Flash: Demandbase Acquires InsideView and DemandMatrix

ABX Platform vendor Demandbase acquired InsideView and DemandMatrix, providing it with an established and well-regarded Sales Intelligence platform, company and contact data, technographics, and data hygiene capabilities.  The acquisitions follow on last year’s acquisition of ABM Platform Engagio, which was unified with Demandbase as part of the Q4 Demandbase One platform release.

“It’s a feeling of expansion, born of learning so much from our customers, and born of the digital transformation that has happened in the last year,” said Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol.  “This is an intentional step for us beyond being solely an ABM leader and into broader B2B go-to-market. That’s important because ABM is just a part of the go-to-market challenges that B2B companies face.”

The new services are packaged as an ABM Suite consisting of four clouds: ABX, Advertising, Sales Intelligence, and Data.  Customers will have the flexibility to order various elements of the suite, selecting the clouds and services that fit their needs.

“Our focus has been on building the most complete ABM solution (we call it ABX, because it’s not just marketing),” said Rogol, “and that was the impetus behind acquiring Engagio, putting a lot of the top of funnel and lower funnel stuff together.  That will still be important.”

While some may view this as Demandbase growing beyond ABX, it is an opportunity for them to complete the ABX vision.  I have long been critical of Demandbase’s limited framing of ABM within the marketing department.  While they acquired Spiderbook, a small sales intelligence vendor, a few years ago, it withered on the vine and is no longer mentioned by the firm.  InsideView provides them with an opportunity to realize ABX as a complete customer lifecycle solution.  There are still missing elements such as sales engagement tools and chatbots, but they are now working on a much wider canvas.

Demandbase is in a sprint to establish the ABX platform space against vendors such as Terminus, 6Sense, and Dun & Bradstreet.  It has been using the ABM three-letter acronym for a dozen years and was a lonely voice extolling ABM for half of that time, arguing for a shift from demand generation marketing to account-based strategies.  Earlier this year, it shifted from ABM to ABX (Account Based Experience), which places a greater emphasis on long-term relationships with customers and the broader revenue team (sales, marketing, customer success).

“We’re proud to join forces with these two great companies. Our vision is bold. We are transforming how B2B companies go to market, helping them deliver great experiences at every stage of the account journey. This requires great data — and we now have the premium B2B data and intelligence solutions to help companies identify, understand, and engage their customers and prospects. With this move, Demandbase moves from being ‘just’ a leader in account-based programs to being the definitive leader in B2B go-to-market…

These new offerings let us work even more flexibly with our customers. Customers can mix and match to focus on the areas most important for them, whether that’s data embedded to their existing systems, or advertising, or sales intelligence, or a full account-based transformation. We are moving aggressively to deliver on this mission, and no company will move faster than us to achieve it.”

Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol

Acquiring InsideView and DemandMatrix strengthens its position in both marketing and sales.  Furthermore, InsideView’s sales triggers provide Demandbase customers with a rich set of talking points for account managers and customer success teams, letting them know if there are executive changes, M&A events, new partnerships, etc.

Demandbase One added the Sales Intelligence and Data Clouds with this week’s acquisitions.

Demandbase, which offers an ABX Cloud and an Advertising Cloud, now supports a Data Cloud and Sales Intelligence Cloud.  The Sales Intelligence Cloud is based upon InsideView and supports:

  • Prospect Finder – A traditional list-building feature for company and contact data.  Along with firmographic and biographic data, the InsideView prospect finder includes connection variables (Who Know Who “six degrees”), sales triggers (17 + custom variables), data availability (e.g., LinkedIn Connections, Email), and suppression lists.
  • Browser Extension – A Chrome extension for quick lookup and prospecting.  The extension displays InsideView company and contact profiles from LinkedIn, company websites, and CRMs.  Records may be sent to the CRM or Sales Engagement Platforms.
  • News and Social Insights – InsideView publishes daily email alerts based upon their sales triggers.  As these are event-based, most company noise (e.g., stock price fluctuations, scores for teams playing at branded stadia) is removed and duplicates suppressed.  They also support inline social media viewing for Facebook, Twitter, and Company Blogs.  Inline viewing helps account managers and customer success teams stay abreast of key accounts.  It also assists marketing and CI professionals in monitoring key partners and competitors.
  • Corporate Hierarchies – Family trees assist with lead-to-account mapping, selling deeper into an organization, and ensuring that leads are accurately scored and routed.

