Zoominfo: New Branding & Packaging

Zoominfo offers pricing and packaging similar to its legacy offerings, helping ensure a smooth transition to their new platform.

Yesterday, DiscoverOrg announced that it is rebranding with the Zoominfo name. The firm determined that it was easier to build brand perception than brand presence. They also rolled out a new combined platform and packaging.

While the firm officially launched their new platform yesterday, the two legacy platforms will continue to be available to clients under current contracts and pricing structures.  The 100 customers who have licensed both products since acquisition will be moved to the joint platform.

The second issue the firm confronted was their pricing structure.  Zoominfo pricing was based on the number of records purchased or maintained under a subscription license with a significantly lower initial price point.  DiscoverOrg provided broad access to their database with an average contract value of around $30,000.  The new product line offers pricing and functionality similar to legacy Zoominfo offerings at the lower end and pricing and packaging similar to DiscoverOrg at the upper end.  Thus, as contracts expire and customers migrate to the new platform, there should not be significant sticker shock.

The Starter package for a single user supports basic company and contact information, direct dials and verified emails, quick search, and prospect list building.  The service is designed to help users “find their next customer.”

The Professional package is akin to the broader Zoominfo service.  Professional helps three users “prospect with ease.”  Additional features include a Contact Accuracy Score, recent and saved searches, list management, customizable tags, and list matching.  Professional also supports CRM, MAP, and Sales Automation solutions.

The Advanced package supports unlimited page-level exports and provides “deep insights” for five users.  The package is similar to DiscoverOrg with technographics, org charts, Scoops (sales triggers), web references, similar companies, personal contact details, investors, funding data, and rich bios with education and work histories.  Other features include data enhancements and alerts.

Finally, the Elite package provides “actionable intelligence” including intent data and alerts (OppAlerts), ideal customer profiling and scoring (AccountView), Company Attributes, NeverBounce email verification, and department-level employee counts.  Elite also begins with five users and supports unlimited page-level exports.

Additional products include

  • FormComplete: a web form enrichment service
  • WebSights: a newly launched visitor id service.  The service is still in beta and based upon their extensive IP addresses tied to company intelligence.
  • Enrich: CRM and MAP data maintenance

DiscoverOrg emphasizes that it has “solutions for businesses of every size” on its pricing page.  While this is generally true and they have done an excellent job of combining two companies with much different pricing models, they do not have a single-seat sales intelligence solution priced to compete against LinkedIn Sales Navigator, InsideView, or D&B Hoovers. However, DiscoverOrg has never offered such a product and it has had high growth rates from the beginning. With the Zoominfo acquisition, they are much more competitive at the lower end of the market save the single-seat sales intelligence scenario.

Zoominfo has historically focused on the sales and marketing function, but Schuck sees a broader user base.  “The thing that ends up happening is they invest in CRM, marketing automation and open the door to any information to go into those systems,” he said.  

New use cases include website visitors, trade show and webinar attendees, and ongoing data hygiene.  

“There’s no mechanism to update that data.  Meanwhile, companies are growing, they’re shrinking, they’re doing a merger or acquisition, an IPO.  They’re hiring a new CEO, a new CMO, a new CIO.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Zoominfo plans on sending their executives to communicate the new brand and capabilities at conferences and tradeshows this fall.  The firm also plans digital advertising and offline advertising (e.g. billboards) in key markets.

Flash: DiscoverOrg Rebrands as Zoominfo

Zoominfo Executive Details include Employment by Job Function
Zoominfo executive details include employment by job function

After DiscoverOrg acquired Zoominfo in February, the firm maintained both brands and announced that a new platform which supported both services would be available this summer.  At the time, the assumption was that the Zoominfo brand would be retired and the firm would move forward as DiscoverOrg.  After all, DiscoverOrg was the larger of the two firms and the brand was highly associated with data quality, technographics, and rich executive profiles while Zoominfo was known for having the largest set of B2B emails and direct dials spanning companies of all sizes and positions.

