Salesforce continues to outpace its competitors in the CRM space, growing to 23.8% market share (2021) in IDC’s “Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker, April 2022.”
Salesforce is now five times the size of its closest competitors: SAP at 5.4% and Microsoft at 5.3%. Among the top five, only Microsoft and Salesforce have consistently been growing their market share over the past four years.
Salesforce is the leading CRM for sales applications, customer service applications, marketing applications, model-driven application platforms, and enterprise community applications.
Salesforce also leads across most of the major geographic markets: Asia-Pacific (including Japan), Latin America, North America, and Western Europe.
“In this digital work-from-anywhere era, companies need to adapt their business models to address customers’ evolving needs,” said David Schmaier, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce. “We are grateful to be recognized as the #1 CRM by IDC, underpinning how companies across every industry continue to engage Salesforce as a trusted digital advisor who can help accelerate their efforts to build direct relationships with their customers, employees, partners, and more.”
Salesforce positions itself as a digital transformation solution, with multi-year contracts commonplace. The firm takes a “land-and-expand” strategy where one cloud solution leads to multiple cloud licenses. “This quickly makes Salesforce a ‘sticky’ product, solidifying them as a key partner for their customers,” observed Ben McCarthy of Salesforce Ben.
team.blue, a European cloud services provider, announced that it acquired a majority stake in European visitor intelligence vendor Leadinfo. team.blue was formed in 2019 when three hosting groups were merged into a European provider of web hosting and cloud computing services. The firm supports 2.5 million customers across fifteen European offices, aiming to “supercharge the business performance of small and medium-sized businesses. It describes itself as a “one-stop partner for web hosting, domains, e-commerce and application solutions, with more than 1,800 experts to support.”
team.blue’s twenty-five offices provide local-language and market “expertise, knowledge, and insight, serving “a rich European landscape of businesses” in fifteen European countries and Turkey.
Team.blue CEO Jonas Dhaenens is looking to augment the firm’s hosting services with B2B cloud applications. Along with Leadinfo, its value-added services include domain registries, website building (webnode), privacy and compliance tools (iubenda), and WordPress hosting (raidboxes).
Leadinfo supports over 3,000 European customers, claiming to be the market leader in Benelux and the largest international provider in the D-A-CH region. CEO Han Kleppe and the rest of the management team will continue running Leadinfo as an independent subsidiary.
Leadinfo represents team.blue’s entry into the visitor intelligence and lead intelligence spaces. It provides lead management services, including visitor intelligence and enrichment, personalization, lead generation forms, triggered workflows, screen recordings (mouse movements and clicks), and over fifty sales and marketing platform integrations. Leadinfo also supports retargeting services for Google ads and LinkedIn.
team.blue visitor information displayed in the Leadinfo service.
Leads are enriched by IP address matching against a reference database of 220 million global businesses. Firmographics are gathered from global registry filings and web crawling. Firmographics include address, phone, year founded, industry codes (US SIC 87 and local codes), sizing data, company logos, social media links, business descriptions, etc. Legal information includes the registration number, entity type, ultimate parent, group size, and employees in group. Business descriptions are generally available in the local language. Other information includes a pinned Google map, page view information, Leadinfo’s lead score, and Leadinfo tags.
Leadinfo does not disclose the name of its registered data aggregator.
Leadinfo company profiles include a proprietary lead score based on visitor behavior. However, lead scores do not yet adjust for firmographic fit; thus, a company may score high based on behavior but may not be a qualified lead.
Contact data is limited to board members and publicly listed employees from LinkedIn and Xing (a D-A-CH competitor of LinkedIn). Contacts are searchable by name and title, with users able to link to LinkedIn and Xing profiles.
Leadinfo’s visitor intelligence tracks visitors across the website, providing detailed viewing histories. The company matches IP addresses against its global company database and enriches the leads with firmographics. Visitors are viewable from a web application that supports filtering by firmographics, visitor activity, lead score, and Leadinfo tags. Screened lists may be exported as CSV files or programmatic uploads (LinkedIn and Google Ads).
Leadinfo also offers a set of dashboard widgets for tracking and analyzing website activity:
Live Widget – Tracks current visitors and site activity over the past 24 hours.
