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 fifteen 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 just published "Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors." He also publishes a weekly Market Insights Subscription newsletter covering the B2B sales intelligence, predictive analytics, data hygiene, and DaaS spaces.
Informa also announced that it has taken a stake in UK event tech company Totem, an existing partner of its Informa Connect division. In April, the firms launched ConnectMe, a bespoke licensing of Totem’s platform to support Informa’s virtual and hybrid events.
“With the launch of ConnectMe with Totem, Informa is preparing itself for the next stage in the events experience, one in which we can seamlessly curate and blend the physical and virtual, ensuring the two are complementary, not competitive.
ConnectMe will ensure that we can cater for varying levels of audience readiness to re-enter physical spaces by ensuring that neither physical nor virtual audiences feel they are excluded from a truly optimal experience. In 2021 and beyond, that is the service we aim to achieve, and ConnectMe will help us to do it.”
Informa Connect CMO Isobel Peck in April
Informa Connect hosts in-person and virtual events and training, online communities, digital content, and marketing services for the Finance, Biotech/Pharma, and other specialist markets.
“Totem has been an important partner over the last 18 months, and we’re pleased to be deepening this relationship,” said Informa Connect CEO Andrew Mullins. “We want to keep enhancing our in-person events, adding smart features, technologies, and apps that give our customers an even better experience. With Totem, we have a partner that is equally committed to outstanding experiences and bringing new innovation to events.”
Wrapping digital intelligence around trade shows is a logical extension of the digitization of sales and marketing. Live events came to a halt in 2020 and are still reeling, but in 2022 we should begin to see them re-emerge. Events should be hybrid, with digital content sharing from the event floor to virtual attendees.
Event attendees also should improve data capture. Loading a trade show scanned file from the exhibition floor has always been subject to delays, with reps following up a week later (if at all) to determine whether there was interest. Calendaring service Chili Piper recently announced Chili Events for setting up trade show meetings prior to an event and follow-up meetings with reps directly from the floor. It is a matter of striking while the iron is hot.
Informa did not disclose the pricing for either deal or the extent of its investment in Totem.
Informa, a UK-based intelligence and events company, acquired B2B content syndication vendor NetLine Corporation, adding audience development, buyer-level intent, and B2B digital demand generation capabilities. The firm also announced that it had taken a stake in Totem, its OEM partner for ConnectMe, a virtual and hybrid event solution.
NetLine will join Informa Tech, “one of the world’s largest providers of intelligence, industry forums, and marketing services to the tech industry.” Informa Tech supports over 250 global events, 40 media publications (e.g., Information Week, ITPro Today, Network Computing), newsletters, research (Ovum, IHS Markit | Technology, Heavy Reading, and Tractica), and training.
NetLine’s B2B content syndication lead generation network reaches more than 125 million unique visitors per month and processes more than 700,000 leads monthly.
Back in July, NetLine rolled out Lead Management Platform, a SaaS solution for capturing B2B leads and amplifying marketing content. The Lead Management Platform, initially developed for tier 1 B2B media companies, supports centralized lead capture, qualification, routing, and analytics tied to amplification campaign capabilities. The Lead Management Platform requires no coding, allowing marketers to quickly test and rollout white-labeled gated content.
“The platform is entirely focused on helping marketers more efficiently translate their gated content experiences into more efficient outcomes,” explained NetLine’s Chief Strategy Officer David Fortino to GZ Consulting in July. “If and/or when the Marketer has the need to increase lead volume beyond what their own channels can support, they can simply convert their inbound oriented campaign already built within the interface, add a budget, and tap into NetLine’s audience for on-demand scale. No IOs, no negotiations, no phone calls. Simple on-demand access to [the] largest B2B lead generation platform on the web.”
NetLine immediately matches visitors against its 52 million global B2B contact database (60% US) via cookies or email addresses. In addition, lead forms are both customizable and dynamic, allowing companies to specify which information is to be captured and dynamically removing fields in its form display.
NetLine claims that over 70% of its audiences are immediately recognized so that there is zero or limited typing required. Most users will be required to enter only five to seven fields, a significant reduction in data entry versus traditional and non-predictive forms. And because data entry is reduced, abandonment rates are lower, generating a higher return on marketing spend.
