Sales Engagement vendor Groove introduced its Plays service to the market this morning. Groove observed that most sales engagement vendors tout flows (aka cadences and sequences) but that sequenced, linear processes fail to capture the increasingly complex nature of modern enterprise sales. Furthermore, flows were initially designed for SDRs and appointment setting but are inadequate for meeting the broader needs of the revenue team.
Along with the introduction of Plays, Groove is shifting from sales engagement to a broader vision of “Connected Sales Execution” that unifies team, strategy, and technology.
“When my co-founder Austin and I founded Groove, we were sales leaders facing the exact challenge that Groove Plays solves,” said CEO Chris Rothstein. “We knew that in order to digitally transform sales as a profession, we had to start by building a foundation in advanced data capture and linear-process automation. With Groove Plays, we are introducing the next generation of Groove to solve the biggest untapped market in sales.”
Forrester recognized this transformation in its Q3 2022 Sales Engagement Platforms Wave report, noting that Groove’s activity capture and interaction management are “top-notch.” Groove collects and aggregates signals from interactions and scores from Salesforce and external sources such as Clari, Seismic, 6sense, and Snowflake. “This information is used to connect buying group members and make suggestions based on broad data sets. Groove specializes in industry-specific and customer-specific suggestions and signals.”
“We’re launching Groove Plays as a way to take your playbook finally out of your head and put it into software so that you can assist reps at the right time, rather than after it’s too late,” explained Rothstein to GZ Consulting. “And then the second huge benefit: if you can constantly see what’s being done, what’s not being done, and what’s correlated with winning, then you can evolve and constantly get better.
Plays are designed for complex, non-linear sales processes. Sales Operations set up Groove Plays to monitor accounts for risks and opportunities. Plays are triggered when specified conditions are met (e.g., stalled deals, single threading, missing participants by role).
Groove Plays also monitors rep activity to see whether plays contributed to positive outcomes. Thus, sales managers and operations teams know whether sales reps follow company playbooks and which ones are effective. Play analytics are broken into outcomes without intervention (the playbook was followed), with intervention (the playbook was followed but after a reminder), or ignored.
Furthermore, by monitoring activity, Plays prevent reps from failing to follow critical steps (e.g., sending a follow-up message after a call, quickly turning around meeting action items).
Alerts are fed to Groove’s Master Review List, which is displayed in its Chrome extension and visible across Salesforce, Groove, and email. In addition, timers can be set to prevent plays from automatically firing, thus reducing the likelihood that reps are overwhelmed by automated triggers.
Plays provide proactive coaching instead of waiting until account reviews or forecasts. Delayed recommendations are generally reactive instead of proactive. “At that point, it’s too late. And then you react way too late. Our goal is for you to put the rules in the system, so it’s assisting you at the right time when there are signals…so you can be more proactive and consistent,” stated Rothstein.
Plays recommend actions when specific criteria are met. For example, a play can be built for deals with negative sentiment concerning price and slowing engagement. The play could then recommend an ROI calculator to a prospect, helping shift their thinking from cost to ROI.
Plays can also be built around handoffs, ensuring that crucial transition steps are not skipped.
Plays are also integrated into Groove’s conversational intelligence service and generative AI, providing meeting follow-up emails based on insights. Reps can choose to regenerate the email or add snippets.
Plays can also be designed around deal risk, suggesting actions if key buying committee members are not engaged. Likewise, plays can be setup if MEDDIC steps have not been completed, the primary contact has not responded to a renewal message, or internal approval timelines are not being met.
Groove’s RIO AI engine consists of three underlying engines:
NLP: Analyzes emails and generates insights for coaching.
Association: Ties actions to outcomes across the tech stack.
Guidance: Suggests actions based on sales plays and generates personalized content and best engagement times.
Groove supports “Connected Sales Execution” across sales, marketing, and customer success. RIO ingests account and activity histories with feedback loops to refine plays and recommendations. Thus, Connected Sales Execution spans teams, processes, and technology.
“We’re a platform to help you execute your sales strategy,” argued Rothstein. At its heart, Groove employs AI, processes, rules, and sensors (e.g., email capture, calendar capture, logging, phone calls) that analyze activities and generate insights.
“We’ve always been a company that connects all these things: the technology and the process, the team and the process,” stated Rothstein. “Where we can help is getting everyone on the same page, executing the playbook in real-time, and seeing what’s working and [what’s] not.”
Groove Plays is in Alpha with a planned Q2 beta. Groove Plays will be available to all customers at no additional cost when it GAs this summer.
Lavender, which markets an AI-powered sales email coaching platform, closed an $11 million Series A, raising its total funding to $13.2 million. Norwest Venture Partners led the round with participation from Signia Venture Partners. The funding follows strong growth in 2022, with revenue rising 865%.
