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.
Seismic rolled out the Seismic Enablement Cloud, an enablement platform for customer-facing teams. The new service ensures that team members have the “right skills, content, tools, and insights to effectively engage customers and drive growth.” Instead of offering a set of point solutions for content, training, and engagement, Seismic claims it is the first unified enablement platform that supports digital interactions across the entire buyer’s journey.
“For more than a decade, Seismic has helped develop and shape the enablement industry in partnership with our 2,200+ customers. Leading organizations view enablement as mission-critical to their growth, and it has become a core part of the enterprise tech stack. Now we are revolutionizing the space by bringing all of the pillars of modern enablement under one, unified cloud,” said Seismic Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada. “In this new era of selling, customer-facing teams need more than content management and basic analytics to engage today’s buyers. The Enablement Cloud redefines the boundaries of enablement, delivering the most comprehensive suite of products and solutions to empower the entire go-to-market engine.”
The Seismic Enablement platform supports “end-to-end workflows,” including
Enablement and training strategy and Planning
Sales Content Management from building content through asset sharing, including content recommendations, personalization, and social sharing
New hire onboarding, ongoing training, and AI-assisted coaching and skills development
Buyer experience personalization across all touchpoints and digital channels, including social media, email, and digital salesrooms
Content Automation with dynamic templates and quick assembly, with support for data integrations.
Insights concerning the “behaviors, activities, and content that increase productivity and deliver the best outcomes”
Integration support for over 150 solutions, including Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google
“Just as sales and marketing clouds have brought together several complementary products and solutions to address the needs of their respective teams, we see a similar need and opportunity for the enablement cloud – a dedicated platform purpose-built to empower enablement and GTM teams to deliver exceptional end-to-end buyer experiences,” blogged Mantripragada. “The Seismic Enablement Cloud redefines enablement by bringing together historically siloed systems for sales content management, learning & coaching, strategy & planning, content automation, buyer engagement, and enablement intelligence into one enterprise-grade platform that supports end-to-end workflows for GTM teams.”
Seismic includes Lessonly (a recent acquisition) pitch training.
Recently founded demo experience software company Saleo received $1.5 million in early-stage investment for its live demo platform. Funding came from Tech Square Ventures, Jon Hallett, Kyle Porter, Rob Forman, Tim Kopp, John Hanger, Bryan Wade, and Eric Spett. The firm is based in Atlanta, as are most of the investors.
Justin McDonald and Daniel Hellerman, experienced RevTech execs who previously worked at Terminus (three of the investors are Terminus executives), founded Saleo. In addition, McDonald launched Ramble Chat which he subsequently sold to Terminus.
“We believe that every software company should have the means to deliver the perfect software demo that ‘wows’ their buyers every time. No more missing data, hours of prep time, or sub-par generic demos,” posted McDonald on LinkedIn.
Saleo enables real-time customization of demo environments and supports collaboration among revenue teams during the demo creation process. As a result, Saleo helps revenue teams “shorten their sales cycle, increase win rates, and close more deals by removing the burden of missing data, outdated demo environments, and time-consuming demo prep.”
Saleo supports a demo library that can be personalized by industry, company, use case, and job function. Successful demos can be shared as a template or cloned and customized. In addition, Saleo provides revenue teams with complete control over the demo environment, including graphs, metrics, tables, text, and images, “enabling you to create the perfect software demo that connects directly to your customer’s pain points and lands exactly the way you want.”
“We’re the only technology that allows software companies to manipulate and customize their live demo environment. Other players breaking in are taking screenshots of existing applications and making changes to them.”
Saleo CEO Justin McDonald
Saleo has a no-code integration that runs with any browser-based SaaS app via a Chrome extension that connects to their SaaS platform. Time-based metrics are always current. Furthermore, Saleo doesn’t operate as a screen capture service but demos the firm’s live SaaS product without requiring any embedded code.
“Saleo represents one of those very rare early-stage companies that is launched with such a compelling combination of team, vision, product, and market potential. Saleo’s customers have been blown away by the impact on sales conversion.” said Jon Hallett of Hallett Capital. “I was stunned when I saw how easy it was to use and the potential sales impact it represents for future customers. Of all the new companies I have seen this year, this one has me the most excited.”
