Highspot $248M Series F

Sales Enablement Platform vendor Highspot closed on a $248 million Series F that valued the firm at $3.5 billion, up from its February valuation of $2.3 billion.  The firm, founded in 2012, has raised $648 million to date.  The round was led by B Capital Group and D1 Capital Partners, with Iconiq Growth, Madrona Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire, and Tiger Global Management also participating.

“Technologies that unlock human potential are foundational to our economic future,” said Rashmi Gopinath, General Partner, B Capital.  “Highspot’s undeniable performance, coupled with the enthusiasm of their customer base, is a testament to how transformative their technology is for companies across industries and geographies.  We believe Highspot’s platform is an imperative for businesses aiming to drive sustainable growth.”

Highspot will deploy the funds to hire additional staff and open offices in the EMEA and APAC regions.  The firm, which doubled in size over the past two years to 800 employees, plans to add 500 staff over the next twelve months.  Highspot is based in Seattle, with offices in London, Munich, and Paris.

The pandemic accelerated demand for digital platforms such as Highspot as “road warriors have become home warriors,” said Wahbe.  In addition, the shift from traditional selling to digital required new tools and skills.  “Salespeople have to be better than ever in holding the attention of the customer.”

“Even before the onset of the pandemic, buyers were trending toward self-reliance with a plethora of resources at their fingertips, researching vendors on their own time and relying on salespeople as mere transaction facilitators,” Wahbe told VentureBeat via email. The sudden shift to a remote business landscape caused by COVID-19 accelerated this trend, and now modern buyers prefer — and expect — fully virtual sales … A handful of sales tech companies anticipated the trend toward digital selling and strategically designed their products to help turn salespeople from transaction helpers into heroes. Highspot is one such company.”

Highspot CEO Robert Wahbe, “Highspot raises $248M to bolster sales enablement using AI,” VentureBeat (January 13, 2022)

The firm, which has over 170 open positions, is broadly hiring across engineering, product, design, marketing, and sales.

“We see an incredible opportunity in front of us,” said CEO Robert Wahbe. “We need to continue to invest very significantly and invest in our go-to-market team, invest in our product, and [invest in] the capabilities of our product.”

Last month, Highspot announced a quartet of executive hires:

  • Arvind Prakash, Product Management VP: Prakash is a global product and technology leader with over twenty years of experience at Compass, Expedia Group, and Microsoft.
  • John Zhang, Engineering VP: Zhang held Engineering roles at Microsoft, Twitter and Weibo.
  • Julie Valenti, Account Management VP: Valenti has over twenty years of experience running customer-facing teams at DocuSign, Oracle, Responsys, and Yesmail.
  • Kelly Lewis, Revenue Enablement VP: Lewis joins with over 15 years of experience in revenue leadership and technology sales.  Lewis is a former Highspot customer joining from Amwell.

Highspot supports content recommendations, content engagement analytics, sales training, and sales coaching

The recently launched Highspot Marketplace is a partner exchange for marketing, sales, enablement, and customer success partners.  Companies can import packages of content, tools, and training from two dozen partners, including Sandler, Challenger, and Winning by Design.

Highspot Sales Training Dashboard

Highspot has grown revenue 935% over the last three years and posted an Annual Recurring Revenue net retention rate of 130% over the past year. 

Last year, platform usage increased 150%, with Highspot providing training to eight million salespeople, channel partners, service reps, and customers in digital sales experiences.  Highspot counts DocuSign, General Motors, Nestle, Siemens, and Verizon Media among its 700+ customers.

Wahbe envisions the firm going public but did not set an IPO timeframe. “Our focus continues to be on building a significant company in the enablement space,” said Wahbe. “We’re focused on growing the company, which of course then enables us to go public.”

SalesHood Expands Training Tools with SkillsHood

Sales Enablement vendor SalesHood announced the general availability of SkillsHood, an asynchronous training platform for the entire organization.  The SkillsHood Enablement Platform “automates and scales organizational readiness and messaging alignment processes both for distributed and remote employees.”

“SkillsHood is our latest innovation created to boost employee productivity by elevating how employees learn, coach, and collaborate asynchronously across their organization,” posted CEO Elay Cohen on LinkedIn.  “The SkillsHood Enablement Platform automates and scales organizational readiness and messaging alignment processes both for distributed and remote employees.”

