Zoom IQ for Sales

Zoom Video Communications announced the availability of its new Zoom IQ for Sales conversational intelligence add-on for Zoom Meetings.  Zoom Phone support for Zoom IQ is in development.

“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings.  Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin.  “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”

Zoom IQ for Sales conversational analytics

Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.”  The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange.  Insights include

  • Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
  • Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
  • Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
  • Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
  • Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
  • Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.

AI provides a set of sentiment and engagement scores that assist with deal risk and health assessments.  Other features include transcription highlights, filler word frequency, and talk speed.

Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision.  General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.

Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars.  Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.

Zoom Sales IQ Playlists

“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI.  “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague.  Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”

Zoom IQ for Sales places Zoom in competition with many of its partners, including Salesloft, Outreach, Chorus, and Gong.

TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI.  Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”

“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers.  “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”

Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.

“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights.  This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”

Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events.  During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations.  Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.

Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.

Drift Conversational Cloud

Last month, Drift rolled out its Conversation Cloud, which combines the capabilities of its Conversational Marketing, Conversational Sales, and newly launched Conversational Service offerings.  Drift’s Conversational AI guides visitors along any stage of the customer journey, helping them “voice their intent with open text questions, find answers to their own questions, get personalized recommendations, or book a sales meeting.”

“Everything starts with a conversation, and in-person communication and experiences are taking a back seat to the conversations we have online, especially in our business relationships.  Businesses are relying more and more on digital experience platforms – or in our case, conversational experience platforms – to bridge these connections and manage key customer interactions, touchpoints, and engagement. Our guiding philosophy at Drift is to put the buyer at the center of everything we do, and we are excited to bring the Drift Conversation Cloud to market to help our customers deliver a better experience to buyers at each stage of their journey, all while improving their sales teams’ efficiencies and accelerating revenue.”

Drift CPO Leo Tenenblat

Drift Conversational Marketing supports real-time conversations with web visitors, helping to answer questions, deliver desired content, or “qualify and convert best-fit buyers.”  Conversational Marketing functionality includes visitor intelligence, chatbots, meeting scheduling, and Fastlane lead form booking.

Drift Conversational Sales manages customer conversations across chat, video, email, and phone.  Drift routes high value leads to sales reps, notifying them when qualified leads are engaging with the chatbot or the website.  Sales reps can “craft personalized outreach based on what web pages buyers visited, which sales touchpoints they engaged with, and how often they interacted with your brand.”  Prospect activity is automatically logged to Salesforce.

Drift Video asynchronous video sharing on LinkedIn messenger

Reps can also deliver personalized video messages based on site activity intelligence.  Videos may be shared via LinkedIn, Drift, Outreach, or Salesloft.  Drift claims a more than 3X improvement in response rates for asynchronous video.

Drift not only schedules meetings but also offers a new Deal Room module for capturing interactions between buyers and sellers, including meeting transcriptions and document sharing.  Deal Room also provides real-time alerts when prospects engage with the Deal Room and manages Mutual Action Plans.

“Drift Deal Room enables seamless collaboration between your internal team and entire buyer committees in one central location,” blogged Drift Senior Product Marketing Manager Holly Xiao.  “Everyone involved will be able to have conversations, share files, manage action items, schedule meetings, and more — directly in Deal Room.”

Continued Xiao, “Drift Deal Room lets you see who, what, and how buyers interact with your business throughout their entire journey.  So, when it’s time for your next deal review, you’ll come to the table with a clear picture of deal activities and trajectory.  And if you notice opportunities with lower engagement, you can rely on Drift Video, Drift Chat, Drift Email, and more to help you nurture deals in the right channel at the right time and keep them moving in the right direction.”

Drift Dealroom supports document sharing, Mutual Action Plans, meeting scheduling, and on-demand chat.

Conversational Service answers simple support questions, allowing the service team to focus on difficult support problems and high-priority customers.  The Drift Chatbot supports Salesforce and Zendesk knowledge base articles.  Conversational Service lets customers create their own support tickets or hand high-priority requests over to live service reps.