DiscoverOrg commissioned research into both brands and found that Zoominfo had broader brand awareness.  The research also indicated that it would be less expensive to increase brand equity than brand awareness.  Both brands had their strengths, but, according to Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard, it was easier to buy brand perception than brand awareness.  Furthermore, research indicated that the Zoominfo brand perception had improved since acquisition.

“There was significantly more — three times — the market awareness around the ZoomInfo brand than the DiscoverOrg brand,” said CEO Henry Schuck.  “I’ve tried to pride myself on making the decision that is right for the business and not necessarily easy for me or convenient for me.  This was obvious.  This was the right decision for the business, and I wasn’t going to let the nostalgia for the DiscoverOrg brand overshadow that.”

Based on this research, the firm decided to retain the Zoominfo brand and deploy the DiscoverOrg brand as a “powered by” brand booster.  Thus, the new platform will be labeled Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg for the next year or two.

“The new platform will be known as ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg and combines the strengths and benefits of the DiscoverOrg platform with those of the ZoomInfo platform, which it acquired in February 2019.  Designed to be the single source of B2B data truth for sales and marketing professionals, the new platform offers a suite of software tools coupled with unrivaled data coverage, accuracy and depth.  As a result, customers gain a highly actionable 360-degree view of contacts, companies, and opportunities to target and convert.  Deeply integrated into both workflows and technology stacks, ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg works seamlessly with all the leading sales, marketing and CRM platforms…”

With this launch, ZoomInfo Powered by DiscoverOrg features an unparalleled combination of proprietary AI and machine learning tools, a vast contributory network, deep two-way business application integrations, and human verification from over 300 researchers.  The result is the most unique [sic] and effective SaaS platform designed to empower companies to deliver more predictable and sustainable growth.”

Zoominfo Press Release (September 10, 2019)

The firm’s mission is “To create a world where every company has a clear view of their ideal customers and how to connect with them.”

The new Zoominfo logo is black with a standalone Z and a rising arrow.  

The site is simplified from DiscoverOrg’s last design with white, gray, lavender, and black as the primary background colors.  Red and lavender are employed for buttons and hyperlinks.  Most text is black with white employed for text in buttons and black backgrounds.  The site is much less frenetic than the last DiscoverOrg design.  A splash of lavender and light use of pastels, which are not often used in B2B websites, provide a calming effect.

The new website tagline is “Your business deserves more.”  The firm continues, “ZoomInfo gives you more.  We combine the leading business contact database with best-in-class technology to pinpoint, process, and deliver the marketing and sales intelligence you need— exactly when and how you need it, to always hit your number.”

Zoominfo employs four methods for acquiring company and contact intelligence: signature block mining; automated online crawling and machine learning; in-house editorial teams: and third-party data licensing.

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) reached $350 million across 13,500 customers.  ARR has grown significantly since the Zoominfo acquisition.  According to Inc., combined 2018 revenue was $222 million.  As ARR is higher than revenue when a subscription service is growing, the likely 2019 revenue is around $300 million+.

Zoominfo also has to reposition its data acquisition model.  DiscoverOrg began employing web data acquisition tools last year, so that methodology was already understood by their clients.  The firm also has licensed data sets in the past, however sparingly.  The new website discusses four methods for data gathering: signature block mining; automated online crawling and machine learning; in-house editorial teams: and third-party data licensing.

Signature block intelligence comes from Zoominfo’s community members that permit access to signature blocks in exchange for Zoominfo access.  It is the most controversial of their methods as data is being harvested on third-parties without their consent.  While both companies are GDPR compliant, Zoominfo’s approach was simply to add an EU contact filter.  This is an area that they will likely need to address further, particularly as US states adopt GDPR-like regulations and Zoominfo expands its “personal contact details.”

Machine learning gathers technographic and firmographic intelligence from job boards, web sites, news, and SEC filings.  It is a standard data gathering method and broadly employed across the industry.

“We use cutting edge AI/ML technologies to help GTM [go-to-market] teams stay laser-focused on the right markets and best opportunities to hit their number.”

