Nathan Latka interviewed Demandbase CEO Chris Golec back in Q4. Demandbase is growing rapidly and now employs 300. In November, Golec said the firm was likely to achieve 50% or greater growth in 2017. 2016 revenue was around $75 million and the firm was above a $100 million run rate in November. Average revenue per customer is around $20,000 per month. Small customers may select a single module for $2K to $3K per month but then add multiple solutions as they grow. Net revenue retention is around 110%.
The firm has between 50 and 60 quota carrying reps, 20 to 25 marketers, and 10 to 15 administrative staff, with two thirds of the company focused on data, R&D, engineering, and other functions
The firm has 400 to 600 customers with top customers spending a couple million dollars per annum.
Golec expects the firm to be cash flow break-even during the first half of this year.
Demandbase, founded in 2007, was an early and forceful proponent of Account Based Marketing. For several years, they had a monopoly on the positioning, but ABM caught fire as a B2B sales and marketing process with several enterprise software firms including Marketo and Salesforce now offering ABM solutions.
“ABM as a category – the interest level has reached the investment community and so as investors do their research they discovered that Demandbase is the largest and pioneered the category itself. So we had a lot of inbound interest. At the same time, we started developing some new innovations using AI and massive data that we’re sitting on. So it really unfolded into a whole new level of innovation.”
DemandBase CEO Chris Golec
DemandBase has already received $156 million in funding, including a $65 million round last May. Both Salesforce and Adobe have taken investment stakes in Demandbase.
While some MarTech firms are struggling with revenue growth and churn, that has not been an issue at Demandbase. “ABM is more of a business process and our position is much more of a platform where we’re helping customers throughout the whole lifecycle of attracting, updating, engaging, converting, and upselling them.”
The firm has ten staff in London helping grow European sales. “ABM adoption in the UK and Western Europe is really starting to pick up.”
SalesWings is a Swiss lead website tracking and predictive lead scoring DaaS startup with a twist – it not only includes real-time website traffic details helping to define which leads are actively reviewing company content and which pages are of interest, but it also enriches lead and company profiles. SalesWings intelligence helps frame conversations by indicating which pages were visited, the recency of the views, and the frequency of views. For example, if a sales rep knows that the Salesforce AppExchange page was viewed, she can infer that the company either has SFDC or is considering it, then share related sales materials or case studies. SalesWings can be deployed within a day by upgrading existing email marketing tools.
“Our solution helps sales reps reduce lead qualification time by providing them with social insights into the nature of the leads’ interest based on their website activity, as well as enriched information about the lead’s profile and company key data. This leads to better collaboration between marketing and sales, faster response rates, and an increase in deal closing rates.”
CEO Philip Schweizer
SalesWings users may filter lists by leads flagged as favorites, leads at risk (inactive), or hot leads (as determined by SalesWings). Users can also filter for leads with to do items. SalesWings includes a gamification element which assigns points for followed up leads.
Lead Heat is behaviorally scored and does not yet account for lead fitness based upon firmographics. However, SalesWings is planning on rolling out real-time segmentation and a custom scoring system in Q1 which includes firmographic variables.
Contact intelligence includes job title, age location, place of work, social links (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, XING, Quora, Twitter), email, and Skype ID (if available). Company intelligence covers URL, address, phone, employee count, year founded, LinkedIn hyperlink, and Twitter handle. Because leads are enriched by SalesWings, web forms can be kept short, helping reduce form abandonment rates. Company and contact data is licensed from a credible vendor, but the firm does not publicly disclose the name.
Currently, the full URL of page views is displayed, which slows the sales rep and makes it more difficult to determine which pages have been viewed. However, the firm is working on an improved display of page titles in place of full URLs. Demandbase, which rolled out similar reporting to its clients this week, also displays URLs instead of page titles.
To prevent users from being overwhelmed by notifications, only one alert is delivered per day for followed contacts. Interestingly, the firm suggests following leads only during the early stage of a deal. Once an opportunity is moving forward, email and site visit notifications are less valuable so can be turned off. However, if a lead is viewed as hot, notifications will be delivered even if the lead is no longer marked as a favorite.
“Think of SalesWings as a fully automated sales support assistant to get the sales timing right. We see many of our clients who don’t log in very often into SalesWings because they’re too busy doing other things,” said Schweizer. “That’s why we setup a notification engine which actually smartly distributes the notification to the right salesperson.”
SalesWings is gaining market traction with 1,000 clients at the end of 2017, a ten-fold increase over the year. 50% of their customer base is in Europe, 30% in North America, and 20% in other territories, with particular strength in Australia.
The Growth edition is priced at $99 per month and supports up to five users with web lead tracking, lead scoring, form tracking, and optional contact data enrichment. The Growth Edition also supports Gmail, Outlook, Zapier, PipeDrive, and Slack Connectors. Additional users are priced at $19 per seat per month.
