Brainshark Growth and Training Partnerships

Once again, I’m writing about a SalesTech or B2B MarTech firm that had strong growth during the pandemic.  Simply, B2B firms sped up their digitization and looked for online methods for internal and external communications.  With WFH and the recognition of subscription revenues over the life of contracts, it is highly likely that 2020 strength will continue into 2021.  In the case of Brainshark, they increased both their new business contracts and multi-year renewal rates.  Brainshark also announced off-the-shelf learning content from a pair of training companies: ValueSelling Associates and 2Win!.

Sales Readiness vendor Brainshark posted sixty percent growth in platform usage last year with a 38% increase in new business.  71% of the new contracts were multi-year, with multi-year renewals up 40% year over year.

“Companies across the globe had to completely rewrite their playbook when the pandemic began disrupting business one year ago,” said CEO Greg Flynn.  “Many realized improving their sales readiness was a way to gain a competitive advantage.  They also realized Brainshark’s proven, award-winning platform was just the tool they needed.  We’re especially thrilled to see our customers utilizing our coaching solution more than ever because we’ve seen first-hand the impact it can have on an organization’s bottom line.”

Citing a CSO Insights study that found that firms with dedicated sales enablement teams had a 15.3% higher win rate on forecasted deals, the firm stated, “Brainshark can be the foundation of a successful sales readiness strategy, helping organizations equip sales reps with the knowledge and skills they need, measure preparedness, and connect readiness to revenue.”

Brainshark Sales Readiness Scorecards include CRM data

Last year, the firm launched Sales Readiness Scorecards, which “provide more powerful, instant, and comprehensive visibility into whether reps and their teams are prepared to engage with clients and prospects.”  Scorecard data is pulled from Salesforce, providing firms with pipeline and performance KPIs.  In 2021, Brainshark plans to deepen CRM integrations for expanded metrics and coaching tools.

“The questions sales enablement professionals need to answer go beyond ‘Are our reps ready?’ The more important question is, ’Are our readiness and enablement programs working?  Scorecards provide that clarity.  Enablement leaders can discover which reps need help with certain parts of the sales process, and then build learning programs to address those areas for maximum impact.  At the same time, sales managers have critical performance data at their fingertips that allows them to be better, more strategic coaches.”

Brainshark Chief Product Officer Greg Keshian

2Win! training “helps sales professionals master demo, presentation, client success, and storytelling skills, especially in a virtual world.”

Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates, said, “Our eValueSelling Fundamentals is a fast track for those who want to learn value-based selling.  By blending real-world examples with interactive exercises and quizzes, users learn how to prepare for a sales call, assess the health of opportunities, and ask questions that engage prospects.  This program makes for a perfect integration into Brainshark’s platform, allowing sales enablement leaders a simple and convenient way to build their training content and accelerate their results.” Brainshark lists BCI and go1 as additional training content partners.

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.”

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.

Seismic Acquires Grapevine6

Sales enablement and marketing orchestration platform Seismic acquired long-standing partner Grapevine6, a Toronto-based digital and social engagement platform.  Grapevine6 helps customer-facing professionals deliver “relevant content” from over 11,000 third-party publishers in six languages.  The Grapevine6 service, which is being re-launched as Seismic LiveSocial, improves sales engagement with customers and prospects through “meaningful, authentic online conversations” on social media platforms.  LiveSocial shifts social media communications from companies to trusted advisors, fostering social selling.

Grapevine6 will be integrated into Seismic and underpin the new Seismic LiveSocial service for sales and client-facing teams.  It will continue to be available as a freemium offering.

“LiveSocial will leverage the AI engine built by Grapevine6 to help sellers become trusted advisors by authentically engaging with their clients across the social media landscape,” said Seismic.  The combined service will help customer-facing professionals share “timely, reputable, and compliant content in their own voice” across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Users are fed a daily stream of tailored content “that best fits their interests and the needs of the markets they sell or serve.” Marketing content is included in the feed, and users can search their corporate content library.

“Each organization, and every individual seller, has a different perspective on the right balance of content,” Seismic stated in an email to GZ Consulting.  “Authenticity demands that there be no single correct approach.  Once the seller has connected their social profiles, Grapevine6’s AI platform intelligently serves up content that sellers can share on their social profiles based on an interest graph developed from previous activity and earned engagement.  Sellers can also calibrate their interest graph from within the platform.  Additionally, with the risk and compliance controls in place, sellers do not have to worry about vetting each and every post.  Content is already evaluated and approved based on hundreds of risk factors.”

