Outreach Guide

Outreach announced the general availability of Outreach Guide, its new revenue intelligence and deal management solution.  Guide provides real-time conversation intelligence, best practice action plans, and “deal health at a glance.”  Outreach also announced administrative enhancements to its Engage product and a “deep integration” with ABX Platform 6sense.

Outreach Guide, Engage, and Commit act as the “foundation” of Outreach’s sales execution platform, supporting revenue organizations across the full customer sales cycle “from prospecting for new business opportunities to deal management to sales forecasting.”

Outreach’s Customer Lifecycle loop.

Outreach aims to create a “single system of execution” that helps revenue organizations meet their full potential and address issues with prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.

To help address this “sales execution gap,” Machine learning models “learn from the actions taken in our platform and generate data-driven, predictive, real-time insights that recommend actions for users to take to improve their sales execution,” said CEO Manny Medina.

Outreach Guide supports three core capabilities:

  • Deal Health Scores: The Deal Health Score employs machine learning to predict deal health.  It also provides deal insights, recommended actions, and where to focus.  In addition, deal Health displays positive and negative indicators (e.g., stuck in current stage, no recent inbound emails, recent executive engagement). 

    Deal Health signals deals at risk to both the sales rep and sales management, providing an opportunity to address problems and adjust forecasts.

    Deal Health scores can be viewed in the aggregate as well, providing a neutral perspective on how each deal is proceeding versus comparable opportunities.

    Deal Health scores are currently in beta.
  • Kaia Real-time assistance and conversation intelligence: Kaia offers real-time call transcription, content cards, and context-based rep enablement during Zoom and Microsoft teams meetings.  After meetings, Kaia streamlines meeting summaries with AI-captured action items and follow-ups.  As a result, Outreach claims rep productivity increases by nearly 30%, and the likelihood of scheduling a follow-up meeting jumps by 36%.

    Kaia is linguistically customized for each client, capturing product names and competitors as keywords.  During a call, content cards display real-time sales aides, such as product summaries or technical notes.  Content cards provide quick cheat sheets on product value, pricing, or integrations (see the example on the right).

    By removing notetaking and displaying content cards, Kaia allows sales reps to be more present during calls and pitch with greater confidence;  instead of pausing a meeting to jot down notes, sales reps can quickly add a bookmark or short meeting note.
  • Automated and collaborative purchasing through Success Plans: Success Plans foster collaboration between buyers and sellers with detailed online purchase action plans that include a timeline, success criteria, resources, and team views.  Collaborative action plans align stakeholders, build buyer trust, ensure timely stakeholder engagement, and provide internal stakeholders with prospect engagement and deal progress.  Outreach claims that reps who closely monitor Success Plans enjoy a 13% bump in close rates.

“The buying team has all the information related to the deal in a central place, and all teams are aligned to clearly understand each other’s goals, interactions, and requirements essential for driving long-term success, delivering an unparalleled buying experience throughout the entire selling process,” stated Director of Product Marketing Elizabeth Dailing.

Furthermore, Success Plans are available to Customer Success teams when onboarding new customers, helping streamline handoffs.

The Team view helps track who is involved from the buying team and how engaged they are, how recently they were engaged, and what content they viewed.

Outreach Guide is designed to address the “Sales Execution Gap.”

Outreach also announced a set of administrative and data privacy enhancements to its Engage service:

  1. Trigger Enhancements – A streamlined trigger builder improves the creation, management, and discovery of triggers.  The refreshed trigger builder is aligned with traditional CRM language and supports multiple values per condition, drag-and-drop action reordering, and simplified condition group creation.
  2. New Outlook-Add In – A native integration lets reps ‘Send’ emails from Outlook and send and sync “relevant emails to Outreach, as well as insert their available times or add a link to their calendar.”  Outreach will also flag opted-out communications in Outlook and prevent them from being sent or added to a sequence.
  3. Microsoft Graph Integration
  4. Data Retention in Outreach Voice Recordings – Admins can configure data retention policies such as deleting data as a one-time event or setting up regular data deletions for Outreach Voice Recordings.

Additionally, Outreach announced an Irish Datacenter for Outreach Engage, meeting EU data residency requirements for GDPR compliance. “The EU Datacenter for Outreach Engage allows an organization’s data to be stored in a specific geographic location,” blogged Caroline Shin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach.  “This means customer-owned data associated with those Outreach instances including prospects, accounts, organizations, and workflow data such as sequences and meetings will be stored and contained within the EU infrastructure.”

Salesloft Forecast Launched

Salesloft’s new Forecast module ingests deal data from multiple platforms, allowing sales professionals to review deals and take actions necessary to stay on track.

Salesloft continues to extend its value proposition beyond sales engagement and conversational intelligence into deal forecasting and revenue intelligence.  Its new Forecast capability, bundled with the Enterprise edition, is available as part of Salesloft’s Spring ’22 Release.  Other spring enhancements include Multi-language Support for Conversations, Out-of-Office Detection, and mobile updates.