Map View – Displays visitor locations on Google Map
Companies per Province – Displays a national heat map with activity by geographic region.
Most Active Companies – Top 10 or 25 visitors
Company Size – Bar Graph by employment band
Branches – The top industries visiting the website
Most Visited – The top pages
Liquid Content, its name for site personalization, adjusts the website based on firmographics. As a result, marketers can customize the text, video, content, and images presented to the visitor, allowing them to segment their website presentation.
Leadinfo supports a set of triggers and can segment them based on how each visitor reached the website: Directly, Referral, Email Link, Paid Search (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft), Organic Search, or Social Link (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Xing, YouTube). Trigger rules support multiple custom selects; thus, lead scores may be coupled with firmographics to ensure actions are based on both visitor behaviors and firmographic fit. Based on the trigger rules, users can add or delete tags, send emails, enroll companies, and send to CRM.
Triggers are also controlled by enrollment so that additional research from a recent visitor does not trigger additional activities or notifications. Administrators set a period between activities to prevent notification spam. Firmographic variables may be used for assigning leads.
Slack notifications may be sent to a channel or person, with the user selecting the notification language. Thus, Slack triggers can be routed by firmographics for industry or territory reps and sent in the recipient’s language.
Lead forms are available and leverage Leadinfo’s visitor intelligence. While lead forms do not support triggers, the inputted lead data can be routed via Zapier to various applications.
CRM integrations include Salesforce, HubSpot, MS Dynamics 365, Sugar, and Pipedrive. Other partners include Salesloft, Zapier, and Slack. Furthermore, Leadinfo has developed an extensive partner network that spans 1,200 agencies.
CRM integrations are bi-directional, with Leadinfo performing duplicate checking against lead and account records. When sending to CRM, companies may be added as Lead or Account record types. Additionally, company profiles include deal and task information gathered from CRMs, and users can create new deals and tasks from Leadinfo.
“As a leading digital enabler for companies and entrepreneurs across Europe, we want to offer business value to our customers and partners,” said team.blue CEO Claudio Corbetta. “Leadinfo is converting visitors into leads which makes the return on investment of the software extremely tangible. Furthermore, their agency model is a perfect fit with team.blue since this customer segment is dear to us. We were impressed with the track record of Han in scaling Leadinfo to where it stands today. We’re eager to help to roll out Leadinfo into new territories.”
The 25-employee firm is based in Rotterdam and just opened its first international office in Dusseldorf. It will remain an independent company but benefit from team.blue’s operational and financial management.
Pricing is volume-based, with no charge for the core functionality (e.g., triggers, connectors, lead forms). Prices are based on the number of unique matched companies per month:
The only premium services are screen reporting and liquid content.
Leadinfo grew revenue between 2 and 3X last year. However, it did not disclose its acquisition price or revenue specifics.
Microsoft announced Viva Sales, “a new seller experience application that brings together any customer relationship management technology (CRM), Microsoft 365, and Teams to provide a more streamlined and AI-powered selling experience.” The new solution is designed for the hybrid work environment where reps leverage video conferences, chats, emails, and documents to close deals. Viva Sales will also support Salesforce at launch.
Viva Sales “represents a new way of working by breaking down silos of data and breaking down silos of experience,” explained Microsoft Corporate VP for Business Applications Emily He. Sales reps “really want a more simplified experience. So, Viva Sales enables a seller to use the tools they already love and use every day, including your email system like Outlook, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, as well as Teams,” she said.
Unfortunately, reps manage these disparate communications channels and their CRM to organize administrative tasks, collaborate on sales, and attend virtual sales meetings. “Yet, all sellers really want is to spend more time with their customers,” stated Microsoft Chief Commercial Officer Judson Althoff.
Continued Althoff, “What if everything a salesperson needed to do their job was brought together in one place – where they already spend most of their day – in calls, meetings, and chats? What if their customer records, data, and tasks were intelligently organized and accessible in the tools they use every day? What if the collaboration environment sellers use to talk to customers automatically provides the next best action and sentiment analysis?”
Viva Sales is a “new modern way of selling” that operates as a “smart CRM companion” that simplifies the seller’s workflows and enriches the CRM. Viva Sales captures AI-driven insights from Outlook, Teams, and Microsoft Office and feeds this information to the CRM.
