6Sense Doubling Revenue

ABM Platform vendor 6Sense announced that it is on target for its third consecutive year of at least 100% growth.  The firm has also rapidly grown its customer base with a 204% growth in customers since January 2019, and 54% growth since January.  Its net customer retention rate is 109%, indicating a strong ability to renew and upsell its platform.

LinkedIn employment figures also indicate strong growth, but at a rate slower than customers and revenue, an indication of increased revenue per employee. LinkedIn employment grew 72% over the past year and 192% over the past two.

“6Sense was founded upon the vision of transforming B2B sales and marketing with a next-generation platform that engages target buyers at exactly the right time,” said 6Sense CTO Viral Bajaria. “Our patented AI-powered capabilities, including 6sense’s time-based predictions and industry-leading account identification capabilities, continue to be differentiators in the market — and deliver real business value to our customers.”

6Sense continues to invest in platform development with the rollout of new ABM capabilities in 2020:

  • Native Retargeting, which programmatically serves display ads to all website visitors or visitors from target accounts
  • A LinkedIn advertising integration for account targeting across all ad types
  • AI-based Next Best Actions, a set of prioritized actions recommendations for BDRs across the buying committee.
  • Model Metrics, which provide customers with self-service analytics which assess the impact of 6sense’s predictions on pipeline and revenue

CMO Latané Conant cited a series of benefits enjoyed by 6Sense clients, including a 75% higher conversion rate, 40% higher win rates, and a 50% increase in contract values.

Inc. recently named 6Sense the 5th Best Place to Work in the small and medium business category.  

“6sense believes that culture is based on trust, open communication, dedicated leadership, and a fun space where employees can take risks. We take everyone’s opinion into account, from the very top to the bottom.  Employees take chances, put more responsibility on their shoulders, and work hard for one another.  We are a team-first, people-centric organization that prioritizes teamwork above all else.  Our weekly all-hands meetings give everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

6Sense Inc. Submission

6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round in January led by growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.

Revenue Teams: Go Digital Now (Sales Engagement)

If the past six months haven’t convinced you that you need to digitize your processes, then I’m not going to try to convince you of that here. Simply putting your head in the sand and waiting for the pandemic to end will leave your business highly vulnerable now and after the pandemic. Your competitors now understand that sales, marketing and support need to be digitally mediated. Instead of trying to convince you of this, I’m going to skip the digital strategy pitch and offer multiple digital strategies for revenue teams to consider.

Let’s begin with Sales Engagement.

Sales Engagement

Sales Engagement platform help unify your communications across all of your revenue teams. Sales Engagement platforms support

  • Automated Cadences that schedule multi-channel communications across email, voice, social, and direct mail. Features include e-mail templates, phone scripts, playbooks, click dialers, power dialers, voice mail drops, inbound call routing and alerting, and LinkedIn SNAP integrations.
  • A/B testing for refining your email templates and cadences.
  • Reporting and analytics for tracking remote sales performance, analyzing message performance, and identifying what coaching individual reps need to elevate their performance
  • Account Prioritization which dynamically adjust call/email lists throughout the day.
  • Next Best Actions for moving accounts forward and identifying strategic gaps and risks
  • Sales Coaching for both reps and managers
  • Integrated Meeting Scheduling
  • Some vendors have Meeting Analytics built into their service (Outreach KAIA and SalesLoft) while others partner with conversation intelligence vendors. Calls are recorded, transcribed, indexed, and analyzed; allowing sales reps to be more present during meetings. AI-based real-time analysis provides live coaching during calls with recommendations and short advice cards.
  • Integrated Partnerships for conversation intelligence, social media integration, e-gifting, video, chat, etc. Some vendors have formal app partners (Outreach Galaxy, SalesLoft App Directory) while others integrate a smaller set of partners without building a formal partner ecosystem.

While they initially focused on the SDR team, Sales Engagement platforms now support the full revenue team including account executives, managers, operations, and customer success.

