow solutions for filtering and automating sales activities, there is a strong likelihood that reps begin to view these alerts as noise instead of actionable signals. The more generalized the signal (e.g., website visits), the greater the possibility of signals being considered spam.
To further confuse things, Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) have emerged as sales automation platforms, but they are only loosely tied to a few of the sales intelligence vendors. In many cases, the functionality is simply Send to SEP functionality.
ZoomInfo and Vainu (see 3/21 issue) now tie together triggers and actions subject to filters. While there is still a risk that reps are overwhelmed (e.g., too many automated cadences being sent to SEPs), the filters help mitigate the risk and ensure that activity is focused on an organization’s best prospects and tied to event-specific messaging.
For technology sales, ZoomInfo offers technographic changes and Scoops. The Scoops dataset is gathered from official data (e.g., public filings, PPP loans), surveys, and in-house research teams. Daily, ZoomInfo reaches out to contacts in its database to gather market intelligence about projects and the challenges they face in their department. As an incentive, ZoomInfo offers an Amazon gift card or charitable donation to each respondent. The responses are the basis of many of their Scoops.
“We are constantly evaluating new sources and pieces of information that can provide value to our customers in the form of Scoops. Last year, our Scoop number increased greatly because of new processes and expanded information coverage, including the addition of Scoops directly related to PPP loan recipients. Through continued innovation and expansion, we anticipate that our Scoops volume will continue to increase over time. We have several in-house research teams dedicated to various types of Scoop coverage, and we utilize many of the same sources to gather Scoops that are laid out on our B2B Data Sources webpage, including updates from leadership webpages, news monitoring, public filings, and company-issued announcements.”
ZoomInfo Communications Director Steve Vittorioso
The Scoop volume doubled to 917,000 events in 2020.
While the primary Workflows use cases are focused on revenue acceleration, Workflows may also be used for executive recruitment.
Admins can edit, clone, run, or delete Workflows. They can also create workflows for non-admins or permit non-admins to create workflows subject to admin approval.
Non-admins have access to fewer integrations, cannot assign workflows to peers, and are subject to lower export limits.
Workflows do not support FormComplete, ZoomInfo’s webform, but the functionality is on the product roadmap.
ZoomInfo rolled out an upgraded Workflows product for automating trigger-based tasks. The service sports a simplified natural-language UI for building workflows “in ways that feel conversational, simple, and secure.”
ZoomInfo Senior Product Director Apparao Karri explained that Workflows are at the intersection of go-to-market data availability and sales automation, calling it “the long tail of GTM automation.”
Continued Karri, “Intelligent Automation is a key differentiator for businesses, and the underlying technology stack is mature and ready to deliver at scale. ZoomInfo Workflows is a product built on this framework to improve productivity, reduce lost opportunities, and bring consistency to the go-to-market motions.”
Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson contrasted Workflows with Marketing Automation Platforms:
“Marketing automation has existed for many years, but often on a generic playing field. For example, when visitors fill out a form on a company website, marketers can drop their information into a sequence or a campaign in their CRM. But those campaigns are limited because a form-fill mechanism doesn’t provide targeted and specific information for each of those prospective customers.Now we live in a world where individual sales reps can create hyper-targeted campaigns based on nearly every imaginable scenario.”
ZoomInfo Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson
The basic structure of a Workflow is triggers, filters, and actions. Triggers are business events detected by ZoomInfo and include ZoomInfo WebSights (website visitor intelligence), technographic changes, Clickagy Streaming Intent, fundings, and ZoomInfo Scoops (e.g., projects, PPP funding). Triggers may also be created from saved searches that identify new companies or contacts that meet the saved criteria.