SkillsHood delivers personalized learning and development training for both onboarding and ongoing training.  Features include prescriptive learning paths, video role-playing, manager coaching, video storytelling, employee recognition, peer feedback, quizzes, and assessments.   Streamed content may be delivered just-in-time by role and tenure.  Other features include gamification, badging, and analytics.  The enablement platform is integrated with Domo, GoodData, Tableau, and PoweredBI.

“It’s amazing to see sales enablement mature and transform to company-wide enablement,” said Cohen.  “Now more than ever, all departments are looking for innovative ways to lift employee productivity and bring teams together virtually.”

Remote training will remain a core requirement after the pandemic.  Gartner forecasts that 48% of employees will work at least part of the time versus 30% remotely before COVID-19.

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.

Highspot Series E

Highspot became the latest Seattle-area unicorn following a Series E that valued the firm at $2.3 billion.  The Sales Enablement platform, which was launched nine years ago by three former Microsoft employees, closed on a $200 million round led by Tiger Global Management.  Bain & Company, CONIQ Growth, Madrona Venture Group, OpenView, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and Shasta Ventures also participated.

“Sales enablement is about more than sales.  It connects everyone from marketing and sales to post-sales in delivering a unified buying experience that wins, retains and expands customer relationships,” said Robert Wahbe, CEO, Highspot. “Scaling your go-to-market strategy is a complex process with a large gap between strategy and action.  We close this gap.  Our single, unified platform improves sales performance by turning strategy into successful execution.”

Customers have deployed the Sales Enablement Platform for sales onboarding, ongoing training, content management, guided selling, rep coaching, engagement intelligence, and 360-degree analytics.  They include DocuSign, General Motors, John Deere, Nestle, and Verizon Media,

The firm has over 500 employees in Seattle, London, and Munich.  It plans to open an office in France and enter the APAC market in 2021.  In May 2020, it opened up a Munich office to support its D-A-CH operations.  Highspot doubled its EMEA revenue in 2020.

Highspot supports users in 125 countries.

Highspot does not disclose its revenue but told Bloomberg that ARR increased 900% over the past three years.

Last year, Highspot connected over three million salespeople, channel partners, services reps and customers in digital sales experiences, with usage double that of 2019.  Highspot’s community of sales enablement professionals, Sales Enablement PRO, reached 13,000 members.

“Salesforce changed sales 20 years ago. Marketo changed marketing 10 years ago. Now, Highspot’s vision is to fundamentally change the way companies go to market,” said John Curtius, Partner, Tiger Global Management. “Highspot’s secret is an authentic commitment to people – their employees, customers and partners – that inspires a tremendously collaborative and resilient culture.  We believe they’re capable of sustaining unmatched levels of innovation to achieve their vision.”

“There’s a famous Harvard Business Review article that 70% of strategic initiatives don’t work.  Sometimes it’s not because the strategy isn’t right, it’s because they can’t translate it to the actions taken every day by their frontline sales team.  We allow them to do that.”

Highspot CEO Robert Wahbe

The new funding will “accelerate platform development, including deeper insights into go-to-market strategy and execution offered through Highspot’s industry-only Scorecards.”  

HighSpot also plans to grow its partner ecosystem, expanding its sales methodology training partnerships, technology partners, and Sales Enablement PRO community.

To fuel its growth, Highspot is hiring across “every business function.”

“Over the past year, sales enablement has emerged as a strategic imperative,” said Mark Kovac, Head of Bain & Company’s Global B2B Commercial Excellence Practice.  “Companies that have built world-class enablement teams and technology are managing change and uncertainty at scale, while others struggle with agility and inconsistent performance.  We believe Highspot’s differentiated approach will become the foundation upon which modern businesses achieve consistent revenue growth and market share gains.”

Revenue Grid Guided Selling (Part II)

Continuing from Part I, a discussion of Revenue Grid and its approach to Guided Selling.


Revenue Grid looks to take the CRM system of record and supplement it with insights and actions that move deals forward.  Insights are both positive and negative.  Risk flags include “The decision-maker is not invited to the demo,” “Close data has been changed for the Nth time,” and “Pricing was discussed at the meeting, but no quote has been sent.” By delivering insights to sales reps and their managers, loose ends, which could result in deal losses or delays, are flagged.  Sales reps and managers can then act upon these insights.  Revenue Grid can also make suggestions based upon internal playbooks and best practices.