Salesloft noted that forecasting remains a “disjointed and manual process” often conducted with spreadsheets.  Sales professionals must collect information from disconnected systems and often deliver inaccurate numbers that waste “valuable selling time.”  What’s more, manual processes provide few insights for improving sales results and aren’t actionable.  Thus, significant resources are expended coming to a forecast number, but by the time the CSO or CRO rolls it up to the CEO, the forecast is a black box number based on quickly aging data with few actionable insights.

The disjointed forecasting process (Source: Salesloft)

“Forecasting is a critical process for every revenue organization,” said Salesloft CPO Ellie Fields.  “But when sellers use spreadsheets, there’s a high risk of user error and acting on old data.  Spreadsheets aren’t scalable, are incredibly manual, ungoverned, and only serve as a snapshot in time.  There’s no context to help sellers look ahead.”

In a presentation to GZ Consulting, SVP of Product Management Frank Dale emphasized that Salesloft is looking to stay in the “revenue lane” focusing on “what happens between the buyer and the seller.”  Forecasting falls within the revenue lane as it “leverages the data generated from interactions between buyers and sellers.”  Furthermore, forecasting should not be separate from revenue generation.  It isn’t simply calling a number but “taking action to make that number.”

The revenue lane “covers all core selling jobs” and tasks, including driving demand, generating pipeline, managing deals, and engaging customers.

“Revenue teams don’t want a forecast.  They want a real-time, adaptive week-by-week action plan to beat their number.  That’s not what forecasting is today.  Forecasting, as it is done today, sucks.  For most revenue teams, it is something they have to do, not something they want to do.  That’s because the tools they have available make just getting to a forecast number difficult and time-consuming.  What’s worse is that they don’t often trust the number they arrive at.  That’s a big problem.  It’s hard to know where to spend your time when you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is accurate.”

Salesloft SVP of Product Management Frank Dale

The Salesloft Modern Revenue Workspace is built on three pillars: Connecting with buyers, improving interactions with customers and prospects based on the data that is generated from interactions, and aligning the team around best practices.  Forecasting falls into the alignment pillar but is designed to support connection and feedback.

“There is a huge gap.  The gap is not necessarily about calling the number, but it is more about the action plan on that number,” explained Senior Director of Product Management Anshu Chowdhery to GZ Consulting.  Salesloft set two goals for its Forecast launch: A shared workflow for gathering deal intelligence and turning it into a forecast; and the ability to achieve that number. 

Salesloft Forecast capabilities include

  • Forecasts are rolled up across the organization. 
  • Users can drill down to opportunities and track changes in the pipeline.  They can also take action from within Forecast.
  • An AI-driven forecast model employs “sales engagement data and historical performance to dial in on what’s likely to land, and what you can influence.”
  • Forecasts are based on AI models and engagement data gathered by Salesloft. 

“What we’re building is an integrated, whole system,” remarked Dale.  “We’re integrating all of the activity capture from Cadence, all of the conversation data and capture from our conversation intelligence product, the CRM data from our deals product, and then the ability to turn around and take action again through our cadence product once you’ve made the call.”

“This forecasting product is built on top of [our] Deals product,” expanded Chowdhery.  “Deals bi-directionally syncs with Salesforce.  So, everything that lives on Salesforce is in Deals, and that’s the significant advantage of [our] forecasting solution.  We are able to sync everything and pull all information, not only from Salesforce but across our platform – every engagement that’s happening on the cadence side or conversation side.  The sales leader has the ability to view that timeline and identify…[whether] no conversations happened in the last thirty days; this deal is at risk; what should I do in order to win that deal?”

A Weekly Opportunity Changes view lists all of the changes to amounts, close dates, and stages over the past week and how those changes impact the forecast, providing a dynamic view of weekly activity.

Dale stated that Forecast provides value across the revenue team.  Frontline sales management has greater visibility into the pipeline, and Forecast provides sales reps “a true read on what they need to do to land and hit their number.”  In addition, both reps and managers benefit from reduced busy work in managing pipeline updates. 

Dale contends that daily administrative work for reps is reduced by an hour by streamlining the forecasting and updating process.

While Forecast focuses on new business forecasting, future enhancements will support renewal forecasting and run-rate forecasting (i.e., intra-period deals).  Also, Salesloft will continue to build out its analytics and plans to release Vulnerable Opportunities Notifications for flagging at-risk opportunities.

Forecast provides a common workflow that rolls up deal intelligence across the organization.  Users can drill down into specific deals and take actions, greatly improving insights and actionability.  “This is a seamless workflow for the reps and honestly, across the entire revenue organization to submit their forecasts and submit their number,” said Chowdhery.

Salesloft’s Forecasting workflow.