Triggers act as signals subject to pre-defined filters. The filters are conditions that must be met for an action to be taken. They can be based upon ZoomInfo or Salesforce criteria. For example, presence in an ABM list, meeting firmographic criteria, assigned to a rep in Salesforce, or not present in Salesforce. Actions dictate the Workflow response and include sending emails, assigning contacts, creating records, or kicking off sales flows (cadences) in ZoomInfo Engage, SalesLoft, or Outreach. Marketing actions can be processed through HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and Eloqua.
Actions include a processing frequency (e.g., daily, weekly) and limits on the number of exported records. The limit works as a throttle so that reps are not overwhelmed with too many leads. It also prevents a workflow from using up too many ZoomInfo credits. Some actions have sub-actions associated with platforms (e.g. set campaign or cadence / sequence / flow).
Filters can also be employed for territory assignment, ensuring that the activity is routed to the proper sales rep. As ZoomInfo has one of the deepest pools of professional contacts with emails and direct-dial phones, they can activate sales and marketing activity from anonymous account-level signals for targeted functions and levels.
“If businesses want to scale quickly, they can’t become mired in day-to-day tasks that can easily be automated,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck. “ZoomInfo’s Workflows eliminates redundant, repetitive tasks and helps teams to focus on the human side of closing business by establishing strong relationships with prospects and customers.”
Demandbase, which reframed itself as an Account Based Experience platform last month, announced a pair of enhancements to its service: Site Customization and Form Enrichment. Site Customization lets marketers display “unique site experiences for their target account” based upon more granular segmentation (e.g., firmographics, intent, website activity).
Other customization enhancements include
Preview links for stakeholder review before release
Account list targeting with personalized ads
Tailored landing pages based upon the stage of the buying journey
The website can be personalized based upon industry, stage, geography, company size, or other variables. Messaging, CTAs, collateral, and creative elements can be customized based upon the visitor.
“The creative elements and the experience you want to give to your customer or prospect are up to you,” blogged Demandbase Director of Product Marketing Ruth Juni. “One thing is for sure: Taking the time to think through the messaging from the consumer’s perspective will ensure you’re delivering the right message to the consumer at the right time.”
Marketers can also display unique web form designs with minimal field display. Demandbase then enriches the submitted form with additional prospect details.
“ABX is rooted in an intense focus on the customer at every stage of the buying cycle, using intelligent insights to know when and how to engage, and what to say to each account,” said Jon Miller, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase. “Your website is one of the most important interactions a customer or prospect can have with your brand, which is why it’s critical that your website experience should be as personalized as email or other channels. Our new features for Demandbase Personalization make it easy to deliver the right website experience and elevate the entire journey.”
According to Gartner, 98% of marketers argue that personalization enhances customer relationships. “Gartner is predicting that smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 25% by 2023,” said Demandbase Product VP Seth Myers. “Personalization is taking center stage in business today. This makes the case even more for our enhanced Personalization product and its industry-leading features that treat personalization as seriously as it should be treated. We’re bound and determined to keep anticipating what our customers want and need, in order to continue to elevate ABX.”
Sales Engagement vendor 6sense closed on a $125 million Series D that valued the firm at $2.1 billion. The round was led by D1 Capital, with Sapphire Ventures and Tiger Global joining. Existing investor Insight Partners participated as well.
A few years ago, 6sense described itself as a predictive analytics company. When the predictive analytics segment failed to gain significant traction, it rebranded as an ABM Orchestration Platform. The other predictive analytics companies rebranded as CDPs or were acquired for their technology.
Repositioning as an ABM platform proved prescient as 6sense now competes head-to-head with Terminus and Demandbase, two other very successful ABM Platforms. Terminus closed on a $90 million Series C in February, and Demandbase is also well funded, setting up a market share land grab for ABM Platforms.
6sense has doubled in size each of the past three years, setting the stage for its unicorn round. Forrester named them a leader in its Q2 2020 Wave Report on ABM Platforms, where 6Sense scored highest on current offering and tied with Terminus on strategy.
“6sense has made significant progress since our first evaluation of this market in 2018 — and now offers a comprehensive solution, matched by an aggressive vision, roadmap, and market approach,” wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Steven Casey.
