Outreach Deal Intelligence (Part II)

Continuation from yesterday’s blog on Outreach Deal Intelligence.


The Outreach platform manages and monitors deal health beginning with Sales Development Reps warming up accounts via sequenced outreach.  Once a prospect is ready to speak with an account executive, the meeting is calendared, and relevant stakeholders are notified.  During meetings, Outreach Kaia records, analyzes, and summarizes calls while providing real-time transcription, bookmarking, and insights.

Outreach Kaia also triggers the creation of an opportunity and “recommends a pre-built blueprint for a mutual action plan, known as Success Plans, between buyer and seller.”

Outreach Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability.  They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines.  Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents.  Only invited individuals can participate in the Success Plans.

Outreach claims that two-thirds of buyers have “stopped working with a company mid-deal, simply because the competitor provided a better buying experience.”  Thus, streamlining the document sharing process, framing the timeline, and agreeing on success criteria facilitates the process and improves deal visibility and the likelihood of winning each deal.

“The Success Plan in Outreach is the only integrated mutual action plan that already has all the activity data to date associated with the deal, including the meeting notes and email exchanges.  Combined with the power of AI-captured job titles and sentiment, Success Plans include all the people engaged in the deal on the buying team, along with the milestones, purchasing steps, and resources needed to collaborate on the deal going forward.  Every new meeting booked, stakeholder introduced, and resource shared is automatically synced into the Success Plan.  This takes the administrative tax off the seller and gives them more time to actively sell while ensuring accurate and timely data capture of granular buyer engagement.  Each phase in the Success Plan is pre-configured and linked to a stage in the sales process under the hood. Gone are the days of sales leaders hounding reps for status updates – they are now updated and monitored automatically.”

Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage

As the deal progresses, Outreach captures engagement and sentiment across meetings, emails, and the Success Plan, feeding AI-based deal health insights and recommendations to sales reps and management.  In addition, deal health is aggregated at the team level in Outreach Commit, with projections around which deals are likely to close during the quarter.

Outreach AI Guided Deal Intelligence

Outreach is positioning the new functionality as a “single source of truth for deals, pipeline, and forecasting” that drives “faster deal cycles and more predictable revenue.”  Its platform offers a single solution for sales engagement, conversation intelligence, digital salesrooms, and revenue intelligence.

“Outreach has already demonstrated that by creating operational excellence with a system of action for prospecting, you can optimize your sales processes and qualify more deals, faster,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “Outreach’s new AI-Guided Deal Intelligence demonstrates this again with the closing process – by centralizing the activity around a deal behind a single pane of glass, capturing accurate data and transforming it into deal health insights that drive actions, account executives are more equipped than ever to close more deals, faster, and sales managers, leaders and CROs can sleep soundly knowing they finally have a source of truth for deal health.”

Deal Intelligence will be available for an open beta in early 2022.

Outreach Deal Intelligence

The Outreach Deal Summary provides an opportunity overview, recent activity, and access to Kaia, Commit, and Success Plans.

Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach will be rolling out AI-Guided Deal Intelligence in 2022.  The new Deal Insights functionality provides a consolidated opportunity view that includes a deal overview, deal health, risks, and next best action recommendations from a single pane of glass.

“Deal Intelligence doesn’t just warn you a deal is off track but will actually guide you to help understand what you can do now, in the moment, to change the outcome,” explained Senior Communications Manager Amanda Woolley to GZ Consulting.  “Deal Intelligence is going to reach across the Outreach platform and gather signals from all facets of the platform and throughout the customer journey and move from risk identification into action.”

Many of the components of Deal Intelligence such as Sentiment Analysis, Success Plans, Kaia, Commit, and engagement monitoring already exist in the Outreach platform, with the new Deal Intelligence tying together data and insights from the various modules and summarizing them with deal health and next best action recommendations.

