Gong is the latest RevTech company to join LinkedIn’s SNAP program of Sales Navigator integrations. Joint customers can view LinkedIn Sales Navigator Embedded Profiles directly in Gong. Functionality includes executive profile display, related leads, icebreakers, and introductions. Contacts may be viewed or Saved as Leads in Sales Navigator.
“Being a great seller requires two datasets – the quantitative data of when to reach out to whom and the qualitative data of, once you connect with those people, ensuring you have a full view of deal health and that you are employing sales best practices in all your interactions,” argued LinkedIn’s Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins. “Sales Navigator does a great job of providing the former, and Gong’s Reality Platform, the latter.”
The SNAP integration provides context around key accounts and the demand unit, helping them build broader relationships and leverage TeamLink (colleague) connections. Furthermore, Sales Navigator within Gong helps reps build credibility, establish rapport, and multithread.
“Integrating Gong’s Reality Platform with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is all about empowering revenue teams with actionable sales intelligence they need to build stronger relationships with prospects more efficiently. Bringing together these two powerful datasets will give sales reps insights and recommended next steps that result in more closed deals, faster,” commented Gong’s Senior Director of Market Strategy Craig Hanson. “Successful go-to-market teams understand that contact inspection and validation are paramount to successful deal management.”
The SNAP integration is only available to Gong customers with Sales Navigator Advanced or Advanced Plus licenses. SNAP integrations are also available across major CRMs and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics 365, HubSpot, Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove.
Sales Navigator added M&A Alerts for saved companies. The alert is displayed on the Homepage and is shared for both acquired and acquiring companies. Another new feature is a Weekly Leads and Accounts List Digest that suggests the most relevant Leads (contacts) and Accounts for outreach. It highlights accounts showing interest in the rep’s company, recommended leads, past customers at a new company, and opportunities at risk due to headcount changes.
LinkedIn began rolling out its Q2 Sales Navigator release to users earlier this month. As with previous releases, admins receive the release first, with general users following a few weeks later. New features include expanded data validation, a new SNAP integration with conversation intelligence leader Gong, and the continued rollout of Sales Navigator’s new Search and Lead Page experiences.
Companies have responded to the pandemic and Great Reshuffle by increasing channel noise, hoping to break through the din, but this strategy is flawed. Top-performing reps who heavily exceed their quota are “spending less time selling in the traditional sense — smiling-and-dialing and sending out mass outreach,” explained LinkedIn VP of Global Sales Solutions Alyssa Merwin Henderson. They aren’t increasing the volume but carefully targeting their prospecting and messaging, conducting buyer research, and focusing on skill development.
“In today’s virtual world, where there’s more noise than ever, the recipe for winning is clear – fewer things done better,” concluded Henderson.
LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins highlighted three problems facing sales reps that LinkedIn is working to address:
More virtual selling than ever, leading to more virtual noise than ever, with buyers being overwhelmed by irrelevant and generic outreach.
Job switching continues to be higher than normal, making a mess of CRM data and putting deals at risk.
A plethora of new sales tools have hit the market, many of which don’t integrate with each other, making it more confusing to choose the right tech stack.
Desjardins argued that the solution to these problems comes from real-time data fed into the CRM and “meaningful sales intelligence that helps you connect with and nurture the right buyers at the right time.”
The Great Reshuffle continues to create a “mess” of CRM data, resulting in inaccurate forecasts and irrelevant messaging. According to LinkedIn’s upcoming “State of Sales” report, 41% of sales reps said their biggest problem was inaccurate, out-of-date CRM data. To help address this issue, Sales Navigator now flags out-of-date contact and lead records and allows reps to update the CRM from Navigator to address this problem.
Data Validation displays an Update CRM badge on Sales Navigator member pages who have recently changed jobs, titles, or locations. After clicking on the badge, reps are shown the new title, account, location, contact owner, and most recent opportunity. Updates are made to matched Lead and Contact records, with the user controlling which fields are to be updated. Reps are also shown which open opportunities are linked to the executive, allowing them to quickly remove departed execs from live opportunities.
