Sales Acceleration vendor SalesLoft has a unique business development promotion opportunity next Monday morning in Atlanta. They are offering a Mimosas and Implosions promo for folks who want to watch the Georgia Dome implosion from their 22nd floor outdoor patio.
They are opening their office to customers, prospects, job candidates, and partners. So if you are in the Atlanta area and have a relationship with SalesLoft, it sounds like a great way to get to know them better.
Doors open at 7 AM and the Dome drops at 7:30. [Registration]
Sales intelligence vendor RelPro continues to gain market traction in its second year with 2017 revenues projected at $1.5 million. The firm has grown to fifteen headcount. Growth has been assisted by a mid-90% renewal rate.
According to CEO Martin Wise, the firm launched RelPro in early 2016 but needed some time to round out rough edges and determine positioning and vertical fit. They are on track, however, to grow revenue 3-4X in 2017 and now support 75 corporate clients distributed across financial services (30%), Technology (30%), B2B and Professional Services (30%), and nonprofit (10%). RelPro focuses on “helping people across the business development value chain” including sales, marketing, and account management. They are one of the few to include the analyst function amongst their user personas.
“Time is the scarcest resource for anyone involved in Business Development, whether you’re in Marketing, Sales, Account Management or Research. RelPro has always been about helping you to quickly find business decision-makers (at companies of any shape or size around the world), learn more about them and keep in touch with them. With our latest enhancements, we have taken another step forward in our mission to save clients’ time through Integrated Relationship Intelligence solutions that leverage the highest quality data available.”
RelPro CEO Martin Wise
Over the past year, the firm focused on their people concordance (150 million global business professionals), “integrated relationship intelligence,” alerts, and workflow. 2018 will shift to improved firmographics and company concordance (7M). New features include a people concordance engine, relationship mapping with BoardEx supporting top tier relationships, mobile web support, and a series of integrations.
The people concordance ties together contact profiles from multiple vendors to provide a unified informational view across web news, BoardEx, Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, and DotAlign. Users can also link out to LinkedIn profiles and BoardEx organizational charts. DotAlign performs Outlook mining to identify internal connections to companies along with the number of connections to company contacts. BoardEx and DotAlign functionality require joint subscriptions.
The new Chrome extension displays company information based upon a URL and executive profiles tied to LinkedIn pages. Thus, users can research LinkedIn profiles and lookup emails and direct dial phones. They can also follow contacts in RelPro from the Chrome connector and link from a LinkedIn bio to their RelPro profile. Other features include the quick identification of contacts from a pre-saved list of companies, Favorite Role filters for quickly customizing searches and company executive lists, and saved articles.
The mobile site supports responsive design, providing a form-factor specific user interface. Features include company and people searching, company and people profiles, and executive lists at companies.
Amongst the new screening filters are searching against company lists and favorite roles. The favorite roles feature is a set of stored expressions that help define specific functional categories. For example, a user can focus on demand generation marketers or individuals in specific research roles and then deploy these roles for standard prospecting or executive filtering from within a company profile. Unfortunately, RelPro does not yet offer standard taxonomic job functions and levels.
RelPro’s most sophisticated integration is with NetSuite where users can synch companies and contacts, enrich records, and review duplicates. For Salesforce, users can export leads individually or as lists. Contact and Account exports are on their roadmap along with duplicate checking logic. RelPro is also working on a Microsoft Dynamics connector.
Other new features include web news for company and people, saved articles, and exporting profiles as vCards or PDFs.
The 2018 roadmap focuses on additional solutions for enterprise clients including company concordance improvements and company analytics. RelPro is also looking to add corporate family trees, linkage analytics, and ABM look-a-likes.
RelPro is priced at $1,200 per user for 10 users (includes 1,000 profile views and weekly alerts on up to 30 people / companies for each user). The price per user is volume based. It is higher for smaller teams and discounts apply to larger enterprise deployments. If companies are looking for additional email alerts, they are available in packages of 50 profiles for $125 per month. A Tech Search add-on, based on HG Data tech stack intelligence, is extra. The firm also offers Data Services.
