Flash: Echobot & Leadfeeder Acquired & Merged

Growth equity firm Great Hill Partners invested €180 million in Echobot and Leadfeeder, merging the firms into a Sales Intelligence and Go-to-market platform.  Both firms are based in Europe (Germany and Finland) and will benefit from the roadmap set out by North American RevTech firms.

The merged firm will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg continuing as CEO.  Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskinen will become the CPO.  The combined company has a headcount of 250 across six offices in Europe and the US.  The new firm’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds €20 million. 

Leadfeeder serves around 7,000 customers and Echobot 1,500.

Echobot’s European data coverage

Echobot offers a Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS platform for the D-A-CH region, UK, and France.  Late last year, it added a broader European data pack.  It supports a database of 20 million European companies and over 60 million GDPR-compliant contacts.  Company and contact data is derived from both registered filings and open web sources and includes directors, shareholders, and financials. 

Echobot takes a “True Compliance” approach which gathers data only from publicly accessible sources.  Furthermore, it provides verification links to the source URLs that allow reps to answer the question, “where did my data come from?”  All data is hosted in Germany.

Echobot’s products include TARGET (prospecting), CONNECT (Sales Intelligence), DATACARE (B2B DaaS), and an API.  In addition, Echobot offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.

“It is our goal to be the leading sales intelligence and go-to-market platform to our core European and North American markets,” said Karweg.  “Thanks to Great Hill, we have now assembled the best data, AI / ML, talent, and operating experience to achieve just that.  We are increasingly seeing organizations looking to take advantage of their own data and third-party data, and then to augment this intelligence with better, more personalized outreach.  The combination of Echobot and Leadfeeder is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a massive market opportunity at the early stages of adoption.”

Leadfeeder IP-to-Account Visitor Intelligence

Leadfeeder offers website visitor intelligence that maps IP addresses to company intelligence.  During the pandemic, it worked to identify remote workers and map them to their employers, helping refine which companies are in-market.  It also supports connectors for Google Analytics, chatbots, audience retargeting, major CRMs, Zapier, and Slack.

“Integrating Leadfeeder’s web visitor identification system with Echobot’s data and prospecting solutions creates a unique platform upon which we can both enable organizations to identify and engage high-intent prospects as well as introduce incremental applications that enhance B2B sales and marketing operations,” said Koskinen.

Karweg envisions an ABM workflow that begins with an ICP analysis that identifies net-new accounts.  The ICP is then mapped against Leadfeeder’s visitor intelligence and Echobot’s firmographics and event triggers to identify high-value, in-market accounts for programmatic marketing.  While programmatic campaigns are not yet supported, they are in development.

Great Hill Partners has also committed an additional €50 million toward future acquisitions.  In an interview with GZ Consulting, Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg indicated that the €50M in dry powder would be used towards acquiring talent, RevTech functionality, or expanded content.

The equity acquisition is a combination of primary and secondary funding, with Great Hill Partners buying out many of the original investors.  It named Growth Partner Derek Schoettle Chairman of the Board and placed Great Hill Partners Managing Director Chris Gaffney and Vice President Greg Stewart on the board of the merged organization.

Schoettle is also on the board of ABX Platform Terminus, another Great Hill investment.  He was the CEO of ZoomInfo when DiscoverOrg acquired it in 2019 (DiscoverOrg subsequently assumed the name ZoomInfo), so he and the new board members offer deep Go-to-Market domain expertise.

“Go-to-market is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B software.  Sales and marketing organizations need timely, accurate information and intelligent systems to identify and engage their prospects in an increasingly personalized, automated fashion.  By bringing together Echobot and Leadfeeder, we can create the next-generation sales intelligence and go-to-market platform,” stated Derek Schoettle.

The transaction is a merger of equals bringing together two firms of roughly the same revenue and employee base.  Both firms have over €10M in ARR and are growing rapidly.  Echobot grew 70% last year, while Leadfeeder had a 50% growth figure.  Echobot has long been profitable, and Leadfeeder is nearing profitability. 

The firms will initially run as independent brands as they merge their operations and platforms.  The deal closed a few weeks ago but was announced this morning.  Thus, they have already begun combining finance and HR.  The two brands will be maintained in the near term with rebranding under consideration for 2023 as Echobot is also the name of a Mirai malware variant.

