Outreach: $30 Million for Empowering Sales Reps

Outreach Workflow Intelligence combines Outreach prospect and process analytics with third-party company and contact information.
Outreach workflow intelligence combines Outreach prospect and process analytics with third-party company and contact information.

Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendor Outreach announced a $30 million Series C round led by DJF.  With the capital injection, Outreach raised its total funding to $60 million.  The valuation was not disclosed.  Other round participants included Four Rivers Group and existing investors Mayfield, MHS Capital, Microsoft Ventures and Trinity Ventures.  Funds will be deployed towards additional product development, staffing, and marketing.

“The future of selling will be machines helping sales reps by removing the barriers of what bogs them down and empowering them to do their best work,” blogged Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “This round gives us the ability to make the required investments in machine learning and natural language processing. We’re doubling down in an area many in the market are talking about, but have yet to make a reality. With this investment, Outreach will continue to innovate to improve the day-to-day life of sales reps and their impact on the companies and communities they serve.”

Outreach helps automate, track, and analyze sales rep tasks across multiple communication channels including email, phone, and LinkedIn.  Activities are tracked and synchronized with Salesforce, Gmail, and Exchange.  Outreach supports over 1,200 sales teams including sales organizations at Adobe, Pandora, eBay, Marketo, and Zillow.  The firm supports the efforts of over 15,000 sales reps.

Like many industries, technology is transforming sales from an art to a science.  Sales is no longer about following up on inbound leads and hunting for a few big deals. It is about sales excellence – predictably executing the right selling activities at the right time.

  • Outreach CEO Manny Medina

The firm, founded in 2014, doubled its employment over the past year to 170.  Outreach is looking to grow its product and engineering group from thirty to fifty staff before the end of 2017.  Outreach is based in Seattle with offices in San Francisco and State College, PA.  They recently opened an office in Tampa, Florida which has hired some of the talent from recently shuttered competitor KiteDesk.

While I have not heard the specific rationale behind the KiteDesk shutdown, a former CxO at the firm suggested that they lacked the capital to compete against well-funded competitors such as Outreach and SalesLoft.

Along with the funding round, Outreach announced that DFJ Growth Partner Sam Fort has been added to Outreach’s Board. “The opportunity for a platform that simplifies and automates the sales process is massive and we are thrilled to have Outreach join our portfolio,” said Fort.

MarTech Landscape

Snippet from the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape (Source: Scott Brinker, Chiefmartec.com)
Snippet from the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape (Source: Scott Brinker, Chiefmartec.com)

Scott Brinker published the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape, his annual exercise in shrinking thousands of logos into a super graphic.  This year, the list grew 40%, to a total of 5,381 solutions (from 4,891 unique companies).  Over the past year, 4.7% of the vendors were removed and 3.5% “changed in some fundamental way — their name, their focus, or their ownership.”

By size:

  • 6.9% have at least 1,000 employees or are public.  Brinker describes these 300+ firms as enterprises.
  • 44.2% are private businesses with either fewer than 1,000 employees or no funding data
  • 48.8% are investor-funded startups at any pre-exit stage

“So for those who assumed most of these companies are tiny, it’s worth noting that over 300 are enterprises of significant scale,” said Brinker.  “It’s also true that over 2,300 others have received some sort of investor funding — which implies scale beyond a couple of rogue developers in a garage (or, for a more modern-day cliché, two people in a coffee shop).”

The bottom group of “investor funded startups at any pre-exit stage,” which makes up nearly half the firms, is a growing phenomenon in the SaaS universe. Analyst Clement Vouillon of Point Nine Capital said that ten years ago, there were few SaaS companies that weren’t looking for VC-funding.  Growth in self-funded SaaS ventures has been fed by a growth in underlying platforms and advice.  Thus, “building and distributing a SaaS product is easier, faster and less expensive.”

Vouillon noted a number of additional reasons for self-funded bootstrappers:

  • Experienced founders have previously worked at VC-backed firms and are looking to avoid the model.
  • Competition prevents firms from scaling but permit the firm to operate as “a lean and profitable SaaS business.”
  • The SaaS firm is a feature that can operate on SaaS platforms (vs. being a full product).
  • The firm’s total addressable market (TAM) is not large enough to attract VC funds, but is sufficient to permit profitability.
  • The firm is local but not easily scalable.

