Terminus – Outreach Integration

ABM Platform Terminus and Sales Engagement Platform Outreach rolled out an integrated solution to enhance ABM workflows based on shared account data and personalized messaging.  Terminus account data identifies “high-value accounts in real-time to easily kick off highly personalized sequences to the accounts that their marketing teams are targeting.” Outreach multi-channel sequences have been tied into Terminus chat, email signature advertising, and website personalization, providing a personalized customer experience and account-based routing.

“It’s our mission to help marketing and sales together drive full-funnel account engagement,” said Terminus CEO Tim Kopp.  “Now with Terminus, Outreach customers can leverage the powerful account intelligence available in Terminus along with their existing sales engagement programs.   This makes it easier than ever for marketing and sales to better engage with the right accounts and deliver a cohesive experience at every point of the customer journey.”

The integration helps promote sales and marketing alignment through shared data and messaging tools that reduce the friction across email, website, and chat.  

“Meaningful revenue growth happens when sales and marketing are completely aligned and focusing on the accounts that matter most,” remarked Terminus Marketing VP Justin Keller. “Most of the time, that’s easier said than done, but we’re extremely jazzed about this integration because it makes that alignment simple and automatic.”

Terminus’ Chat from Anywhere functionality, based on their 2020 Ramble acquisition, routes chats to the most appropriate sales rep.  Chat from Anywhere links may be embedded in Outreach emails as a CTA.  The chatbot initially manages the conversation before routing the chat to the sales rep.  If the rep isn’t available, the bot can offer to schedule a meeting, offer content, or qualify the prospect.

Chat conversation logs are stored within Outreach notes.

Along with email, Terminus Chat from Anywhere links can be embedded in LinkedIn, Twitter, Landing Pages, etc.

“Rather than an asynchronous back-and-forth on email, you can pull the people you’re emailing directly into a live conversation with your sales team where they can provide a highly-personalized experience based on the account data available from Terminus,” blogged Keller.

The partnership also supports email banner marketing based upon Terminus’ Sigstr acquisition.  Terminus can embed targeted, personalized ads within the signature block of sequenced emails. “This capability opens up a massive new advertising channel ready to promote your most important initiatives,” wrote Keller.  “From general promotion of things like content or events, to targeted one-to-one campaigns that garner outrageous engagement.”

Conversations that originate on a website are now automatically routed to the appropriate account owner in Outreach.  Based on the conversation, those visitors can be automatically enrolled in Outreach sequences to ensure they stay engaged after the chat ends.

“While some segments of the economy are coming back strong, there are still many sectors struggling to find their footing in this new world. Sales and marketing teams are looking to make the most out of fewer accounts and are relying on account-based marketing to drive more revenue,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “But a solid ABM strategy is nothing without powerful data behind it. This integration brings together the actionable insights from Outreach with Terminus’ account intelligence data in one single solution. These connected workflows help sales and marketing accelerate the cycle from engagement to revenue and meet growth expectations as they navigate evolving sector dynamics.”

SalesLoft Doubles ARR and Lands a Unicorn Round

Sales Engagement Platform vendor SalesLoft became the latest SalesTech unicorn, following a $100 million equity investment led by Owl Rock Capital. Insight Partners, HarbourVest, and Emergence also joined the round.  The Series E funding raised SalesLoft’s valuation to $1.1 billion, nearly doubling its April 2019 Series D valuation of $600 million.

The funds will be dedicated towards “transforming the sales industry and helping the world’s companies sell more successfully.” SalesLoft will invest in “new vertical markets, AI / ML-driven insights and product innovation, and further international expansion.”

SalesLoft had a successful 2020, setting up the firm for the valuation raise.  While they were doing well before the pandemic, it provided a “tailwind” that accelerated the need for Sales Engagement solutions.

