ZoomInfo Launches Streaming Intent Based on Clickagy Acquisition

Last week, ZoomInfo picked up its most recent tuck-in, Clickagy, to expand its intent data capabilities. The real-time intent vendor is the basis for ZoomInfo’s new Streaming Intent offering.

Streaming Intent improves the timing and messaging around sales and marketing workflows such as

  • Prioritizing sales outreach to companies that are ready to buy
  • Interacting with prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey to build trust that won’t be present with later stage vendors
  • Triggering automated campaigns that warm-up prospects for your Sales team to call

Streaming Intent delivers real-time behavioral intent data that is “expansive and customizable.”  The Clickagy platform employs an NLP engine that identifies behavioral context in real-time.  Intent data is gathered from over 300,000 publisher domains and includes six trillion-plus new keyword-to-device pairings each month.  Intent data is sourced from over 91 percent of accessible devices in the United States.

Clickagy supports thousands of B2B topics and sub-topics spanning marketing, natural resources, entertainment, business services, government, healthcare, retail goods, and science and technology.

“Innovation in the B2B intent landscape has lagged behind the business-to-consumer landscape for much of the past decade.  Most B2B intent solutions today rely on the same set of underlying data generated by limited media cooperators and third-party cookie tracking.  Existing offerings only provide weekly batches of buyer intent on a finite number of topics because of heavy data processing that takes days to complete, negating opportunities to reach buyers at the opportune moment.  Other solutions offer late-stage intent, where vendors have already been identified, and it is too late for the addition of competing solutions.”

“ZoomInfo: Acquires Clickagy to Deliver Streaming Intent Data,” ZoomInfo Press Release, October 15, 2020.

Clickagy was founded in 2013 and based in Atlanta.  Clickagy CEO Harry Maugans has been named a VP of Product Management.

“Robust business data has always been the biggest hurdle keeping us from offering a transformative B2B product,” said Maugans.  “But now with ZoomInfo, we’re giving sellers and marketers the ability to further propel their go-to-market motions more effectively and efficiently.”

Actionability and usability have been significant issues that slowed the adoption and hampered the ROI of intent data.  Shuck laid out his vision of how Clickagy intent, tied to ZoomInfo company and contact data, will create significant customer value:

“The B2B world has been largely behind the B2C world with respect to using intent to activate go-to-market motions.  The primary reason for this lag is that B2B Intent offerings were never connected to the companies and the professionals at those companies in a way that would allow seamless activation.  By combining Clickagy’s powerful Intent with ZoomInfo’s robust database of companies and professionals, we unlock the power of intent for every B2B Go-to-Market organization…

Soon, go-to-market organizations will be able to build workflows that tell them instantly when Fintech companies in California, who have Snowflake in their tech stack, at least 100 employees, and $50M in funding, begin spiking on research for “cloud data platforms”.  That signal can simultaneously kick-off a workflow that captures the Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers, and other key stakeholders at those Fintech companies, check for open opportunities in CRM, and begin marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM campaigns against those decision makers…

Said another way, our customers will be able to create behavioral filters and overlay them across live web traffic, capture highly-refined intent signals in real time, and make them actionable within seconds.  This lets them engage prospects while they’re still in the research mode with a buying mentality—not weeks later when they’ve moved on to something else, or worse, after they’ve already made their decision.

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Shuck, “Why ZoomInfo is Acquiring Clickagy”

Intent data becomes more valuable when it can cast a wide net, gather and interpret signals with a high level of precision, and promptly deliver these signals.  It is in these dimensions that ZoomInfo has confidence in the breadth and heuristics of its acquisition.

Clickagy opens up the “black box” of intent data rules, offering a “robust and configurable technology that unlocks those algorithms and enables administrators to adjust the logical rules, keywords, inclusions, exclusions, and thresholds used to determine when a company is indeed exhibiting intent for a particular keyword or topic in order to reduce false positives.”  Transparency and configurability provide “unprecedented control” over the quality of intent signals.

Compliance

ZoomInfo Intent complies with privacy rules.  Clickagy does not collect any personally identifiable information.  Information is collected in the aggregate at the account level.  Instead of revealing who is conducting the research, Zoominfo identifies “functional decision-makers” at the account who are likely involved in purchasing decisions related to the intent signal.

