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.

Saleo Early-Stage Funding Round for Live Demos

Recently founded demo experience software company Saleo received $1.5 million in early-stage investment for its live demo platform.  Funding came from Tech Square Ventures, Jon Hallett, Kyle Porter, Rob Forman, Tim Kopp, John Hanger, Bryan Wade, and Eric Spett.  The firm is based in Atlanta, as are most of the investors.

Justin McDonald and Daniel Hellerman, experienced RevTech execs who previously worked at Terminus (three of the investors are Terminus executives), founded Saleo.  In addition, McDonald launched Ramble Chat which he subsequently sold to Terminus.

“We believe that every software company should have the means to deliver the perfect software demo that ‘wows’ their buyers every time.  No more missing data, hours of prep time, or sub-par generic demos,” posted McDonald on LinkedIn.

Saleo enables real-time customization of demo environments and supports collaboration among revenue teams during the demo creation process.  As a result, Saleo helps revenue teams “shorten their sales cycle, increase win rates, and close more deals by removing the burden of missing data, outdated demo environments, and time-consuming demo prep.”

Saleo supports a demo library that can be personalized by industry, company, use case, and job function.  Successful demos can be shared as a template or cloned and customized.  In addition, Saleo provides revenue teams with complete control over the demo environment, including graphs, metrics, tables, text, and images, “enabling you to create the perfect software demo that connects directly to your customer’s pain points and lands exactly the way you want.”

“We’re the only technology that allows software companies to manipulate and customize their live demo environment. Other players breaking in are taking screenshots of existing applications and making changes to them.”

Saleo CEO Justin McDonald

Saleo has a no-code integration that runs with any browser-based SaaS app via a Chrome extension that connects to their SaaS platform.  Time-based metrics are always current.  Furthermore, Saleo doesn’t operate as a screen capture service but demos the firm’s live SaaS product without requiring any embedded code.

“Saleo represents one of those very rare early-stage companies that is launched with such a compelling combination of team, vision, product, and market potential.  Saleo’s customers have been blown away by the impact on sales conversion.” said Jon Hallett of Hallett Capital.  “I was stunned when I saw how easy it was to use and the potential sales impact it represents for future customers.  Of all the new companies I have seen this year, this one has me the most excited.”

“SaaS companies have always struggled to deliver great software demos – either in the time investment to prepare a sales demonstration, or the myriad of challenges around missing data or how to customize a demo for different buyers,” said Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter.  “Saleo has created an ingenious solution to help sales engineers and account executives demo their software apps like never before, and most importantly, increase their win rates.  I am excited to be a part of it.”

Saleo currently has four remote employees and is looking at office space. It plans to expand to twelve headcount by the end of the year, with hires in engineering, sales and customer services. It expects to close a seed funding round in the next six months and sign forty customers before the end of the year.

Terminus was signed as Saleo’s first customer.

Highspot $248M Series F

Sales Enablement Platform vendor Highspot closed on a $248 million Series F that valued the firm at $3.5 billion, up from its February valuation of $2.3 billion.  The firm, founded in 2012, has raised $648 million to date.  The round was led by B Capital Group and D1 Capital Partners, with Iconiq Growth, Madrona Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire, and Tiger Global Management also participating.

“Technologies that unlock human potential are foundational to our economic future,” said Rashmi Gopinath, General Partner, B Capital.  “Highspot’s undeniable performance, coupled with the enthusiasm of their customer base, is a testament to how transformative their technology is for companies across industries and geographies.  We believe Highspot’s platform is an imperative for businesses aiming to drive sustainable growth.”

Highspot will deploy the funds to hire additional staff and open offices in the EMEA and APAC regions.  The firm, which doubled in size over the past two years to 800 employees, plans to add 500 staff over the next twelve months.  Highspot is based in Seattle, with offices in London, Munich, and Paris.

The pandemic accelerated demand for digital platforms such as Highspot as “road warriors have become home warriors,” said Wahbe.  In addition, the shift from traditional selling to digital required new tools and skills.  “Salespeople have to be better than ever in holding the attention of the customer.”