In short, AI, historical data, and real-time data are employed to build a set of insights and recommended actions.

Revenue Grid goes beyond engagement metrics at accounts. It delivers a broad set of insights that include competitor mentions, lack of recent decision-makers responses, meetings without agendas, quarterly and monthly trends, and team performance.  In January, sentiment analysis will be added to their insights.

An Opportunities view provides real-time pipeline visibility across all accounts.  Reps can quickly update any opportunity information with the updates synced with the CRM.  Sales reps and managers then have a single-pane of glass displaying current opportunities.  Managers are notified of deal size changes, close dates, and scores and can track activity flow.

The Opportunities view includes signals, next steps, last touch, and overview data, providing a quick synopsis of where each deal stands.

Conversational Intelligence records and transcribes voice and video calls, then indexes and analyzes meetings for insights.  Corporate email communications are also analyzed for insights.  Revenue teams and managers can review call transcripts and listen or view significant moments during the call, with summary topics and insights called out.  Conversational Intelligence is also available for coaching and onboarding sales reps.

Conversational Intelligence recordings and transcripts are saved to accounts and opportunities.

A meeting scheduler fronts Conversational Intelligence.  Reps can insert multiple time slots with clickable times in their emails or offer a calendaring link.  Events are automatically synced between Salesforce and Outlook or Gmail.  Other features include calendar delegation (i.e., setting up an admin or CSR to schedule meetings), recurring event scheduling, and group calendaring across the organization.

Salesforce email synching captures emails, scheduled meetings, contacts, tasks, and attachments.  Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Custom Objects are available for syncing, and multiple records may be updated.  Salesforce admins can set up activity auto-log rules, triggering Salesforce processes.

Sales Coaching offers a team performance view that displays revenue booked by reps alongside leads processed and time spent on external meetings, inbound external meetings, and outbound emails.

A Forecasting report evaluates the target, best case, and committed revenue for the team with plan, commit, and open pipeline values for each rep.  Managers can also compare past periods to find trends and set triggers to send notifications when thresholds are exceeded.

An Activity view displays inbound and outbound communications from sales and marketing over time with adjustable time windows.  Unfortunately, the activity graph does not rescale, making it difficult to view activity over an extended period.

Revenue Grid also supports Relationship Intelligence, showing an Account relationship map and flagging individuals in the organization with established relationships for introductions or briefings.

Revenue Grid’s sales engagement features include multi-channel sequences, email templates, and email tracking.  Channels include email, phone, SMS, and LinkedIn.  Sequences may be managed directly from within Salesforce, Outlook, or Gmail.  All Revenue Grid capabilities are available in the native Salesforce mobile app, including email analytics, notifications, and sequences.

Admins can perform A/B testing of sequences.

Revenue Grid detects replies from one or multiple recipients, out of office notices, opt-outs, and bounces.  It then pauses or halts sequences automatically.  It even halts sequences if the recipient is mentioned in an email or meeting invitation.

An email sidebar displays Salesforce data directly within inboxes and suggests relevant, actionable Signals.


Continue to Part III.

SalesLoft Coach to Close

SalesLoft rolled out its winter release before Christmas.  The lead feature was their Coach to Close functionality that provides frontline managers with “visibility into the specific sales stages where their sellers need the most help.”  Coach to Close aids managers in identifying and proactively coaching reps on the deals that are critical to exceeding quarterly targets.

Coach to Close analyzes stage-to-stage conversion rates at the rep and team level, helping managers identify where deals are being lost and then “quickly drill down into each deal to proactively coach reps through those problem stages.”

“There are always a handful of deals that make or break a quarter.  Helping your sales reps progress and close those deals is your number one priority as a sales leader,” said SalesLoft CRO Steve Goldberg.

Coach to Close provides Deal Analytics (i.e., team and individual conversion rates), a Deal Activity Timeline that tracks account engagement across the buying cycle, and Deal Details that summarize communications, including email, phone, and recorded videos.  

“We are giving our customers the power to unlock and understand their sales data. With outcome-driven reporting and AI/ML-based activity prioritization, sales managers can now spend their time in the areas that will generate the most impact.”

Frank Dale, SalesLoft VP of Product

The other central element in the winter release was integrated support for Microsoft Dynamics 365.  Sales reps can log emails, calls, LinkedIn activities, and other cadence steps directly from MSD.  The Dynamics integration is now generally available.

