Openprise Agile CDP

B2B data hygiene vendor Openprise announced the availability of Openprise Agile CDP, the “first and only B2B Customer Data Platform (CDP) built on a data orchestration platform.”  As a data orchestration platform, Openprise offers a single customer view combined with no-code business rules, third-party data, and business process automation.

Openprise emphasizes the advantage of being a data orchestration platform with a B2B CDP.  “Because it’s built on the Openprise Data Orchestration Platform, Openprise Agile CDP includes all the capabilities Openprise has developed over the years to improve data quality in tools like Salesforce and Marketo—including lead routing, account scoring, and attribution—advanced features not typically found in traditional CDPs.”

Openprise supports data unification, data enrichment, normalization, deduplication, lead-to-account matching, and lead-to-contact conversion.  Analytical tools include advanced segmentation, lead and account scoring, ABM activity analysis, campaign attribution, lead routing, and account assignment.

“One of the biggest challenges marketers face is making sure their systems of record deliver accurate, high-quality data to drive marketing initiatives.   A CDP solution that automates all the critical business processes required to make the data work gives marketers high confidence in the accuracy and quality of the data they manage.”

Julian Archer, VP, Principal Analyst in the Marketing Operations Research Service at SiriusDecisions

Openprise claims it can be up and running within ninety-days, much faster than its competitors.  Firms can build custom apps with automated business processes, package them as an API, and create web-based UIs and Chrome extensions for end-users.  Openprise no-code app use cases include advanced segmentation, attribution, upsell, and cross-sell.

The Openprise data marketplace supports data enrichment from leading B2B and B2C vendors, including Zoominfo, Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Sales Genie (Infogroup), Cognism, Bombora, KickFire, Synthio, Oceanos (TechTarget), Acxiom, Bing, and Google Places.  Once enriched, data is normalized based upon customer-defined and Openprise taxonomic rules.  Normalization ensures that key values such as addresses, industry codes, job functions, and job levels follow a standard set of rules and taxonomic codes.

Ramble Marketing Bot

Chat vendor RambleChat released Ramble Marketing Bot, its new chatbot builder for sales and marketing.   According to RambleChat, users can build custom bots in a few minutes that “help businesses qualify leads, start more sales conversations, offer up content, and book meetings for sales 24/7.”

Enterprise and Developer customers can continue to deploy and develop bots through the IBM Watson Assistant integration within the Ramble portal.  Ramble designed their Marketing Bot for firms that lack technical expertise.

Ramble lists the following Ramble Bot features:

  • Easily Qualify Leads & Conversations
  • SDR / BDR After Hours Support
  • Collect Critical Buyer Information
  • Custom Routing
  • Playbook / Bot Cloning
  • Offer Content, Links or Suggestions

Ramble Bots may also be customized by different experiences, pages, and time zones.  For example, users can be supported by different bots based upon time of day, with a more comprehensive bot provided after hours.

Ramble Bots support Ramble’s Chat from Anywhere functionality where a chat may be initiated from emails, LinkedIn posts, display ads, Facebook, or other digital channels.  ABM Anywhere chats may be handled by the bot or immediately routed to the appropriate sales rep.

“Ramble’s unique architecture enables us to deploy chat within third-party applications, like SalesLoft, which changes how sales leaders utilize chat for pipeline contribution.  We not only make chat ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound,’ but we give companies the ability to extend chat anywhere online as a means of instant connection and sales acceleration.  Moving beyond ‘omnichannel’ and towards ‘omnipresence.’”

Ramble CEO Justin McDonald

RambleChat announced that Q1 has been their best quarter so far, with quarter-on-quarter growth of 74% and solid Q1 bookings.  The firm noted a slowdown in March, but “we believe this is only temporary.”

InfoUSA Results Launched

Infogroup launched InfoUSA Results, an SMB solution for website building.  The package includes a custom website and landing page tied to online campaigns and a dedicated toll-free or local phone number.  InfoUSA Results also supports site analytics, SEO optimization, Google Ads, local listings, and display ad remarketing.  Customers can manage the site once it is built or let InfoUSA manage it.

“We designed InfoUSA Results so businesses can easily reach more customers online. We developed this product with the time-strapped business owner in mind.  Imagine, as a business owner, you have a team working on your behalf, and new customer leads come right to you.  In fact, it can be as simple as InfoUSA Results sending a text to a business owner alerting them that they have a new customer prospect who is interested in doing business with them.  That is pretty slick.”

Mark Cullinane, President of Local Marketing Solutions at Infogroup.

