Revenue Intelligence vendor Revenue Grid announced its Spring 2023 release, with a new Revenue Leaks Funnel headlining the announcement. Other features include Forecast Evolution Reports, Signals Builder enhancements, sequence management enhancements, and custom calendaring fields.
The Revenue Leaks Funnel is available as a Salesforce-native, out-of-the-box report that helps revenue teams “magically spot invisible revenue leaks, understand where they occur during the selected period, and measure the magnitude of the leaks happening across the pipeline.”
The Revenue Leaks Funnel displays how opportunities progress between stages with the average stage time. Slipped deals can be spotted and brought back on track. Leaks are called out by stage, helping management identify where deals are being lost and address stage-related issues. Revenue Ops and managers can view funnel dynamics for the previous week, month, quarter, or year.
A new Forecast Evolution Report compares different fiscal periods and tracks forecast changes. Changes over the past week are displayed, with viewing at the team or rep level. In addition, users can “see the patterns across the forecast categories over time and detect any trends in revenue leakage.”
The Signals Builder defines custom signals of specific types and assigns them to specific recipients. Revenue Grid provided the following examples:
Custom Recipient: Account Executive assigns webinar leads to BDR (custom recipient) who has to process them first and add leads to the specific post-event sequence.
Sales Leader: An opportunity was created with a value exceeding $50,000.
Sales Manager: An opportunity is less than 15 days away from the close date and is at the “Proposal Price Quote.”
Sales Representative: A Lead was created more than 30 days ago but has not been contacted yet.
A new sequence-related productivity report helps sales managers monitor sales rep action items (e.g., replies, to-do lists, notifications) and coordinate their performance. Managers can view and compare activity across their sales team.
Other sequence enhancements include searching and adding prospects to sequences from Salesforce, sequence pausing, and adding a prospect owner as a step owner in a sequence. Operations teams can add custom fields to booking confirmation forms, including text fields, labels, and checkboxes. Forms automatically fill in the email and name on Book Me confirmation pages for recurring events.
Sales Execution Platform Outreach unveiled a series of product enhancements and dashboards at its Explore+ web conference earlier this month. New features include Smart Email Assist with Generative AI, a Create Pipeline Calculator, Buyer Topics and Reactions in Kaia, Deal Grid, Deal Overview, Success Plan Methodologies, and Data Sharing with Outreach.
“The industry has never had a single place to generate and manage pipeline, run sales cycles from creation to close, coach reps, and forecast – until now,” said the firm.
Over the past decade, sales teams have acquired a set of SalesTech solutions that create a “hairball” of point solutions that work poorly together and suffer from siloed data and regular system switching. Furthermore, a unified data platform supports advanced workflows, AI models, and account insights for sales coaching and deal management.
Outreach has enjoyed solid adoption of its new platform since launching it ten months ago. Multi-product adoption is strong, with over 400 customers using two or more products. Furthermore, multi-product adoption is driving platform ARR, which has grown by over 100% in the past two quarters. Since the platform was launched, Outreach’s new logo deal size has increased by 16%.
“Today, Chief Revenue Officers are facing two major problems: pipeline coverage and conversion. They need to create an adequate amount of pipeline, and close it at a greater rate,” said CEO Manny Medina. “That’s why Outreach has been on a journey to expand our offerings to solve our customers’ biggest problems today. Our goal is to provide sales leaders with a single platform to manage all of their deals – from creating more pipeline to closing more deals. Today’s announcements at Explore+ are an important milestone in our platform journey, and we look forward to continue innovating for the 30 million B2B salespeople around the world to help them unleash their selling potential.”
The Smart Email Assistant generates automated email replies that go beyond email templates. AI factors in previous conversations between the buyer and seller when generating responses. By automating email responses, “sales reps can focus their time on editing and personalizing the AI-generated content, instead of drafting these emails from scratch.”
A new Pipeline Calculator recommends prospecting activities to fill pipeline gaps. The calculator utilizes historical pipeline data to determine the number of prospects that should be added to sequences to meet their quota. In addition, the historical conversion rate assumptions are displayed and adjustable. Thus, the assumed conversion or win rates can be adjusted to accommodate market shifts or new processes or messaging that boost historical results.
Outreach continues to develop Kaia, its conversational sales module, with the addition of Buyer Topics and Reactions. AEs and sales managers can revisit meeting recordings and review the buyer’s reaction to fourteen relevant sales topics, such as budget, legal, or support.
“Using AI, Outreach is able to understand the contextual utterance of relevant sales topics in any meeting or email – ranging from pricing to product to next steps to support – and can understand when the buyer raised an objection at any point in the meeting,” explained the firm. “It delivers invaluable insight into what is really happening in meetings, down to each moment, and at scale across all meetings.”