“The majority of these companies have their sweet spot in the tens to hundreds [of] thousands dollars of MRR,” said Vouillon.  “Once reached they’ll continue to grow but more slowly and they won’t scale to millions dollars of MRR.”

The spectacular scope explosion of marketing — and the rate at which new disruptions and innovations continue to roil marketing and business at large — has made it impossible for any one vendor to deliver everything that every marketer needs in a digital world.  Almost all of the major providers now acknowledge this, and they’ve shifted their strategies to embrace the ecosystem — becoming true “platforms” that make it easier for marketers to plug in a variety of more specialized and vertical solutions.

  • Scott Brinker, Editor of ChiefMartec.com

Many of the firms covered in this blog are located in the Audience/Market Data and Data Enhancement section.  This group includes predictive analytics companies, tech data vendors, DaaS hygiene, and alerting companies.

Other groupings with covered firms in this newsletter include ABM; Predictive Analytics; and Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence.

Crunchbase Series B

Last week was a busy week for VC funding in the SalesTech space.  Yesterday, I covered SparkLane’s funding round and today I am blogging about PE/VC database Crunchbase which announced an $18 million Series B led by Mayfield.  The funding announcement was paired with the launch of a new team-based Crunchbase Enterprise service.  Crunchbase was spun out of AOL in 2015 with $6.5 million in funding from Emergence Capital followed by a smaller $2 million round.  Crunchbase also laid out plans for a Crunchbase Marketplace that would allow the company to become the “Facebook of company information.”

The new funds will be dedicated towards extending its SaaS offerings, expanding its database, and growing its teams with a “significant commitment to diversity.”

“Mayfield is excited to partner with Jager McConnell and the team at Crunchbase to be the place where consumers, professionals, and businesses can easily access the information on companies to sell to, market to, partner with, finance, work for, research, acquire, and do business with. The early success of Crunchbase Pro and its usability have given us a view into the ambitious vision and roadmap of increasing the breadth, depth, and accessibility of the high-quality data platform Crunchbase is creating,” commented Rajeev Batra, Partner at Mayfield. “Crunchbase not only has a globally dominant position and brand, it has the potential to be a true platform company in becoming the actionable master record for company data.”

Crunchbase funding rounds and investors
Crunchbase funding rounds and investors

Crunchbase now offers an API along with three levels of service: free, Pro ($29 / month), and Enterprise ($99 / user / month with a minimum of five users).  Additional services are in the pipeline.

The free service receives 2.3 million unique visitors per month of which 40%  of site traffic is international.  Pro, which was launched last September, is “well past” 5,000 subscribers according to CEO Jager McConnell.  The firm has licensed its API to more than ten partners including Glassdoor and SimilarWeb.

The new Enterprise service combines Pro with API access, list downloads, email addresses, phone support, and a CRM connector.  The AppExchange service supports daily Crunchbase updates and data change alerts.

Crunchbase product pricing and features table
Crunchbase product pricing and features table

Crunchbase now covers a half million companies and 2,700 VC firms.  Other content includes investors, people, events, and products.  Data is maintained by a team of editors with updates provided to Crunchbase by their member community.  The database also benefits from VC firm updates and machine learning tools which search for anomalous information.  Annually, five million updates are made to the database.

Crunchbase has become the go-to destination for accurate and up-to-date company information for businesses all over the world,” said McConnell. “As we grow, hiring a diverse team will bring a variety of valuable perspectives into the business, which reflects the culture of Crunchbase. This will remain a focus of hiring as the company doubles in size in the next year.”

Crunchbase clients include Affinity, Datafox, Datanyze, Deloitte, Engagio, Everstring, Infer, Microsoft, Nestle, Samsung, Slack, Target, Volkswagen, and IBM Watson.  The firm has forty staff of which 43% are women and half are non-white.

McConnell wants Crunchbase to be the Facebook of company information.  “The premise is: it would be impossible for a single company to find all these slivers of company information, and put it into one spot on their own. They can’t be all those core competencies, so the idea is, let’s go and form these partnerships with all these companies that have those core competencies, put it in one place and, if we do a good job here, the user will say, ‘I know where to go, it’s where all this data comes together, that’s at Crunchbase.’”