The lead forms are content-form agnostic. A common format can be deployed against all content, including webinars and virtual experiences, resulting in a standard data capture format for all content categories. Forms are also customizable, supporting both basic themes and white-labeled user experiences that match corporate templates.
When a form is submitted, NetLine auto-generates confirmation emails and shares data with enterprise software platforms, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Eloqua, Marketo, and ON24. In addition, dynamic filtering removes leads that are poor candidates from being distributed to downstream systems. As a result, the content is fulfilled, but low-quality leads are not passed downstream.
The Lead Management Platform lets marketers amplify content to targeted audiences with an open auction CPL pricing. Marketers “simply convert native campaign, add budget, and gain immediate access to the largest volume of content-generated B2B buyer-level data on the web, where more than 700,000 first-party leads are generated across more than 300 industries each month.”
Amplification is targeted, with ads displayed based upon geography, company size, function, and level. Marketers may also upload company names or domains for targeted ABM campaigns.
CPL pricing begins around $4 per lead, subject to a monthly budget.
“Before today, B2B Marketers needed at least a handful of technologies to run their lead gen programs: software to capture, enrich, scrub, filter, fulfill, report within their own sites and an entirely different suite of vendors to amplify their content beyond the reach of their inbound forms,” said Fortino in July. “Now, B2B Marketers can do it all with one simple self-service interface. Whether they want to centralize lead capture or create a hub for qualification, routing, analytics, and companion content amplification campaigns, the platform does it all, allowing B2B Marketers to reduce their costs while simultaneously becoming more efficient in the process.”
A free version supports up to five campaigns and 100 leads per month with dynamic forms, integrations, and reporting. The Standard version, priced at $49 per month, supports 50 campaigns, 500 leads per month, and custom colors and styles. For enterprise marketers, the Pro edition, priced at $199 per month, supports unlimited campaigns and leads, fully customizable branding, and one custom domain with unlimited sub-domains.
Both monthly and annual pricing are available, with annual pricing discounted by 20%.
Conversational Intelligence vendor Gong previewed a set of product and ecosystem integrations that “solidify its status as the platform for revenue teams.” New products include Gong Assist for automated task management and Reality-Based Forecasting for improved pipeline projections. The new Gong Collective supports its expanded universe of partner integrations.
“These moves come as the Gong Reality Platform – which captures and analyzes customer interactions and makes recommendations based on those interactions – continues to improve the performance of customer-facing teams,” stated the firm.
Gong Assist goes beyond task reminders to automate burdensome tasks that steal time away from the primary goals of sales reps: fostering long-term relationships and growing revenue. For example, instead of simply reminding a rep to set up a meeting or send an email, Gong will draft the email or meeting invite for the rep. Gong can also tee up congratulatory notes to contacts that have assumed new roles.
Gong will also be launching a new Reality-Based Forecasting product that provides “streamlined, bottoms-up forecasting and a fuller look at revenue trends.” Reps and sales management can view and maintain forecast data directly within Gong instead of toggling to other apps. In addition, reality-Based Forecasting will automatically remind reps to update forecasts “based on customer interactions that have been captured and analyzed by Gong.”
The Gong Collective is a branding of their partner ecosystem, which supports more than one hundred integrations. Gong provided details on a few of its partnerships:
DocuSign will present contracts within Gong. It will also alert teams when deals have progressed, but no sales contract has been drafted.
Slack Connect, Salesforce’s private channels for customers and partners, are ingested by Gong and treated as an additional engagement signal.
“Gong and Slack create that digital sales floor where revenue leaders can confidently manage sales teams — motivating and mentoring sales reps remotely, forecasting more accurately, engaging with customers effectively, and closing business more efficiently in a hybrid sales environment,” said Brad Armstrong, SVP of Business Development at Slack.
HighSpot and Seismic suggest which content should be shared and Gong gathers visiting analytics “to help customer-facing teams engage effectively and keep deals moving forward.”
“Gong has created raving fans by optimizing the performance of customer-facing teams,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov. “Our new products only add to this value, making the Gong Reality Platform an even more valuable, centralized destination for teams to be successful.”