Valuation figures were not disclosed, but the final price was determined before the recent valuation declines and did not change.  The firms were both being advised by GP Bullhound, which suggested that packaging the two firms together would result in a more effective growth equity round.  Furthermore, the two companies offered features on each other’s roadmap so were logical complements.

Europe has been tracking behind the US in the Sales Intelligence space, with several national champions now looking to offer European datasets and local UIs.  European sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions must meet higher data compliance and privacy standards, incorporate registered data from national registers, support multiple currencies, and many languages.

Echobot covers the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK, and France, with a general European data package added late last year.  A Nordic data package has been accelerated due to the merger, which would increase its competitiveness against Dun & Bradstreet and Vainu.

“One of the most requested developments for 2021 was to access data from the entire European market.  That was not only requested from German customers with a strong export to European countries, but also from new, international users that want to expand into Europe,” explained Karweg last November when Echobot added coverage of over twenty European countries.

“Europe is not one country but many, and there are differences between them, whether it’s to do with culture or data compliance,” remarked Schoettle.  “Having a platform that is unique and linguistic-specific, and serving its markets with high-quality data, is a differentiator.”

“It’s a dream match,” argued Koskinen.  While previously the firm purchased contact data from multiple sources, “it has been difficult to get sufficiently up-to-date and accurate data.”  With the merger, Leadfeeder will offer better data quality and “have all the expertise in-house” to expand its coverage.

Along with higher quality data, Leedfeeder will benefit from a broader set of firmographics, financials, and sales triggers for data enrichment and lead scoring.  Leadfeeder will also be able to cross-sell Echobot’s sales intelligence, prospecting, and data enrichment services to its 7,000 customers.

“We want to be the biggest in Europe,” stated Koskinen.  “It’s going to take a few years, but I think we’re succeeding…We have long had customers all over the world.  After the merger, we will be able to offer something that no one else can.”

Echobot offers German and English-language Sales Triggers.

Bombora RevTech Integrations

Bombora Insights in Terminus

Bombora is one of the leading sources of third-party intent data gathered from B2B Media sources, with over 5,000 media websites contributing to its Company Surge intelligence.  It has chosen to remain independent and broadly partner with RevTech Companies, including six of the seven vendors that were listed in Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for ABM Platforms: 6sense, Demandbase, Terminus, Madison Logic, RollWorks, and Triblio (Foundry).

“Gartner weighs Intent data as its single-most critical capability for new account acquisition and a driving force in both customer retention and expansion,” blogged Bombora Senior Product Marketing Manager Ryan Moline.  “This full-funnel visibility into what’s important to your prospects and customers empowers your go-to-market teams with the data needed to create hyper-personalized, omnichannel buying experiences that result in more meetings booked, accelerated deal cycles, and opportunities for long-term growth.  This is just one reason why many of the companies recognized in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant partner with Bombora for their Intent data needs.”

Both ABX platforms and direct customers rely on Bombora to identify in-market demand, allowing them to reach out to accounts in their ICP when they are actively researching solutions.  Company Surge data can also be deployed for identifying churn risk accounts and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

“Bombora’s content consumption model has become the de facto standard in B2B marketing for third-party behavioral data to indicate intent,” stated Forrester.

This month, Bombora announced an integration with HubSpot and an enhanced integration with Salesforce.

“Bombora has prioritized direct integrations and partnerships in order to make it easier for sales and marketing teams to access our insights without changing their workflows,” said Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.  “HubSpot is one of the most well-known marketing, sales, and service software companies in the world, and we’re thrilled for our app to be in the spotlight as they look to help B2B brands with their business challenges.”

Company Surge for Salesforce

MarTech Supply & Demand Analysis

MarTech Supply and Demand Analysis from Frans Riemersma

After I wrote about the revised 2022 MarTech Landscape, Frans Riemersma, who helped Scott Brinker update the MarTech Landscape, shared an analysis of supply and demand among various MarTech categories.  The light shading represents the “demand” side of MarTech, as captured in the frequency by which apps appear in 718 tech stacks.  The dark shading represents the “supply” side of MarTech in a particular category, as represented in the MarTech Landscape.

