British sales intelligence vendor Artesian Solutions announced that it received £3.5M in expansion capital from Columbia Lake partners. The funds will be used to refinance current debt obligations and provide working capital for “further growth and expansion.” The refinancing also provides better terms and business flexibility after the firm reached a profitability milestone in July.
Artesian has begun integrating artificial intelligence into its tools. Earlier this year, it launched Insight Agent, “the first step in a series of intelligent chat bots aimed at automating many of the tasks carried out by B2B professionals” along with Arti, the firm’s interactive digital assistant.
“This is an exciting milestone in our company’s history and positively reinforces the leadership position we have attained. We are constantly looking at the ‘what next’ scenario, pushing boundaries to establish our business as one of the leading innovators in B2B software for commercial teams, this has paved the way for our new risk mitigation capabilities which will be released in the New Year.”
Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates
The firm has recently shifted its positioning from social selling to “A.I. powered sales intelligence.”
“Social Selling sits at the heart of Artesian’s founding principles,” explained Yates. “But as sales best practice has evolved, so has Artesian. Our goal is to be at the forefront of technology evolution for enterprise B2B, delivering a suite of A.I.-powered tools to make prospecting, engaging and closing deals easier. As our forthcoming risk mitigation capabilities demonstrate, we will continue to evolve to ensure we remain a trusted partner of our enterprise customers and to maximise the impact of their business relationships”
Artesian offers products for both the British and American markets.
@Twitter now supports 280 characters, so we can be verbose. With such limits, one could almost write an essay. Still, I would prefer that they show actual characters left than display a usage dial. It doesn’t warn you about limits until you get within 20 characters. #innovation?
Twitter had doubled its capacity to 280 character tweets noting that in countries where there is less character cramming (e.g., China, Japan, Korea), there are fewer full-length messages and a higher propensity to tweet. “Twitter is about brevity,” blogged Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer, Ikuhiro Ihara. “It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.”
“Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced – that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit.
Aliza Rosen, Twitter Product Manager
Twitter noted that during a test, the length of tweets quickly returned to its terse style, but with few tweeters bumping up against the limit. “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained,” said Rosen.
So, I guess we’ll all be fine, but what does this mean for the Tweeter-in-Chief and posterity? Will some future historian performing data analytics pick up on the change in length?
Will Trumpish remain its own special language? Will Sad! become So Sad! And was cofeveve an acronym he can now spell out for us?
Nimble partnered with CircleBack to add two contact maintenance features into its social sales and marketing CRM for individuals and teams. Users can capture email signatures or take a photo of business cards to populate Nimble. Email signatures are gathered from Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook / Exchange, and Office 365. Furthermore, CircleBack appends missing fields such as social links, corporate addresses, and URLs which may not always be available. It then updates the records to ensure they remain accurate.
“CircleBack’s collaboration with Nimble brings tremendous opportunity to leverage and enhance our open API ecosystem, and to enable Nimble to enrich contact information from social data in new and increasingly effective ways.” said Manoj Ramnani, CEO, CircleBack. “What makes Nimble such an incredible Social CRM is its ability to provide instant context to its users, and now through the power of our APIs, we want to empower Nimble to do it with greater precision.”
Nimble browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge allow sales reps to capture and enrich contacts while browsing the web. Thus, a sales rep could be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or a corporate website and add the contact record with a single click. CircleBack then enriches the record with missing details. What’s more, the sales rep doesn’t need to key information into Nimble or guess at email structures.
Nimble plans include 25 free lookups per user per month. Additional contacts are priced in bundles between 20 cents (50 credits per month) and 10 cents (1,000 credits per month). While credits are shared across the team and reasonably priced, they do not rollover. Thus, the true per record cost is higher.
LinkedIn recently began supporting video uploads which begin playing silently when they appear in members’ feeds. Videos may run up to ten minutes, though LinkedIn recommends lengths of fewer than five minutes. As with LinkedIn posts, members will also receive analytics on views, likes, shares, and top viewing markets. The new feature provides B2B marketers with a business focused platform on which they can post corporate announcements, executive thought leadership pieces, and corporate event videos.
