Avoma Series A

Conversational Sales vendor Avoma closed on a $12 million Series A led by Headline, with participation from Storm Ventures, Global Founder Capital, Zoom Apps Fund, Operator Partners, Industry Ventures, and existing investors K9 Ventures, Dragon Capital, and Twin Ventures.  Founded in 2017, Avoma has garnered $15 million in total funding.

Avoma combines meeting management, an AI assistant, CRM synchronization, and conversation intelligence into a unified tool.  Other features include meeting snippets, conversational analytics, and keyword searching.

“AI does the first draft, but then you have notes and can go back and highlight notes and provide more context if you need to,” remarked CEO Aditya Kothadiya.

Avoma’s integration partners include

  • CRM: Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zoho
  • Video Collaboration: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet
  • SEP: Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove

The funds will expedite the build-out of their meeting lifecycle assistant.  According to TechCrunch, Avoma will focus on three pillars: AI, user interface, and workflow integrations.   It will invest in its machine learning and natural language processing for notetaking and enhance the user experience.

“Since our launch, we have helped over 300 customers and tens of thousands of professionals save multiple hours per week with AI-generated notes and collaboration and improve meeting outcomes by 30% with actionable insights,” posted Director of Marketing Yaagneshwaran Ganesh on LinkedIn.  “But so far, we have probably accomplished a small percentage of our vision.  Our goal is to not only assist you in notetaking and CRM data entry, but also to help you research attendees, get real-time coaching recommendations, send a follow-up calendar invite, and more.”

Avoma call notes

One of the core value propositions of conversational sales services is their ability to improve the presence of sales reps during calls.  Once relieved of notetaking, sales reps no longer need to delay conversations to jot down notes; instead, they can focus on meeting attendees, gather non-verbal cues, and better manage the discussion flow.

“As a product leader, I was constantly in meetings and spent time taking notes. With every new product, I would hand it over to the customer or product market team but would find that during meetings, I was not listening to what was going on because I was taking notes.  We wanted to apply technology to this so we would make sure nothing was lost.”

Avoma CEO Aditya Kothadiya

Avoma claims that this improved meeting presence results in a thirty percent improvement in meeting outcomes.  Furthermore, reps no longer need to toggle between four or five applications to “prepare for a meeting, take notes, participate, and follow through with participants with action items.”

“With so much context switching and information loss in disparate tools, knowledge professionals spend over 20% of their time on low-value admin tasks,” blogged Kothadiya.  “And that’s why there is an urgent need to streamline and automate workflows across the meeting’s entire lifecycle.”

Avoma is targeting mid-market customers and enjoys “obsessed customers,” according to Jeff Fein, a partner at Headline.  The firm has been using Avoma internally and “loved it.”

“It helped in our own processes, and when we talked to their customers, they were obsessed, many of them saying they could not live without it,” said Fein.  “They said it made their work that much more efficient.  We heard that more consistently, and it piqued our interest in a huge way.”

Avoma has quintupled growth each of the past three years and now supports over three hundred customers.  Success has been built with a lean team of only 15 employees, but the firm plans to quadruple its US and Indian headcount over the next year.  Hiring will focus on the engineering, product, and go-to-market teams.

Gong Previews 2022 Services

Conversational Intelligence vendor Gong previewed a set of product and ecosystem integrations that “solidify its status as the platform for revenue teams.”  New products include Gong Assist for automated task management and Reality-Based Forecasting for improved pipeline projections.  The new Gong Collective supports its expanded universe of partner integrations.

“These moves come as the Gong Reality Platform – which captures and analyzes customer interactions and makes recommendations based on those interactions – continues to improve the performance of customer-facing teams,” stated the firm.

Gong Assist automates sales overhead.

Gong Assist goes beyond task reminders to automate burdensome tasks that steal time away from the primary goals of sales reps: fostering long-term relationships and growing revenue.  For example, instead of simply reminding a rep to set up a meeting or send an email, Gong will draft the email or meeting invite for the rep.  Gong can also tee up congratulatory notes to contacts that have assumed new roles.

Gong Reality-Based Forecasting streamlines pipeline updates.

