Vidyard Closes $15M Financing Facility

Vidyard Logo

Before Christmas, video platform Vidyard closed on a $15 million financing facility with the BMO Technology & Innovation Banking Group.  Vidyard has raised $75.7 million in debt and equity financing to date (see Crunchbase Pro chart on the bottom) and was recently ranked number 39 on Deloitte’s Canada Fast 50.  

The funds will “help Vidyard remain focused on innovation and product development while financing strategic M&A & Global Expansion activities so that the company can continue growing, scaling, and providing customers with the most robust user experience possible.”

Vidyard has partnered with a wide set of sales engagement platforms, including Outreach, SalesLoft, ConnectLeader, Groove, Xant, and VanillaSoft.  Other partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, Drift, Outlook, and MailChimp.  Partners have cited a 2 to 3X improvement in open and click-through rates due to personalized videos embedded in emails.  Reps can quickly record a one-to-one video or embed a marketing video.

“Vidyard continues to make a global impact and is currently serving more than 50 million videos per day.  With the accelerating trend of the world’s most innovative businesses turning to video to power their marketing, sales, and internal communications strategies–tomorrow, that number is on a trajectory to exceed 1 billion,” said CEO Michael Litt.  “We’re excited to be working with BMO’s Technology & Innovation Banking Group to help finance strategies intended to support our journey in becoming the dominant video platform provider that the world’s most successful businesses rely on.”

Vidyard customers include Honeywell, LinkedIn, Citibank, and Sharp. A recent study of 218 B2B sales and marketing professionals found the top five uses of video within an organization are brand awareness (67%), lead generation (63%), customer education (63%), buyer education (58%), and sales enablement (54%).  Website distribution was the most common channel (79%), followed by email (67%), LinkedIn (63%), YouTube (60%), and landing pages (59%).  40% of respondents indicated that sales reps were deploying one-to-one videos.  Heinz Marketing and Vidyard conducted the survey.

Vidyard closed a debt financing round on December 20, 2019 (Source: Crunchbase)

Quora: How Accurate are Zoominfo Direct Dials?

My answer to the question: How Accurate are Zoominfo Direct Dials?

There are two sets of contact information from Zoominfo: Tier 1 validated contacts for around 5 million global executives and decisionmakers. This data is re-validated every 90 days and has a 96% direct dial population rate and 98% email. These records are subject to a 95% data accuracy SLA (100% is impossible as there is a 2 – 2 1/2% decay rate of contact records per month). Tier 1 data also includes org charts, researched biographies, and company projects.

Tier 2 data is obtained through machine learning and natural language processing. Zoominfo obtains this data through web crawling and the mining of signature blocks amongst its Community Members (small businesses that provide access to this data in exchange for limited platform access). Because this data is being gathered constantly, Zoominfo has a heads up if somebody’s signature block changes. It also provides a deeper set of direct dials than available from other companies. Zoominfo offers an update date for Tier 2 data which I would recommend using. Data verified within the past six months should be around 90% accurate. At a year, the accuracy is likely around 75% and could be lower. Anything beyond a year is likely to be of low quality and should not be purchased except in special circumstances such as the lack of new contacts at a key function of an account or high-value prospect.

Zoominfo provides a deep set of sales and marketing tools including ICP/TAM, visitor intelligence, intent-based alerts, enterprise software connectors, and trigger-based workflows.

I have not conducted a recent study of Tier 2 data vs. other contact data sources, so cannot speak to its quality.

Two other vendors directly collect and verify contact direct phones and emails. If direct-dial accuracy is a key concern, also evaluate DealSignal and SalesIntel.io. DealSignal performs overnight reverification so is better for marketing than sales. SalesIntel performs 90-day reverification cycles and claims to be significantly less expensive than Zoominfo. Both companies offer contact enrichment, contact prospecting, and enterprise software connectors (CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, Chrome).

ReachOut 2.0 identifies LinkedIn pages and URLs and maps them to ZoomInfo Intelligence. Profiles, which include firmographics, emails, and direct dials, may then be quickly uploaded to CRMs or sales engagement platforms..
ReachOut 2.0 identifies LinkedIn pages and URLs and maps them to ZoomInfo Intelligence. Profiles, which include firmographics, emails, and direct dials, may then be quickly uploaded to CRMs or sales engagement platforms.

Terminus Acquires Sigstr

Sigstr Location Intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.
Sigstr location intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.

ABM platform vendor Terminus acquired email analytics vendor Sigstr earlier this week.  The full 60-person Sigstr team will be joining Terminus, including CEO Bryan Wade.  Sigstr has received $11 million in funding across multiple rounds.  Sigstr’s flagship product inserts customized banner advertising in signature blocks.  In 2018, the firm launched Pulse, which tracks relationship strength based upon email opens, response times, messaging velocity, and generated calendar invitations.

