Advice for Vendors & Purchasers of Sales Intelligence, Sales Engagement, and B2B DaaS Products
Author: Michael R. Levy
Michael R. Levy is the Principal of GZ Consulting, a market research and competitive intelligence consultancy which focuses on the information services industry. Services include market sizing, market research, competitive profiling, product strategy, licensing advice, competitor benchmarking, and sales enablement.
Michael has twenty years of experience in the sales intelligence industry, having worked for OneSource (Product Marketing Manager) and InfoGroup (Manager of Strategy and Competition) before launching GZ Consulting in 2011.
Michael is also the author of the "Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors." He also publishes a pair of weekly Market Insights Subscription newsletter covering B2B RevTech subjects such as Sales Intelligence, Data as a Service, Sales Engagement, Sales Enablement, ABX Platforms, and Conversational Sales & Marketing.
On Nathan Latka’s podcast, Godard Abel, CEO of G2, said that he expects to hit $100 million ARR before the end of the year. G2, which raised $157M at a $1.1B valuation in June 2021 (Series D), grew at 40% over the past year. At the time of its Series D, its Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) was $55 million.
G2 maintains a product/vendor taxonomy for its review site, with vendors identifying their product categories. “If you’re a software vendor, you want it to be right on G2,” said Abel. That way, its seven million monthly visitors can properly discover a vendor’s offerings.
Along with categorizing vendors, G2 editors determine the key features for each product category and let customers rate these capabilities.
The number of G2 listings grew 48% over the last year. Its fifty-person research team collaborates with its “community of vendors” to maintain vendor and product profiles.
G2 also licenses its taxonomy to partners and investors. For example, ServiceNow licenses the G2 taxonomy for its ITS Management tool for categorizing apps. Abel also noted that around fifty of the “World’s leading SaaS investors” have licensed G2 data to help understand the SaaS competitive landscape and adjacent markets.
G2 has additional revenue streams. It offers second-party opted-in intent data and a G2 Track service for tracking SaaS expenses.
Nathan Latka interviews SaaS CEOs and posts them to his podcast. This data is then loaded into his database of SaaS metrics. As he regularly reinterviews executives, there is often historical ARR and employment data. The database is a freemium service with limited free data.
Contacts database Lusha announced the general availability of its Salesforce Data Enrichment (SFDE) service. The new service provides on-demand, periodic, or continuous data enrichment, ensuring that company and contact data remain accurate.
An Enrichment Editor helps operations managers understand how many records need enrichment and the number of leads, contacts, and accounts recently added to Salesforce and available for enrichment. The Salesforce admin can run an initial enrichment against the full database or target a subset of records for enrichment, with the Enrichment Editor supporting custom audiences for updates based upon multiple Salesforce field criteria.
The Salesforce admin performs the initial field mapping during the integration setup. Custom fields are supported, and the admin can choose whether to override existing values during enrichment. Lusha recommends that admins create special fields, such as Lusha Email, to avoid overwriting current field values.
SFDE is an Enterprise add-on and is subject to an access fee. Analyst Relations Manager Alina Sharon-Green warned GZ Consulting that “extensive usage may require the purchase of additional data credits.” As a launch promotion, enterprise customers will receive SFDE for free through the end of the year.
Lusha already supports Send to Salesforce functionality but does not provide I-frame support or “stare and compare” updates within AppExchange records.
“Companies spend huge amounts of resources building CRMs of both current and prospective leads but suffer from the speed the data becomes outdated and irrelevant,” said CEO Yoni Tserruya. “B2B sales organizations rely on their CRM to identify the right prospects – so when this data is incomplete or inaccurate, their time is wasted, and opportunities are lost. With our new SFDE solution, sales teams are given direct access to Lusha’s extensive database of accurate contact and company information to automatically enrich their existing data and gain new insights on their prospects to scale business results.”
Lusha has grown its database to 100 global million contacts, which includes 60 million emails and 50 million direct-dial phones. All contact records are processed through a seven-step verification process. Lusha also profiles 15 million global companies. Lusha continued its rapid pace of growth, doubling its paid user base in H1, “with significant growth in Enterprise users,” stated Sharon-Green.
Funding intelligence vendor Crunchbase closed on a $50 million Series D led by Alignment Growth, with OMERS Ventures, Mayfield, and Emergence Capital also participating. The oversubscribed round raised total funding to $106.5 million.
“Investors we spoke with echoed the trends we’re seeing in Crunchbase data: We are in the middle of one of the most challenging times for startups to raise,” blogged Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell. “So, the fact that we had more firms trying to invest in us than we were even looking for is a huge vote of confidence in our company, brand, and the products we’ve built.”
Jager noted that the firm has moved beyond funding data for PE and VC firms to a broader information platform that supports sales, recruiting, finance, and business development professionals. I would add Competitive and Market Intelligence professionals to their user list as I regularly use Crunchbase and Owler for deal intelligence.