“Even before the onset of the pandemic, buyers were trending toward self-reliance with a plethora of resources at their fingertips, researching vendors on their own time and relying on salespeople as mere transaction facilitators,” Wahbe told VentureBeat via email. The sudden shift to a remote business landscape caused by COVID-19 accelerated this trend, and now modern buyers prefer — and expect — fully virtual sales … A handful of sales tech companies anticipated the trend toward digital selling and strategically designed their products to help turn salespeople from transaction helpers into heroes. Highspot is one such company.”

Highspot CEO Robert Wahbe, “Highspot raises $248M to bolster sales enablement using AI,” VentureBeat (January 13, 2022)

The firm, which has over 170 open positions, is broadly hiring across engineering, product, design, marketing, and sales.

“We see an incredible opportunity in front of us,” said CEO Robert Wahbe. “We need to continue to invest very significantly and invest in our go-to-market team, invest in our product, and [invest in] the capabilities of our product.”

Last month, Highspot announced a quartet of executive hires:

  • Arvind Prakash, Product Management VP: Prakash is a global product and technology leader with over twenty years of experience at Compass, Expedia Group, and Microsoft.
  • John Zhang, Engineering VP: Zhang held Engineering roles at Microsoft, Twitter and Weibo.
  • Julie Valenti, Account Management VP: Valenti has over twenty years of experience running customer-facing teams at DocuSign, Oracle, Responsys, and Yesmail.
  • Kelly Lewis, Revenue Enablement VP: Lewis joins with over 15 years of experience in revenue leadership and technology sales.  Lewis is a former Highspot customer joining from Amwell.

Highspot supports content recommendations, content engagement analytics, sales training, and sales coaching

The recently launched Highspot Marketplace is a partner exchange for marketing, sales, enablement, and customer success partners.  Companies can import packages of content, tools, and training from two dozen partners, including Sandler, Challenger, and Winning by Design.

Highspot Sales Training Dashboard

Highspot has grown revenue 935% over the last three years and posted an Annual Recurring Revenue net retention rate of 130% over the past year. 

Last year, platform usage increased 150%, with Highspot providing training to eight million salespeople, channel partners, service reps, and customers in digital sales experiences.  Highspot counts DocuSign, General Motors, Nestle, Siemens, and Verizon Media among its 700+ customers.

Wahbe envisions the firm going public but did not set an IPO timeframe. “Our focus continues to be on building a significant company in the enablement space,” said Wahbe. “We’re focused on growing the company, which of course then enables us to go public.”

SalesHood Expands Training Tools with SkillsHood

Sales Enablement vendor SalesHood announced the general availability of SkillsHood, an asynchronous training platform for the entire organization.  The SkillsHood Enablement Platform “automates and scales organizational readiness and messaging alignment processes both for distributed and remote employees.”

“SkillsHood is our latest innovation created to boost employee productivity by elevating how employees learn, coach, and collaborate asynchronously across their organization,” posted CEO Elay Cohen on LinkedIn.  “The SkillsHood Enablement Platform automates and scales organizational readiness and messaging alignment processes both for distributed and remote employees.”

SkillsHood delivers personalized learning and development training for both onboarding and ongoing training.  Features include prescriptive learning paths, video role-playing, manager coaching, video storytelling, employee recognition, peer feedback, quizzes, and assessments.   Streamed content may be delivered just-in-time by role and tenure.  Other features include gamification, badging, and analytics.  The enablement platform is integrated with Domo, GoodData, Tableau, and PoweredBI.

“It’s amazing to see sales enablement mature and transform to company-wide enablement,” said Cohen.  “Now more than ever, all departments are looking for innovative ways to lift employee productivity and bring teams together virtually.”

Remote training will remain a core requirement after the pandemic.  Gartner forecasts that 48% of employees will work at least part of the time versus 30% remotely before COVID-19.

Gong Previews 2022 Services

Conversational Intelligence vendor Gong previewed a set of product and ecosystem integrations that “solidify its status as the platform for revenue teams.”  New products include Gong Assist for automated task management and Reality-Based Forecasting for improved pipeline projections.  The new Gong Collective supports its expanded universe of partner integrations.

