Cien Hidden Revenue Assessments

Cien contends that a sales rep is only as successful as his or her weakest skill permits.  Therefore, it is best to determine skill deficiencies and coach for them.

Cien announced the availability of its Hidden Revenue Assessment report which analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of sales reps to determine which qualitative factors are limiting their success.  Cien ingests data from Salesforce Enterprise to “reveal the factors that are preventing their teams from achieving their numbers.”

Cien Head of Marketing Damien Acheson noted that firms such as Gong and Chorus are more prescriptive while Cien is diagnostic, helping managers identify skill gaps and determining where reps add or destroy value during deal flow.

Presented as individual scorecards, Cien employs over 100 AI models to identify issues in sales enablement, training, and onboarding.  Cien does not believe in cloning the best sales reps as reps have different strengths and weaknesses.  Instead, reps are assessed for value-add across the pipeline, helping determine where reps need coaching, which reps are creating value, and which reps are benefiting from a rich set of leads but not adding significant value to them.

Furthermore, their models indicate that addressing weaknesses is the best method for improving sales outcomes and reaching quota.  If a rep is weak at any of the key sales skills, he or she is unlikely to reach quota.  As reps are only as successful as their weakest skills, it is better to identify gaps and coach accordingly.  Cien holds that the best path to driving revenue growth is focusing on mid-level success reps as they are the ones with the greatest opportunity to improve their performance.

“When it comes to managing sales teams, it’s important to understand that no sales rep is created equal, and no opportunity is created equal,” contends Cien CEO Rob Käll.  “To date, Cien’s Hidden Revenue Assessments have uncovered between 20-40% worth of lost revenue due to gaps in selling skills.”

“Cien’s AI models search for correlations between reps’ skills and attributes and their impact on the final value of opportunities.  This is the basis for a set of patented algorithms called the ​Cien Value Chain​.  Cien determines the relative value of each lead as it enters your CRM and tracks its value at the end of the sales cycle.  The Cien Value Chain measures the value-added at each stage of the opportunity and the skills and attributes that drive incremental value.“

Cien FAQ

The Hidden Revenue Assessment is available as a free report to technology companies with at least ten sales reps and a minimum of one year of Salesforce data.  It provides an assessment of a few sample reps across work ethic, product knowledge, engagement ability, and closing ability.  The Hidden Revenue Assessment also evaluates CRM data quality to provide a level of confidence in the assessment.  Firms that have deployed Sales Engagement Platforms such as Outreach and SalesLoft often have complete data as they automatically gather activity data and sync it with their CRM.

Cien “Baseball Card” Profile

The Hidden Revenue Assessment includes a 30-minute walkthrough.

The Cien app, available for $49 per month per rep, provides mentor prescriptions that help prioritize coaching.  While flagging weaknesses can be demotivating, Cien inverts the model and calculates the revenue opportunity available to reps who focus on developing their skills.  Being told that you are weak at prospect engagement is unlikely to motivate a rep.  Being told that focusing on prospect engagement can retire $200,000 worth of quota is much more likely to motivate the rep to focus on his or her weak-link skills.

The Cien app provides data on all of the reps and covers a broader set of skills.  The app also provides dynamic data indicating how the reps are performing over time.

Cien is Privacy Shield certified and does not gather Personally Identifiable Information beyond rep names. Cien received a $3.5 million seed round in June.

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.

Priority Engine Enhancements

Priority Engine improved its Buying Team contacts and added contact card display.

TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine sales intelligence service.  New features include improved Salesforce sync, refined Buying Team display, contact hygiene, and LinkedIn profile hyperlinks.  Improved Salesforce synchronization gives “sales reps easier access and dynamic visibility into active accounts in their territory, with even more accurate and actionable data on the buying teams within them,” said the firm.

Priority Engine now supports sales territories based on Salesforce account assignments, uploaded account lists, or firmographic rules (e.g. Industry, Geography, Size).  As accounts are added or reassigned within Salesforce, territories are automatically maintained, allowing Priority Engine to dynamically showcase activities within the territory.