Success Plans now support popular sales methodologies, including MEDDIC, MEDDPICC, and SPIN Selling, helping reps “consistently and continuously qualify deals and align with champions to mitigate deal risk.”
Outreach added a single-pane-of-glass opportunity viewer called Deal Grid. Reps can view their deals sorted by health score and value to focus on their best opportunities. They can also edit fields such as Close Date, Amount, Stage, and Forecast status (e.g., omitted, commit, best case, most likely) with information synced to the CRM and forecasts updated.
Opportunity Viewers are a common feature of Revenue Intelligence platforms (e.g., Clari, RevenueGrid, People.AI), but with Sales Execution and Revenue Intelligence platforms expanding into each other’s domain, Deal Grid was an anticipated new feature. Opportunity viewers help reps review their deal status, update the CRM, and prepare for meetings with sales managers. They solve the problem of serially jumping between Opportunity records in Salesforce (which the firm has moved to resolve with similar functionality).
Outreach released several new reports and dashboards:
Create and Close Dashboard: Provides AEs and sales managers with a high-level forecasted revenue summary of the existing pipeline and highlights pipeline gaps and risks.
“The insight-laden dashboard shows the forecasted revenue from existing pipeline, and highlights pipeline coverage gaps for the current and future quarter, which helps reps proactively mitigate risk earlier and drive to success,” said Outreach.
Deal Overview: An overview of open opportunities with a deal summary, an engagement timeline, deal health, sales methodology insights, next steps, and the shared plan. The engagement timeline displays all sales activities and a heat map detailing customer engagement trends.
Pipeline Dashboard: Displays all “relevant pipeline details to life in a single, sortable view, allowing sales managers to stay on top of their quarter.” The dashboard includes a pipeline activity summary by stage, projected finish, revenue to date, quota, and top deals with deal health scores.
Outreach also announced bi-directional syncing with HubSpot. Earlier this month, it unveiled expanded Outreach Data Sharing with Snowflake.
Despite recent layoffs, Outreach continues to build its customer base. FY 2023 revenue (FYE Jan 2023) passed $200 million across 6000 customers. Outreach’s scale benefits its clients as it records over 25 million action/outcome pairings per week, helping refine its machine learning insights and recommendations.
One of the most important SalesTech trends, besides the emergence of ChatGPT, is the rapid incorporation of engagement datasets alongside intent datasets for prioritization and messaging.
A few years ago, we saw the emergence of intent data sets such as first-party web visitor tracking, second-party product review site research, and third-party B2B media research. Initially, this content was integrated into MAPs, ABX platforms, and CDPs, but it was not well integrated into SalesTech. We are now seeing intent data being integrated into SalesTech platforms in a simplified fashion (e.g., High Intent Topics in CRM profiles and Slack alerts) that is digestible for sales reps.
However, intent data only indicates whether a company is in-market, not whether the buying committee is considering your offering or seriously engaged with your sales team. This intelligence comes from a new category of engagement data captured from digital interactions between the revenue team (sales, marketing, and customer success) and the buying committee. Engagement intelligence consists of both traditional digital interactions (e.g., clickthroughs, downloads) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytics derived from sales and buying team activities.
NLP helps RevTech platforms determine who is interacting with your firm. It also analyzes buyer sentiment, buyer concerns, deal health, and risk flags. The primary sources of engagement data are emails, recorded phone calls, and recorded meetings. However, any digital interaction between buyers and sellers can be captured such as activity in digital sales rooms, webinar attendance, chat messaging, and scheduled meetings. I anticipate that customer support platforms will also be tapped for engagement data to help gauge churn risk and friction during product trials.
Engagement data indicates whether a deal is on track and what issues could result in lost deals or pushed out pipeline. For example, engagement data assesses whether:
Discussions are single or multi-threaded
Key decisionmakers are involved (e.g., has a security review been performed or has legal been included?)
Competitors have been mentioned
Pricing concerns were raised
Follow on meetings have been scheduled
Meetings had a positive flow or were dominated by the sales rep
In short, engagement data provides sales reps and managers deal health and risk analytics that improve forecasting and ensure that deal risks are quickly mitigated. And as interactions are digital, managers can discuss these issues during one-on-ones or offer quick tips on next steps. They can even review the discussion associated with the risk and identify skills and knowledge gaps for coaching.