“Combining our solution with the Terminus platform activates an untapped channel that changes how businesses engage with target accounts,” wrote Wade.  “We’re long-standing partners from both a technology and go-to-market perspective, making this combination a no-brainer and massive opportunity for our combined customers, and account-centric businesses everywhere looking to sharpen how they engage across the entire customer lifecycle.”

The merged company will be able to “determine their best-fit segments, prioritize accounts, and identify the next-best-action for execution.” Terminus can now align account-based messaging across the full lifecycle, prioritize accounts and assess buying team interactions, and integrate ABM messaging with employee email marketing.

“[Pulse] Relationship data adds a rich 1st-party piece of intelligence to your account-based efforts.  To deliver this information, Sigstr uses its proprietary Relationship Score, which analyzes the email and calendar interactions between employees at your company and those at your customer and prospective customer accounts.  It provides detailed insights into the sentiment and strength of relationships at an account, buying team, and individual level.  Utilizing this data set alongside engagement and intent intelligence already native to the Terminus platform supercharges how your revenue teams prioritize efforts and take action.”

Bryan Brown, Terminus Chief Product Officer

“I couldn’t’ be more excited about bringing two powerhouse teams together to shape the future of B2B marketing,” said High Alpha managing partner Scott Dorsey.  “Category leaders are built around great teams and innovative products.  This team has exactly what it takes.”

Sigstr customers include AT&T, Amazon, and United Way.  Terminus was also a long-time customer.  The firm blogged that the deal was “a reflection of both our confidence in and reliance upon Sigstr as a staple of our marketing strategy.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Earlier this month, Terminus named Tim Kopp their new CEO and Chairman.  Kopp is the former CMO of ExactTarget and is a Partner of Hyde Park Ventures.  Former Terminus CEO Eric Spett continues as a member of the Board.

“Marketing and business are at a crossroads.  We’re shifting to a new frontier of automation that prioritizes more effective account targeting, engagement, and acquisition,” said Kopp.  “The emerging generation of CMOs is transitioning toward hyper-targeted campaigns and intelligent, data-driven digital marketing.  ABM has moved past marketing, and Terminus is the definitive leader powering account-based transformation and helping businesses achieve rapid, long-term growth.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release Part II

The new Funding Events Spotlight Filter allows reps to focus on accounts with recent private equity or venture capital funding events.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q4 release to end-users and admins over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I covered their new data validation flag and Admin tools. Today, I am discussing the rest of the release including new alerts, list sharing, and SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Partner) enhancements.

Sales Navigator added two more Saved Account Alerts: headcount growth and Senior Leadership Hires.

When sharing lists, owners may now designate them view-only or editable.

“List collaborators with edit permissions will be able to add, remove, and comment on Leads or Accounts within a Shared List, and alerts will be sent to collaborators when Leads or Accounts have been added to or removed from a Custom List or when there are new comments on a Custom List.”

LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn

LinkedIn added SNAP integrations for Tableau and Power BI.  They also extended SNAP integrations to Oracle Sales Cloud Lead and Account pages (Contacts were already supported).

Teams will benefit from improved TeamLink recommendations on “who to reach out to first for a warm introduction, using connection strength scores based on a members’ interactions.”

PointDrive Roadmap

Finally, LinkedIn teased an improved PointDrive service that will be “deeply integrated” into Sales Navigator beginning in early 2020.  PointDrive provides sales reps with a custom landing page for delivering multi-media content with descriptions and company branding.  The multi-quarter release will streamline access to PointDrive functionality.  However, PointDrive will no longer support shared content.

SalesLoft Leveraging Data Validation Flag

SalesLoft is one of the first vendors to take advantage of the Sales Navigator Data Validation process.  SalesLoft uses the Data Validation flag to notify the SDR or sales rep.  SalesLoft automation rules can then trigger workflows based on whether a prospect on the decision-making committee has left or whether an admin or champion at a customer has changed jobs.  These insights help reps evaluate whether an opportunity may be in jeopardy, the likelihood of closing this quarter pushed out, or they need to move quickly to identify new buying committee members or champions.

“Customers leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator Data Validation are now able to use real-time insights to influence critical workflows when their prospects and customers change jobs,” said SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan. “Ultimately, this saves time spent reviewing customer data manually, and it will increase the quality of all opportunities as salespeople progress through the buying cycle.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release

See the source image
LinkedIn now supports a Not at Company Flag.