Managers and directors can view individual rep account lists or multiple territories at once.

Priority Engine territories may be defined by SFDC, list uploads, or firmographic variables.

TechTarget acquired contact hygiene vendor Oceanos in 2018 and has begun to leverage it in Priority Engine for contact data enrichment and update to its 20 million opted-in contacts.

“Priority Engine helps sales and aligned marketing teams reach and engage more of the right prospects at in-market accounts to improve response and conversation rates,” stated TechTarget

TechTarget also adjusted its contact selection algorithm to improve its buying committee display, “vastly improving the fit of 3rd-party supplemental contacts in Priority Engine.”  A new contact card provides a detailed contact profile within the Buying Team list view.  Previous and Next buttons allow the sales rep to quickly view individual profiles.

Priority Engine also deployed improved persona logic to determine which DiscoverOrg contacts to display for accounts.

Within account views, Buying Teams now list emails, direct dials, and LinkedIn hyperlinks.

“Priority Engine has long provided essential intelligence to help sales teams fuel pipeline and close more deals.  These new enhancements are the first in a series of releases specifically designed to make it even easier for sales pros to access better data and powerful insights to maximize opportunities with active accounts in their territory.”

TechTarget VP of Products Andrew Briney

TechTarget collects second-party intent and opted-in contacts from readers of its 140 technology research sites.  TechTarget sites are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese.  Priority Engine supports English, French, and German UIs.

Of the 20 million contacts, 18 million are technology decision-makers or influencers and 2 million work in other functions but are researching technology.  9 million of the contacts are North American, 5 million are located in EMEA, 5 million in APAC, and 600,000 in Latin America.

Priority Engine pricing is customized based on market access and customer feature/function requirements.  Typical individual subscriptions begin around $100K. Designed specifically for the needs of small companies, the Priority Engine Express (PEX) offering – currently in beta release – starts at $36K.

There are over 600 customers for TechTarget intent data products, with 51 added last quarter.  Priority Engine Express will be generally available in 2020.

Zoominfo Workflows

Workflows deliver triggered audiences to CRMs, MAPs, and SEPs.

Zoominfo which launched its combined Zoominfo powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September, released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.”

Workflows identify new and existing prospects based on real-time B2B intelligence.  The prospects are then deployed to automated sales and marketing campaigns.  Audience segmentation can be applied according to intent, event, and news-based triggers including new technology installations, funding rounds, product launches, first- and third-party web activity, spending priorities, and other buying signals with additional company attributes.

One of the triggers is visitor intelligence gathered from their recently launched WebSights service.  “Now, you can engage prospects from organizations researching your site with direct-dial phone numbers and accurate email addresses.  What’s more, you can view your data and segment it according to firmographic filters, for instance, enabling better, more personalized outreach.”

Workflows support a set of sales engagement, CRM, and MAP platforms including Outreach, SalesLoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eloqua, and Marketo.  Sequences can drop audiences into campaigns or kick off sales cadences.  For example, a trigger can be set up for specific events and filtered by firmographics, technographics, biographics, or event-specific parameters such as Funding Amounts.

“Integrations with popular sales and marketing applications give customers the opportunity to marry ongoing custom triggers with essential prospecting information from ZoomInfo and connect with potential buyers in a personalized, more efficient way.”

Zoominfo

“Modern B2B buyers demand a personalized experience,” said Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “Solely relying on standard and static company criteria to identify key prospects restricts sales and marketing’s ability to meet those expectations, especially when timing is so often the difference between a deal that is won or lost.  ZoomInfo Workflows solves this problem with features that capture dynamic buying behavior across first- and third-party channels, as its collected, along with hundreds of rules to automate as little or as much of the go-to-market motion as they’d like.”

Zoominfo has migrated 1,000 customers to its new platform.

Zoominfo Files for IPO

Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 - 2017) and Debtwire (2018)
Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 – 2017) and Debtwire (2018).