“These moves come as the Gong Reality Platform – which captures and analyzes customer interactions and makes recommendations based on those interactions – continues to improve the performance of customer-facing teams,” stated the firm.

Gong Assist automates sales overhead.

Gong Assist goes beyond task reminders to automate burdensome tasks that steal time away from the primary goals of sales reps: fostering long-term relationships and growing revenue.  For example, instead of simply reminding a rep to set up a meeting or send an email, Gong will draft the email or meeting invite for the rep.  Gong can also tee up congratulatory notes to contacts that have assumed new roles.

Gong Reality-Based Forecasting streamlines pipeline updates.

Gong will also be launching a new Reality-Based Forecasting product that provides “streamlined, bottoms-up forecasting and a fuller look at revenue trends.”  Reps and sales management can view and maintain forecast data directly within Gong instead of toggling to other apps.  In addition, reality-Based Forecasting will automatically remind reps to update forecasts “based on customer interactions that have been captured and analyzed by Gong.”

The Gong Collective is a branding of their partner ecosystem, which supports more than one hundred integrations.  Gong provided details on a few of its partnerships:

  • DocuSign will present contracts within Gong.  It will also alert teams when deals have progressed, but no sales contract has been drafted.
  • Slack Connect, Salesforce’s private channels for customers and partners, are ingested by Gong and treated as an additional engagement signal.

    “Gong and Slack create that digital sales floor where revenue leaders can confidently manage sales teams — motivating and mentoring sales reps remotely, forecasting more accurately, engaging with customers effectively, and closing business more efficiently in a hybrid sales environment,” said Brad Armstrong, SVP of Business Development at Slack.
  • HighSpot and Seismic suggest which content should be shared and Gong gathers visiting analytics “to help customer-facing teams engage effectively and keep deals moving forward.”

“Gong has created raving fans by optimizing the performance of customer-facing teams,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov. “Our new products only add to this value, making the Gong Reality Platform an even more valuable, centralized destination for teams to be successful.”

Clari Acquires DealPoint

DealPoint Collaboration Flow

Revenue Intelligence platform Clari announced the acquisition of DealPoint.  DealPoint supports deal management and collaboration by enabling “new visibility for sales teams into the connections and agreements between buyers and sellers.” In addition, DealPoint supports deal rooms and Mutual Action Plans (MAPs), helping reduce friction between buyers and sellers and fostering deal alignment.

“With mutual action plans, sales teams can improve alignment with buyers, drive scalable process and rigor, and improve win rates,” said Clari CEO Andy Byrne. “Our acquisition of DealPoint gives Clari customers a new insight they have never had — a view into what buyers are thinking. Combined with our new execution insights, managers and reps will have comprehensive visibility and new inspection capabilities in one unified workspace.”

At the front end of the collaboration, workflow is deal qualification, including defining the pains, processes, and priorities. Next, the teams develop a joint interactive timeline, team maps, and shared team resources (e.g., case studies, requirements, proposals).  Finally, engagement metrics help reps quickly determine “which buyers are engaged, and who’s just kicking the tires.”

DealPoint monitors milestone completion and warns reps when milestones have been missed, helping keep deals on schedule.

“With a MAP, sellers get instant validation on value prop, buyer team, and timeline. Because both sides are operating from an actual plan, frontline managers can see not only what has been done on a deal, but also what hasn’t been done.

In other words, we know which buyers are serious, which deals are going to stall, and what needs to happen to keep everything running smoothly.

Incorporating those buyer signals gives Clari new insight into deal health that will revolutionize deal inspections, resource allocation, and forecast accuracy for frontline managers.”

Tom Williams, Head of DealPoint

Having a joint plan assists with buy-in, providing a psychological edge for the sales team.  “By providing a clear plan to value, you guide the customer journey and keep the conversation focused on fixing their problem with your product,” states DealPoint.  “Buyers adopt your plan as their own, edging out competitors and reducing surprises.”

