Hippo Video for Outreach

Hippo Video is now offering personalized video to Outreach customers.  The integration helps sales reps include video into their sales process, which in turn increases conversion rates and accelerates the sales cycle.  Sales reps can create, share, and track personalized video content embedded in Outreach sequences, templates, snippets, and one-to-one emails.  Heatmap analytics track user interaction.  Hippo Video also supports a video library.

Videos can be created for each objective across the full sales cycle, allowing sales and marketing to send targeted videos for each stage.  For example, reps can send introductory videos to establish rapport with the prospect and later send a product demo once the prospect has shown interest.

“Videos will go a long way in establishing a personal connection and trust with the recipient as against insipid text-heavy emails,” said Hippo Video CEO Karthi Mariappan.

Hippo Video claims a 300% lift in response rates from embedded videos.  Other firms, such as Vidyard, have found similar lift rates from personalized videos.

Users can also add actionable calls to action (CTAs) within videos, which are then embedded within sequenced emails in Outreach.  CTAs include meeting links, custom polls, annotations, and lead gen forms.  CTAs can be inserted in the middle or at the end of the video.

Integration is described as straightforward:

  1. Sign up for Hippo Video;
  2. Install the Hippo Video Chrome extension;
  3. Turn on Hippo Video in Outreach.  

Reps can then record personalized videos via their webcam and embed them within email templates, snippets, and direct emails.

By seamlessly integrating videos in your sales outreach, your prospects are sure to experience highly personalized, engaging content that will humanize the entire sales process, which would have otherwise been possible only within a face-to-face meeting.

[The] Sales process is spontaneous.  Therefore, integrating sales with video to build a relationship of trust with the prospect should not leave you flustered.  Tracking their interaction [and] qualifying them should be reasonably straightforward as well.

Santhoshi Natarajan, Hippo Video Content Strategist

Prospect behavior is also tracked, allowing reps to prioritize their follow-ups based on views and watch interaction percentage, providing additional intent metrics beyond email open and response rates.

Videos may be analyzed by viewing and drop off points.  “When a prospect drops off the video at a certain point, it’s perhaps time [to] rework your message or focus on a different pain point,” said Natarajan.  “This feature is an added layer on top of your existing metrics and will help you prioritize the prospect who is at the bottom of the sales funnel.”

Hippo Video is a freemium offering.  The free edition provides unlimited hosting but limits bandwidth to 100 GB per month and does not support video emails.  The Pro version ($29 / user / month) provides integrations with Outreach, Gmail, Outlook, and HubSpot.  Other features include professional video editing, custom branding, video cloning, in-video CTAs, contact imports from CRM, and SEO.

Hippo Video allows reps to quickly record a video and send it to prospects via Outreach.

Quora: Do salespeople keep track of their sales activity log?

Sales reps are expected to keep track of their activities (both previous activities and future tasks). Fortunately, Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) such as Outreach, SalesLoft, VanillaSoft, XANT, Yesware, and ConnectLeader do most of this automatically. As touches are completed, they are automatically logged to the SEP and synced with the CRM. The SEP also tracks outcomes (call answered, voicemail drop, email view, email click-through, etc.), records and analyzes calls, and offers recommendations (best practices, next best actions).

This is a fairly new category of software which is mostly used in technology sales but beginning to extend into other B2B categories. Initial functionality focused on Sales Development Reps (SDRs) but richer functionality is being added which assists all sales positions.

These platforms set up cadences / sequences of planned activities that include email, phone, social, text, inbound, etc. Throughout the day, the system recommends the next best action. Because much of the work is scheduled by cadences, reps do not need to record most follow up tasks. Cadences include A/B tested email templates, scripts, and schedules so reps can be confident that they are employing a tested strategy. Email personalization is encouraged to improve click through rates and convey authenticity.

