Leadspace Closes on Reachforce Acquisition

Reachforce Smartforms support thin forms that are less likely to be abandoned, enrich leads with firmographics, and allow the user to select the proper location. Data entry and enrichment is performed in real-time allowing for immediate scoring and routing decisions.
Reachforce Smartforms support thin forms that are less likely to be abandoned, enrich leads with firmographics, and allow the user to select the proper location. Data entry and enrichment is performed in real-time allowing for immediate scoring and routing decisions.

Leadspace formally closed its ReachForce acquisition on July 1st.  Coincidentally, that was the same day that Dun & Bradstreet closed on its Lattice Engines acquisition.  Thus, Forester’s top two B2B CDPs (Q2 2019 Forrester Wave), were strengthened on the same day.

According to Forrester, “Leadspace offers comprehensive data that includes a proprietary second-party data asset with numerous sources of intent data and access to third-party data sources.  It also has strong segmentation capabilities (e.g., ideal customer profile and total addressable market modeling for ABM) and can help sellers decide who to call next and what to offer.”

ReachForce adds two core products to Leadspace: The well-regarded Smartforms web form service and the SmartSuite data hygiene platform.

SmartSuite provides “a one-stop-shop for data management, cleansing, and enriching, with an easy-to-use interface which shows quickly the ‘state of the union on data within CRM and MAP systems,” blogged Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.

Reachforce and Leadspace share over 200 joint customers, so integrating the services and standardizing their content sets will provide direct benefits to those clients.  The firms share seven of the top ten enterprise software companies as clients.

Leadspace provides an additional set of data partners which can be combined with Reachforce data sources.  Leadspace data partners include DiscoverOrg, Dun & Bradstreet, Bombora, KickFire, and others.

“Customers will now be able to leverage all of these data sources seamlessly in real-time, through a single API and interface, offering a genuine single source of truth,” wrote Bewsher.

The Leadspace CDP supports a broad set of CRM, MAP, and digital advertising platforms including Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, and LiveRamp.  Smartforms will be an additional “activation product,” which “seamlessly and simply onboards new customers and customer intelligence into Sales and Marketing engagement platforms.”

Smartforms performs real-time data enrichment to lead records, allowing them to be properly scored and routed.  One of the long-standing benefits of Smartforms is the opportunity to shorten forms and perform real-time firmographic enrichment.  Not only is the enriched data more accurate, but form abandonment rates are significantly lower, resulting in a higher return on digital marketing campaigns.

“What’s more, combining Smartforms with existing Leadspace capabilities like reverse IP information, detailed account- and person-level data, and AI modeling, means we can offer highly-accurate site and ad personalization on both the account (ABM) and persona level.  For our customers, this means even more precise and personalized engagement and targeting, particularly those currently using our ABM solutions.  (We will be announcing more on this offering in Q3 as we integrate the Reachforce and Leadspace platforms.)”

Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher

The merger also allows Leadspace to incorporate its proprietary AI-driven intelligence, automated scoring, and models within Reachforce products.  Leadspace is beginning to move partner platforms from systems of record or systems of engagement to systems of intelligence.  “CDPs combine vast data and data management capabilities with advanced AI to create a system of intelligence that guides Marketing and Sales to their best customers, and delivers razor-sharp insights and recommendations on how and when to effectively engage them,” said Bewsher.  “The CDP is being rapidly adopted by B2B businesses now — including many enterprise companies at the forefront of marketing and sales strategy and innovation — and it’s proving equally as effective for them.”

LinkedIn Network Building

I’ve been sitting on a Harvard Business Review article written by Doug Camplejohn since March due to a surfeit of news.  I figured that if I couldn’t slip it into my blog in August, I would never get to it.  August is when the press releases slow and there is an opportunity to speak about broader topics such as how to write a press release (or not write one).

The piece, titled “The Best Ways to Use Social Media to Expand Your Network” provides a set of social networking recommendations to business professionals.  Camplejohn is VP of Product Management at LinkedIn and heads up development on LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Source: LinkedIn and HBR

Camplejohn’s advice takes a long-run strategic approach to building and nurturing a social network based upon ongoing engagement, asking for advice during transitions, and assisting others.  As such, his advice dovetails well with real-world approaches to building relationship networks.