To accomplish this vision, Crunchbase is readying a Crunchbase Marketplace of fifteen to twenty partners “to build a true company master record.”  Thus, Glassdoor would provide CEO ratings, employee ratings, and available jobs while SimilarWeb would feature website traffic for a specific company or industry.

Users will have the ability to select which content sets display.  The goal is to cover all of the companies on the Internet.

“Over time, pretty much every data provider that has some slice of company information, we’d like our users to have the ability to go and add that data directly into their experience. Sometimes that will be free, like Glassdoor will be a free dataset, but other times it may even cost a little bit of money to go add in technology stack data, or patent data,” said McConnell.  “Sometimes people want to know not just about funding, but about jobs, the CEO or all the companies in their geography that have a certain amount of website traffic.  Or sales reps want to find people who use a competitive product. Right now, they need three partners to get all that data. We want to let you choose it as part of the experience.”

David Sternis of Deloitte said, “The quality and accessibility of Crunchbase data is second to none. We save an immense amount of time by using Crunchbase Enterprise to power our TechHabor solution in order to stay on top of the innovation and startup landscapes. Our teams spend a fraction of the time they used to on research and market analysis and can prioritize focusing on providing strategic recommendations for our clients.”

Note: While Crunchbase and CB Insights both cover the PE/VC space, they are separate, non-affiliated companies.

InsideSales $50M Funding Round

Since yesterday I discussed SalesLoft’s funding round, I would be remiss to note that Predictive Analytics vendor InsideSales closed on a $50 million funding round which included Microsoft and the Irish government.  In total, the company has raised over $250 million.  The latest round, led by Polaris Capital, included Questmark Partners and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.  Also participating were existing investors Microsoft, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Hummer Winblad, U.S. Venture Partners, Epic Ventures and Zetta Venture.  The latest round was flat or nominally up, allowing the firm to retain its Unicorn status.

InsideSales’ predictive Accelerate service combines predictive analytics with a phone dialer, sales gamification, and email and web interaction tracking within SFDC.  Accelerate lists at $295 per user per month.  An Essentials service, designed for SMBs, is priced at $25 per seat per month.  The firm also offers products at several price points in between.

InsideSales NeuralView identifies the ”most promising leads, opportunities and accounts” for customers
InsideSales NeuralView identifies the ”most promising leads, opportunities and accounts” for customers

The company stores, anonymous, aggregated data.  “We have over 120 million unique buying personas,” said CEO David Elkington.  “More interestingly, I have almost a hundred billion sales interactions with those 120 million people. A sales interaction’s a conversation, an email, a response, a visit, a purchase. We’re adding roughly five billion of those a month. The reason is because it’s aggregate, it’s crowdsourced.”

Elkington emphasizes the value of data over algorithms.  “We’re basically looking at the way categories of people behave within various different situations.  The mistake people are making is thinking the value is in building the best algorithm. The key is in the data.”

Elkington observed a “generational transition” in sales leadership with millennials “becoming predominant quota carrying reps, taking more sales leadership roles.”

In 2015, InsideSales set out to study the “buying and selling patterns of the next generation of employees.” The firm found that over the past few years, the presence of millennials amongst buyers and sellers has nearly doubled “and their behavior is very different.”

“The way a millennial runs their day is fundamentally different than the way other generations run their day,” noted Elkington. “Millennials don’t want to sit down in their CRM. They live all over the web and move around quite a bit.”

Based on these observations, InsideSales recently released Playbooks, a browser plugin which helps sales reps “prospect, prioritize and connect without juggling multiple tools.”  The Playbooks service also supports CRM synchronization and integrated telephony and emails.

InsideSales research found that the typical millennial has seventy to eighty tabs open at a time.  Thus, Playbooks allows the user to leverage the intelligence in each of those tabs and immediately act on the information.

InsideSales is finding strong usage for Playbooks amongst millennials.  “Reps adopt it much faster with much less training, and satisfaction seems to be higher,” said Elkington.

InsideSales has over 2,000 customers including ADP, Groupon, and Microsoft.  The firm currently employs a staff of 500 located in the “Silicon Slopes” of Utah with an outpost in San Mateo.

“Our mission is to leverage big data and cloud capabilities to unlock human potential through predictive analytics and machine learning,” said Elkington. “We are building an Amazon-style recommendation engine for business — a system capable of intelligently analyzing billions of data points in real-time and recommending the optimal next steps for almost any application or business process. This lays the groundwork for a future where predictive technology can be applied, not just to sales organizations but also to government, healthcare, retail and beyond.”