Sales Managers also benefit from instituting a repeatable process.  According to DealPoint, 50% of reps quickly abandon new methodologies.  Thus, streamlining the methodology helps ensure buy-in and compliance.

Once integrated with Clari, managers will have even more confidence in forecasts based upon milestone tracking.  Additionally, managers can ask reps what needs to be done to bring the deal back on plan, and sales reps can ask similar questions to buyers, helping foster shared accountability.

Customer Success teams benefit from smooth handoffs and pre-defined expectations.

DealPoint argues that taking a set of small steps helps foster trust that reduces perceived buyer risk as milestones are met.  Likewise, collaborating on a joint plan helps build relationships between the revenue team and the buying committee.

DealPoint comes with the MEDDIC methodology out of the box, but users can implement others.

DealPoint is priced at $59 per rep per month on an annual contract.  Seats include an unlimited number of customers and Mutual Action Plans. In addition, DealPoint is integrated with Salesforce and HubSpot.

Deal Rooms are a logical extension of Revenue Intelligence as they facilitate communications between sales reps, customer success, and buyers.  Collaboration also aligns buyers and sellers, fosters collaboration, reduces the probability of surprises, improves forecast confidence, and gooses close rates.

The integrated Deal Room GA is scheduled for Q4.  Acquisition terms were not announced.

LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

In its recently published State of Sales 2021 survey,  LinkedIn stated that “Virtual selling is good for sellers and even better for buyers.”  50% of buyers say that “working remotely has made the purchasing process easier.”  Buyers have benefited from the greater acceptance of sales intelligence and sales enablement services.

Furthermore, 70% of buyers want to retain remote work at least half of the time.  48% of buyers do not expect to be meeting face-to-face until H2 201, and 17% anticipate waiting until 2022.

“The bottom line is this situation requiring virtual selling skills won’t be changing anytime soon,” commented LinkedIn.

59% of buyers do not anticipate attending live events until H2 2021.  While 90% of the surveyed buyers have previously attended events, 48% of sales reps have now closed deals above a half-million dollars without meeting the buyer in person.

“Sellers will go back to face-to-face meetings but not remotely close to pre-pandemic levels. Digital transformation was coming no matter what.  COVID-19 just accelerated everything. In other words, digital transformation is here to stay.”

Gartner VP-Analyst Craig Rosenberg

Sales Managers recognize the acceleration of change and digitization, with 86% agreeing that “the ability to cope with change is more important than it was five years ago,” up 16% over the past year.

“Generally speaking, sales is slow to adapt,” opined Gartner VP-Analyst Craig Rosenberg.  “If the way sellers are doing things works, then they will keep doing it.  This drastic event is driving change.  Also, when the buyer changes, sales is forced to change. We often think of ‘sales’ as having to move virtual as the driver, but actually our buyers moved virtual.  Ultimately, sales is going to gravitate to the buyer’s preference.  In other words, it is much easier to adapt to change when you have to.”

The top three sources of change cited by sales managers are measuring sales processes and outcomes in different ways (51%), adding new technologies (50%), and instituting new hiring policies (50%).

LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

Remote sales job postings increased five-fold in Q3 2020 year-over-year, with remote positions growing 8.8X in Canada and 4.5X in the United States.  The transition hasn’t been easy.  67% of sales managers said that managing remote teams is more challenging than expected, and 65% of sales reps found it more difficult than anticipated.

Sales Operations and Customer Success roles proliferated between 2018 and 2020.  LinkedIn captured a 38% increase in Sales Operations roles over this period, 4.8X the growth of sales titles.

Customer Success positions trebled between 2018 and 2020.


Continue to Part II, which discusses diversity effort in sales, SalesTech, and Sales Navigator.

Seismic Aura AI Enhancements and SmartPlays

Seismic announced enhancements to its recently launched Aura AI platform.  Aura provides sales reps with “intelligent recommendations on how to effectively engage with buyers, advance deals, and uncover new opportunities.”

Aura AI is a personal assistant for sales reps delivered via a Chrome extension.  It suggests “personalized, relevant content recommendations” using data from similar customers and prospects.  This content can then be forwarded to customers and prospects or posted on social sites as a LiveSend Link that supports full tracking and analytics.