“SaaS companies have always struggled to deliver great software demos – either in the time investment to prepare a sales demonstration, or the myriad of challenges around missing data or how to customize a demo for different buyers,” said Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter. “Saleo has created an ingenious solution to help sales engineers and account executives demo their software apps like never before, and most importantly, increase their win rates. I am excited to be a part of it.”
Saleo currently has four remote employees and is looking at office space. It plans to expand to twelve headcount by the end of the year, with hires in engineering, sales and customer services. It expects to close a seed funding round in the next six months and sign forty customers before the end of the year.
Scott Brinker and Frans Riemersma published the first update to the MarTech Landscape in two years. The latest edition, which covers 9,932 solutions, is up 24% since 2020. While 12% of the 2020 vendors (972) have either been acquired or no longer operate, another 2,904 have been added.
Brinker noted that while acquisitions continue apace, they have not resulted in industry consolidation as large players support partner ecosystems that foster new entrants:
“The irony of platform consolidation in MarTech — and cloud software more generally — is that it drives the development of more specialist and custom apps.
Consolidated platforms reduce the choices of which ones developers should build on to reach the largest possible audience. This is the dynamic with Apple and Android that has resulted in millions of mobile apps. It’s a virtuous cycle, as the more apps built on a platform further increase that platform’s strength — attracting even more developers to build on it.
Consolidated platforms also tend to be quite stable, both technically and as businesses that are likely to be around for years to come. They often win on cost economies of scale and breadth of functionality. This further drives that virtuous cycle of attracting more apps to be built on their foundation.
App platforms also play a special role in facilitating the success of specialist apps by making them more discoverable for customers in their domain through app marketplaces. The more plug-and-play an app can be on their platform, the easier it is to adopt — which further enables more specialist apps to be successful within their ecosystem.”
As the logos have been reduced to favicons, the data is now available on a free, interactive site called martechmap.com. Users can mouse over any favicon to view a mini-profile with links to the company website and CabinetM profiles. Users can search, sort, filter, and create custom PDFs. They can also filter by keyword and vendor’s HQ country.
“The massive scale and rapid rate of change of the MarTech industry and the wealth of solutions within it was no longer well-served by a once-a-year, static graphic,” blogged Brinker. “It’s a point in time, which is interesting to see year-over-year. But we want this community resource to be something that is updated on a more continuous basis. By now producing the graphic algorithmically, it’s easy to release updates in a matter of minutes — versus the dark ages of hand-placing little logos manually on a slide.”
By segment, the management group grew the fastest (67%) and the data segment had the slowest growth (7%):
Advertising & Promotion: 16%
Content & Experience: 34%
Social & Relationships: 17%
Commerce & Sales: 24%
“The growth in management tools is likely a result of marketing teams operating their day-to-day work in an ever more digital fashion — including greater support for remote work,” posited Brinker and Riemersma in their “State of MarTech 2022” report.
The MarTech Landscape database is in beta, so expect performance issues. As it is an online database vs. a static list, I would recommend that vendors confirm that their products are properly displayed, including acquisitions, products that have changed names, and recently launched offerings. For example, the ABM category is missing several vendors. Changes can be submitted via the Contribute tab.
Salesloft continues to extend its value proposition beyond sales engagement and conversational intelligence into deal forecasting and revenue intelligence. Its new Forecast capability, bundled with the Enterprise edition, is available as part of Salesloft’s Spring ’22 Release. Other spring enhancements include Multi-language Support for Conversations, Out-of-Office Detection, and mobile updates.
Salesloft noted that forecasting remains a “disjointed and manual process” often conducted with spreadsheets. Sales professionals must collect information from disconnected systems and often deliver inaccurate numbers that waste “valuable selling time.” What’s more, manual processes provide few insights for improving sales results and aren’t actionable. Thus, significant resources are expended coming to a forecast number, but by the time the CSO or CRO rolls it up to the CEO, the forecast is a black box number based on quickly aging data with few actionable insights.
“Forecasting is a critical process for every revenue organization,” said Salesloft CPO Ellie Fields. “But when sellers use spreadsheets, there’s a high risk of user error and acting on old data. Spreadsheets aren’t scalable, are incredibly manual, ungoverned, and only serve as a snapshot in time. There’s no context to help sellers look ahead.”