“Built on the foundation of our deep machine learning tools like Kaia, Intent, title classification, and more, Deal Intelligence will help remove some of the “best guesses” we revenue leaders have been doing,” explained Outreach CRO Anna Baird.  “Deal Intelligence will be gathering signals and let us know – not only when we have a risk – but what we can do to change the outcome!  It’s not just a warning light, but a full explanation of how to correct the issue.  Deal Intelligence will bring true transparency to opportunity management and help us get to that predictable revenue goal we all want.”

Deal intelligence is gathered across the deal lifecycle and ongoing customer interactions, including sequences, email sentiment, calendaring, Outreach Kaia (conversational intelligence and real-time recommendations), Success Plans (digital salesrooms), and Outreach Commit (pipeline health and forecasting).

“The current ML model looks at the multiple factors and compares them across benchmarks we have collected to derive the [Health Insights] score,” explained Woolley.  “Some of the key top-level factors included Decision-maker engagement, activity across email and calls, meeting analysis as well as interaction within Success Plan.  For every deal, the ML model determines which factors are positive (‘green flag’) or negative polarity (‘red flag’).”

Both red and green flags are displayed in Deal Intelligence.  The Deal Intelligence service summarizes relevant signals, but “given the number of signals captured, it is very hard for a sales rep to drill through every deal.”  Outreach’s goal is to “surface all the relevant information for the sales rep in a unified view with the ability to drill deeper as well as take action from within Outreach.”

“Sales reps only succeed when they take the right actions to close deals, yet for far too long they have lacked true visibility into the health of their deals and are forced to turn to intuition and guesswork to select the next best actions to take. Sales leaders and reps have to contend with disparate, dated sales technologies as they strive for an accurate understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast.  CRM solutions provide a way to store data but rely on extensive tedious manual data entry from sales reps, often resulting in a “garbage-in garbage-out” situation that does not help reps or managers make confident decisions.  Point solutions like conversation intelligence offer a way to record conversations and glean insights hours or days later, but at best, they can tell what the reps’ next actions in other systems should be. All are failing to deliver deal observability. And none of them give real-time deal intelligence to sales reps and seamlessly automate the next actions all in one continuous experience.  Until now, that is.”

Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage

Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of Outreach deal health analytics across the deal lifecycle.

Mediafly Revenue360

Mediafly recently released Revenue360, a revenue intelligence service that combines “content engagement, buyer intent, and sales activity data for a 360-degree view of opportunity and account health in one visual dashboard.”  The solution helps revenue teams assess opportunity health, improve forecasting, and accelerate revenue.

The dashboard brings together Mediafly’s content analytics with sales activity captured from Salesforce, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics and 6sense intent data.  Mediafly argues that a broader view of engagement is required for analyzing deal health.

“Many companies claim to have revenue intelligence capabilities, but their solutions provide users with only partial intelligence.  In a digital selling environment, sales organizations can no longer rely solely on what happened in the meeting to accurately gauge opportunity health. They also need to understand how buyers engage with content outside of live sales interactions. With the most robust content engagement analytics in the market, Mediafly is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap, offering revenue teams full visibility into insights derived from engagement – or lack thereof – with the content that is presented, shared, and available online.”

Mediafly CEO Carson Conant

Mediafly argues that content engagement is a missing element in deal health analysis, with the average B2B Buyers consuming thirteen pieces of content across their journey.  Mediafly captures content consumption regardless of channel (e.g., in a content hub on the website, presented in a sales meeting, sent as a follow-up). In addition, Mediafly captures the assets viewed, time and duration viewed, and whether it was shared.

“A wealth of data often goes unnoticed in sales pipelines,” said Tom Pisello, chief evangelist at Mediafly. “Unfortunately, many companies rely on partial insights from CRM or qualitative feedback from sales reps following their meetings. While these insights are helpful, revenue teams have an opportunity to secure a holistic view of the entire deal pipeline, breaking down silos and gaining perspective into the overall health of an account. The addition of Revenue360 allows us to consolidate data and provide prescriptive recommendations unlike any platform on the market.”

The service is in limited release, with full availability planned for later this quarter.