Seismic LiveSend Links support tracking and analytics

Aura also displays customer engagement history and engagement between the customer and colleagues.

“Artificial intelligence isn’t just about making sellers more productive, which is important.  It’s also about helping buyers solve their problems by connecting them with the right content,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Strategist Tony Smith.

Seismic also released CRM SmartPlays within Salesforce.  The new feature “removes the burden of identifying the best sales plays” and suggests higher-performing content and context. “The modern salesperson is constantly pulled in multiple directions, leading to information overload and decision fatigue on what to do next. Aura’s content recommendations act as the seller’s sidekick, helping them eliminate the noise and avoid missing the next important engagement moment,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “Our approach to AI combines the best of human and artificial intelligence to give sellers a competitive edge and more time back in their day to engage with buyers. I can’t wait for more Seismic customers to see what Aura will do for them.”

Groove – Seismic Integration

Selecting Seismic content for inclusion in a Groove email flow

Groove and Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform.

“Personalization is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather is an expectation from customers in today’s digital-first B2B sales environment,” said Preseetha Pettigrew, Seismic Global Vice President, Strategic Alliances.  “This integration with Groove streamlines the seller workflow, allowing frontline teams to focus on nurturing relationships and deliver greater value to clients.  I look forward to seeing how our joint customers benefit from this partnership.”

The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.

“In today’s increasingly digital and remote B2B sales environment, this integrated solution bridges a critical gap between the point of engagement and Salesforce that helps companies quickly realize time-to-value, without a heavy lift from their IT or application development teams.  And easing the transition to remote selling is critical. Gartner’s 2020 Future of Sales research projects that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.”

Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein

Speaking to their joint value proposition, Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein said the firms share a “customer-first approach” to engaging clients in a “customized, data-driven, and scalable way while maintaining high compliance standards.”

Seismic Spring Enhancements

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic rolled out a set of platform enhancements last month that are “designed to help organizations capture every revenue moment and drive effective, efficient buyer engagement across all digital channels.”  The release included Seismic Aura, their new AI Engine for sales content.

Seismic Aura employs AI and machine learning to surface “new business opportunities and increase seller efficacy.”

“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift to all-digital buyer engagements. At Seismic, we’ve anticipated this change for some time now.  Our platform exists to make go-to-market teams more effective, whether their buyers are face-to-face or remote,” said Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada.  “The next challenge for technology leaders like Seismic will be to enable businesses to thrive in this new era of digital-first selling.  The innovations we’re launching at [Seismic’s virtual conference] Shift, along with the product updates we have coming later this year, bring sales and marketing teams closer together, helping them reach new customers and engage with existing customers in a compelling manner regardless of where they are.”

Continued Mantripragada, “humans can analyze only so much. Buried inside data are patterns, behavior, and insights that will hold keys to your questions and undiscovered opportunities. We are combining human intelligence and machine intelligence to harness the power of this data.”

Other Spring 2021 release features include

  • CRM SmartPlays employ predictive intelligence to recommend the most effective sales plays at any moment.  SmartPlays are delivered within the rep’s CRM workflow.
  • Seismic Sidekick, a Chrome extension powered by Aura, delivers guided selling and content recommendations “based on past engagement, similar buyers, and interests specific to each contact.” Sidekick helps surface engagement opportunities and reduces time spent searching for content.
  • Dynamic Email Templates
  • Global Privacy Management supports GDPR and country-specific, multi-lingual privacy requirements and notifications.
  • Groove and Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform. The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.

Along with announcing new features, Seismic boasted about its ongoing momentum.  Their net retention rate stands at 111%.  They have over one million users at over 700 enterprise clients, including deep penetration in the financial services sector.  Seismic claims that 22 of the top 25 global asset management companies are customers, along with 7 of the top 10 US banks and 4 of the top 5 North American wealth management firms. Seismic added over 200 employees last year and opened its first Canadian office with the December Grapevine6 acquisition.  They now have more than 1000 workers across fifteen offices.


Continue to Groove – Seismic Integration.