Clickagy does not use cookies but instead relies on “privacy clusters” that are “persistent micro-groupings” of approximately 3 to 8 individuals who are “mathematically bound together to act as a single, trackable and targetable entity.”  As no PII is gathered, privacy clusters are consistent with GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and COPPA.  According to Clickagy, “As they’re not privacy invasive on a 1-to-1 level, Privacy Clusters do not require notice or opt-in consent for tracking.  Privacy Clusters allow brands to maintain the advertising efficacy they are used to while maintaining compliance with constantly changing worldwide privacy legislation.”

Clickagy also offers audience targeting and activation across 300 DMPs and DSPs.  ZoomInfo already supports website visitor intelligence.

Deal terms were not disclosed.  ZoomInfo said the deal would have a non-material impact on their fourth-quarter financial results.  

No company size data was provided, but LinkedIn lists 26 employees at Clickagy.

ZoomInfo Acquires Clickagy

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor ZoomInfo acquired real-time intent vendor Clickagy, “a leading provider of artificial intelligence-powered buyer intent data.”

Along with the acquisition, ZoomInfo announced the launch of Streaming Intent, which alerts customers when companies display above-average B2B topic search activity.

The acquisition is DiscoverOrg/ZoomInfo’s fourth over the past two years but the first since ZoomInfo went public in June.  In 2019, DiscoverOrg acquired rival sales and marketing intelligence vendor ZoomInfo before rebranding itself as ZoomInfo Technologies.  It also had two tuck-ins last year: NeverBounce, an email verification vendor that it was already using for data verification, and Komiko, the underpinnings of its Inbox AI service.

There are six major categories of B2B intelligence, and ZoomInfo is a significant player in four of them: Contacts, Technographics, Sales Triggers, and Intent Data.  They also provide firmographics, but this remains an area for future growth and development.  The category where they do not offer datasets is financial services intelligence, including company financials, filings (e.g. SEC EDGAR, UCC, UK Companies House), and risk reports (credit and supplier).

Deal Rationale

“In the last year alone, we’ve had literally hundreds of thousands of conversations with customers and prospects and one thing is clear—they want intent data to live at the core of how they go to market,” blogged CEO Henry Schuck about the rationale for acquiring Clickagy.  “And over the course of those calls it’s easy to see intent data taking a seat right alongside the two most important pieces of business information—account and contact data.  The three together, driving account identification, targeting, and segmentation will soon be table stakes for how sellers and marketers identify their next best customers.”

Schuck emphasized that product design at ZoomInfo is iterative with plans for improving a product in place before each release goes to production.  Shuck called their previous intent offerings good, but not good enough.  This drive to improve their intent services led them to investigate best-of-breed intent data solutions to enhance their offering.  Their research led them to Clickagy.

“Clickagy had built a robust data processing engine that looks at billions of key data points across millions of websites and then uses robust natural language processing and artificial intelligence to categorize and make sense of those data points.  Their technology, approach to data collection, privacy-first perspective, and focus on intent data made it clear that we not only wanted Clickagy to be a part of our intent product, but we needed Clickagy to be a part of ZoomInfo.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

ZoomInfo Intent will continue to provide “good keywords, quality-focused data science, [and] industry-leading account data,” but now “casts a wider net” and delivers actionable intent throughout the day.  Combining the companies will “dramatically shorten the path from data, to decision, to action,” blogged Shuck.

“B2B intent data is becoming core to the way modern go-to-market organizations prioritize their outreach to prospects and customers,” wrote Schuck.  “Our acquisition of Clickagy enables us to scale intent to provide what will soon be the market’s most predictive and complete B2B intent data set for sellers and marketers.  We believe this acquisition both exemplifies our mission to continuously innovate and cements our position as the pacesetter for data-driven sales and marketing outreach.”


Tomorrow I will wrap up my discussion of the acquisition with an overview of Streaming Intent and Clickagy’s approach to data privacy.

Echobot British Data (Part II)

German Sales and Marketing Intelligence firm Echobot is entering the British market with a UK Data Pack for its CONNECT company research and TARGET prospecting services. I covered the CONNECT service yesterday. Today I’ll be delving into the TARGET offering.