Business Insider found that LinkedIn is considered the most trustworthy of the social media platforms with people deeming it best at protecting privacy (55%), least likely to display deceptive content (55%), and safest network for posts and participation (43%).
LinkedIn will also be passing along viewer details such as employer and title for the top viewers.
“Analytics about where video viewers work and what they do present substantial opportunities for networking, recruiting, generating sales leads, and so on. For example, executives can announce a new product or service and then dive into their audience analytics to build up a list of prospects; opinion leaders discussing a pressing trend will have more tools for growing their followers; job-seekers can post videos with an eye on courting recruiters or a company’s attention, or vice versa. All these scenarios pave the way for LinkedIn to upgrade free members onto premium tiers, where more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) tools are available.”
Robert Elder, Business Insider, “LinkedIn Video Sharing Could Be a Revelation”
Video should help address user engagement issues. As of Q3 2016 (their last public quarter), only 23% of users engaged with the platform each month, resulting in an average daily engagement of only two minutes. Consumer platforms have much higher daily engagement rates with Snapchat at thirty minutes and Facebook at fifty.
In other news, LinkedIn released a Windows 10 live alerts app which displays new messages, trending stories, profile views, and other LinkedIn-related alerts. The service supports 22 languages.
Thus, firms can identify unexpected visitor segments. “With these insights, you can craft new marketing content designed to better resonate with that audience,” LinkedIn stated.
Campaign insights are also displayed as new hover cards which provide budget and performance data for other advertisers and recommends how to boost performance.
New metrics include Sponsored Content shared by members, details on social actions, and better file export and data options.
“The three new advertiser data tools optimize your use of LinkedIn ads, making sure you have maximized social ROI,” observed Francis Rey in SocialBarrel. “Sponsored Content continues to drive most of the company’s ad revenue. With more than 500 million professional members on the platform, LinkedIn already filters a unique audience for your business. You only need to tap into it and take advantage.”
Rey also noted that “While Facebook is still beyond reach in social ads, the social network caters to all audiences. Meanwhile, LinkedIn focuses on professionals, with an entirely different purpose.”
This is the last of a series of blog posts containing interview transcripts between Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and me. This excerpt discusses how Artesian drives high engagements rates across their multi-platform social selling service.
Michael: You quote an 89% daily user engagement rate for your platform.
Michael: Having looked at competitors, nobody is close to that rate.
Andrew: I know, that’s true. It’s because we go beyond the 80/20 rule*. We work really, really hard to make sure that the interdependency with Artesian isn’t limited to a desktop or web app-based user interaction. We’ve invested a ton in things like optimization for mobile devices, smart calendar apps, real-time alerting, actionable insights from an alert and an action center that sits midway between the web app and the mobile app. Consequently, we keep people interested in using the service on a daily basis because there’s so many different ways to interact with it.
Also, our philosophy is a key differentiator. Others talk about this, but I don’t see them doing it. When we’re teaching users what to do with Artesian, we say, “If all you do is consume, then we’ve not done our job, and you’ve wasted your opportunity.” What we are encouraging you to do is think about how you can drive actions from the insight. If you drive action, good things will happen. Not only will we make it easy for you to drive actions, but we’ll also measure the outcome.
Everything you do in Artesian is tracked, as is everything you output. When you share a link or you share a piece of insight, not only does it come in a nice condensed form, but it’s fully trackable.
I know you’ve opened it. I know you’ve shared it. I can do the same thing on social media for posts to LinkedIn. I know how many people have clicked on it, how many people have viewed it. We give you all that feedback plus an influence score to really gratify you that you’ve done something great, and it’s working. That’s the big difference from just providing access to a service. What we are about is not force feeding the patient, but encouraging the user to interact with the service and really do something with the insight.
Michael: What percentage of your users have installed your Ready mobile app?
Andrew: Artesian Ready has about 25% penetration. That’s pretty good considering we mainly work with large enterprises, many of which place limitations on what you can do with your mobile device. The very fact that it’s an app is a barrier. That’s why in [the recently released version] 16.1 we’ve done a fully mobile-optimized version of the web app for the mobile phone. It’s not an app. You don’t need to download anything to use it and we don’t hit the buffers in terms of corporate [security].