The theme of this year’s Dreamforce was The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Following after revolutions driven by steam, electricity, and information technology, the fourth industrial revolution blurs the “physical and digital worlds” creating a wave of “innovation in technology” which is transforming the economy, society, and lives while creating new jobs, industries, and opportunities. This next wave is based upon intelligence. Elements include IoT, 3D printing, biotech, robotics, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, and quantum computing.
“This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “There’s all these amazing new technologies, things like autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and mobile computing and all these things are really hitting at once. And companies are really transforming themselves and bringing all these new technologies in really to connect with their customers in new ways.”
Thus, elevators loaded with sensors now communicate back to the manufacturer and predict failures, calling for service prior to trapping people. Likewise, with tires, “if the tire blows, nobody knows; but in the future, if the [smart] tire blows, everybody knows.” So, firms like Kone (elevators) and Michelin (tires) are now B2B2C companies. In the future, if a tire is about to blow, it will communicate to the autonomous vehicle to pull over.
“Every company is getting closer to their customers. We’ve been talking about this for years. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B company or a B2C company, everybody’s becoming a B2B2C company.”
Salesforce and its customers are “delivering personalized one-to-one engagement at scale,” said Stephanie Buscemi, EVP of Product Marketing. This is done “declaratively, with clicks and not code.” Through the Salesforce Data Management Platform, ads are customized and delivered cross-device, allowing companies to redisplay ads or present new advertisements to their customers and prospects.
Benioff cited a series of companies providing customer service and support through Salesforce platforms including Louis Vuitton, Marriot, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Adidas, and Ducati Motorcycles.
“Behind all these things…behind everything is a customer. And that’s what all of us do. We are working to connect with our customers in an incredible new way.”
Simplified customization, development, and branding were emphasized during the keynote. A set of customizable products provide a “smarter, more personalized Salesforce”:
MyTrailhead service supports custom branding, content, and learning paths that allows firms to onboard and train employees on desktops and phones. Tools include quizzes, reference links, trails, and badges. Salesforce Trailhead content is also available.
MyEinstein provides an artificial intelligence layer driven declaratively by “clicks, not code” supporting “smarter capabilities including bots.”
MyLightning customization provides an app builder with custom pages, a Lightning theming and design system, Lightning Flow, Components, and Bolts which operate automatically on both desktops and phones. Designers will have access to dynamic components which are conditionally displayed.
MySalesforce branded “mobile apps without code” can be uploaded to the Google Play and App Store.
MyIoT supports native integration capturing real-time events, business rule automation, and low-code orchestration.
Based upon customer feedback, SFDC has shifted from IoT as a separate platform to an integrated feature of the CRM platform which also operates “declaratively without code.”
Benioff admitted that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating concerns and wondered whether it is “uniting us or dividing us. Are we more connected or somehow less connected?”
He also asked whether there is more or less equality in the World.
“There is this stress being created by this fourth industrial revolution. Yes, we have this promise of this new connected World. But what is it doing to us? And what are other actors doing around the World using these technologies? Are they changing our society? Are they changing our elections? What are they doing with this technology?”
Benioff is looking at the Trailblazers attending Dreamforce as the Customer Innovators, Technology Disruptors, and Global Shapers to ensure that the next wave is directed in a positive direction. “You have all these new tools at your fingertips, these incredible new technologies, but you are doing some amazing things in the World. You are changing your companies. You are steering this technology in the right direction. I’m so confident in who you are. I’m so confident in what’s in your hearts and where we are all going.”
Benioff noted that most technology is generally neutral in it effect upon society. It is therefore incumbent upon technologists, developers, and companies to deploy technology in a socially responsible manner which promotes greater equality. Benioff called for companies to fight for equality through equal pay, investing in schools, and opposing discriminatory laws. He also noted that it is the poor who are most hurt by environmental degradation and proudly stated, “we are a net zero cloud.”