The Data Cloud consists of Demandbase, InsideView, and DemandMatrix assets.  InsideView contributes close to 100 million global contacts and 17 million companies.  DemandMatrix supports technographics (current tech stack, future technology needs, technology-based skill set trends, cloud consumption revenue, and IT Spend). 

Other Data Cloud services include Demandbase Account Identification, InsideView Apex (ICP Discovery and Expansion), InsideView Data Integrity hygiene tools, and the InsideView API.

“For the last 15 years, we’ve been focused on empowering our customers to experience rapid revenue growth through the power of data.  InsideView’s leadership in sales intelligence made it clear to us years ago that stronger ties between sales and marketing lead to more revenue—and data is the key. By joining forces with Demandbase, we’re combining our legacy and leadership in sales, and the industry’s freshest, most reliable data, with leading marketing technology. Our customers will be able to do more with data across more B2B revenue channels from sales, to advertising, to account-based campaigns. We’re taking the convergence of data and workflow to the next level.”

InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti

InsideView was highly rated in The Forrester Wave B2B Marketing Data Providers Q2 2021 report, scoring a five (highest score) across 14 of Forrester’s 24 evaluation criteria.  Among the categories in which they excelled were data management, data coverage, and customer support.

Rogol emphasized the value of technographics for enterprise technology companies, saying that “for technology companies, the number one feature in a data science model is what technologies your prospect owns.”

“B2B data is complex, and customers consistently ask us for help with their data stack,” said DemandMatrix CEO Meetul Shah. “We started with further innovating technographic data to give customers valuable insights into their prospects and what other technologies they might buy. By now being part of the Demandbase Data Cloud, we’ll be able to provide customers access throughout the B2B data stack to help them realize their revenue goals.”

Both Milletti and Shah will continue running their respective businesses and join the Demandbase executive team as general managers.  The two subsidiaries will operate separately, but the firm will consolidate the data across the offerings.

Acquisition prices for the two firms were not disclosed.  The InsideView service lists its revenue at $30.5 million and 275 employees, which has remained stable over the past few years.  DemandMatrix is listed at $3.0 million in revenue with 90 employees.

InsideView’s self-profile (May 4, 2021)

“At Demandbase, our vision is bold. We are transforming how B2B companies go to market, helping them deliver great experiences at every stage of the account journey.  This requires great data,” said Demandbase.  “We now have the premium B2B data and intelligence solutions to help companies identify, understand, and engage their customers and prospects. With this move, Demandbase goes from being ‘just’ a leader in account-based programs to being the definitive leader in B2B go-to-market.”

InsideView and DemandMatrix customers benefit from the more extensive go-to-market capabilities of their parent.  The DemandMatrix suite helps customers:

  • Design and orchestrate their entire buyer’s journey across marketing and sales
  • Personalize their website experience, track account-level engagement, and attribute revenue
  • Deliver account-based display, native, and social media advertising that is brand safe for B2B
  • Target and segment their market

Rogol admitted that the integration work would not be easy.  “Obviously, we still have a lot of the execution work ahead. One thing to point out is that these are different types of acquisitions than Engagio. With Engagio, the goal was to get to the most comprehensive ABM platform. These are adjacent expansions, so they’re going to operate as standalone businesses pretty much.”

Barb Mosher Zinck of Diginomica was bullish on the transactions, calling it a “smart move” to consolidate the data from three companies under a single platform.  “It’s essentially a Customer Data Platform (CDP) without the CDP name (and some CDP capabilities), providing all the critical information sales and marketing need to find the right accounts and contacts within those accounts. The intelligence DemandMatrix brings on technology is key, as is the ability from InsideView to see when things are changing in a company.”

“I also like that Demandbase has broadened its offering from only account-based marketing to sales intelligence because the two groups are tightly aligned,” continued Mosher Zinck.  “These two solutions can operate separately but bringing them together under the same umbrella with access to the same data is key to ensuring a company-wide focus on customer experience.”


The following Market Flash published on May 4th to my newsletter subscribers. I also offer a detailed InsideView product review for purchase ($349).

Cyance Funding Round (Part II)

Cyance Account-level Intent Insights for first and third-party intent.

(Continued from yesterday’s article)

Cyance’s intent signals are gathered from 55,000 publisher sites and capture 24 billion monthly events.  Six months of trend data are analyzed. Cyance intent monitoring supports six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch, with additional languages planned.  Roughly 40% of signals are gathered from Europe, 40% North America, and 15% AsiaPac.