Funds will be deployed towards expanding its team and introducing “new AI-powered features that help revenue teams not just understand why their messaging is falling flat but also provide actionable coaching to improve productivity and generate faster responses.”
“Lavender’s new investment helps it build out a generative AI solution at the intersection of email marketing, sales enablement, and news and information,” wrote Outsell Lead Analyst Randy Giusto. “It shows where sales and marketing intelligence vendors must head next.”
Lavender integrates with a user’s email workflow, helping reps improve response rates. It also delivers prospect company and contact intelligence. Lavender scores emails and recommends steps to improve response rates. It also “coaches sales reps on how to build meaningful relationships and close more deals.”
Along with raising response rates, email composition time is significantly reduced. Lavender claims that rep time writing an email drops from fifteen minutes to one while raising email response rates fourfold to twenty percent or more.
“Using Lavender is like giving every seller on the team a dedicated coach, making them more effective, more efficient, and more confident in their job,” stated CEO William Ballance. “This funding quickly accelerates our ability to build the best email experience for sellers around the world. Most importantly, we’re creating new jobs as our team of #EmailWizards rapidly expands.”
Lavender recommendations are initially based on “millions of successful sales emails and your historical emails.” However, it continues to adjust recommendations based on “what works best for you.”
Lavender evaluates the subject and body to improve open rates. It will identify subjects that are too long, not in title case, or contain numbers and punctuation. For the body, it looks at the length, layout, spelling, and grammar. For example, long sentences and paragraphs are difficult to read on mobile devices, so they are discouraged. According to Lavender, 80% of buyers are viewing emails on their phone, “so making emails easily scannable on a mobile device is imperative.” A mobile preview window displays the email as it would appear on phones.
“We recommend things across multiple categories, including formatting, phrasing, tonality and emotional intelligence, mobile optimization, personalization, and more,” explained Lavender COO Will Allred to GZ Consulting. “The data is always shifting though, and as trends shift in sales emails/what works well for that user and/or their team, Lavender’s scoring and recommendations dynamically adjust accordingly.”
Other Lavender features include a coaching dashboard, AI for Sales emails, and a personalization assistant. The coaching dashboard provides individual and team email scores, open rates, reply rates, and writing time. It helps managers determine which reps require additional coaching, what is working, and why it is working.
Lavender includes a “Start my Email” function that employs generative AI to “draft impactful outgoing email messages” based on seed bullet points from the rep or as email responses based on the email thread.
The personalization assistant displays recipient context to assist with personalization. For example, lavender surfaces social data, personality insights, news, events, job listings, funding announcements, and other intelligence within the composition workflow. Lavender AI also recommends “personalized intros to tailor your email and make it relevant to the recipient.”
Lavender is integrated with Gmail, Outlook, Outreach, and Salesloft. Lavender Anywhere, a Chrome extension, supports email composition for HubSpot, LinkedIn, Groove, Apollo, Engage, Outplay, and Mailchimp. As Lavender Anywhere is not directly integrated with these platforms, users must cut and paste the resulting text into the communication window. Lavender Anywhere is available with Pro and Teams licenses.
“Lavender is delivering exceptional value to our customers. Their integration provides real-time email assistance to help Salesloft customers build and deepen their relationships with prospects through better emails,” said Salesloft VP of Global Alliances Devin Schiffman. “We share in the mission of helping sellers be loved by the buyers they serve.”
Customers include Twilio, Sharebite, Sendoso, Segment, Lucidworks, and Clari. Allred said Lavender sells into a “large range” of companies, “but our sweet spot tends to be mid-market tech or tech-enabled companies.”
“Lavender is marketed toward ‘sales emails’ – but many things are a sale,” continued Allred. “Our users use Lavender for B2B sales, recruiting, customer success, marketing, and many more.”
While output is English only, features such as the email generator or summary tools can ingest foreign language input. Thus, Lavender “works great for ESL (English second language) selling into English speaking markets,” said Allred.
“Lavender’s platform goes beyond basic AI-generated writing to augment—rather than automate—sales outreach and humanize every interaction. It supercharges sales reps by reducing their time spent writing emails so that they can focus on building relationships and selling products,” said Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “We were blown away by the ‘customer love’ for Lavender’s product, which is a testament to the founding team’s deep understanding of their end user and the tight-knit community of sales leaders it has already built. We’re excited to partner with this team on the journey ahead.”
The firm has benefited from the recent interest in generative AI and ChatGPT. “We were using GPT-3 long before ChatGPT was a thing, but ChatGPT has definitely increased interest in Generative AI more broadly. Users have created UGC (user-generated content) of them using Lavender to edit ChatGPT–generated emails,” explained Allred. “But before ChatGPT was released, thousands of users were already getting the benefit of it within Lavender.”