Camplejohn begins by recommending that business professionals build their network with peers instead of focusing on seniority.  A peer-based network grows over one’s career, creating a network which matures with the professional.  Furthermore, senior-executive response rates are lower than mid-level managers.  Less than one percent of VPs and CxOs respond to cold reach out.

“People earlier in their careers respond most often to an initial message, while VPs and C-level professionals respond the least to people they don’t already know.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Initial messages should be short.  Camplejohn recommends three sentences that can be easily read on a mobile device.  InMail messages of under 100 words work best with response rates “decreasing significantly” beyond 500 words.

Camplejohn also advises a hook such as an alma mater, joint interest, or a mutual friend.  “According to our research, referencing a mutual connection boosts the acceptance rate of these messages by 51%, second only to attending the same school at the same time (53%),” wrote Camplejohn.

Camplejohn notes the value of asking for advice and leveraging transitions.  In fundraising, there is an adage, “If you go seeking advice, you get money; if you seek money, you get advice.”  Likewise, transition periods are an excellent opportunity to build your network and seek advice.

“If you’re in a transitional period — starting at a new company, switching industries, or moving to a new city — recognize the opportunity to reach out to people, ask for their advice, and absorb their wisdom.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Another recommendation is to pay it forward.  Don’t be looking for immediate benefits or strictly reciprocal opportunities.  Social networkers recognize that they are contributing to the commons, whether helping one person or adding to the group.  Sales reps and others should also continue to nurture their network, maintaining conversations with colleagues, clients, partners, and mentors.

“The best way to build a relationship is to help someone with joy and with no expectation of anything in return.  It feels good, it trains your own sense of generosity, and it informs you of what the other person values.  It also sets the stage for you to ask them something in the future.  You don’t have to offer to help in every circumstance, but make yourself available as a resource to people, particularly to people who are just starting out in their careers.”

Camplejohn concludes that online networking should be viewed as an extension of real-world interactions: “Connect with people personally by finding common ground, then build trust and long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.”

How to Write a Press Release

A few days ago, I provided a case study in how not to write a press release. Here are a set of tips and samples from Jennifer Saragosa at BusinessWire on how to write a press release:

  • Determine who your audience is and write appropriately for the audience. For example common goals of press releases are media pick-up, attract new customers, educate current customers, attract investors, populate Google search, etc. Write for the specific you are targeting and use vernacular they are familiar with.
  • Keep the release short – 400-600 words max
  • For best Google results, headline should be 70 characters or less (or else Google will cut it off)
  • Make sure company name is in headline
  • Make sure important keywords (that their readers would be searching on) are in headline and first sentence of release.
  • In headline, frontload the keyword at the beginning of the headline
  • First paragraph should include the 5 Ws and a good lead sentence
  • Have a boilerplate that is titled “About XYZ company.” Keep that paragraph fairly short and include a written out URL for their corporate website. Include social handles if they have them.
  • Add anchor text to first paragraph on first mention of company name or product so that reader can quickly get to their site
  • Add bullets for key points
  • Include your contact information including phone and email
  • If there are multimedia assets, consider linking to them in the press release

Examples:

Release written for customers: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190225005005/en/Analog-Devices-Unveils-SHARC%C2%AE-Audio-Module-Platform

Release written for media coverage and to boost sales: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190225005005/en/Analog-Devices-Unveils-SHARC%C2%AE-Audio-Module-Platform

See other sample releases sorted by subject here: https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/news/subjects/

InsideView Looking to Grab Data.com Licenses

InsideView Append for Salesforce is a Lightning Data Solution for ongoing data enrichment and maintenance.
InsideView Append for Salesforce is a Lightning Data Solution for ongoing data enrichment and maintenance.

InsideView went on the offensive to capture Data.com customers as Prospector and Clean are phased out over the next year.  InsideView is offering their free Data Health report “as many Data.com customers have seen a degradation of data quality since the announcement was first made over a year ago.”

Data.com Prospector and Clean contracts are no longer renewing beginning this month.

“Customers tell us that the switch from Data.com to InsideView was not only easy but gave them more confidence and made their data more useful than ever,” said Umberto Milletti, CEO of InsideView.  “Now we’re adding more data, more technology, and more analytics to make InsideView even better, because it’s not just about the data.  It’s about how it helps drive marketing, sales, and the bottom line.”