Other features of these platforms include

  • Automated meeting setup
  • Inbound call and chat support
  • The insertion of short personal videos from vendors such as Vidyard, Drift, Hippo Video, Videolicious, etc.
  • Recording, Transcription, and Analysis of calls and video meetings. Key moments are indexed for review (e.g. Next Steps, Pricing, Competitors, Feature Analysis, Talk Length and Ratios, Junk Words, etc.) and coaching. Call snippets may be forward to managers for questions (How should I handle this situation next time? Can we support this request?). They can also be forwarded to customer support (what is the status on this problem? Could you open a ticket?) and customer success (Is this feature supported?). Some vendors even support video libraries for training and coaching purposes.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator (SNAP) integrations
  • Cadence Pause (e.g. out of office) and Stop (e.g. Meeting set)
  • A/B testing and analytics for Sales and Marketing Operations
  • Opt-out tracking in general (do not contact) and specific (do not contact via text or phone, but email is OK).

If you are interested in evaluating SEPs, I wrote an overview that discusses the value proposition, key features, and questions to ask vendors.

Administrative Control Screen for Email Synching.
SalesLoft Administrative Control Screen for Email Synching.

Market Insights Newsletter Splits in Half

This was one of the two weeks a year that I take off from writing my Market Insights Newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that I’m splitting the newsletter into two newsletters.  When I started writing the Market Insights Newsletter back in 2012, it focused on Sales Intelligence, Social Selling, and B2B DaaS.  Since then, B2B DaaS has increased greatly in importance, and I’ve added adjacent topics including Sales Engagement Platforms, data privacy / compliance, ABM, and Customer Data Platforms.  The result was a doubling in the length of the newsletter and an increase in the frequency that articles were bumped.  Some features are often bumped for a month or longer due to length.

In August, I took my summer vacation, but there was no August news break.  It took me a few months to catch up on announcements from that week.  This led me to the realization that I needed to split my newsletter in half to improve both topical focus and story currency.  The split will also allow me to profile more startups.

Most of my readers will continue to receive a Sales Intelligence (SI) newsletter which covers

  • Sales Intelligence
  • B2B DaaS
  • Data Hygiene
  • ABM
  • B2B Data (Companies, Contacts, Intent, Technographics, and Triggers)
  • Customer Data Platforms
  • Compliance (GDPR, CCPD, KYC, AML, PEP)

The SI edition of Market Insights will continue to publish on Sundays.

The new Sales Engagement (SE) newsletter covers

  • Sales Engagement Platforms
  • Hybrid Engagement Platforms (Sales Intelligence + ICP / TAM + Sales Engagement)
  • Sales Engagement Platform Ecosystem (e.g. Chat, Video, Attribution, Meeting Management, Analytics)
  • Sales Enablement

The SE edition will publish on Mondays.

Contact me if you’d like to be set up with a trial edition of either newsletter. I offer SMB pricing for startups, so don’t assume that I am unaffordable like other analyst services.

SalesLoft Acquires Costello

Costello Dashboard within SalesLoft

Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft acquired Costello earlier this week.  Costello, which describes itself as an opportunity management software company, supports quick deal updates, guided selling playbooks, pipeline collaboration, and real-time CRM sync.  Other features include deal management, dashboards, and dynamic note-taking.

SalesLoft said that the acquisition “furthers SalesLoft’s mission to help account executives not only prospect and build pipeline, but manage their day and their deals, from creation through close.”

“Combining Costello and SalesLoft gives all sellers, whether they’re pipeline builders, closers, or responsible for upsells and renewals, a platform to deliver the ultimate buyer experience and close more revenue.  Sales engagement is now the place all reps can start and end their days,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter.

“Sales Engagement isn’t just about generating pipeline.  It is about all the people who engage with customers and prospects throughout their journey.  We are working with our customers to constantly evolve what sales engagement can do for them.  It now represents the complete workflow application for sellers.  It’s a giant leap towards solving the sales challenges I hear from revenue leaders all the time.”

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

Costello has been available as a SalesLoft application partner since last year.  “The companies will continue to support existing Costello customers, invest and enhance product capabilities, and natively integrate Costello capabilities into the SalesLoft platform,” stated the firm.

Solution matrix posted by SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

SalesLoft listed four sales challenges that are addressed by the merged company: updating opportunities, app switching, new hire account messaging, and simplified pipeline review.  

During calls, Costello acts as a “real-time co-pilot” that ensures sales reps ask key questions, handle objections, and tell relevant customer stories.

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.