Clari Acquires DealPoint

DealPoint Collaboration Flow

Revenue Intelligence platform Clari announced the acquisition of DealPoint.  DealPoint supports deal management and collaboration by enabling “new visibility for sales teams into the connections and agreements between buyers and sellers.” In addition, DealPoint supports deal rooms and Mutual Action Plans (MAPs), helping reduce friction between buyers and sellers and fostering deal alignment.

“With mutual action plans, sales teams can improve alignment with buyers, drive scalable process and rigor, and improve win rates,” said Clari CEO Andy Byrne. “Our acquisition of DealPoint gives Clari customers a new insight they have never had — a view into what buyers are thinking. Combined with our new execution insights, managers and reps will have comprehensive visibility and new inspection capabilities in one unified workspace.”

At the front end of the collaboration, workflow is deal qualification, including defining the pains, processes, and priorities. Next, the teams develop a joint interactive timeline, team maps, and shared team resources (e.g., case studies, requirements, proposals).  Finally, engagement metrics help reps quickly determine “which buyers are engaged, and who’s just kicking the tires.”

DealPoint monitors milestone completion and warns reps when milestones have been missed, helping keep deals on schedule.

“With a MAP, sellers get instant validation on value prop, buyer team, and timeline. Because both sides are operating from an actual plan, frontline managers can see not only what has been done on a deal, but also what hasn’t been done.

In other words, we know which buyers are serious, which deals are going to stall, and what needs to happen to keep everything running smoothly.

Incorporating those buyer signals gives Clari new insight into deal health that will revolutionize deal inspections, resource allocation, and forecast accuracy for frontline managers.”

Tom Williams, Head of DealPoint

Having a joint plan assists with buy-in, providing a psychological edge for the sales team.  “By providing a clear plan to value, you guide the customer journey and keep the conversation focused on fixing their problem with your product,” states DealPoint.  “Buyers adopt your plan as their own, edging out competitors and reducing surprises.”

Sales Managers also benefit from instituting a repeatable process.  According to DealPoint, 50% of reps quickly abandon new methodologies.  Thus, streamlining the methodology helps ensure buy-in and compliance.

Once integrated with Clari, managers will have even more confidence in forecasts based upon milestone tracking.  Additionally, managers can ask reps what needs to be done to bring the deal back on plan, and sales reps can ask similar questions to buyers, helping foster shared accountability.

Customer Success teams benefit from smooth handoffs and pre-defined expectations.

DealPoint argues that taking a set of small steps helps foster trust that reduces perceived buyer risk as milestones are met.  Likewise, collaborating on a joint plan helps build relationships between the revenue team and the buying committee.

DealPoint comes with the MEDDIC methodology out of the box, but users can implement others.

DealPoint is priced at $59 per rep per month on an annual contract.  Seats include an unlimited number of customers and Mutual Action Plans. In addition, DealPoint is integrated with Salesforce and HubSpot.

Deal Rooms are a logical extension of Revenue Intelligence as they facilitate communications between sales reps, customer success, and buyers.  Collaboration also aligns buyers and sellers, fosters collaboration, reduces the probability of surprises, improves forecast confidence, and gooses close rates.

The integrated Deal Room GA is scheduled for Q4.  Acquisition terms were not announced.

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.

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.

D&B: Pipeline Health Analysis for Risk Reduction and Targeting Ideal Customers

Dun & Bradstreet, which has been running pipeline health analyses for its clients over the past three weeks, assessed over 35 million accounts across 125 pipelines.  They found that 21% of accounts were subject to high financial risk based on several factors: slow payment, bankruptcy, unpaid debt, and business viability, a statistic which VP of Product Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Solutions Dennis Olcay called “jarring:”

“We continue to keep a close eye on this number, but that is a jarring statistic that demands attention as it relates to go-to-market strategies,” wrote Olcay.

“The dominant theme of our customer conversations today is how to be both sensitive and impactful in the new environment.  We have found the new environment has unleashed entirely new forms of sales and marketing campaigns – far less driven by self-positioning and more characterized by seeking to meet customers where they are.”