In a presentation to GZ Consulting, SVP of Product Management Frank Dale emphasized that Salesloft is looking to stay in the “revenue lane” focusing on “what happens between the buyer and the seller.” Forecasting falls within the revenue lane as it “leverages the data generated from interactions between buyers and sellers.” Furthermore, forecasting should not be separate from revenue generation. It isn’t simply calling a number but “taking action to make that number.”
The revenue lane “covers all core selling jobs” and tasks, including driving demand, generating pipeline, managing deals, and engaging customers.
“Revenue teams don’t want a forecast. They want a real-time, adaptive week-by-week action plan to beat their number. That’s not what forecasting is today. Forecasting, as it is done today, sucks. For most revenue teams, it is something they have to do, not something they want to do. That’s because the tools they have available make just getting to a forecast number difficult and time-consuming. What’s worse is that they don’t often trust the number they arrive at. That’s a big problem. It’s hard to know where to spend your time when you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is accurate.”
Salesloft SVP of Product Management Frank Dale
The Salesloft Modern Revenue Workspace is built on three pillars: Connecting with buyers, improving interactions with customers and prospects based on the data that is generated from interactions, and aligning the team around best practices. Forecasting falls into the alignment pillar but is designed to support connection and feedback.
“There is a huge gap. The gap is not necessarily about calling the number, but it is more about the action plan on that number,” explained Senior Director of Product Management Anshu Chowdhery to GZ Consulting. Salesloft set two goals for its Forecast launch: A shared workflow for gathering deal intelligence and turning it into a forecast; and the ability to achieve that number.
Salesloft Forecast capabilities include
Forecasts are rolled up across the organization.
Users can drill down to opportunities and track changes in the pipeline. They can also take action from within Forecast.
An AI-driven forecast model employs “sales engagement data and historical performance to dial in on what’s likely to land, and what you can influence.”
Forecasts are based on AI models and engagement data gathered by Salesloft.
“What we’re building is an integrated, whole system,” remarked Dale. “We’re integrating all of the activity capture from Cadence, all of the conversation data and capture from our conversation intelligence product, the CRM data from our deals product, and then the ability to turn around and take action again through our cadence product once you’ve made the call.”
“This forecasting product is built on top of [our] Deals product,” expanded Chowdhery. “Deals bi-directionally syncs with Salesforce. So, everything that lives on Salesforce is in Deals, and that’s the significant advantage of [our] forecasting solution. We are able to sync everything and pull all information, not only from Salesforce but across our platform – every engagement that’s happening on the cadence side or conversation side. The sales leader has the ability to view that timeline and identify…[whether] no conversations happened in the last thirty days; this deal is at risk; what should I do in order to win that deal?”
A Weekly Opportunity Changes view lists all of the changes to amounts, close dates, and stages over the past week and how those changes impact the forecast, providing a dynamic view of weekly activity.
Dale stated that Forecast provides value across the revenue team. Frontline sales management has greater visibility into the pipeline, and Forecast provides sales reps “a true read on what they need to do to land and hit their number.” In addition, both reps and managers benefit from reduced busy work in managing pipeline updates.
Dale contends that daily administrative work for reps is reduced by an hour by streamlining the forecasting and updating process.
While Forecast focuses on new business forecasting, future enhancements will support renewal forecasting and run-rate forecasting (i.e., intra-period deals). Also, Salesloft will continue to build out its analytics and plans to release Vulnerable Opportunities Notifications for flagging at-risk opportunities.
Forecast provides a common workflow that rolls up deal intelligence across the organization. Users can drill down into specific deals and take actions, greatly improving insights and actionability. “This is a seamless workflow for the reps and honestly, across the entire revenue organization to submit their forecasts and submit their number,” said Chowdhery.
A modern forecasting system must be part of your sales execution system,” blogged Fields. “The information about your deals in flight – who’s contacting the customer, what meetings were had and what was said, how the customer responds — is the foundational information that your forecast rests on. If you’re using a sales engagement platform, all of that activity is already being tracked automatically, without your sellers needing to spend time logging their activities. Meetings and calls are recorded and searchable so you can review that pivotal moment with the buyer.”