Cyance already tracks 140,000 intent keywords and allows new custom keywords to be defined for each customer.  Keywords are then mapped to custom topics which reflect each customer’s products, services, and value proposition.  Custom keyword tracking allows for greater granularity and transparency in their intent data and enables the accurate identification of intent signals and custom topics.  Additional global, unified taxonomies are scheduled for a Q3 release.

Our proprietary, highly accurate intent data and ABX platform means our customers’ sales teams have more targeted insights based on the most accurate, geographical data possible at their fingertips.  In this way, we enable better conversions throughout each stage of the sales funnel, as well as helping them to retain and grow their existing accounts. For large organisations seeking to successfully identify and close new clients, having the right data is crucial.  Other intent data providers on the market today simply aren’t capable of providing sales teams a fully customisable view into what their prospects and clients are searching for in large-scale enterprise IT solutions.  At Cyance, we fill the gap in the market for European buyers seeking regional intent data that provides highly accurate, GDPR compliant insights into user intent.”

Cyance CEO Bulent Osman

Cyance has firmographic information for 100 million companies and locations (along with linkage for rolling up intent) and intent signals for 40 to 50 million global companies.  Firmographic information is supplemented by technographics and GDPR-compliant contact data licensed from a well-regarded European vendor.

Cyance supports both FIT (Firmographic, Intent, and Technographic) and TCR (Timing, Context, and Relevance) models.  FIT models combine an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) with behavioral account scores that trend intent over time, looking for spikes in activity.  To simplify intent data for sales reps, they employ a semaphore (colored light) display system. 

TCR analyzes Timing, Context, and Relevance in determining intent:

  • Timing looks at the buying stage of the intent behavior to help improve the prioritization of accounts subject to customer/prospect strategy mode (e.g., acquisition, retention, or expansion).  Cyance weights intent signals that are mapped to a buying stage.
  • Context combines buying stage with the best-fit personae most likely behind the research at each buying stage.
  • Relevance maps all intent signals to customer topics (customer products or value propositions).  This makes it easier for customer teams to translate behavior into best-fit product and content alignment.

TCR maps intent signals to buyer stage (early, mid, late) and value proposition, enabling acquisition and expansion intent to be treated differently than retention intent.  Acquisition and expansion look at current activity vs. baseline for early buyer stage, while retention looks for mid-to-late research signals, indicating an existing customer may be researching competitive solutions. 

Cyance supports integrations with Salesforce, Drift, and HubSpot, with Outreach and Marketo coming soon.  For programmatic, Cyance offers integrations with LinkedIn Campaign Manager, LiveRamp, Avocet, and theTradeDesk.

Cyance’s primary customers are in technology and financial services.  85% of its revenue is generated in Europe and 15% in North America.

Cyance does not disclose its pricing but bases it on the geography licensed and the product tier. Cyance is headquartered in the UK, with remote sales reps on the continent

Cyance Funding Round

Cyance list of accounts with spiking intent.

European third-party intent data vendor Cyance closed on an £860,000 funding round that included existing investors Blackfinch Ventures and Nexus Investments.  The funds will be deployed for ongoing product and market expansion, including enterprise customer expansion in Europe and ABX platform development.

Last year, the firm doubled its headcount, grew revenue by 18%, and raised ACV by 30%.  It also shifted from being an intent data vendor to an ABX platform.  As with many other MarTech vendors, revenue flattened in Q2 of last year and began growing again in the second half of the year.  They have built significant momentum in 2021 and are on pace to nearly double ARR this year.

“The fact that we’ve seen such solid commercial and financial performance over the past 12 months, despite the tough market conditions, demonstrates the appetite for accurate and localised intent data and the enormous potential within this market.  And as businesses start to look beyond the pandemic and the economic recovery gathers pace, we expect demand to increase further.  Taking on this new investment allows us to strengthen our team and further invest in our product.  We’re now perfectly placed to take advantage of these new opportunities and cement our position as the leading ABX platform with unique intent data for European buyers.”

Cyance CEO Bulent Osman

According to CPO Jon Clarke, Cyance is “rapidly building out an ABX platform proposition” that drives better decisioning and aligns sales and marketing teams.  The platform serves both sales and marketing teams, promoting revenue team collaboration, cohesion, and efficiency with a unified versus siloed data platform.

As with other vendors that have recently begun using ABX instead of ABM, Cyance emphasizes account-based programs and processes across the full revenue team and customer life cycle.  ABM has long emphasized sales and marketing alignment, but the bulk of product development has been marketing-centric.  The shift to ABX captures both the broader vision of ABM and a greater emphasis upon the customer experience across the full lifecycle.