Sales Engagement solutions require significant training and setup, so if you are considering them now, you need to act quickly to have one in place by December.

The top two vendors are SalesLoft and Outreach. They offer the most complete solutions and vision, but smaller firms may wish to consider lower priced options such as VanillaSoft, Yesware, and Salesforce High Velocity Sales. Groove and XANT are also enterprise options.

There is still time to implement one or multiple solutions before the end of this year. They will help you close out the year and gain some momentum for 2021. Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing additional digital tools for consideration including sales intelligence, sales enablement, personal video, e-gifting (tactile marketing), chatbots, and opportunity management.

TechTarget Prospect-Level Intent (Part II)

Continuing my coverage on TechTarget’s Prospect-Level Intent from yesterday

Prospects are scored and ranked within accounts and across all accounts based on “their recent research activity across the TechTarget network as well as their direct engagement with the customer’s content, website, and advertising.”

To assist with account planning and messaging, Priority Engine added Entry Points, a set of user-defined talking points based upon “a prospect’s recent technology and vendor interests mapped to the particular company’s strengths.”  Entry Points are also delivered at the account-level. They are defined by client teams to call out the topics most salient to company positioning and capabilities.  Client-defined Entry Points are visible within Priority Engine, Salesforce, and export files and are reflected in both the account and prospect rankings.

Prospect-Level Intent is also available within Priority Engine’s Connected App for Salesforce.  Sales reps can quickly fill sales cadences and call lists with high-priority prospects and focused prescriptive insights.  With a single click, Sales reps can add new prospect names to Salesforce, providing a direct path from buyer intent to active leads and contacts.  Prospect and account-level insights, including Entry Points and behavioral intelligence, are displayed within Salesforce Account, Contact, and Lead records.

When uploading Accounts, domains are used for account matching and duplicate prevention.  If a Prospect cannot be associated with an account record, it is uploaded as a Lead.

Account-level fields include account rank, domain, employees, industry, revenue, account address, and up to ten account entry points.  Other account insights include five account signals (e.g. Widespread, Sustained, Late Stage, Stakeholder, Cross-Vendor), an account active this week flag, and behavioral flags for marketing (e.g. visited website, engaged with content, clicked banner), ICP match flag, and their Account Star Ranking.

Contact-level fields include name, title, email, content downloaded, a prospect active this week flag, up to ten Prospect Entry Points, contact address, contact phone, LinkedIn URL, and Priority Engine Contact URL.

Ongoing Salesforce enrichment is not yet available but is on the Priority Engine roadmap.

Priority Engine also supports Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, and HubSpot out-of-the-box, with custom support for other platforms.

Prospect-Level Intent is available in both Priority Engine and the SMB Priority Engine Express subscriptions.  The Salesforce connector is included as part of a standard Priority Engine license.

TechTarget Prospect-Level Intent

TechTarget announced Prospect-Level Intent within its Priority Engine technology sales and marketing intelligence platform.  Prospect-Level Intent builds on the inherent strength of its second-party intent dataset.  The intent data is collected from over 140 enterprise technology media sites owned by TechTarget.  Because its readers have opted into the platform, intent data is associated with buyers and influencers at target accounts and derived from content carefully tagged by topic, buying stage, competitors, etc.

Unlike third-party intent, which is both anonymous and limited to account-level buying patterns, second-party intent identifies account-level activity and surfaces active members of buying teams, including technology decision-makers, economic decision-makers, administrators, or influencers.  Selected via TechTarget algorithms, Priority Engine prospects – individuals intensely engaged in specific research – are likely members of an active purchase decision.

TechTarget’s Prospect-Level Intent informs sales and marketing professionals when prospects are active in their market category or have downloaded content related to the company or its competitors, regardless of whether they are current or net-new contacts.

“Account-level surges do tell you what’s popular with a set of personas right now, but tell you relatively little about who might actually be making a purchase,” blogged Rebecca Kitchens, SVP of Market Development.  “News-based surges tell us something about the mood of the market, but explain very little about impending purchases except in the macro sense.  They may give you something to talk about with accounts, but they don’t tell you enough about actual buying motions to warrant aggressive prioritization.”