“Clearly, this will save you time. Instead of having to toggle back and forth between your CRM and Sales Navigator, you can do it all in our platform,” blogged Product Marketing Manager Austin Gray. “More importantly, because updating your CRM is now easier to do, you’ll have more accurate data within it. LinkedIn’s real-time first-party data means that you can have confidence that your CRM will have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available.”
Data Validation is available for Sales Navigator Advanced Plus and supports record updates in Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365. The functionality was released to customers with fewer than 15 seats this week and will be rolled out to large customers on June 22.
The New Search and Lead Page Experiences were rolled out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats last quarter. The largest accounts will receive the updates this quarter.
The search feature has been streamlined to improve the time to “successful results.” In addition, the search includes a “larger collapsible, intuitive grouped view of filters” that improves search filter discovery. New and updated filters include TeamLink Connections of, Saved Leads, Saved Accounts, Previously Viewed, Current Company, Past Company, and Company Headquarter.
The search interface updates dynamically, providing results as each filter is added or removed.
The new Lead Page (contacts) is designed for rapid lead qualification with “the most important info front and center,” including the most recent touchpoint, current role, and description. Other features include a sticky action bar, conversation starters, and introduction paths.
The Conversation Starter section displays recent posts for comments and commonalities.
The Get Introduced section has been redesigned and expanded.
The TeamLink section is now organized by seniority level so that reps can find “their best path in.” In addition, the section supports a pre-populated InMail to save reps time writing messages.
Sales Navigator is also adding a new Lead Panel for researching contacts in a prospecting list without having to open multiple windows.
“Prospecting in Sales Navigator often means using our powerful search to find your target buyer,” wrote Desjardins.” Once you’ve found that list of potential buyers, we’re betting you then open a tab for each individual, which can mean a lot of open tabs and a lot of switching back and forth. The new Lead Panel streamlines this process and keeps you on the same page the entire time.”
The Lead Panel displays job title, job description, and conversation starters to assist with quick qualification and messaging.
The Lead Panel will be rolling out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats this quarter and enterprise accounts next quarter.
LinkedIn also added a Gong SNAP integration for viewing LinkedIn intelligence within Gong’s conversational intelligence platform.
One of the unsung benefits of conversational intelligence is market and competitive monitoring for product and strategy teams. Vendors such as Gong and Chorus can tag competitors and product requests. Still, this intelligence needs to be regularly and directly reviewed, making it more of a hit-or-miss proposition. Furthermore, this intelligence is rarely tied to competitive battlecards for sales reps.
Competitive Intelligence Platform Crayon is looking to address these issues. It now delivers a daily log of competitive mentions to sales reps, providing them with battlecard links and links to call transcripts that help them write follow-on messaging that parries competitive statements. The mentions are collected from Gong.
“Product marketers and competitive intelligence professionals dedicate a tremendous amount of time ensuring sales reps are equipped with the most up-to-date competitive and market intelligence,” stated Crayon CPO Erica Jenkins. “However, despite these efforts, there’s still friction around the adoption and use of these enablement materials. The integration between Crayon and Gong gets competitive intel into an account executive’s hands quickly and easily, drastically improving competitive positioning for reps to level up their game.”
Crayon listed two other Gong-related initiatives on its roadmap to assist CI and strategy professionals:
Field intelligence: Your prospects and customers are sharing intel with your colleagues every single day. Remove the middleman by automatically pulling these insights out of Gong transcripts and pushing them into your Crayon portal.
Win-loss analysis: When an account is won or lost, the notes you find in your CRM will only tell one side of the story. Find out what really happened by pulling Gong snippets into Crayon, where they’ll be matched with the notes that our system pulls in from Salesforce.