“Cyance has transformed account-based marketing by developing and integrating a sophisticated SaaS solution with global, third-party intent data which addresses the needs of the European market,” said Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch Ventures.  “They have demonstrated solid growth from global B2B brands in the last 12 months, despite the challenging times we find ourselves in.  We’re excited to continue supporting Cyance as it helps some of the world’s leading companies to transform their demand generation and account-based marketing programs and achieve more efficient ROI.”

Their January release sports improved intent signal tailoring and segmentation, beefed up technographics, new customer dashboards, and improved service and support.  The platform offers an updated UI, enhanced ICP definition, and buying journey stage identification.


Coverage continues with a discussion of Cyance’s database and intent models.

Bombora Growth Capital Financing; Implements BERT

First and third-party intent data vendor Bombora closed on $20 million in growth capital financing from Runway Growth Capital.  The cash infusion “will be used to help Bombora capitalize on market opportunities, build stronger partner relationships, and accelerate its pace of innovation.”

The funds will help them expand data partnerships across the sales and marketing ecosystem. 

“We want to make it easier for brands and their agencies to use it in their own stacks and chosen solutions, and for our platform partners to enhance the value of their own offerings,” said Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.

The firm is also looking to “deliver solutions that enable addressable advertising across the cookieless landscape for publishers and partners alike,” Matlick told Adweek.

“The B2B intent data market is growing quickly, and marketers are seeking better, more efficient ways to identify and engage with in-market prospects. We have been impressed with Bombora’s expertise, and its ‘data collective’ approach really stood out to us in the market.  This partnership adds to Runway’s already strong history of supporting key players in the data and marketing technology space and we are excited to have Bombora join our portfolio.”

Mark Donnelly, Managing Director, Head of Origination at Runway

In other news, Bombora announced that it implemented BERT-based natural language processing in its intent categorization, resulting in a 26% increase in topic prediction.  BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) looks at the context of each occurrence of a word.

“Bombora’s engineers and data scientists never stop looking for ways to serve our customers better,” said Bombora Data Science VP Nicholaus Halecky, Ph.D. “The BERT-based B2B Topic Classifier demonstrates a substantial performance increase in Company Surge intent signal quality, and we know this will improve our customers’ business results.”

The BERT implementation was spearheaded by former PwC and DialogTech data scientist Amber McKenzie, Ph.D., who joined Bombora as VP Data Science. BERT is an open-sourced NLP developed by Google.  It was implemented in Google Search in late 2019 and has since been deployed by Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wayfair.  BERT distinguishes meaning by assessing word order context, seeing the difference in meaning between “the stock of apples has dropped” and “Apple’s stock has dropped.”

Demandbase ABX Personalization

Demandbase, which reframed itself as an Account Based Experience platform last month, announced a pair of enhancements to its service: Site Customization and Form Enrichment.  Site Customization lets marketers display “unique site experiences for their target account” based upon more granular segmentation (e.g., firmographics, intent, website activity).

Other customization enhancements include

  • Preview links for stakeholder review before release
  • Account list targeting with personalized ads
  • Tailored landing pages based upon the stage of the buying journey

The website can be personalized based upon industry, stage, geography, company size, or other variables.  Messaging, CTAs, collateral, and creative elements can be customized based upon the visitor.

“The creative elements and the experience you want to give to your customer or prospect are up to you,” blogged Demandbase Director of Product Marketing Ruth Juni.  “One thing is for sure: Taking the time to think through the messaging from the consumer’s perspective will ensure you’re delivering the right message to the consumer at the right time.”

Marketers can also display unique web form designs with minimal field display.  Demandbase then enriches the submitted form with additional prospect details.

“ABX is rooted in an intense focus on the customer at every stage of the buying cycle, using intelligent insights to know when and how to engage, and what to say to each account,” said Jon Miller, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase.  “Your website is one of the most important interactions a customer or prospect can have with your brand, which is why it’s critical that your website experience should be as personalized as email or other channels.  Our new features for Demandbase Personalization make it easy to deliver the right website experience and elevate the entire journey.”

According to Gartner, 98% of marketers argue that personalization enhances customer relationships. “Gartner is predicting that smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 25% by 2023,” said Demandbase Product VP Seth Myers.  “Personalization is taking center stage in business today.  This makes the case even more for our enhanced Personalization product and its industry-leading features that treat personalization as seriously as it should be treated. We’re bound and determined to keep anticipating what our customers want and need, in order to continue to elevate ABX.”