“Translating click-based engagement into buyer-led enablement across interactions requires conversation design that senses and responds to spoken and unspoken buyer needs across complex and connected buying journeys, wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Jessie Johnson last November.   “Conversational interactions help B2B organizations meet buyers where they are in their journey, enable their buyers and customers in the moment, and inform the next interaction.  The impact of poor execution, however, can have a lasting negative impact on the buying journey, customer experience, and even the brand itself.”

Market Flash: Outreach Acquires Canopy and Launches Outreach Commit

Outreach Commit supports forecasting, scenario planning, and deal risk analysis.

Sales Engagement Platform Outreach expanded its value proposition with the acquisition of Revenue Intelligence service Canopy.  Outreach immediately began integrating the service into its platform, with GA expected in H1 2022.  The new Outreach Commit service “significantly expands” Outreach’s revenue intelligence capabilities, “giving revenue leaders the sales analytics and forecasting capabilities they need in today’s sales environment.”

“In the past 18 unpredictable and transformative months, we have seen the rise of a new cohort of leaders we are calling Revenue Innovators who have thrived by embracing the digital disruption of sales,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “These are leaders who had to adapt and evolve their mindset to embrace automation and machine learning as the keys to driving predictable, efficient growth – consistently and despite the uncertainty in the market.  They need tools that combine engagement with intelligence and marry together the art and the science of sales. The evolution of the Outreach platform does exactly that.” 

Outreach provides revenue innovators with “predictable, efficient growth” based upon AI guidance for more effective engagement, improved forecasting, and next best actions.  The objective is to reduce the “Sales Execution Gap” between revenue potential and actual performance based on instinct and limited data; instead, data and AI will narrow the gap.

“The Sales Execution Gap manifests itself in several ways across the business — decisions based on gut instincts, slow rep ramp times, competing priorities, random achievement, missed opportunities with little understanding as to why,” explained Medina.  “And yes, lost revenue, but also a growing disconnect between what high-performing reps want and what employers can deliver.”

“Once a seller has experienced the power of an Engagement and Intelligence platform, they won’t want to go back to inefficient, broken workflows — and they’re making career decisions because of it.”

Outreach CEO Manny Medina

Unfortunately, CRMs were “not designed for sellers.”  They are systems of record that store information but lack engagement and insights.  Firms that want reps to “live in the CRM” will drive away their best sales reps and candidates who “demand AI-driven insights and workflow automation to guide their actions in real-time.”  As more sellers become “digital natives,” this performance gap will widen.

Top-performing reps and managers that have enjoyed modern SalesTech tools will be reluctant to work without digital tools.  They expect their sales toolbox to include AI-generated intelligence, including email sentiment, live meeting guidance, real-time call analysis, and automated deal review and scoring.  They are also looking for sales engagement with templated sequences (cadences), multi-channel outreach, task prioritization, and recommended actions.  Finally, they are looking for improved forecasting, risk alerts, engagement data, and deal facilitation.

With Commit, Outreach has added forecasting and expanded risk analytics to its toolkit.

Outreach sees a bifurcation between traditional sales organizations and revenue innovators that have adopted digital communications and AI for outreach, prioritization, coaching, forecasting, and analytics.

“Revenue innovators are embracing automation and AI in real-time to provide guidance to reps mid-cycle, guide more effective engagement with customers, and entirely rethink how they forecast because they have the signals that can proactively identify risk in their pipeline and deals,” stated the firm.


Continue to Part II which discusses Outreach Commit and product enhancements announced at the Outreach Unleash virtual meeting.

Salesloft and the Modern Revenue Workspace (Part II)

Continued from Part I


Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter suggested that the answer to overwhelmed sales reps is not more technology and data but better-designed tools and workflows that address the “Revenue Performance Gap.”  Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace offers

  • “Proper insights at the right time
  • The ability to take action
  • The ability to communicate
  • The coachable moment”

Instead of a series of tools, Salesloft is positioning itself as one of Gartner’s “alpha platforms” that broadly ties together sales workflows and channels.  Gartner noted a set of attributes of these platforms:

– “Alpha Platforms are hyper-aggressive vendors who are broadening capabilities at a breakneck speed. 