These future releases will benefit competitive intelligence and strategy professionals who struggle to gather real-time market intelligence, particularly from remote individuals. For example, while sales reps are often happy to discuss competitive scenarios, they rarely take the time to record competitive details in the CRM. Conversational intelligence platforms are an excellent source of this intelligence, which can be automatically fed into competitive platforms such as Crayon, helping to close the loop.
When I was a CI professional at a SalesTech company, gathering competitive intelligence generally involved interviewing customers, prospects, and inside sales reps and collecting and synthesizing this information. This approach was haphazard and often anecdotal. Although Competitor fields were added to the CRM, they were rarely populated, and virtually all losses were attributed to pricing.
A structured set of competitive signals gathered from customer conversations would have been significantly more accurate, complete, and timely. Furthermore, these signals and comments would have omitted sales rep biases concerning lost deals and enabled competitive coaching on high-value deals.
Crayon supports a broad set of Sales Enablement Platforms, including Seismic, Highspot, and Showpad. The Gong-Crayon integration is immediately available to joint customers.
Sales Engagement Platform Groove announced the general availability of Groove Conversations, the “first conversational intelligence product that enables revenue teams to access call recording and insights directly from the inbox and calendar instead of a separate platform.” The firm also announced the Groove+ mobile app for iOS that helps remote and hybrid teams prepare for meetings and manage post-meeting follow-up (Android will be available later this year). Groove+ also displays Salesforce and key meeting insights.
Groove is natively built in Salesforce. Unlike its competitors, Groove does not sync data between a separate database and Salesforce but stores and accesses it natively in Salesforce. Thus, conversational insights and Salesforce updates are directly managed by Groove inside Salesforce.
Groove Conversations offers call recording, transcription, and analysis without leaving the Inbox. Additionally, insights are associated with Salesforce Activities and Opportunities.
Conversations initially supports Zoom and Groove’s OmniDialer, with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, WebEx, and other services in development.
Conversations are fully searchable, with users able to listen to the searched term or keyword-related discussion.
Analytics include talk time, keyword mentions, sentiment analysis, and talk timelines for each attendee. In Q3, the firm plans on adding “deeper analytics and AI-driven insights.”
Additional features include
Picture-in-picture viewing capabilities to support multi-tasking
Recording, transcript, and keyword access from email, calendar, Salesforce, or the Groove app
Internal sharing of meetings for review and team coaching
Internal and external sharing of calls, with the ability to extract and share a snippet of a meeting available soon
Groove+ delivers meeting alerts powered by Salesforce data to reduce deal time. Users can easily access deal history, account information, meeting attendees, and activity history. In addition, meeting notes may be logged to Salesforce with voice-to-text functionality. Reps can also update meetings, accounts, contacts, opportunities, custom fields, or unique Salesforce configurations.
“The value of Groove+ goes beyond sales to include all revenue team members,” explained Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein to GZ Consulting. “Essentially, anyone interfacing with clients should find value from Groove+.”
Groove conducted a survey in December and January of 1040 B2B sales reps which determined that 46% of companies are not planning a total return to the office. Thus, managing remote and hybrid sales teams will remain a top issue for the CRO. Top concerns for remote sales reps include updating CRM platforms (48%), inputting account notes (46%), and scheduling follow-up meetings (45%).
“Now that most reps are working in a hybrid role permanently, revenue teams need to focus on maximizing the value of their CRM. Extending the power of CRM to remote teams makes them productive and effective while also providing leaders with the visibility and insight needed to manage them effectively.”
Groove CEO Chris Rothstein
Groove Conversations and Groove+ provide remote, hybrid, and inside sales reps with immediate access to sales productivity tools, conversational analytics, and deal insights. Additionally, sales reps can update SFDC from Groove+ and access call recordings and insights from anywhere, providing centralized call coaching, next steps, and follow-up.