InfoUSA Results designs websites that are mobile-ready and search engine optimized with metadata and structured markup.  They are optimized for fast load times.  Sitemaps are submitted to Google for speedier indexation via the Google Search Console.  InfoUSA also distributes company data to hundreds of online directory listing platforms.

The service includes multi-channel lead tracking for calls, web forms, texts, and emails with analytics delivered via a dashboard.  Voice, SMS text, and email responses are reported and logged.  Calls are displayed on a geo map with length and quality.

Call management features include call recording, call whispering, and voicemail.

InfoUSA did not publish pricing but is offering a 30% discount for the next three months.

InfoUSA Results provides website design, SEO, display ad remarketing, and site analytics.

Demandbase Keynote: Three New Products

At Demandbase’s virtual Keynote on St. Patrick’s Day, Demandbase discussed the evolution of ABM platforms and three new products: Site Analytics, Data Stream, and Self-Service Targeting.

The first product announcement was around Site Analytics and improved web engagement metrics.  The functionality is not a replacement for Google or Adobe Analytics but enables an understanding of account-level interactions across the company website.  It also provides page-level intelligence concerning which pages matter the most, allowing marketers to promote and optimize high performing pages.

Site Analytics also helps uncover new audiences for sales and marketing outreach, such as verticals outside your current ICP.  It can also be used for understanding which accounts are demonstrating interest in a new product launch for SDR outreach, optimizing content based upon key account viewing activity, and monitoring trends to determine campaign performance and the impact of various marketing activities.

Marketers may filter by page, URL keyword, account filters (industry, revenue, and employment), page performance, and audience.  Marketers may also save filters and create new audiences based upon site traffic.

The second launch was Data Stream, which lets analysts push data from Demandbase into BI platforms for expanded account-level reporting.  Data Stream is designed for firms that have already invested in data modeling and reporting and that have a data team or data analyst working with a BI or reporting platform.  Demandbase data includes audience and account intelligence, campaign metrics, site analytics, and intent.

Daily, data is pushed into a data warehouse (e.g. Google Big Query, Amazon Redshift, Azure Synapse Analytics) or Cloud Storage (e.g. Google Cloud, Amazon S3, Azure Blog Storage).  From there, customers can load the data into reporting tools such as Tableau, Domo, or Google Data Studio and combine account-level data with other data sources.  This process provides an account-based lens to digital marketing alongside intent data and other corporate datasets.

Data Stream “helps you form a complete picture across your prospects and customers,” said VP of Marketing Phil Hollrah.  “Being able to deliver this data in an automated fashion with no manual intervention needed is a huge benefit to our customers.  You can set up your reports, you can auto-refresh this data daily, and then those reports are going to be up-to-date with the latest information.

Demandbase Self-Service Targeting Campaign Builder

The third release was Self-Serve Targeting for account-based advertising.  Previously, this was only available as a managed service, but now marketers can set up campaigns and creative, then modify and optimize the campaigns.  Self-Serve Targeting is supported by a five-step wizard that allows marketers to upload and change creative.  Marketers set up campaigns with budget, geolocation, duration, and audience.  And because it is self-serve, marketers can quickly adjust campaign budgets, scheduling, frequency, or creative, allowing them to make real-time changes.

The wizard provides a campaign forecast that estimates the max spend versus projected budget, estimated impressions against qualified accounts, and the likely reach across the targeted accounts.

Self-Serve Targeting supports multiple campaigns for different segments, whether performing 1-to-1 or 1-to-many advertising.

Site Analytics and Data Stream are generally available.  Self-Serve Targeting is available as part of an early adopter program.

Demandbase Keynote: Three Phases of ABM Evolution

Like other vendors that have canceled public events, Demandbase gave its ABM Innovation Summit keynote as a virtual event on St. Patrick’s Day.  This year’s theme was “ABM Next,” though CMO Peter Isaacson admitted that their annual conferences are always forward-thinking.  Demandbase also announced three new product offerings: Site Analytics, Data Stream, and Self-Service Targeting (covered in tomorrow’s blog).

Demandbase is a long-time champion of Account Based Marketing (ABM), having been a lone voice in the woods for many years.  Back in 2007, they began offering a visitor intelligence service that mapped IP addresses to firmographics.  Since then, they released a B2B DSP, account-based retargeting, website personalization, account-based chat, and an AI-based ABM platform.  In 2020, they are launching buyer committee targeting, though they did not provide any details on this roadmap item.