Gong will also be launching a new Reality-Based Forecasting product that provides “streamlined, bottoms-up forecasting and a fuller look at revenue trends.”  Reps and sales management can view and maintain forecast data directly within Gong instead of toggling to other apps.  In addition, reality-Based Forecasting will automatically remind reps to update forecasts “based on customer interactions that have been captured and analyzed by Gong.”

The Gong Collective is a branding of their partner ecosystem, which supports more than one hundred integrations.  Gong provided details on a few of its partnerships:

  • DocuSign will present contracts within Gong.  It will also alert teams when deals have progressed, but no sales contract has been drafted.
  • Slack Connect, Salesforce’s private channels for customers and partners, are ingested by Gong and treated as an additional engagement signal.

    “Gong and Slack create that digital sales floor where revenue leaders can confidently manage sales teams — motivating and mentoring sales reps remotely, forecasting more accurately, engaging with customers effectively, and closing business more efficiently in a hybrid sales environment,” said Brad Armstrong, SVP of Business Development at Slack.
  • HighSpot and Seismic suggest which content should be shared and Gong gathers visiting analytics “to help customer-facing teams engage effectively and keep deals moving forward.”

“Gong has created raving fans by optimizing the performance of customer-facing teams,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov. “Our new products only add to this value, making the Gong Reality Platform an even more valuable, centralized destination for teams to be successful.”

ZoomInfo Chorus Integration

Go-to-Market Platform ZoomInfo announced that it completed the first stage of its Chorus Integration after acquiring the Conversational Sales firm in mid-July.

“Since announcing ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Chorus…our team has made great strides in seamlessly making key features of the Chorus platform available to our customers. These integrations will allow sales, marketing, and operations teams to instantly use both ZoomInfo and Chorus to expand their pipelines via a data-first approach that they can’t get with any other platform on the market.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

Conversational Sales functionality has also been added to ZoomInfo’s Engage SEP.  Chorus transcribes and analyzes calls, helping them build strong customer and prospect relationships and be more present during calls. For example, ZoomInfo dialer calls are recorded and stored in Salesforce while Chorus transcribes and analyzes the conversation.

Chorus’ Momentum Insights are displayed in the ZoomInfo platform under the Chorus tab.

Momentum Insights are available in ZoomInfo, Chorus, and Salesforce, delivering call insights wherever the rep is working.  “Combined Chorus and ZoomInfo users can now view conversation and relationship insights within the ZoomInfo platform for better visibility and management of their prospect and customer pipeline,” stated the firm.

The new Chorus tab in ZoomInfo lets revenue teams see with whom they’ve engaged across the account; whether the interactions were via inbound email, outbound email, or meeting; and the most recent interaction.  The Momentum Insights chart shows touchpoints over time with the ability to search by participants and activity type.  Users can drill down on any of the interactions for email or call details.  Audio can be reviewed from within ZoomInfo’s account and contact views.

Users can also drill down on Quick Signals or search by keyword from the Chorus tab, allowing reps to research deal risks, wow moments, negative sentiment, next steps/to-dos, timeline discovery, etc.  Chorus supports hundreds of topics that can be customized.  For example, companies can filter by specific competitors or product feature capabilities.

While the primary use case for Signals is rep account review, managers can use the tool for deal discussions, skill review, and coaching.  Likewise, product managers can broadly investigate customer calls to research specific topics (e.g., product complaints, competitors). 

When the user clicks on a signal, a textual synopsis of the discussion is provided, along with the ability to review that part of the discussion.  These tools are essential for reviewing negative sentiment, pricing discussions, competitors, etc.  Also, call snippets can be extracted for training (e.g., objection handling, competitive parrying, value messaging) or forwarding questions in the voice of the customer to subject matter experts or service departments.

Chorus users also benefit from the integration, with ZoomInfo serving as the reference data set for customer contact intelligence.  ZoomInfo claims that switching to ZoomInfo’s database and matching logic (from Clearbit) resulted in a 33% lift in match rates and a 10X faster load time for contact records in Chorus (150 MS).  Enriched company and contact intelligence include department, job function, seniority level, business email, phones, industry, location, and company.