“The effects of Covid have been a tailwind due to the effects of digital selling,” Porter told TechCrunch. “All sellers immediately became remote. But now the genie is out of the bottle and not going back in. It’s meant that inside sales are now all sales. Whether the opportunities are mid-funnel or upgrades or renewals, we are establishing ourselves as the engagement platform of record because it’s all becoming digital and all sellers are finding more success.”

SalesLoft, which had focused on the mid-market, is enjoying significant success selling to enterprise clients, including Google, LinkedIn (also a strategic partner), Cisco, Dell and IBM. Other clients include Cargill, 3M, and Standard & Poor’s.

Last year, SalesLoft doubled recurring revenue and expanded the breadth of its offering.  When SalesLoft went fully work from home last year, it forced them to rely more fully on their platform. “It was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in our own best practices,” blogged Porter. “And since then, our sales cycles have shortened by 40% and we’ve exceeded our growth plans. Many of our customers are experiencing similar results.”

SalesLoft was also named a leader in Sales Engagement in “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Engagement, Q3 2020.”

“Our goal is and always will be to help our customers win.  This year has accelerated the need for revenue teams across all industries to transform through a digital selling strategy. SalesLoft is a crucial technology for sales teams to perform at their highest potential.”

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

SalesLoft claims to be the only SEP supporting “the three most critical products in digital selling – Cadence for managing customer communications, Conversations for recording calls and meetings, and Deals for managing opportunities.”  SalesLoft helps customers build pipeline, manage active deals, and engage customers across the buyers’ journey.

In 2020, SalesLoft released 140 new features, including 25 additional reports and dashboards.  In December, they added “Coach to Close” functionality and integrated support for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

SalesLoft gave a sneak peek at their 2021 roadmap in December, unveiling two new features: Deal Engagement Scores and Pre-Built Cadence Frameworks.

Deal Engagements Scores employ machine learning to calculate “deal health based on 30+ factors including activity and deal progression data.” They will assist with prioritizing deals in need of attention and improve forecast accuracy “by identifying mismatches between forecast category and deal score.

Pre-built Cadence Frameworks will improve SalesLoft’s time to value by providing a set of templates and cadences across the full lifecycle and various roles (e.g., SDR, AE, CSM).  Inbound frameworks are also supported.  Cadences include a preview with a visual display of the cadence, description, objective, function, and implementation complexity level.  Pre-built cadences offer best practices from SalesLoft and SalesLoft’s partners.

SalesLoft’s product vision is focused on performance across both efficiency and effectiveness and looks to answer three questions:

  1. What is our performance versus plan?  Forecasting for revenue execs
  2. Why are we above or below plan?  Outcome-driven reporting for frontline managers
  3. How can we improve and take action?  Coaching, Workflow, and an AI/ML Recommendation Engine for sellers and frontline managers.

“We know which sales activities lead to the best revenue outcomes,” stated Porter. “Our data science team is bringing insights and best practices into the platform to tee up next best actions and benefit our customers.”

Forecasting and outcome-driven reporting are part of the SalesLoft vision.  Coaching and the Recommendation Engine are areas of continuing development.  SalesLoft is already delivering an “integrated, efficient workflow.”

SalesLoft is moving to quarterly releases.  The next release pack is scheduled for March 15, 2021.

SalesLoft Coach to Close

SalesLoft rolled out its winter release before Christmas.  The lead feature was their Coach to Close functionality that provides frontline managers with “visibility into the specific sales stages where their sellers need the most help.”  Coach to Close aids managers in identifying and proactively coaching reps on the deals that are critical to exceeding quarterly targets.

Coach to Close analyzes stage-to-stage conversion rates at the rep and team level, helping managers identify where deals are being lost and then “quickly drill down into each deal to proactively coach reps through those problem stages.”

“There are always a handful of deals that make or break a quarter.  Helping your sales reps progress and close those deals is your number one priority as a sales leader,” said SalesLoft CRO Steve Goldberg.

Coach to Close provides Deal Analytics (i.e., team and individual conversion rates), a Deal Activity Timeline that tracks account engagement across the buying cycle, and Deal Details that summarize communications, including email, phone, and recorded videos.  