A modern forecasting system must be part of your sales execution system,” blogged Fields.  “The information about your deals in flight – who’s contacting the customer, what meetings were had and what was said, how the customer responds — is the foundational information that your forecast rests on.  If you’re using a sales engagement platform, all of that activity is already being tracked automatically, without your sellers needing to spend time logging their activities.  Meetings and calls are recorded and searchable so you can review that pivotal moment with the buyer.”

“Forecasting under-delivers when the end result is just a number,” continued Fields.  “The end result should be a set of actions you can take to deliver better results.  To do that, you need to not only see a number, but you need to see areas of softness and strength, important deal gaps, and opportunities.  You need to recognize that the East team will need your support this quarter, but that the West will probably overachieve.  You need to know where to spend your team’s time most productively to get over the line.”

Dale emphasized the importance of cross-product workflows aligned with “things people actually want to do.”  Unfortunately, vendors often build technology that “chases a problem” or is designed to answer checklist questions about functionality.  Salesloft “starts with problems people have and then builds solutions to match that.  So anytime you see us build something like forecasting, we’re building it based on what people are actually trying to do.”  Forecasting was built because it was a regular customer request.

Submitted forecasts show progress towards goal and a comparison vs. the prior week.

Forecasting builds on Salesloft’s pipeline management and deals product, including its AI-powered Deal Engagement Scores released last June and Deal Progression Indicators released last November.

Salesloft claims that its new Forecast module transforms forecasting “from a burdensome task into a strategic action plan to close more revenue.”  Revenue estimates and deal close dates are derived from real-time data and employ “multiple forecasting techniques to make it easy to see where the team’s performance is trending.”  AI helps identify missed opportunities and deals at risk, letting reps mitigate deal risk and factor it into pipeline estimates.  As Forecast is native to Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace, managers can assign follow-ups or add deal notes within the Salesloft workflow.

“With Forecast, customers have the visibility, intelligence, and workflow to close deals more consistently and act upon unrealized opportunities,” stated the firm.

“Forecast by Salesloft is an intelligent solution with strong data governance, so there’s less room for errors,” stated Fields.  “Sellers can forecast and take action on those deals from the same platform.  When sales managers have real-time visibility and the ability to drill down, coaching sellers and taking action happens naturally, leading to better deal outcomes.”

Chorus Mobile App

Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo last summer, rolled out a mobile app for its conversational sales service.  The app supports core Chorus features on Android and iOS phones.  Users can listen to calls, speed them up, and pause them.  They can also share key moments with colleagues via Slack, email, and text.  Hashtags and @ mentions assist with tagging and sharing.

Managers and trainers can assign listening and provide feedback, which can be reviewed during walks, commutes, or downtime.  Users also have access to a library of best practices spanning various topics, including objection handling, pitching to specific verticals, or value discussions.

“With Chorus, reps can review top performers’ recordings on their own schedule,” said Alyson Baber, commercial sales leader at Zoom.  “They can also focus on keywords, such as a competitor’s name or pricing information, and go directly to those parts of the discussion instead of having to sit through the entire call.”

Customer Success and Account Teams can review preceding conversations, review conversations before quarterly business reviews, and share the voice of the customer or product feedback with other teams.

Chorus has over 20,000 customers.

Chorus iPhone screenshots

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.”

VanillaSoft Announces a Trio of Integrations

VanillaSoft announced a trio of new or upgraded integrations for its Sales Engagement Platform.  First, VanillaSoft upgraded its integration with Salesforce, providing synchronization of accounts, contacts, leads, activities (e.g., Tasks, Events, History), and opportunities.  Custom Object syncing is coming soon.  VanillaSoft also announced new technology partnerships with Chorus (ZoomInfo) and Zapier

The Salesforce integration is bi-directional with instant updates.  Prospects from VanillaSoft’s AutoKlose subsidiary are fed to VanillaSoft and uploaded to Salesforce.  The integration also supports improved Salesforce reporting and dashboards, providing a unified reporting interface for all sales activities.  Salesforce reporting “accurately shows conversion ratios and funnel math from stage-to-stage and team-to-team.”

“In most cases, organizations use SFDC as the primary hub for all their lead and account information,” noted Product Marketing Director Bergen Wilde during a demo to GZ Consulting.  “Leads coming in from outside sources, such as marketing automation, would be immediately shared with VanillaSoft.”  For example, “marketing may examine old leads or accounts in SFDC and create a new campaign for these, sending them back into VanillaSoft for pursuit by SDRs.”

The upgraded integration “empowers a sales team with immediate information updates across both platforms so agents using either system can take action without delay.”

Updates to Salesforce are always real-time and triggered by VanillaSoft result codes.  Updates from Salesforce can be either real-time or performed in batch.  For example, Sales Operations can set up real-time synchronization for web form submissions fed into SFDC.  Web leads are then synced with VanillaSoft, providing immediate routing of web leads to SDRs, with both platforms tracking submissions and responses.