According to Chorus, ten percent of calls have attendees that were not announced, leaving the rep blind to the role and importance of the additional attendees.  In other cases, a third party is mentioned, but that individual is not in attendance.  In either case, ZoomInfo will surface contact information for these individuals, helping fill out the Buying Committee.  ZoomInfo also recommends personas who are likely Buying Committee members, fostering multi-threaded discussions across the Demand Unit.

“In addition to helping you expand across your deals, you’ll gain a new understanding of which deals are more likely to close, helping improve your forecast accuracy and visibility across your pipeline,” blogged Senior Director of Customer & Product Marketing Sophie Cheng.  “ZoomInfo’s rich company insights like noteworthy scoops (news and events), intent data, and reporting relationships, infused with Chorus’ new Momentum suite will help paint a clearer picture of the entire relationship context like who’s involved in each deal, what’s being discussed, and the likelihood to close.”

Chorus speaking track analysis

ZoomInfo Sales Efficiency and LTV/CAC Ratios

ZoomInfo has been talking about its LTV/CAC (Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost) ratio for a few years and is now boasting about its sales efficiency ratio.  For every dollar the firm invests in Sales and Marketing, it is growing $1.50 to $2.00 in revenue with even better results on the retention business side.  These values are well above the SaaS industry average and indicate that the firm should increase its revenue operations investment.

“On the new business side, we aim for somewhere between one and a half to two X return for every dollar that we spend on a customer. And then on the retention and growth or account management side, we look for a six to eight X return for every dollar that we spend there. It’s a super-efficient go-to-market motion.  Most software businesses, you put a dollar in, you get like 70 cents out in the first year.  We’re putting a dollar in and getting one and a half to two X out.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

Schuck described their go-to-market efficiency as one of their “big strategic levers” when acquiring firms with less mature go-to-market motions.  ”So when we find companies that don’t have a very sophisticated go-to-market motion, that aren’t truly optimized in the way that they get clients, they’re not doing one and a half to two X efficiency or a 15 X LTV to CAC.  Those are great fits for us.” 

ZoomInfo has a track record of improving sales efficiency, helping unlock value in acquired assets where the go-to-market motions are aligned.  “In our big acquisitions – RainKing, ZoomInfo, and, most recently, Chorus.AI — we really felt like we could leverage the go-to-market motion to accelerate growth within those companies. That’s a key piece.”

When DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing, which had a $40 million ARR, he was convinced that DiscoverOrg could treble their EBITDA to $30 million and accelerate their top-line growth within six months.  Within one year of acquiring RainKing, DiscoverOrg’s market valuation grew from roughly $600 million to $2 billion.

One of the inherent advantages of SalesTech is you don’t have to teach sales reps the value and use cases of your product.  This shortens ZoomInfo’s ramp time for new reps from several quarters to four months.  “it makes it way easier for you to be able to sell to your counterpart on the other end of the line.  It’s a big difference for us,” said Schuck. 

ZoomInfo heavily hires sales reps directly out of college or soon after and trains them as SDRs, responding to inbound leads and performing outbound prospecting.  “In nine months, we start promoting them into the account executive role.  So we got value out of them in that ramp time. Then four months after they’ve gone into the account executive role, they’re fully ramped. Thirteen months from when you’ve never sold something until you’re an account executive at one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the country, that’s a really fun promotion to see.”

And because ZoomInfo is hiring sales reps to sell sales and marketing solutions, Schuck does not consider complicated or technical product categories for acquisition.  Instead, he looks for solutions that broadly meet the needs of his 20,000 customers and which are easy to understand.  Chorus.AI, the Conversation Intelligence vendor that ZoomInfo acquired last month, fits the bill: “We use it, all of our sellers use it. It’s really simple to understand, ‘Hey, we’re going to record and transcribe all your calls, and then you can go do instant coaching on the key moments in those calls’,” remarked Schuck.

The Chorus app for Zoom records, transcribes, indexes, and analyzes calls, providing insights to sales reps and sales managers. As reps no longer need to worry about notetaking, they can focus on the topics at hand and be more present during the meetings.