A screenshot of the Demandbase One Dashboard showing the top trending Intent keywords over 12 weeks.

6sense Reaches Unicorn Status

6sense Funding Rounds (Source: Crunchbase)

Sales Engagement vendor 6sense closed on a $125 million Series D that valued the firm at $2.1 billion.  The round was led by D1 Capital, with Sapphire Ventures and Tiger Global joining.  Existing investor Insight Partners participated as well.

A few years ago, 6sense described itself as a predictive analytics company.  When the predictive analytics segment failed to gain significant traction, it rebranded as an ABM Orchestration Platform.  The other predictive analytics companies rebranded as CDPs or were acquired for their technology.

Repositioning as an ABM platform proved prescient as 6sense now competes head-to-head with Terminus and Demandbase, two other very successful ABM Platforms.  Terminus closed on a $90 million Series C in February, and Demandbase is also well funded, setting up a market share land grab for ABM Platforms.

6sense has doubled in size each of the past three years, setting the stage for its unicorn round.  Forrester named them a leader in its Q2 2020 Wave Report on ABM Platforms, where 6Sense scored highest on current offering and tied with Terminus on strategy.

“6sense has made significant progress since our first evaluation of this market in 2018 — and now offers a comprehensive solution, matched by an aggressive vision, roadmap, and market approach,” wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Steven Casey.

Customer conversations are a critical part of our due diligence process, and the feedback from 6sense customers is among the best we’ve heard.  Improving revenue results is a goal for every business, but it’s easier said than done. The way 6sense consistently creates value for customers made it clear that they deliver a unique, must-have solution for B2B revenue teams.”

Dan Sundheim, Chief Investment Officer at D1 Capital Partners

6sense will invest the funds in market growth and product development, including its data layer, machine learning-based next best action recommendations, and scaling its “AI-based orchestration capabilities to deliver ideal customer journeys based on data and insights.”

The round comes 15 months after a $40 million Series C led by Insight Partners.  Pitchbook indicates that the firm was valued at only $300 million in January 2020.  6sense is on track for another year of 100% plus growth after inking deals with 100 new customers in Q4.

“We’re doubling down on our investment because we’ve seen the 6sense team consistently execute against their plans for the past year and a half, and we witness firsthand the results the platform delivers every day for our portfolio of high growth companies,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “Being the leader in account-based sales and marketing technology ideally positions 6sense to unlock additional market opportunities, and we’re confident that they have the vision and track record to forge the future of revenue technology.”

CEO Jason Zintak sees a broader vision for the company than SalesTech, MarTech, or AdTech, describing his firm as a RevTech company.

“Our AI is focused on signal, identifying companies that are in the market to buy something,” Zintak told TechCrunch. “Once you have that, you can sell to them.”

RevTech looks to unify the marketing, sales, RevOps, and customer success groups within the revenue team and align them behind selling to the right buyers at the right time.  Firms still struggle with identifying prospects that are the ideal fit, much less properly timing their prospect outreach.

“This is both a data and execution problem. One can’t be untethered from the other,” blogged Zintak.  “I’ve long believed there is a tremendous opportunity to solve this problem and move the sales and marketing technology world away from outdated tools, and usher in a new era of B2B platforms that will fundamentally change the way companies go to market. We’re already seeing account-based tech, sales tech, and legacy marketing tech categories beginning to converge into a massive market that will only continue to grow. I also believe 6sense is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and deliver the transformation our industry is so hungry for.”

Thus, 6Sense looks to provide the go-to-market platform that delivers a “comprehensive B2B go-to-market with data, insights, and orchestration capabilities at the core.”

6Sense identifies the best-fit accounts and supports prospect timing via intent-based prediction models.  6sense claims that its customers:

  • Raise their average deal size by 35%.
  • Increase their opportunity conversion rate by 20%.
  • Reduce deal-cycle time by 20%.

Zintak argues that the alignment problem is exacerbated by multiple tech stacks with data and functional silos that “optimize” around subsets of the revenue problem.

The MarTech landscape is teeming with micro-solutions for every nagging problem the marketing automation platform vendors aren’t able to solve (or they themselves created). SalesTech is no different. Your CRM wasn’t built to facilitate decision-making; it was built to store records. Add RevOps and customer success teams into the mix, and the people, process, and technology alignment challenges grow exponentially, as more data becomes siloed and disconnected from execution.”