SalesLoft $15M Round B

The SalesLoft Dialer supports one-click dialing from Salesforce and Inboxes. Calls are managed as part of multi-channel cadences and automatically logged.
The SalesLoft Dialer supports one-click dialing from Salesforce and Inboxes. Calls are managed as part of multi-channel cadences and automatically logged.

Last month, Account Based Sales Engagement vendor SalesLoft closed on a $15M Round B twenty-two months after closing on a $10.15M Series A.  The new round, which valued the firm at $100 million, was led by David Cummings, the founder of Pardot, and his Atlanta Ventures.  SalesLoft chose to work with its existing Atlanta-based investor team.  Cummings chipped in $10 million with Spinnaker Investments and Emergence Capital contributing their pro-rata shares.

By extending Round B amongst current investors, SalesLoft was able to “keep our board the same, move fast to close, and get back to the work of serving our customers immediately,” said CEO Kyle Porter.

Heading into the new year, our growth left us with enough cash in the bank and a modest enough burn rate to keep running for the next few years.  But we’re on a mission to transform the sales industry and be the clear No. 1 in our category. Achieving that mission requires additional investment in the platform, innovation, and our community so we deliver significant value to our customers. For that reason, we decided it was time to double down on our market and put more capital to work.

  • CEO Kyle Porter

The round and funding strategy were proposed by Cummings.  “David [Cummings] is a close friend, mentor, investor, board member, and advisor who has been on the journey with SalesLoft since the very beginning,” said Porter.  “David’s career journey had imprinted on him the value in being a market leader and he recognized the magnitude of the sales engagement opportunity.”

While the firm’s burn rate was low enough to hold off on another round for a few years, “we’re on a mission to transform the sales industry and be the clear #1 in our category,” blogged Porter.  “Achieving that mission requires additional investment in the platform, innovation, and our community so we deliver significant value to our customers. For that reason, we decided it was time to double down on our market and put more capital to work.”

SalesLoft maintains a level of transparency that exceeds most companies with detailed discussions around funding, corporate culture, and product strategy.  While most companies provide pro-forma press releases around funding announcements, SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter wrote detailed blogs around both rounds and presented a case study on his decision to abandon SalesLoft’s successful Prospector service while Cadence was still in its formative stage.

The funding will be used towards product, marketing, and opening an office in San Francisco.  The 2017 product focus includes improved orchestration between sales, marketing, and supporting executives; enhanced insights and reports; expanded governance tools; role based workflow assignments; and enhanced analytics.  Furthermore, “SalesLoft will be at your fingertips at all times, delivering core applications to wherever your reps live in everyday, like Gmail, Outlook, Dynamics, and Salesforce.”

SalesLoft plans to continued expansion of its ecosystem which already includes a broad set of partners:

  • Company/Contacts: InsideView, RingLead, Prospectify
  • Technology: Datanyze, DiscoverOrg, HG Data
  • News: Owler
  • Coaching: ExecVision, TalkIQ, Crystal, People.ai, Gong.io
  • Workflow: Sigstr, Chili Piper
  • Social: ProLeads

Additional partners will be announced at their upcoming Rainmaker Sales Engagement conference.

Although they did not detail their 2017 partner list, the firm named Vidyard and DocSend as 2017 connectors when I was profiling their service for my book.  Vidyard provides video integration into emails with the customer service rep option to record a quick intro.  DocSend provides intra-document tracking tools and analytics which display information on what sections were viewed and for how long.

In 2016, SalesLoft trebled its Annualized Run Rate (ARR) while phasing out its $4 million Prospector Service and expanding the Cadence account based sales offering.  Over this time, the Cadence product increased its ARR by 5,000 percent (from less than $200, 000).  Cadence now has over 1,000 customers.

SalesLoft has grown from 5 employees in early 2014 to 125 with plans to add 85 headcount in the coming months.

The firm is focused on “serving the customer,”  said Porter.  “It was our intention to build a company based entirely on a set of core values and to this date, it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.”

Porter lists the firms core values as

  • Put Customers First
  • Focus on Results
  • Glass Half Full
  • Bias Toward Action
  • Team over Self

Focusing on values allows us to be intentional about our behavior on a daily basis.  This sets the foundation for healthy teams to establish trust, inspire growth, and achieve something special together.