Chorus and Gong Apps for Zoom

Zoom formally launched its Zoom apps at the end of July, with Chorus and Gong among the launch partners.  Over fifty business and consumer apps were launched, but Zoom did a poor job of indexing the apps, making it difficult to find apps in a category without mousing over each unknown app. 

Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo two weeks ago, announced General Availability of its Chorus app for Zoom Video Communications.  It’s a better name than being called the ZoomInfo app for Zoom Video Communications which would simply be confusing to the marketplace.

The Chorus App for Zoom

“The Chorus app for Zoom enables us to bring the power of Conversation Intelligence seamlessly into every meeting,” said Dominik Facher, Vice President, Product Management at Chorus.ai. “We’re bringing Chorus everywhere you work — because that’s where the voice of the customer belongs.  This extension of Chorus empowers sellers to have better, more meaningful interactions in real-time.”

The Chorus Zoom app supports live notetaking with the transcript attached to the digital recording.  Other features include

  • Team / Collaborator Engagement and Follow-up – Reps can share snippets of calls with managers, technical support, product teams, etc.  The shared content is in the voice of the customer, improving the context and fidelity of the forwarded information or query.  Collaboration is supported by one-click pins for flagging shareable moments.
  • Hashtags, such as #objections, push moments to a Chorus playlist.
  • @Mentions for looping in colleagues during calls.
  • A post-meeting email summary
  • Automated syncing with Salesforce, including budget data, stakeholders, and the post-meeting email summary
  • Meeting analytics
  • Meeting Prep intelligence – The Zoom client displays deal velocity, next steps or discussion topics from prior calls, and deal context like buying stage, key stakeholders, and deal amount.
  • Participant talk time and key topic trackers

While the newly launched app supports Zoom, Chorus also gathers intelligence from other meeting platforms and emails.  This processing of multiple communication channels provides a set of engagement and deal risk analytics that will be supplemented by ZoomInfo’s Streaming Intent data, visitor intelligence, Scoops, Chat, and SmartForms.

“Chorus and Zoom are both intent on fundamentally changing the way work is done in a virtual environment,” said Ross Mayfield, Product Lead, Zoom Apps & Integrations for Zoom. “It’s about making our customer and prospect relationships stronger.  With the Chorus app for Zoom, the benefits of Conversation Intelligence are more accessible than ever before.”

The Gong App for Zoom

Gong, which competes directly with Chorus, also launched its app this week with similar conversational intelligence for sales features.  Gong automates transcription, notetaking, and analytics.  Users can also tag colleagues for feedback, leverage timestamps, and attach comments in context.  Gong employs AI for coaching, noting points of interest, and flagging deal risks.

“The new Gong app takes two tools that sales pros find invaluable today – Gong and Zoom – and makes them even more useful,” said Chief Product Officer of Gong, Eilon Reshef. “We’re enabling revenue professionals to stay engaged in customer conversations by plugging into their daily workflow.”

By managing recording, transcription, analytics, and intelligence, Chorus and Gong allow reps to step away from traditional notetaking and focus on the meeting, helping them be more present.  As a result, they can ask better questions and manage the meeting flow more effectively while avoiding awkward pauses when taking notes.

The Zoom App marketplace, which launched late last year, already has over 50 apps, including

  • Conversation Intelligence for Sales: Chorus, Gong
  • Transcription: Colibri, Rev, Avoma, Grain
  • Collaboration: Asana, Mentimeter, Workona, Docket, Allo, WorkPatterns
  • People Insights: Warmly,
  • Polling: Polly, Dot Collector, Coda, SurveyMonkey
  • User Interviews: BuildBetter Research
  • Signatures: PandaDoc
  • Whiteboarding: Miro, Mural
  • Notetaking: AI Notetaker by Fathom, Notejoy
  • Timer: Timer
  • Demos: Demoflow
  • Interpreters: Voyce

Zoom also announced its Zoom Events service for hybrid and virtual events.  Marketers can “seamlessly manage and host back-to-back event sessions from sales summits, customer events, trade shows, and internal events.”  Features include event hubs, dedicated corporate virtual event spaces, customizable registration, reporting, and a chat-enabled virtual event lobby.