A novel VanillaSoft use case is multi-client synchronization between VanillaSoft and client Salesforce instances.  The VanillaSoft project code acts as a “top-level, self-contained database in VanillaSoft,” which signals the relevant client instance, allowing lead generation companies and agencies to support multiple clients. “Lead generation has always been a consistent market for us because we keep the data segmentation.  That’s been since day one – we’ve kept our projects separate,” explained Director of Customer Success Daniel Sims to GZ Consulting.  “Tied to that, we have some pretty cool appointment setting functionality that tends to make us attractive to most lead gen companies.”

Lead Companies can manage prospecting in VanillaSoft and sync activity and lead data with multiple client Salesforce instances.

Other use cases include

  • Managing SDR to AE handoffs: As SDRs book meetings, the information and task are posted in Salesforce for the AE.  If the client is a no-show, the lead can be passed back to the SDR for rescheduling.
  • Upselling: A customer success agent identifies an upsell opportunity and enters it in SFDC.  The record then syncs with VanillaSoft, which notifies the SDR to schedule an appointment for the AE.
  • Triggered Alerts: Salesforce alerts (e.g., overdue payments, deviations from volume commitments, or new opportunities) are routed to SDRs for follow-up.
Salesforce can trigger activity in VanillaSoft.

VanillaSoft noted that it can store raw MQLs until they are sales qualified, at which time the data is synced with Salesforce.  This flow reduces storage fees for low-yield prospects.  Thus, contact records can be purchased from AutoKlose and enabled in VanillaSoft, only becoming Salesforce records once they are sales qualified.

VanillaSoft supports both the Salesforce Lightning and Classic user experiences.  Integration management is performed within SFDC, so admins do not require a VanillaSoft license.

The Chorus partnership is supported for joint customers, providing access to Chorus recordings and transcripts from VanillaSoft.  Similar functionality for Gong is planned for the end of this quarter.

Chorus transcription and analytics are triggered by VanillaSoft result codes, with recordings immediately passed from VanillaSoft to Chorus for processing.  A Chorus logo is then displayed within VanillaSoft, providing a hyperlink to the recording, transcript, and analysis.

Chorus in VanillaSoft

Zapier provides broad integration with other enterprise software platforms.  Sales operations can bi-directionally connect VanillaSoft to hundreds of other applications via a “simple, graphical user interface.”

Zapier is often deployed by SMBs for connecting platforms and triggering workflows.

“VanillaSoft helps SMB sales teams in real-world industries to enhance their sales capabilities and productivity – enabling them to increase their outreach and close more deals,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood.  “By establishing relationships and enhancing integrations with other key technologies that our customers rely on within their sales organizations, we are working to make their sales processes more seamless, and ultimately are helping them to ensure their sales success.”

Market Flash: ZoomInfo Releases MarketingOS and Unveils RevOS Packaging

ZoomInfo provides a set of data-enabled services for sales, marketing, recruitment, and revenue operations under the RevenueOS brand.

ZoomInfo announced the immediate availability of its new MarketingOS ABM Platform.  The service is part of a broader RevOS offering that supports marketing, sales, operations, and recruitment.  MarketingOS consolidates ZoomInfo’s legacy marketing capabilities, bringing together two recent acquisitions, Insent and RingLead, with new programmatic and audience management functionality.

ZoomInfo also refined its positioning statement from Revenue Acceleration to Revenue Operating System.  It stated that RevOS is “the World’s only revenue operating system of its kind.”

“Our comprehensive B2B database is the key differentiator that sets MarketingOS apart from other ABM solutions,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “ZoomInfo’s unique data science algorithms allow marketers to connect with the right prospects at precisely the right time.  No other solution on the market combines the power of data-driven insights and marketing-optimized workflows like ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS.”

“Marketers typically fail because the data in most ABM platforms is both inaccurate and incomplete.  Current ABM solutions are designed to leverage companies’ own first-party data, which exists in their customer relationship management or marketing automation systems.  Without quality data, marketers pour advertising dollars at the wrong prospects and companies, and, as a result, deliver fruitless leads to sales and waste time and resources.  With ZoomInfo’s best-in-class data and intelligence at its foundation, MarketingOS enables marketers to effectively reach target accounts and drive qualified leads for sales.”

ZoomInfo Press Release, “ZoomInfo Launches New Account-Based Marketing Platform, MarketingOS,” (Feb 8, 2022)

New functionality includes social and display advertising, abandoned from tracking, and audience targeting.  Marketing can build audiences and track campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Marketing can also build campaigns and manage them programmatically through Clickagy DSP (ZoomInfo) or TradeDesk.

Marketing OS looks to address the “Funnel Famine” suffered by traditional marketing teams.  Several issues cause Funnel Famine: crowded B2B advertising channels, dirty data, leaky black-box marketing campaigns, siloed data, and sales’ longtime distrust of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

MarketingOS addresses the issue of leads created by “The Funnel Famine.”