Zoominfo website

Human research for gathering and verifying company and contact data has long been at the core of DiscoverOrg’s brand and value proposition.  Zoominfo continues to maintain the DiscoverOrg editorial team of over 300 researchers.  The editorial process is the basis of their high data quality and rich biographic and technographic intelligence.  As such, it is the justification for their premium pricing.  Hopefully, the firm doesn’t make the mistake that D&B did after acquiring Hoovers and allowing its editorial capabilities to atrophy when a high-quality dataset (Hoover’s editorial coverage of 42,000 companies) was mixed with a much larger universe of companies and contacts (D&B WorldBase).  Given DiscoverOrg’s long-term focus on data quality and editorial research, it is unlikely that they would make this mistake.  Conversations I’ve had with Schuck and Bullard over the years support this thesis.

Zoominfo coverage counts as of September 10, 2019.

Finally, third-party datasets are licensed.  Content includes public company data (long a gap of both services), M&A details (added last year), government data sources, and social media feeds.

The database has grown to 20 million company profiles with 5 million C-level contacts, 16 million decision maker direct dials, and 20 million decision maker emails.  Globally, Zoominfo provides 66 million emails and 42 million direct dials.  They also maintain departed contact details to assist with data hygiene.

According to the Portland Business Journal, private equity firms TA Associates, The Carlyle Group and 22C Capital have invested at least $790 million in Zoominfo.  The PBJ also noted that Zoominfo is profitable.


Tomorrow, I will provide additional details around Zoominfo’s product packaging.

TechTarget Priority Engine Express

TechTarget Confirmed Projects

TechTarget is taking a soft launch approach to their new Priority Engine Express service for small software vendors and VARs with an early 2020 launch date.  CEO Michael Cotoia said the firm is building a platform which is “simple, streamlined, and scalable.”  Cotoia noted how smaller firms differ in sales and marketing requirements and capabilities from TechTarget’s enterprise clients:

Our smaller customers lack a lot of resources.  They don’t have a marketing automation [platform] many times.  They don’t have an integrated nurture campaign.  They need to understand and have a very friendly user interface, and they’re also very focused on identifying and using this solution as a sales use case with their inside sales reps and even their outside sales reps.  So what we’re really focused on is doing a very simple user interface, focus very much on a sales use case, and understand that we can help them build different types of lists and customized lists; for example, an ideal customer profile list, which is really going to focus on exactly their sweet spot so we can get them the right updates at the right time. They don’t have the resources; they don’t have the complexity.  If they need it simple, they want it towards sales use cases, and we’re learning a lot from that.

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

Cotoia said that TechTarget is taking a market feedback approach to Express development.  As they engage with small customers, they are pausing during the sale to gather feedback to better understand what smaller firms are looking to do.  As they bring on early Express users, they are “tweaking, modifying, adjusting and getting ready to go into 2020.”  Cotoia called the initial feedback in this new market “very positive.”

TechTarget began building an SDR team two years ago to provide a team of appointment setters for their outside sales reps.  “We built that with a vision that we’re going to be looking at additional products that we are going to roll out,” said Cotoia.  “We want to make sure we have the resources on the bench” who are trained in the TechTarget methodology and ready to support new opportunities such as Express “so they are ready to make and take action when we see fit.”

TechTarget has raised the price for Priority Engine since it was launched a few years ago.  “We believe we have pricing power,” said Cotoia.  “We’ve had a couple of pricing increases year-over-year, and we believe we are in the best position to deliver real and observed purchase intent, make it very clear who’s in-market, by which technology segment, by which region and help our customers rank, prioritize and mobilize their sales and marketing efforts again, and we hope that creates some pricing leverage.”


Yesterday, I discussed TechTarget’s strong Q2. The above discussion was held in their Q2 2019 earnings announcement.

TechTarget Posts Strong Q2

Priority Engine provides rich company data including intent data (buying stage, competitors under evaluation, top trends), contacts, social links, and firmographics.