“Dynamics customers are asking for help as they transform to a digital selling motion,” said Goldberg. “This integration allows companies to leverage all the data in their Dynamics instance to more effectively and efficiently prospect and sell to their customers.”

Other new winter release features include

  • Multi-touch cadence workflows that allow reps to communicate across multiple channels at the same time.  For example, a sales rep can send an introductory email and then Connect on LinkedIn.  Users can run the steps in any order, and emails can be scheduled for later in the day.
  • Bulk edits in workflow management to quickly update users.
  • Filter by Salesforce Opportunity Data lets users filter and sort recorded conversations by Opportunity Stage or other variables.  Users can “easily leverage Salesforce Opportunity data to identify milestone conversions, filter and save views, or access recordings directly from the Opportunity view with our new unified workflows.”

Integrations with Zoho CRM and Qotient talk tracks are coming soon.

November integrations included 6Sense (account data and insights), MonsterConnect (outsourced dialing team), and Vertify (CRM and MAP lead reply analytics).

SalesHood Coaching Command Center

SalesHood Launches Coaching Command Center for Front-Line Managers to Scale Virtual Sales Coaching

Sales Enablement vendor SalesHood released Coaching Command Center, a set of templates, reports, and prompts to assist front-line managers in elevating the performance and win rates of their teams.  

“We’re excited to release more innovation for virtual sales coaching,” said SalesHood CEO Elay Cohen.  “We’re committed to helping front-line managers be better at developing their remote teams and boosting their win rates.”

In a call with GZ Consulting, Cohen emphasized that SalesHood focuses on productivity and outcomes for both sales reps and front-line managers, looking to raise the bar for all managers.  The new Command Center is a coaching dashboard that analyzes performance and what sales reps are doing.  It fosters managerial actions through celebrations, risk identification, and recommending Next Best Actions.  A meetings-in-a-box feature supports coaching huddles and hands-on training, with recorded calls as input, and coaching to-dos.

According to Cohen, “curated coaching can be prescriptive” and should be performance and data-driven.  It should also be scalable and repeatable, making it easy to schedule classes, coaching, and call reviews.  Templates facilitate discussion and coaching.  Open questions and training sessions are noted, and sales reps are notified if task assignments have not been addressed before the next one-on-one.

Along with templates, SalesHood provides a library of sales training tools, including battle cards, product playbooks, and win stories.  Video recording guidance helps non-training professionals (e.g., product managers, competitive analysts, sales operations) chunk content into modules and cover key topics.

New Command Center tools include programs and coaching activities, team leaderboards, curated team videos, prioritized coaching activities, and coaching templates.

The graphical program tracker displays a data-driven timeline with drill-down tasks, helping front-line managers view programs and coaching activities.  The program tracker assists with one-on-one coaching through automated activities, notifications, tips, and scorecards.  A notification flag appears in the right corner of the top banner, letting managers immediately access pending coaching activities.  For example, if there is a recorded pitch for review, the manager can review the video and offer feedback.

Team Leaderboards summarize team performance across engagement, completion, and performance metrics.

Team videos are submitted and reviewed by managers for comments and celebration.  Videos include pitches, demonstrations, presentation dry-runs, deal wins, and stories.

Prioritized coaching activities are delivered to front-line managers on desktop and mobile devices (iOS and Android native apps) with automated coaching activities for pitch practice, role-playing, quizzing, assessments, and story submissions by their team.

SalesHood is packaged with a set of customizable templates for deal reviews, one-on-ones, and even quarterly business reviews.  Templates are customizable to reflect the industry, markets, and sales strategies of firms.

“Right out of the box, SalesHood provides solutions for more structured, more efficient, and more lucrative sales team management,” claims the firm.

“Sales coaching creates space for collaborative skill and deal development conversations.  Effective sales coaches give sales professionals the responsibility of ownership and accountability for their deal strategies from planning to preparation to close…

No longer will you be in the dark on how your reps are pitching to customers or handling common objections. You’ll be in the know as to how and if they are onboarding effectively.  Are they retaining product knowledge?  Do they understand the crucial competitive plays?  Is their messaging creating interest?  Is it aligned with the corporate message?”

“SalesHood Sales Coaching Demonstration” video

Aragon Research predicted that by the end of 2021, 55% of enterprises will have deployed digital sales coaching and learning.