According to their analysis, MarTech “Monopolies” exist where there is significantly more demand than supply (technically, they are oligopolies).  Segments marked by many buyers and few suppliers include Social & Search Advertising, ABM, and Mobile & Web analytics.

Conversely, MarTech competition exists in segments with more vendors than demand.  Competitive segments include Mobile Marketing, Live Chats & Chatbots, and eCommerce Platforms & Carts.

Riemersma identified niches as segments with a low number of suppliers and limited demand.  Niche segments include Native/Content advertising, Video Marketing, Marketing Analytics, and Performance & Attribution.


My original article about the MarTech Landscape.

D&B Connect for Salesforce

Dun & Bradstreet announced its spring releases and enhancements at Forrester’s B2B Data conference in Austin.  Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Connect for Salesforce, its new data management service, and expanded D&B Rev.Up ABX functionality.

“With more accurate, actionable CRM data, businesses can make more confident decisions, identify more cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and target with greater precision,” blogged North American Sales & Marketing GM Stacy Greiner.  “That’s the foundation for strong account-based strategies and digitalization.  It’s the foundation for a stronger business, period.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce is the next generation of Salesforce hygiene products, superseding D&B Optimizer for Salesforce.  Users have broader control over matching logic.  They can employ easy matching based on Dun & Bradstreet Confidence Codes or customize the match logic by leveraging Confidence Codes alongside country/region selects and match quality. 

The operations manager can set the importance of individual match grades by field (e.g., street number, name, etc.).  Admins can also set match inclusion criteria, defining which fields should be excluded from matching (e.g., Non-Headquarter locations, Out-of-Business locations, Non-Marketable locations, or Undeliverable/Unreachable locations).

Connect for Salesforce has dramatically expanded the data sets available for enrichment, providing access to over 1,600 data elements based upon subscribed data blocks. Admins also have control over refresh frequency and rematch rules.  Data may be refreshed every 14 days with the option of rematching unmatched records.  Transactional matching is also supported, allowing real-time match and append for newly created records.

D&B Connect match logic administration

Other features include data health reports, field-level mapping, out-of-business flags, and duplicate management.  In addition, Dun & Bradstreet offers 37 million subsidiary and branch linkages, ensuring proper territory management and lead assignment.

“What is preventing our marketing campaigns and sales plays from firing on all cylinders? asked Dun & Bradstreet Greiner.  “Quite simply, bad data that is outdated, incorrect, duplicate, improperly formatted, or just outright missing.  Let’s face it — we’re all to blame.  We’re just not good about keeping our data up to date and refreshed.  We don’t even do a good job entering the right data in the first place.  This may be due in part to subjectivity, in part to laziness, and in part because there’s just not enough time in our day to be thorough enough.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce starts at $5,000 per company per year.

The Seismic Enablement Cloud

The Seismic Enablement Cloud

Seismic rolled out the Seismic Enablement Cloud, an enablement platform for customer-facing teams.  The new service ensures that team members have the “right skills, content, tools, and insights to effectively engage customers and drive growth.”  Instead of offering a set of point solutions for content, training, and engagement, Seismic claims it is the first unified enablement platform that supports digital interactions across the entire buyer’s journey.

“For more than a decade, Seismic has helped develop and shape the enablement industry in partnership with our 2,200+ customers.  Leading organizations view enablement as mission-critical to their growth, and it has become a core part of the enterprise tech stack.  Now we are revolutionizing the space by bringing all of the pillars of modern enablement under one, unified cloud,” said Seismic Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada.  “In this new era of selling, customer-facing teams need more than content management and basic analytics to engage today’s buyers.  The Enablement Cloud redefines the boundaries of enablement, delivering the most comprehensive suite of products and solutions to empower the entire go-to-market engine.”

The Seismic Enablement platform supports “end-to-end workflows,” including

  • Enablement and training strategy and Planning
  • Sales Content Management from building content through asset sharing, including content recommendations, personalization, and social sharing
  • New hire onboarding, ongoing training, and AI-assisted coaching and skills development
  • Buyer experience personalization across all touchpoints and digital channels, including social media, email, and digital salesrooms
  • Content Automation with dynamic templates and quick assembly, with support for data integrations.
  • Insights concerning the “behaviors, activities, and content that increase productivity and deliver the best outcomes”
  • Integration support for over 150 solutions, including Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google

“Just as sales and marketing clouds have brought together several complementary products and solutions to address the needs of their respective teams, we see a similar need and opportunity for the enablement cloud – a dedicated platform purpose-built to empower enablement and GTM teams to deliver exceptional end-to-end buyer experiences,” blogged Mantripragada.  “The Seismic Enablement Cloud redefines enablement by bringing together historically siloed systems for sales content management, learning & coaching, strategy & planning, content automation, buyer engagement, and enablement intelligence into one enterprise-grade platform that supports end-to-end workflows for GTM teams.”