TechTarget posted a strong second quarter with revenues up 9% to $34.3 million.  Growth was led by their Priority Engine technology sales intelligence service which added 38 new customers in Q2 and grew revenue by 44%.  

Long-term contracts now comprise 33% of revenue.

TechTarget expanded its Total Addressable Market (TAM) from 1,500 Enterprise IT vendors to an additional 5,000 IT vendors consisting of small software companies and regional VARs.  The firm has been executing a soft rollout of Priority Engine Express to this expanded universe.

“We are still in the learning stage but the early feedback is that this customer segment is embracing the value proposition,” the firm told shareholders.  “We are increasing the number of salespeople dedicated to this product in the near-term and remain on track for the full product roll-out in 2020.”

“We added several enhancements to Priority Engine in May including Personalized Account Rankings that reflect organic research with TechTarget and direct engagement with the customer to improve marketing and sales effectiveness. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) creation and filtering directly within Priority Engine to efficiently find, track and convert identified best-fit customers. Enhanced Qualification Intelligence showcases the key attributes that make accounts high priority targets, including buying stage, ICP match and if there is a confirmed project. Improved Engagement Signals show you precisely when accounts visit your website, click on your banners and/or download your content. Indicators of New and Recent Activities give sales users new reasons to call and help them engage the buying team with highly tailored outreach.”

TechTarget Q2 2019 Shareholder Letter

TechTarget provided Q3 revenue guidance between $33 and $34 million and annual guidance of $133 and $134 million.

The firm is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month and used the opportunity to credit its employees.  “We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated team of employees who are smart, innovative, motivated, passionate and hard-working. This team makes us look good and creates a win-win scenario for customers, investors, partners and the communities where we operate. We are especially proud of the transition that the Company has been able to make over the past 5 years from an online media company delivering quarterly marketing campaigns to a purchase intent data company selling annual subscriptions. We think most people would agree that is not an easy transition to make. We are very confident that our best days are ahead of us as we are now a leader in the fast growing data intelligence market.”

TechTarget added Christina Van Houten to its Board.  She currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Mimecast Limited, a public email management company, where she is responsible for driving corporate development, product management, and market strategy.  She previously held senior positions at Infor, IBM Netezza, and Oracle.  Van Houten has “more than two decades of extensive, focused experience in marketing strategy with some of the world’s largest firms as well as significant corporate and business experience.”  She has an MBA from the Booth School (University of Chicago) and a BA from Georgetown.


Continue to Part II on Priority Engine Express and the expansion of their target market to include small software vendors and value-added resellers.

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.”

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.”

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.

Drift Video Launched

Drift Video allows customers and prospects to immediately engage in a chat.

Drift, which has quickly established itself as a leader in the chatbot space, is upping the ante by integrating video and chat.  Users will be able to share and record videos via a Chrome extension or mobile app.  Recorded videos can then be dropped into emails and sent to customers or prospects.

Videos are “private and secure” with single sign-on functionality from Okta, OneLogin, and Microsoft Azure.  Users can restrict viewing to a specific email or email list and “everyone else will have to request permission, just like you would with a Google Doc.”

Drift suggests three sales use cases for video: as a conversation starter, as a second chance to refine a message after a call, and as a group selling tool (team share).

Drift Video provides real-time desktop and mobile notifications when viewed.  Users can immediately start a conversation while somebody is viewing their video “so you can reach out and say hello or follow-up at the perfect time.”

It is the immediate notification element which Drift claims to be its product differentiation.

“There are a few good software products out there that make it easy to capture and share videos.  But we took a look around the market and noticed one big thing missing: none of those products create a better buying experience because they don’t actually help you start conversations with potential customers.  You still have to make a video, send an email, and hope to get a response.  But with Drift Video, you can get a notification in real-time while someone is watching your video and then hop right in and say hello.”

Drift Website

“Since starting Drift, we’ve said there are two mega-trends that would shape the future of B2B sales and marketing: messaging and video,” said CEO David Cancel.  “Over the last few years we’ve built an industry-leading messaging platform used by over 150,000 businesses, and now we’re expanding our Conversational Marketing platform by adding video.”