Demandbase contends that we are now entering the third phase of ABM. The “Evangelical” phase was aligned with the development of initial ABM technologies and “an awareness of the importance of the account,” said CEO Gabe Rogol.  The Evangelical phase shifted the focus of B2B marketing efforts from leads and individuals to accounts.  In late 2015, the “Early Adopters and Buzz Phase” began with crystallization around the term ABM.  Phase II included point solutions, the beginning of AI tools, and the first full-scale implementations.  While Phase II included significant topical buzz, there was not a great deal of consistency and best practices for ABM success.  Phase III is a definitional phase where “ABM is table stakes,” but “there is not a clear definition, yet, as to what are the core technologies that make ABM successful and what are the best practices that make ABM successful.”

Rogol offered three core requirements for ABM success:

Core ABM Platform
  • Core ABM Platform: A comprehensive ABM platform consists of
    1. A data layer containing first and third-party data that “provides a unified view of your accounts”
    2. A decisioning layer that manages planning, segmenting, orchestration, and measurement
    3. An actioning layer that supports advertising, site personalization and engagement, sales enablement, and third-party marketing activity integration
    4. An AI and machine learning layer which helps “understand which accounts are most likely to buy and what are the next best actions to take both as a marketing organization and a sales organization”
    5. An intuitive user experience
  • Account Based Audiences: Rogol called Account Based Audiences “the fundamental unit of B2B Marketing.  Much like a people-based audience that’s united by common behaviors and demographics, an Account Based Audience is united by the way it is behaving across your CRM, your website, [and] marketing automation.” It should be “marketed to in a similar way to drive through the customer journey.”  Account Based Audiences should be accessible to all customer-facing teams, including marketing, sales, customer success, and data and engineering “so that your organization can act in a unified way that amplifies the strategy and impacts the ABM.”  Finally, Account Based Audiences should be available through all marketing, advertising, and sales channels.
  • Control and Access: Although “AI drives the decision making,” B2B marketers still want access and control over their data.  “ABM is one of the most important categories in B2B marketing,” Rogol added, “but you need to be able to control and access the data.”

“B2B marketers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data available to us every day.  Being the control freaks we are, marketers are constantly frustrated trying to extract the right insights to tailor our campaigns and reach our target audiences,” said Rogol.  “We are launching new solutions that will empower all of us to take control of data to create tailored campaigns that will drive growth for their organizations.  These new solutions are a reflection of what’s coming next in the world of ABM.”

Tomorrow, I will be covering Demandbase’s product announcements on the virtual keynote.

Working at Home — Ideas from Tech Companies

Over the past few days, I’ve suggested ideas for maintaining pipeline and maintaining a positive and constructive outlook. This is now looking like it will last through the spring and potentially into the summer, so let’s be open to new ideas, practices, and routines.

I collected some ideas from those in the tech industry that I follow.

SalesLoft

In this morning’s team meeting the EMEA SalesLoft team discussed how we can keep the culture and mental wellbeing at the forefront while we work remotely…

We are having a daily stand up for 15 minutes, virtual team lunch on a Wednesday and virtual Friday drinks. We are making sure we put time aside for exercise and doing the things we love. We are being mindful of continuing to share ‘glass half full’ stories. We are also looking into what we can do to help with the bigger issue that people are facing in regards to the Corona Virus – local charities, food banks, the elderly.

Ollie Sharpe, SalesLoft VP of Revenue, EMEA

TOPO

A TOPO study of 350+ marketers indicated that only 16% of firms see a significant impact to their pipeline, 64% see a moderate impact due to coronavirus.  The biggest impacts are due to canceled events (87%), corporate travel bans (64%), buyers working from home (53%), and prohibitions against face-to-face meetings.  Only 27% cited buyers not booking meetings and frozen buyer budgets (22%).

TOPO survey (N=350)

ClickZ

Research conducted in 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research  indicated that B2B marketers who participate in industry events allocated nearly 40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows, almost five times more than the 8% spent on online marketing.

Even if only a small fraction of the events’ budgets is shifted to online marketing, it would translate into a massive growth in web marketing.

The major advantage of digital marketing, besides the fact that it does not require face-to-face interaction, is that it is measurable. Marketers can quite easily obtain a good picture of their spending return on investment (ROI), and of which activities generate the highest number of quality leads and at what expense.

Assuming that many marketers will have some extra free time, especially those who will have to go into home isolation, they are advised to use it to review their online marketing strategy and redefine their marketing messages.

Dan Gerstenfield, Interteam Content Services

David Brock

It’s time to pick up the phone. No texts, no emails, no social platforms. Pick up the phone and talk to someone. You are probably dealing with some of the same issues that come with physical separation.