– It’s not just M&A, some companies will evolve into alpha platforms by building capabilities. This is totally doable, they just have to be able to work fast.

– Alpha platforms aren’t necessarily buying competitors in the same category – they are buying into adjacent categories.”

Gartner Analysts Craig Rosenberg and Dan Gottlieb, “Sales Tech Mayhem: 39 Observations From a Scorching Hot Tech Market,” Garter Blog (July 28, 2021)

“It’s a time to tell a new story about sales and provide you with a complete, digital go-to-market solutions your sellers and sales teams need,” said Porter.

The Salesloft Platform supports Deals, Conversations, Cadences, a partner ecosystem, administration, and governance

According to Salesloft Chief Product Officer Ellie Fields, this advanced sales platform is “built for sellers.”  It reduces workflow friction, allowing reps to “take faster action” and prioritize their time.  The platform also serves as a centralized engagement hub with the “most critical tools for digital selling,” including email, phone, SMS, meetings, social, etc.

The Modern Revenue Workspace deploys data and AI within the workflow, delivering insights such as the most engaged prospects, deals at risk, and “trends that improve outcomes.”

The Salesloft platform acts as a hub for digital selling, driving alignment across the revenue team.  Along with Deals, Conversations, and Cadences, the platform synchronizes data with a system of record (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, or HubSpot) and supports sales intelligence and workflows with over 115 ecosystem partners.

The new release is based on a set of advanced objectives:

  • Take Action Anywhere – Communications channels are available throughout the platform.  For example, reps can call, email, book a meeting, or send an SMS message within the Deals view.  Digital communications are then captured and analyzed, helping identify “the most engaged prospects, stalled but winnable deals, and trends that help revenue teams adjust course to improve performance.”
  • Know What Changed in Your Deal – Reports identify which opportunities were updated, how long the deal is in the current stage, and whether the close date or amount changed.  For example, progression indicators are now displayed in Pipeline Review and Deals reports.
  • Enterprise Ready Conversations – Salesloft continues to enhance its communications channels with support for Microsoft Teams, native Zoom and WebEx support, improved transcription, and governance enhancements.  The native Zoom support is more reliable than the previous bot tool.  Salesloft also added Consent to Record for MS Teams and will be adding it for other platforms and its dialer.  They also added English language recording announcements with additional language announcements in development.

    The enhanced Conversations transcription engine offers “improved accuracy, searchability, and filtering” that helps managers and sellers “easily identify buyer and market trends and coaching opportunities to set more meetings, build more pipeline, speed deal cycles, and improve the chances of winning more deals.” 

    A new Conversations Summary is delivered to inboxes.
  • Unify Communications across Channels – Conversations in Activity Feed provide updates on important meetings.
  • Understand Outcomes across the Platform – Outcomes in Step Analytics identify which steps are working, helping improve Cadences.
  • Insights Anywhere – A Meetings panel on the home page summarizes pending meetings to assist with call prep.
  • Automate No-Show Workflows – New cadence workflows help reps reschedule missed meetings.  A “partial show” workflow also provides the call hyperlink and summary to those who missed a meeting.

At a high level, the goal is to remove friction in the sales process by reducing the need to jump from app to app.  Instead, reps can engage with shareholders and obtain insights from anywhere in Salesloft.

Future items include SHAKEN/STIRRED registration, native Google Meeting support, and Salesforce Event field logging.

The Salesloft Opportunity Dashboard supports custom coloring for Deal Gaps to highlight deals most at risk.

ZoomInfo Adds Chorus to Its Product Line

ZoomInfo has not been shy about acquiring companies in its bid to become a leading revenue acceleration company.  This morning, they announced the acquisition of Chorus.AI, a leading Conversation Intelligence company.  While most of its deals have been small, Chorus has the opportunity to leverage ZoomInfo’s company and contact intelligence with rich engagement data and analytics, placing the firm at the center of the rapidly growing Conversation Intelligence market.