InsideView covers twice as many contacts (35 million) as Data.com including global contacts and emails.  InsideView also emphasized its improved match logic:

  • Comprehensive analysis of customers’ data quality (i.e. malformed company names, transposed data fields, incomplete addresses, etc.)
  • Flexibility in match logic based on business needs and data availability (i.e. company name, website/email domains, street address, city, state, country, etc.)
  • Higher match rates and accuracy using probabilistic intent (e.g. inferring a match result based on geographic or industry clustering, etc.,) within the input file.
  • Clear explanations of why records match and suggestions for those that don’t match. 

Other enhancements include expanded location data with site counts and “fine-grain control for selecting CRM records under management and field level update rules.”

Dun & Bradstreet has an inside track on acquiring Data.com licenses. D&B Optimizer is the most popular Lightning Data solution followed by InsideView, Bombora (intent data), Zoominfo, and HG Insights (Technographics). As a long-standing Data.com partner (account records are sourced from the D&B WorldBase file), Salesforce is working with Dun & Bradstreet to migrate Data.com customers to D&B Optimizer and D&B Hoovers.

The Top Five Lightning Data vendors (August 8, 2019)

In the Sales Intelligence category, the top four B2B sales intelligence AppExchange offerings come from Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg, D&B Hoovers, and InsideView.


InsideView also announced that its Microsoft Dynamics Insights service will be available at no charge through the end of current MS Dynamics 365 contracts.  Current Insights customers simply need to opt-in.  Companies that do not qualify can license Insights directly from InsideView.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering stellar customer experiences and it became clear to them, after announcing changes to their data augmentation strategy in January, that many customers love and value InsideView Insights,” said InsideView Senior Product Marketing Manager Janice Bowen.  “In response to their needs, Microsoft decided to continue providing InsideView’s data and intelligence solution for an extended period of time.”

How Not to Write a Press Release

Sanitized for your protection.

I’m not sure whether PR teams are getting worse or I simply read more press releases, but marketers have to start using Grammarly and observe basic grammar and style tips.

One issue is simply bad grammar. I write a weekly newsletter and most of the errors pointed out by Grammarly are found inside quotes derived from websites, collateral, press releases, and blogs. I wasn’t an English major, but many marketers were English or Humanities majors and should know better. It is easy to run your copy through a grammar/style checker.

B2B press releases are a prime example. They are often written by junior marketers with limited technical knowledge of the product. Unfortunately, press releases are reviewed by multiple departments with different perspectives and recommendations. The result is an often wordy, buzzword-filled press release that is incomprehensible to all but industry insiders (and sometimes we struggle as well).

I pulled the following opening paragraph from a press release (see image above) to call out common issues:

  • Long Titles — 120 characters is a Tweet, not a headline. BusinessWire suggests headlines run 70 or fewer characters. Google cuts headlines at 70 characters.
  • Buzzwords — “Account-Based Experiences,” “Predictive B2B Intent,” and “AI” are all found in the headline. I had to look up ABX. It is a variation on Account Based Marketing promoted by Adobe which recognizes that ABM is broader than marketing. So not only was the headline a buzzword salad, but one of the buzzwords wasn’t particularly buzzy.
  • Absurd Puffery — Puffery is a common practice in marketing so acceptable. Puffery that is bald-faced lying is simply ridiculous. You cannot credibly call yourself “the leading B2B Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) company” when you have 21 employees listed on LinkedIn and do not have the words B2B or DaaS on your homepage.
  • Muddled Opening Sentence — The opening sentence should be clear and capture the 5 Ws. It shouldn’t have nested parenthetical statements and be overly wordy. “Marketo LaunchPoint integration” is much clearer than “a new integration available through LaunchPoint by Marketo, an Adobe company.”
  • Failure to Proof Your Copy — Typos include misspelling a customer’s name (LogMeIzn), multiple TM symbols for the same product, failed parallelism in lists, and a colon after a preposition.
  • Poorly Named Products — eCHO is an affectation that reads as e-CHOW not Echo. It also needlessly drives spell checkers crazy. “eCHO Predictive B2B Intent for Marketo Engage” is a mouthful. How about simply “Echo Intent for Marketo Engage?”
  • Failure to Test Your Hyperlinks — A hyperlink to an information page takes the reader to a service login page.
  • Omit a Hyperlink to Your Home Page — Really?