Benioff was also proud to have founded and led the leading CRM with an 18.1% market share (2016 IDC) nearly double that of Oracle (9.4%). Salesforce has the top solutions for sales (34.2%), service (33.7%), marketing (9.9%), and Platform-as-a-Service. Within the marketing cloud, Salesforce claims to offer the leading Data Management Platform and commerce Platform.
What’s more, the firm is on track to be the fastest enterprise software company to hit $12.5 billion in revenue. They hit $10 billion this year and have FY19 guidance of $12.5 billion in year 20.
One of the issues facing businesses and policymakers is an increasing skills gap. Benioff proposed MyTrailhead as one of the tools to help address the problem of workers across many industries and skill levels. MyTrailhead provides a customized, branded training platform.
TechCrunch complained that this year’s Dreamforce lacked drama as it lacked new initiatives such as the social enterprise, artificial intelligence, and IoT. “They are a company that embraces the cutting edge, but this year lacked that kind of big announcement,” complained enterprise reporter Ron Miller. To be fair, though, the company has rolled out a series of new platforms, clouds, and acquisitions over the past few years. A year with few fireworks is not necessarily a year without forward progress for Lightning, Quip, Einstein, Trailhead, and platform customization.
The conference remains a monster with 170,000 registered participants joining in San Francisco and millions of online views.
European company research firm DueDil rolled out a set of enhancements spanning list building, list analytics, compliance validation, and their API. DueDil’s products are used for sales intelligence, company research, and onboarding Know Your Client (KYC) / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance checks.
DueDil added four Ownership search filters to assist with targeting firms with concentrated shareholdings “ripe for takeover.” The new screens include Total Shareholding Count, Individuals Count, Companies Count, and Shareholder Name.
The firm rolled out interactive lists which build upon their list capabilities. “Interactive List Reports offer a unique way of mapping whitespace and identifying new prospects, based on high-performing segments identified in a List Report,” said Product Marketing Manager Sam Hockley. “By accessing a customer list in Report view, common traits and trends are visualised, and the characteristics of quality customers can be easily identified.”
Users can now view any List Report segment in Advanced Search, surfacing the companies and related criteria. Users can drill down on segments to research anomalies or focus on size brackets within the list. The functionality can also be used to display similar companies while suppressing the original list, providing a tool for expanding the pool of ABM candidates.
Both the browser and API now support compliance checks including Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), sanctions, fraud warnings, and adverse media. These checks are part of standard KYC / AML onboarding steps. The Adverse Media Check includes Gazette Status (receivership, shuttering a business) and County Court Judgments. Politically Exposed Persons lists identify government officials and close family members to flag funds which could be related to bribes, kickbacks, and money laundering. Sanctions lists flag individuals associated with terrorism, trafficking, and money laundering.
“Conducting these checks with DueDil allows businesses to identify any and all linkages of corporate ownership and associated individuals. As a result, when a check is run against a specific entity, that check can be extended to all of these related parties, returning any flags or sanctions across the entire group. Advanced datasets reveal the ultimate beneficial owner of a business and enable checks for PEPs and any sanctions levied against a business,” said Hockley.
DueDil performs KYC/AML checks against both businesses and individuals. People checks are performed in conjunction with Callcredit.
DueDil also recently launched API support for webform auto-population and enrichment.
@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?
George Westerman, principal research scientist with the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, wrote an excellent article on Digital Transformation titled Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy. His key point was that the true value in digital transformation comes from using digital technologies as the fulcrum for transformation not as the objective. When focusing simply on a technology for technology’s sake, the return on investment is much lower.
In the digital world, a strategic focus on digital sends the wrong message. Creating a “digital strategy” can focus the organization in ways that don’t capture the true value of digital transformation. You don’t need a digital strategy. You need a better strategy, enabled by digital.
Westerman cautions that technology doesn’t provide business value in a vacuum, but only when fused with a business strategy that transforms a key aspect of your business such as product delivery (e.g. e-commerce), customer understanding (e.g. analytics), “radically synchronizing operations” (e.g. IoT), changing business models (again IoT), etc. Thus, “technology’s value comes from doing business differently because technology makes it possible.”
