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.

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.

Insent Integrates with MS Teams

Conversation Marketing platform Insent.AI integrated its service with Microsoft Teams, notifying users when customers and prospects are ready to chat.  The conversation is conducted within Teams via an MS Teams AppSource app.

“With the Insent app for Teams, your team can get notifications for the incoming chats from your buyers, view detailed visitor insights to understand the context and strike up more personalized conversations, and make the necessary hand-offs inside your chosen MS channels,” blogged Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey.

Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform.”  According to Jey ”integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”

Insent offers “Advanced Enterprise-grade routing,” which directs conversations to the CRM account owners.  If the account owner is not available, calls are routed via a set of fallback rules based on time of day and location to other reps or the chatbot.

Insent emphasizes the value of “human-first conversations” with bots serving as a backup channel:

“Chatbots were meant to be your second line of defense, built to support marketing and sales when your team isn’t available – not pretend to be human.”

Insent Website

@ Mentions allow users to include additional staff in the conversation.  It is not necessary to register individual users.  Simply tagging them directs Insent to create a user profile based upon MS Teams data.

Insent also offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack.

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.