Kitchens warned against weak intent signals.  “Most content is designed to be broadly appealing to maximize eyeballs but provides only weak purchase intent at best.   Real-purchase intent is generated by high-quality content that applies to the research task at hand.”

Adds Andy Briney, TechTarget SVP of Products, “Many in the intent market have been wrongly focused only on accounts, when it is the people and teams at those accounts who actually buy…while TechTarget has always provided named, active prospects within accounts, these new enhancements empower revenue organizations with unmatched visibility into opted-in buyers in active buyers’ journeys to accelerate engagements.”

TechTarget has over 20 million opted-in technology decision-makers and influencers.  Depending on the category, around 70% hold technology titles, with the remainder being buying committee members from other departments also engaged in technology decision-related research.   With rapidly evolving changes in tech decision making, TechTarget data capture prospect functions and roles reflecting a wide range of players often not predicted by historically focused models.

TechTarget is so confident in the value of its intent data that it now labels Priority Engine as “The industry’s only opt-in, Prospect-Level Intent™ data.”

“At the end of the ABM process, it is all about having stronger relationships with the customer.  And delivering improved customer experience is achieved in two ways: By caring to do so and then having the insights necessary to cut away noise and speak directly to customer’s needs.  Prospect-Level Intent is the best way to do this.  In study after study we’ve done, we find that when the properly trained salesperson or whoever’s doing the outreach uses the insights successfully, they will get better response and conversions — ultimately leading to more pipeline.”

John Steinert, TechTarget CMO

A redesigned Priority Engine user interface “provides faster access to buying team contacts within the context of their buyer journey, making it easier for sellers, marketers, and ABM teams to act on Prospect-Level Intent.”  The UI also offers a customized view of top prospects based upon a firm’s ICP and research activity, helping define account rating and list ranking.

“You have to make it easy for [sales] to be able to quickly assess what they need to do in order to take the next best action with the accounts and prospects that they’re going after in their territory – it’s all about enablement,” said TechTarget CMO John Steinert.  “Having that [data-based] connection with marketing allows sales to easily do this and take the easiest, fastest path to revenue easily leveraging precise data and intelligence.”


Continue to Part II

Statzon Market Research Database

Statzon, a market research database that provides tables and charts, is available for licensing.  The service aggregates government and private industry research from over sixty sources, with plans to support over 100 sources by the end of this year.  Charts are available for over one million topics across 4,500 business topics.

Searching is performed via a simple search box with type-ahead suggestions.  Once the topic is selected, users may filter by location, trades (e.g. Output, Export, Import, Consumption, Companies), scales (units), and providers.  For example, Statzon offers global and country-specific beer industry data from five vendors.

Users may switch between line, bar, and pie charts.  A slider bar, underneath the charts, allows users to limit the scope of the data display, either to focus on sections of the graph serially or to restrict the period of a time-series chart.  Values and titles are displayed while mousing over the chart.  Licensed data may be downloaded as an image or an Excel table.  Each licensed table includes the scope, definition, methodology, data provider, publication date, and expiration date.

Statzon is priced at €5,600 per annum for five seats.  Government data is available at no additional charge, but private research tables may be subject to an additional €50 fee, which is charged via Stripe to a credit card.  Users may include chargeback codes for project assignments or client billing.

This hybrid model works fine for consultative industries with chargebacks such as management consulting, investment banks, and consulting firms, but is problematic for industries or job functions where the charge either has to be approved or paid by the end-user.  A secondary issue is one of the data structure.  If the user is looking to analyze data by region, but it is only available by time for countries, users would have to license and download multiple reports to build the desired table.  This could be both expensive and time-consuming.  Statzon should look at licensing all research from a vendor (either as a contract passthrough or directly from Statzon).  Licensing all research on a topic (e.g. Petroleum industry data for an additional fee) would also be a valuable premium pricing option.