It’s not the time to pitch people, it’s the time to show that you care–about them. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but ask them how they are doing, ask how they are keeping engaged and productive, share some ideas.

All of us share in this experience. Each of us is figuring things out. We can learn from each other, at the same time feel more connected.

David Brock, Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide”

Sirius Decisions (Forrester)

  • Create a task force. Except in very large companies or those with specific types of risks, most companies do not have a dedicated crisis response team, and many have never created even a bare-bones crisis communications plan. Now is the time to do so. Bring together functional leaders from across your organization to begin identifying and prioritizing issues, with all major functions and regions represented. The senior communications leader is usually at the helm, and in some smaller organizations, the effort may be led by the CEO. Other participants will likely include human resources, legal counsel, operations/facilities, sales and customer service leaders, and various marketing/communications disciplines that are either directly affected or will be involved in delivering information to audiences. Each individual should have a clear understanding of his or her specific responsibilities.
  • Prioritize issues of greatest urgency. Ensuring the safety of employees, customers and other stakeholders is obviously the priority, and external guidance from public health experts will be important to understand what these issues are…
  • Develop a protocol for emergent situations. Obviously the plan should lay out a set of actions the organization will take immediately, based on what is known today. However, the situation is fluid and it’s not possible to know with certainty what the situation will look like in a month or six months. That’s why it’s important to have a protocol for addressing new situations as they emerge… 
  • Prepare the communications engine. Providing transparent and ongoing communication is the hallmark of good crisis communications. The communications team needs to analyze the types of communication that will be needed to support a variety of scenarios. One of the most challenging aspects of crisis management is the need to create a wide range of critical content, have it vetted by legal and pushed out through channels as quickly as possible. Create templates for common types of content and stub content that can be built-out as needed. Set up an expedited legal vetting process and work with digital teams to identify how content will be conveyed through the company’s owned channels (web site, social, communities). Also prepare spokespeople – from the CEO to the receptionist, with concise answers that can be given without additional approvals or escalation paths.
  • Map communications strategies to audiences. SiriusDecisions always recommends starting with an understanding of the audience, and crisis response is no different…
  • Maintain open communications with employees. A large percentage of the workforce will face some kind of disruption to their normal routines or even their income…One of the first priorities should be to plan for how communications will flow internally: the channels and cadence that employees can expect, as well as where to go if the normal channels (which may occur in a face-to-face environment) are not available. Also remember that employees are a channel, and if you enable them with content, they can extend the reach of your information and credibility with audiences. [Full Text]

Resources

No Tradeshows, No Site Visits — Ideas to Maintain & Grow Pipeline

I had four tradeshows canceled this month and next. They were opportunities for me to meet with customers and prospects (and conduct research for my industry newsletters). At this point, I’m assuming that at least two more will fall by the wayside in H1. I’m sure many of you are in a similar boat. Your marketing calendar is in a shambles, your field and inside sales reps are cloistered at home, and you are uncertain about how to manage remote workers.

Here are some ideas about how to retain momentum and deploy technology to mitigate pipeline and operational risks:

Video Meetings

If you haven’t deployed video widely across your workforce, due so ASAP. Vendors such as Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Join.Me, and GoToMeeting provide reliable video conferencing solutions for multi-party meetings, demos, and document sharing. Video Meetings are a do not pass Go, do not collect $200 requirement. Every customer-facing, development, management, and planning employee should be able to join meetings from home or the office.

Setup scheduled video meetings for the next three months so they are blocked out on team calendars. This could be a 15-minute corporate call every few weeks, weekly team calls, and one-on-ones. Standing meetings should all be web-based. Office-based employees are going to feel disconnected socially, so build in some social fun at the team level (e.g. recognizing birthdays and work anniversaries, celebrating wins and releases, etc.)

I would also build training time into video meetings. It shouldn’t be all top-down. Give your staff the opportunity to cross-train peers. A sales rep could discuss her latest victory with lessons learned or provide insights into a target vertical. Marketing can review the latest product positioning and new collateral. Product Management can train on new products, review the product roadmap, and discuss the competitive landscape. The goal is to provide training, communications, coordination, and social interaction.

Record meetings and make them available to those who miss meetings with Slack or Team links. Expect that meetings will be missed due to illness, parenting requirements, and meeting conflicts.

Marketing Work-Arounds

As event marketing is off the table, marketers will need to be flexible in how they deploy their budgets. For those that planned on hosting events, they should at least proceed with their Keynote as a webinar. For H2, a roadshow in September or October can be planned, but mitigate risk in your contracting and through joint shows (shared cost and risk).