The Accelerate edition adds API Access and the Salesforce connector for $149 per month for up to five users. Additional users are priced at $29 per seat.
The Enterprise edition is priced at $499 per month and includes Marketing Cloud and Eloqua integrations, premium training, and a dedicated server option. Enterprise is aimed at firms with at least 30,000 monthly site visits.
Contracts are for six or twelve months and include onboarding and support. The firm offers a 14-day free trial and 50 free credits for enriched contact data. Contact credits are purchased in bulk; Admins can purchase 50, 250, 500, 1000, 2500 or 5000 credits. The most popular bulk purchase is 1000 credits for $99 (9.9¢ per record). At 5,000 credits, the price drops to $219 (4.38¢ per record). An auto-renew option allows for automated purchasing of additional credits.
SalesWings targets SMBs with 10 to 100 employees in the SaaS and Technology industries, Digital Marketing Agencies, Finance, Insurance, Pharmaceutical, and Manufacturing sectors. While SalesWings can be used for high-value consumer products and services, they view their sweet spot as B2B. Typical buyers include the heads of sales and marketing, startup founders, Salesforce consultants and admins, and email marketers.
SalesWings automatically assigns leads to reps who send a tracked email. Reps can also claim them from a general pool of unassigned leads simply by clicking on the “not yet assigned” icon. For companies using the Salesforce or Pipedrive CRM integrations, lead or contact ownership is automatically synchronized. The manual assignment process seems dicey as it is based upon a first-claimed basis instead of territory definitions. A better method would be to support automated lead assignments based upon territory (industry, geographic, size) and named account definitions, a feature which is on SalesWings’ roadmap.
Leads are created when a sales rep sends a tracked email or traffic is driven to the site via marketing (for instance filling in a web form), but there are no tools for targeting prospects. Nevertheless, the tracking of web traffic and marketing messages combined with lead enrichment is a compelling combination for identifying and scoring the most sales-ready leads. These are features not generally available to SMBs.
Todd Berkowitz, Research Vice President at Gartner, sees Account Based Marketing (ABM) as increasing tensions between sales and marketing in the short-term. While ABM has long been advocated as a facilitator of departmental alignment, he sees ABM as disrupting sales processes and generating friction:
“Between ABM and adoption of various new technologies and data types, there is a lot of disruption that is happening with regards to sales teams. Even if these changes are going to be beneficial to tech companies in the medium-term, and some of the “A sellers” get on board quickly with the changes, there are many sales reps that will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the new world. (This is why I always advise trying an ABM pilot with a select set of reps). So even if there is pretty good alignment and agreement between CMOs and sales leaders, don’t expect all reps to magically do what they are being asked to do. There needs to be an adjustment period, along with good sales enablement, before everyone plays nicely.”
So, while ABM will facilitate agreements in process, messaging, and metrics in the medium-term, it will generate resistance amongst sales reps unwilling to adopt new processes and tools or unconvinced of its value. This friction is probably exacerbated by predictions of sales force reductions due to the implementation of AI and other information and workflow technologies.
Resistance to technological change has long been an issue. Early in the Industrial Revolution, The Luddites sabotaged British plants, particularly cotton and wool mills. While sales reps are unlikely to sabotage initiatives (or their careers), they may hesitate to learn new platforms or adopt new processes. As such, the problem may be more akin to soldiering, the assembly line equivalent of reducing individual productivity to the level of the laggards on the line. Frederick Taylor, the father of time and motion studies, was very concerned about soldiering and recommended piece work rates to create productivity incentives. But sales reps are very attuned to incentives. While they may be hesitant to adopt new technologies, they will do so if they help make them more efficient and effective at selling. So long as sales reps are paid on a commission basis and long-term employment is tied to making quota, the level of soldiering should be minimal.
This isn’t to say that sales reps won’t resist learning new tools. If they believe the time invested in such training is less than the incremental revenue for the lost selling time spent in training, then they will avoid training and learning new tools. However, if they see others on their team benefiting from the new tools, they will not hold out long term. Thus, tool training needs to be visibly supported by management with an emphasis upon the benefits to sales reps (e.g. less time spent on non-sales tasks and more time interacting with customers and prospects, improved account intelligence, improved account targeting and message timing). With the proper incentives and information, resistance should be minimal.
To help ensure adoption, vendors should be looking to integrate solutions into CRMs, email, and mobile devices so that new tools are integrated into current workflows. They should also be providing inline tool tips, initial training focused on their capabilities which provide high levels of efficiency and efficacy improvements, tool-based win stories, and usage tools for tracking training, usage, and ROI. A few gamification elements may also be in order, but they should be organic to the product and not hokey.
Contact data management vendor Oceanos is working with Datarista to bring an SFDC-based contact service to the market. The Oceanos ListOptimizer service, currently in in beta, will be generally available in Q1. Sales Operations can run counts, perform company and contact searches, and ensure ongoing data integrity.