Free content is focused on commodities, which are tracked by government agencies.  Thus, there are nearly 1,000 government tables available for rice, but the 26 IoT reports all require additional fees.  For those unwilling or unable to pay for premium tables, there is a filter that restricts the display to licensed content.  However, there is significant value in the free datasets which are gathered from national and international agencies, including the United Nations, World Bank, OECD, International Monetary Fund, US Energy Information Agency, and Eurostat.

Statzon is a pre-revenue company with funding from angel investors and a Finnish VC.  It shows a great deal of promise as a research portal for government and market research data but is still in the early stages of its development.  CEO Kimmo Kuokkanen described Statzon as “the fastest way for consultants, analysts, investors, financial industry professionals, media personnel and academic people to access the needed data and gain insights about market size, trends, future outlook, market drivers, major players, etc.”

Insent Integrates with MS Teams

Conversation Marketing platform Insent.AI integrated its service with Microsoft Teams, notifying users when customers and prospects are ready to chat.  The conversation is conducted within Teams via an MS Teams AppSource app.

“With the Insent app for Teams, your team can get notifications for the incoming chats from your buyers, view detailed visitor insights to understand the context and strike up more personalized conversations, and make the necessary hand-offs inside your chosen MS channels,” blogged Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey.

Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform.”  According to Jey ”integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”

Insent offers “Advanced Enterprise-grade routing,” which directs conversations to the CRM account owners.  If the account owner is not available, calls are routed via a set of fallback rules based on time of day and location to other reps or the chatbot.

Insent emphasizes the value of “human-first conversations” with bots serving as a backup channel:

“Chatbots were meant to be your second line of defense, built to support marketing and sales when your team isn’t available – not pretend to be human.”

Insent Website

@ Mentions allow users to include additional staff in the conversation.  It is not necessary to register individual users.  Simply tagging them directs Insent to create a user profile based upon MS Teams data.

Insent also offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack.

Outreach, Cognism, Drift, Alyce, and Sendoso Make LinkedIn’s Top Startups List

Five vendors covered in my newsletters and blog made LinkedIn’s Top 50 US or Top 10 UK startups list, an indicator to the economic vibrancy of SalesTech and MarTech solutions, particularly during the pandemic.

Sales Engagement vendor Outreach placed #6 in the US, its second year making the list.

“We work hard to be a great place to work and to create an environment where [the] top talent of any background feels welcome and can thrive,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “We’re always looking for passionate, tenacious employees who think differently and live and breathe our core value of having each other’s backs. I’m thrilled that we continue to attract the best of the best, and LinkedIn named us one of the top startups in the US.”

Outreach focused on “emerging and resilient startups that are navigating the ever-evolving nature of work in the wake of COVID-19.” The firm also focused on delivering sales management tools during the pandemic, helping “leaders closely monitor their team’s success and keep employees motivated and productive.”

Cognism that was named a top 10 UK Startup to Watch, placing at Number 9.  The firm which, was founded in 2015, has performed well during the pandemic and recently acquired German signature-block messaging firm Mailtastic.  They have already opened a UK Mailtastic office and closed their first UK deals.

According to CEO James Isilay, “We have just made a key hire in the US and will be expanding the offering there from October.”

Following a staff survey, Cognism will be moving to a smaller office presence and emphasize WFH options.

“Despite a challenging year with the pandemic, Cognism has continued its strong growth recently passing the key $10 million ARR mark,” wrote CEO James Isilay. “We see growth accelerating next year as we bring our go-to-market intelligence and engagement platform to new markets across Europe.”

Two tactile marketing companies, Alyce (35) and Sendoso (46), made the list.  Both firms positioned direct mail e-gifting as a method to connect with customers and prospects during the pandemic.