Marketers will need to deploy or expand their use of other channels including webinars, press releases, analyst outreach, blogging, social, and video. Direct mail is problematic as prospects are likely to be working from home, but e-gifting is a viable option. Look at e-gifting vendors that are supported by your Sales Engagement platform (e.g. Sendoso, PFL, Alyce)

Here is an opportunity to test additional channels and provide your event marketing team with some cross-channel development.

Canceled shows are also a reason for re-engagement campaigns. You can restart the marketing nurture process with a message around “not being able to talk to you this season.” Keep the message short and serious. You don’t know if your prospect is worried about his or her job, family members, or personal health. Also, don’t appear to be taking advantage of the situation. Be empathetic, not opportunistic.

Also, make sure to reschedule meetings from those cancelled conferences. These are likely to be phone or video calls, but reps and executives should reconfirm calls now.

Conversation Intelligence

Once you have standardized meetings, make sure they are recorded and transcribed. This is particularly true for sales meetings. Conversation Intelligence vendors such as Gong, ExecVision, and Chorus record calls, transcribe them, and perform NLP/AI processing on the conversations. Conversation Intelligence allows sales reps to be more present during calls as they no longer need to focus on note-taking.

Transcriptions and analytics have multiple benefits:

  • Sales Reps can quickly review calls and return to key topics and issues (e.g. pricing, next steps).
  • Sales Managers can review calls related to accounts and opportunities at risk to provide coaching tips to reps.
  • Analytics identify both the strengths and weaknesses of reps versus their peers. They also flag missed actions (e.g. discussing next steps), customer concerns, and competitors. To assist with training and opportunity scoring, Conversation Intelligence vendors identify filler word frequency, monologue length, and conversational engagement.
  • Reps can forward snippets to peers for questions and help. If there is a question about a bug or support issue, the snippet can be forwarded to support personnel for an update. If a sales rep feels that they handled a question or issue poorly, a snippet can be forwarded to sales management or training for advice on how to better handle the issue next time. Snippets allow peers to hear the voice of the customer.
  • Snippets can be stored in a library for training purposes. These would include exemplars for objection handling, competitor parrying, value discussions, etc.
  • Product Managers can perform bulk analysis of sales calls to identify requested features, competitor discussions, and product issues. Vendors allow for keyword customization and analytics.

Sales Engagement Platforms

Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) have come a long way over the past five years. Originally, they focused on the SDR role, but now include tools for all sales roles. Vendors include SalesLoft, Outreach, Xant (FKA InsideSales), VanillaSoft, ConnectLeader, SFDC High Velocity Sales, Groove, and Yesware.

Sales Cadences, also called sequences, are at the core of Sales Engagement. Cadences set up a structured set of multi-channel outbound communications supported by email templates, dialers, social, and SMS text. Cadences improve sales efficiency by eliminating follow up tasks, recording activities to CRMs, and deploying A/B tested content (emails, attachments, cadences, call scripts). While most commonly used for SDR outreach, cadences can also be used for meeting reminders, setting up quarterly account reviews, and training follow up.

SEP vendors understand that authenticity is the key to sales success. Simply blasting mindless emails at prospects is futile. Cadences can be customized by target role, industry, company size, technographics, and stage in the buyer journey. Furthermore, reps are expected to personalize emails before sending them out (SalesLoft says 20% is the optimal level). Most of the vendors now support 1-1 embedded videos from Vidyard, Hippo Video, or Videolicious.

SEP Vendors also provide a deep set of analytics. Initially, these focused on communication efficacy (e.g. open and click-through rates, best time of day to call), but now analytics assess conversations, call out deal risks, prioritize accounts, and suggest next best actions.

SEPs are now commonly deployed amongst SDRs and Inside Sales, but may still be foreign to field sales reps; however, field sales reps will be operating more like inside sales reps for the next quarter, so deploying SEPs to field sales makes sense.

Beyond outbound communications, SEP vendors are beginning to support meeting management (setting up calls), conversational intelligence, and opportunity management. SalesLoft and Outreach are the farthest along in supporting these emerging feature sets. SalesLoft acquired and integrated NoteNinja (meeting management) and Costello (opportunity management) into its platform.

SEP Vendors have taken two approaches to partnering. SalesLoft, Outreach, and Xant have partner App Directories while the other vendors integrate key vendors (e.g. Vidyard, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo) into their offerings without a formal partner ecosystem directory.