The service supports standard company and contact list building with running counts as variables are selected. New execs may be added as lead records or accounts and contacts. Duplicate checking is performed.
Batch Salesforce updates are performed quarterly. In 2018, the updates will run every other month with contact changes updated weekly.
Oceanos offers best-in-class contact records from over a dozen vendors. When records are deployed to customers, they are subject to real-time reverification against FreshAddress, FullContact, and Pipl.
Contact management services are purchased on a credit basis with custom pricing plans based upon volume and intended usage.
In other news, Oceanos recently inked a deal to deliver its ContactAPI to The Big Willow intent data platform. “Targeting prospects before the market even knows they exist provides our customers a first mover advantage,” said Big Willow CEO Charlie Tarzian. “With the Oceanos ContactAPI, we provide our users targeted contacts for intent-qualified opportunities that accelerates engagement. With 15 years in the space, they’ve earned a stellar reputation and we’re thrilled to take this next step in our partnership.”
Lattice Engines has taken the pole position in the emerging Predictive Analytics space. In yesterday’s blog, I covered its pricing, value proposition, content, and integrations. Part two covers model building.
When first launched, Lattice Engines and its peers had long deployments and black-boxed models that required data science expertise. The firm now offers 24-hour deployments, simplified model building, and greater transparency around models and recommendations. Furthermore, the system allows marketers to either build their own models or import industry standard PMML files constructed by their data science teams.
Predictive models are built by importing training files which are matched against the Lattice Data Cloud using D&B DUNSMatch logic and Lattice proprietary techniques. Training models contain examples of both positive and negative outcomes (e.g. win / lose, renew / drop). A model is typically available within thirty minutes of the training file upload.
Ideal Buyer Profile scores (Lattice’s term which is similar to Ideal Customer Profile scores) are available to sales and marketing and include both scores and recommendations. Marketing can view the model via a graphical Data Cloud Explorer which highlights the key signals and variables in the model and makes the data available for export to other platforms.
To make the data more actionable for sales reps, Lattice provides Salesforce Talking Points which display recommendations and explanations that include Lattice data, transactional history, and buyer behavior. A Lattice Buyer Insights CRM I-frame contains Lattice recommendations, talking points, company profiles, company fit, engaged contacts, engagement activity, intent analysis (surging topics), web activity, and purchase history tabs.
Future plans include a user interface for segmentation analysis and simplifying intent scoring to high/medium/low.
Sparklane, which describes itself as “a publisher of sales intelligence SAAS solutions,” announced that it received a €4m funding round from XAnge and Entrepreneur Venture Investment Fund. The round raised its total funding to €7m. XAnge also participated in Sparklane’s previous funding round.
“We were won over by Sparklane’s disruptive positioning and the impressive performance of its management team, prompting us to offer them our renewed support as we participate in this fundraising initiative alongside Entrepreneur Venture,” stated Guilhem de Vregille, Deputy Director of XAnge.
The round allows Sparklane to continue its European expansion. The French company established itself in the UK in 2016 and is currently eyeing the German market. The funding will also be directed towards expanding its artificial intelligence capabilities, and growth in their sales and R&D teams.
According to Chairman Frédéric Pichard, the funding round is a “real vote of confidence,” in the company. “Our goal remains the same: to help marketing and sales people identify their future customers more quickly using Artificial Intelligence.”
Sparklane offers predictive lead scoring and prospecting tools for sales and marketing teams in the UK and France. Their Predict platform processes client CRM data to define an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), apply predictive lead scores, and identify look-a-like prospects.
Sparklane supports nearly 350 clients across banking, insurance, technology and business services. The firm was listed in Deloitte’s 2016 EMEA Fast 500 list of technology companies with 265% revenue growth between 2012 and 2015 (three-year CAGR of 54%).
The other day, I wanted to grab a screenshot of a B2B product I license so I googled the demo. I was brought to a landing page where I had to fill out a web form to see a short video (Mistake 1 – Creating barriers to early information seekers). Once I registered, I was taken to a page where the video was displayed in a small, non-expandable window (Mistake2).
A half hour later, I received an email which said my company was too small to speak with a rep, but that I could purchase it online (Mistake 3 – suggesting that I wasn’t worth the time of a sales rep implies that I also wasn’t going to be worth the time of trainers or support teams; Mistake 4 – they treated me as a prospect when I was a customer, a fact they easily could have checked based upon my email; Mistake 5 assuming that I would be ready to purchase based upon a three-minute demo). When I replied to the email to let them know about these marketing mistakes, it bounced (Mistake 6 — I missed that it was a no reply email, but since the note was addressed and signed by somebody, I didn’t look at the actual email address).
It was an incredible display of big company arrogance and incompetent marketing. I’m not going to shame the company by naming it. Instead I turned them into an object lesson. There were so many errors in this process that it was clear that their own marketing teams don’t test out their automated processes. The real shame is that this is a company that offers marketing services, but seemed not to care about checking its own marketing processes.