The Outreach platform manages and monitors deal health beginning with Sales Development Reps warming up accounts via sequenced outreach. Once a prospect is ready to speak with an account executive, the meeting is calendared, and relevant stakeholders are notified. During meetings, Outreach Kaia records, analyzes, and summarizes calls while providing real-time transcription, bookmarking, and insights.
Outreach Kaia also triggers the creation of an opportunity and “recommends a pre-built blueprint for a mutual action plan, known as Success Plans, between buyer and seller.”
Outreach Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability. They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines. Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents. Only invited individuals can participate in the Success Plans.
Outreach claims that two-thirds of buyers have “stopped working with a company mid-deal, simply because the competitor provided a better buying experience.” Thus, streamlining the document sharing process, framing the timeline, and agreeing on success criteria facilitates the process and improves deal visibility and the likelihood of winning each deal.
“The Success Plan in Outreach is the only integrated mutual action plan that already has all the activity data to date associated with the deal, including the meeting notes and email exchanges. Combined with the power of AI-captured job titles and sentiment, Success Plans include all the people engaged in the deal on the buying team, along with the milestones, purchasing steps, and resources needed to collaborate on the deal going forward. Every new meeting booked, stakeholder introduced, and resource shared is automatically synced into the Success Plan. This takes the administrative tax off the seller and gives them more time to actively sell while ensuring accurate and timely data capture of granular buyer engagement. Each phase in the Success Plan is pre-configured and linked to a stage in the sales process under the hood. Gone are the days of sales leaders hounding reps for status updates – they are now updated and monitored automatically.”
Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage
As the deal progresses, Outreach captures engagement and sentiment across meetings, emails, and the Success Plan, feeding AI-based deal health insights and recommendations to sales reps and management. In addition, deal health is aggregated at the team level in Outreach Commit, with projections around which deals are likely to close during the quarter.
Outreach is positioning the new functionality as a “single source of truth for deals, pipeline, and forecasting” that drives “faster deal cycles and more predictable revenue.” Its platform offers a single solution for sales engagement, conversation intelligence, digital salesrooms, and revenue intelligence.
“Outreach has already demonstrated that by creating operational excellence with a system of action for prospecting, you can optimize your sales processes and qualify more deals, faster,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “Outreach’s new AI-Guided Deal Intelligence demonstrates this again with the closing process – by centralizing the activity around a deal behind a single pane of glass, capturing accurate data and transforming it into deal health insights that drive actions, account executives are more equipped than ever to close more deals, faster, and sales managers, leaders and CROs can sleep soundly knowing they finally have a source of truth for deal health.”
Deal Intelligence will be available for an open beta in early 2022.
Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach will be rolling out AI-Guided Deal Intelligence in 2022. The new Deal Insights functionality provides a consolidated opportunity view that includes a deal overview, deal health, risks, and next best action recommendations from a single pane of glass.
“Deal Intelligence doesn’t just warn you a deal is off track but will actually guide you to help understand what you can do now, in the moment, to change the outcome,” explained Senior Communications Manager Amanda Woolley to GZ Consulting. “Deal Intelligence is going to reach across the Outreach platform and gather signals from all facets of the platform and throughout the customer journey and move from risk identification into action.”
Many of the components of Deal Intelligence such as Sentiment Analysis, Success Plans, Kaia, Commit, and engagement monitoring already exist in the Outreach platform, with the new Deal Intelligence tying together data and insights from the various modules and summarizing them with deal health and next best action recommendations.
“Built on the foundation of our deep machine learning tools like Kaia, Intent, title classification, and more, Deal Intelligence will help remove some of the “best guesses” we revenue leaders have been doing,” explained Outreach CRO Anna Baird. “Deal Intelligence will be gathering signals and let us know – not only when we have a risk – but what we can do to change the outcome! It’s not just a warning light, but a full explanation of how to correct the issue. Deal Intelligence will bring true transparency to opportunity management and help us get to that predictable revenue goal we all want.”