For example, sales intelligence isn’t about providing reps with additional contacts or feeding them with business factoids so they sound smooth on calls. It is about transforming sales and marketing processes by infusing relevant, accurate, and timely intelligence into sales and marketing workflows; aligning sales and marketing objectives; prioritizing activities; and making sales reps more efficient and effective at selling.
Westerman offers four strategies for digital transformation:
Get Away from Silo Thinking — Focusing on a technology strategy (e.g. Mobile, Big Data) can be limiting and ends once the technology has been implemented. A technology focus results in incremental improvements, whereas a business transformation strategy employs multiple technologies and management interventions. You begin with the objective and then determine the digital processes and workflows for implementation. “A customer intimacy strategy, for instance, uses mobile along with other digital technologies to constantly increase personalization, engagement, and satisfaction.”
Don’t push the envelope too far, too fast — Overly ambitious strategies may be very risky while more mundane projects may be ignored. Cutting edge technology may not be ready or implementation strategies may not be understood. “Business leaders leave easy money on the table if they ignore incremental steps and pursue risky opportunities that may not be ready to pay off yet.”
Don’t ask your tech leaders to drive transformation alone — This is an old piece of advice, but still relevant. Early CRM projects often failed due to a top down approach that lacked support from sales and support teams. The CTO or CIO needs to work with other C-level and mid-level executives that provide expertise in the industry and function. For example, The CTO cannot transform sales and marketing by fiat, but must work with sales and marketing management for expertise, cooperation, risk mitigation, implementation, and communication.
Build essential leadership capabilities, not just technical ones — Digital transformation isn’t a project but the ongoing development of enterprise capabilities and business value. Digital leaders should “create a transformative vision, engage their people in that vision, and then govern strongly to chart a course across a whole portfolio of digital transformation efforts — some planned and some yet to be discovered.”
Not all problems require expensive cutting edge technology. Many problems are still soluble through low tech solutions, small dollar investments into current platforms, and modified processes. A focus on technology not only brings about silo thinking, but could increase complexity and cost.
I’m reminded of my high school Geometry teacher who said, “there are two ways you can kill a fly. You can use a fly swatter or you can use a bazooka.”
I suspect the bazooka would be a lot more fun, but costlier and riskier.
That being said, there are also great risks in moving slowly or lacking a digital strategy. Forrester highlighted the risks of being a Digital Dinosaur. The author Nigel Fenwick noted that the digital predators are customer obsessed:
While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed.
And consistent with Westerman’s advice, customer obsession is a business objective, not a technology focus. It is this deep understanding of customer needs that both informs the business and technology strategy and creates a defensible technology advantage.
ESW Capital completed the acquisition of predictive analytics vendor Infer and will be rolling it into Ignite Technologies. Infer offers predictive lead and account scoring. Use cases include TAM identification, segmentation, account selection, demand generation, lead scoring, opportunity scoring, and upsell/cross-sell. In a September 2016 report, Gartner said that Infer pricing starts at $30,000 and increases based on the number of models. There are also charges for net-new contacts.
This summer, ESW also acquired company intelligence vendor FirstRain and rolled it into Ignite as well.
The Ignite Prime program offers clients access to additional enterprise technology once they have signed a contract for one of the Ignite Technology solutions. For example, Infer customers would have access to additional enterprise software solutions such as First Rain, ThinkVine, and Placeable equal to the value of their Infer contracts.
“We’ve been continually impressed by Ignite throughout this acquisition process. They have a strong leadership team and the right strategy that’s in line with where the future of sales and marketing solutions are going, where there’s a need to converge multiple products into a cohesive platform to drive true, full-circle customer intelligence. We’re confident this is the platform that our amazing customers will want to build on and grow, and are excited for the Infer solutions to be a part of Ignite’s Prime Program which will help customers drive 2x ROI.”
Vik Singh, Infer’s CEO
Infer was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Infer focuses on predictive solutions for the technology sector and lists AdRoll, Cloudera, New Relic, Tableau, Xactly and Zendesk as clients. As of Q3 last year, Infer reported over 140 customers. Deal size was not disclosed.