“We view the process of emailing as four parts: research, creation, editing, and learning,” continued Allred. Lavender assists in all four. Generative models can assist along the way to streamline things for our users.”
Lavender is sold on a freemium basis. Free users receive email analysis and personalization for five emails per month.
Reps can license an Individual Pro license for $29 per month that provides unlimited emails and recommendations. In addition, the Pro service includes Lavender Anywhere, multi-inbox support, analytics, and Gmail and Outlook 365 integrations.
For $49 per user per month, companies can license a Team edition that includes Team AI coaching, Team Insights, a Manager’s Dashboard, and SEP integrations for Salesloft or Outreach. Lavender offers a seven-day free trial and free premium licenses for job seekers, students, and bootstrapped entrepreneurs.
Competitive Intelligence Platform Crayon announced an integration with win/loss insights platform Primary Intelligence, marrying competitive and win/loss intelligence in a common platform. The joint solution “helps teams better understand their competitors.”
“In today’s competitive climate, competitive intelligence and win-loss analysis are essential for B2B companies looking to increase win rates,” stated the firms. “While win-loss interviews and surveys with buyers are filled with critical competitive insights, getting these insights updated into competitive intelligence deliverables, such as battlecards, has traditionally been a slow, manual process — until now.”
Win/loss analysis is conducted after deals close. Primary Intelligence acts as a third-party collecting data concerning why they selected the vendor, who else was considered, their selection criteria, and how the vendor stacked up against other vendors across the selection criteria. Historically, this was a human-driven service, making integrating the intelligence into the CRM challenging and restricting availability to the top B2B firms.
“Our approach in the last five years or so has been [asking] ‘How can we take the operational lift and automate as much as possible?” explained Primary Intelligence President Nick Siddoway to GZ Consulting. “Now it’s a process that begins in Salesforce or whatever CRM you’re using.”
Primary Intelligence reaches out to decision-makers associated with an opportunity as soon as the deal closes. Primary Intelligence sends an email from the sales rep requesting an online interview. Automated surveys increase the number of buying committee members that can be interviewed before hitting budgetary caps and make the service available to a broader set of clients.
Survey response rates are between 25% and 35% due to the request coming from the sales rep. Online surveys run ten to fifteen minutes and are dynamically adjusted based on the responses.
“We’ve taken the live interview model that we have honed over our entire existence and turned it into an online experience, where we call it an online interview. But it really is something that a respondent can do in ten minutes on a mobile device. There are some quantitative questions for them to record voice responses, which we then transcribe and…publish that data. And then we still do the live interview.”
Primary Intelligence President Nick Siddoway
Furthermore, the firm has “democratized” win/loss research for “smaller organizations that can’t budget $1,000 an interview,” said Siddoway.
Primary Intelligence also analyzes Gong recordings during the sales window, providing both in-flight and post-mortem deal analysis.
Primary Intelligence’s TruVoice platform conducts surveys, online interviews, and live phone interviews. In addition, buyer feedback is displayed in Crayon and available in battlecards, newsletters, and dashboards, providing “more depth, context, and insight from the buyer’s perspective.”
TruVoice can also be used for customer experience, competitive analysis, and churn analysis. It also offers an aggregated Performance Gaps view that displays strengths and weaknesses according to buyer prioritization.
Primary Intelligence battle cards, available with Crayon, rollup feedback on competitive deals. Reps can see all related deals, outcomes, and competitive insights with quotes. Siddoway described the battlecards as a frequently used feature by sales reps as they can find direct competitor-related quotes from previous deals and forward them to current prospects.
“Today, every deal is a competitive deal,” argued Siddoway. “Through our 20+ years of win-loss analysis, we’ve seen the impact competitive intelligence has on win rate. If you can provide your reps with that insight and help them have confidence when selling against competitors, it makes all the difference. This integration is going to be game-changing for our mutual customers.”
“Competitive intelligence professionals and product marketers have historically struggled to include critical win-loss insights within the competitive assets their revenue teams use every day to win more business,” stated Crayon VP of Strategy Chris Pope. “Due to this unique integration, our mutual customers will now be able to solve this problem in an automated way for the very first time.”
Siddoway noted that sales reps are often in the dark about why they lost a deal. “They’re wrong more than half the time about why they really lost an opportunity. So, we just stopped asking [them].”
Primary Intelligence offers a separate module for price. Back when I did competitive intelligence, deal price was the reps’ favorite explanation for lost opportunities, so having third-party win/loss data with comparative prices and decision criteria helps with pricing analysis.
“Here’s your wins and losses, and here’s the percentage of time you are higher, lower, or similarly priced. Every sales rep’s favorite reason for losing is price. I love coming in with their data and saying, ‘Yeah, but you actually win half the time as the higher price option,’” said Siddoway.
Furthermore, by helping differentiate offerings, vendor offerings become less price sensitive. Crayon and Primary Intelligence highlight competitor offerings’ relative strengths and weaknesses, providing improved positioning for sales and marketing teams.