  • CEO Kyle Porter

While many companies view culture as corporate window dressing around perks and office space, SalesLoft COO Rob Forman defines culture as “our values, consistently applied.”

DiscoverOrg Announces Growth Investment Round

GZ Consulting Financial Figures Gathered from DiscoverOrg Revenue Announcements.
GZ Consulting financial figures gathered from DiscoverOrg revenue announcements.

This morning, tech sales intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg announced its second funding round to assist the company’s growth. Investors included Goldman Sachs BDC, NXT Capital, Silicon Valley Bank and Antares Management. In 2014, DiscoverOrg quietly accepted a growth equity investment from TA Associates and FiveW Capital. The firm did not disclose the size of either round but told The Columbian that the current round was at least a seven digit investment.*

CEO Henry Schuck said that the round did not fall into traditional Series A / Series B designations as it was not designed to address financial needs so much as bring in a set of strategic advisors to help guide company growth. Shuck noted that the firm has long been managed as a cash flow positive operation; thus, the funding rounds were not needed to fund growth but for garnering “seasoned technology and SaaS” expertise.

A secondary benefit of these relationships is they improve the company’s flexibility with respect to acquisitions. In the press release, the firm noted the opportunity to acquire firms in adjacent markets. DiscoverOrg acquired competitor iProfile last year and integrated their international datasets into their core database.

DiscoverOrg continues to build out its datasets. They recently announced their Technology, Engineering, Development, and Design (TEDD) offering which focuses on product management. Other datasets in development include sales and HR departments. A rest of world dataset covering AsiaPac and Latin America is also being readied for market.

Other priorities include doubling their engineering department to forty headcount so they can “build new workflow automation capabilities and integrations for sales and marketing professionals,” and “rapidly expanding” their IT, Marketing and Finance datasets.

“As companies continue to invest in CRM, marketing automation, predictive lead scoring and analytics, they’re realizing that the linchpin to achieving high ROI on these investments is not just having a core system but also adding in verified, high quality data that sales and marketing professionals can leverage to build pipeline and close deals,” said Schuck.

“We invested in technology, we rebuilt the platform from front to back, added integrations with marketing automation systems and CRM and rebuilt the front-end of the Salesforce app,” he added. “We are looking at the technology as more than a delivery mechanism for the data and have it more in the workflow of sales reps.”

DiscoverOrg continues its growth trajectory with topline revenue up 36% in 2015. Their annual recurring revenue now stands at $54 million and Schuck forecasts 40% to 60% revenue growth in 2016. DiscoverOrg is approaching 2,000 customers and has grown to 230 employees.

The firm no longer appears to be allergic to employing digital data collection methods so long as digital data serves as an input to their editorial processes. Shuck noted that the combination of digitally collected data with human verification “would be very powerful.” Shuck gained confidence in such techniques due to success using digital tools for identifying and verifying emails. Their recent experience of verifying the iProfile dataset demonstrated their capability to ingest large third-party datasets and verify the content.

They also recently announced a partnership to license vendor and product data from HG Data. HG Data covers many more companies than DiscoverOrg, so they focused on improving technology fill rates at their current companies. The firm conducted verification tests on the HG Data content and leveraged HG Data’s confidence scores. Of course, the HG Data content also provides seed data for building out new company profiles.

Expanding their data collection methods makes logical sense. While there is a certain purity to editorial only content, leveraging digital data generation and verification techniques allows the firm to focus editorial resources on difficult to obtain high-value datasets such as organizational charts while building out their company and contact coverage more rapidly.

DiscoverOrg also recently partnered with SalesLoft to upload DiscoverOrg contacts into the Cadence product. Sales reps can upload one or multiple records to specific cadences, allowing the reps to immediately begin campaigns. DiscoverOrg also supports an auto-refresh feature to maintain data quality over time.

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter argued that “What we’re seeing on the front end is a dramatic increase in the quality and quantity of intelligence on companies — the things that DiscoverOrg creates. We can help from there, via fine-grained analytics, which provide information on the right amount of calls, emails, and social contacts to make as well as the best time to execute those touchpoints.”

While the company offers a set of IT, marketing, and finance datasets on its website, they are flexible in their licensing. Firms can bundle multiple datasets or target companies by location or technology sets.