LinkedIn Sales Solutions has begun rolling out its Q4 release to Sales Navigator subscribers.  New features include a data validation flag for contacts, improved geographic filters, a funding events spotlight, two new alerts, additional SNAP partners, and extended administrative tools.

A new data validation flag warns users that a contact is no longer at a company listed in the CRM.  If the company differs between LinkedIn and the CRM a “Not at Company Flag” is written to the CRM.  The flag is both displayed to the rep and available as a trigger for contact clean-ups and removal from marketing campaigns.

LinkedIn added three new reports which leverage the field:

  • Opportunities at Risk: Proactively identifying when a buyer has left an open opportunity
  • Past Customers at New Companies: Identifying contacts at current customers (potential champions) who have joined new companies
  • Out-of-Date Contacts: All potential contacts that need to be updated

LinkedIn is hemmed in by commitments to its members’ data privacy.  Thus, it cannot append or sync full contact information like other vendors.  The data validation flag simply alerts sales and marketing that a contact is no longer at a firm.  It does not upload information on the member’s new company to the CRM.

The Data Validation flag is available to Enterprise Edition licensors with CRM sync enabled in Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.

LinkedIn redesigned its usage reporting with time-series charts for messaging effectiveness.  Expanded analytics include InMail messages sent, InMail acceptance rates, messages sent, and total unique connections.  The report also includes the top five reps for each category.

Other new administrative tools include

  • Coaching/training levels
  • Chart filtering by custom date ranges, groups, and users.
  • Data Updates – Saved Leads and Accounts

LinkedIn has integrated Bing location data, making prospecting more precise.  The service covers 2.4 million more cities and over 2,000 new states/provinces.

Users may also filter by a new funding events spotlight.  The new filter “brings these updates to the top of your search results within the Spotlight tab, giving you a helpful cue that it’s the right time to check-in,” blogged Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions.


Continue to Part II

Enhanced usage reporting includes a set of messaging effectiveness charts.

LinkedIn Restates Its Members-First Principles

LinkedIn Logo

In a blog titled, “Maintaining the Trust of our Members,” LinkedIn recommitted itself to a members-first approach.  The Microsoft subsidiary frames its decision-making with the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our members?”

Along with a members-first policy, LinkedIn employs four principles to frame decisions:

  • Members maintain clarity, consistency, and control over their data. This goal is manifested in a broad set of privacy settings, observing the stated wishes of each member, and protecting their data.  Microsoft employs a global GDPR standard and does not transfer member data to other companies.  For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator limits data access to member-data view-only access, which displays profiles within CRMs and other partner applications but does not transfer data to those platforms.
  • LinkedIn will remain a safe, trusted, and professional platform.  The firm removes content which violates their Professional Community Policies and removes fake profiles, jobs, and companies.
  • LinkedIn is committed to removing unfair bias from its platform so that individuals with equal talent have equal access to opportunity.  “To achieve this goal, we are committed to building a product with no unfair bias that provides opportunity to all of our members.  There is a lot of work still to do, but we are focused on working across our company, with our members and customers, and across the industry to close the network gap.”
  • As a global platform, they are committed to respecting the laws that apply to them and “contributing to the dialogue” about legal frameworks.

LinkedIn Advertising is subject to an initial review.  LinkedIn vets ads to ensure they are non-discriminatory:

“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote, or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual preference.  Ads that promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education, housing, or credit or career opportunities are prohibited.”

Blake Lawit, LinkedIn General Counsel

The statement of principles comes at a time when other social media firms are struggling to develop rules and policies around political advertising. LinkedIn does not carry political advertising and also restricts adult content, illegal, health, gaming, weapons, multi-level marketing, alcohol, tobacco, and financial (payday loans, cryptocurrency) products.  

LinkedIn continues to grow its customer base with 660 million members across 200 countries and 30 million companies.  The top countries are the United States (165M members), India (62M), China (48M), Brazil (40M), and the UK (27M).

LinkedIn maintains offices in nine US cities and 24 international locations. The platform supports 24 languages.

LinkedIn Q3 2019 Sales Navigator Release

Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution. The curated content is now fed into Sales Navigator for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook sharing
Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution. The curated content is now fed into Sales Navigator for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook sharing

LinkedIn announced its Q3 Sales Navigator enhancements which are currently being rolled out to clients.  Key features include LinkedIn Elevate integration, improved save a lead functionality, InMail active status, list cloning, and improved customer support.

Elevate is a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions offering which supports employee content promotion.  A curator provides thought leadership pieces, press releases, and open web content to corporate employees.  About one-third of Elevate content recipients also have Sales Navigator seats.  Most clients are midsize or enterprise customers.