Echobot TARGET supports prospect list building for companies and contacts against a broad set of British and firmographic variables, including UK SICs, postal codes, counties, web technologies, and company signals.  Radius searching around postal codes lets reps target prospects near their home, office, or a client they plan to visit.  

TARGET also provides a set of event signals for prospecting and alerting.  German screening supports over 30 event categories, but the UK edition is limited to eight triggers, including M&A, exec changes, and partnerships.  The English-language signals are still being built out and will be released as Echobot individually tunes them.

Contact list building supports eighteen departments, five job levels, job title, and field availability (e.g. email, direct dial, XING link, LinkedIn link).

TARGET Lists are displayed as a set of company tiles with a business description, contact information, and the most recent signal.  Tiles may be expanded for additional attribute display of web technologies, social links, and firmographics.  Users may also link to the CONNECT profile and click through older signals.

TARGET Lists include a segmentation report with an industry pie chart at the two-digit SIC level, company size pyramid, and company heat map.  When rolling over the segmentation reports, ALT-text provides additional details about each industry slice or company employment wedge.  Users may click on the industry pie chart to drill down into a segment.  Clicking on the heat map takes the user to a full-screen view for zooming and recentering.

TARGET lists may be downloaded in four formats (Excel, CSV, JSON, and Salesforce), so records may be analyzed by sales or marketing, uploaded into Salesforce, or delivered to developers.  Users may download up to 20,000 records at a time.

TARGET users may also save lists, share lists, or use lists for suppression (exclusion lists).  Search criteria may be saved for re-use and alerting when new companies or contacts meet the search criteria.

A single region starts at €499 / month for both TARGET and CONNECT.  Licensing both the UK and D-A-CH regions raises the price by €299 / month.  Echobot is offering a €100 / month discount to customers that license their solution before the end of the year.  A seven-day free trial of CONNECT is available to prospects.  TARGET users receive a demo and a single-day, capped-download trial.

Echobot, like many sales and marketing intelligence vendors, has continued to grow during the pandemic.  The firm added over twenty staffers this year and posted record revenue this summer.

“The expansion of the market into the English-speaking area is an important step into the future for us.  It has never been more important for companies to digitally set up their sales and marketing processes.  We are very pleased about the strong growth and the fact that we are able to support our customers beyond our borders.”

Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg

We are beginning to see continental sales and marketing intelligence companies build UK or pan-European services.  Along with Echobot, French vendor SparkLane offers a UK service, and Scandinavian vendor Vainu has beta offerings for the UK, France, and the US.  Of course, we are also seeing UK firms build European services with Rhetorik, Cognism, and DueDil offering European datasets.

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.

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

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.

6Sense – Outreach Integration

A new 6Sense integration with Outreach helps reps plan account activities from within their CRM and then take actions through the Outreach Sales Engagement Platform.  6Sense insights help reps “prioritize their Outreach strategy, understand their buyers, and time their outreach based on AI-driven predictions of where accounts are in the buying journey.”

6Sense warms up accounts and determines when they are in-market and ready for sales outreach.  With a single click on a contact record, reps can start an Outreach sequence.  If a sequence is already underway, the rep is notified.

“The combination of having comprehensive account and contact data, the right workflow, a customized cadence, and personalized messaging based on buyer behavior can be the difference between a loss and a win,” blogged 6Sense.

The two platforms are complementary with 6Sense managing marketing outreach, enriching data, and scoring prospects and Outreach managing multi-channel sales communications, including email, phone call, text message, social media, direct mail, video, and calendaring.

While SEP ecosystem profiles often rehash features and one partner’s messaging, 6Sense and Outreach focused on their joint value proposition:

“For customers of 6sense and Outreach, our partnership means a union of insight and education around intent and engagement data necessary to target the right accounts and contacts, as well as the predictable, real-time pace at which to engage and ultimately increase conversion rates.  Sales intelligence technology such as ours helps sales reps focus on the more human moments throughout the buyer journey.  Together, 6sense and Outreach help marketing and sales spend less on the time-consuming, calculated risks of sifting through seemingly qualified leads and haphazardly reaching out to them.”