Primary Intelligence also provides views at the rep level, providing insights into the strengths and weaknesses of reps and where they would benefit from coaching.
Last June, Crayon announced a partnership with Gong to deliver a daily log of competitive mentions to sales reps, providing them with battlecard and call transcript links that help them write follow-on messaging that parries competitive statements. “Product marketers and competitive intelligence professionals dedicate a tremendous amount of time ensuring sales reps are equipped with the most up-to-date competitive and market intelligence,” stated Crayon CPO Erica Jenkins. “However, despite these efforts, there’s still friction around the adoption and use of these enablement materials. The integration between Crayon and Gong gets competitive intel into an account executive’s hands quickly and easily, drastically improving competitive positioning for reps to level up their game.”
Kyle Porter, who founded and led Salesloft for the past dozen years, stepped down from the CEO role and was named Salesloft’s Chairman last week. In his place, the firm named SaaS veteran David Obrand its new CEO. Obrand is also joining Salesloft’s board.
I’ve known Kyle Porter for around a decade. I was impressed when he mothballed his first email guessing product because it wasn’t aligned with his belief in sales authenticity. It was a gutsy move. While he didn’t burn his boats (i.e., immediately remove the product from the market), he stopped selling the service and phased out the product while fulfilling current contracts.
Porter is also a gifted storyteller, which he emphasizes as a skill that sales reps should hone. His personal story is embedded into his management style.
I had the opportunity to interview Kyle on Friday. The conversation below was edited for length.
Why have you chosen to move upstairs?
There are two major reasons. The first is for the greater good of the business. I’ve seen this market unfold and the opportunity that we have in front of us just open up. It’s unlimited what we can do in sales and revenue generation. And our mission has always been to fundamentally change the profession of sales forever and really build a world where sellers are loved by the buyers they serve. I want every Lofter to have our mission as their primary focus within this business. And that means I need to have it as well. My goal is to always do that. And when I looked out to the future of everything that we could achieve, the biggest fear I had was that I wouldn’t be the right person to help us get there – that I would leave something on the table.
My skills are always growing, always developing. I consider myself a lifelong learner. And I’ve worked really hard to be just as good as I can at this stage as I was when there were zero people at the company. That evolution, however, is hard work. And that self-development is a deep investment.
The second piece of this is more of a personal perspective. On my very first date with my now wife…she asked me what my dream was, and I told her it was to run a technology company that makes a dent in the universe. I asked her hers, and she said it was to restore the glory that was the Florida citrus industry…
Now with someone like David, he’s already gained that wisdom, experience, know-how, and recall. It’s so natural for him. And I felt like we could accelerate the development of the CEO’s capability to take us to the next level by bringing in someone like David. So really, it’s based on my limitations as CEO. The opportunity ahead of us is just so big. And we have an amazing future in this business. We do the right things, and we serve our customers with excellence. There’s no limit to what we can achieve, so I wanted to accelerate the office of the CEO’s capabilities and really improve the handicapped chances to achieve our mission.
Some opportunities came up to really achieve that mission that she’s been on. And I realized that my talents and resources could greatly assist her just as she sat on the sidelines and helped me achieve my mission for over twelve years. I realized that it’s not right for this organization with so much growth ahead to have a CEO that’s not singularly focused on the mission of the business…I’m going to do tangerines with my wife, and that meant that it was the best decision to have someone that would be singularly focused on the mission of this business…
Of course, there are also my three children. While my daughter Brooklyn (8) is still going through the change curve of me no longer being CEO, I’m incredibly excited to pour more time and attention into her, my son Clark (5), and daughter Abby (1) as well!
How active will you be as the chairman?
Pretty active. We have a founder lunch that I’m going to continue. I’ve been corresponding with many customers this week, and I will retain those relationships and meet with them continuously. I’ll be a board member. David has asked for a once-a-week meeting indefinitely with him.
I just have really deep relationships with so many people inside the organization and with so many of our customers and partners. My enjoyment and my passion are to continue to work with those people. So customer meetings, board meetings, and one-on-ones with the CEO.
We got some really fun content projects that we’re working on. We’re going to be doing some work together to really show the market what’s happening and what’s changed and how to be more effective in this new world of modern sales.
What were the top criteria for selecting your successor?
Number one is that they are aligned with the mission of the business. When we talk about fundamentally transforming sales and revenue forever, this person that we brought on board had to have that in their heart already. Number two is they have to realize and understand that organizational health is the biggest sustainable differentiating advantage that any company can have. So when we love on our Lofters, they turn around and love on our customers, and the CEO needed to understand those dynamics and be willing to continue running this business with that framework and mindset. Three, I wanted someone that was well-rounded functionally. Not just a sales leader, but someone that understood product engineering, finance, marketing, [and] customer success.