Elevate is sold based on the number of seats with volume discounts.  Enterprise licensing is also available based on the company size.

The Elevate integration delivers curated content to the Navigator home page.  Content may be shared to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  Sales reps may add personal comments with the share.

Elevate provides metrics to help firms track increased site traffic, leads, and new hires.

LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn noted that the Elevate integration resulted in a dramatic increase in both the percentage of sales reps sharing content and overall content being shared.  

According to LinkedIn, content that is shared by employees has double the engagement rate of non-shared content.  Furthermore, social enterprises are “58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them.”

Social sales reps are also more successful.  LinkedIn stated that social sales reps that regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota.

“Marketers will still be able to control what content they’d like to see employees post.   But now Sales Navigator users will have an even easier time boosting their brand and the brand of their company.”


Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

LinkedIn introduced custom list sharing in Q1 and extended the functionality this quarter.  Previously, lists were shared but ownership resided with the list creator.  Shared lists may now be copied, providing the copier with full list management capabilities.  Other new list management features include shared list removal and bulk saving of all leads or accounts from a shared list.

LinkedIn also improved the lead connection flow.  Now, when a connection is proffered through Sales Navigator, users can check a box to add the contact to their leads list, even if the connection is ignored or declined.  This allows the rep to track the contact.

Sales Navigator redesigned its Help Center with “more intuitive navigation,” easier search, article tagging, and tables of content.  Click to chat allows users to chat with support reps.  The Sales Navigator community has been extended to seven European languages.  The Learning Center has been rebranded the Customer Hub.

LinkedIn has been knocked in the past for its lack of subscription service support.  Improved training and support tools along with chat indicate that the firm now realizes that enterprise subscription services require a higher level of customer support than free or consumer services.

Sales Navigator included a set of small enhancements including expanded list sorting options, an increase in list size to 2,500 leads or accounts, and an active status indicator from InMail.  A user is only shown active if they permit it in their privacy settings.

Artesian Solutions Q1 Strength

Artesian ENGAGE offers a rich set of high-precision sales triggers and compliance news.
Artesian ENGAGE offers a rich set of high-precision sales triggers and compliance news.

Compliance and social selling vendor Artesian Solutions announced its best quarter yet with Q1 (April – June) new business bookings up 290% year-over-year.  The firm also posted a 95% retention rate and an average net promoter score of +50.  The firm benefited from “strong growth” in its ENGAGE sales acceleration service and its ARCH compliance service released in June.  ARCH moves onboarding processing to front-line relationship managers with credit risk monitoring and Know Your Customer data sources.  ARCH is designed for banks and insurance companies and allows them to build compliance models which reflect institutional policies.

Artesian closed on a multi-year ARCH deal with Metro Bank along with several other financial institutions.

“We are off to an incredible start this year,” announced CEO Andrew Yates.  “Our strong Q1 performance is a continuation of the momentum that began a decade ago when we launched the first iteration of our award-winning insight and intelligence platform.  The growth in new business bookings and high retention rate of existing customers highlights the exceptional value Artesian brings to frontline teams, which was boosted further by the launch of ARCH, a revolution in front-line initial credit and risk decisioning.  Building on these results we will continue to invest in both ENGAGE and ARCH and have some exciting new enhancements which will soon be announced, extending our product and feature set and the overall Artesian experience.”

Social selling platform Artesian ENGAGE is available for the UK and US markets.  Along with company profiles, ENGAGE supports a broad set of high precision sales triggers and news stories.  ENGAGE intelligence is available through Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, browsers, and the Ready mobile app for news alerts and meeting planning and notes.  While Artesian continues to sign US clients, its strength is in the UK market.

ENGAGE news is English only gathered from global sites.  News coverage is particularly strong for the US, UK, Canada, and Singapore.

“The entire B2B landscape is undergoing a massive shift, where, increasingly, the key point of differentiation between competing brands is how they sell, not what they sell,” said Director of Marketing Stuart Newton.  “The companies that understand this and act quickly to change how they approach customer engagement will be the ones that reap the biggest rewards. Potential buyers are spending more and more time conducting research at arm’s length through digital channels and via word of mouth – front line teams have less time to create an impactful first-impression and when buyers do engage, they expect sellers to deliver value at every touchpoint instead of focusing on features and price alone.”

LinkedIn Network Building

I’ve been sitting on a Harvard Business Review article written by Doug Camplejohn since March due to a surfeit of news.  I figured that if I couldn’t slip it into my blog in August, I would never get to it.  August is when the press releases slow and there is an opportunity to speak about broader topics such as how to write a press release (or not write one).