Deal intelligence is gathered across the deal lifecycle and ongoing customer interactions, including sequences, email sentiment, calendaring, Outreach Kaia (conversational intelligence and real-time recommendations), Success Plans (digital salesrooms), and Outreach Commit (pipeline health and forecasting).
“The current ML model looks at the multiple factors and compares them across benchmarks we have collected to derive the [Health Insights] score,” explained Woolley. “Some of the key top-level factors included Decision-maker engagement, activity across email and calls, meeting analysis as well as interaction within Success Plan. For every deal, the ML model determines which factors are positive (‘green flag’) or negative polarity (‘red flag’).”
Both red and green flags are displayed in Deal Intelligence. The Deal Intelligence service summarizes relevant signals, but “given the number of signals captured, it is very hard for a sales rep to drill through every deal.” Outreach’s goal is to “surface all the relevant information for the sales rep in a unified view with the ability to drill deeper as well as take action from within Outreach.”
“Sales reps only succeed when they take the right actions to close deals, yet for far too long they have lacked true visibility into the health of their deals and are forced to turn to intuition and guesswork to select the next best actions to take. Sales leaders and reps have to contend with disparate, dated sales technologies as they strive for an accurate understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast. CRM solutions provide a way to store data but rely on extensive tedious manual data entry from sales reps, often resulting in a “garbage-in garbage-out” situation that does not help reps or managers make confident decisions. Point solutions like conversation intelligence offer a way to record conversations and glean insights hours or days later, but at best, they can tell what the reps’ next actions in other systems should be. All are failing to deliver deal observability. And none of them give real-time deal intelligence to sales reps and seamlessly automate the next actions all in one continuous experience. Until now, that is.”
Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage
Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of Outreach deal health analytics across the deal lifecycle.
LinkedIn also addressed the lack of sharing of Sales Navigator Account Maps in its Q4 release. The value of maps is much greater if they can be shared across the sales and customer success teams. Sales reps will skip activities that do not have a clear return on investment (i.e., they expedite the sales process, increase the odds of a win, reduce bureaucratic steps, etc.) Sharing account maps across the team dramatically increases their value and encourages reps to invest the necessary time mapping out the account. Sharing also assists with account handoffs between SDRs to Account Reps and later to Customer Success teams.
“Selling is a team sport, and we know that team members need to be in the loop and connected on key accounts, especially as changes to the buying committee may be greater and more frequent right now,” wrote Senior Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Mitali Pattnaik.
Account Maps are available to Team and Enterprise licensors. However, Account Maps may only be shared with co-workers on the same Sales Navigator contract; thus, partners or co-workers with separate Sales Navigator agreements still lack map sharing.
When others update a shared Account Map, everybody is notified of the update.
Those with CRM sync turned on (Advanced + CRM in January) will enjoy additional CRM features. Users will be able to create new leads or contacts “in more places within Sales Navigator to better match up with their workflows” and display additional context. New features include
New CRM Cards within Sales Navigator Lead Pages
New CRM Badges that notify reps when an account or lead is matched against the CRM
Clicking on the CRM Badge provides additional context on Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from the matched CRM record. For Sales Navigator Leads not found in CRM, a user can create a CRM Contact or Lead.
CRM Badges are now displayed in the InMail and Messaging Flow.
LinkedIn will be rolling out Q4 enhancements to customers in the coming weeks, as with other quarterly releases.
LinkedIn also announced updates to LinkedIn Sales Intelligence (LSI), its data service for Sales Operations. LSI leverages the power of LinkedIn data to “help sales target the right companies and accelerate revenue.” Launched earlier this year, LSI supports report building, account recommendations, and Account data enrichment.
Sales Operations now has access to industry codes aligned with the NAICS industry taxonomy used in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Other enhancements include a new welcome flow and access to saved reports on the home page.
To assist with report building, a set of LSI Tool-Tips assist with defining Sources, Personas, Market Insights, and Exports.
LinkedIn began rolling out its Q4 Sales Navigator release last month. New functionality includes a reimagined home page, Priority Accounts, and Account Map sharing. According to LinkedIn, the revised home page helps address the “moving target” that is buying team discovery during The Great Reshuffle.