The day before Thanksgiving, Zoominfo began the process of filing an IPO in accordance with Rule 135 of the Securities Act.  According to the firm, “The initial public offering is expected to commence after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

Zoominfo is profitable and has a valuation in excess of $1 billion.  The number of shares and offering price have yet to be determined. 2019 revenue is estimated to be around $350 million up approximately $100 million thisyear.

“The paperwork is a draft registration for a common stock offering.  The confidential draft filing is a mechanism built into the 2012 Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups, or JOBS, Act, and was designed to make the IPO process for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue easier.  Companies must file information publicly 15 days prior to starting an investor roadshow or the effective date of the registration.”

Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal

Zoominfo, formerly named DiscoverOrg, has a long history of organic and inorganic growth.  It is now the number two sales intelligence service, behind only LinkedIn Sales Navigator, with around a 25% market share.  Acquisitions include Zoominfo, RainKing, NeverBounce, Komiko, and iProfile.

Zoominfo released the Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September. The new platform combines the DiscoverOrg technographics, Inside Scoops (sales triggers), editorially verified bios, and top global company profiles with the Zoominfo deep contact data with emails and direct dials. New features include WebSights visitor intelligence and FormComplete web forms.

Last week, Zoominfo released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.” I will be covering Workflows tomorrow.

Zoominfo offers pricing and packaging similar to its legacy offerings, helping ensure a smooth transition to their new platform.

Einstein Service Cloud Voice and Voice Skills

Einstein is embedded within the Salesforce platform, providing tools for users, admins, and developers.
Einstein is embedded within the Salesforce platform, providing tools for users, admins, and developers.

At Dreamforce, Salesforce rolled out a set of Einstein Voice capabilities which will be launching in the coming months. New services include Einstein Call Coaching for sales, Service Cloud Voice, and Einstein Voice Skills for developers and Salesforce admins.

Service Cloud Voice provides an integrated console which unifies, phone, digital channels and CRM data in real-time.  The service also performs real-time voice-to-text transcription allowing Einstein to offer recommended responses, support content, and next best actions.  Service Cloud Voice will enter its pilot phase in February with a June GA date.

“Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it’s been in our homes. With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business, giving everyone an intelligent, trusted guide at work.”

Salesforce Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor

During an insurance claims call, for example, Einstein would recognize the nature of the claim and pull up the policyholder’s coverage specific to the claim, delivering a faster and superior customer experience.  Next best actions such as additional riders or cross-selling opportunities are presented to the rep.  During its beta, State Farm closed cases 31% faster.

For State Farm, Einstein Voice is tracking both products and Life Events.  Managers can drill down to recent mentions for review and coaching.

80% of consumers stated that speed is the most important element in delivering an “amazing customer experience.”

Finally, the call notes are automatically transcribed for the rep, allowing him or her to quickly move on to the next support call.

“Einstein is specifically designed for simplicity.  It’s designed for Salesforce Admins or Developers to be able to set up for a Salesforce user to be able to understand, and, as a result, folks that use Einstein get real results,” said VP of Einstein Products Marco Casalaina.  “So, how can you become successful with Einstein?  It all starts with a question.  You need to formulate a question that makes sense for your business.”

Questions could be which opportunities will convert, which customers will drop, will a researcher engage with my email, or will the customer buy this item?

Einstein Voice Skills will be in beta in February with a 2021 general availability.  Voice Skills will allow admins and developers to deploy custom voice apps across the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform.  For example, a technician can call up a customer’s service history while en route.

“Each app is purpose-built for the specific needs and processes of each role. Plus, admins can also control how the information will be read back to the user, including the ability to offer next steps or follow-up tasks within the response, and which channels and devices that the skill is accessible on, such [as] smart speakers or phones,” said Salesforce.

Einstein Call Coaching

Einstein Call Coaching Dashboard

Salesforce has been teasing voice services since the last Dreamforce when they launched Einstein Voice Assistant which supports routine Salesforce CRM functions such as creating or updating customer records, getting personalized daily briefings, and exploring dashboards.  This year, they announced Einstein Call Coaching, Service Cloud Voice for transcription and AI-powered recommendation services, and Einstein Voice Skills.

