Salesloft Forecast Launched

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

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

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

The disjointed forecasting process (Source: Salesloft)

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

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

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

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

Salesloft SVP of Product Management Frank Dale

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

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

Salesloft Forecast capabilities include

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salesloft’s Forecasting workflow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revenue Grid: Stand with Ukraine

My last two posts have been about rebrands (IDG → Foundry and Artesian: DueDil → FullCircl), but things have suddenly gotten very real in Europe with Russia invading Ukraine under false pretenses. As Revenue Intelligence vendor Revenue Grid is based in Ukraine, I thought I’d give them my blog today.

Here is what they posted on LinkedIn:

“A big part of our Revenue Grid 🇺🇦 team is located in Kyiv, Ukraine. This is where our product was born, where our heart is.  Now the whole world watches as the war burns our homes and kills our people.  The Corrupt Russian government has brought death and destruction to our land.
 
Our homeland is under attack, and each one of us has the power to influence how soon the hell in our homeland ends. 
 
We are receiving tremendous support from our clients, partners, and friends everywhere in the world.  Many are asking what they can do to help.
 
Here is how you can help:
 
1) Stop doing business with Russia. Ask companies to stop cooperating with Russia, since every activity currently held there is supporting their criminal government and funding this unjust bloody war.

2) Donate https://lnkd.in/eZrtRPeh

Revenue Grid Posting on LinkedIn (February 2, 2022)

Revenue Grid also added a banner to its homepage that reads “Proudly made in Ukraine 🇺🇦. Stand for the integrity of our country.  Donate.”

Vista Equity Takes Majority Stake in Salesloft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Market Flash: Outreach Acquires Canopy and Launches Outreach Commit (Part II)

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.

Outreach Commit supports dynamic forecasting with bear, bull, and most likely outcomes.

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 provide a shared portal for buyers and sellers to exchange timelines, success criteria, resources, and people.

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.

Market Flash: Outreach Acquires Canopy and Launches Outreach Commit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outreach CEO Manny Medina

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

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

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

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

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


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

Revenue Grid Series A

Revenue Grid Pipeline Analytics displayed within Salesforce

Revenue Grid which rebranded last year from Invisible.io following its pivot into revenue intelligence, closed on a $20 million Series A to expand its AI-based revenue insights and guided selling recommendations.  The round was led by W3 Capital, with participation from ICU Ventures and existing investors.

Funds will be dedicated to scaling company growth with investments in sales, marketing, and R&D.  The firm plans to continue innovating around guided selling, revenue intelligence, and best practices research.

“Revenue Grid is ahead of the market in intelligent, guided selling, and sales automation,” said Steve Wadsworth, Partner at W3 Capital. “What has impressed us the most about Revenue Grid is their level of technology and product advancement and their innate understanding of the Sales and Revenue functions within organizations. Revenue Grid has already developed the solutions that the market is just now starting to look for.”

Revenue Grid offers a set of revenue opportunity, engagement, and risk signals that spur sales reps to take action.  It also automates sales routines, supports playbooks, fosters best practices, recommends modifications to the sales process, and measures the impact of recommended changes.

Core Revenue Grid capabilities include CRM data auto-capture, pipeline inspection, health checks, deal guidance, and revenue signals.

Revenue Grid ingested over one billion “communications items” to train its AI, including emails, meetings, and calls.  Communications are indexed by industry and sales process types and correlated against success rates.  Other features include sentiment analysis, sales opportunity summarization, and detecting demand unit members that have not been associated with an opportunity or added to the CRM.

“Revenue Grid can track objections and suggest the right mitigation on different levels of the sales funnel — from lead outreach to late opportunity stages. [It can] understand a communication type like ’email ping pong,’ ‘on hold,’ ‘no authority or power,’ and commitments tracking like whether email needs replying or whether a specific date for follow up or commitment was mentioned.”

CEO Vlad Voskresensky

“It is our mission to give companies an unbeatable competitive advantage by completely digitizing their sales processes, and right now we are in the perfect position to expand globally and help companies transform their sales process,” said Voskresensky.  “We are bringing smarter AI to sales, but it goes beyond just that.  It is quite literally shifting the sales tech stack from the ‘view mode’ to the ‘do mode.’”

While the round is a Series A, Revenue Grid is well established with 1,200 customers, including Hilton, Western Union, Moody’s, Trip Advisor, Red Cross, and Robert Half.  Over 800,000 sales professionals rely on Revenue Grid.  Through OEM deals, it supports an additional 20,000 companies.