“Zoom Apps and Zoom Events are critical components in broadening Zoom’s offering and reach,” said Roopam Jain, VP, Information and Communications Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.  “These solutions empower users to accomplish more with video communications and are a testament to Zoom’s focus of enabling customers to create and grow businesses entirely on its platform—whether through applications, integrations, events, or other services.”

Gong Expands into Europe

Gong’s Five Operating Principles of Revenue Intelligence.

Revenue Intelligence vendor Gong announced plans to open its first European office in Dublin.  It already has over one hundred European clients, including Aircall, Hopin, GoCardless, and MOO.

“After many international companies reached out to us, looking for access to the insight uncovered by our revenue intelligence platform, we knew it was time to meet global demand in a strategic and thoughtful way,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov.  “With a physical presence in Europe, we can continue to demonstrate our category leadership, support the massive growth we’ve seen in the past year, and deliver the product customers are asking for.”

The new office will be managed by Gong’s newly appointed VP of EMEA, Wendy Harris, who previously led European sales for CarGurus and Dropbox.  The firm is hiring for sales, marketing, customer success, and G&A positions.

“Gong’s revenue intelligence platform is transforming the way companies do business by empowering sales organizations to adopt data-driven strategies,” she said. “Joining a high-growth company and leading its global expansion in my hometown of Dublin is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gong supports 26 languages, including French, German, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese, with additional languages planned.  The Revenue Intelligence platform captures and analyzes phone, email, and meeting conversations, providing insights into deals, people, and the market.

Gong has also been building out its partner network, including Bain & Company, Sandler, and SBR Consulting.

Gong’s June Series E valued the firm at $7.25 billion.  Over the past year, it grew its headcount by 89% to over 700 employees.  The Israeli firm was founded in 2015. The firm will see stiffer competition from Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo two weeks ago. ZoomInfo provides it with deep pockets, global data enrichment, workflow tools, a chatbot, and a sales engagement platform.

Gong Employment Growth (Source: LinkedIn)

ZoomInfo Adds Chorus to Its Product Line

ZoomInfo has not been shy about acquiring companies in its bid to become a leading revenue acceleration company.  This morning, they announced the acquisition of Chorus.AI, a leading Conversation Intelligence company.  While most of its deals have been small, Chorus has the opportunity to leverage ZoomInfo’s company and contact intelligence with rich engagement data and analytics, placing the firm at the center of the rapidly growing Conversation Intelligence market.

Chorus employs machine learning and AI to “capture and analyze” calls, meetings, and emails, digitizing customer interactions, and capturing insights for revenue teams and sales management. As a result, sales reps can be more present during calls as they no longer need to capture action items and take notes while leading sales meetings.  Automating insight capture allows them to be better engaged during the call, avoiding those awkward pauses for note-taking.

While not discussed in the press release, combining Chorus’ NLP with Insent should raise bot performance and become another leg of conversation intelligence at the top of the funnel. 

The expanded ZoomInfo will support and assess a broad set of digital touchpoints for intent and engagement:

  • Chorus: Email, Phone, Meetings
  • ZoomInfo: Visitor Intelligence, Webforms, Chatbots (Insent), Intent (Clickagy)

Chorus also assists with buying committee discovery.  While ZoomInfo has long supported contact discovery at the account level, monitoring engagement to determine who is involved in deals and who is being referenced in conversations is the next major step in buying committee discovery, moving it from educated guesswork to a scientific approach.  Once committee members are identified, Chorus monitors conversations for sentiments, motivations, and concerns, helping gauge deal health.  ZoomInfo will supply Chorus with rich company and contact information fed to customer CRMs and continuously maintained by ZoomInfo’s APIs and connectors.

Chorus Momentum Insights

Chorus’ Momentum Insights, released in December, helps revenue teams understand customer relationships, improve their forecasting, identify which interactions propel deals forward, and flag deal risks.