“Most marketing programs begin with data, whether it’s for tailoring your communications, whether it’s for sending an email, whether it’s for sending a direct mail.  It’s all about those accounts that you’re targeting and the professionals at those accounts,” explained ZoomInfo SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing Justin Withers to GZ Consulting.  “And the reality is that a lot of data, especially if it’s pulled from the CRM or other systems, is outdated.  It’s inaccurate.  It’s incomplete, and that can actually pollute or even inhibit the lead flow at the top of the funnel, and [it] ultimately leads to poor conversion.  It leads to leaks in the funnel, and all this hard work that marketers put in at every stage of the funnel ultimately spills out before it can even reach sales.”

The reality is that the sales and marketing funnels operate in parallel, not sequentially, as represented in traditional funnel diagrams.  MarketingOS lets marketers run account-based programs in parallel with sales running account-based sales programs “so that everyone’s aligned at every step of the funnel.”

Under current processes, sales and marketing operate in parallel to each other with little coordination and a single point of handoff for MQLs, a situation that “really doesn’t set marketing up for success…and it leaves sales in a bind,” continued Withers.  Thus, marketing complains that sales teams ignore its leads, and sales reps complain about the quality and quantity of marketing-sourced leads.  As a result, there is an “acute misalignment between sales and marketing.”

With MarketingOS, handoffs can occur at different points along the marketing funnel, based on the channel and prospect response.

Sales and Marketing are aligned around a set of target accounts both within and beyond the ICP.  Thus, an ICP account with spiking intent will be passed to sales, even if marketing has had limited conversations.  Furthermore, the rep will know that multiple individuals from the firm have visited the website or that individuals have clicked through on ads or email campaigns.

Likewise, chatbot conversations with target companies can immediately route a chat to the sales rep or schedule a call.

New functionality for managing abandoned forms can revive a prospect.  ZoomInfo claims a 60% increase in lead flow with its abandoned form tracking.

MarketingOS Audience Builder with Audience Segmentation

MarketingOS functionality includes

  • Expanded targeting that leverages the full set of ZoomInfo’s first and third-party intelligence for building and activating audiences.  ZoomInfo selects include firmographics, technographics, biographics (e.g., Title, 192 Job Functions, Job Levels), web forms, and uploaded lists (e.g., tradeshow lists).  Other selects include business events (e.g., funding data, executive changes, projects) and over 300 company attributes (advanced data-mined firmographics such as fleet size and company benefits).  Targeting also ingests account, contact, and lead attributes from Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo. 
  • First and third-party intent data time outreach while buyers are in-market, helping to improve marketing and sales efficacy.  Marketers can track up to 500 intent topics, with up to 50 available at a time.  In addition, chat-based targeting is coming soon.
  • An “in-market predictive score” that identifies each prospect’s buying stage, “informing how and when marketers should engage with prospects based on their ranking and helping them to prioritize their outbound efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert.”
  • Campaign Management and Analytics.  Marketers upload their creative, build an audience, set the budget, and select their channels.
  • Webforms, infused with automated enrichment, support shorter forms with reduced abandonment rates
  • Abandoned form tracking, with Workflows passing the lead to sales or additional nurture steps
  • ZoomInfo Chat (FKA Insent), a conversational marketing chatbot that leverages ZoomInfo data to score and route leads.  Chat immediately passes high-scoring, live leads to sales reps.  The chatbot also automates meeting scheduling.
  • Visitor Intelligence, with pages scored differently (e.g., Product Pages are scored higher than Career or Investor Pages)
  • Automated workflows triggered by intent, custom intent, WebSights visitor intelligence, Scoops (e.g., business events, projects), Funding, Technologies, and FormComplete.  Workflows can also be built to expand reach across the potential buying committee by persona.
  • RingLead data orchestration to dedupe, cleanse, enrich, and route leads
  • ZoomInfo Enrich, a set of DaaS enterprise platform integrations for data enrichment and hygiene.

MarketingOS is powered by ZoomInfo’s database spanning 100 million companies, 150 million executives, technographics, intent and engagement data, and event data.

“Marketing and sales funnels work in parallel, so everyone is aligned at every step of the funnel,” explained Justin Withers, SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing.  With MarketingOS, “sales and marketing are working in lockstep at every stage of the journey.”

MarketingOS is one of four products branded under the RevOS banner.

Tying together intent and engagement data and processing them through ZoomInfo Workflows is the future of ABM.  Intent data is employed at the top of the funnel when buyers are in the initial research phase.  Once prospects have begun interacting with a vendor, most buyer behavior research falls under the engagement category (e.g., web forms, email responses, chatbots, conversational intelligence, etc.).  Finally, intent data helps identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities at the tail end of the customer lifecycle. 

Engagement and intent data are also valuable churn risk indicators, helping customer success and account managers detect potential cancelations or defections well before decisions have been made.  In addition, intent data can show a spike in research related to product-associated topics and competitors.  Engagement monitoring widens to include customer success interactions, training participation, platform usage, and general account health indicators.