“Forecasting under-delivers when the end result is just a number,” continued Fields. “The end result should be a set of actions you can take to deliver better results. To do that, you need to not only see a number, but you need to see areas of softness and strength, important deal gaps, and opportunities. You need to recognize that the East team will need your support this quarter, but that the West will probably overachieve. You need to know where to spend your team’s time most productively to get over the line.”
Dale emphasized the importance of cross-product workflows aligned with “things people actually want to do.” Unfortunately, vendors often build technology that “chases a problem” or is designed to answer checklist questions about functionality. Salesloft “starts with problems people have and then builds solutions to match that. So anytime you see us build something like forecasting, we’re building it based on what people are actually trying to do.” Forecasting was built because it was a regular customer request.
Salesloft claims that its new Forecast module transforms forecasting “from a burdensome task into a strategic action plan to close more revenue.” Revenue estimates and deal close dates are derived from real-time data and employ “multiple forecasting techniques to make it easy to see where the team’s performance is trending.” AI helps identify missed opportunities and deals at risk, letting reps mitigate deal risk and factor it into pipeline estimates. As Forecast is native to Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace, managers can assign follow-ups or add deal notes within the Salesloft workflow.
“With Forecast, customers have the visibility, intelligence, and workflow to close deals more consistently and act upon unrealized opportunities,” stated the firm.
“Forecast by Salesloft is an intelligent solution with strong data governance, so there’s less room for errors,” stated Fields. “Sellers can forecast and take action on those deals from the same platform. When sales managers have real-time visibility and the ability to drill down, coaching sellers and taking action happens naturally, leading to better deal outcomes.”
On its earnings call last week, ZoomInfo announced a pair of acquisitions that closed on April 1: Comparably (discussed yesterday) and Dogpatch Advisors.
Dogpatch Advisors is a “modern sales advisory consultancy that helps enterprises scale revenue operations, build sales playbooks, use data and insights to create and refine sales, and build outbound operations functions.” In addition, Dogpatch will “enable ZoomInfo to further drive Enterprise and Strategic revenue through expanded customer playbooks that utilize more data and product categories.”
Dogpatch was immediately rebranded as ZoomInfo Labs, providing a “new go-to-market thought leadership team” that “drives go-to-market data analysis, product enhancements, and strategy for our enterprise customers.”
Dogpatch CEO Ben Salzman will be heading up ZoomInfo Labs.
“This will immediately expand our capabilities for enterprises and drive enhancements across our suite of products,” stated Schuck. “Over time, we expect ZoomInfo Labs to put the modern go-to-market playbook within reach of every company.”
“Dogpatch Advisors is professional services and consultancy firm that helps enterprises build out their go-to-market efforts using data and insights and software to make those go-to-market efforts incredibly effective and efficient. And when we talk with our customers and our prospects…they want a world where their go-to-market motions are driven by data, where our software is interconnected seamlessly, where they have the ability to run innovative sales playbooks, but they don’t have a pathway to get there.
What we’re hoping to do with ZoomInfo Labs is to provide a mechanism to help our customers see a future that’s innovative, that’s data-driven, where systems are integrated and talk to each other, where our data cloud sits at the foundation of that, and our application layer drives the interconnectivity of that motion… [ZoomInfo Labs] is designed to help our customers not only see that vision but then also achieve that.”
ZoomInfo CFO Cameron Hyzer
Both acquisitions closed on April 1 but were announced on May 2. Individual deal terms were not disclosed, but the two firms were acquired for “approximately $145 million, inclusive of the purchase of a convertible promissory note and cash, net of cash acquired, subject to adjustments for working capital, transaction-related equity awards, and other customary adjustments.”
ZoomInfo also agreed to pay up to $28 million in equity awards “subject to continued employment and/or attainment of certain financial metrics.”
“We expect these acquisitions to contribute revenue in the low teens millions of dollars in 2022 and create a modest drag on margins of one to two points for the remaining quarters this year,” said Hyzer.
CEO Cameron Hyzer said that Dogpatch was more than an acquihire deal. While it has a small employee base, Dogpatch has “relationships and a history of really delivering great go-to-market consulting engagements for large clients.”