“Viva Sales empowers sellers to be more connected with their customers, resulting in more personalized customer engagements and closed deals faster,” stated Althoff. “This happens through a simple customer tagging feature, which automates the data capture, saves the seller time, and provides their organization with a more complete picture of deal and customer status. With AI embedded throughout, Viva Sales is like a sales coach to move deals along with recommendations and reminders. This intelligence layer provides sellers the information they need to help them be more productive.”
Viva was launched last year as an employee portal, but Sales is the first functionally-specific edition of the service. Viva Sales will be in public preview in July and generally available this fall. Microsoft Dynamics Sales is inclusive of Viva Sales and “addresses both sellers’ and sales leaders’ needs by automatically enriching Dynamics 365 Sales with customer engagement data captured in Office 365 and Teams.”
Sales reps tag customers or prospects in a Microsoft application. This “tag to capture” functionality alerts Viva to begin capturing account intelligence and offering insights to the sales rep. Viva Sales employs Microsoft’s recently announced Context IQ for capturing relevant content across Microsoft apps and services. This data can then be synced with any CRM.
“What we are focused on is removing the drudgery of manually entering the data into a CRM and then providing the AI capabilities for the sellers,” explained Product Marketing Senior Director Neha Bajwa. “There’s a virtual personal assistant that is sitting and helping them out doing all the busywork that we would normally have to do.”
The objective is to solve the problem of manual data entry without destroying the CRM. Viva runs alongside the CRM, capturing intelligence from other enterprise sales apps commonly deployed across sales teams. The data capture and CRM syncing improve rep productivity while the AI suggestions improve sales effectiveness through better recommendations, reminders, and Next Best actions.
“As you work with a customer, you can not only see your own interactions, [but] you can also see across your company and find all the people that are interacting with your client as well,” said Microsoft VP for Modern Work Jared Spataro. “We’re trying to apply AI not only to remove the boring stuff, but also to provide real value add so that you can cope with the volume and the expectations associated with you doing your job.”
The service recommends next steps, displays complete interaction histories, and pushes reminders to reps. It is also connected to LinkedIn, providing the names of colleagues with strong connections to a contact or account, allowing sales reps to conduct research before a Teams chat.
During a Teams call, reps can view the relevant customer information in a sidebar and access meeting prep notes. After the call is recorded and transcribed, Viva Sales summarizes the call and captures action items. Conversation KPIs and talk tracks are also generated.
Another feature is the generation of customer lists with recent activity, sentiment graphs, and engagement within Excel.
“The future of selling isn’t a new system. It’s bringing the information sellers need at the right time, the right context, into the tools they know, so their work experience can be streamlined,” said Althoff. “Empowering sellers to spend more time with their customers has been our goal — and we’ve done that by reimagining the selling experience with Viva Sales.”
One of the core issues at the heart of CRM implementations is the reliance on manual data entry, argued Paul Greenberg, Managing Principal at The 56 Group. What is necessary is ongoing automation to remove this busy work.
“Sellers rely on digital collaboration and productivity tools to connect with customers and close deals, but a lot of the insights they uncover with these tools don’t make it into the CRM,” Greenberg. “Microsoft is taking on this challenge by offering a solution that complements the CRM. Viva Sales automates the busy work, captures critical information about the customer, and helps sellers get the job done.”
Sales Intelligence vendor RelPro, which focuses on the financial services sector, added banking services intent data and Commercial Real Estate (CRE) title and mortgage intelligence to its platform. Both datasets are available as premium offerings.
The intent data, sourced from Zoominfo, contains 66 signals related to financial research and products. RelPro has removed the noise from thousands of non-relevant topics by limiting the topics to standard commercial banking services.
Users may screen against the intent topics, spike period (last week to past three months), audience strength, signal score, minimum spikes in the date range, and standard firmographics. Audience strength and minimum spikes ensure that the research is broadly based and sustained, avoiding spurious spikes created by a single employee doing heavy research on a topic for a day or two.
Audience strength is an intent distribution score containing the volume of searches on a topic across a company’s IP addresses. Other variables include the number of IPs at a company, the number of days investigating a topic of interest, how many times they viewed the page, and company size.