Costello is SalesLoft’s second acquisition.  They previously acquired NoteNinja which served as the basis for their meeting scheduling and intelligence functionality.  SalesLoft plans to natively integrate Costello functionality into the SalesLoft platform while investing and enhancing product capabilities.

SalesLoft supports over 2,300 companies and has grown revenue 1,000 percent over the past three years.  The firm has 450 employees.

“Sales Engagement platforms have started to make significant progress with sales organizations.  When we look across our dataset of high-growth early-adopters, 69% are leveraging a Sales Engagement platform today. As the sales engagement platform market looks to expand to the more widespread market of sales reps, we expect the platform’s feature set will also expand beyond traditional prospecting channels to serve all the day-to-day needs of the sales rep including enablement, planning and forecasting and productivity.”

Craig Rosenberg, Co-founder and Chief Analyst of TOPO

Financial details were not disclosed.

Hybrid Engagement Platforms

Cognism Intelligence within Salesforce. Hybrid Engagement Platforms Continuously update CRMs and MAPs.

The market is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad set of sales and marketing services.  The boundary between sales and marketing is quickly crumbling.  Hybrid engagement services manage both data and workflows.  Features include

Future functionality will include Next Best Actions, Embedded 1:1 Video, SNAP (Sales Navigator) Integrations, and Programmatic Advertising.

No vendor provides all of these services and some provide them as separate offerings, but firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, Infogroup (Salesgenie), Lead411, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Cognism have all taken steps over the past two years to meet the emerging requirements of the CRO.

For the moment, I’m calling these emerging offerings Hybrid Engage Platforms, but that is a placeholder name as the market evolves.

SalesTech Spend Continues to Increase

SalesTech adoption rates and spend continue to increase according to a recent SalesTech study of 268 B2B sales and marketing managers conducted by Smart Selling Tools.  Only 3% of respondents are planning on reducing their SalesTech spend in 2020 while 6% plan to spend significantly more in 2020 and 41% slightly more.  Expanded spending will be focused on the top and middle of the funnel followed by management and reporting.  Skills Development, Onboarding, and Bottom of the Funnel expenditures have a lower priority.

Over the past year, SalesTech spend per user has increased significantly.  In 2017, only one-third of respondents spent in excess of $150 per user, but two years later, 65% spend more than $150 per user.  As the average number of sales tools in use rose only modestly from 4.5 to 4.9 over the past two years, the spend per product has likely increased.  The number of applications that are used by a majority of respondents trebled to six (CRM, Online Meetings, Lead List/Database, Social Selling, Account Targeting, and Skills Training & Reinforcement) with an additional four at 47% or higher.  CRMs are used by 75% of respondents, lead/list databases by 65%, and social selling by 60%.  The one category that dropped in usage was online meetings.

Adoption rates of technologies were fairly even by company size with large firm (500+) employees more likely to have adopted Sales Enablement, Skills Training & Reinforcement, and Sales Performance & Compensation.  Conversely, firms with fewer than 500 employees were more likely to have adopted Prospect Engagement (Sales Engagement) solutions.

Account targeting tools for ideal customer prospecting grew from 4% to 51% over the past year, a clear indication that ABM strategies have been adopted.  Lead Engagement (communicating at scale with early-stage, unqualified leads) grew from 11% to 49%, while social selling grew from 10% to 60%.

“The significant increase in usage of sales tools across the board indicates a trend (likely irreversible).  If your organization is slow to take up the use of sales tools, you could get left behind. Even so, we don’t recommend adding new sales tools without considering what’s required to keep them up to date and who will be responsible, having a plan for measuring success (what does “Good” look like?), and deciding what’s required to establish and grow user adoption.”

Smart Selling Tools founder Nancy Nardin.

The top three industries represented in the study were technology (42%), Financial Services (9.3%), and Manufacturing (8.7%).

Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms: A Guide for Purchasing SEPs

I am pleased to announce that my next enterprise software purchasing report is available through this website and my partners at Tenbound. “Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms: A Guide for Purchasing SEPs” assists with the purchasing decision of this rapidly developing SalesTech category.

Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms

Single User License (October Discounted Price)

$495.00

The report is available as both a single buyer license for smaller firms evaluating the sector and as a buyer-committee license for larger firms. The Buyer Committee license covers a team of seven and includes a Word document checklist to assist with the evaluation.

Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms – Buying Commitee License

Seven-User License (October Discounted Price) + Word Document Checklist

$1,195.00

Report Coverage

The 13-page report covers the following topics:

  • Sales Engagement Platform
    • Definition
    • Value Proposition
    • Core Features
    • Other Features
    • Industry Pricing
  • Purchasing Questions

I also offer detailed overviews of several major vendors:

  • SalesLoft Product Overview
  • VanillaSoft Product Overview (coming October 18)

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

SalesLoft Conversation Intelligence

Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft rebranded its Meeting Intelligence functionality as Conversation Intelligence.  SalesLoft describes four sets of features which help reps schedule meetings and then listen to, understand, and engage with customers and prospects.  SalesLoft supports a broad set of conversation tools including appointment setting; automated recording, transcription, and indexing of calls; time-stamped notes, and call analytics.  This functionality is available for prospect, customer, and internal calls.  Managers, mentors, and trainers can join calls or whisper into a sales rep’s ear.

“Through the evolution of SalesLoft’s platform and user experience, one feature has changed so much that its prior name no longer did it justice,” wrote SalesLoft Head of Community Aly Merritt.  “Meeting Intelligence is now Conversation Intelligence, because sales isn’t just meetings – it’s every conversation and interaction.”

Call recordings can be stored in a training library or shared for coaching or questions.  For example, if a sales rep does not know the answer to a question, it can be forwarded directly to customer support or engineering for a response.

Conversation Intelligence supports both SalesLoft’s native dialer and leading web meeting applications: Zoom, GoToMeeting, join.me, UberConference, Cisco WebEx, and Cisco WebEx Enterprise.

Sales calls come in many forms: prospecting, discovery, demos, stakeholder alignment, and so on.  All of these interactions make up the foundation for the long-term customer relationship.  High-value customer relationships are made possible when prospects feel that the relationship they are entering into is mutually beneficial.

How can you build such a relationship?  By working to ensure your prospects feel heard and confident that you understand their needs.  Work to engage them throughout their journey.  After all, sales doesn’t stop when the deal closes, nor does engagement cease when a seller hangs up the phone.

▪ SalesLoft Product News

SalesLoft said that it is “designed to flex around the needs of the user based not only on their role but also on their preferred workflow.  This empowers SalesLoft customers to offer consistent value at every stage.”

“Sales meetings are the moments in the sales cycle where you have the opportunity to provide the most value for your customers.  As such, they are some of the single biggest opportunities for your team to influence revenue.  It’s where your deals are won and lost,” wrote the firm.  “Despite this, sellers often don’t get the opportunity to improve on this critical component of the sales process.  Combine this with the challenges that face sales leaders around how much time it takes to digest sales meetings, gain visibility into what’s really happening, and be proactive in the deal cycle.”

RambleChat – SalesLoft Partnership

Real-time chats with account owners may be initiated from emails or any other outbound or marketing content which supports URLs.
Real-time Ramble chats with account owners may be initiated from SalesLoft emails or any other outbound or marketing content which supports URLs.

Conversational marketing vendor RambleChat is the latest partner available through the SalesLoft app directory.  Along with real-time website chat, joint customers can embed chat into SalesLoft email cadences. RambleChat then routes sales conversations to account owners “providing a more personalized interaction via chat.”  Joint customers can also employ dynamic fields in SalesLoft to customize greetings with personal and company names.

“The SalesLoft/RambleChat integration gives a whole new capability for marketing and sales teams.  RambleChat is the only chat platform that can instantly open chat from any online source.  Ramble then routes sales conversations to the right account owner — enhancing both demand generation and ABM campaigns.  And now, for the first time, chat can be an integral part of sales plays and interactions in the SalesLoft platform.”

Sean Kester, VP of Platform Strategy at SalesLoft.

Single Click Chat (SCC), RambleChat’s patent-pending technology, extends chat capabilities from the website to outbound communications.  So long as a URL can be embedded, chat conversations can be initiated via a click.  Along with corporate websites, SCC enables chat initiation from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, digital ads, landing pages, blogs, QR codes, and product collateral.  SCC allows sales reps to “meet buyers at the moment of interest.”