I saw it firsthand when David Obrand got up and spoke with the product and engineering team. I sat, and I listened to someone say things that I wish I had thought of saying to them in the past. Things that I didn’t know and didn’t experience. And the way he connected with them was on a very deep level. And it was really refreshing for them to see someone that understands them even better than I did. So that was really cool.
When you think about succession as a founder, there’s a point at which your skillset, knowledge, or experience isn’t the right fit for taking the company to the next level. And many executives, out of hubris, choose to continue in that role, even though they may not be the best person for that role.
I believe exactly what you said. But I also believe that we really don’t have any limits except for those imposed upon us by ourselves. I’ve always believed that we can grow and develop into that next stage, and I’ve always believed that for myself, but that investment sometimes takes time. And if you have other things that you’re focused on, it’s more difficult to get down that development path.
You had a quiet layoff last week. Usually, you’re more transparent about these things. Why the shift away from the prior transparency, and why was it necessary to do so?
Necessary is an interesting word. I teach our leadership team that they don’t need to do anything; they always choose to do certain things.
On the transparency front, we did have a layoff after COVID. And we didn’t make a public announcement on that, as well. We believe that’s a private thing for the people that are part of the organization. We want to be super transparent internally about everything that happened. And if someone goes out and posts something, we don’t stop them or send them a note saying, don’t write that by any means. But that is a private kind of situation for the people who are impacted and affected.
Now, I am certainly helping people to find jobs. And we’ve assembled a list. And I’ve made many introductions. I’ve brought a lot of investors in, And we are helping those folks to find their next path.
SalesLoft, like many companies, saw lots of growth in the market and then saw some headwinds in front of us. And the way we think about it is that you’re in an airplane, and when the headwinds come, you can do two things: you can accelerate through and burn all your fuel, or you can lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and pick back up. The decision we made was to lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and then pick back up with the business.
What advice would you give founders of technology startups?
Really obsessing over the problem you solve is the first and foremost most critical thing that founders need to do. And when I say obsessed, I mean you need to get everybody in the organization on board with caring so much that they love their customer; they love solving the pains for them. And the company that cares the most is the one that’s going to win. Number one is that customer obsession and a really deep focus on the problem that you solve to the point where it becomes just a daily rhythm of your life.
The second one is aligning your organization to go after your mission. The mission statement is something where you’re one stop short of changing the world. We want to fundamentally transform sales forever. And that’s what we’re here to do. And so we need to hire people who believe in that mission, even down to the engineer.
We’ve created this whole community of people from every walk of life who love sellers and who understand the beauty of what sales is and how it transforms economies and markets. How it helps companies hire, invent, bring new products to life, and really change the fabric of our society. Making sure that your team is focused on that mission is critical. Then you got to have the rhythms in place where they’re being held accountable [and] where you’re achieving your goals.
You’ve emphasized the importance of culture. How did Salesloft benefit from your five core values?
What we’re looking for when we hire people is not that they’re five out of five A+, but that they have many of the core values [and] also believe that the other ones that maybe they’re not as strong in are important enough to work towards.
The other thing is that core values are a way to stop yourself before you make a mistake. Once a mentor told me [that] a good leader makes a mistake and quickly fixes it, [but] a great leader is about to make a mistake and fixes it before they do. And for me, that’s what the core values are. If we say that we want to be glass half-full, and I find myself about to say something negative. In the old days, I would say it, learn it, and fix it. But now, before it even comes out of my mouth, my head says, “glass half-full,” and I change the way I deliver that message.
Or if I’ve got a decision where I can go left, and it’s maybe better for money and then go right, and it’s better for customer experience. Then, customer obsession comes into my mind before I make that decision so that I can go right for the customer. We look at core values as triggering mnemonic messages in your head that help you to be the person you want to be.
As a CEO, you’ve got to repeat those [values] over and over again. Reward people who exhibit it. You’ve got to praise those who showcase it. Repetition is persuasion in that regard.
What is one mistake you wish you could have avoided?
We never anticipated the market would come back so fast post-COVID. Nobody did. Had I understood that, we wouldn’t have slowed down like we did. But then, we also never anticipated that the SaaS market would crash the way that it did. Had we understood that, we would have slowed down a little bit more before we did. Hindsight is 20/20. If you can predict those things, you can be a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager.
We’re always trying to align market demand with the resource supply of the organization. So that’s a continual trade-off that we’re working to make.
Are you looking forward to more time on the citrus farm?
I’m really excited. One of the things we do is send tangerines out to our customers. Every single year we do it, and I’m not going to miss that. We’ve got to keep producing great tangerines, so we can keep getting them into the hands of our customers. It is a joy and a passion of mine and my wife’s. She’s been so helpful to me on this journey, and I’m excited to help her follow her dreams.