“We’re in the middle of The Great Reshuffle, and 80% of salespeople have delayed or lost a deal because of a job change within an account. Selling right now is a moving target. This means, maybe more than ever, that quality data is non-negotiable, real-time alerts are critical, and knowing your buyers and what’s important to them is essential.”
Mitali Pattnaik, Senior Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions
Not only are buying committees becoming larger, but the movement of professionals increases the likelihood that key members of the demand unit depart during the sales cycle. Reps that are blind to such changes are likely to have lost or delayed deals.
Furthermore, buyers have been inundated with messages, making it more challenging to rise above the din. According to LinkedIn Associate Product Marketing Manager Angel Gonzalez, reps need to personalize their outreach as there is a 30% decline in buyer response rates compared to pre-COVID.
“Our new Sales Navigator home page showcases customized insights for key accounts that you need to focus on right now,” posted LinkedIn Senior Director for Product Mitali Pattnaik. “Alongside a new look and feel for the home page, the refreshed Alerts Feed helps you filter to the most relevant, timely, and accurate updates, pinpointing alerts that need immediate action. And, for those updates you want to keep an eye on, a newly created ‘Bookmarked Alerts’ tab allows you to save alerts so you can revisit at any time.”
The new home page was redesigned to present “what’s most important to each individual seller at that moment,” including intelligence on priority accounts, direct access to Account Maps, and better alert filters.
Other new features include upgraded typeahead searching and alert bookmarking.
A few features have been downgraded in scope or removed, including Sales Navigator Coach and Recommended Leads and Accounts.
The new home page is available to all users.
Priority Accounts allows sellers with large books of business such as territory or industry reps to flag their key accounts, helping ensure critical accounts receive greater attention. Users simply “star” accounts in their saved account list for priority display. Account activity is then displayed in a new home page section labeled Priority Accounts that summarizes headcount growth, employee count, open opportunities, and Buyer Intent. Users can also click directly to Account Maps.
Continue to Part II which discusses Sales Navigator Account Map sharing and LinkedIn Sales Intelligence enhancements.
TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine Sales Intelligence platform, including second-party intent data from its BrightTALK digital event platform and a refreshed user experience. As a result, TechTarget now provides intent data for 32 million opted-in technology researchers and purchasers across twice as many accounts.
Millions of BrightTALK contacts are fully integrated into Priority Engine, providing intelligence around individuals actively researching technology purchases at BrightTALK webinars, virtual events, and videos. The expanded content provides richer intent data with additional messaging hooks for sales reps.
Prospect-level insights include content preferences, recently viewed content, and each buying committee member’s top interests.
BrightTALK was acquired twelve months ago. BrightTALK hosts 30,000 new webinars and videos each year, providing multi-media content that complements TechTarget’s text-based research content. Prospect-level BrightTALK intent data and buyer contact intelligence are now being combined with second-party intent data from TechTarget’s 140+ enterprise technology media sites, bringing the combined pool of buyers and influencers to 32 million. As these individuals are opted-in, intent data can be tied to the individual instead of the account, allowing for improved messaging and targeting. Not only is the enterprise software topic collected, but TechTarget gathers competitors under consideration and buying journey stage. Furthermore, opted-in contact data ensures that the shared contact intelligence is GDPR and CCPA compliant.
BrightTALK Prospect Insights include webinar registrations, views, view times, webinar types, and titles.
TechTarget noted that buyers and influencers have distinct digital research styles, with some preferring multi-media content and others opting for white papers and related text-based reports and articles. Thus, bringing in BrightTALK significantly expanded TechTarget’s ability to identify buyer intent based on different learning preferences.
“Despite strong similarities in overall audience makeup (company size, industry, and job title/function are remarkably consistent), there’s only a 10%-20% overlap in members between the databases, depending on geo,” wrote TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney in April.
“Learning preference and behavior is quite different for members of BrightTALK,” continued Briney. “While the content topics, focus, and quality is [SIC] very similar to what’s offered on the TechTarget network, BrightTALK members prefer the immersive, interactive learning experiences delivered by webinars (85%) and videos (61%) over downloadable PDF content like whitepapers (47%) and e-Books (42%). Given this preference, it’s not surprising BrightTALK members average more than 30 minutes in view-time per webinar/video.”