“We can support your new customer acquisition with these signals,” stated Withers.  “We can support your opportunity acceleration with these signals.  We can also support your renewal, upsell, cross-sell motions based on different types of signals that are happening at those accounts.  So, it really is a full customer lifecycle marketing solution.”

MarketingOS will be available as a pair of SKUs:

  • ABM Elite+: The full ABM Platform package, including RingLead Cleanse, Enrich, and Route
  • ABM Advanced+: Package includes everything except RingLead

“The purpose behind the two distinct offerings is to simplify our primary offering for those focused on ABM engagement and marketing programs, as opposed to the more operationally focused data orchestration capabilities,” explained ZoomInfo Analyst Relations Director Michael Basilio to GZ Consulting.

MarketingOS includes ten marketing seats and three administrative seats for RingLead routing and ZoomInfo Chat.

The broader RevOS branding consists of MarketingOS, SalesOS, OperationsOS, and RecruitingOS.  ZoomInfo calls RevOS the “world’s first integrated go-to-market platform.”  All four RevOS services are generally available.

ZoomInfo’s data cloud, orchestration tools (e.g., RingLead, B2B DaaS, Workflows), and engagement tools (advertising, sales engagement, web forms, chat, and conversational intelligence) are at the heart of RevOS.

“There’s nothing more important in business than successfully executing your go-to-market strategy,” states ZoomInfo in its product collateral.  “Get it right, and your business flourishes.  Get it wrong, and you’re toast.  That’s why having one integrated go-to-market platform is so crucial.  You can think of it as your revenue operating system.”

SalesOS bundles together a set of new and legacy sales tools:

  • Sales prospecting
  • Chorus, the conversational sales platform the firm acquired in July
  • Sales insights, including Chorus Momentum
  • Sales CRM integrations and continuous data maintenance
  • The ReachOut browser extension for real-time company and contact research and Send to CRM and SEP functionality
  • ZoomInfo Engage (Sales Engagement Platform)

Sales and Marketing Alignment has been a stated goal of the two functions for at least a decade, but they have operated with different datasets, metrics, objectives, and platforms.  Thus, alignment was more vision than reality.  By aligning ABM on a common platform and reference database, alignment is no longer impaired by an organization’s tech stack and data foundation.

“Crucially, MarketingOS lets marketing teams work from a common data foundation. Only 39% of sales and marketing teams share buyer signals, and half say it’s because their sales and marketing systems don’t integrate. The shared data foundation of SalesOS and MarketingOS tightens key handoffs and unlocks true marketing and sales alignment, eliminating conflicting records, wasted effort, and missed opportunities.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, “Introducing RevOS: The future of modern go-to-market software,” (Feb 8, 2022)

OperationsOS contains RingLead data orchestration (i.e., match, unify, dedupe, normalize, cleanse, enrich, score, and route data) and B2B DaaS services (e.g., APIs, webhooks, cloud data warehouse integrations).

Finally, RecruitingOS contains ZoomInfo Recruit, its recently launched prospecting and engagement service for HR departments and recruiters.  RecruitingOS also includes a set of Applicant Tracking Service connectors.

“Recruiters can filter and reach more good-fit candidates, use pipeline management tools to collaborate and organize the hiring process, and automate the candidate outreach process,” explains Zoominfo.  “This helps you source and connect with candidates faster, reducing the time to find and hire talent.”

Along with new product positioning, RevOS sports new logos, color palettes, styles, and a “unified in-app experience to create a singular, cohesive go-to-market solution that spans the entire suite of ZoomInfo products.”  There are also redesigned data dashboards and reports that “offer a faster, more responsive experience that allows your sales, marketing, and recruitment teams to visually demonstrate ROI and how their work aligns with broader organizational objectives.”

In short, RevOS unifies sales, marketing, revenue operations, and recruitment on the same set of data, providing “the same source of truth” and “one integrated platform for every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.” “If data is the lifeblood of the modern sales organization, then go-to-market teams must have the technology to act upon that data.  RevOS’ unified data tech stack gives sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting teams a single source of truth from which to launch their campaigns and go-to-market motions, simplifying internal workflows, reducing costs, and maximizing interoperability between teams,” blogged Schuck.  “RevOS is the next chapter in ZoomInfo’s journey as the world’s leading go-to-market platform.”

MarketingOS supports a Campaign Manager for building, sizing, and tracking campaigns.

Vista Equity Takes Majority Stake in Salesloft

Salesloft has been building out its deal intelligence alongside conversations and cadences.

Vista Equity announced that it took a majority stake in Sales Engagement vendor Salesloft.  CEO Kyle Porter indicated that the round values Salesloft above $2.3 billion.  Salesloft is on a roll, hitting $100 million in annual recurring revenue this summer and growing annual revenue 50% this year.