Crunchbase began as a funding database at TechCrunch but was spun out as an independent organization in 2015 and has evolved into a sales intelligence service. The Crunchbase Pro offering supports company discovery, qualification, tracking, Salesforce syncing, and engagement (via contact data and email templates) at a low price ($49 per month billed annually).
“As difficult economic conditions impact more companies, knowing whether a target account is on the upswing or not gives prospectors the power to focus outreach on decision-makers with buying power,” McConnell said. “Our tools encourage account-based selling, which encourages deal-makers to prioritize their prospecting efforts based on the companies they should be contacting rather than the individuals. This is the opposite approach to ‘spray and pray,’ which relies on massive contact lists and leads to the kind of spammy outreach that no one likes.”
Recent enhancements include territory filters, diversity flags, machine-learning company recommendations, a Chrome extension, and email alerts for priority accounts, lists, and saved searches. They also added a contacts database and email templates.
Crunchbase has retained its focus on emerging (funded) companies. This focus is both an advantage and disadvantage. Emerging companies are often the fastest growing businesses with expanding needs and fewer incumbent vendors that need to be displaced. They are also more open to cutting-edge technology, encourage quick decision-making, and are less risk averse. Conversely, they represent a relatively small percentage of the overall economy, deals are smaller (but with significant upside at renewal), and they are more subject to economic volatility.
Another advantage of focusing on emerging companies is that the leading sales intelligence databases have weak coverage of these firms. When companies collect or ingest data on global companies of all sizes, they lack the editorial bandwidth to deliver detailed information on emerging companies. Specialist databases such as Crunchbase offer funding details, acquisition histories, editorially-written business descriptions, and more accurate sizing data.
“The Crunchbase SaaS platform combines rich and proprietary company data with direct access to decision-makers within a single intuitive interface—at compelling price points—making it a powerful tool for driving ROI across a variety of use cases, from sales to recruiting and more,” stated new Crunchbase Board member Alex Iosilevich from Alignment Growth. “We expect that Crunchbase will continue to gain accelerated industry adoption and are excited to support the company’s growth momentum alongside strong participation from the existing investor group.”
Crunchbase continues to grow its product and data. It supports 75 million unique annual users and over 60,000 customers. Furthermore, SaaS products drove a 5x year-over-year increase in new recurring revenue in Q1 2022.
“We took a step back from rapid growth in favor of a more measured, balanced approach,” stated McConnell, who noted that the firm has focused on capital-efficient growth. The firm dialed back its Burn Multiple from 3 ($3 spent to acquire $1 in new ARR) in 2019 to 0.22 in H1.
“The recent onslaught of down rounds and mass layoffs from companies who very recently hit unicorn status shows how outsized burn rates can be hidden behind oversized funding rounds, covering up the reality of weak business fundamentals,” McConnell said. “I’m especially proud of the fact that we have been able to generate growth while keeping our burn rate in check. In the first half of this year, we drove $9 million net new ARR at only $2 million burn — that’s best in class according to Bessemer’s efficiency benchmarks and puts us on the path to profitability…We plan to double our business-to-business software ARR this year, ending around $38 million in ARR just for this customer segment.”
Iosilevech argued that Crunchbase is well-positioned for ongoing growth and does not expect follow-on rounds. “They’re managing the business in a capital-efficient way so that the capital that they raise will really be the last round they need before a major milestone in the company’s history, whether it’s an IPO or something else.”
Funds will be deployed towards additional headcount and expanding platform functionality, beginning with a HubSpot connector. The firm is also looking to expand its machine-learning recommendations for sales, expand its data insights, and add usage tracking dashboards “to help customers track efficacy of activities on Crunchbase, along with the number of opportunities and ARR available to them.”
Crunchbase has grown to 220 employees with a remote-first operational model. It added seventy staff during the first half of the year and is aiming to add another fifty-five employees before year’s end. It was cash flow positive in Q1.
Crunchbase did not disclose its new valuation figures.
ABX PlatformDemandbase announced that it is the first sales intelligence and account engagement platform to integrate both services jointly into CRM. Demandbase offers a single view that combines first-party and behavioral data from the Demandbase ABX cloud and third-party datasets (firmographics, technographics, contact data, and news & social insights) from the Demandbase Sales Intelligence Cloud.
“Doing so gives B2B sellers access to all the information they need to spot and close larger deals faster,” stated the firm. “This first of its kind application guides sales teams to know where and when to engage with the right accounts and decision-makers, leading to higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and bigger deals — boosting CRM adoption in the process.”
Revenue Operations can also select intent data from Bombora and G2, which are processed through the ABX platform’s predictive models.
The Demandbase platform also supports activity timelines, product and competitor intent datasets, and persona-based engagement heatmaps, helping revenue teams assess account potential and determine where accounts stand in the buyer’s journey.