Chorus employs machine learning and AI to “capture and analyze” calls, meetings, and emails, digitizing customer interactions, and capturing insights for revenue teams and sales management. As a result, sales reps can be more present during calls as they no longer need to capture action items and take notes while leading sales meetings.  Automating insight capture allows them to be better engaged during the call, avoiding those awkward pauses for note-taking.

While not discussed in the press release, combining Chorus’ NLP with Insent should raise bot performance and become another leg of conversation intelligence at the top of the funnel. 

The expanded ZoomInfo will support and assess a broad set of digital touchpoints for intent and engagement:

  • Chorus: Email, Phone, Meetings
  • ZoomInfo: Visitor Intelligence, Webforms, Chatbots (Insent), Intent (Clickagy)

Chorus also assists with buying committee discovery.  While ZoomInfo has long supported contact discovery at the account level, monitoring engagement to determine who is involved in deals and who is being referenced in conversations is the next major step in buying committee discovery, moving it from educated guesswork to a scientific approach.  Once committee members are identified, Chorus monitors conversations for sentiments, motivations, and concerns, helping gauge deal health.  ZoomInfo will supply Chorus with rich company and contact information fed to customer CRMs and continuously maintained by ZoomInfo’s APIs and connectors.

Chorus Momentum Insights

Chorus’ Momentum Insights, released in December, helps revenue teams understand customer relationships, improve their forecasting, identify which interactions propel deals forward, and flag deal risks.

“Momentum Insights will unlock learnings never before available from the CRM to harness the most valuable dataset available—conversations with customers,” said Chorus CEO Jim Benton at the time. “This will empower revenue teams to solve complex problems which require strong relationships, and relationships ultimately drive revenue.  Reps get exactly what they need to engage and personalize their efforts, while leadership is able to trust the unbiased data aggregated from each opportunity to inform critical business decisions.”

“By integrating keyword trackers from Chorus into ZoomInfo, revenue teams will also be able to create audiences based on insights from conversations, flag deals and renewals that could be in jeopardy, and trigger alerts to address concerns in real-time,” stated ZoomInfo.

The deal added $18 billion to the company’s TAM, raising it to $70 billion.  The acquisition is “expected to be accretive to growth immediately, generate adjusted operating profits within 12 months, and be accretive to cash flow in the second half of FY 2022.”

“ZoomInfo is the only company that can marry a best-in-class data layer with world-class go-to-market applications,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “The acquisition of Chorus will accelerate our vision to deliver a modern go-to-market platform that brings together best-in-class intelligence with comprehensive data management, workflow, and engagement software, empowering companies to effectively execute their revenue-generating strategies. With the largest Conversation Intelligence patent portfolio in the industry, Chorus will advance each aspect of our vision by surfacing a new category of insights, illuminating new workflows, and enabling more targeted engagement at scale.”

CEO Henry Shuck has been open to both large and small deals, so long as the combination of ZoomInfo and the acquired company drives significant growth in revenue at the acquisition.  A few decades ago, the term was synergy, but that phrase was used so often to describe failed deals that it is now verboten when describing acquisitions.  However, ZoomInfo with Chorus has the opportunity to grow significantly faster than as a standalone organization.

As with the recently acquired Insent.AI and Clickagy, Chorus will benefit from access to the breadth, depth, and quality of ZoomInfo’s B2B dataset and access to ZoomInfo’s Go To Market strategy and efficient sales processes.  With an LTV / CAC ratio greater than ten, ZoomInfo should be able to efficiently cross-sell and upsell Chorus’ analytics across its 20,000 customers.

Chorus also sets up ZoomInfo’s new Engage platform to challenge market leaders SalesLoft and Outreach.  Chorus is one of the leading Conversation Intelligence firms.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to join forces with ZoomInfo and bring Conversation Intelligence to every revenue team,” said Jim Benton, Chorus.ai CEO, who will join ZoomInfo as SVP, Emerging Products. “ZoomInfo has a bold vision of delivering a world-class go-to-market platform that empowers companies to drive better execution and more revenue. Chorus will play a vital role in helping deliver on that promise with deep, A.I.-driven insights based on real interactions with prospects and customers, a previously untapped source of crucial data about their relationships.”