“We are giving our customers the power to unlock and understand their sales data. With outcome-driven reporting and AI/ML-based activity prioritization, sales managers can now spend their time in the areas that will generate the most impact.”

Frank Dale, SalesLoft VP of Product

The other central element in the winter release was integrated support for Microsoft Dynamics 365.  Sales reps can log emails, calls, LinkedIn activities, and other cadence steps directly from MSD.  The Dynamics integration is now generally available.

“Dynamics customers are asking for help as they transform to a digital selling motion,” said Goldberg. “This integration allows companies to leverage all the data in their Dynamics instance to more effectively and efficiently prospect and sell to their customers.”

Other new winter release features include

  • Multi-touch cadence workflows that allow reps to communicate across multiple channels at the same time.  For example, a sales rep can send an introductory email and then Connect on LinkedIn.  Users can run the steps in any order, and emails can be scheduled for later in the day.
  • Bulk edits in workflow management to quickly update users.
  • Filter by Salesforce Opportunity Data lets users filter and sort recorded conversations by Opportunity Stage or other variables.  Users can “easily leverage Salesforce Opportunity data to identify milestone conversions, filter and save views, or access recordings directly from the Opportunity view with our new unified workflows.”

Integrations with Zoho CRM and Qotient talk tracks are coming soon.

November integrations included 6Sense (account data and insights), MonsterConnect (outsourced dialing team), and Vertify (CRM and MAP lead reply analytics).

VanillaSoft Acquires Autoklose (Part II)

Yesterday, I covered VanillaSoft’s acquisition of Autoklose and plans to integrate its email marketing capabilities into the VanillaSoft Sales Engagement Platform. Autoklose will also continue as a standalone offering for SMBs.

The acquisition included the DataUnlimited US B2B contact dataset. VanillaSoft users will be able to subscribe to or purchase leads from both the Autoklose and VanillaSoft platforms.  DataUnlimited spans 40 million US B2B contacts that are revalidated in real-time.  Contact records include name, company, email, phone, address, SIC, URL, and LinkedIn URL.  DataUnlimited is supported by a ten-person data team that verifies data and performs custom research.

Autoklose competitors include Mixmax, Reply.io, Apollo.io, and Cognism.

Following the acquisition, VanillaSoft described itself as a “Tier-2 data provider” that offers B2B contacts.  They target the SMB market and “real-world industries,” such as professional and financial services, manufacturing, and educational fundraising.  Their clients are not bleeding-edge tech firms or large enterprises but smaller firms with full lifecycle sales reps.  Typical customers are price sensitive and resource-constrained with high turnover.  As such, they are late adopters of technology that highly value a solution’s ease-of-use.  VanillaSoft noted that 40% of their customers have yet to deploy a CRM.

“SMBs are looking for ROI, not AI,” stated the firm.

According to VanillaSoft CRO Darryl Praill, “Sales Engagement will become the primary platform used by Sales teams, just as Marketing Automation has become the primary platform used by Marketers.”  Furthermore, the vision of SEPs will expand as they add ABM workflows, marketing automation, contacts, opportunity management, forecasting, chat, and video.

“VanillaSoft will offer a broad, pragmatic sales engagement platform that meets the diverse requirements and price-points of SMB sales teams or individuals in traditional industries,” said Praill.  This will include industry-specific versions of the platform to meet the unique requirements of their core industries.

“One of my favorite things to say when a customer or prospect praises our product is to point out that if they like what VanillaSoft is today, they are going to love what it is tomorrow. We’re making this promise a reality by continuing to grow internal development and incorporating great teams and technology to deliver the best sales engagement tools available.”

VanillaSoft CEO David Hood

VanillaSoft’s acquisition of Autoklose is a smart, strategic move that enhances both its email capabilities and its B2B prospect intelligence.  Sales Engagement vendors have been slow to integrate verified leads into their platforms.  Even the market leaders have developed little more than third-party ‘Send to SEP’ functionality.  