The enhancements also provide insights into “overall buyer content preferences (content type and topic), and interactions with customer content across multiple channels help inform more personalized sales outreach and marketing engagement strategies.”
“Priority Engine delivers the actionable purchase intent data our customers need to drive superior performance. This new release gets exponentially more data into their hands and gives them the ability to deliver customized experiences their marketers and sellers need to thrive.”
TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia
UI enhancements include a new view that calls out “untapped, high potential accounts” for initial engagement in a rep’s territory. There is also a new timeline for viewing account journeys and recent engagement. The new timeline helps reps “easily monitor buying changes to better optimize pipeline, identify cross-sell/upsell opportunities and grow revenue.”
Other UI changes include a set of shortcuts located in the left-side navigation bar. The shortcuts display the following user views:
Top Accounts – The 500 most active accounts and prospects (default view)
Untapped Potential – Accounts or prospects with whom the rep has not yet interacted in Priority Engine
Viewed your Content – Accounts or prospects that have viewed or downloaded company content syndicated through TechTarget’s content syndication program
Visited your Website – Accounts that have visited the company’s website (Inbound Converter)
Confirmed Projects – Any projects that TechTarget has confirmed are active in the rep’s territory based on direct outreach
Favorites – Accounts or prospects that you have selected to favorite in Priority Engine
Finally, the platform now contains separate modules that support sales and marketing use cases.
ABX Platform Demandbase released one of its “largest product launches of the year”: Audience Management Destinations. While the firm has long supported B2B Campaigns via display advertising and LinkedIn channels, Audience Management Destinations extends its reach into consumer platforms and social advertising.
“B2B buyers are people, too, and B2B marketers can and should be advertising on those channels,” said Demandbase CMO Jon Miller.
New advertising channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Bing, and Adobe Audience Manager. Additional services will be rolled out next year.
Demandbase does not store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so its social outreach is GDPR and CCPA compliant. Instead, Demandbase leverages LiveRamp’s identity resolution, an opted-in identifier system that matches individual identifiers across platforms.
Demandbase also expanded its integration with LinkedIn. Previously, it only supported account-level targeting on LinkedIn, but now marketers can target at either the account or person level.
Marketers will build audiences using a set of selectors that include first-party data, third-party data, intent, technographics, and activities. (See the image on the right). They can then activate campaigns to their targeted buyers across the business and social web.
“This will allow a highly consistent customer experience across social networks and other platforms,” explained Miller on LinkedIn. In addition, the new release expands marketing’s outreach and orchestration across a broader set of channels “using the account intelligence and the Demandbase One platform.”
“We’re constantly learning about how the B2B buyer thinks and acts, and this new account-based social targeting functionality plays a role in reaching buyers more holistically,” said Miller. “By viewing the buyer not just as someone within a target account or in a buying committee, we recognize that buyers are individuals, too. This mindset shift — and the corresponding ability to engage with them as such across business and social platforms — gives our customers yet another advantage in today’s B2B go-to-market landscape.”
Demandbase claims that it is the only system that runs both “people and account-based plays from one system.” Marketers can target specific audiences and “then automatically apply the most effective sales and marketing tactics to advance the account in its journey, across every touchpoint, and with the most relevant messages.”
“Demandbase’s solutions are stronger in certain areas and helps drive top of the funnel engagement or audience targeting, while InsideView has been more focused on bottom of the funnel data. We realized the two companies are quite complimentary and we could combine our customers to offer a much more complete solution to all of them. Today we have an integrated top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel marketing and sales data provision to allow customers to look at the full funnel and identify a more appropriate addressable market, including what kind of technologies those companies use.”
The three companies combined to create a four-cloud solution that supports Advertising, ABX Marketing, Sales Intelligence, and Data.
“What’s exciting about this is the ability to provide all of this to customers as one solution,” continued Milletti. “We have done a lot of work since the merger was completed to combine all of our technologies and go to our customers with information on how much more we can do for them.”