6Sense CEO Jason Zintak

“AI generally is a buzzword, but here it is a key part of the solution, the brand behind the platform,” said Teddie Ward of Insight Partners.  “Instead of having massive funnels, 6sense switches the whole thing around. Catching the right person at the right time and in the right context make sales and marketing more effective.  And the AI piece is what really powers it. It uses signals to construct the buyer journey and tell the salesperson when it is the right time to engage.”

“We invest heavily in sales and marketing technology, and 6sense is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Sapphire Ventures partner Rajeev Dham.  “We’ve always viewed 6sense as a market leader with the ability to execute on their bold vision of transforming sales and marketing with data-driven insights and orchestration capabilities.  6sense is already the leading account-based sales and marketing platform, and they are poised to define and deliver the future of revenue technology that every B2B organization needs.”

Post-Pandemic Business Travel

There does not appear to be a big rush back to business travel after the pandemic, with demand remaining below the $1.4 trillion commercial spend through 2025, according to the Global Business Travelers Association (GBTA).  Only 27% of US companies expect to be spending money on travel over the next six months.

A Fortune Analytics survey found that only 67% of business professionals that traveled for work pre-pandemic plan to resume previous levels.

These results line up with the stated trend towards Work from Anywhere (WFH), with companies no longer looking to maintain traditional five-day-a-week office settings.  A January Deloitte survey found that 75% of CEOs are considering reducing their commercial space requirements.  

Companies have learned how to coordinate activities internally and with customers and partners digitally.  The need to press the flesh doesn’t seem as vital as it did pre-pandemic.

“The outcomes of meetings held on Zoom vs. those held in person are not that much different, but the costs are night-and-day different,” said Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. “It will be hard to justify the costs that were once supported.”

Management Consultancy Oliver Wyman contends that business professionals have found video conferencing and other digital communications tools to be sufficient in maintaining commercial relationships.

The GBTA noted that the pandemic’s impact was ten-times that of 9-11 and the 2008 financial crisis.  After those events, there were also concerns that commercial travel wouldn’t bounce back, but digital channels are much more mature now, and the extended WFH time has normalized video conferencing.

It’s “our expectation that business travel will lag consumer travel,” said Jeff Campbell, CFO of American Express Co., on an earnings call.  

Amazon, which spent $1 billion on travel annually, commented that its “sales teams found new ways to reach customers.”

Forrester Principal Analyst Peter Ostrow suggests that initially, there will be pent-up demand for business travel as individuals yearn to get out of the house. Still, he cautions that this should be a temporary burst, not a return to pre-pandemic travel volume.  Companies should ask three questions for determining the appropriate volume and rationales for travel:

  1. What do Buyers and Customers Prefer?  Not every meeting, particularly those involving disparate buying team members, should be face-to-face.  B2B Sales should recognize that B2B purchasing has adapted over the past year as well.
  2. How Have We Made Things Work Remotely? “Sales leaders must determine what adaptations have supported more productive sales motions, rep productivity, adoption of top-down initiatives, and desired changes in seller behavior.” Being remote has allowed reps to develop new remote selling skills (e.g., prospecting, presentation) that should be retained.  Likewise, CROs should consider whether SDRs should be centralized, or are they better off not commuting each day?  Be careful not to let the voices of those underperformed during WFH drown out those reps who have excelled in the new environment.
  3. What Does the Data Say? Review the data and determine which personas were more or less accessible during WFH, which pipeline stages were faster or slower during WFH, and which product lines suffered due to the loss of in-person pitches.

Failing to address these questions could result in the loss of many of the digital efficiency gains that have sustained B2B sales over the past year.

In short, Ostrow suggests that research and data guide travel decision-making.  Just as companies are re-evaluating the need for centralized offices vs. hybrid models or fully remote staffing, travel decisions should be re-evaluated as well.  Field Sales and weekly exhibitions in different cities have always been expensive propositions.  The focus should be on adopting the most effective interactions, whether remote or face-to-face, for driving long-term revenue growth.     

Remote work also has a demographic impact, with professionals decamping from New York, Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco for Miami, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and Denver.  There are even a set of “Zoom Towns” such as Boulder, CO, Tulsa, OK, and the Hudson Valley (NY) benefiting from in-migration.