Grapevine6 said that most employee advocacy programs fail because social content is focused on the individual and the company but lacks a broader perspective and “fresh, relevant content” that speaks to broader topics and industry issues.  Furthermore, the adoption rates are low because reps don’t know what’s in it for them.  By offering a steady stream of personalized content that can be quickly shared and monitored for compliance, LiveSocial mixes in a broad set of compliant content consistent with the brand while avoiding the problem of narcissistic messaging about the individual and the company.

“People engage with and do business with, people that they know, respect, and trust.  Leading firms now recognize that their brand lives at the edge of the organization.  It lives in the personal brand, the reputation, and the conversations of every client-facing employee.  It’s no longer enough to rely on centralized communication and advertising channels to get the word out about the great work your firm does.  Modern marketing success comes from empowering every employee to show up, speak up, nurture new and existing relationships, and spark conversations on social media.”

Grapevine6 FAQ

LiveSocial metrics include the ROI of a company’s social engagement strategy.  Other user and administrator metrics include activity, engagement, impact, top-performing assets, and top-performing topic areas.

“In today’s dynamic sales landscape, buyers increasingly want to hear from and connect with trusted individuals, not companies, on social media,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “Grapevine6 will be instrumental to providing additional customer value by combining Seismic’s industry-leading sales enablement platform and Grapevine6’s digital engagement platform, further empowering sales teams to educate and engage with buyers online — while simultaneously helping to build their personal brands in an authentic way.”

“Social media has cemented itself as a critical front line between organisations and their customers with IDC reporting that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions,” said Seismic Asia Pacific and Japan VP Richard Kulkarni.  “With the global pandemic as a catalyst, social selling skills, and digital eminence have become vital competencies for workforces.  Seismic LiveSocial not only empowers sales teams to engage clients more effectively on social media channels but also helps turn every employee into a brand ambassador, delivering a strong advantage in this new business reality.”


Continue to Part II.

Seismic Fall Release

Sales Enablement and Account Orchestration vendor Seismic announced General Availability of its Q3 release with enhanced analytics, alerting, customization, and dashboards.  The release emphasizes improved recommendations and metrics for the bottom half of the funnel.  The fall release aims to improve reporting, alerting, content recommendations, attribution, and context-specific messaging.  

“Sales content performance data has become a critical source of buyer feedback,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter. “Businesses are looking for ways to engage buyers through personalized, resonant messaging, but haven’t had the visibility into what content performs well and what doesn’t. Our improved analytics capabilities unite revenue teams, changing how deals are closed, how content is produced, and ultimately, how business is done.”

In an interview with GZ Consulting, VP of Product Marketing Jam Khan emphasized that sales and marketing professionals are becoming “increasingly data-driven,” but doing so across the full funnel.  The historical pattern of marketing identifying and nurturing leads before handing them off to sales no longer holds.  Instead, sales and marketing work in tandem, with sales taking broader ownership over email messaging and marketing looking to maintain conversations post-sale.

Top of the funnel marketing has a series of well-defined metrics, but lower down the funnel, analytics are murkier.  Sales and marketing struggle to determine which content is working, what the best-sellers are doing that differentiates them from their peers, which messages are most effective, and the coachable moments.  Reps also want assurances that they are using the most current and compelling content.

Sales Enablement platforms typically report on views and time spent with content but lack attribution that ties content to close.  Thus, content efficacy remains cloudy.  A 2019 Forrester study commissioned by Seismic found that 85% of “buyers will dismiss a seller in the first interaction if they don’t receive tailored information” but that 54% of organizations aren’t able to “effectively generate actionable insights from sales asset data.”  Thus, revenue teams need to understand better what buyers want and replicate best practices across the revenue organization.


Part II discusses Seismic Fall Release reporting enhancements.

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.

Seismic Interactive Content

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic released Interactive Content, a set of microapps and LiveContent presentations that lets remote sales reps “come close to mimicking an in-person environment, in which they are adapting to buyer reactions and feedback in near real-time.”  Interactive Content helps revenue organization deliver “immersive, engaging” digital experiences “with just a few clicks.”

A Tiled integration supports Seismic microapps that delivers “memorable evergreen content like digital brochures, pitch decks, 3D interactive visuals, and more.”

“Microapps unleash creative storytelling.  Organizations that deliver their messages in conversational, self-directed ways will win.  Those that don’t will be left behind,” said Tiled CEO Darrell Swain.  “Linear content will ultimately go the way of print.  We are moving into an experiential era that requires a new interactive content format that allows for the creation of rich, immersive experiences, without the need for code.”