Seismic includes Lessonly (a recent acquisition) pitch training.

MarTech Landscape 2022

The new MarTech Landscape is available as a searchable database.

Scott Brinker and Frans Riemersma published the first update to the MarTech Landscape in two years.  The latest edition, which covers 9,932 solutions, is up 24% since 2020.  While 12% of the 2020 vendors (972) have either been acquired or no longer operate, another 2,904 have been added.

Brinker noted that while acquisitions continue apace, they have not resulted in industry consolidation as large players support partner ecosystems that foster new entrants:

“The irony of platform consolidation in MarTech — and cloud software more generally — is that it drives the development of more specialist and custom apps.

Consolidated platforms reduce the choices of which ones developers should build on to reach the largest possible audience.  This is the dynamic with Apple and Android that has resulted in millions of mobile apps.  It’s a virtuous cycle, as the more apps built on a platform further increase that platform’s strength — attracting even more developers to build on it.

Consolidated platforms also tend to be quite stable, both technically and as businesses that are likely to be around for years to come.  They often win on cost economies of scale and breadth of functionality.  This further drives that virtuous cycle of attracting more apps to be built on their foundation.

App platforms also play a special role in facilitating the success of specialist apps by making them more discoverable for customers in their domain through app marketplaces.  The more plug-and-play an app can be on their platform, the easier it is to adopt — which further enables more specialist apps to be successful within their ecosystem.”

Scott Brinker & Frans Riemersma, “State of MarTech 2022
The MarTech space continues its rapid growth, with nearly 10,000 solutions in 2022.

As the logos have been reduced to favicons, the data is now available on a free, interactive site called martechmap.com.  Users can mouse over any favicon to view a mini-profile with links to the company website and CabinetM profiles.  Users can search, sort, filter, and create custom PDFs.  They can also filter by keyword and vendor’s HQ country.

“The massive scale and rapid rate of change of the MarTech industry and the wealth of solutions within it was no longer well-served by a once-a-year, static graphic,” blogged Brinker.  “It’s a point in time, which is interesting to see year-over-year.  But we want this community resource to be something that is updated on a more continuous basis.  By now producing the graphic algorithmically, it’s easy to release updates in a matter of minutes — versus the dark ages of hand-placing little logos manually on a slide.”

By segment, the management group grew the fastest (67%) and the data segment had the slowest growth (7%):

  • Advertising & Promotion: 16%
  • Content & Experience: 34%
  • Social & Relationships: 17%
  • Commerce & Sales: 24%
  • Data: 7%
  • Management: 67%

“The growth in management tools is likely a result of marketing teams operating their day-to-day work in an ever more digital fashion — including greater support for remote work,” posited Brinker and Riemersma in their “State of MarTech 2022” report.

The MarTech Landscape database is in beta, so expect performance issues.  As it is an online database vs. a static list, I would recommend that vendors confirm that their products are properly displayed, including acquisitions, products that have changed names, and recently launched offerings.  For example, the ABM category is missing several vendors.  Changes can be submitted via the Contribute tab.

ZoomInfo Acquires Dogpatch Advisors

On its earnings call last week, ZoomInfo announced a pair of acquisitions that closed on April 1: Comparably (discussed yesterday) and Dogpatch Advisors.

Dogpatch Advisors is a “modern sales advisory consultancy that helps enterprises scale revenue operations, build sales playbooks, use data and insights to create and refine sales, and build outbound operations functions.”  In addition, Dogpatch will “enable ZoomInfo to further drive Enterprise and Strategic revenue through expanded customer playbooks that utilize more data and product categories.” 

Dogpatch was immediately rebranded as ZoomInfo Labs, providing a “new go-to-market thought leadership team” that “drives go-to-market data analysis, product enhancements, and strategy for our enterprise customers.”