Groove Conversations and Groove+ are separate offerings but will be integrated later this year. Groove+ is available with any Groove core license. Groove Conversations is available as a premium add-on. “When we founded Groove, we knew that building for the seller first was the key to driving widespread adoption and seller productivity,” said Rothstein. “As a result, we are the only platform that is just as easy to use and relevant for field sales as it is for sellers working from home or in the office. Our customers typically see over 90% adoption rates of Groove and Salesforce, realizing as much as 83% seller productivity improvements as a result.”
Outreach announced the general availability of Outreach Guide, its new revenue intelligence and deal management solution. Guide provides real-time conversation intelligence, best practice action plans, and “deal health at a glance.” Outreach also announced administrative enhancements to its Engage product and a “deep integration” with ABX Platform 6sense.
Outreach Guide, Engage, and Commit act as the “foundation” of Outreach’s sales execution platform, supporting revenue organizations across the full customer sales cycle “from prospecting for new business opportunities to deal management to sales forecasting.”
Outreach aims to create a “single system of execution” that helps revenue organizations meet their full potential and address issues with prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.
To help address this “sales execution gap,” Machine learning models “learn from the actions taken in our platform and generate data-driven, predictive, real-time insights that recommend actions for users to take to improve their sales execution,” said CEO Manny Medina.
Outreach Guide supports three core capabilities:
Deal Health Scores: The Deal Health Score employs machine learning to predict deal health. It also provides deal insights, recommended actions, and where to focus. In addition, deal Health displays positive and negative indicators (e.g., stuck in current stage, no recent inbound emails, recent executive engagement).
Deal Health signals deals at risk to both the sales rep and sales management, providing an opportunity to address problems and adjust forecasts.
Deal Health scores can be viewed in the aggregate as well, providing a neutral perspective on how each deal is proceeding versus comparable opportunities.
Deal Health scores are currently in beta.
Kaia Real-time assistance and conversation intelligence:Kaia offers real-time call transcription, content cards, and context-based rep enablement during Zoom and Microsoft teams meetings. After meetings, Kaia streamlines meeting summaries with AI-captured action items and follow-ups. As a result, Outreach claims rep productivity increases by nearly 30%, and the likelihood of scheduling a follow-up meeting jumps by 36%.
Kaia is linguistically customized for each client, capturing product names and competitors as keywords. During a call, content cards display real-time sales aides, such as product summaries or technical notes. Content cards provide quick cheat sheets on product value, pricing, or integrations (see the example on the right).
By removing notetaking and displaying content cards, Kaia allows sales reps to be more present during calls and pitch with greater confidence; instead of pausing a meeting to jot down notes, sales reps can quickly add a bookmark or short meeting note.
Automated and collaborative purchasing through Success Plans:Success Plans foster collaboration between buyers and sellers with detailed online purchase action plans that include a timeline, success criteria, resources, and team views. Collaborative action plans align stakeholders, build buyer trust, ensure timely stakeholder engagement, and provide internal stakeholders with prospect engagement and deal progress. Outreach claims that reps who closely monitor Success Plans enjoy a 13% bump in close rates.
“The buying team has all the information related to the deal in a central place, and all teams are aligned to clearly understand each other’s goals, interactions, and requirements essential for driving long-term success, delivering an unparalleled buying experience throughout the entire selling process,” stated Director of Product Marketing Elizabeth Dailing.
Furthermore, Success Plans are available to Customer Success teams when onboarding new customers, helping streamline handoffs.
The Team view helps track who is involved from the buying team and how engaged they are, how recently they were engaged, and what content they viewed.
Trigger Enhancements – A streamlined trigger builder improves the creation, management, and discovery of triggers. The refreshed trigger builder is aligned with traditional CRM language and supports multiple values per condition, drag-and-drop action reordering, and simplified condition group creation.
New Outlook-Add In – A native integration lets reps ‘Send’ emails from Outlook and send and sync “relevant emails to Outreach, as well as insert their available times or add a link to their calendar.” Outreach will also flag opted-out communications in Outlook and prevent them from being sent or added to a sequence.