Salesloft rebranded this fall with new positioning around the “Modern Revenue Workspace.”  Its Winter 2021 release included sentiment analysis for inbound emails and an AI Chrome extension tool for optimizing emails.  Salesloft also recently opened a German data center, helping it comply with GDPR and European data hosting requirements.

According to Vista Equity, Salesloft is the most capital-efficient business in its space, meaning that they are enjoying smart growth.

“This means customers can trust that we will continue to deliver the best products and service in our industry,” stated VP of Product Management Frank Dale.

At the beginning of the year, Salesloft closed on a $100 million round that valued the firm at $1.1 billion.  The January investors, led by Owl Rock Capital, have retained their stakes in the firm.

Porter told the Wall Street Journal that he foresees an IPO but did not provide details on timing.

“From day one, Salesloft’s vision has been to help sellers more successfully engage with and serve their buyers.  This investment is a huge milestone in Salesloft’s journey to becoming the most loved brand in sales technology.  It gives us the resources we need to continue serving our amazing customers, while innovating solutions to solve the complex challenges faced by sellers.”

Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter

The additional funds will be deployed towards product development and market expansion, focusing on the Asia Pacific region, and “tripling down” in EMEA.  Salesloft is enjoying triple-digit growth in EMEA after opening its London EMEA HQ in April 2019.

“This deal is about GROWTH for our CUSTOMERS,” posted Porter on LinkedIn.  “We’re growing >50% annually as the most efficient player in our category, which is critical to long-term sustainability and success.  We will be fueling significant innovation and customer services as a result of this deal.”

“This partnership with Vista is about the future we’re building for our customers,” commented CRO Steve Goldberg.  “It’s about making the lives and jobs of sellers easier.  It’s about quickly delivering the solutions and experience they need to win.”

“Vista is proud to be a preferred partner for founders of fast-growing, high-performing, high-potential companies, and we are excited to work with Kyle and the Salesloft team,” said Monti Saroya, co-head of the Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista.  “Salesloft has built an incredible enterprise software platform that provides tangible ROI by empowering sales teams and managers to increase productivity, and we are excited to bring our decades of enterprise software experience to help Salesloft further fuel its growth trajectory and global expansion.”

Vista wrote a long blog welcoming Salesloft, but the piece did not focus on Salesloft’s current positioning or value proposition.  Instead, Vista discussed its long history working with Porter (it was a Series A investor), Porter’s focus on recruiting talent and helping build the Atlanta tech ecosystem, and his willingness to mothball the Prospector product so the company could focus on building out its Cadence service.

I would add a few other notes about Kyle, whom I’ve known for just as long.  He is a natural-born storyteller who exudes enthusiasm, just as every sales rep should.  He also emphasizes authenticity in sales, the need to balance automation with personalization (a variation on authenticity), and the importance of building a strong company culture.

David Cummings, who has served on Salesloft’s Board since its early days, lauded Kyle Porter and his willingness to pivot the company for growth and recruit top talent.

“Salesloft is mostly the story of the will, determination, and grit of the entrepreneur Kyle Porter.  From a full reboot of the business in the early days, to multiple pivots, and recently navigating the pandemic, Kyle has endured the high highs and low lows of entrepreneurship many times over.  And one of his superpowers is recruiting an amazing team starting with Rob Foreman.  Rob was introduced to Kyle through a chance encounter at a local event.  From there, the two hit it off and developed one of the strongest yin/yang partnerships I’ve ever seen.  The team grew to include incredible leaders across all the functions including Ellie, Sydney, Scott, Chad, Steve, and many others.”

“Kyle was the visionary all along,” continued Cummings.  “Through a strong focus on organization health, never-ending love for the customer (#saleslove), bold acquisitions of several companies, and masterful fundraising, Kyle operated in one of the most aggressive, yet thoughtful, ways imaginable.”

The RevTech space has some excellent CEOs who match product vision and intelligent growth with passion and a stakeholder perspective.  Besides Porter, the industry is lucky to have Henry Schuck (ZoomInfo CEO), Manny Medina (Outreach CEO), Jon Miller (Founder of Engagio and Marketo and currently the Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase), Sangram Vajre (co-founder of Terminus, author, and leader of the Flip My Funnel movement), and others.

Salesloft supports 4,000 customers, including IBM, Google, Cisco, Shopify, and LinkedIn.

As part of the transaction, Vista will be joining Salesloft’s Board, and Cummings will be exiting it.

Avoma Series A

Conversational Sales vendor Avoma closed on a $12 million Series A led by Headline, with participation from Storm Ventures, Global Founder Capital, Zoom Apps Fund, Operator Partners, Industry Ventures, and existing investors K9 Ventures, Dragon Capital, and Twin Ventures.  Founded in 2017, Avoma has garnered $15 million in total funding.

Avoma combines meeting management, an AI assistant, CRM synchronization, and conversation intelligence into a unified tool.  Other features include meeting snippets, conversational analytics, and keyword searching.