Dogpatch CEO Ben Salzman will be heading up ZoomInfo Labs.

“This will immediately expand our capabilities for enterprises and drive enhancements across our suite of products,” stated Schuck.  “Over time, we expect ZoomInfo Labs to put the modern go-to-market playbook within reach of every company.”

“Dogpatch Advisors is professional services and consultancy firm that helps enterprises build out their go-to-market efforts using data and insights and software to make those go-to-market efforts incredibly effective and efficient.  And when we talk with our customers and our prospects…they want a world where their go-to-market motions are driven by data, where our software is interconnected seamlessly, where they have the ability to run innovative sales playbooks, but they don’t have a pathway to get there.

What we’re hoping to do with ZoomInfo Labs is to provide a mechanism to help our customers see a future that’s innovative, that’s data-driven, where systems are integrated and talk to each other, where our data cloud sits at the foundation of that, and our application layer drives the interconnectivity of that motion… [ZoomInfo Labs] is designed to help our customers not only see that vision but then also achieve that.”

ZoomInfo CFO Cameron Hyzer

Both acquisitions closed on April 1 but were announced on May 2.  Individual deal terms were not disclosed, but the two firms were acquired for “approximately $145 million, inclusive of the purchase of a convertible promissory note and cash, net of cash acquired, subject to adjustments for working capital, transaction-related equity awards, and other customary adjustments.”

ZoomInfo also agreed to pay up to $28 million in equity awards “subject to continued employment and/or attainment of certain financial metrics.”

“We expect these acquisitions to contribute revenue in the low teens millions of dollars in 2022 and create a modest drag on margins of one to two points for the remaining quarters this year,” said Hyzer.

CEO Cameron Hyzer said that Dogpatch was more than an acquihire deal.  While it has a small employee base, Dogpatch has “relationships and a history of really delivering great go-to-market consulting engagements for large clients.”

“It’s a handful of people, but I think that they very much box outside of [its weight] class in terms of the value they’re able to deliver,” continued Hyzer.  “And we think that by bringing that on and being able to deliver those engagements that we’ll be able to further accelerate the solutions that we’re offering as well.”

RevenueBase $6M Seed Round

B2B data vendor RevenueBase closed a $6 million seed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners.  Additional investors include 2 Lanterns, Argon Ventures, Converge, Feldsmith Capital, Good Friends, Graph Ventures, Gutbrain Ventures, KOA Labs, PBJ Capital, and Service Provider Capital.  The round was oversubscribed as RevenueBase enjoyed significant investor interest.

As part of the round, RevenueBase named three Directors to its Board:

  • Kent Bennett, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Bob Davoli, Founder and Managing Director of GutBrain
  • Jude McColgan, former CEO of Localytics

RevenueBase launched last spring looking to solve issues in the B2B data market, including difficulty in identifying and engaging with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) prospects and marketing’s reliance upon spammy demand generation instead of well-targeted messages.  RevenueBase trebled its revenue over the past year and expects to do the same this year.  It has already onboarded twenty customers, with a focus on selling data as a strategic asset to the CMO or CRO.

RevenueBase was founded by industry veterans Mark Feldman, the VP of Marketing at NetProspex before its acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet, and Milenko Beslic, who built Cheapflights, the travel industry’s first metasearch engine.  As a marketing head at Backupify, Motion Recruitment, and Localytics, Feldman became frustrated with B2B data issues, including misalignment with the sales and marketing team’s go-to-market strategy, data decay, difficulty acquiring data, and managing disparate vendors and formats.  His stint as a B2B data customer led him to return to the B2B data space and create a product that broadly aggregates company, contact, and custom customer-specific insight data that aligns 1:1 with each customers’ go-to-market strategies.

Custom insights can be any variable that enables targeting of the right businesses.  For example,

  • Does the company offer a mobile app?
  • Are they a managed service provider?
  • Do they have a call center?
  • Do they sell perishable food products?

RevenueBase then builds a custom database for clients that it calls a Revenue Database, which is updated on an ongoing basis.