“Momentum Insights will unlock learnings never before available from the CRM to harness the most valuable dataset available—conversations with customers,” said Chorus CEO Jim Benton at the time. “This will empower revenue teams to solve complex problems which require strong relationships, and relationships ultimately drive revenue.  Reps get exactly what they need to engage and personalize their efforts, while leadership is able to trust the unbiased data aggregated from each opportunity to inform critical business decisions.”

“By integrating keyword trackers from Chorus into ZoomInfo, revenue teams will also be able to create audiences based on insights from conversations, flag deals and renewals that could be in jeopardy, and trigger alerts to address concerns in real-time,” stated ZoomInfo.

The deal added $18 billion to the company’s TAM, raising it to $70 billion.  The acquisition is “expected to be accretive to growth immediately, generate adjusted operating profits within 12 months, and be accretive to cash flow in the second half of FY 2022.”

“ZoomInfo is the only company that can marry a best-in-class data layer with world-class go-to-market applications,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “The acquisition of Chorus will accelerate our vision to deliver a modern go-to-market platform that brings together best-in-class intelligence with comprehensive data management, workflow, and engagement software, empowering companies to effectively execute their revenue-generating strategies. With the largest Conversation Intelligence patent portfolio in the industry, Chorus will advance each aspect of our vision by surfacing a new category of insights, illuminating new workflows, and enabling more targeted engagement at scale.”

CEO Henry Shuck has been open to both large and small deals, so long as the combination of ZoomInfo and the acquired company drives significant growth in revenue at the acquisition.  A few decades ago, the term was synergy, but that phrase was used so often to describe failed deals that it is now verboten when describing acquisitions.  However, ZoomInfo with Chorus has the opportunity to grow significantly faster than as a standalone organization.

As with the recently acquired Insent.AI and Clickagy, Chorus will benefit from access to the breadth, depth, and quality of ZoomInfo’s B2B dataset and access to ZoomInfo’s Go To Market strategy and efficient sales processes.  With an LTV / CAC ratio greater than ten, ZoomInfo should be able to efficiently cross-sell and upsell Chorus’ analytics across its 20,000 customers.

Chorus also sets up ZoomInfo’s new Engage platform to challenge market leaders SalesLoft and Outreach.  Chorus is one of the leading Conversation Intelligence firms.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to join forces with ZoomInfo and bring Conversation Intelligence to every revenue team,” said Jim Benton, Chorus.ai CEO, who will join ZoomInfo as SVP, Emerging Products. “ZoomInfo has a bold vision of delivering a world-class go-to-market platform that empowers companies to drive better execution and more revenue. Chorus will play a vital role in helping deliver on that promise with deep, A.I.-driven insights based on real interactions with prospects and customers, a previously untapped source of crucial data about their relationships.”

Frost & Sullivan named Chorus a 2021 Customer Value Leader in Conversation Intelligence.  “Frost & Sullivan finds Chorus’ value proposition is multi-faceted as it offers vital benefits for various personnel, including sales, customer success, sales development, and frontline managers, as well as long-term solutions designed to promote employee skill growth,” wrote Samantha Fisher, Best Practices Research Analyst.

The deal was priced about $575 million in cash.  The purchase price includes a cash tax benefit related to the asset purchase of more than $100 million, ZoomInfo said. The transaction will be funded with cash on hand and $500 million in additional financing.

Outreach Closes $200M Round

Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach closed on a $200 million financing round that values the firm at $4.4 billion and brings total funding to $489 million.  The round trebled its market cap over the past year.

Premji Invest and STEADFAST Capital Ventures led the round.  Other new investors include Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Vista Public Strategies, and one of the largest U.S. asset managers based on the West Coast.  Existing Outreach investors, including Salesforce Ventures, Lone Pine Capital, Sands Capital, Mayfield Fund, DFJ Growth, and Trinity Ventures, also participated in the round.

Outreach continued its rapid growth during the pandemic, with B2B firms looking to operationalize their sales outreach, improve remote coaching, refine forecasts, and monitor sales activities and engagement. 

The firm more than doubled Q1 ARR year-over-year and has signed 18 of the top 24 fastest-growing public software companies.  ARR is around $125 million, according to Nathan Latka.  LinkedIn shows them adding sixty employees a month over the past three months.