Finally, can we improve the quotes put in the mouths of executives and alliance partners? They often sound like five people wrote a non-grammatical buzzword salad that says both everything and nothing. When I am quoted in press releases, I work closely with the company to ensure the quote is tight, grammatical, and meaningful. The draft quote is bounced back and forth several times with the vendor’s marketing team to ensure that each sentence and word adds value. Here is an example of a published quote and my rewrite:

“The best accounts to engage with are the ones that are already actively researching around your solution. eCho intent data from <Anonymous Grammar Offender> offers an opportunity for marketers to engage with accounts that have a high propensity to buy, ultimately delivering a more qualified pipeline to sales and increasing the speed of the sales process.”

Press Release Quote

eCho intent data from <Wordy Vendor> identifies accounts that are actively researching solutions like yours. eCho delivers an actionable set of highly qualified, engaged leads which help sales reps exceed quota.

My Alternative Press Release Quote

A press release is a key messaging opportunity. Failure to follow basic rules of grammar and clarity tells customers, partners, and prospects that you are a lazy company that cannot be counted on to do the basics. That is marketing malpractice. It would be akin to showing up late to an interview with a stained shirt and a sense of entitlement.

Synthio Contact Data Management for Salesforce

Synthio announced general availability of their Contact Data Management for Salesforce (CDM-SF) service which provides automated contact record updates from their 160 million record reference data set.  Synthio manages over two million monthly contact record updates to its reference database. These updates flow through the CDM to Salesforce and marketing automation platforms. Synthio both maintains contact records and enriches missing fields.

“Historically, data maintenance has been expensive and burdensome, costing American companies upwards of 3 trillion dollars per year, according to a survey by IBM,” said Synthio CEO Bill Curran.  “And bad contact data affects more than the bottom line.  Synthio’s CDM-SF platform will give B2B companies the satisfaction of knowing that they have complete and correct data as the foundation for their mission-critical programs.”

Synthio notes several benefits to Contact Data Management platforms:

  • CDMs provide a just-in-time view of companies and contacts which counters the 30% per year decay rate of contacts.
  • CDMs offer a deep set of contacts by function, level, and title, providing sales and marketing teams with a rich set of additional targets.
  • CDMs support a broad array of buyer attributes, allowing for precision targeting and messaging.
  • CDMs improve customer segmentation and analytics.

Synthio also offers automated contact maintenance for Marketo (Adobe), Oracle (Eloqua), and HubSpot.

Clari Partners with SalesLoft

Clari is the latest vendor to join the SalesLoft app directory of over fifty partners.  Clari’s Connected Revenue Operations Platform “automatically tracks sales activity data and engagement for your entire revenue operations team so you can measure the health of your pipeline and forecast more accurately,” announced SalesLoft.  “Increased signal intelligence helps reps and managers understand which opportunities are trending in the right direction, and which can use more engagement to drive them forward.”

Clari’s AI engine analyzes SalesLoft engagement activity including email opens, calls made, and LinkedIn messaging to help “reps focus on the right deals and managers make more accurate forecasts.”

Clari's "single pane of glass" aggregates activity intelligence across teams and sales reps by Opportunity
Clari’s “single pane of glass” aggregates activity intelligence across teams and sales reps by Opportunity.

SalesLoft noted that the buyer’s journey is complex with enterprise deals touching eight buyers and influencers at enterprise prospects.  Thus, “it can be tough to know what activities have occurred with which personas and even tougher to know which activities to attempt next to move the needle.”

The joint solution provides a single pane of glass for assessing sales rep activities, determining which activities move deals forward, and planning for next steps.

“Too often, go-to-market teams operate in disconnected silos.  We’re fixing this by using AI and automation to connect real-time business activity with back-office systems and processes so teams spend less time entering data, and sales, marketing, and customer success are always on the same page.  Bridging these silos makes every campaign, QBR [Quarterly Business Review], and forecast call more data-driven and actionable.”

Clari CEO Andy Byrne

Besides SalesLoft, Clari application partners include Outreach, Yesware, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, Gmail, and Outlook.

SalesLoft Costello App for Opportunity Analysis

The Costello Dashboard facilitates quick opportunity updates and streamlined pipeline reviews.
The Costello Dashboard facilitates quick opportunity updates and streamlined pipeline reviews.

Costello, which describes itself as sales co-pilot software, released an upgraded integration with SalesLoft.  The app displays Salesforce Opportunities from within the SalesLoft sales engagement platform.  The service is generally available to joint customers through SalesLoft’s App Directory.