Integrated prospecting will be particularly valuable to VanillaSoft’s customer base of SMBs serving insurance, finance, and manufacturing.  This intelligence gap has led some Sales Intelligence vendors to incorporate a subset of SEP features into their offerings, thus becoming Hybrid Engagement Platforms.  HEP features include cadences (Zoominfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie), dialers (Zoominfo, Data Axle Genie), email (Zoominfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie), email signature management (Cognism/Mailtastic), messaging (LinkedIn Sales Navigator), and event-triggered workflows (Zoominfo).

Privately-held VanillaSoft is based in Plano, TX and Gatineau, Quebec.  The firm is profitable with 6oo customers and 4,000 users (pre-acquisition).  With Autoklose, they now have 88 employees, up 34% this year.  New executives include Shawn Finder (Sales GM); Marko Dinic (Fractional CTO); Vladan Djokic (Senior Dev Lead); and Vedran Rasic (Director, Marketing).

Autoklose was on track for a record year at the time of the acquisition, despite a revenue dip at the beginning of the pandemic.

VanillaSoft Acquires Autoklose

Sales Engagement Platform vendor VanillaSoft acquired outbound email automation platform Autoklose for an undisclosed sum.  The acquisition augments VanillaSoft’s email capabilities and adds Autoklose’s DataUnlimited contact database to its feature set.  

Autoklose offers an all-in-one outbound email automation platform featuring automated lead generation, drip campaigns, calendar scheduling, reporting, and CRM integration.  

“The Autoklose technology and team will make a significant contribution to our vision of establishing VanillaSoft as the number one sales engagement platform for SMB customers in real-world industries such as insurance and fundraising.  After evaluating a number of different technologies and companies in the market, we saw that the capabilities and technology in the Autoklose platform would be a perfect fit for what our customers are looking for to enhance their sales outreach and engagement capabilities.  Further, the founders have a great vision, a passion for the industry, and built up an extremely talented group of people.  We are incredibly excited to bring Autoklose into the VanillaSoft team.”

VanillaSoft CEO David Hood

VanillaSoft is a multi-channel sales engagement platform that supports email, phone, and SMS.  Autoklose provides them with enhanced email cadence capabilities, personalized email automation, and personal sales nurturing.  Autoklose email features include email tracking, email templates, scheduled send, bounce detection, A/B testing, unsubscribe support, multi-media and attachments, and integrated Vidyard and Calendly functionality.  Real-time analytics track emails sent, delivered, opened, CTR, replies, and bounces.

Autoklose email tracking supports Gmail, GSuite, Outlook Office365 inbox, or any other email account via IMAP.

“An integrated, easy-to-use solution is something that SMB organizations with limited resources have been waiting for.  With this acquisition, VanillaSoft stands alone in the marketplace – offering SMB sales teams and individuals in real-world industries an all-in-one solution to meet their unique sales intelligence, email automation, sales nurturing, and sales engagement requirements.”

Mark Hunter, Author & Public Speaker, The Sales Hunter

VanillaSoft will continue selling Autoklose as a standalone sales automation platform with lead data as an add-on and has begun integrating the Autoklose email platform as the back-end for most email sends.  Autoklose will support future inbound email functionality.  Eventually, Autoklose will support a “light” marketing automation service.

“The stand-alone Autoklose platform will remain available to customers and we will be working hard on future development to make it even better,” blogged VanillaSoft CEO David Hood.  “It’s a great option for prospects who aren’t quite ready for – or do not require – a complete sales engagement platform like VanillaSoft.”


Continue to Part II which covers the DataUnlimited contact data set.

Revenue Teams: Go Digital Now (Sales Engagement)

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

Let’s begin with Sales Engagement.

Sales Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zoominfo Beats Back the Summertime Sales Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

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

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

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

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

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.”