Outreach has grown to more than 871 global employees, with recently opened offices in Prague and London.  The firm is based in Seattle and has a San Francisco office.

Data Collected by Nathan Latka based on a June 1, 2021, interview of Manny Medina.

At their Unleash user conference last month, they released their real-time conversational intelligence platform Outreach Kaia along with Outreach Insights, their buyer emotive signals and sentiment service.

Outreach Success Plans, which is currently in beta, was also unveiled at Unleash.  Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability.  They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines.  Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents.

“This past year represents a true moment of maturity for Outreach – we are now a mission-critical part of the revenue tech stack for customers. The bets we made years ago, including significant investments in artificial intelligence combined with prospecting, closing, and customer success capabilities integrated into one holistic platform, are what revenue organizations need most right now to be successful. We continue to lead and expand the vision for sales engagement. Now, we are poised to deliver more meaningful business outcomes for our customers than ever before – from the rep to the CRO and from small businesses to the enterprise.”

Outreach CEO Manny Medina

Outreach will deploy the additional funds to expand its sales and marketing functions to meet “the growing demand” for its Sales Engagement Platform.  Funds will also be used to build, acquire, and deliver “new revolutionary technologies.”  Finally, the funds will support expansion plans and new market investments.

“Over the past five years as I’ve served on the board, Outreach emerged as a definitive standard for sales and customer engagement – proven by thousands of companies that use Outreach every day as a critical component of their workflow and their tech stack,” said Karan Mehandru, Managing Director of STEADFAST and Outreach board member. “Companies across every industry are reaccelerating growth and hiring post-pandemic and embracing intelligent automation to power their revenue teams.”

Mehandru told Bloomberg that he expects to see multiple sales software startups succeed with “multiple winners in the category.”  Mehandru likened Outreach to a modern-day Salesforce.

“If (Salesforce CEO) Benioff were to start a sales company today, it would look a lot more like Outreach,” stated Mehandru. Mehandru did not forecast when an IPO would take place but said, “We do think going public is an important event in the company’s cycle.”

Manny Medina LinkedIn Post (June 2, 2021)

Revenue Grid Guided Selling (Part II)

Continuing from Part I, a discussion of Revenue Grid and its approach to Guided Selling.


Revenue Grid looks to take the CRM system of record and supplement it with insights and actions that move deals forward.  Insights are both positive and negative.  Risk flags include “The decision-maker is not invited to the demo,” “Close data has been changed for the Nth time,” and “Pricing was discussed at the meeting, but no quote has been sent.” By delivering insights to sales reps and their managers, loose ends, which could result in deal losses or delays, are flagged.  Sales reps and managers can then act upon these insights.  Revenue Grid can also make suggestions based upon internal playbooks and best practices.

In short, AI, historical data, and real-time data are employed to build a set of insights and recommended actions.

Revenue Grid goes beyond engagement metrics at accounts. It delivers a broad set of insights that include competitor mentions, lack of recent decision-makers responses, meetings without agendas, quarterly and monthly trends, and team performance.  In January, sentiment analysis will be added to their insights.

An Opportunities view provides real-time pipeline visibility across all accounts.  Reps can quickly update any opportunity information with the updates synced with the CRM.  Sales reps and managers then have a single-pane of glass displaying current opportunities.  Managers are notified of deal size changes, close dates, and scores and can track activity flow.

The Opportunities view includes signals, next steps, last touch, and overview data, providing a quick synopsis of where each deal stands.

Conversational Intelligence records and transcribes voice and video calls, then indexes and analyzes meetings for insights.  Corporate email communications are also analyzed for insights.  Revenue teams and managers can review call transcripts and listen or view significant moments during the call, with summary topics and insights called out.  Conversational Intelligence is also available for coaching and onboarding sales reps.

Conversational Intelligence recordings and transcripts are saved to accounts and opportunities.

A meeting scheduler fronts Conversational Intelligence.  Reps can insert multiple time slots with clickable times in their emails or offer a calendaring link.  Events are automatically synced between Salesforce and Outlook or Gmail.  Other features include calendar delegation (i.e., setting up an admin or CSR to schedule meetings), recurring event scheduling, and group calendaring across the organization.