Although DiscoverOrg on the sales and marketing function, they have a sizeable business in the executive recruitment space with over 250 clients. DiscoverOrg supports two sets of recruitment use cases: staffing and business development (identifying HR contacts at target companies). The firm has also had success selling into HR departments, particularly at large financial services companies. By targeting staff at competitors, financial services companies can bring in seasoned professionals with a knowledge of their industry.

Schuck sees a strong future for DiscoverOrg as they find additional was to sell their datasets across user workflows and departments. A recent study estimated their IT Total Addressable Market (TAM) to be in excess of $1 billion. The marketing dataset was deemed to be a comparable opportunity while the finance market was sized at $400 million.

* Correction: The Columbian corrected their wording to read “at least” a seven digit investment.

 

 

 

Chrome Integration: Mattermark

MattermarkToday I am continuing my coverage of Google Chrome integrations with Mattermark, a funding database.  The Mattermark Chrome extension provides company and funding details on 1.3 million companies.  The connector identifies companies based upon the current URL in the active browser tab.   If the company is not found in their database, then users can request that the firm be added to Mattermark.

Content includes business descriptions, social media links, industry keywords, top executives with titles, and funding rounds.

The Chrome viewer also provides employee history, funding history, and Mattermark growth score graphs.  Users can even trace along the graphs to find the employee counts, funding amounts, or growth scores over time.

A View Connections button opens up a LinkedIn tab and displays the top connections to the company.  To improve connection accuracy, Mattermark passes the LinkedIn company code.  Other social media links include Facebook, Twitter, Angellist, and CrunchBase.

The extension provides quick access to company searches, saved searches, and lists via the Mattermark browser.  If the user clicks on the company name, the full Mattermark company profile is displayed in a new tab.  Additional content includes funding and acquisition histories, similar companies, news headlines with open web links, and user notes.

Multiple graphs are displayed including Growth and Mindshare, web traffic, social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), and app ranks (Apple App Store and Google Play).  Unfortunately, none of the graphs provide context.  Thus, if there is a spike in social media activity, there is no direct method for discerning what events or promotions drove the spike.  Likewise, a declining growth score lacks context.

Users can also click on one of the company investors listed in the Chrome window to view a list of other investments made by the PE/VC.  Along with a list of the investments with recent funding data and growth scores, Mattermark provides investor analytics including top industries, growth momentum, business model (B2B vs. B2C investments), stage distribution, and company location.  Thus, a startup could use Mattermark for both building prospect lists targeting fast growth companies and research on potential investors.  Knowing what stage, industry, and location a firm invests in helps narrow a CFO’s funding targets.

Mattermark collects and edits its company dataset.  After cancelling the last of its data licenses last year, Mattermark now mines all of its data.  They also have a small team of analysts for verifying the extracted content.

Executive information is limited to top names and titles.  They do not provide contact information.  However, users can click on the LinkedIn icon to be taken directly to the LinkedIn company page for research.

I should warn you that the service is expensive.  Users must have a paid subscription or free trial for access to Mattermark Chrome extension content.  Pricing begins at $6,000 per annum.

Given its price and limited coverage, Mattermark is best suited for PE/VC firms and startups looking for their next funding round.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Social Selling Index and Improved Filters

Sales Navigator Home Page
Sales Navigator Home Page

Several weeks ago, LinkedIn began promoting upgrades to the home page of its Sales Navigator service.  The new features finally hit my user id today.  Enhancements include expanded insights and update filtering, the Social Selling Index, and a recent activity section.

Expanded Insights

Expanded insights help users “get the intelligence you need to engage with your prospects at the right time, including new insights on who to reach out to – and how.”  This is a welcome addition which partially helps address their discoverability problem concerning older posts.  Sales Navigator now displays two member posts along with the ability to scroll through older posts.  However, this broader discoverability is not yet available throughout the product.

Expanded Insights displays the two most recent posts associated with a profile and provides a scroll arrow for additional posts.
Expanded Insights displays the two most recent posts associated with a profile and provides a scroll arrow for additional posts.

Update Filtering

Updated Filtering allows users to “filter your updates by type or by the top accounts you’ve been prospecting recently.” While most of these filters already existed, the quick filtering by top accounts is a welcome enhancement.  Unfortunately, it does not provide a quick means to drill down to your other accounts.  For those, you would need to go to the account profile directly.