“AI does the first draft, but then you have notes and can go back and highlight notes and provide more context if you need to,” remarked CEO Aditya Kothadiya.

Avoma’s integration partners include

  • CRM: Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zoho
  • Video Collaboration: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet
  • SEP: Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove

The funds will expedite the build-out of their meeting lifecycle assistant.  According to TechCrunch, Avoma will focus on three pillars: AI, user interface, and workflow integrations.   It will invest in its machine learning and natural language processing for notetaking and enhance the user experience.

“Since our launch, we have helped over 300 customers and tens of thousands of professionals save multiple hours per week with AI-generated notes and collaboration and improve meeting outcomes by 30% with actionable insights,” posted Director of Marketing Yaagneshwaran Ganesh on LinkedIn.  “But so far, we have probably accomplished a small percentage of our vision.  Our goal is to not only assist you in notetaking and CRM data entry, but also to help you research attendees, get real-time coaching recommendations, send a follow-up calendar invite, and more.”

Avoma call notes

One of the core value propositions of conversational sales services is their ability to improve the presence of sales reps during calls.  Once relieved of notetaking, sales reps no longer need to delay conversations to jot down notes; instead, they can focus on meeting attendees, gather non-verbal cues, and better manage the discussion flow.

“As a product leader, I was constantly in meetings and spent time taking notes. With every new product, I would hand it over to the customer or product market team but would find that during meetings, I was not listening to what was going on because I was taking notes.  We wanted to apply technology to this so we would make sure nothing was lost.”

Avoma CEO Aditya Kothadiya

Avoma claims that this improved meeting presence results in a thirty percent improvement in meeting outcomes.  Furthermore, reps no longer need to toggle between four or five applications to “prepare for a meeting, take notes, participate, and follow through with participants with action items.”

“With so much context switching and information loss in disparate tools, knowledge professionals spend over 20% of their time on low-value admin tasks,” blogged Kothadiya.  “And that’s why there is an urgent need to streamline and automate workflows across the meeting’s entire lifecycle.”

Avoma is targeting mid-market customers and enjoys “obsessed customers,” according to Jeff Fein, a partner at Headline.  The firm has been using Avoma internally and “loved it.”

“It helped in our own processes, and when we talked to their customers, they were obsessed, many of them saying they could not live without it,” said Fein.  “They said it made their work that much more efficient.  We heard that more consistently, and it piqued our interest in a huge way.”

Avoma has quintupled growth each of the past three years and now supports over three hundred customers.  Success has been built with a lean team of only 15 employees, but the firm plans to quadruple its US and Indian headcount over the next year.  Hiring will focus on the engineering, product, and go-to-market teams.

Gong Previews 2022 Services

Conversational Intelligence vendor Gong previewed a set of product and ecosystem integrations that “solidify its status as the platform for revenue teams.”  New products include Gong Assist for automated task management and Reality-Based Forecasting for improved pipeline projections.  The new Gong Collective supports its expanded universe of partner integrations.

“These moves come as the Gong Reality Platform – which captures and analyzes customer interactions and makes recommendations based on those interactions – continues to improve the performance of customer-facing teams,” stated the firm.

Gong Assist automates sales overhead.

Gong Assist goes beyond task reminders to automate burdensome tasks that steal time away from the primary goals of sales reps: fostering long-term relationships and growing revenue.  For example, instead of simply reminding a rep to set up a meeting or send an email, Gong will draft the email or meeting invite for the rep.  Gong can also tee up congratulatory notes to contacts that have assumed new roles.

Gong Reality-Based Forecasting streamlines pipeline updates.

Gong will also be launching a new Reality-Based Forecasting product that provides “streamlined, bottoms-up forecasting and a fuller look at revenue trends.”  Reps and sales management can view and maintain forecast data directly within Gong instead of toggling to other apps.  In addition, reality-Based Forecasting will automatically remind reps to update forecasts “based on customer interactions that have been captured and analyzed by Gong.”

The Gong Collective is a branding of their partner ecosystem, which supports more than one hundred integrations.  Gong provided details on a few of its partnerships:

  • DocuSign will present contracts within Gong.  It will also alert teams when deals have progressed, but no sales contract has been drafted.
  • Slack Connect, Salesforce’s private channels for customers and partners, are ingested by Gong and treated as an additional engagement signal.

    “Gong and Slack create that digital sales floor where revenue leaders can confidently manage sales teams — motivating and mentoring sales reps remotely, forecasting more accurately, engaging with customers effectively, and closing business more efficiently in a hybrid sales environment,” said Brad Armstrong, SVP of Business Development at Slack.
  • HighSpot and Seismic suggest which content should be shared and Gong gathers visiting analytics “to help customer-facing teams engage effectively and keep deals moving forward.”

“Gong has created raving fans by optimizing the performance of customer-facing teams,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov. “Our new products only add to this value, making the Gong Reality Platform an even more valuable, centralized destination for teams to be successful.”