Digital Marketing Solutions CRO Michael McCarroll

Dun & Bradstreet offered a high-level risk segmentation based upon SIC codes and each industry’s risk profile (see chart on the right).  Industries were stratified across five categories: Essential businesses (e.g. food supply, hospitals), Supports Remote (i.e. businesses which were able to transition to WFH), requires contact (e.g. hospitality, entertainment), delivery-based retail (e-commerce, e-delivery, logistics), and central production (e.g. manufacturing, natural resource extraction). 

Dun & Bradstreet cautions that simple SIC analysis is only the first pass in performing a risk assessment.  Firms may be in the same industry but have different go-to-market and operational strategies that impact their risk profile.  Another factor is their exposure to supply chain and customer risk.

“Despite the promise of MarTech to enable speed and scale for your go-to-market strategy, this is a time to hit the pause button and rethink your go-to-market approach,” cautioned Olcay.  “Don’t sacrifice tailored messaging for the sake of scale and speed to market – the additional thought you put in now to think about fit, intent, and risk will pay dividends when your audiences notice you’re empathizing with them and offering real value that aligns to the specific challenges they are experiencing.”

And Dun & Bradstreet isn’t the only firm that is promoting pipeline analyses for its clients. Zoominfo is offering a similar service which I will cover in my next blog. If you don’t know where to find revenue in June and Q3, a pipeline analysis is an excellent place to start.

Dun & Bradstreet and DueDil (UK) are offering industry barometers to help refine your targeting. Vertical IQ is offering industry-specific pandemic analysis as part of its industry overviews. Experian is providing a regional and industry analysis by risk level.

And on the marketing side, HubSpot has been publishing weekly marketing metrics for their 70,000 customers. Data includes deal open rates, deal close rates, email prospecting, site visit rates etc. Users can even drill down by segment and country to benchmark their sales and marketing performance against peers. The most recent analysis is for the week of May 18.

Gong Deal Intelligence

Conversation Intelligence vendor Gong announced the availability of Deal Intelligence, their new AI-driven insights service that provides a “clear, up-to-date view” of deal status, recent interactions, and at-risk deals.  Deal Intelligence also helps sales managers provide targeted coaching and assess pipeline activity.

“Deal Intelligence allows us to do quicker pipeline inspections and validate with a third party that we really are where we say we are in the process,” said Armen Zildjian, VP of Sales at Drift.  “It is not to micromanage but to continue to coach and give reps the next best step with the customer, so we really can rely on that business.”

New features include

  • Deal Board:  Quickly understand which deals are healthy and which require immediate attention.
  • Deal Warnings: Spot warning signs such as a lack of recent activity and close date in the past.  Planned warnings include no future calls scheduled and no decision-maker involved.
  • Account Page: Centralizes deal-related interactions across email, web conference, and phone to proactively identify risks and review conversations
  • Engagement Map: Ensures that a deal is multi-threaded and that reps are engaged with the right people in the right way.

“Consider what can be done when you have every phone call, email, and customer interaction automatically captured and the ability to analyze those interactions.  It will allow organizations to get a sharper picture of prospect intent and where an account is in the sales process.”

TOPO Sales Analyst Dan Gottlieb

Pipeline Analytics and deal risk are an emerging category of sales analytics.  Firms such as Gong, Costello (recently acquired by SalesLoft), and Clari provide a single-pane view for identifying deal risk, assessing multi-threaded engagement, and conducting pipeline reviews.

Deal Intelligence is available to all current customers as part of their core offering.  Admins must turn on email sync from popular clients such as G Suite and Microsoft 365.  Sales Engagement partners include SalesLoft, Outreach, Groove, and Xant.

Deal Intelligence is view-only and does not support Opportunity record updating.  CRM sync is a planned feature.  

Gong supports a broad set of conferencing and dialing tools, including Zoom, UberConference, BlueJeans, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Join.Me, RingCentral, Dialpad, Amazon Connect, Google Meet, and Skype.

Gong does not publish any pricing and simply states that pricing is based upon “how many recorded reps you have,” not the number of listeners.