The interesting thing about intent and engagement data is they are highly complementary with each other. Operations teams should be looking at integrating intent data alongside engagement data. Intent data is valuable for identifying who and when to reach out to ideal customers. However, once a relationship is established, the focus shifts to engagement data for monitoring deal health. After a deal is signed, both engagement and intent data are in play. Intent data identifies cross-sell opportunities and churn risk through second and third-party intent topic monitoring while Engagement and Product Usage data evaluate adoption rates and potential implementation issues.
RevSure, which describes itself as a Pipeline Readiness solution, announced enhancements that “provide marketing teams with increased insights into data and around lead-to-revenue projections.” The new capabilities help marketers increase their spend efficiency and focus expenditures on campaigns and actions with the highest ROI.
RevSure helps go-to-market teams “share a single source of truth” concerning the health of their pipeline. It also automates reporting tasks and offers recommendations for converting leads into qualified sales opportunities.
“With a united full-funnel view, you can effortlessly pull all of this data into one place, so you can easily analyze the impact of each campaign and lead source at a glance. Did your latest low-cost webinar lead to a high amount of pipeline and bookings? You may want to consider scaling your efforts or investing in more webinars. On the other hand, did that conference you attended 8 months ago and spent tens of thousands of dollars on not lead to the pipeline and bookings you were hoping for? Might be worth crossing that conference off your list for the next year, so you can ensure you are focusing on the campaigns and channels that are bringing you the greatest ROI,” blogged RevSure.
New features offer insights into demand generation effectiveness and efficiency, helping prioritize leads and opportunities. AI recommendations call out which leads to prioritize and how to optimize campaigns. Users can drill down into campaigns or filter by title, industry, segment, or channel. The Demand Generation Effectiveness is a color-coded tree map of “what is working and where is it working,” explained RevSure Head of Marketing Kacyn Goranson to GZ Consulting. “It will show you generated lead volume, gross cost per lead, or booking value, so you can quickly slice and dice your marketing efforts” and determine “what is actually effective” across the funnel.
RevSure also provides stage conversion analytics, cohort analysis for campaign efficacy, and marketing campaign / KPI analytics.
Lead prioritization is based on firmographics (e.g., location, size, industry), persona, engagement data from MAPs, intent, channel, campaign data, and lead source. Data is sourced from Apollo and customer-licensed intent datasets.
To improve demand generation effectiveness, RevSure now ingests Salesforce campaigns and lead sources, along with Google AdWords and LinkedIn Campaigns. These additional data sources are available for campaign budget analysis. Users can “easily calculate and determine” conversion velocity, pipeline, and booking value.
“Today’s marketers have a gap in their data toolsets and are currently lacking AI-based models, and many CMOs are tasked with adopting and driving what will be effective, and winning, data strategies,” argued RevSure CEO Deepinder Singh Dhingra. “Using RevSure helps provide marketing teams with intelligence and insights into their sales pipeline, and data that empowers them to strategically defend marketing budgets and pivot campaigns based on sales performance – both of which can be critical to sales success in the current economic climate.”
RevSure provides sales and marketing teams lists of their top 25, 50, and 100 most promising leads and opportunities. It also displays “step-by-step recommendations” concerning when and how to follow up with them, “turning qualified leads into legitimate sales opportunities.”
RevSure already supports Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot. The HubSpot App Marketplace partnership was launched earlier this month.
RevSure focuses on the top and middle of the funnel with recommendations and prioritization tools instead of the bottom, which looks more at forecasting. “We are in the lead-to-opportunity journey,” explained Singh to GZ Consulting. “We don’t go into the forecast.”
RevSure is less than a year old and officially launched at SaaStr in September 2022. According to Singh, the firm is ahead of its customer acquisition and revenue targets.
“The acquisition extends Bigtincan’s lead in AI-driven revenue intelligence by improving B2B sales organization’s ability to scale by delivering insights and recommendations directly to sales reps for better decision-making to increase revenue,” the firm told investors. “The SalesDirector.ai technology links people, activity, and engagement across the buyer’s journey to derive insights, including opportunity risk and relationship strength, and then makes intelligent recommendations. By capturing all sales, marketing, and customer success activity the technology drives actionable revenue insights required to make the right business decisions.”
Bigtincan stated that SalesDirector’s technology would improve its AI-powered insights capabilities and forecasting accuracy.
SalesDirector ingests data from GSuite/Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Exchange and feeds contact data (e.g., Title, Department, Level, Phone) to Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. SalesDirector also captures Engagement Signals and writes them back to CRMs as custom fields:
Executive Engaged on Opportunity / Account
Single or Multi-Threaded Opportunity Relationship
Last QBR Complete / Next QBR Scheduled
Partner / Sales Engineer Engaged on Opportunity
Next Step / Meeting Scheduled
AI tools include stakeholder identification, individuals who are supporters or detractors, disengaged stakeholders, account risk scoring, sentiment analysis, and deal health.