Microsoft Graph Integration
Data Retention in Outreach Voice Recordings – Admins can configure data retention policies such as deleting data as a one-time event or setting up regular data deletions for Outreach Voice Recordings.
Additionally, Outreach announced an Irish Datacenter for Outreach Engage, meeting EU data residency requirements for GDPR compliance. “The EU Datacenter for Outreach Engage allows an organization’s data to be stored in a specific geographic location,” blogged Caroline Shin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach. “This means customer-owned data associated with those Outreach instances including prospects, accounts, organizations, and workflow data such as sequences and meetings will be stored and contained within the EU infrastructure.”
Salesloft continues to extend its value proposition beyond sales engagement and conversational intelligence into deal forecasting and revenue intelligence. Its new Forecast capability, bundled with the Enterprise edition, is available as part of Salesloft’s Spring ’22 Release. Other spring enhancements include Multi-language Support for Conversations, Out-of-Office Detection, and mobile updates.
Salesloft noted that forecasting remains a “disjointed and manual process” often conducted with spreadsheets. Sales professionals must collect information from disconnected systems and often deliver inaccurate numbers that waste “valuable selling time.” What’s more, manual processes provide few insights for improving sales results and aren’t actionable. Thus, significant resources are expended coming to a forecast number, but by the time the CSO or CRO rolls it up to the CEO, the forecast is a black box number based on quickly aging data with few actionable insights.
“Forecasting is a critical process for every revenue organization,” said Salesloft CPO Ellie Fields. “But when sellers use spreadsheets, there’s a high risk of user error and acting on old data. Spreadsheets aren’t scalable, are incredibly manual, ungoverned, and only serve as a snapshot in time. There’s no context to help sellers look ahead.”
In a presentation to GZ Consulting, SVP of Product Management Frank Dale emphasized that Salesloft is looking to stay in the “revenue lane” focusing on “what happens between the buyer and the seller.” Forecasting falls within the revenue lane as it “leverages the data generated from interactions between buyers and sellers.” Furthermore, forecasting should not be separate from revenue generation. It isn’t simply calling a number but “taking action to make that number.”
The revenue lane “covers all core selling jobs” and tasks, including driving demand, generating pipeline, managing deals, and engaging customers.
“Revenue teams don’t want a forecast. They want a real-time, adaptive week-by-week action plan to beat their number. That’s not what forecasting is today. Forecasting, as it is done today, sucks. For most revenue teams, it is something they have to do, not something they want to do. That’s because the tools they have available make just getting to a forecast number difficult and time-consuming. What’s worse is that they don’t often trust the number they arrive at. That’s a big problem. It’s hard to know where to spend your time when you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is accurate.”
Salesloft SVP of Product Management Frank Dale
The Salesloft Modern Revenue Workspace is built on three pillars: Connecting with buyers, improving interactions with customers and prospects based on the data that is generated from interactions, and aligning the team around best practices. Forecasting falls into the alignment pillar but is designed to support connection and feedback.
“There is a huge gap. The gap is not necessarily about calling the number, but it is more about the action plan on that number,” explained Senior Director of Product Management Anshu Chowdhery to GZ Consulting. Salesloft set two goals for its Forecast launch: A shared workflow for gathering deal intelligence and turning it into a forecast; and the ability to achieve that number.
Salesloft Forecast capabilities include
Forecasts are rolled up across the organization.
Users can drill down to opportunities and track changes in the pipeline. They can also take action from within Forecast.
An AI-driven forecast model employs “sales engagement data and historical performance to dial in on what’s likely to land, and what you can influence.”
Forecasts are based on AI models and engagement data gathered by Salesloft.
“What we’re building is an integrated, whole system,” remarked Dale. “We’re integrating all of the activity capture from Cadence, all of the conversation data and capture from our conversation intelligence product, the CRM data from our deals product, and then the ability to turn around and take action again through our cadence product once you’ve made the call.”