Einstein Call Coaching is currently in pilot and should be generally available as a Sales Cloud High Velocity Sales (SEP) service in June.  Call Coaching utilizes natural language processing against call transcripts.  Managers view “insights and trends within conversational data.”  NLP tags keywords, alerts managers about spikes in competitor mentions, and monitors pricing discussions and objection handling.  Managers can then focus their coaching based upon individual rep needs.

“Companies with dynamic sales coaching programs see 28% higher win rates, unbelievable results.  And Einstein call coaching is your coach.  This is an AI feature that can process audio clips to serve up those key moments for this type of coaching,” said Sarah Patterson, SVP of Product Marketing.  

Being able to track keywords, discussion topics, and competitors should prove highly valuable for one-on-one and team coaching sessions and broader analytics.  Sales reps often fail to record competitor and objection details (or they are trapped in notes).  Even when custom fields are set up to capture these details, they are often weakly populated. Being able to track objections and competitor discussions provides improved coaching and product road mapping input.  This is far better than querying sales reps to be told that they lost on price or aren’t sure who won the deal.

Product tracking and objections also assist with gathering early intelligence following a product launch.  Are the sales reps balking at discussing the new offering, unable to handle objections for which they weren’t trained, or tripping on a missing feature that should have been included in the MVP?

“You launch a new product, but you have no idea whether your reps are actually comfortable selling it,” said Patterson.  “Well, now you are getting the insight you need to know if they are.  And if they’re not, you can lean in to guide them, to coach them, to help them.  More than this, you can even customize this to look for things that matter to your business.”

Call Coaching provides “management-level visibility into key moments during a sales call” allowing the coach to listen to those moments and how the rep handled them.  Those moments are then immediately available for one-on-one review or group coaching.

Call Coaching Insights include tabs for objection mentions, product mentions, talk / listen ratios, and custom topics.  For State Farm Insurance (the Dreamforce demo), this includes life events.

Call Coaching conversation trends help identify market shifts, opportunities for bundled offerings, and emerging competitors.

“73% of managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching their reps, and we wanted to make the most of that time. Einstein Call Coaching helps managers more effectively coach individuals, provides the ability to scale those learnings across teams and gain deeper insights into customer needs and experiences.”

Efrat Rapoport, Director of Product Management, Salesforce Sales Cloud

“Just like athletes can sit down with their coaches and look at video clips, now sales reps can sit down and listen to audio clips,” said Patterson.

Call Coaching also supports a library of best-practice call excerpts for new hire training and sales refreshers.


Tomorrow, I will discuss the other voice tools launched at Dreamforce.

Episerver Acquires Idio

Idio's AI Powered 1:1 Marketing Platform

Web content management vendor Episerver acquired web content personalization and analytics firm Idio.  Episerver will now be able to predict the interests and intent of buyers and deliver “hyper-relevant” content.  The combined company is able to deliver personalized content, product recommendations, product search, triggered emails and messages, and visitor intelligence.  B2B solutions span manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, technology, information services, and financial services.

“At the end of the day, people realize every digital interaction is fueled by a business selling something to them whether the sale is via a shopping cart, a service or a subscription,” said Justin Anovick, chief product officer at Episerver.  “Persuading people to act is not problematic if the business is providing something of value to them but most digital interactions are created for the masses and end up catering to no one.”

“Idio powers 1:1 digital experiences at global scale. This acquisition is the next part of our mission to help our enterprise clients serve their end customers with timely, relevant and cross-channel experiences.  The combined organization, with Episerver’s deep content and commerce expertise and Idio’s predictive and analytical capabilities, make for an exciting future for customer-centric marketers.”

Idio CEO Edward Barrow.  

Idio will continue as a standalone product but will be “merged functionally” with Episerver.

“The combined company, with the financial backing from Insight Partners, intends to aggressively grow our deployment and success teams, as well as a significant acceleration in product innovation to help marketers achieve greater value from customer-centric marketing,” blogged Idio.

No financial terms were disclosed as both companies are private.

Note: Idio slide courtesy of Idio.