“While many companies and entire industries were dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the need to create personal bonds as the world moved almost fully digital in the age of no major trade shows, events, and public networking became ever more paramount,” wrote Alyce. “Alyce actually thrived as a company, and swiftly pivoted to deliver digital gifts for their enterprise customers looking to create personal experience moments for their audience.  Despite the market shifts, Alyce has experienced a milestone year of growth, with a vast percentage of its Annual Recurring Revenue (AAR) coming from its enterprise customer base and new use-case expansion, more than 5x-ing over last year.”

Conversational Marketing firm Drift, which recently broadened its vision to Revenue Acceleration, landed at #21 on the list.  Drift offers chatbots, email, video, and a new Prospector service for intent monitoring.

Firms were based upon four criteria: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list.  Startups must be no more than seven years old and have at least 50 employees.

BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs (Part II)

Yesterday, I began my profile of SMB Sales Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard which supports a global company graph of 100 million SMBs. Part II discusses several BuzzBoard reports titled Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

The Competition tab compares a company against three local peers, allowing reps to take a value-added discussion approach to customer and prospect meetings.  This benchmarking can be performed as early as the first call, helping to differentiate the sales rep.  Should the prospect wish to see other competitors, the representative can quickly remove one of the competitors and add a requested company to the analysis.  The competitive benchmark supports three tabs: Digital Marketing, HR & Organization, and Communications.

BuzzBoard recommends that reps not go through the competitive report line-by-line, but focus on two or three categories where the vendor “has solutions.” Going line-by-line is “the digital equivalent to the PowerPoint presentation,” warns BuzzBoard Director of Community & Training Phillip Cortez.

Category Insights include local advertising intelligence from Borrell Associates.  Borrell data includes industry-specific ad budgets for local markets.  Local data is available for both digital advertising, non-digital advertising, and their sub-categories (e.g. General Paid Search, Targeted Display, Listings Paid Search, Newspapers, Local Broadcast TV, Radio).  There is also a section on Audience Targeting Opportunities for the industry, providing fodder for sales conversations.  This intelligence would also be valuable for the marketing communications team in developing blog and social content that targets top segments.  Other sections include technology trends, threats and opportunities, top products and services, and “know their customers.”

The Recommendations tab provides a set of recommendations and talking points based on gaps in a firm’s digital marketing presence.

BuzzBoard is well-positioned for firms that target SMBs, particularly if they provide digital services of some form.  This focus, however, makes them ill-suited for enterprise sales.  The database does not offer company linkages, long business descriptions, tickers (for quickly looking up the HQ of a firm), filings, financials, etc.  However, they are clear in their positioning as a B2SMB database.

BuzzBoard is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and Hyderabad (engineering).  The firm has 85 employees with open positions in sales, customer success, engineering, and product management.

COVID-19 has “not really impacted us substantially,” said CEO Umesh Tibrewal.

BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard has built a graph of global SMB organizations spanning 100 million companies, 20 million in the US.  The seven-year-old firm supports advanced segmentation and prospecting based upon a deep set of technographic and digital marketing variables.  During the pandemic, they added COVID prospecting and recommendation tools to help customers target segments and personas that are doing well during the recession.

It is their focus on SMBs and their digital signals that they describe as their competitive advantage. “Anyone who sells to SMBs should have deep knowledge of the prospect’s digital footprint, their needs, attitudes, triggers, and ability to pay.  These are reflected in the SMB’s operations stack and in their external presence.”

BuzzBoard assigns a Buzz Score to each of the companies in its database.  The Buzz Score is a digital marketing score that grades a company’s digital presence based on a 0 to 100 scale.  Users may drill into the score to see the underlying components.  Thus, a web design company can determine whether a prospect has multi-screen compatibility.  Initially, an estimated score is provided, which is +/- 10 points of the probable score.  When adding a profile, BuzzBoard automatically regenerates the Buzz Score and digital profile, though the process takes 60 to 90 seconds.