6Sense Blog

The partners highlighted additional benefits, including more relevant sales conversations based upon 6Sense sales intelligence, expanding messaging across the buying committee, and next-best-action recommendations that help reps “better prioritize their day and make stronger connections with buyers.”

Seismic Interactive Content

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic released Interactive Content, a set of microapps and LiveContent presentations that lets remote sales reps “come close to mimicking an in-person environment, in which they are adapting to buyer reactions and feedback in near real-time.”  Interactive Content helps revenue organization deliver “immersive, engaging” digital experiences “with just a few clicks.”

A Tiled integration supports Seismic microapps that delivers “memorable evergreen content like digital brochures, pitch decks, 3D interactive visuals, and more.”

“Microapps unleash creative storytelling.  Organizations that deliver their messages in conversational, self-directed ways will win.  Those that don’t will be left behind,” said Tiled CEO Darrell Swain.  “Linear content will ultimately go the way of print.  We are moving into an experiential era that requires a new interactive content format that allows for the creation of rich, immersive experiences, without the need for code.”

Tiled microapps deliver “immersive experiences” with “evergreen content that captures buyers’ attention.”  The apps are interactive and drive engagement through stories “that resonate in a way buyers will remember.”

Seismic describes microapps as “a new content type that combines the interactivity of a mini-website or an app with the ease of document delivery.  Use cases include event invites, digital product brochures, buyer’s guides, and eBooks.

The microapp builder resides within Seismic’s Content Manager and supports drag n’ drop, interactive ‘tiles’ that deliver content as “scrollable image galleries and panes, in-line videos, quizzes, and more.”  The builder is a no-code service that supports adaptive display across mobile, desktop, and tablets.  Microapps may be reviewed and approved before publishing to targeted audiences.

While microapps support one-to-many interactive communications at the top of the funnel, LiveContent supports one-to-one, personalized communications at the bottom of the funnel.  LiveContent is built with familiar authoring tools that “easily transform traditional presentations into personalized, memorable, dynamic stories.”  Content is delivered in an “always-on” mode, as it is “intended to be.”

Seismic LiveContent converts standard presentations with embedded animations, transitions, videos, GIFs, and voiceovers “delivered remotely, exactly how a seller would deliver in person: in presentation mode.”  Seismic stores the original presentation file, allowing content creators to update LiveContent presentations based on page-by-page engagement analytics quickly.  The initial release supports Microsoft PowerPoint, but additional presentation formats will “follow soon.”

“Presentations are not intended to just be scrolled through,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “LiveContent allows a buyer to engage with a presentation remotely in a similar way that a seller would engage a buyer in person.  With our Summer 2020 release, we are bringing sales content to life.”

According to Seismic, interactive content is preferred to static material, with double the conversion rate of “passive” content.  91% of buyers prefer interactive/visual content and are twice as likely to share interactive content.  81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention, and 45% believe that its effective for educating prospects (vs. 6% for static content).  88% contend that it is effective at differentiating the brand.

The CSO Insights 2019 Sales Enablement report found that 57.7% of buyers saw little difference between sellers with vendors blending together.  Only 31.9% of buyers felt that at least one vendor succeeded in differentiating itself.

Interactive content supports flexible navigation allowing reps to quickly transition to relevant use cases, products, or services during sales conversations.  “You can get a broad set of content—as large as any slide deck—and deep content that drills down into the details of your business solutions,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Manager Neicole Crepeau.  “But it doesn’t have to feel burdensome, and it can be easy to navigate in the middle of a meeting.”

Users can embed questionnaires, videos, assessments, and calculators.  They can let clients drive the discussion, “asking them to enter information or answer questions and choose what they want to know more about,” continued Crepeau.  “By flipping the conversation and putting the customer in the driver’s seat during a meeting, you ensure engagement and that you’re truly talking about topics that resonate with the prospect.”

“Buyer expectations are high, and if the content brands are serving them is not relevant or engaging, they will disregard it.  Today it’s not just about what you say; it’s also how you say it.  Content fatigue and information overload have become particularly pronounced in our new all-digital work environment.  Sellers and marketers are in need of content types that captivate their audiences and move them through the buyer journey faster.”