Social Selling Index

The Social Selling Index (SSI) helps you “see how your score is trending, and how you rank against your peers in Social Selling.”  The SSI provides a gamification element to Navigator which encourages greater social selling through the service.

Sales Navigator Social Selling Index Score
Sales Navigator Social Selling Index Score

Members are rated by their ability to

  • Establish a Professional Brand
  • Find the Right People
  • Engage with Insights
  • Build Relationships

The SSI section also allows users to share updates, but not long-form posts.  For those, users must toggle over to the standard LinkedIn platform.

Users can drill down to their SSI statistics which provides a six week history of the SSI along with comparison scores vs. your team, industry, and network.

The SSI also includes a pre-canned boast link to promote the SSI to your LinkedIn network.  I also discussed the SSI last week.

Recent Activity

This section consists of Recently Viewed Executives, Keywords, and Companies.  Saved Searches are also displayed.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the eleven vendors I profiled in my just published 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.  In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of each of these vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few:

RainKing: $67M in Equity $$ Just Rained Down on Them (Breaking News)

RainKing Solutions announced that they received a $67 million equity investment from Boston based Spectrum Equity.  RainKing is one of the top sales intelligence solutions for the technology space and provides deep company and contact profiles including org charts, InsideScoops (1,200 daily sales opportunities), and technology profiles spanning 50,000 companies and 500,000 contacts.  While the majority of these profiles are for US firms, they have been building out coverage internationally and provide 12,000 European company profiles and a smaller set for AsiaPac, Latin America, and Africa.

The firm differentiates itself through direct research and customer service (they are Ritz Carlton certified and provide round the clock support).  Within reason, users can pose research questions to the team or request additional data at no additional charge.  As part of the data license, clients are assigned a Client Success Rep who provides consultation and proactively monitors the account, drives usage, and recommends best practices.  The Success Rep also assists with data cleansing initiatives and integration with CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms.

Data is collected through direct interviews which gathers contact information (99% fill rate for emails and 93% for direct dial phones), executive responsibilities, org chart position, current projects, and deep platform intelligence.  While they focus on the IT function, they also gather decision makers in the Marketing and Finance Departments.  Their editorial team consists of 300 editors that update profiles on a sixty day basis.

RainKing IT Exec Profile
Bios include email, direct dial, responsibilities, org chart location, education history, and work history. When shown in lists, execs are given an org chart score indicating their relative position in the org chart.

According to the firm, they have over 1,000 clients and 15,000 users.

The company did not indicate where the money will be spent, but they are in a head-to-head competition with DiscoverOrg to internationalize their dataset, extend into marketing services, and expand data collection to additional departments.

Along with the investment, Spectrum Equity placed John Stanfill in the CEO position and placed three members on RainKing’s Board: Principal Mike Farrell, Principal Jeff Haywood, and Managing Director Chris Mitchell.

Stanfill is immediately assuming the CEO position.  He most recently served as the SVP of Sales & Customer Support at CoStar Group which grew from $2 million in revenue in 1995 to nearly $600 million in revenue in 2014 when he departed.  John managed a global sales and support team of 425.

“RainKing has been on the leading edge of providing outstanding sales intelligence information since 2008 and with the investment and support of Spectrum Equity, we will accelerate the development and delivery of our robust product and data pipeline,” said Stanfill. “We look forward to supporting our clients, which include the tech industry’s largest and fastest growing companies, by providing them with the most accurate, comprehensive and verified information on IT, marketing and finance professionals available in the market today.”

RainKing made last year’s Inc. 5000 list based on a three year growth rate of 150%.

RainKing Inc 5000 (2014)
RainKing Solutions landed at 2494 in the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of US private companies with 150% growth over three years.

“We’ve had the opportunity to get to know both John and the rest of the RainKing team over a multiyear period and are thrilled to be partnering with a world class management team as we help to support their continued growth,” said Farrell. “Sales and marketing professionals are overwhelmed with data today. RainKing’s proprietary, highly accurate data accumulated over a nearly 10-year period allows customers to find the best prospects, target the most likely buyer within an organization and know what to say when they reach them. This ability to cut through the noise is incredibly valuable to any vendor selling into the IT market today.”

RainKing is one of the vendors I profile in my 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors which is publishing next week.