“It’s a handful of people, but I think that they very much box outside of [its weight] class in terms of the value they’re able to deliver,” continued Hyzer. “And we think that by bringing that on and being able to deliver those engagements that we’ll be able to further accelerate the solutions that we’re offering as well.”
At its earnings call last week, ZoomInfo announced a pair of acquisitions: Comparably and Dogpatch Advisors (rebranded as ZoomInfo Labs). Comparably builds out ZoomInfo’s capabilities and content in the recruitment space while Dogpatch provides ZoomInfo with professional services capabilities around data deployment and playbook development.
Comparably is a SaaS provider of employer branding, recruitment marketing, and an employee review platform. Comparably surveys and collects culture insights and compensation data directly from verified employees. It also publishes the “Best Places to Work Awards.” Comparably serves “a large portion” of the Fortune 500 and had over 20 million global visitors last year. Comparably helps syndicate awards across major business and news outlets.
“ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Comparably represents a pitch-perfect response to these changes,” blogged Senior Content Manager Sailee Sarangdhar. “Comparably, a leading employee review website and the only platform showcasing workplace culture, salary, and corporate brand reputation data, attracts more than 3 million people per month who rely on its comprehensive data about companies of all sizes. Comparably, combined with ZoomInfo’s already formidable data and software tools, gives talent leaders and companies of all sizes more powerful ways to activate their employer brand, helping to better influence prospects and convert candidates in their pipeline.”
Comparably assists with a company’s career site, Google Search placement, featured articles, media and press, social content, and video testimonials, helping amplify employee sentiment to promote the company and its culture.
“Millions of visitors come to our website to better understand company cultures, access salary data, and get employee insights. We’ve also built a popular set of software solutions to help companies enhance their employer brand and recruitment marketing,” explained Comparably CEO Jason Nazar.
Comparably recognizes that candidates prefer to work for firms with strong leadership and healthy cultures aligned with their values.
“Simply reaching out to these candidates is no longer enough — to succeed, employers need to showcase why their workplace is one that job seekers would be proud to join,” explained Sarangdhar.
The Comparably acquisition augments RecruitingOS, which the firm is rebranding as TalentOS, and positions it as “a superior talent platform that enriches the talent search experience for recruiters.” Recruiters will also benefit from enhanced talent data fed into ZoomInfo’s “Likely to Listen” score.
Employer branded content will be integrated into ZoomInfo Engage, “enabling recruiters to leverage statistics, awards, testimonials, videos, and more in their talent sourcing efforts.”
Finally, Insights from Comparably will be deployed to ZoomInfo MarketingOS for executing targeted ad campaigns for specific roles. Sarangdhar argues that “combining the power of awareness-generating ads with website visitor insights has the potential to be a game-changer for HR and recruitment teams.”
“Job seekers are more educated and discerning than ever before, and companies are going to unseen lengths to recruit candidates of all backgrounds and skillsets,” said Nazar. “Comparably has distinguished our brand as a unique data asset reflecting fair and accurate company cultures and the most popular SaaS platform for employer branding and recruitment marketing solutions. Partnering with ZoomInfo is an incredible opportunity to continue to support millions of employees and thousands of businesses and to help revolutionize how the modern challenges of recruiting are solved.”
TalentOS, which was launched in June 2021, has been deployed by over 1,000 companies. Product customer counts and ACV grew 50% quarter-over-quarter in Q1.
New user functionality includes a guided onboarding journey and a new experience for launching initial email automation campaigns. In addition, power users can leverage an advanced Boolean search capability and a redesigned AI-powered similar companies recommendation engine for recruiting.
“With Comparably, TalentOS gives companies the ability to engage and hire candidates with much more sophistication and influence,” stated CEO Henry Schuck. TalentOS plus Comparably is a must-have combination for any company recruiting in today’s competitive work environment. As an enterprise go-to-market, we know that the best-performing enterprise companies are leveraging data, insights, and software for their revenue operations, and they are significantly outperforming go-to-market teams early on in their digitization journey. Access to high-quality, relevant data provides significant competitive advantages for all sales and marketing organizations.”