The firm claims that its platform generates 21% faster revenue per account for its clients and offers a 250% ROI.

Revenue Grid is growing “seventy to eighty percent year-to-year,” said Voskresensky.  The firm has a 96% retention rate and net retention over 100%.

Revenue Grid has a team of 150 and plans to add another 50 headcount by 2022.

“[This] whole round is an equity investment. It’s actually our first round, prior to which we were bootstrapped and profitable,” Voskresensky said.  “Honestly, when the pandemic hit, we didn’t know what it would mean to our business, but it was actually a period of growth.  Our products became invaluable for sales reps as they all moved to working remotely, and it helped them stay focused, organized, and efficient.”

Revenue Grid also announced that highly regarded industry veteran Bob Stutz joined their board.  Stutz is the President of Customer Experience at SAP and previously served as CEO of Marketing Cloud, Chief Analytics Officer at Salesforce, and Corporate Vice President for Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM.   Stutz will assist with the product roadmap, revenue growth, and market expansion.

“Revenue Grid is a very interesting company as they look at optimizing sales processes in a very innovative way, and I am very excited to join their board to support them in growing their business on a global scale,” commented Stutz.

Revenue Grid did not announce its current valuation.

Revenue Grid Guided Selling Recommendations displayed in Salesforce.

Gong Expands into Europe

Gong’s Five Operating Principles of Revenue Intelligence.

Revenue Intelligence vendor Gong announced plans to open its first European office in Dublin.  It already has over one hundred European clients, including Aircall, Hopin, GoCardless, and MOO.

“After many international companies reached out to us, looking for access to the insight uncovered by our revenue intelligence platform, we knew it was time to meet global demand in a strategic and thoughtful way,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov.  “With a physical presence in Europe, we can continue to demonstrate our category leadership, support the massive growth we’ve seen in the past year, and deliver the product customers are asking for.”

The new office will be managed by Gong’s newly appointed VP of EMEA, Wendy Harris, who previously led European sales for CarGurus and Dropbox.  The firm is hiring for sales, marketing, customer success, and G&A positions.

“Gong’s revenue intelligence platform is transforming the way companies do business by empowering sales organizations to adopt data-driven strategies,” she said. “Joining a high-growth company and leading its global expansion in my hometown of Dublin is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gong supports 26 languages, including French, German, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese, with additional languages planned.  The Revenue Intelligence platform captures and analyzes phone, email, and meeting conversations, providing insights into deals, people, and the market.

Gong has also been building out its partner network, including Bain & Company, Sandler, and SBR Consulting.

Gong’s June Series E valued the firm at $7.25 billion.  Over the past year, it grew its headcount by 89% to over 700 employees.  The Israeli firm was founded in 2015. The firm will see stiffer competition from Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo two weeks ago. ZoomInfo provides it with deep pockets, global data enrichment, workflow tools, a chatbot, and a sales engagement platform.

Gong Employment Growth (Source: LinkedIn)

People.AI Acquires Hero and Releases Sales Solution for Salesforce

Revenue Operations and Sales Intelligence vendor People.AI acquired Hero Research, a Salesforce productivity app that simplifies CRM access.  The Hero service was immediately re-branded as PeopleGlass.  People.AI also announced a new Salesforce experience for sales reps and managers.

PeopleGlass is designed as an “interaction layer” to reduce the overhead and complexity of maintaining Salesforce content.  Glass refers to the “single pane of glass” metaphor often used for CRM cross-record reporting, a core feature of PeopleGlass.  People.AI argues that CRMs have become complex, full-stack solutions covering many use cases but are cumbersome due to their functional breadth.

“We believe that current CRM solutions are inadequate. Modern businesses are complex and full-stack solutions (platforms that offer many services) reflect the complexity of the many use cases that they need to cover as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Many CRMs today offer the whole gamut, addressing needs from pre-sales, post-sales, support, marketing, etc.,” argues People.AI.  “Furthermore, these companies are focused on selling large deals into small groups of decision makers who rarely interact with the products they purchase. It’s no wonder why many users feel they’ve been ignored by the people building the products they spend huge portions of their lives in.

In the meantime, most people have experience with iPhones, Gmail, and other great products. This only increases the frustration with legacy CRM tools.

PeopleGlass aims to solve this problem by focusing solely on the end user and leveraging learnings from the best modern consumer software.”