Michael: And what percentage of your users are accessing Artesian through Salesforce?
Andrew: About 25%, which might surprise you, because what we found in the larger corporates is, we’ve introduced Artesian as an integrated part of our concept but people have said there’s a backlog, like a queue of apps that they want to get approved and installed. We tend to say to the customer, “Well, get going with Artesian standalone, then integrate it with Salesforce later.” That said, with the release of 16.0 which had the first Opportunity View integration, we’ve seen our Salesforce pipeline opportunities go from 20/80 to 80/20.
This is the last of four blogs derived from an interview of Artesian CEO Andrew Yates. The previous blogs covered:
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including how they fit into the sales intelligence space and being “customer curious.” Artesian provides a social selling solution for the UK, US, and Canada. Their sales intelligence is delivered via a web browser, Salesforce.com, and their Ready mobile app.
Michael: How do you view yourself versus firms in the sales intelligence space?
Andrew: I had a chat with [CEO] Henry [Schuck] from DiscoverOrg just recently. It took us a while to realize that we didn’t really compete with DiscoverOrg. We might compete for share of wallet. Certainly, some of the words on the website are saying [similar things]. Fundamentally, we’re two different types of organizations.
I think there are companies that make data, curate data, sell access to curated data. I would include in addition to DiscoverOrg, RainKing and InsideView.
I talked to Henry. I said, “Somebody would buy your service because they would want to get the inside track on when the projects are coming up, on particular types of initiatives. Who’s who in the zoo? What’s their phone number and email address?” The stimulus would be, “I’m contacting you to talk to you about this project on which I can help you.” [That’s] The bit where we take over guiding the conversations which follow over the remainder of the sales cycle, we can do that.
We use natural language processing, machine-based learning and AI to take data from people who already aggregate it. Then we take it through our own process because there isn’t anything out there that has anything like the superior capabilities we’ve got around topic classification, tagging, and all the things that go with our value proposition. As I said to Henry, “We’re never really going to compete directly because we’ve got no intention of hiring a bunch of people to build various specific data.”
I think he’s on fire at the moment…In the States, there’s a real shortage of quality contact insight. Where we take over is where DiscoverOrg leaves off. At the point where you’ve identified an opportunity in a customer and then you want to build that relationship and keep that relationship going over time not just maybe sell them one product or service but sell them multiple products or services and keep going back. That’s the area we’re really, really good at.
Michael: Okay. Right, so basically being aware of what’s going on in that organization and maintaining the relationship.
Andrew: Yes. That’s why we look for organizations, customers that we sell to who have a relationship management model at their heart. This “customer curious” concept came from one of our customers, NetApp. The chap that was running Europe came up with the phrase. He drew me this picture and said, “There’s three ways we can differentiate ourselves in the market. We can differentiate ourselves with products,” he said. “And NetApp’s got the same product that three or four other companies have got. We can do it with price, but that’s a race to the bottom or we can do it with service. We want to do it with service, and we want to be the best. The best company in this space. We can have a product that is good or better than anyone else’s, but we’ll differentiate ourselves by being customer curious.”
There’s nothing like getting inspiration for where your headed from a customer.
Michael: This topic is near and dear to Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff: being customer obsessed.
Andrew: Yes. Being customer obsessed is where we try to complement Mark Benioff’s vision. The Salesforce platform is an excellent system of record, and I think people buy CRM expecting it to help them sell, and it does. It helps them sell by getting more organized and orchestrated with the customer at the center, but it’s not a system of engagement. That’s really where we feel we come in as a complement and supplement to that system of record.
The interview will wrap up on Monday with a discussion of how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including artificial intelligence and risk tools they are integrating into their social selling service. This is the second in a series of interview excerpts I am publishing this week. On Monday, Andrew discussed Artesian’s 2016 entry to the US market.
Michael: You have recently begun to introduce AI capabilities into your platform.
Andrew: What we’ve done in our first incarnation of bot-driven AI is we’ve created something that we call an “insight agent” that, through an API into Salesforce, can build you a view of threats and opportunities within your pipeline. Which, in itself, is pretty damn useful; much more useful than a forecast report or a dashboard which is the way you see it in Salesforce today. Then we’ll lay out all of those deals by stage and value and overlay today’s new social and demographic context on top. That’s pretty useful.