Costello displays a Deal Dashboard and Deal View from within SalesLoft for pipeline management.  Deal Status elements include deal stage, days in stage, days active, and deal amount.  Costello also calls out Deal Gaps (missing deal fields, days past due), Stakeholders (buyers’ circle with roles and concerns), Call Summary with notes, and a deal timeline.

Finally, reps and managers can quickly review three to five of the most important deal details such as key buying criteria, key challenges, and desired outcomes.

“Deal View gives reps, managers, and leaders across the company a simple, streamlined view of everything that matters when managing a deal.  And it gives your team an easier, more intuitive way to manage stakeholders, so you can quickly figure out who matters most, what they care about, and what their blockers are.”

Costello Chief Strategy Officer Rod Feuer

A single-pane view supports In-line opportunity edits and a unified view which supports quick updates and pipeline review meetings.  Costello claims opportunity updates may be performed 75% more quickly.   “This is a game-changer not only for productivity but for pipeline confidence,” said Costello CEO Frank Dale.

A single-pane opportunity viewer is offered by other companies including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Artesian Solutions, and Clari.

Cognism Series B

Cognism logo

Sales Acceleration Platform Cognism closed on a $10 million Series B from PeakSpan, bringing total funding to $16.5 million.  Previous investors included Oliver Wyman, South Central Ventures, LCIF, and Newable Ventures Limited.  The firm, founded in 2016, grew ARR over 4x last year.  

The funds will be deployed for opening local offices in Singapore and New York City as well as growing its machine learning team.  According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions.

Isilay called Asian expansion “particularly interesting” due to SaaS being relatively young in the market.  Cognism has already leveraged its partnership with investor Oliver Wyman to acquire two “blue-chip financial clients” in Asia.  “Investment here looks to be a promising tonic to the barriers to trade growth that are disrupting business in Europe and America.”

“Having been granted our first machine learning patent in December 2018, Cognism is now building a portfolio of IP which will drive the next evolution of sales and marketing technology,” said Isilay.

“Sales and marketing technology has been a core focus of ours for many years, arming us with a long-term perspective on the segment and a nuanced understanding of market trends and buyer dynamics that drive strategic value.  With such a proliferation of tools and technologies emerging across the marketing and sales landscape over the last decade, it’s no secret that go-to-market leaders today aren’t asking for more software tools – they’re demanding better outcomes.  Cognism’s pragmatic application of AI, which underpins the whole solution suite, is paving the way for a new category focused on turning disparate data points into coordinated insights to drive predictive and prescriptive lead generation and improve conversion across all engagements.”

▪ Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner at PeakSpan

The Cognism database spans 400 million contacts and 10 million businesses.  Cognism’s products support Prospecting, Sales Triggers, and CRM Enrichments.   CRM Connectors are available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, and PipeDrive.  A cadence tool sends templated emails through Gmail and Outlook.  

Marketing Features include A/B testing, Personas, ICP and TAM Analyses, and webform enrichment.

Cognism for Salesforce supports lead prospecting, contact enrichment, and ongoing data maintenance.

SalesLoft Purchaser Profile

I am pleased to announce that the first in a series of sales engagement profiles is available through this website and my partners at Tenbound. These reports are written to assist with the purchasing decision.  SalesLoft is the first Sales Engagement purchasing profile to be completed, but additional reports for Outreach, VanillaSoft, and Salesforce High Velocity Sales are planned for release.

SalesLoft Buyers Profile

Buyer's Profile of SalesLoft Sales Engagement Profile (Single License)

$345.00

SalesLoft, based in Atlanta, provides a set of sales engagement tools for SDRs, Account Executives, Sales Operations, Sales Managers, and Sales Training. Features include

  • Multi-channel cadences spanning email, phone, social, text, and direct mail.
  • Email templates, snippets and call scripts
  • Automated meeting scheduling and meeting intelligence
  • Analytics, dashboards, queue prioritization, and coaching tips
  • Salesforce bi-directional sync
  • Partner ecosystem for chat, video, sales intelligence, security, LinkedIn, etc.

Report Coverage

This 33-page report covers the following topics:

  • Company Overview
  • Features
  • Return on Investment
  • Ecosystem Partners
  • Product Roadmap
  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Pricing
  • Summary

GZ Consulting / Tenbound reports are independently written and not sponsored by any of the profiled vendors. Lynne Trocciola of GZ Consulting wrote this report.