LinkedIn

For B2B sales, there is no social platform more trusted than LinkedIn. Sales reps can leverage their networks by sharing marketing content (they should include some comments of their own) as well as writing their own content.

LinkedIn also offers an excellent Sales Intelligence product called Sales Navigator. It is available as both a desktop and mobile solution and provides additional communications channels:

  • InMail: An outbound email alternative, InMail allows you to message prospects for whom you lack emails and direct dial numbers.
  • Chat: A quick short-message way to keep in contact with members of the buying committee. It is also useful for quick reach out after establishing a LinkedIn connection with a prospect or to send a quick, congratulatory note. Chat messages are retained archivally, providing a conversational log. I have had success providing my Calendly link with initial chats, providing a mechanism for new connections to easily schedule a call (my Calendly includes my video meeting details so there is little friction).
  • Smart Links: Forward one or multiple attachments to a prospect via social, InMail, or email. Viewing and forwarding are tracked by LinkedIn, helping reps know which content was viewed and when. Forward tracking helps expand their understanding of the buying committee. Smart Links maintain corporate branding.

Sales Navigator provides several other high-value features:

  • SNAP connectors display LinkedIn content and Navigator functionality (e.g. icebreakers, mini-profiles, InMail) within Sales Engagement Platforms, CRMs, and other enterprise software.
  • TeamLinks allow you to leverage co-worker relationships for reaching out to prospects.
  • Build a List lets reps assemble Lead (contact) and Account lists within Sales Navigator. Lead and Account lists may also be synced from the CRM, allowing reps to track news and updates about key companies and contacts. While LinkedIn does not permit upload of account and contact data, they make exceptions for notes, tags, and messages entered by the rep in Sales Navigator. They also just added a thin record upload of contacts to CRM and the ability to flag execs that have left a company.
  • List Sharing — After building a list, users may share them with co-workers who have Sales Navigator licenses.

Sales Navigator can be a bit pricey, so running a test amongst your inside sales and field sales reps makes sense, particularly if you are concerned about H1 pipeline delays. Given the difficulty of reaching anybody by phone (made worse by prospects working at home) or email, adding additional sales communications channels is well worth testing out.

There are other LinkedIn services worth investigating or trialing. LinkedIn Marketing supports highly targeted B2B campaigns. Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn can target by company, job function, level, industry, geography, and education. LinkedIn provides campaign metrics and allows marketers to set daily budgets. Both CPM and CPC pricing are available. Pricing is based upon second-best auctions (you pay 1 cent above the second best bid price).

For larger companies, LinkedIn Elevate should also be considered, particularly with remote workers. Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). Elevate amplifies corporate messaging and reduces the level of effort for sales reps and other employees to share content through social networks.

LinkedIn Learning is offering sixteen courses at no charge covering topics related to working from home, remote management, tools, and mindset.

“In the coming days, we will make 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free including tips on how to: stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.”

Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn SVP of Product

Sales Intelligence

Sales Intelligence services help sales reps build prospecting lists, quality leads, refine account messaging, expand into new departments and locations, track accounts, and target additional buying committee members.

Many sales intelligence services also offer B2B DaaS services for updating CRMs and MAPs. Salesforce data hygiene is maintained through Lightning Data connectors, a sub-category on the AppExchange. Because data is synced with CRMs and MAPs, it is continuously updated, ensuring that firmographic data is accurate and that departed contacts are removed from sales and marketing activity (BTW — contacts decay at 30% per annum, so maintaining your enterprise software contact data is a valuable investment)

Sales Intelligence vendors also provide full workflow integrations into CRMs which allow reps to build lists; view and update accounts, contacts, and leads; and perform account qualification and account planning within CRM I-frames.

Sales Intelligence vendors include

  • Zoominfo: Deep contacts, emails, org charts, and technographic content. They are the leader in technology sales intelligence and recently added visitor intelligence, trigger-based workflows, and webforms. Zoominfo (FKA DiscoverOrg) also supports Ideal Customer Profiling (ICP), email verification, and B2B DaaS.
  • D&B Hoovers: The deepest set of global company intelligence for strategic sales reps. Includes full family trees, public company financials and filings, analyst reports, industry market research, SWOTs, European private company financials, and sales triggers. Dun & Bradstreet also supports ICP, B2B DaaS, Visitor Intelligence, Programmatic Marketing, and Customer Data Platforms.
  • InsideView: A global database with greater depth in North America and Europe, InsideView offers strong sales triggers and integrated social media viewing. InsideView also supports B2B DaaS and ICP.
  • Sales Genie: The best solution for reps that sell to both companies and individuals (e.g. insurance agencies, mobile, office supplies, landscaping). Features include light sales force automation for firms that have yet to implement a CRM, new businesses, new homeowners, email templates, integrated dialer, and marketing services (SEO, site design, direct mail).
  • RelPro: A specialist vendor targeting financial services companies.
  • Artesian Solutions: A UK-based social selling vendor with deep sales triggers and mobile-based meeting prep. They also offer a US solution.
  • Cognism: A UK-based sales intelligence vendor with sales engagement functionality, B2B DaaS services, and ICP tools.
  • Vainu: A Nordic-based sales intelligence vendor that also covers the Netherlands (France, US, and the UK are in beta). They also support B2B DaaS and trigger-based workflows.