Video is driving global IP demand.  According to Cisco, one million minutes of video will be crossing the Internet every second by 2020 and 82% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021.

Drift video is available today as part of the Drift offering.  There is no surcharge for video functionality for up to ten videos per month with a chat option embedded into the video.  For $12 per seat per month or $120 per annum, reps are provided with a Pro license which includes unlimited HD quality video sharing and storage.  Only the Pro version restricts video sharing.

Future features include Team Analytics, Book Meetings from Video, and integrations with Salesforce, Pardot, and Marketo.

“We’ve spent the last year working on Drift Video and it was one of the main reasons for raising our Series C in April 2018,” stated Cancel.  “In looking at the market over that time, we saw that while there are many products that make it easy to create and share videos, none of them were built to help to start conversations and create a better buying experience.  After a private beta with some great early customers, that’s what we’re bringing to market today with Drift Video.”

Drift has integrated video in its own sales process with 50% of Drift revenue “influenced by video in the selling process.”

“Video is the greatest conversation starter in B2B buying,” said Alexa Nguyen in a Drift video.  “In a world of faceless phone calls and emails, video has helped us build trust, and video has helped us close more deals.”

Video is another way for salespeople to engage with their prospects outside of the norm.  Prospects are constantly bombarded with emails and phone calls asking for their attention.  But it’s hard to cut through that noise because they don’t trust easily.  In order to build that trust, you need to build a personal connection.  And all personal connections start with a conversation.  Video allows people to be personal, show that they’re human, and help build that connection that might be lost through text in an email. 

Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager

According to research from Forrester and Boston Consulting Group, 75% of B2B transactions have little or no sales interaction.  Thus, video offers a valuable channel through which sales reps can avoid being disintermediated.  However, sales reps could push this functionality too far.  While chat functionality sounds like the next step for video, reps should be careful not to step over the line from personable to creepy. 

When prospects view an email, most understand that the act of opening an email triggers a notification to the sender, but they don’t expect that the viewing of a video will be treated as a real-time permission for a call or chat.  Immediately reaching out to customers and prospects may be viewed as a non-permissioned extension of an asynchronous communication into synchronous.  Drift does not discuss GDPR in the announcement, but this seems to cross the boundary into non-permissioned communications and the release of personally identifiable information (“John@B2BProspect.com is viewing your video.  Call immediately”).  The video privacy permissions are focused on the seller (ensuring they aren’t shared with others), but there does not seem to be any functionality to limit the “call me back” immediacy of the service.  If anything, the immediate messaging will drive down the open rate of all embedded video and kill its efficacy.

When I raised this concern to Drift, they offered a best practice to address this issue.  Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager, suggested that sales reps could either wait for the contact to initiate the chat or use a message such as “Thanks for watching my video!  I’m here if you have any questions.”  This approach makes sense.  By utilizing a generic message that sounds automated, it feels less invasive.  This may be a situation where a generic message may be welcome as it serves as an invitation to chat while a personalized message may be off-putting.

The user can take one of two roads — proactively engage with the video viewer while they’re watching via the chat functionality OR not engage at all and allow the video viewer to chat with them at their own discretion…Other customers have gone the route of not messaging and just offering the viewer another channel to engage with them outside of email or a phone call.  Buyers have all of the power.  And the ultimate goal is to meet them where they are…and to always be available to help.

Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager

There appears to be a Gresham’s Law of MarTech (“Bad money drives out good”); an effective channel or marketing tool quickly becomes overused or misused, resulting in lowered efficacy.  Embedded video could quickly convert a golden channel into chaff through overuse and perceived creepiness.  What makes embedded video so compelling today is its ability to personalize and deliver a relevant message on a 1:1 basis.  If embedded video overwhelms prospects or is seen as inviting immediate, unwanted contact, it will kill the golden goose.  A softer touch is likely the best practice.  If viewers maintain the control and opt into contact, then it will enhance the value of a video by providing a Call to Action that the prospect controls.