Frost & Sullivan named Chorus a 2021 Customer Value Leader in Conversation Intelligence.  “Frost & Sullivan finds Chorus’ value proposition is multi-faceted as it offers vital benefits for various personnel, including sales, customer success, sales development, and frontline managers, as well as long-term solutions designed to promote employee skill growth,” wrote Samantha Fisher, Best Practices Research Analyst.

The deal was priced about $575 million in cash.  The purchase price includes a cash tax benefit related to the asset purchase of more than $100 million, ZoomInfo said. The transaction will be funded with cash on hand and $500 million in additional financing.

Seismic Aura AI Enhancements and SmartPlays

Seismic announced enhancements to its recently launched Aura AI platform.  Aura provides sales reps with “intelligent recommendations on how to effectively engage with buyers, advance deals, and uncover new opportunities.”

Aura AI is a personal assistant for sales reps delivered via a Chrome extension.  It suggests “personalized, relevant content recommendations” using data from similar customers and prospects.  This content can then be forwarded to customers and prospects or posted on social sites as a LiveSend Link that supports full tracking and analytics.

Seismic LiveSend Links support tracking and analytics

Aura also displays customer engagement history and engagement between the customer and colleagues.

“Artificial intelligence isn’t just about making sellers more productive, which is important.  It’s also about helping buyers solve their problems by connecting them with the right content,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Strategist Tony Smith.

Seismic also released CRM SmartPlays within Salesforce.  The new feature “removes the burden of identifying the best sales plays” and suggests higher-performing content and context. “The modern salesperson is constantly pulled in multiple directions, leading to information overload and decision fatigue on what to do next. Aura’s content recommendations act as the seller’s sidekick, helping them eliminate the noise and avoid missing the next important engagement moment,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “Our approach to AI combines the best of human and artificial intelligence to give sellers a competitive edge and more time back in their day to engage with buyers. I can’t wait for more Seismic customers to see what Aura will do for them.”

Seismic Spring Enhancements

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic rolled out a set of platform enhancements last month that are “designed to help organizations capture every revenue moment and drive effective, efficient buyer engagement across all digital channels.”  The release included Seismic Aura, their new AI Engine for sales content.

Seismic Aura employs AI and machine learning to surface “new business opportunities and increase seller efficacy.”

“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift to all-digital buyer engagements. At Seismic, we’ve anticipated this change for some time now.  Our platform exists to make go-to-market teams more effective, whether their buyers are face-to-face or remote,” said Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada.  “The next challenge for technology leaders like Seismic will be to enable businesses to thrive in this new era of digital-first selling.  The innovations we’re launching at [Seismic’s virtual conference] Shift, along with the product updates we have coming later this year, bring sales and marketing teams closer together, helping them reach new customers and engage with existing customers in a compelling manner regardless of where they are.”

Continued Mantripragada, “humans can analyze only so much. Buried inside data are patterns, behavior, and insights that will hold keys to your questions and undiscovered opportunities. We are combining human intelligence and machine intelligence to harness the power of this data.”

Other Spring 2021 release features include

  • CRM SmartPlays employ predictive intelligence to recommend the most effective sales plays at any moment.  SmartPlays are delivered within the rep’s CRM workflow.
  • Seismic Sidekick, a Chrome extension powered by Aura, delivers guided selling and content recommendations “based on past engagement, similar buyers, and interests specific to each contact.” Sidekick helps surface engagement opportunities and reduces time spent searching for content.
  • Dynamic Email Templates
  • Global Privacy Management supports GDPR and country-specific, multi-lingual privacy requirements and notifications.
  • Groove and Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform. The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.