“High performing sales organizations are now making sales coaching and learning a daily habit,” says CEO of Aragon Research, Jim Lundy. “Top salespeople are constantly practicing, and the best managers conduct regular coaching.”  Despite the known correlation between coaching and performance, managers and their teams have been unable to embed this practice into their daily workflows.

Aragon Research placed SalesHood in its Leader quadrant for Sales Coaching and Learning (July 2020), scoring the highest on strategy, but below the other leaders on performance.  Aragon listed a broad set of SalesHood strengths, including sales coaching and learning, sales content management, and front-line manager enablement.  However, the firm noted that SalesHood lacks market awareness.

RingDNA Releases Guided Selling

Sales Enablement vendor RingDNA released Guided Selling, a set of Next Best Actions (NBA) for sales reps.  Guided Selling advises sales reps on what to do, when to do it, whom to contact, and what messaging to employ.  Sales managers can create and deploy preferred playbooks to their salesforce, even without face-to-face training.  Both inbound and outbound selling plays are supported, helping “implement proven playbooks at scale.”

“When you know what winning deals look and sound like, you know exactly where to focus to improve outcomes,” said RingDNA CEO Howard Brown.  “Guided selling uses artificial intelligence to provide revenue teams with tools, insights, and next best actions necessary to win deals, grow accounts, maximize revenue.”

“It’s a fool’s errand to expect a 22-year-old sales development rep (SDR) fresh out of university to develop a consistent, scalable, repeatable prioritization, execution, and qualification process.  Be prescriptive in your expectations and methodical in the tools you arm your teams with…for the overwhelming majority of your team—who have never held full-time, quota-carrying roles and aren’t able to think strategically yet—you must be prescriptive.  You need to show them how to think strategically and tactically as they approach their daily work.”

TOPO analyst Phoebe Conybeare

Guided Selling is embedded into the Salesforce Sales Cloud and delivers prioritized actions for opportunities, contacts, and leads, helping reduce sales rep planning time.  The AI-powered task list recommends the tasks that will put sales reps on “the shortest path to revenue.”  The task list is dynamic, updating based upon prospect behavior.  Thus, priorities are reassessed based on prospect interaction with e-mails, web forms, multi-media, and social media.

Guided Selling includes a set of best-practices templates based upon billions of sales interactions monitored by RingDNA since its 2012 launch. Salesforce Dashboards help managers optimize cadences and messaging, allowing them to test and refine rep workflows.  Cadence activities across e-mail, phone, text, and social are synchronized with Salesforce.

Gartner stated that 51% of sales organizations have deployed or plan to deploy algorithmic-guided selling over the next five years.

“Intended to augment more traditional sales tools, such as sales playbooks, algorithmic-guided selling uses sales data to boost the seller’s ability to engage with prospects…Algorithmic-guided selling leverages artificial intelligence technology and existing sales data to guide sellers through deals, automating manual sales actions while reducing the need for individual seller judgment in the sales process.”

Tad Travis, Gartner VP of Research, “Algorithmic-Guided Selling to Have Significant Impact on Sales Productivity”

“In this new remote paradigm, companies are having to do more with less,” said Brown.  “Guided Selling is a total game-changer for sales teams, as it uses AI to focus reps on next best actions while empowering them to build stronger relationships and better solve customer problems.”

Guided Selling is Generally Available.

Brainshark – TopOPPS Partnership

Sales enablement vendor Brainshark and AI-based sales pipeline management vendor TopOPPS announced a strategic partnership that “will empower sales organizations to deliver ‘in-the-moment’ guidance that improves reps’ skills at key points throughout the sales cycle.”  The combined solution is tailored to the individual learning needs and styles of each rep across the buyer journey.  TopOPPS delivers sales pipeline insights and forecast metrics that help management “understand pipeline activity and identify deficiencies before they impact yield.”  The combined solution identifies skills gaps and then suggests Brainshark learning content.

“Many sales organizations try to do pipeline analysis through their customer relationship management (CRM) systems – but these systems are simply data repositories that provide no actionable insights for sales leaders,” said TopOPPS CEO Jim Eberlin.  “TopOPPS brings that data to life – providing activity analysis at the individual rep level, which enables a much more accurate assessment of pipeline health and productivity.  This enables sales leaders to then use Brainshark to act on this data by delivering targeted coaching that directly impacts revenue.”