Tiled microapps deliver “immersive experiences” with “evergreen content that captures buyers’ attention.”  The apps are interactive and drive engagement through stories “that resonate in a way buyers will remember.”

Seismic describes microapps as “a new content type that combines the interactivity of a mini-website or an app with the ease of document delivery.  Use cases include event invites, digital product brochures, buyer’s guides, and eBooks.

The microapp builder resides within Seismic’s Content Manager and supports drag n’ drop, interactive ‘tiles’ that deliver content as “scrollable image galleries and panes, in-line videos, quizzes, and more.”  The builder is a no-code service that supports adaptive display across mobile, desktop, and tablets.  Microapps may be reviewed and approved before publishing to targeted audiences.

While microapps support one-to-many interactive communications at the top of the funnel, LiveContent supports one-to-one, personalized communications at the bottom of the funnel.  LiveContent is built with familiar authoring tools that “easily transform traditional presentations into personalized, memorable, dynamic stories.”  Content is delivered in an “always-on” mode, as it is “intended to be.”

Seismic LiveContent converts standard presentations with embedded animations, transitions, videos, GIFs, and voiceovers “delivered remotely, exactly how a seller would deliver in person: in presentation mode.”  Seismic stores the original presentation file, allowing content creators to update LiveContent presentations based on page-by-page engagement analytics quickly.  The initial release supports Microsoft PowerPoint, but additional presentation formats will “follow soon.”

“Presentations are not intended to just be scrolled through,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “LiveContent allows a buyer to engage with a presentation remotely in a similar way that a seller would engage a buyer in person.  With our Summer 2020 release, we are bringing sales content to life.”

According to Seismic, interactive content is preferred to static material, with double the conversion rate of “passive” content.  91% of buyers prefer interactive/visual content and are twice as likely to share interactive content.  81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention, and 45% believe that its effective for educating prospects (vs. 6% for static content).  88% contend that it is effective at differentiating the brand.

The CSO Insights 2019 Sales Enablement report found that 57.7% of buyers saw little difference between sellers with vendors blending together.  Only 31.9% of buyers felt that at least one vendor succeeded in differentiating itself.

Interactive content supports flexible navigation allowing reps to quickly transition to relevant use cases, products, or services during sales conversations.  “You can get a broad set of content—as large as any slide deck—and deep content that drills down into the details of your business solutions,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Manager Neicole Crepeau.  “But it doesn’t have to feel burdensome, and it can be easy to navigate in the middle of a meeting.”

Users can embed questionnaires, videos, assessments, and calculators.  They can let clients drive the discussion, “asking them to enter information or answer questions and choose what they want to know more about,” continued Crepeau.  “By flipping the conversation and putting the customer in the driver’s seat during a meeting, you ensure engagement and that you’re truly talking about topics that resonate with the prospect.”

“Buyer expectations are high, and if the content brands are serving them is not relevant or engaging, they will disregard it.  Today it’s not just about what you say; it’s also how you say it.  Content fatigue and information overload have become particularly pronounced in our new all-digital work environment.  Sellers and marketers are in need of content types that captivate their audiences and move them through the buyer journey faster.”

Seismic CEO Doug Winter

Interactive Content will be available as an add-on service.  Seismic does not disclose its pricing.

Seismic Partner Ecosystem

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic supports over one hundred technology vendor integrations.  Seismic claims to have the “sales enablement industry’s largest partner ecosystem,” with multiple CRM, MAP, and sales engagement partnerships.

“Seismic is purpose-built to work with any application to enhance customer experiences, increase platform engagement, and add value throughout a company’s sales and marketing technology stack,” stated the firm.

Seismic published the following list of significant integrations by category:

  • Customer Intelligence: Gong, Introhive
  • CRM: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, Oracle, Pegasystems
  • Sales Readiness: Lessonly, Brainshark, MindTickle, Allego
  • Sales Engagement: SalesLoft, Outreach, Salesvue
  • Productivity: Office 365, GSuite, Microsoft Teams, Slack
  • Business Intelligence: Snowflake, Domo, Clari, Sisense
  • Marketing: Oracle Eloqua, Adobe Marketo, Adobe Marketing Cloud

Seismic has also partnered with over twenty global consulting partners that “are helping customers drive more value from their sales enablement investment, as well as offering local language and in-country support.”

Seismic offers an enterprise-grade content management system which recommends the next-best action for content.  The platform employs analytics to recommend which content is most likely to resonate with a prospect based on buying stage, vertical, etc.