Along with announcing new features, Seismic boasted about its ongoing momentum.  Their net retention rate stands at 111%.  They have over one million users at over 700 enterprise clients, including deep penetration in the financial services sector.  Seismic claims that 22 of the top 25 global asset management companies are customers, along with 7 of the top 10 US banks and 4 of the top 5 North American wealth management firms. Seismic added over 200 employees last year and opened its first Canadian office with the December Grapevine6 acquisition.  They now have more than 1000 workers across fifteen offices.


Continue to Groove – Seismic Integration.

SalesLoft Deal Engagement Scores

Sales Engagement vendor SalesLoft announced Deal Engagement scores, a “machine-learning capability [that] gives frontline managers an unbiased way to prioritize deals based on the calculation of over 30 data elements captured across Cadence, Conversations, and Deals.”

Instead of a black-boxed score, SalesLoft provides recommendations and an explanation of the score, helping sales managers identify opportunity issues and risks and take actions to improve close rates.  Thus, Deal Engagement Scores serve as early warning signs that deals may be going south, allowing them to take proactive actions that improve close rates.

Deal Engagement Scores are shown over time and include a set of stage progression indicators such as days since the last meeting, days until the next meeting, and close date pushes.  A seven-day summary details recent engagement activity and deal progression.

“It’s not enough to have just a Cadence product,” said Frank Dale, SalesLoft’s SVP of Product Development. “With Cadence, Conversations, and Deals on one platform, we collect data across the full buying cycle, from the first email, every call, meeting, and communication, through to deal closure and renewal.  Only SalesLoft can analyze all of this data to predict revenue outcomes.  No other Sales Engagement provider can offer this.”

SalesLoft published the 35 metrics that feed into their Deal Engagement Scores.

35 data elements are fed into their machine-learning model to prioritize and identify opportunity issues and risks. Engagement is measured across emails, phone calls, and meetings, with interactions measured by level.  Over 120 million customer interactions were fed into the machine-learning model. As a machine-learning capability, the model continues to improve and adapt. 

“Having this capability allows front-line sales managers an instant gut check on specific health for deals in flight,” posted CEO Kyle Porter on LinkedIn.

Deal Engagement Scores are available to early access customers with Deals functionality in the Enterprise and Sell plans.  It will GA by June.

Exceed.AI Seed Round for AI Lead Conversions

AI Lead Conversion start-up Exceed.AI closed on a $4 million seed round led by Glilot Capital and West Fountain Global Fund.  Also participating were Alex Pinchev, former President of Red Hat, and Gur Shomron, the chairman of Israel’s WalkMe.  Funds will be deployed to expand into new markets and onboard additional marketing clients.

Exceed.AI pulls lead information from Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Pardot, Salesforce, and SugarCRM to assist with conversations.  Features include an AI chatbot, SMS chatbot, email response bot, CRM synchronization, and an automated meeting scheduler.  Exceed also offers rules-based lead qualification and the ability to respond to questions.  Exception handling features include out-of-office follow up and no-show follow up.

“Some of our clients have seen up to a 39.5% increase in qualified leads for the same marketing efforts they already undertake without additional headcount,” said CEO Ilan Kasan. “Our strength lies in our multi-channel approach.  We reach audiences where crucial conversations occur when marketing teams are qualifying their leads.”

Exceed research found that out of office follow up results in a fifty percent lift in lead qualification.  They recommend a “short, cheery” welcome back email two days after the lead returns to the office before resuming the previous drip campaign.

“In a perfect world, every lead gets engaged by a human, but human follow-up isn’t scalable, and sales reps give up on leads too quickly,” said the firm. “So the majority of your leads are left untouched and sales opportunities are missed.”

Exceed noted that 44% of reps give up after one or two touches, leaving many leads to go fallow.  Bots will continue the touches, waiting for engagement.

“Robots are very good at speed, working at scale, they never get tired, they never complain, they’re persistent and they can process huge amounts of information,” Kasan explained to Entrepreneur. “Humans are good at relationships, feeling empathy. They’re very good at understanding nuance in complex situations.  Everything the robots are good at, humans hate doing and actually are not that good at doing.  And everything that humans know to do, robots don’t know to do.  This in essence is a partnership whereby the robot will automate all the manual repetitive tasks so the humans can focus on doing what they know to do best, which is closing deals, having conversations and having relationships.”