“The rise of remote work changes that equation [between work and home locations]—not in all sectors of the economy but in more than ever before. Skilled techies and knowledge workers, in particular, can enjoy the kind of freedom and flexibility that used to be available only to successful novelists, artists and inventors—the ability to work when and where they want to.  They can increasingly “vote with their feet,” selecting the kinds of places that best meet their needs without worrying about what they can earn in the local labor market.  Families may gravitate to smaller cities, updated suburbs or rural areas with outdoor amenities, while ambitious young professionals fresh out of college or graduate school are likely to continue flocking to urban centers for entry-level jobs and social life.”

Richard Florida and Adam Ozimek, “How Remote Work Is Reshaping America’s Urban Geography,” Wall Street Journal (March 5, 2011)

And WFH has not been a productivity loss, but a net positive as workers are no longer saddled with long commutes and water cooler chitchat.  Stanford University economist Nick Bloom found as much as a 2.5% productivity lift from remote work.

According to Outreach CEO Manny Medina, 70 to 80% of buyers want a digital experience.

From a sales and marketing perspective, many of the digital practices that boosted SalesTech and MarTech industry revenues over the past year are likely to continue.  There will still be field sales reps calling on top prospects, but there will be more video conferencing and fewer face-to-face meetings than before.  Likewise, tradeshows and user conferences are likely to be smaller or operate more as roadshows rather than large events.  Tent pole events, such as Dreamforce, will return, but less popular events may downsize or remain virtual.  And even the tent-poles are likely to be hybrid events.  For example, Dreamforce has always recorded and posted its sessions for virtual viewing, so will likely combine live and digital best practices at future events.

XANT: Inbound Lead Response Rates

In March 2011, the Harvard Business Review published “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads,” which discovered that companies were slow to respond to sales leads, and there were considerable benefits from rapid responses.  The study is often cited, but there was little subsequent data to determine whether these issues and opportunities still held.  Fortunately, XANT recently replicated the study, looking at three years of inbound lead response and contact rates.

The new study analyzed 55 million sales activities at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT. “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times, the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

“Leads sit, go cold, and revenue slips,” warns XANT.

To address the slow response problem, XANT added a shared record option to their Sales Engagement Platform.  The goal is to work every lead with named accounts properly routed and other leads delivered to a shared pool with priority leads immediately offered to reps.   XANT provides AI tools and a rules-engine to auto-assign leads from target accounts and load others into a shared pool with prioritized leads labeled urgent.  The top-rated leads are then offered to the sales team on a round-robin basis, ensuring that all reps have access to top leads and that priority leads have rapid response rates.

“With records in a shared pool, reps won’t get bogged down or locked out,” said XANT. “High-performing reps can blow through their leads quickly and continuously draw from the shared pool.”

XANT describes Shared Leads as another robot that improves the efficacy of sales reps.

“Whereas many treat automation as a way to email spam, we treat it as an enhancement to improve engagement and sales,” explained XANT Head of Product Mark Littlefield. “The basics of Robots include auto-enrolling records, opportunity funnel progression, prioritizing tasks, triggering reps to customer events, performing reliable data entry, and a lot more.  With Shared Records, we’re bringing teams the flexibility to compile records into shared folders or automatically assign them to the right reps so they can accelerate their speed-to-lead and their time-to-value.”

Terminus – Outreach Integration

ABM Platform Terminus and Sales Engagement Platform Outreach rolled out an integrated solution to enhance ABM workflows based on shared account data and personalized messaging.  Terminus account data identifies “high-value accounts in real-time to easily kick off highly personalized sequences to the accounts that their marketing teams are targeting.” Outreach multi-channel sequences have been tied into Terminus chat, email signature advertising, and website personalization, providing a personalized customer experience and account-based routing.

“It’s our mission to help marketing and sales together drive full-funnel account engagement,” said Terminus CEO Tim Kopp.  “Now with Terminus, Outreach customers can leverage the powerful account intelligence available in Terminus along with their existing sales engagement programs.   This makes it easier than ever for marketing and sales to better engage with the right accounts and deliver a cohesive experience at every point of the customer journey.”

The integration helps promote sales and marketing alignment through shared data and messaging tools that reduce the friction across email, website, and chat.  

“Meaningful revenue growth happens when sales and marketing are completely aligned and focusing on the accounts that matter most,” remarked Terminus Marketing VP Justin Keller. “Most of the time, that’s easier said than done, but we’re extremely jazzed about this integration because it makes that alignment simple and automatic.”

Terminus’ Chat from Anywhere functionality, based on their 2020 Ramble acquisition, routes chats to the most appropriate sales rep.  Chat from Anywhere links may be embedded in Outreach emails as a CTA.  The chatbot initially manages the conversation before routing the chat to the sales rep.  If the rep isn’t available, the bot can offer to schedule a meeting, offer content, or qualify the prospect.