Any last thoughts?
Yeah, we’re in a great spot. As a company, even with what we’ve seen in the downturn in the marketplace, we saw a really strong end to our Q4, and Q1 is off to a great start. Our CEO is highly capable. He’s wise. He’s been welcomed with a huge Salesloft hug inside the organization, and I’ve seen our customers and market participants really appreciate who he is and what he’s going to do. We’ve got a big opportunity to fundamentally transform the sales profession ahead of us. And we’re going to do it.
Scandinavian Sales Intelligence vendor Vainu released a new platform for its Swedish and Finnish databases. The new platform includes expanded datasets, CRM connectors, usage-based pricing, and an updated UX.
Customers can migrate to the new platform or stay on the old one near-term. However, future development will only be made for the new one.
The new platform offers a “simplified and unified” UX to “better represent what we offer clients: Actionable and reliable business data,” blogged Vainu Marketer Nikolai Bang. Changes include a simplified prospecting module for Norway and Sweden and updated profile displays.
The platform includes a new filter architecture that will allow Vainu to “develop new filters in the UI faster as our databases expand with new data sets without compromising the platform’s speed or usability.”
Users can now define custom table layouts for reports which are reflected in the product and when downloading tables. Users control which fields to display and their order. In addition, Vainu added a JSON download format.
As the new platform pricing is usage-based, it includes a usage dashboard that tracks records downloaded and CRM account records matched.
While the old platform supported 400 financial variables, they were “incoherent and unmaintained fields, with duplicates, poor documentation, and poor naming.” The new standardized financials display “100 carefully picked financial terms,” and financials are segmented for improved display and navigation.
Along with field display, the reports include definitions, making it easier to understand KPIs and how fields are calculated and rolled up.
To help with customer outreach, Vainu added 26,000 GDPR-compliant, human-verified contacts for Finland and Sweden. Contact records include title, phone number, email, and LinkedIn handle. Contacts were collected for firms with at least 10M€ (Finland) or 100MSEK (Sweden) in turnover.
Scandinavian Business ID connectors are available for Salesforce, MSD 365, HubSpot, and Pipedrive. Global Domain-based connectors support Salesforce and HubSpot.
Bang noted that some customers and prospects had found Vainu to be a “significant financial commitment.” The new usage-based pricing model “helps alleviate this worry” as it “lowers the barrier to entry for trying out data.”
SMB Pricing for one of the Nordic country databases begins at 4,200€ per annum with a 750€ onboarding fee. The Team level supports one user and includes data updates and workflow triggers for 1,000 accounts. The Business edition is similar but supports 8,000 updated accounts with triggers for 9,900€.
The Global Business database, which is domain-based, supports up to 10,000 company exports or enrichments and provides full access to the global database. The Global Database is priced at 12,000€, with each band of 10,000 additional enrichments priced at 1,000€.
ABX PlatformDemandbase, which also offers a data cloud and sales intelligence solution, rolled out its keyword intent dataset for third-party platforms. Demandbase Intent is available both inside the Demandbase One platform (embedded) and delivered to other platforms (standalone). Demandbase Intent joins Demandbase’s other Data Cloud assets, including firmographics, technographics, and contacts.
Standalone Intent, which supports 375,000 keywords and ingests 18 billion daily signals, provides buying signals for predictive models, data stores, and analytics. Data is delivered via API, cloud delivery, or CSV flat files.
New keywords are added weekly, with historical intent maintained for twelve months.
Demandbase Intent helps marketing teams target in-market accounts and refine their messaging. Furthermore, Demandbase Intent can trigger campaigns, avoid churn, and expand accounts.
“Our intent takes multiple sources into account, providing a much stronger and more accurate signals than others in the space,” said Demandbase VP of Product and Industry Marketing Jackie Palmer. “By using Demandbase Intent, data scientists, corporate strategists, and sales and marketing analytics professionals can build and improve their predictive models, helping them to better understand buyers’ goals and navigate the anonymous buying journey. As they identify patterns, trends, and opportunities, they can be more precise in prioritizing accounts and gaining deeper insight into their revenue potential.”
Demandbase claims that its keyword library provides superior targeting compared to taxonomically-based intent datasets, allowing vendors to target niche industries and segments, track competitor offerings, and dovetail on partners’ intent. Furthermore, customers can add new keywords “to fit their needs, whereas other intent providers limit customers to a finite, predefined list of topics.” They can then feed keyword intent to their data lakes, data warehouses, or business intelligence platforms, making the intent data available to data scientists for propensity-to-buy models.
Palmer told data scientists, “What you can do is build your…propensity-to-buy models, all the different things you need for predictive analytics around your account intent activities. You can stream that directly into your CRM systems, marketing automation systems, or any go-to-market systems that you need to.”