Sales reps should focus on tasks that require “critical thinking and evaluation,” blogged Head of Marketing, Billy Attar.  Conversely, “all tasks that can be handled by automation should be automated.”

“As a Sales Manager, you need to maximize the time your reps spend on tasks that require real human insight – the insight only they are qualified to give, ultimately representing the value they bring to the company.  Those human insights include researching prospects and evaluating each leads’ needs, interests and objections, answering their asked and unstated questions… all the things that Sales Reps and SDRs are supposed to do.”

Exceed.AI Head of Marketing Billy Attar

Exceed.AI lists Demandbase, SugarCRM, Hearst, The YMCA, and Universal Robots as clients.  Exceed.AI is located in Israel and Sunnyvale, CA.

Monthly pricing starts at $1,500 for 20,000 leads and unlimited use cases (campaigns).

Clari Revenue Insights

Revenue Operations vendor Clari announced Relationship Insights, its new Revenue Intelligence service.  Relationship Insights adds “visibility into all the buyers and sellers actively involved in sales pursuits.”  The new service helps revenue professionals assess the “true health of account relationships, more effectively manage their territories, and lead their teams in the new remote selling era.”

Relationship Insights ends the manual auditing of accounts by sales managers and interrogations of sales reps about customer and prospect relationships.  Relationship Insights lets them understand

  • Who are we talking to?
  • Are we single or multi-threaded at the account?
  • When was the last time we interacted with the executive buyer?
  • Have we engaged with the CFO?
  • Do we have the right internal SMEs working on this account?

“Our data shows that deals over $250k require an average of 19 external stakeholders to close successfully,” said Clari CEO Andy Byrne.  “With Relationship Insights, we’re providing total visibility to revenue teams so they can drive exceptional execution in their deals, accounts, and territories across their entire revenue process.”

Buying Groups: The New Norm for B2B Sales,” Clari, December 3, 2020.  Based on Closed-Won Deals.

Smaller deals require significant relationship building as well.  A Clari analysis of closed-won deals found that opportunities up to $50,000 required relationships with an average of seven external stakeholders.  Successful deals between $50,000 and $250,000 averaged ten relationships between the company and demand unit members at the closed opportunity.

“Buying groups are not only getting larger, [but] they’re also diverging in personal and organizational priorities. Sellers need to navigate this big group of influencers and decision-makers, including business line managers, IT practitioners, executives, and finance leaders.”

Hila Segal, Clari VP Product Marketing

Relationship Insights provides sales reps and sales management with a deeper understanding of the demand unit, letting them see all sales activities, including emails, meetings, and file exchanges.  This monitoring helps ensure that “all selling motions are multi-threaded.”

“An in-depth understanding of your customer relationship landscape is critical for building full buying consensus, reducing cycle time by uncovering potential blockers earlier, and increasing win-rate by getting multi-threaded (building relationships with multiple stakeholders) when your competition may have only relied on one or two contacts.”

Clari VP of Product Marketing Hila Segal

Clari Activity risk tracking identifies the risk of disengagement, providing reps the opportunity to re-engage before the deal goes south.  

“It’s not enough to see who is engaged. You need to understand the strength of the relationship over time—how many meetings did you have with a key individual, when was the last time you met with them, when is the next time you’re scheduled to connect, have they been responding to emails,” argued Segal.

Account auditing ensures that the primary personas and team members are engaged so that reps can run plays to broaden support.

Relationship intelligence also leverages the company’s varied skills and knowledge, so tracking who has been engaged on the selling side is critical.  Segal noted that successful enterprise sales “takes a village,” with many team members, including technical SMEs, product specialists, implementation consultants, and executive sponsors, helping close the biggest deals. “A clear understanding of key players in every account drives stronger account relationships resulting in more qualified pipeline, better win rates, faster cycles and more predictable revenue,” said Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst at TOPO.