Seismic CEO Doug Winter

Interactive Content will be available as an add-on service.  Seismic does not disclose its pricing.

Sales Navigator Q3 2020: Listening to the Buyer

LinkedIn is rolling out its third-quarter Sales Navigator release.  The enhancements focus on “features that help you put your buyers first through intelligent action, simplified day-to-day activities, and consistent insight into keeping relationships warm.”  The release theme is “listening to the buyer.”

LinkedIn is dipping its toes into intent data with Buyer Interest Alerts that signal when employees or corporate leaders from a saved account have visited the company’s LinkedIn Page or company website.  Buyer Interest Alerts are available in conjunction with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and delivered through the Sales Navigator Enterprise edition.  

Marketers install a snippet of code to their website that drive the notifications.  They can then track conversion rates, retarget visitors, and analyze visitor demographics.  The code also powers Buyer Interest Alerts within Sales Navigator.

“With Buyer Interest Alerts, you have buying intent insights that help you to decide when to engage, allowing you to provide a timelier and more customized buyer experience,” blogged Lindsey Edwards, the Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions.  “As we strengthen our buyer intent models with the rich buyer insight that the LinkedIn network contains, we’ll continue to enhance our Interest Alerts to include more signals that will allow you to target the right buyer at the right time.”

Buyer Interest Alerts are anonymous.  LinkedIn notifies the user if there is a visitor from the company but does not disclose details beyond account name, seniority level (i.e. Leadership or Employee), and geography.  Users can then search for Linkedin Members that match these criteria.  Anonymity ensures GDPR compliance.

While many vendors are now offering visitor intelligence, Sales Navigator is the only service that combines LinkedIn company profile views with visitor intelligence.

Account-Level Buyer Interest is not yet supported but is on the product roadmap.

LinkedIn, which has often suffered from spam alerts that overwhelm users, is employing predictive AI to surface the critical notifications for “building and maintaining the relationship with your buyer.”  Users may filter alerts by Lead, Account, shared activity, and alert type with the “most urgent and timely” alerts displayed at the top of the list.

Sales Navigator is also improving its synchronization with Salesforce and MS Dynamics.  Users can now bring their book of business into Sales Navigator through the automated syncing of Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities.  The syncing improves the delivery of people and company alerts and insights within Navigator.  CRM synchronization is available as a feature of the Team and Enterprise Editions.

To improve relationships, LinkedIn is now reporting on LinkedIn outreach activity across all Sales Navigator editions.  Lead Lists (followed members) now track LinkedIn engagement with additional columns for actions by the Sales Navigator user and subsequent responses:

  • InMail and Messages sent, responses received, and attachments clicked
  • Connection requests sent from Sales Navigator and LinkedIn and accepted requests
  • Smart Links sent and opened

Lead and Account List sizes were increased from 250 to 1,000, expanding the scope of contacts and companies tracked.  Users may also take bulk actions on up to 25 Lead or Account records at a time, making it easier to remove them from lists or move them from one list to another.

Sales Navigator is well-positioned to assist sales reps during the pandemic as its messaging tools are not location or time-specific.  Sales professionals can reach out with InMails and Connection Requests, and prospective buyers can respond asynchronously.  SDRs and AEs don’t need to obtain (or guess at emails) or place direct dials that go unanswered at empty offices.  Furthermore, Smart Links, launched earlier this year, provides a tool for sharing documents and multi-media with view tracking.

“In what continues to be a unique and challenging moment in history, buyers and sellers, alike, are adjusting to a new normal.  Just like you, they’re juggling the pressures of succeeding in their day-jobs, while also managing their personal lives — homeschooling, daycare, elder care, multiple people working from home, and/or reduced income.  The hurdles might look different from buyer to buyer, but one thing is consistent — they need to feel confident that you understand their challenges and goals.  In the end, you aren’t necessarily selling a product or service, you’re selling a trusted relationship, and the person at the center of that relationship is the buyer.”

Lindsey Edwards, Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

By the end of the year, the Deals functionality will be integrated directly into the Sales Navigator workflow.  This enhancement will improve relationship status and pipeline visibility.