“This forecasting product is built on top of [our] Deals product,” expanded Chowdhery. “Deals bi-directionally syncs with Salesforce. So, everything that lives on Salesforce is in Deals, and that’s the significant advantage of [our] forecasting solution. We are able to sync everything and pull all information, not only from Salesforce but across our platform – every engagement that’s happening on the cadence side or conversation side. The sales leader has the ability to view that timeline and identify…[whether] no conversations happened in the last thirty days; this deal is at risk; what should I do in order to win that deal?”
A Weekly Opportunity Changes view lists all of the changes to amounts, close dates, and stages over the past week and how those changes impact the forecast, providing a dynamic view of weekly activity.
Dale stated that Forecast provides value across the revenue team. Frontline sales management has greater visibility into the pipeline, and Forecast provides sales reps “a true read on what they need to do to land and hit their number.” In addition, both reps and managers benefit from reduced busy work in managing pipeline updates.
Dale contends that daily administrative work for reps is reduced by an hour by streamlining the forecasting and updating process.
While Forecast focuses on new business forecasting, future enhancements will support renewal forecasting and run-rate forecasting (i.e., intra-period deals). Also, Salesloft will continue to build out its analytics and plans to release Vulnerable Opportunities Notifications for flagging at-risk opportunities.
Forecast provides a common workflow that rolls up deal intelligence across the organization. Users can drill down into specific deals and take actions, greatly improving insights and actionability. “This is a seamless workflow for the reps and honestly, across the entire revenue organization to submit their forecasts and submit their number,” said Chowdhery.
A modern forecasting system must be part of your sales execution system,” blogged Fields. “The information about your deals in flight – who’s contacting the customer, what meetings were had and what was said, how the customer responds — is the foundational information that your forecast rests on. If you’re using a sales engagement platform, all of that activity is already being tracked automatically, without your sellers needing to spend time logging their activities. Meetings and calls are recorded and searchable so you can review that pivotal moment with the buyer.”
“Forecasting under-delivers when the end result is just a number,” continued Fields. “The end result should be a set of actions you can take to deliver better results. To do that, you need to not only see a number, but you need to see areas of softness and strength, important deal gaps, and opportunities. You need to recognize that the East team will need your support this quarter, but that the West will probably overachieve. You need to know where to spend your team’s time most productively to get over the line.”
Dale emphasized the importance of cross-product workflows aligned with “things people actually want to do.” Unfortunately, vendors often build technology that “chases a problem” or is designed to answer checklist questions about functionality. Salesloft “starts with problems people have and then builds solutions to match that. So anytime you see us build something like forecasting, we’re building it based on what people are actually trying to do.” Forecasting was built because it was a regular customer request.
Salesloft claims that its new Forecast module transforms forecasting “from a burdensome task into a strategic action plan to close more revenue.” Revenue estimates and deal close dates are derived from real-time data and employ “multiple forecasting techniques to make it easy to see where the team’s performance is trending.” AI helps identify missed opportunities and deals at risk, letting reps mitigate deal risk and factor it into pipeline estimates. As Forecast is native to Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace, managers can assign follow-ups or add deal notes within the Salesloft workflow.
“With Forecast, customers have the visibility, intelligence, and workflow to close deals more consistently and act upon unrealized opportunities,” stated the firm.
“Forecast by Salesloft is an intelligent solution with strong data governance, so there’s less room for errors,” stated Fields. “Sellers can forecast and take action on those deals from the same platform. When sales managers have real-time visibility and the ability to drill down, coaching sellers and taking action happens naturally, leading to better deal outcomes.”
Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo last summer, rolled out a mobile app for its conversational sales service. The app supports core Chorus features on Android and iOS phones. Users can listen to calls, speed them up, and pause them. They can also share key moments with colleagues via Slack, email, and text. Hashtags and @ mentions assist with tagging and sharing.
Managers and trainers can assign listening and provide feedback, which can be reviewed during walks, commutes, or downtime. Users also have access to a library of best practices spanning various topics, including objection handling, pitching to specific verticals, or value discussions.