The minimum score lets banking professionals dial up or down the precision. Intent data falls along a bell curve, with sixty being a twenty percent increase in topical activity. Sixty, the lowest signal score for screening and presentation, is a relatively low threshold, particularly if the search is being performed across multiple weeks or months.
An intent tab lets Relationship Managers view an account’s spiking topics and each topic’s signal score, audience strength, and spikes in date range, helping them determine which financial products may be of interest to the account. If there are multiple signal spikes over a date range, the signal score is the average of the spike scores.
A last signal date indicates the last time the topic spiked, while the spikes in date range indicate the frequency of spikes over the date range. These fields help determine the recency and frequency of interest, particularly if low signal thresholds or a long search period have been selected.
RelPro added eight million CRE loans to its platform, helping financial services companies target companies and assess risk. Mortgage fields include property type, lender, loan amount, assessed value, execution, and maturity dates.
Users can view mortgage data and screen against it in Build-a-List. Along with CRE data, RelPro provides UCC (US liens), PPP and PPS loans (pandemic), and 7A and 504 (Small Business Administration) loans.
RelPro did not disclose the source of its CRE mortgage data.
RelPro claims that 50% of the top US banks license its service.
Sales Enablement vendor SalesHood launched ENGAGE, its Digital Buyer Sites, at the end of June, but hasn’t formally press released the service. SalesHood emphasized its ease of setup and access for ENGAGE sites and its ability to “quickly activate” sales content and improve its effectiveness.
CEO Elay Cohen explained that a key differentiator for SalesHood is that it is “100% built on the same platform, providing a single sales enablement system for sales and marketing teams.”
Engage sites can be public or private and are set up with a couple of clicks. To facilitate access, domains may be whitelisted. Authentication is supported via Google SSO, Microsoft SSO, or an email with a magic link. Contact information is collected from all contacts that access the buyer site.
Sales reps can send buyer site invitations via email with personalized messages or shareable links. Buyers can also request access to a site if they do not yet have access.
ENGAGE captures buyer intent and sentiment as it gathers video-watching time, time on slides, downloads, shares, feedback, etc. Reps can attach both pre-recorded videos and custom recordings. Other content includes meeting recordings, meeting transcripts, and mutual action plans. In addition, the firm noted that chat support would soon be available.
“We continue the push the industry forward by helping our customers and partners embrace modern selling and digital buyer engagement with our ENGAGE product,” posted Cohen on LinkedIn. “CROs and sales leaders love ENGAGE because it powers revenue teams to use repeatable sales plays and proven content to boost sales efficiency by driving consistent sales execution. CMOs love ENGAGE because it quickly activates their sales content and improves content effectiveness. Customer teams love ENGAGE because it progresses (and closes) pipeline faster and more efficiently. Buyers love ENGAGE because they can make decisions faster and on their own timelines.”
Engage is priced at $50 per user per month. When bundled with the Learning module, the combined price is $75 per user per month. In 2023, the combined price will rise to $100 per user per month.
Dun & Bradstreet continues to expand the content it publishes in D&B Hoovers. Recent enhancements include building out its companies, contacts, and technographics.
D&B Hoovers profiles nearly 250 million unique, active companies and over twenty million corporate linkages, including branch-level links. New fields include Site Sales, Global Sales, Site Employees, and Global Employees.
Contact coverage also continues to grow, hitting 290 million. In addition, email and direct-dial fill rates have significantly improved, both growing 9X since Q1 2021. As a result, D&B Hoovers now provides 40 million emails and 20 million direct dials.
Build-a-List now supports a Contact Accuracy Score when prospecting for contacts, letting reps “select the email accuracy that’s right for each outreach, lending flexibility for both precision and volume.” For example, for general campaigns, marketers would select emails with the highest levels of deliverability; still, reps may select lower-scoring contacts when reaching out to their target persona within their ICP.
D&B Hoover’s also expanded its technographics, with company coverage extended by 359% since Q1 2021. In addition, Dun & Bradstreet grew its technology vendor coverage by 54% and its tracked technology products by 5.3 million.
Along with a deep set of companies and contact profiles, D&B Hoover’s offers public company financials, US SEC filings, UK Companies House filings and DASH reports, European registered company financials, analyst reports, industry market research and overviews, corporate family trees, competitors, company news, intent data, and event triggers.