Demandbase Intent can be used alongside other intent datasets. Demandbase One also supports Bombora’s third-party intent, G2 second-party technology research intent, website visitor intelligence, and other datasets licensed by its Demandbase customers.
“Our mantra is the more intent data, the better,” Palmer explained to GZ Consulting. “So, that’s why within the platform, we always integrate with Bombora, G2, etc. But this is now for standalone people that may not want the Demandbase platform but also want to add additional concepts of intent into their data lakes [and] data warehouses.”
Furthermore, keyword intent is “totally complementary” to taxonomic intent data sources.
The Demandbase AI assesses keyword usage and the age of the article (older articles provide higher relevance), related articles the user has read, and “rare and hyper-qualifying keywords and themes to identify personas and buying committee roles.”
“We track the relevant articles,” explained Demandbase Data Cloud Product Marketer Imran Ahmed to GZ Consulting. “If you want to look at how the market does it, they do it through co-ops. They do it through metatags. We’re doing it through articles that help us identify not only the keywords but help us gather all the users looking at those keywords across the web. That brings up signal relevance and helps us get more granular and more exposure.”
Demandbase Intent does not look at Google search terms but looks a layer deeper at which articles are being viewed.
“Demandbase intent data is based on years of AI research and delivers more breadth and relevance than any you’ll find anywhere else. Why? Because we own the technology to identify anonymous accounts and pair that with our direct access to the bidstream — the source for the most intent signals. Then we beef up the relevance of those signals using a combination of AI and natural language processing.”
Standalone intent is priced per keyword.
Standalone intent has been generally available since December and already has several clients. However, due to the calendar, the firm held off on announcing the service until late January.
RevSure, which describes itself as a Pipeline Readiness solution, announced enhancements that “provide marketing teams with increased insights into data and around lead-to-revenue projections.” The new capabilities help marketers increase their spend efficiency and focus expenditures on campaigns and actions with the highest ROI.
RevSure helps go-to-market teams “share a single source of truth” concerning the health of their pipeline. It also automates reporting tasks and offers recommendations for converting leads into qualified sales opportunities.
“With a united full-funnel view, you can effortlessly pull all of this data into one place, so you can easily analyze the impact of each campaign and lead source at a glance. Did your latest low-cost webinar lead to a high amount of pipeline and bookings? You may want to consider scaling your efforts or investing in more webinars. On the other hand, did that conference you attended 8 months ago and spent tens of thousands of dollars on not lead to the pipeline and bookings you were hoping for? Might be worth crossing that conference off your list for the next year, so you can ensure you are focusing on the campaigns and channels that are bringing you the greatest ROI,” blogged RevSure.
New features offer insights into demand generation effectiveness and efficiency, helping prioritize leads and opportunities. AI recommendations call out which leads to prioritize and how to optimize campaigns. Users can drill down into campaigns or filter by title, industry, segment, or channel. The Demand Generation Effectiveness is a color-coded tree map of “what is working and where is it working,” explained RevSure Head of Marketing Kacyn Goranson to GZ Consulting. “It will show you generated lead volume, gross cost per lead, or booking value, so you can quickly slice and dice your marketing efforts” and determine “what is actually effective” across the funnel.
RevSure also provides stage conversion analytics, cohort analysis for campaign efficacy, and marketing campaign / KPI analytics.
Lead prioritization is based on firmographics (e.g., location, size, industry), persona, engagement data from MAPs, intent, channel, campaign data, and lead source. Data is sourced from Apollo and customer-licensed intent datasets.
To improve demand generation effectiveness, RevSure now ingests Salesforce campaigns and lead sources, along with Google AdWords and LinkedIn Campaigns. These additional data sources are available for campaign budget analysis. Users can “easily calculate and determine” conversion velocity, pipeline, and booking value.
“Today’s marketers have a gap in their data toolsets and are currently lacking AI-based models, and many CMOs are tasked with adopting and driving what will be effective, and winning, data strategies,” argued RevSure CEO Deepinder Singh Dhingra. “Using RevSure helps provide marketing teams with intelligence and insights into their sales pipeline, and data that empowers them to strategically defend marketing budgets and pivot campaigns based on sales performance – both of which can be critical to sales success in the current economic climate.”
RevSure provides sales and marketing teams lists of their top 25, 50, and 100 most promising leads and opportunities. It also displays “step-by-step recommendations” concerning when and how to follow up with them, “turning qualified leads into legitimate sales opportunities.”
RevSure already supports Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot. The HubSpot App Marketplace partnership was launched earlier this month.
RevSure focuses on the top and middle of the funnel with recommendations and prioritization tools instead of the bottom, which looks more at forecasting. “We are in the lead-to-opportunity journey,” explained Singh to GZ Consulting. “We don’t go into the forecast.”