Salesforce email synching captures emails, scheduled meetings, contacts, tasks, and attachments.  Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Custom Objects are available for syncing, and multiple records may be updated.  Salesforce admins can set up activity auto-log rules, triggering Salesforce processes.

Sales Coaching offers a team performance view that displays revenue booked by reps alongside leads processed and time spent on external meetings, inbound external meetings, and outbound emails.

A Forecasting report evaluates the target, best case, and committed revenue for the team with plan, commit, and open pipeline values for each rep.  Managers can also compare past periods to find trends and set triggers to send notifications when thresholds are exceeded.

An Activity view displays inbound and outbound communications from sales and marketing over time with adjustable time windows.  Unfortunately, the activity graph does not rescale, making it difficult to view activity over an extended period.

Revenue Grid also supports Relationship Intelligence, showing an Account relationship map and flagging individuals in the organization with established relationships for introductions or briefings.

Revenue Grid’s sales engagement features include multi-channel sequences, email templates, and email tracking.  Channels include email, phone, SMS, and LinkedIn.  Sequences may be managed directly from within Salesforce, Outlook, or Gmail.  All Revenue Grid capabilities are available in the native Salesforce mobile app, including email analytics, notifications, and sequences.

Admins can perform A/B testing of sequences.

Revenue Grid detects replies from one or multiple recipients, out of office notices, opt-outs, and bounces.  It then pauses or halts sequences automatically.  It even halts sequences if the recipient is mentioned in an email or meeting invitation.

An email sidebar displays Salesforce data directly within inboxes and suggests relevant, actionable Signals.


Continue to Part III.

Revenue Grid Guided Selling

Revenue Grid which describes itself as a Guided Selling vendor, offers a hybrid platform with sales engagement, revenue intelligence, relationship intelligence, meeting management, and conversation intelligence.  Unlike many startups in these spaces, Revenue Grid comes to market with fifteen years of experience building native platform integrations behind the firewall and in the cloud.  It then layers on top reports, analytics, and an Outlook/Gmail/LinkedIn sidebar for identifying opportunities at risk, next steps and missed actions, engagement scores, and pipeline analytics.

“Algorithmic guided selling leverages emerging AI technology and existing sales data to guide sellers through deals, automating manual sales actions while reducing the need for individual seller judgment in the sales process,” wrote Gartner.  Guided Selling is data and process-driven, with Next Best Action recommendations that make CRMs actionable.

Guided Selling intelligence is gathered from CRMs, emails, calendars, phone calls, and videos.  Engagement is measured across these channels and delivered as a set of insights and revenue signals that support Guided Selling.  Signals are Next Best Actions based upon AI recommendations and sales playbooks.  

Revenue Grid describes signals as “contextual, actionable notifications that tell your whole sales org what is going well or poorly throughout your whole sales process.”  Sales reps can act on recommendations by merely clicking on the signal.

These definitions can all get confusing, but the vision becomes clearer when skipping past the inputs and technology and merely considering which sales and management questions Revenue Grid looks to address.  Revenue Grid answers a host of sales rep questions, including

  • Which deals should I focus on today?
  • How likely am I to close the deal this month or quarter?
  • How can I improve my odds of winning this opportunity?
  • Which deals are at risk and why?  
  • Did I complete all of the post-deal activities discussed on the call?
  • Have I updated all my opportunities before tomorrow’s deal review?
  • How can I prepare for a meeting?
  • Does anybody at my firm have a relationship with key decision-makers?
  • How is engagement across the account?  Am I building relationships with the key stakeholders?

Likewise, managers can answer questions such as

  • Are sales reps focused on the right things?
  • Do sales reps know what to do next?
  • How can I guide reps in each deal?
  • Which deals are moving, stalled, or at risk?
  • Do my reps know what to say at meetings? Do our scripts work?
  • How do I know my coaching is effective?
  • Which committed deals are unlikely to close?
  • How do I improve our forecasts?

Part II discusses Revenue Grid’s feature set.