Sales Engagement Platform Groove now offers joint customers Vertical IQ industry and economic intelligence from the Groove Omnibar.
Vertical IQ helps “banking and credit union relationship managers, advisors, and consultants build trust and strengthen sales conversations through insightful and timely industry intelligence.”
Vertical IQ publishes 530 plain English industry overviews and 3,400 local economic analyses. The research is utilized by relationship managers in the financial services sector and strategic sales reps looking to better understand the needs and concerns of customers and prospects. Vertical IQ profiles also assist marketers in better understanding pains at various C-level functions within an industry, offer a set of industry-specific questions for sales reps and relationship managers, and help customer success teams understand the pains and concerns of their customers.
“It’s not uncommon for reps to speak to a hundred people a day across multiple verticals, and our integration with Vertical IQ gives them the industry intelligence they need to have impactful conversations every single time,” said Groove CEO Chris Rothstein. “With Groove and Vertical IQ, reps can now get access to industry knowledge in a single click from wherever they work.”
Industry intelligence is available to joint customers at no additional charge with single sign-on functionality.
The firms are initially targeting financial services and banking organizations, a core market for Vertical IQ. According to Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein, displaying Vertical IQ profiles to relationship managers is a “powerful use case.” RMs often lack industry-specific expertise but need to understand the basics of many industries, including pain points, trends, financial ratios, and CxO concerns.
However, the firms see a broader set of beneficiaries (e.g., relationship managers, sales professionals, customer success professionals), regardless of their industry. The Vertical IQ sweet spot is professionals that sell into, support, or analyze a broad set of industries. Vertical IQ provides “the insights users need to better understand a specific industry before, during, and after meetings,” continued Klein. “As we continue to enhance the integration, we believe some of the key content will be challenges, trends, financial benchmark data, and the content related to call preparation.”
“Groove’s flexibility and ease-of-use make it an effective sales engagement platform for relationship sellers, which is why we’re seeing such strong demand for this integration from our joint customer base,” said Vertical IQ CEO Bobby Martin. “This integration is just the beginning of our vision for empowering the modern sales professional.”
While Sales Intelligence platforms have long offered market research and industry overviews to their customers, the Groove – Vertical IQ partnership is the first integration of industry overviews into a Sales Engagement platform.
Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo last summer, rolled out a mobile app for its conversational sales service. The app supports core Chorus features on Android and iOS phones. Users can listen to calls, speed them up, and pause them. They can also share key moments with colleagues via Slack, email, and text. Hashtags and @ mentions assist with tagging and sharing.
Managers and trainers can assign listening and provide feedback, which can be reviewed during walks, commutes, or downtime. Users also have access to a library of best practices spanning various topics, including objection handling, pitching to specific verticals, or value discussions.
“With Chorus, reps can review top performers’ recordings on their own schedule,” said Alyson Baber, commercial sales leader at Zoom. “They can also focus on keywords, such as a competitor’s name or pricing information, and go directly to those parts of the discussion instead of having to sit through the entire call.”
Customer Success and Account Teams can review preceding conversations, review conversations before quarterly business reviews, and share the voice of the customer or product feedback with other teams.
B2B data vendor RevenueBase closed a $6 million seed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Additional investors include 2 Lanterns, Argon Ventures, Converge, Feldsmith Capital, Good Friends, Graph Ventures, Gutbrain Ventures, KOA Labs, PBJ Capital, and Service Provider Capital. The round was oversubscribed as RevenueBase enjoyed significant investor interest.
As part of the round, RevenueBase named three Directors to its Board:
Kent Bennett, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners
Bob Davoli, Founder and Managing Director of GutBrain
Jude McColgan, former CEO of Localytics
RevenueBase launched last spring looking to solve issues in the B2B data market, including difficulty in identifying and engaging with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) prospects and marketing’s reliance upon spammy demand generation instead of well-targeted messages. RevenueBase trebled its revenue over the past year and expects to do the same this year. It has already onboarded twenty customers, with a focus on selling data as a strategic asset to the CMO or CRO.