“With Chorus, reps can review top performers’ recordings on their own schedule,” said Alyson Baber, commercial sales leader at Zoom. “They can also focus on keywords, such as a competitor’s name or pricing information, and go directly to those parts of the discussion instead of having to sit through the entire call.”
Customer Success and Account Teams can review preceding conversations, review conversations before quarterly business reviews, and share the voice of the customer or product feedback with other teams.
“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings. Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin. “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”
Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.” The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange. Insights include
Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.
Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision. General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.
Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars. Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.
“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI. “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague. Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”
TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI. Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”
“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers. “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”
Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.
“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights. This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”
Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events. During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations. Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.
Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.
Last month, Drift rolled out its Conversation Cloud, which combines the capabilities of its Conversational Marketing, Conversational Sales, and newly launched Conversational Service offerings. Drift’s Conversational AI guides visitors along any stage of the customer journey, helping them “voice their intent with open text questions, find answers to their own questions, get personalized recommendations, or book a sales meeting.”
“Everything starts with a conversation, and in-person communication and experiences are taking a back seat to the conversations we have online, especially in our business relationships. Businesses are relying more and more on digital experience platforms – or in our case, conversational experience platforms – to bridge these connections and manage key customer interactions, touchpoints, and engagement. Our guiding philosophy at Drift is to put the buyer at the center of everything we do, and we are excited to bring the Drift Conversation Cloud to market to help our customers deliver a better experience to buyers at each stage of their journey, all while improving their sales teams’ efficiencies and accelerating revenue.”
Drift Conversational Sales manages customer conversations across chat, video, email, and phone. Drift routes high value leads to sales reps, notifying them when qualified leads are engaging with the chatbot or the website. Sales reps can “craft personalized outreach based on what web pages buyers visited, which sales touchpoints they engaged with, and how often they interacted with your brand.” Prospect activity is automatically logged to Salesforce.
Reps can also deliver personalized video messages based on site activity intelligence. Videos may be shared via LinkedIn, Drift, Outreach, or Salesloft. Drift claims a more than 3X improvement in response rates for asynchronous video.
Drift not only schedules meetings but also offers a new Deal Room module for capturing interactions between buyers and sellers, including meeting transcriptions and document sharing. Deal Room also provides real-time alerts when prospects engage with the Deal Room and manages Mutual Action Plans.
“Drift Deal Room enables seamless collaboration between your internal team and entire buyer committees in one central location,” blogged Drift Senior Product Marketing Manager Holly Xiao. “Everyone involved will be able to have conversations, share files, manage action items, schedule meetings, and more — directly in Deal Room.”
Continued Xiao, “Drift Deal Room lets you see who, what, and how buyers interact with your business throughout their entire journey. So, when it’s time for your next deal review, you’ll come to the table with a clear picture of deal activities and trajectory. And if you notice opportunities with lower engagement, you can rely on Drift Video, Drift Chat, Drift Email, and more to help you nurture deals in the right channel at the right time and keep them moving in the right direction.”
Conversational Service answers simple support questions, allowing the service team to focus on difficult support problems and high-priority customers. The Drift Chatbot supports Salesforce and Zendesk knowledge base articles. Conversational Service lets customers create their own support tickets or hand high-priority requests over to live service reps.
“Translating click-based engagement into buyer-led enablement across interactions requires conversation design that senses and responds to spoken and unspoken buyer needs across complex and connected buying journeys, wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Jessie Johnson last November. “Conversational interactions help B2B organizations meet buyers where they are in their journey, enable their buyers and customers in the moment, and inform the next interaction. The impact of poor execution, however, can have a lasting negative impact on the buying journey, customer experience, and even the brand itself.”