Heatmaps may be viewed by engagement, people, or journeys. Both preset and custom options are available. In addition, users can drill down to details by clicking on a row or column header.
The SFDC Heatmap is presented at the Account level with Engagement Minutes (Demandbase’s contact engagement model) displayed within the heatmap matrix.
Sales users can utilize this heatmap to find champions at an org via the highest engagement and understand with which roles they need to communicate.
The platform also supports long-running InsideView for Salesforce functionality, including
Company and contact profiles
Prospect list building for companies and contacts
Contact searching at accounts
A news viewer that combines company news, social posts, and blogs
Corporate family trees
Add to CRM with duplicate checking
CRM “stare and compare” updates
According to Demandbase, the unified UI lets customers “consolidate their tech stack, replacing ABM, sales intelligence, advertising, and other vendors with Demandbase One, the Smarter Go-To-Market solution.”
“The beauty of this unified sales UI is that all the data a salesperson needs is readily accessible, right in the CRM where they’re already working. It’s revolutionary for sales teams,” said Demandbase CRO Allison Metcalfe. “No more toggling between systems or wasting time in generic outreach that doesn’t drive sales. Instead, they’ll have deeper insights and greater visibility into prospective deals, gaining knowledge about what buyers are doing around the web, what they engage with, who to contact (and how), and what the most relevant messaging is. The actionability, productivity, and efficacy of such functionality is practically limitless.”
In other news, Demandbase was named to the Fast Company “100 Best Workplaces for Innovators.” The magazine noted that Demandbase reinvests 20% of its revenue in R&D.
Market Intelligence vendor HG Insights released version 2.0 of its platform to deliver the “actionable insights” technology vendors need to better “understand their markets in-depth, make decisions, and Go-To-Market (GTM) with precision and confidence.” Platform 2.0 supports technographics, install data, spend data, twelve million company profiles, contract intelligence, and intent signals for nine million global companies.
“The HG Insights Platform goes beyond simple high-level market reports to provide business leaders with actionable insights to make successful Go-To-Market decisions,” said Robert Fox, CTO of HG Insights. “Customers are already using HG Insights to allocate resources more effectively, prioritize the right product initiatives, and give their sales and marketing teams the account details they need to pursue the best opportunities—and now we are building on these capabilities with Platform 2.0. I am excited at the speed of innovation the new platform launch unlocks as HG Insights maintains itself as the market leader of technology intelligence.”
Platform 2.0 offers self-serviceable intent insights where marketers identify accounts with the highest current propensity to buy based on market signals. Intent Insights begins by matching each vendor’s Ideal Customer Profile and intent topics to define a set of target accounts. Account scoring then ranks the target accounts based on a combination of intent signals and market fit (firmographics and technographics).
Marketers can then employ IT spend intelligence to prioritize accounts by budgets, construct equitable sales territories, and analyze market spending trends.
The platform is supported by a “ground up” architectural refresh that improves HG Insights’ ability to scale up its data and insights delivery. In Q4, the firm plans to release a new API and native Salesforce integration served by the new platform.
Other platform features include improved account scoring, saved search lists, account match logic enhancements, self-serve customer reporting, and UX enhancements.
Install data enhancements include company hierarchy mapping and “new trending features that capture intensity trending over time.”
“These improvements give a more dynamic experience to our technology install data and can answer a broader variety of questions about product usage,” said Darcy Moss, Director of Product Marketing. “Data coverage and precision have improved—you are now able to profile installs at a global, country, and city/state level. Intensity Trending and Momentum deliver an improved understanding of technology usage.”
HG Insights, which began as a technographics vendor, now supports modules for opportunity generation, market intelligence, account profiling, and contextual intent. The Market Intelligence module, released in early 2021, helps marketing and strategy analysts size markets by IT spend, tech installs, firmographics, geography, company size, etc. It also lets them:
Analyze vendor penetration and identify threats, trends, and opportunities
Allocate resources and territories more efficiently
Identify untapped market potential with whitespace analysis
Contextual Intent, an add-on service, combines technology install data and buyer intent signals “to create a new scoring and filtering experience for laser-focused company targeting.” HG Insights processes two billion weekly intent signals spanning over 120 million verified tech installs. Its technology taxonomy support over 14,000 products, solutions, and services.
Contextual intent helps identify prospects researching or evaluating a product that is
Not detected in a current install
In a category where HG Insights has detected the installation of another product from the same vendor
A potential displacement of a competitor’s offering
HG Insights expanded its IT spend and intelligence insights when it acquired Intricately back in March. Intricately’s proprietary sensor network gathers cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data for seven million global businesses across 21,000 cloud offerings. Data are collected from over 150 global Internet points of presence, helping Intricately map digital infrastructure. Its insights are delivered via an API, integrations, data snapshots, and web applications.
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.