“Every organization has to be more productive,” said Bigtincan CEO David Keane. “With the Sales Enablement market shifting towards a more holistic approach encompassing Revenue Enablement, we can deliver more value to our customers by providing full-cycle sellers with AI-driven recommendations on the next best actions based on intelligent sales analytics from SalesDirector.ai.”
SalesDirector pricing begins at $29 per user per month for activity capture. Revenue Insights pricing is not published.
Bigtincan will incorporate SalesDirector’s functionality into its product suite and phase out the SalesDirector brand.
“Traditionally, when we do small tech-focused acquisitions, they become part of the Bigtincan product suite, so that capability gets added to the existing platform we have,” said Keane. “We don’t tend to run these things as separate businesses, mostly because we miss out on some of the benefits for our shareholders of taking it all together and taking that technology and really getting in the platform. This is no different than our existing strategy – embed, connect it all together and make it something that our customers can choose to add. We do believe that it is all about choice, and we want people to be able to buy these technologies from us as additional value-added options. I think that’s going to be the case here as well.”
Bigtincan paid $1.2 million in cash and equity for SalesDirector.
The entire SalesDirector team is joining Bigtincan.
Bigtincan, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has acquired a series of RevTech companies, including ClearSlide, Brainshark, and VoiceVibes.
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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 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 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.”
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.
Continuing from yesterday’s post that discussed revenue innovation and the Sales Execution Gap. Today I am discussing their new Outreach Commit and Outreach Success Plans.
Outreach Commit, based on their Canopy acquisition, offers sales analytics and forecasting capabilities that augment Outreach’s AI-based buyer sentiment and Success Plans, providing Outreach customers with “true visibility across the entire revenue cycle.”
“The use of deep learning and big data has the potential to transform B2B forecasting in the same way it has transformed B2C forecasting. Such changes are shifting the emphasis on forecasting from predicting the number to beating the number…Reliable activity data allows sales leaders, for example, to drive more rigorous pipeline reviews and estimate forecasts with greater confidence. It allows companies to discover and capture data about prospects and customers that previously lived in the realm of the ‘shadow pipeline’ — that murky world of secret selling that organizations have traditionally been blind to.”
Forrester Research Principal Analyst Anthony McPartlin, “Enabling B2B Interaction Visibility In A Converging Sales Tech Landscape” (June 2021)
Commit provides a flexible forecasting model with multi-level views, allowing managers to view a probabilistic model of outcomes for multiple periods and teams based upon prior win-loss histories, current pipeline, and adjustable assumptions. Revenue forecasts are broken into Booked, Weighted Pipeline, and Intra-period high-velocity deals (i.e., projected new opportunities that are not in the pipeline but will close before the end of the period). In addition, models can be adjusted to account for events external to the model (e.g., new product launches, tradeshow held earlier or late in the quarter, economic shocks). The underlying KPIs that drive the models are selectable when setting them up, with the model updating every fifteen minutes.
Commit provides individualized rep scorecards based on company KPIs. Managers can set targets, coach to outcomes, and level up their team. Managerial note-taking helps them track 1:1’s, assign tasks, and track completion.
Commit supports active deal monitoring that flags deal risks and delivers insights. “Signals notify leaders of the things they need to know today. From opportunity risk identification to shifts in top of funnel metrics, Signals act as your eyes and ears–ensuring your frontline leaders are focused on what matters most to your business.” Deal risk is significantly reduced when issues are flagged early to reps, and managers can provide on-demand coaching to address nascent problems.
Commit also supports Custom Signals. Revenue Operations sets custom thresholds and unique parameters.
At a recent analyst briefing, Outreach management emphasized that they offer a tripartite value proposition: Engage (Sales Engagement), Guide (Kaia Conversation Intelligence), and Commit (Outreach Commit).
“To achieve predictable, efficient growth, every organization needs to engage with their buyers, guide their sellers through strong sales cycles, and then commit the number with confidence.”
Canopy deal terms were not disclosed. All nine employees have joined Outreach. The startup, founded in 2019, had raised $2.1 million.
Outreach also provided updates on Outreach Kaia and Success Plans at its Unleash event. Kaia, its Conversation Intelligence platform that was developed in-house, is adding real-time talk analytics, Comprehensive Search, Saved Search, and Outreach Voice Import. The new capabilities will be available by the end of the month.
Call analytics provide real-time talk-time visibility, letting reps self-correct if they are speaking too much.