Conversational Sales and Marketing vendor Qualified announced select availability for its new Signals intent product. Qualified Signals delivers sales intelligence gleaned from company websites, helping them identify in-market accounts and prioritize their outreach.
Qualified Signals is an “AI product that combines website engagement with Salesforce data to surface the buying intent of a B2B company’s target accounts; helping sales reps focus on exactly the right accounts to generate more pipeline and revenue,” blogged Qualified CRO Robert Zimmerman.
When ABM was proposed as the successor to lead-generation marketing, it focused on defining the ICP and targeting accordingly. While the ICP concept is still important, it fails to recognize that at any one moment, most ICP accounts are not in-market. Thus, a further refinement was in order, deploying intent (e.g., visitor intelligence, chatbots, third-party B2B website activity) and engagement data (e.g., email responses, meeting attendance, sentiment) to prioritize accounts so that sales reps focus on the accounts that are in market and marketing continues to nurture ICP accounts with low-level intent signals.
“Sales reps need a simple way to identify the accounts with high purchase intent so they can maximize pipeline more efficiently,” argued Zimmerman. “Meanwhile, target accounts are poking around the website and signaling buying intent, but sales reps have no idea. This is a missed opportunity because website engagement is a critical predictor of purchase intent. It demonstrates patterns of website activity that indicate whether an account is sales-ready.”
Unfortunately, website activity is a “blind spot for salespeople” that leaves them “in the dark as to where to focus their attention, how to engage target accounts, and how deals are progressing.”
Qualified Signals employs an AI-predictive model that collects “hundreds of thousands of website data points to determine which accounts are in-market to buy and sales-ready.” Models include website activity such as mouse movement, clicks, scroll depth, page views, active time on site, chatbot engagement, live chat, voice calls, meetings booked, recency and frequency of visits, and visitor count.
“In a booming sales tech market, there are countless sales intelligence tools out there, but they often overlook the most important sales and marketing asset—the corporate website,” said Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud. “Signals arms sellers with an entirely new type of buying intent data, so revenue teams know exactly which accounts to pursue to crush their quota.”
Signals are displayed to sales reps in the Salesforce Account record and convert complex buyer behavior into straightforward trends such as cooling, neutral, heating, and surging. Trend data “can also be customized using unique Salesforce Account data to home in on the accounts that matter most, like ABM tier, account owner, region, or industry.”
Signals optionally pushes custom Account intent fields to Salesforce, which can then be built into custom reports and dashboards.
Qualified also displays Signals Account 360, a dynamic graph that visualizes purchase intent fluctuations over time for individual accounts. Signals are expressed as a current Heat Index temperature, dynamic trend, and detailed account activity view that replays account engagement at the contact level. The account timeline “offers a detailed, highly visual, timestamped overview of notable website events that occurred throughout the buying process,” blogged Zimmerman.
Additionally, Signals supports mobile, email, and Slack alerts when an account hits client specified thresholds on the Qualified Heat Index. Alerts may be sent in real-time or included in a daily or weekly email digest.
“Qualified Signals amplifies Qualified X, bringing purchase intent data to the visitor level within your conversational sales and marketing application,” stated the firm. “When a sales rep prospects into a target account, they’re instantly notified when that account arrives on the site. Plus, they have all intent data at the ready. They can instantly meet with the prospect using a full stack of meeting tools, including chat, voice, and screen-sharing.”
Due to the complexity of visitor intelligence and similar data, intent signals have mostly been fed into marketing platforms and not converted into actionable semaphores; however, sales intelligence vendors have begun enabling these signals.
“The website is no longer just for marketers; it’s now a window into your biggest sales opportunities. Sellers have their standard indicators that an account is interested, and a deal is moving forward; but in between the standard touchpoints, prospects are poking around your website, reading a customer story, or engaging via live chat. Sellers have had limited insight into how target accounts are exploring this property, but the website is an amazing predictor of intent. Now, Qualified Signals will surface this invaluable insight for revenue teams.”
Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud
Qualified Signals will GA in early 2022.
Qualified closed on a $51 million Series B round in May that Salesforce Ventures led. The firm describes itself as “the only conversational sales and marketing platform purpose-built for Salesforce Sales Cloud.”