Ramble automatically logs chat conversation histories and details at the SalesLoft Account level.  When a user navigates to an account, chat history is displayed under the “Notes” section.  If a SalesLoft user desires more in-depth information about the chat conversation, a URL is automatically provided for the user to click.

RambleChat has been in partnership discussions with SalesLoft since at least March when Ramble CEO Justin McDonald attended SalesLoft’s Rainmaker conference.  Instead of simply building a website chat solution, the firms chose to “build better pipelines by extending chat beyond corporate websites and into SalesLoft Cadences and social channels via RambleChat’s Single Click Chat.”

“As we met with joint customers in mid 2018, a constant theme surfaced; the market was struggling to find practical and tangible means of Account-Based Selling and Marketing.  There’s no shortage of ABM technology, but many lacked quick deployment and immediate results for sales organizations. This became the MO for the RambleChat + SalesLoft partnership, and we landed with a more powerful integration that fills the ABM gap for both sales and marketing.”

Ramble CEO Justin McDonald

“I’m immensely excited about our joint efforts.  This integration delivers new opportunities for sales engagement and improves functionality for sales reps to execute account-based selling.  Account-based marketing (ABM) requires an equal effort from Sales, and RambleChat delivers immediate functionality to bridge the gap for SalesLoft customers,” said RambleChat CEO Justin McDonald.

I’m Kvetching about Grammar Again

“Schoolmarm” Royal Daulton figurine (Source: WannabeEditor on Wikipedia)

I’m starting to feel like the schoolmarm* calling out grammar and spelling errors. I am not normally a stickler about such things, but sales reps and marketers need to do a better job on the basics. I called out marketers a few weeks ago (“How Not to Write a Press Release“) and this week it is sales reps. Here is my letter to Sales Reps:

As you adopt sales engagement tools, you will be sending more emails, but writing fewer words for each email.  Your email templates should be perfectly grammatical, so the 20% that you write to personalize your messages should also be perfectly grammatical.  I’m not seeing this.  Saturday, I received emails from two different tactile marketing companies (the bizarre category name of companies that send direct mail gifts) with run-ons and missing punctuation. 

You do yourself and your company no favors by failing basic grammar checks (I use Grammarly) before hitting send.  Good grammar supports clarity, displays professionalism, and signals that the small things matter.

Here is an example from earlier today:

“Call a play to connect with me for a quick overview and I’ll send you an example NFL team swag item (your team) or a $25 Dinner eGift if you are more of an NHL fan, like myself.”  

The Call to Action from a tactile marketing vendor

If you received this sentence in an email, would you be more or less inclined towards their call to action (CTA) due to the poor grammar and twisted syntax?

Yes, the $25 gift is a strong CTA, but the poor grammar undermines trust. If you can’t do the small things right (e.g. proofing your email), then why would I assume you would get the big things right (e.g. managing the logistics of thousands of individually packaged and personalized eGifts)?

We all make mistakes when writing, and some of us are better than others at the mechanics of the written word. I’m simply suggesting that you do a quick readthrough of what you write before you send it. Using a grammar checking tool is a good backstop.

Another trick: put on our headphones and use Microsoft Word’s read aloud function. Close your eyes and listen for clarity, word choice, and messaging. Yes, this is a timely step; you may want to reserve it for key decisionmakers at ABM accounts, but sometimes you want to slow down to ensure you get things right.

Word choice is also important. When you are unsure whether you are properly using a word, select a different word or type Define <word> into Google or Bing. For emails, simple words should be employed and jargon avoided.

Bing’s first response to Define Kvetching

And to sales engagement vendors, how about some tools to flag style and grammar issues? As you develop AI tools for email, flag both best practices (e.g. Subject line too long, CTA not in the top third of the body, bullet points lower click through rates) and grammar issues.

Let’s write well, not good.


* Readers of the future: In 2019 the term schoolmarm was a bit antiquated and slightly pejorative, but not on the politically incorrect list of phrases. If in 2022 the term enters the list of micro-aggressions, mea culpa.