“Customer conversations are a critical part of our due diligence process, and the feedback from 6sense customers is among the best we’ve heard. Improving revenue results is a goal for every business, but it’s easier said than done. The way 6sense consistently creates value for customers made it clear that they deliver a unique, must-have solution for B2B revenue teams.”
Dan Sundheim, Chief Investment Officer at D1 Capital Partners
6sense will invest the funds in market growth and product development, including its data layer, machine learning-based next best action recommendations, and scaling its “AI-based orchestration capabilities to deliver ideal customer journeys based on data and insights.”
The round comes 15 months after a $40 million Series C led by Insight Partners. Pitchbook indicates that the firm was valued at only $300 million in January 2020. 6sense is on track for another year of 100% plus growth after inking deals with 100 new customers in Q4.
“We’re doubling down on our investment because we’ve seen the 6sense team consistently execute against their plans for the past year and a half, and we witness firsthand the results the platform delivers every day for our portfolio of high growth companies,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “Being the leader in account-based sales and marketing technology ideally positions 6sense to unlock additional market opportunities, and we’re confident that they have the vision and track record to forge the future of revenue technology.”
CEO Jason Zintak sees a broader vision for the company than SalesTech, MarTech, or AdTech, describing his firm as a RevTech company.
“Our AI is focused on signal, identifying companies that are in the market to buy something,” Zintak told TechCrunch. “Once you have that, you can sell to them.”
RevTech looks to unify the marketing, sales, RevOps, and customer success groups within the revenue team and align them behind selling to the right buyers at the right time. Firms still struggle with identifying prospects that are the ideal fit, much less properly timing their prospect outreach.
“This is both a data and execution problem. One can’t be untethered from the other,” blogged Zintak. “I’ve long believed there is a tremendous opportunity to solve this problem and move the sales and marketing technology world away from outdated tools, and usher in a new era of B2B platforms that will fundamentally change the way companies go to market. We’re already seeing account-based tech, sales tech, and legacy marketing tech categories beginning to converge into a massive market that will only continue to grow. I also believe 6sense is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and deliver the transformation our industry is so hungry for.”
Thus, 6Sense looks to provide the go-to-market platform that delivers a “comprehensive B2B go-to-market with data, insights, and orchestration capabilities at the core.”
6Sense identifies the best-fit accounts and supports prospect timing via intent-based prediction models. 6sense claims that its customers:
Raise their average deal size by 35%.
Increase their opportunity conversion rate by 20%.
Reduce deal-cycle time by 20%.
Zintak argues that the alignment problem is exacerbated by multiple tech stacks with data and functional silos that “optimize” around subsets of the revenue problem.
“The MarTech landscape is teeming with micro-solutions for every nagging problem the marketing automation platform vendors aren’t able to solve (or they themselves created). SalesTech is no different. Your CRM wasn’t built to facilitate decision-making; it was built to store records. Add RevOps and customer success teams into the mix, and the people, process, and technology alignment challenges grow exponentially, as more data becomes siloed and disconnected from execution.”
6Sense CEO Jason Zintak
“AI generally is a buzzword, but here it is a key part of the solution, the brand behind the platform,” said Teddie Ward of Insight Partners. “Instead of having massive funnels, 6sense switches the whole thing around. Catching the right person at the right time and in the right context make sales and marketing more effective. And the AI piece is what really powers it. It uses signals to construct the buyer journey and tell the salesperson when it is the right time to engage.”
“We invest heavily in sales and marketing technology, and 6sense is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Sapphire Ventures partner Rajeev Dham. “We’ve always viewed 6sense as a market leader with the ability to execute on their bold vision of transforming sales and marketing with data-driven insights and orchestration capabilities. 6sense is already the leading account-based sales and marketing platform, and they are poised to define and deliver the future of revenue technology that every B2B organization needs.”