People.AI, “Why We Started People Glass

PeopleGlass supports custom sheets, forms, hotkeys, a command-line interface, and a “clean and versatile workspace to eliminate the pain points of using CRMs.”  PeopleGlass may be launched in the browser or added as a Chrome extension.

Custom Sheets provide a spreadsheet view across Salesforce records that supports filters, bulk record updates, searching, and inline updates.  Thus, reps can quickly update opportunity records before pipeline review meetings and then review the spreadsheet with managers.  Records are immediately updated in Salesforce.

PeopleGlass Opportunity viewing and updates

Users can create personal views or modify any of the included templates.  Adding columns, resizing columns, and moving columns are straightforward actions.  Users can also quickly view any record as a form or view the record in Salesforce.

PeopleGlass Forms provide custom layouts for creating and updating account, contact, leads, opportunities, notes or tasks.  Admins can set default fields for records.

A set of hotkeys expedite data entry, allowing users to quickly create records, log calls, and search records. PeopleGlass provides a customizable home page for displaying metrics, sharing and copying sheets or forms with colleagues.


Part II, which discusses the Hero Research acquisition and their Salesforce solution, continues here.

Groove Revenue Intelligence

Sales Engagement Platform Groove expanded its analytics with new revenue intelligence capabilities that support real-time opportunity and pipeline management and expanded ROI reporting.  The new capabilities support pipeline reviews with a single pane of glass workspace populated with real-time Salesforce data.

In its 2020 State of Sales Report, Salesforce stated that “High-performing sales teams are 1.5 times more likely to base forecasts on data-driven insights.” Ensuring that data is accurate, timely, and complete has long been an issue with CRMs, requiring sales reps to spend hours each week recording their activities and updating account, contact, lead, and opportunity data.

Sales Intelligence platforms have picked up the slack around CRM data, offering DaaS prospecting and enrichment services.  Likewise, SEPs capture most sales rep activity data, reducing activity tracking overhead; however, updating opportunity data and evaluating opportunity risk remain a significant automation gap.  

Maintaining Opportunity data, which is critical for pipeline reviews and forecasting, is made more difficult by the data structure of CRMs.  One common complaint about Salesforce is the difficulty of viewing and updating opportunity data, which is fragmented across accounts.  Revenue Intelligence tools from Clari, Revenue Grid, SalesLoft, and Groove simplify the data update and review process by providing a centralized interface for updating the pipeline and reviewing it with managers.  Updates are immediately written back to Salesforce, simplifying the pipeline management process and ensuring that current opportunity data is instantly synced in Salesforce.

While Clari and Revenue Grid focus on Revenue Intelligence, Groove and SalesLoft attack the issue from a Sales Engagement perspective.  This functional overlap between categories has been evident since SalesLoft acquired Costello in 2019 and integrated Costello’s revenue intelligence capabilities.  While Sales Engagement Platforms began as multi-channel messaging services for SDRs, they have significantly broadened their scope to include Analytics, Guided Selling, Engagement Metrics, Meeting Management, and Revenue Intelligence.

Anthony McPartin, Forrester Principal Analyst in Sales Operations, described the widening scope of these categories.  “This notion of the sales engagement platform as a cockpit for sellers is likely to continue to drive further integrations between other sales tech categories and these platforms as the advantages of bringing everything to the seller where they sell (the original vision for CRM technology) become more widely recognized.”

Revenue Intelligence Platforms have also expanded their scope, assisting with opportunity risk assessment, deal forecasting, conversational intelligence, and buying team discovery.

Out of date and incomplete information is a significant issue for B2B decision-makers.  According to a July 2020 Forrester study, two-thirds of B2B decision-makers are hampered by stale, distorted, or limited CRM data.

“From incomplete sales activity data to out-of-date information stored in shadow CRMs, there are many challenges that prevent sales organizations from trusting their pipeline and conducting comprehensive reviews. Today’s release solves a critical usability challenge that Salesforce users have faced since the platform’s inception, in a way that establishes transparency and trust between the rep and the seller.”

Groove CEO Chris Rothstein

“We had major issues with getting our sales teams to document what they were doing in Gmail, and this is where Groove really shines,” said Bart Johnson, Director of User Engagement & Training at Aquent. “Groove isn’t just a huge timer saver for our reps, it also gives them ‘cross-vision’ into the different orgs and groups selling into [each] account.”