RevenueBase was founded by industry veterans Mark Feldman, the VP of Marketing at NetProspex before its acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet, and Milenko Beslic, who built Cheapflights, the travel industry’s first metasearch engine. As a marketing head at Backupify, Motion Recruitment, and Localytics, Feldman became frustrated with B2B data issues, including misalignment with the sales and marketing team’s go-to-market strategy, data decay, difficulty acquiring data, and managing disparate vendors and formats. His stint as a B2B data customer led him to return to the B2B data space and create a product that broadly aggregates company, contact, and custom customer-specific insight data that aligns 1:1 with each customers’ go-to-market strategies.
Custom insights can be any variable that enables targeting of the right businesses. For example,
Does the company offer a mobile app?
Are they a managed service provider?
Do they have a call center?
Do they sell perishable food products?
RevenueBase then builds a custom database for clients that it calls a Revenue Database, which is updated on an ongoing basis.
“We saw a whitespace for a company like RevenueBase, especially given that we’ve seen little real innovation or change in this market over the past decade leading businesspeople to be bombarded with impersonal and poorly targeted messages multiple times a day. This situation has been made worse by ‘The Great Resignation,’ during which so many people have left their positions, and the data hasn’t kept up with those changes. Milenko and I knew that we could build a better solution to make it easier for companies to access more buyers in order to increase revenue. We’re excited to have the support of great investors who are on board with our vision.”
CEO Mark Feldman
RevenueBase will deploy its funds towards building a customer UX and a set of enterprise software integrations for CRMs and MAPs. It is also looking to grow its headcount from twelve to twenty before the end of the year.
“We think the opportunity to be the B2B data refinement layer powering growth-oriented companies is massive,” said Bennett. “We are impressed with RevenueBase’s early traction and Mark’s and Milenko’s appetite to transform the B2B data industry.”
Feldman argues that RevenueBase is distinguished across three dimensions: “completeness of data, data accuracy at scale, and ease.” RevenueBase offers a high-touch, white-glove offering customized to each of its clients. It begins with customer alignment, holding a set of discovery workshops that identify each customer’s “revenue archetype.” RevenueBase then queries its 700 million global contacts database to build tailored databases for its clients.
Revenue Archetypes consist of an ICP, market segmentation, pains addressed, buyer personas, sales showstoppers, and custom insights that enable buyers to be engaged more personally.
“A revenue archetype is a model of what your ideal customer looks like, i.e., one you can derive revenue from,” Feldman explained to GZ Consulting. “It’s where there is a mutual benefit. They need your product/service and will pay a fair price for it. They also will favor you over the competition because your solution will result in the best cost-benefit tradeoff for the customer.“
Conversely, the Revenue Archetype also defines companies that are not good fits such as industries or geographies that require a standard not met by a firm’s offerings (e.g., HIPAA or GDPR requirements). It also identifies roles not involved in purchasing a company’s products or services. These individuals may be too junior in the organization or may not work in functions that use a company’s products or services.
RevenueBase argues that its knowledge graph technology improves the set of discoverable relationships, including the “longtail of customer-specific insights,” stated Feldman. For example, RevenueBase can identify partners, investors, technologies in use, revenue streams, business models, key resources, and modern industries (such as Fintech and SaaS) that do not fall into standard industry classifications.
Conventional firmographics vendors must have a product manager pre-define the company attributes to be collected and then build these definitions into its data collection methodology and structure. Because RevenueBase employs a graph database, it is not subject to these structural limitations and can identify uncommon or industry-specific elements that define the ICP. The data structure also supports multi-point verification and data attribution. In addition, data fields with high probabilities of changing, such as email addresses, job titles, and current employers, are re-verified at least four times per year.
RevenueBase promises to “replace all of your data vendors with one solution” that “reaches every company and decision-maker across the globe that will benefit from your unique offering.” By delivering high-quality, targeted data directly to sales and marketing systems, revenue teams avoid time-consuming sales rep data research and managing databases. Data quality steps include custom research, quarterly email re-verification, and annual phone checks. Data is delivered via a quarterly secure CSV file transfer with a 90% accuracy SLA.
“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings. Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin. “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”
Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.” The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange. Insights include
Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.
Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision. General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.
Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars. Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.
“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI. “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague. Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”
TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI. Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”
“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers. “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”
Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.
“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights. This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”
Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events. During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations. Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.
Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.