With the latest release, we’ve created a bot which literally reads and interprets the news in relation to the stage of the sales process that you’re at. And, where it sees a particular trigger that has meaning in relationship to a particular stage, it flags that. Most organizations have implemented the concepts of sale stages when they’ve implemented CRM.
Typically, when I ask somebody, “how many stages do you have?” They’ll say, “between five and seven.” The system automatically builds you a view depending on how you’re implementing Salesforce, however many stages you’ve implemented and what you call them. Then what the bot does, is it crawls all over the news looking for things that could impact those opportunities at the stage they are at.
Let’s say, I’ve got a six-stage process where stage six is closed and stage five is a negotiation. Artesian’s insight agent finds out about a CIO who has left the business. The insight agent will notify the user that there’s a potential problem with the deal in their pipeline. The agent will tell them why there is a problem and how it’s been categorized. There’s half a dozen next-best actions that we bundle up with the insight as we deliver it. That’s our first attempt at taking the concept of machine-based learning and natural language processing, combining it with an AI bot, and trying to make that useful for customers.
We’ve introduced the ability for the user to customize their own topics, keywords, and trigger events. We offer a bunch out of the box, and we also wrap a managed service around it and easy implementation to every customer.
We’re also seeing a lot of activity in the “RegTech/RiskTech” arena with the growth of cybercrime and terrorism, and the sensitivity around regulation of any financial, FCA [UK Financial Control Authority] regulated [business]. There are regulations that organizations need to comply with. We’re increasingly being asked by our financial services customers, particularly the banks, to get deeper into being able to provide those capabilities inside of Artesian.
Organizations want to mitigate risks. They want to fall within the arena of whatever the regulation is and comply with the law, but they also want to exploit the technology as best they can to make sure they write the best business that they can. We’re doing some work at the moment in conjunction with one of our demographic data suppliers. What we’re looking to do is extend the capabilities in Artesian to provide some of the capabilities that our customers are asking for in the RegTech / RiskTech environment. We’re going to introduce risk agents. Risk agents look at the real-time present and it looks at the past. It specifically looks at things that are in-line with the regulations and also in-line with the stated risks that the customer has mapped out.
What that translates into is a service that is not only compelling in terms of customer acquisition, customer retention, and yield, but also compelling from a kind of, you don’t go to jail if you’re using Artesian because it’s doing the regulation and risk job for you as well.
Michael: When you say risk app, are you talking more about supplier risk, compliance risk, credit, reputational?
Andrew: There are 40 or 50 pretty big companies doing this thing already. What we’re talking about is company-centric intelligence, but also the people associated with that company and the intelligence that we’ll need to derive around whether something is risky or not. It could be the performance of a business. It could be some adverse news in relation to that performance. Or it could be that an individual who has a beneficial ownership, more than a 5% stake in a business, happens to be on a naughty list in terms of the PEP [Politically Exposed Persons] or sanctions.
At the moment, we have risk triggers in the opportunity view. They’re not compliance risk triggers. If you’re going to a client, they need to know about key beneficial ownership.
Michael: Is that part of the opportunity view or is that a new type of view?
Andrew: A new type of view. We have risk triggers in the opportunity view, but they’re not compliance risk triggers. If you go into a bank, they need to know about beneficial ownership, adverse news going back three years, PEP, sanctions, real-time alerts from stock exchanges. None of that is feasible within a generic instance of Salesforce.com in an opportunity view.
Michael: It sounds you’re looking to move beyond the sales and marketing teams to start to get to into things like onboarding, KYC [Know Your Customer], AML [Anti-money Laundering], PEP, and other compliance aspects that really go into monitoring of clients as well as the initial onboarding.
Andrew: Yes, if you go back to the whole customer curious mantra and deep relationship management, we like to say that we put the R back into CRM. We are all about that relationship.
The conversations we are having with our large customers would indicate we are on the right track with that.
The interview will be continuing over the next few days with discussions of what it means to be a “customer curious” business and how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users. Monday’s blog discussed Artesian’s 2016 entry into the US market.