“We saw a whitespace for a company like RevenueBase, especially given that we’ve seen little real innovation or change in this market over the past decade leading businesspeople to be bombarded with impersonal and poorly targeted messages multiple times a day.  This situation has been made worse by ‘The Great Resignation,’ during which so many people have left their positions, and the data hasn’t kept up with those changes. Milenko and I knew that we could build a better solution to make it easier for companies to access more buyers in order to increase revenue.  We’re excited to have the support of great investors who are on board with our vision.”

CEO Mark Feldman

RevenueBase will deploy its funds towards building a customer UX and a set of enterprise software integrations for CRMs and MAPs.  It is also looking to grow its headcount from twelve to twenty before the end of the year.

“We think the opportunity to be the B2B data refinement layer powering growth-oriented companies is massive,” said Bennett.  “We are impressed with RevenueBase’s early traction and Mark’s and Milenko’s appetite to transform the B2B data industry.” 

Feldman argues that RevenueBase is distinguished across three dimensions: “completeness of data, data accuracy at scale, and ease.”  RevenueBase offers a high-touch, white-glove offering customized to each of its clients.  It begins with customer alignment, holding a set of discovery workshops that identify each customer’s “revenue archetype.”  RevenueBase then queries its 700 million global contacts database to build tailored databases for its clients.

RevenueBase maintains a database of 700 million global contacts.

Revenue Archetypes consist of an ICP, market segmentation, pains addressed, buyer personas, sales showstoppers, and custom insights that enable buyers to be engaged more personally. 

“A revenue archetype is a model of what your ideal customer looks like, i.e., one you can derive revenue from,” Feldman explained to GZ Consulting.  “It’s where there is a mutual benefit.  They need your product/service and will pay a fair price for it.  They also will favor you over the competition because your solution will result in the best cost-benefit tradeoff for the customer.“

Conversely, the Revenue Archetype also defines companies that are not good fits such as industries or geographies that require a standard not met by a firm’s offerings (e.g., HIPAA or GDPR requirements).  It also identifies roles not involved in purchasing a company’s products or services.  These individuals may be too junior in the organization or may not work in functions that use a company’s products or services.

RevenueBase argues that its knowledge graph technology improves the set of discoverable relationships, including the “longtail of customer-specific insights,” stated Feldman.  For example, RevenueBase can identify partners, investors, technologies in use, revenue streams, business models, key resources, and modern industries (such as Fintech and SaaS) that do not fall into standard industry classifications.

Conventional firmographics vendors must have a product manager pre-define the company attributes to be collected and then build these definitions into its data collection methodology and structure.  Because RevenueBase employs a graph database, it is not subject to these structural limitations and can identify uncommon or industry-specific elements that define the ICP.  The data structure also supports multi-point verification and data attribution.  In addition, data fields with high probabilities of changing, such as email addresses, job titles, and current employers, are re-verified at least four times per year.

RevenueBase promises to “replace all of your data vendors with one solution” that “reaches every company and decision-maker across the globe that will benefit from your unique offering.”  By delivering high-quality, targeted data directly to sales and marketing systems, revenue teams avoid time-consuming sales rep data research and managing databases. Data quality steps include custom research, quarterly email re-verification, and annual phone checks.  Data is delivered via a quarterly secure CSV file transfer with a 90% accuracy SLA.

Zoom IQ for Sales

Zoom Video Communications announced the availability of its new Zoom IQ for Sales conversational intelligence add-on for Zoom Meetings.  Zoom Phone support for Zoom IQ is in development.

“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 IQ for Sales conversational analytics

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.

AI provides a set of sentiment and engagement scores that assist with deal risk and health assessments.  Other features include transcription highlights, filler word frequency, and talk speed.

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 Sales IQ Playlists

“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.”

Zoom IQ for Sales places Zoom in competition with many of its partners, including Salesloft, Outreach, Chorus, and Gong.

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.

Drift Conversational Cloud

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 CPO Leo Tenenblat

Drift Conversational Marketing supports real-time conversations with web visitors, helping to answer questions, deliver desired content, or “qualify and convert best-fit buyers.”  Conversational Marketing functionality includes visitor intelligence, chatbots, meeting scheduling, and Fastlane lead form booking.

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.

Drift Video asynchronous video sharing on LinkedIn messenger

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.”

Drift Dealroom supports document sharing, Mutual Action Plans, meeting scheduling, and on-demand chat.

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.”