Prospecting variables include firmographics, technographics, website, SEO, advertising, social, estimated spend, etc.  A new set of COVID-19 risk filters let users select companies based on location, industry, operational status, ongoing Google Ad spend, and recent technology investments.  For example, restaurants may be filtered operationally by Temporarily Closed, Dine-in, Delivery, and Take-out.

On the user home page, they added two recommendation cards.  The “COVID-19 – Categories to work on now!” card highlights verticals that are growing and “need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The “COVID-19 – Recommendations” card contains personas and segments defined by BuzzBoard’s data scientists “based on target locations that need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The homepage consists of a customizable set of cards for training videos, COVID recommendations, Knowledge Base, Favorite Signals, etc.

The fixed search bar at the top of each screen lets users search by location combined with business name, URL, category, or keywords.  A left-handed filter bar lets users revise the prospecting list.  For example, a user can quickly search for roofers within 40 miles of Los Angeles with websites and Google ad spend, but a poor mobile experience (e.g. slow loading, not responsive).  Lists are displayed via a card-view or plotted map.  List parameters may be saved for future re-use.

Prospects may be added as profiles.  When added, BuzzBoard goes out and re-evaluates the Buzz Score based upon its current digital footprint.  Profiles contain a summary view along with tabs for Detailed view, Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

Beyond prospecting lists, users may also quickly research a company from a BuzzBoard Connect Chrome extension or via a file upload.  When visiting a web page in Chrome, users click on the BuzzBoard icon in the right corner of the Chrome bar, and BuzzBoard opens a window with company details including firmographics, Buzz Score, Website and SEO details, technographics, social media, competition, communications, and recommendations.

Up to 300 records may be uploaded at a time.  The file must contain either name and URL or name and address for matching.


Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of their Competition, Category, and Recommendation tabs.

Zoominfo Beats Back the Summertime Sales Blues

Zoominfo analyzed their Out of Office (OOO) emails and phone call connection rates over the past year to determine whether there was a dog days of summer impact on their business or whether it was a convenient excuse used by sales reps for taking their foot off the pedal in July and August.  It turns out that there is a sustained drop off in phone connectivity and an increase in OOO messaging in July and August.  For Zoominfo, the potential income loss was equal to $400,000 in monthly new Annual Contract Value (ACV).

Brian Setzer as Eddie Cochrane playing “Summertime Blues” in La Bamba

If we extend that loss over the last week of June and the first week of September, the summer lull would result in a million dollars in lost ACV (half a million dollars in 2020 revenue, but that is only because subscription revenue is recognized over the length of the contract, not when booked).

But a firm like Zoominfo has a very high retention rate, so stratifying the million dollars over the lifetime value (LTV) of the lost opportunities means that the cumulative LTV is likely in excess of $5 million (their 2019 dollar based net retention rate was 109%)

For a company that went IPO in June after touting strong new ACV growth in their May S-1, new revenue growth is key in maintaining confidence in your revenue teams.

“How did we respond to this data?  By stepping on the gas – we sent out an additional ~14k+ emails (~10% of normal volume) over the past two months and making an additional ~23k dials (~35% of normal volume) per month. 

Sales is — and always will be — a contact sport. 

This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a vast array of contacts at prospects. Without being able to tap into our own data this wouldn’t have been possible.  That’s not cheap promotion, it’s a fact.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Around 90% of Zoominfo’s revenue is domestic, so they aren’t dealing with the long August vacations taken in Europe. The strategy of working harder over the summer allowed them to maintain new ACV growth during a soft period, but it might not be effective in Europe when business activity is reduced much more significantly.

OOO messages often provide alternate contacts that may be part of the buying committee. Acting on this intelligence and extending relationships to additional decision makers and influencers may improve both current and future close rates.

Zoominfo has a reputation for effective revenue operations management. They assumed the summer doldrum lore to be true and double downed on their outbound communications. But they also measured their sales and marketing efficiency to better understand the nature of the summer slowdown, allowing them to model and refine their summer sales strategy in the coming years.

Source: Zoominfo Blog, “Leveraging Sales Intelligence in the Dog Days of Summer