Comprehensive Search provides managers with access to notes, content cards, action items, and transcripts across the sales organization. Additionally, both meeting platform intelligence and Outreach Voice cold calls are included. Thus, “leaders can identify trends and risks across teams and at various stages of the sales cycle.”
Saved Search Alerts provide scheduled intelligence on key topics, allowing managers to track competitors, pricing, functional requests, etc.
Outreach Voice Import supports post-call analysis of Outreach Voice and Microsoft Teams. Fully integrated support for Teams is scheduled for 2022.
Outreach warns RevOps not to trust the algorithm blindly. Instead, revenue teams should understand “the math behind every forecast to see what’s actually driving the number.” Accordingly, Outreach maintains the fidelity of data signals such as engagement and sentiment through transparency that displays “every opportunity and signals where sellers should take action.”
“Canopy’s Augmented Revenue Analysis engine combines advanced statistical modeling with machine learning and artificial intelligence,” states the Canopy website. “Simply put, we show our math. Instead of black box predictions, we show you every trend and variable driving our predictions, ensuring you have access to every data point necessary to confidently call your business.”
Users can also review “where you started and where you finished,” providing a post-mortem period review that “pinpoints slippage, forecasting variance, and conversion rates across any data point from any time window.” They can also generate “what if” scenarios with multiple assumptions.
Outreach Success Plans, which were announced back in May, will be generally available on October 27. Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability in a shared deal room. 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.
Success Plans provide an additional set of engagement intelligence for tracking deal risks and momentum. The Opportunity View includes Success Plan views, comments, resource downloads, and shares, providing engagement insights specific to deal planning and document sharing.
Outreach Success Plans deliver “unparalleled visibility into pipeline opportunities and risks,” blogged VP of Product Marketing Victoria Grady.
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 not only facilitates the process and improves deal visibility but improves the likelihood of winning each deal. Outreach supports 5,000 customers, including 19 of the 25 fastest-growing public companies and more than 60% of the Cloud 100.
Sales Engagement Platform Outreach expanded its value proposition with the acquisition of Revenue Intelligence service Canopy. Outreach immediately began integrating the service into its platform, with GA expected in H1 2022. The new Outreach Commit service “significantly expands” Outreach’s revenue intelligence capabilities, “giving revenue leaders the sales analytics and forecasting capabilities they need in today’s sales environment.”
“In the past 18 unpredictable and transformative months, we have seen the rise of a new cohort of leaders we are calling Revenue Innovators who have thrived by embracing the digital disruption of sales,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “These are leaders who had to adapt and evolve their mindset to embrace automation and machine learning as the keys to driving predictable, efficient growth – consistently and despite the uncertainty in the market. They need tools that combine engagement with intelligence and marry together the art and the science of sales. The evolution of the Outreach platform does exactly that.”
Outreach provides revenue innovators with “predictable, efficient growth” based upon AI guidance for more effective engagement, improved forecasting, and next best actions. The objective is to reduce the “Sales Execution Gap” between revenue potential and actual performance based on instinct and limited data; instead, data and AI will narrow the gap.
“The Sales Execution Gap manifests itself in several ways across the business — decisions based on gut instincts, slow rep ramp times, competing priorities, random achievement, missed opportunities with little understanding as to why,” explained Medina. “And yes, lost revenue, but also a growing disconnect between what high-performing reps want and what employers can deliver.”
“Once a seller has experienced the power of an Engagement and Intelligence platform, they won’t want to go back to inefficient, broken workflows — and they’re making career decisions because of it.”
Outreach CEO Manny Medina
Unfortunately, CRMs were “not designed for sellers.” They are systems of record that store information but lack engagement and insights. Firms that want reps to “live in the CRM” will drive away their best sales reps and candidates who “demand AI-driven insights and workflow automation to guide their actions in real-time.” As more sellers become “digital natives,” this performance gap will widen.
Top-performing reps and managers that have enjoyed modern SalesTech tools will be reluctant to work without digital tools. They expect their sales toolbox to include AI-generated intelligence, including email sentiment, live meeting guidance, real-time call analysis, and automated deal review and scoring. They are also looking for sales engagement with templated sequences (cadences), multi-channel outreach, task prioritization, and recommended actions. Finally, they are looking for improved forecasting, risk alerts, engagement data, and deal facilitation.
With Commit, Outreach has added forecasting and expanded risk analytics to its toolkit.
“Revenue innovators are embracing automation and AI in real-time to provide guidance to reps mid-cycle, guide more effective engagement with customers, and entirely rethink how they forecast because they have the signals that can proactively identify risk in their pipeline and deals,” stated the firm.
Continue to Part II which discusses Outreach Commit and product enhancements announced at the Outreach Unleash virtual meeting.