Ongoing Investment

Research has shown that firms that continue to invest during recessions come out of the downturns much better prepared to grow market share and revenue than those that stop investing. Marketing is an investment in your pipeline and brand. B2B Data-as-a-Service is an investment in your data quality and ability to target prospects effectively. It also reduces sales and marketing waste in efforts directed at weak prospects and departed contacts. SalesTech and MarTech purchases are investments in your revenue generation capabilities.

This is also an opportunity for your sales and marketing teams to cross-train, develop new skills, and test out new tools and processes.

When we come out of the backside of what, hopefully, is a short-term recession, you want to be better prepared to meet latent demand for your products and services. While cutting back on investment and cash burn may be necessary for survival at some companies, don’t cut back on your ability to serve the market in 2021 unless you have to do so. Let others sacrifice the future of their revenue generation operations out of short-term concerns. Bank your savings in travel expenses and event marketing, but don’t cut back in other areas unless necessary.

Terra Incognita

We are entering a terra incognita for the next three to six months, so steady, empathetic leadership should be your objective. On 9/11, our CEO pulled us into the room and talked to us. I don’t remember his words, but I remember that he was calm and understood that we were all upset and anxious. Business was the least of his concerns that day. He wanted to show a steady hand at the tiller and sent us home to be with family.

Our raison d’être is not to work, and sometimes we are jolted back into that reality. Family, friends, and health are a higher priority. COVID 19 is not the new normal, but simply a bad storm that will pass.

Priority Engine Email Alerts

TechTarget, which gathers second-party, opted-in intent data, released IT Deal Alert Priority Engine Email Alerts.  The overly wordy offering helps “enterprise technology sales teams quickly identify and take action on the best opportunities in their territory.”

TechTarget research found that firms that “target active prospects with timely, relevant outreach generate twice as many opportunities.”  Active prospects are more likely to respond to sales rep outreach, accept meetings, attend meetings, and convert to opportunities (see TechTarget graphic on the bottom).

Priority Engine Email Alerts are delivered weekly and customized for each recipient.  Alerts may be set up by sales rep territory or ABM account lists to monitor “relevant buyer activity” at target accounts.  Sales reps can then click on the alerts to view account reports, contacts, and purchase intent insights (e.g. buying stage, competitors under consideration, relevant topics).  

TechTarget offers both first and second-party intent, so reps know about both technology research conducted on TechTarget’s 140 B2B Technology media sites and on their company’s website (first-party intent is supported via a KickFire OEM deal).

As TechTarget Account profiles include detailed intent data, reps are better able to qualify opportunities, tailor their message, and avoid landmines set by potential competitors.  Ideal Customer Profile Accounts are labeled, helping reps prioritize key Accounts.

“Sales reps are busier than ever and can easily miss opportunities, especially if they don’t have the right data in front of them,” said TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney.  “Priority Engine Email Alerts deliver the best opportunities in their territory directly to their inbox with all the intelligence they need to close more deals faster.”

In their investor presentation in November, TechTarget laid out a series of future enhancements including timeline views of territory activity, contact-centered call lists, SFDC single sign-on, opportunity timelines, leveraging data on customer website visitors, and individual-level qualification and ranking.  Several items, including alerts, territories, and Salesforce syncing, have already been released.

TechTarget will also be launching a Priority Engine Express service for SMBs and resellers this quarter.

6Sense – PathFactory Partnership

Content intelligence vendor PathFactory announced a partnership with ABM Orchestration vendor 6Sense to “give marketers complete visibility into the quality of account engagement, as well as what content and topics are accelerating them through their customer journey.”

The new partnership taps 6Sense’s account identification capabilities and combines it with PathFactory’s content consumption data, providing richer account engagement intelligence.  “They can even watch a buying committee’s activities populate and track their journey in near real-time,” said PathFactory.  Account intelligence is synced with the CRM and displayed to sales reps, helping them understand which content and topics resonated at target accounts.