For example, Brainshark training metrics are displayed in a combined Coaching view (see the figure on the right).  The view helps managers “track training processes and knowledge retention to understand the readiness of each sales rep and sales team’s ability to sell at the highest level.”  The view also includes over twenty trended sales measures, training insights, and pipeline metrics.

“Managers, a lot of times, will just coach reps generally or are guessing on what they need coaching on.  Our AI (artificial intelligence) will actually pinpoint and make it more precise on exactly what a rep needs coaching on,” said TopOPPS CEO Jim Eberlin.

The two firms have a joint go-to-market strategy and revenue sharing agreement.

The TopOPPS partnership, along with Brainshark’s recent acquisition of sales scorecard vendor Rekener, is part of Brainshark’s mission to deliver “a true data-driven sales readiness platform.”

“Through our acquisition of Rekener last month, and now our partnership with TopOPPS, Brainshark is transforming sales-readiness from art to science,” said Brainshark CEO Greg Flynn.  “With our data-driven platform and associated technologies, sales leaders will always have easy access to the information they need to orchestrate and execute effective sales-readiness strategies that deliver quantifiable growth in corporate revenue.”

Cien Hidden Revenue Assessments

Cien contends that a sales rep is only as successful as his or her weakest skill permits.  Therefore, it is best to determine skill deficiencies and coach for them.

Cien announced the availability of its Hidden Revenue Assessment report which analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of sales reps to determine which qualitative factors are limiting their success.  Cien ingests data from Salesforce Enterprise to “reveal the factors that are preventing their teams from achieving their numbers.”

Cien Head of Marketing Damien Acheson noted that firms such as Gong and Chorus are more prescriptive while Cien is diagnostic, helping managers identify skill gaps and determining where reps add or destroy value during deal flow.

Presented as individual scorecards, Cien employs over 100 AI models to identify issues in sales enablement, training, and onboarding.  Cien does not believe in cloning the best sales reps as reps have different strengths and weaknesses.  Instead, reps are assessed for value-add across the pipeline, helping determine where reps need coaching, which reps are creating value, and which reps are benefiting from a rich set of leads but not adding significant value to them.

Furthermore, their models indicate that addressing weaknesses is the best method for improving sales outcomes and reaching quota.  If a rep is weak at any of the key sales skills, he or she is unlikely to reach quota.  As reps are only as successful as their weakest skills, it is better to identify gaps and coach accordingly.  Cien holds that the best path to driving revenue growth is focusing on mid-level success reps as they are the ones with the greatest opportunity to improve their performance.

“When it comes to managing sales teams, it’s important to understand that no sales rep is created equal, and no opportunity is created equal,” contends Cien CEO Rob Käll.  “To date, Cien’s Hidden Revenue Assessments have uncovered between 20-40% worth of lost revenue due to gaps in selling skills.”

“Cien’s AI models search for correlations between reps’ skills and attributes and their impact on the final value of opportunities.  This is the basis for a set of patented algorithms called the ​Cien Value Chain​.  Cien determines the relative value of each lead as it enters your CRM and tracks its value at the end of the sales cycle.  The Cien Value Chain measures the value-added at each stage of the opportunity and the skills and attributes that drive incremental value.“

Cien FAQ

The Hidden Revenue Assessment is available as a free report to technology companies with at least ten sales reps and a minimum of one year of Salesforce data.  It provides an assessment of a few sample reps across work ethic, product knowledge, engagement ability, and closing ability.  The Hidden Revenue Assessment also evaluates CRM data quality to provide a level of confidence in the assessment.  Firms that have deployed Sales Engagement Platforms such as Outreach and SalesLoft often have complete data as they automatically gather activity data and sync it with their CRM.

Cien “Baseball Card” Profile

The Hidden Revenue Assessment includes a 30-minute walkthrough.

The Cien app, available for $49 per month per rep, provides mentor prescriptions that help prioritize coaching.  While flagging weaknesses can be demotivating, Cien inverts the model and calculates the revenue opportunity available to reps who focus on developing their skills.  Being told that you are weak at prospect engagement is unlikely to motivate a rep.  Being told that focusing on prospect engagement can retire $200,000 worth of quota is much more likely to motivate the rep to focus on his or her weak-link skills.

The Cien app provides data on all of the reps and covers a broader set of skills.  The app also provides dynamic data indicating how the reps are performing over time.

Cien is Privacy Shield certified and does not gather Personally Identifiable Information beyond rep names. Cien received a $3.5 million seed round in June.