RevSure is less than a year old and officially launched at SaaStr in September 2022. According to Singh, the firm is ahead of its customer acquisition and revenue targets.
Asynchronous video vendor Vidyard announced the appointment of Jonathan Lister as its new COO. Lister joins from LinkedIn, where he served as VP of Global Sales Solutions. Prior to LinkedIn, Lister was the Country Manager for Google Canada and held multiple executive positions at AOL.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Jonathan to the Vidyard team,” said Vidyard CEO Michael Litt. “His unique experience as a global leader at LinkedIn will be a tremendous asset as we build on our mission to empower every go-to-market professional with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in the new world of digital customer communication.”
While at LinkedIn, Lister increased the division’s customer base to one million users paying $1,000 per year for Sales Navigator.
“So, he drove it to a billion dollars a year in revenue,” said Litt. “And we have the same user — the sales professional using video to communicate with their customers.”
“The next stage is, how do we commercialize and value at scale?” continued Litt. “And that is exactly what Jonathan is here to help us with.”
Video adoption remains strong among sales and marketing organizations. According to Demand Metric’s 2022 State of Video Report, 82% of go-to-market teams report that video is becoming increasingly important when connecting with buyers. Furthermore, 70% of sales reps stated that video converts better than other content formats.
“There are few SalesTech companies that are truly focused on empowering the individual sales professional,” said Lister. “That’s really what drew me to Vidyard. I believe the company is uniquely positioned in that its products can be used by any go-to-market professional in the world to impact every stage of the customer journey. I’m looking forward to building on Vidyard’s strong momentum and reputation as a world-class provider of sales technology and community education.”
Vidyard also provided a summary of its 2022 enhancements
Video Templates: Video Templates guide sellers on how to use videos across various including getting in front of a new prospect, recording a custom demo, or closing out a deal. Video Templates include sample scripts, example videos, recording tips, and related best practices. There are also community-contributed templates from Shari Levitan, Sales Gravy, Katherine Caldwell, Todd Caponi, and Salesloft.
Enhanced Editing: Enhanced video trimming and cutting features.
Video Chapters: Add chapters to mark specific topics and improved navigation.
Salesloft Insights Integration:Salesloft users can discover which prospects are watching their videos natively within Salesloft. Vidyard video views are surfaced within the Salesloft activity feed to “empower sellers with timely customer insights.”
Sales Feed Learning Hub: Vidyard launched a new learning hub, accessible within the Vidyard app, powered by its Sales Feed media network. Vidyard users can access sales learning content, including cold calling, prospecting, discovery and qualification, negotiation and proposals, and selling with video.
“Our singular focus with Sales Feed is to help B2B sales professionals learn, laugh, and live a better life in sales,” said Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing at Vidyard and Head of Sales Feed. “The response we’ve received from our community has been nothing short of incredible, and we’re thrilled to put our top-rated content into the hands of every Vidyard user. At the end of the day, if we can help one more sales rep close one more deal – and feel good about how they did it – we feel like we’ve done our jobs.”
Litt argued that field sales reps were already in decline in 2020 and that “the pandemic basically killed field selling,” The pandemic forced firms to sell remotely, benefiting Vidyard, which offered a personalized communications channel that allowed sales reps to stand out in the inbox.
“That story played out again, and again, and again,” said Litt. “That enabled us to accelerate our trajectory through to profitability, invest as much as we could back into [research and development], and totally embrace this video messaging story.”
Vidyard now supports 12 million business professionals at 250,000 companies. At this point, the firm can either operate on a cash flow neutral basis or be more aggressive to foster growth.
Vidyard has not had a funding round since 2019, as the firm did not look for an “insane valuation.” Litt said, “[this] means not doing big financial raises at crazy valuations because we want our employees to have upside. We want all of our stakeholders to be engaged with the same outcome.”
Litt said Vidyard has been “judicious” about its spending. The CEO noted that the company has kept its focus on retaining “really strong delta option value,” adding, “[this] means not doing big financial raises at crazy valuations because we want our employees to have upside [and] we want all of our stakeholders to be engaged with the same outcome.”
Although the firm did not state its current revenue, Litt sees $100 million as Vidyard’s “next meaningful milestone.”
Litt sees a great opportunity in asynchronous video. Vidyard’s R&D efforts center around more compelling video content, including AI assistance to improve content efficacy.
As firms face a challenging market, Litt is eyeing potential acquisitions, “especially in the next couple of quarters as businesses look for a soft landing. We think there’s going to be some opportunities to pick up some interesting tech to better complete our vision, and again, come out of this cycle with a really, really amazing suite of products that benefit our go-to-market teams.”
With firms cutting travel budgets during the recession, demand for Vidyard should remain strong. “Fortunes are built in bear markets and harvested in bull markets, and we’re in a bear market. But we have the balance sheet and financials to invest heavily in product and value for our users,” said Litt.