The piece, titled “The Best Ways to Use Social Media to Expand Your Network” provides a set of social networking recommendations to business professionals.  Camplejohn is VP of Product Management at LinkedIn and heads up development on LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Source: LinkedIn and HBR

Camplejohn’s advice takes a long-run strategic approach to building and nurturing a social network based upon ongoing engagement, asking for advice during transitions, and assisting others.  As such, his advice dovetails well with real-world approaches to building relationship networks.

Camplejohn begins by recommending that business professionals build their network with peers instead of focusing on seniority.  A peer-based network grows over one’s career, creating a network which matures with the professional.  Furthermore, senior-executive response rates are lower than mid-level managers.  Less than one percent of VPs and CxOs respond to cold reach out.

“People earlier in their careers respond most often to an initial message, while VPs and C-level professionals respond the least to people they don’t already know.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Initial messages should be short.  Camplejohn recommends three sentences that can be easily read on a mobile device.  InMail messages of under 100 words work best with response rates “decreasing significantly” beyond 500 words.

Camplejohn also advises a hook such as an alma mater, joint interest, or a mutual friend.  “According to our research, referencing a mutual connection boosts the acceptance rate of these messages by 51%, second only to attending the same school at the same time (53%),” wrote Camplejohn.

Camplejohn notes the value of asking for advice and leveraging transitions.  In fundraising, there is an adage, “If you go seeking advice, you get money; if you seek money, you get advice.”  Likewise, transition periods are an excellent opportunity to build your network and seek advice.

“If you’re in a transitional period — starting at a new company, switching industries, or moving to a new city — recognize the opportunity to reach out to people, ask for their advice, and absorb their wisdom.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Another recommendation is to pay it forward.  Don’t be looking for immediate benefits or strictly reciprocal opportunities.  Social networkers recognize that they are contributing to the commons, whether helping one person or adding to the group.  Sales reps and others should also continue to nurture their network, maintaining conversations with colleagues, clients, partners, and mentors.

“The best way to build a relationship is to help someone with joy and with no expectation of anything in return.  It feels good, it trains your own sense of generosity, and it informs you of what the other person values.  It also sets the stage for you to ask them something in the future.  You don’t have to offer to help in every circumstance, but make yourself available as a resource to people, particularly to people who are just starting out in their careers.”

Camplejohn concludes that online networking should be viewed as an extension of real-world interactions: “Connect with people personally by finding common ground, then build trust and long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.”

Quora: What CRMs integrate with LinkedIn messages to help me manage recruiting and sales?

I’m not an expert on the recruitment side, but on the sales side there is an integrated Dynamics / LinkedIn Sales Navigator solution called Relationship Sales. The service displays company and contact intelligence across Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity records. Insight features include icebreakers, TeamLink introductions, Lead Recommendations, and LinkedIn intelligence. Daily synchronization ensures that active accounts and contacts are shared between the services and that Sales Navigator activities (e.g. InMails, messages, notes, tags, and call logs) are uploaded to Dynamics 365.

LinkedIn also offers a set of SNAP connectors which provide view only company and contact profiles integrated into CRM, Sales Engagement, and other platforms. Supported CRMs include HubSpot, Inform, Microsoft, Oracle Sales Cloud, Pega, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, and Zoho.

SNAP requires licensing Sales Navigator Team along with the CRM.

SNAP offers a core set of features for CRM:

  • View LinkedIn profiles within Account, Contact, and Lead profiles
LinkedIn Contact Profile within Salesforce.
  • Icebreakers such as Recent Activity and Shared Connections
LinkedIn Recent Activity and Shared Connections within Salesforce
  • TeamLink connections which leverage co-worker LinkedIn networks.
  • InMails (LinkedIn’s email service which hides the email of the recipient).
  • Recommended Leads
  • Syncing of engagement activity (e.g. InMails, Notes, Messages, Phone Calls) between the CRM and LinkedIn.
  • Download Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity intelligence from the CRM to LinkedIn for Account and Lead List Building.
  • A single-pane pipeline view for maintaining Opportunity data and constructing Buyers Circles (Buying Committee members). An intriguing feature which is only available in Dynamics and Salesforce.
LinkedIn Deals View provides a single pane view for editing Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics Opportunities and Buying Circles.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent offering with one major limitation — member data cannot be synced with the CRM. This means that it is view only within SNAP and must be re-keyed. It also means that there is no ongoing enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. As such, a B2B hygiene service should also be evaluated (e.g. D&B Optimizer, RingLead, ReachForce, InsideView, DiscoverOrg / Zoominfo).