Chat conversation logs are stored within Outreach notes.

Along with email, Terminus Chat from Anywhere links can be embedded in LinkedIn, Twitter, Landing Pages, etc.

“Rather than an asynchronous back-and-forth on email, you can pull the people you’re emailing directly into a live conversation with your sales team where they can provide a highly-personalized experience based on the account data available from Terminus,” blogged Keller.

The partnership also supports email banner marketing based upon Terminus’ Sigstr acquisition.  Terminus can embed targeted, personalized ads within the signature block of sequenced emails. “This capability opens up a massive new advertising channel ready to promote your most important initiatives,” wrote Keller.  “From general promotion of things like content or events, to targeted one-to-one campaigns that garner outrageous engagement.”

Conversations that originate on a website are now automatically routed to the appropriate account owner in Outreach.  Based on the conversation, those visitors can be automatically enrolled in Outreach sequences to ensure they stay engaged after the chat ends.

“While some segments of the economy are coming back strong, there are still many sectors struggling to find their footing in this new world. Sales and marketing teams are looking to make the most out of fewer accounts and are relying on account-based marketing to drive more revenue,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “But a solid ABM strategy is nothing without powerful data behind it. This integration brings together the actionable insights from Outreach with Terminus’ account intelligence data in one single solution. These connected workflows help sales and marketing accelerate the cycle from engagement to revenue and meet growth expectations as they navigate evolving sector dynamics.”

Insent Seed Round

Chatbot vendor Insent.AI closed on a $2 million seed round “to help mid-market B2B companies improve how they identify and communicate with potential buyers.” The firm, which competes against Intercom, Terminus Chat, and Drift, calls itself a “human-first chatbot.”

Insent said that it isn’t “just building a chatbot that generates leads, but a collaborative platform that is going to help marketers create, nurture qualified opportunities, and shorten sales cycles.”

The goal is to remove “digital walls” between buyers and sellers by replacing web forms and follow-ups “with instant live conversations on websites” that schedule meetings and deliver “personalized content recommendations based on engagement history.”

Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform,” with MAPs, CRMs, and ABM Platforms “to help sales teams talk to engaged prospects while they’re on the website.”

According to Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey, “integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”

“By guiding their buyers at the right time and proactively alerting your salespeople, Insent generates new revenue opportunities and accelerates existing ones,” said CEO Arjun Pillai.

Emergent Ventures led the round with participation from BAM Ventures, TechStars, Arka Venture Labs, Arali Ventures, and Bizable founder Aaron Bird.  Funds will be deployed to expand its chatbot integrations and add engineering, sales, and marketing headcount.  Another area of development is improving its visitor data intelligence to improve personalization.

“We believe the B2B sales process currently has unnecessary friction for both buyers and sellers,” said Anupam Rastogi, Partner at Emergent Ventures.  “As an increasing proportion of sales is digitally intermediated and more leads are generated online, we believe Insent has a tremendous opportunity to help both buyers and sellers do their work more effectively and connect seamlessly.”

Initially, the pandemic slowed Instent’s growth as marketing teams reduced budgets and delayed decisions, but chatbots are high on the list of MarTech digital acquisition solutions.  Since May, revenue has quadrupled.

Aaron Bird, former VP at Adobe and CEO of Bizable, remarked that marketing had undergone two major paradigm shifts over the past few years, the rise of ABM and a focus on the buyer experience at the heart of the sales process; however, “companies are yet to start adapting to this paradigm. Insent is a key piece of the puzzle to help them do so.”

Insent stress-tested various platforms before settling on MongoDB and AWS.  Pillai contends that the platform gives them a five-year or six-year window before rearchitecting.  The platform was designed with an account-based, versus lead-based, architecture that ties leads to accounts for account-based orchestration.

“So, the architecture is obviously manually decided.  But as far as the scaling is concerned, it is all automated,” said Pillai. “There are enough database services that will enable us to run automated services of scaling up and scaling down … to make sure that when you are sleeping if a customer connects a 10 million [record] database, the system scales up.”

Insent is using 6Sense for visitor identification. “We go and task 6Sense through an API,” said Pillai. “We take that data, and we do further processing of that data.  All of this happens in microseconds.  Basically, the moment somebody lands on the website, boom, the API call comes back with the data based on that website, company visitor.”

Insent was founded in 2018 and has forty employees in the US, Canada, and India.