PathFactory offers a set of content tracks, either defined by marketing or PathFactory’s AI.  Content tracks are a sequence of relevant content associated with specific calls to action.  Content tracks “keep people engaged longer and helps them self-educate” while encouraging them to “binge on your content.”  By assessing which individuals and accounts are binging on account tracks, PathFactory can determine when accounts are “getting serious.”  Highly engaged accounts are more likely to turn into deals.  

Content insights suggest the next best content and next best action, with PathFactory personalizing content tracks in real-time.  PathFactory tracks engagement at both the individual and account level while assessing content attributes such as type, topic, and reading length.

“While B2B marketing organizations have invested heavily in ABM over the past several years, many marketers still struggle to successfully execute campaigns, scale programs, and report on results.  We are confident this integration will give marketers the unprecedented ability to optimize the customer journey and generate revenue from their ABM efforts.”

Dev Ganesan, CEO of PathFactory

PathFactory clients do not require a separate 6Sense license.

“PathFactory and 6sense are marrying two of the most critical data sets necessary for successful ABM execution,” said Jason Zintak, CEO of 6sense.  “With 6sense’s industry-leading account identification capabilities and PathFactory’s content consumption data, sales and marketing teams can get deep insight into anonymous buying behavior of individuals and accounts, and deliver hyper-personalized content journeys.”

PathFactory placed 186th on Deloitte’s Fast 500 list, and Gartner named them a Cool Vendor in their 2019 Technology Marketing category.

6Sense recently closed on a $40 million Round C.

6Sense Round C

Account Based Orchestration platform 6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round with growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.  Previous investors include Salesforce Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures.  The market cap was not disclosed.

6Sense doubled its revenue in both 2018 and 2019.  Last year, it added Box, Cisco, Dell, Zendesk, Sumo Logic, NetApp, Domo, Motorola, Cumulus, Symantec, and Tableau to its list of named customers.

“As a startup, a company can sell via personal relationships and word of mouth.  In the scaleup growth phase, the equivalent is Account-Based Marketing and Sales,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners.  “After an exhaustive review process, we were blown away by the data-focused sophistication of 6sense’s technology and firmly believe it is the best solution for B2B companies who need to scale their go-to-market efficiency and grow revenue.  The company’s account-based solution should be a core part of every scaleup company’s growth strategy.  We’re excited to invest in 6sense as the market-leading solution.”

“An investment is a sign that we’ve done something over the past 2 ½ years,” said 6Sense CEO Jason Zintak.  “Investing is confidence, and it’s just so incredibly humbling that we as a team, as a company, have gotten to the point where people want to trust us and hand over money.”

Zintak attributed the firm’s success to the belief that AI and Big Data are at the core of the MarTech stack:

Our strategy has always been to lead in those areas, specifically 6sense’s ability to

    – Process large amounts of data and deliver actionable insights
   – Segment micro-audiences based on these data insights
   – Uncover anonymous buyer intent and identify accounts
   – Predict which accounts are an Ideal Customer fit, and when they are “in market,” allowing organizations to focus engagement on accounts most likely to buy

6sense has evolved from delivering predictive scores to providing customers with a robust Account-Based platform for the entire revenue operations team.

6Sense CEO Jason Zintak

The investment will be dedicated to accelerating its product roadmap, “both organically and inorganically.”  Zintak listed three roadmap objectives:

  1. Improved orchestration, which moves from rules-based engagement to “true AI-based orchestration of tactics.”
  2. Expanding intent and predictive data use cases beyond email to include website personalization, content experiences, advertising, conversational marketing, etc.
  3. Delivering insights to all revenue operations functions, including marketing and customer success.

The firm lists 37 open positions across customer success, engineering, data science, administrative, marketing, sales, and product.  6Sense has shown steady employment growth over the past two years.  Roughly half of the employees are in revenue generation roles (Sales, Support, Marketing, and Business Development).

“Our mission is to tackle the biggest challenges facing B2B sellers and marketers by helping brands reach the right accounts for their business at the right time, through the right channels, and with truly engaging experiences,” said Zintak.  “Our company growth has been fueled by the success of our customers, and our Series C funding will enable 6sense to further invest in AI-driven orchestration capabilities to help companies of all sizes build and scale account-based programs, uncover new opportunities, and efficiently create pipeline and revenue.”

6Sense competitors include Everstring, Demandbase, LeadSpace, and Lattice Engines (Dun & Bradstreet).