VanillaSoft announced a trio of new or upgraded integrations for its Sales Engagement Platform. First, VanillaSoft upgraded its integration with Salesforce, providing synchronization of accounts, contacts, leads, activities (e.g., Tasks, Events, History), and opportunities. Custom Object syncing is coming soon. VanillaSoft also announced new technology partnerships with Chorus (ZoomInfo) and Zapier.
The Salesforce integration is bi-directional with instant updates. Prospects from VanillaSoft’s AutoKlose subsidiary are fed to VanillaSoft and uploaded to Salesforce. The integration also supports improved Salesforce reporting and dashboards, providing a unified reporting interface for all sales activities. Salesforce reporting “accurately shows conversion ratios and funnel math from stage-to-stage and team-to-team.”
“In most cases, organizations use SFDC as the primary hub for all their lead and account information,” noted Product Marketing Director Bergen Wilde during a demo to GZ Consulting. “Leads coming in from outside sources, such as marketing automation, would be immediately shared with VanillaSoft.” For example, “marketing may examine old leads or accounts in SFDC and create a new campaign for these, sending them back into VanillaSoft for pursuit by SDRs.”
The upgraded integration “empowers a sales team with immediate information updates across both platforms so agents using either system can take action without delay.”
Updates to Salesforce are always real-time and triggered by VanillaSoft result codes. Updates from Salesforce can be either real-time or performed in batch. For example, Sales Operations can set up real-time synchronization for web form submissions fed into SFDC. Web leads are then synced with VanillaSoft, providing immediate routing of web leads to SDRs, with both platforms tracking submissions and responses.
A novel VanillaSoft use case is multi-client synchronization between VanillaSoft and client Salesforce instances. The VanillaSoft project code acts as a “top-level, self-contained database in VanillaSoft,” which signals the relevant client instance, allowing lead generation companies and agencies to support multiple clients. “Lead generation has always been a consistent market for us because we keep the data segmentation. That’s been since day one – we’ve kept our projects separate,” explained Director of Customer Success Daniel Sims to GZ Consulting. “Tied to that, we have some pretty cool appointment setting functionality that tends to make us attractive to most lead gen companies.”
Other use cases include
Managing SDR to AE handoffs: As SDRs book meetings, the information and task are posted in Salesforce for the AE. If the client is a no-show, the lead can be passed back to the SDR for rescheduling.
Upselling: A customer success agent identifies an upsell opportunity and enters it in SFDC. The record then syncs with VanillaSoft, which notifies the SDR to schedule an appointment for the AE.
Triggered Alerts: Salesforce alerts (e.g., overdue payments, deviations from volume commitments, or new opportunities) are routed to SDRs for follow-up.
VanillaSoft noted that it can store raw MQLs until they are sales qualified, at which time the data is synced with Salesforce. This flow reduces storage fees for low-yield prospects. Thus, contact records can be purchased from AutoKlose and enabled in VanillaSoft, only becoming Salesforce records once they are sales qualified.
VanillaSoft supports both the Salesforce Lightning and Classic user experiences. Integration management is performed within SFDC, so admins do not require a VanillaSoft license.
The Chorus partnership is supported for joint customers, providing access to Chorus recordings and transcripts from VanillaSoft. Similar functionality for Gong is planned for the end of this quarter.
Chorus transcription and analytics are triggered by VanillaSoft result codes, with recordings immediately passed from VanillaSoft to Chorus for processing. A Chorus logo is then displayed within VanillaSoft, providing a hyperlink to the recording, transcript, and analysis.
Zapier provides broad integration with other enterprise software platforms. Sales operations can bi-directionally connect VanillaSoft to hundreds of other applications via a “simple, graphical user interface.”
Zapier is often deployed by SMBs for connecting platforms and triggering workflows.
“VanillaSoft helps SMB sales teams in real-world industries to enhance their sales capabilities and productivity – enabling them to increase their outreach and close more deals,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood. “By establishing relationships and enhancing integrations with other key technologies that our customers rely on within their sales organizations, we are working to make their sales processes more seamless, and ultimately are helping them to ensure their sales success.”