Seismic recently partnered with Industry intelligence vendor Vertical IQ.

Seismic – Vertical IQ Partnership

Seismic announced a partnership with Vertical IQ to deliver industry-specific insights within its Sales Enablement Platform.  Vertical IQ industry overviews will be delivered through Seismic’s dynamic content automation tool, LiveDocs, allowing bankers to quickly assemble client-facing content tailored to the client.  Vertical IQ covers over 325 industries with coverage of industry risks, quarterly insights, key financial benchmarks, and industry growth data.  Coverage of niche industries and regional economic data are also available from within Seismic but are not part of the LiveDocs integration.

Insights can be presented in-person, in print, or via digital devices and are packaged into Seismic templates.

The integration “helps bankers develop hyper-personalized communications with clients and prospects,” stated Vertical IQ CMO David Buffaloe.  “Our industry content is available directly through their platform, allowing bankers to develop customized presentation slides based on the prospects specific industry.”

Vertical IQ content is available to customers outside of the banking space, but the initial implementation was developed with Fulton Bank.  “We started with the joint focus on banking/financial services organizations; however, anyone that uses Seismic and sells to multiple industries would see value,” said Buffaloe.

Buffaloe called the integration a “big win for users” as bank leaders are looking to reduce the number of logins for conducting account research and support.

A Gartner survey found that bankers that deliver insights to their customers generate 94% higher fees.

Relationship Managers (RMs) at banks and credit unions support a broad set of customers and industries, making it difficult to develop deep expertise in individual industries.  Deploying on-demand, industry-specific intelligence helps RMs quickly come up to speed on an industry, ask intelligent questions of owners and financial professionals, and assemble custom presentations for winning business.  Industry-specific content also assists customers in their decision making and supports more valuable meetings between RMs and customers.

“Conversations between a banker and client should go both ways.  Vertical IQ and Seismic’s solution ensures conversations are backed by real-time, tailored insights so bankers can engage in better discussions and act as a trusted advisor.  This helps them bring unique value and expertise to the table to win, grow and retain more business.”

Vertical IQ CEO Bobby Martin

A recent JD Power survey of small businesses found that most were dissatisfied with their bankers’ ability to meet their needs and expectations.  Only 37% of small business customers felt that banks appreciated their business, and only 32% felt that banks understood their business.

According to Bob Neuhaus, VP of Financial Services at JD Power, “Banks need to focus on better integrating high-touch resources with innovative digital tools to meet the demands of small business.”

“Business customers have come to expect hyper-personalized interactions that meet the standards that are now common-place in their personal lives,” said Bill Finnegan, Managing Director, Financial Services Marketing at Seismic.  “We’re thrilled about our partnership with Vertical IQ because of the competitive advantage it will offer our banking customers.  The ability to generate rich industry insights on-the-fly in a marketing-approved format will help bankers elevate client conversations from just product, to industry-specific trends, advice, and guidance.  It allows bankers to be a consultative partner that demonstrates their bank truly understands their business.”

Vertical IQ has launched several integrations over the past year to deliver its industry research within sales and banking workflows.  Recent partnerships include Salesforce, RelPro, and Seismic.  Vertical IQ profiles are written in plain English for non-experts in financial services industries.  Strategic sales reps also leverage Vertical IQ.

The Vertical IQ integration is being sold by Seismic as an add-on to their current sales enablement solution.

Market Insights Newsletter Splits in Half

This was one of the two weeks a year that I take off from writing my Market Insights Newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that I’m splitting the newsletter into two newsletters.  When I started writing the Market Insights Newsletter back in 2012, it focused on Sales Intelligence, Social Selling, and B2B DaaS.  Since then, B2B DaaS has increased greatly in importance, and I’ve added adjacent topics including Sales Engagement Platforms, data privacy / compliance, ABM, and Customer Data Platforms.  The result was a doubling in the length of the newsletter and an increase in the frequency that articles were bumped.  Some features are often bumped for a month or longer due to length.

In August, I took my summer vacation, but there was no August news break.  It took me a few months to catch up on announcements from that week.  This led me to the realization that I needed to split my newsletter in half to improve both topical focus and story currency.  The split will also allow me to profile more startups.

Most of my readers will continue to receive a Sales Intelligence (SI) newsletter which covers

  • Sales Intelligence
  • B2B DaaS
  • Data Hygiene
  • ABM
  • B2B Data (Companies, Contacts, Intent, Technographics, and Triggers)
  • Customer Data Platforms
  • Compliance (GDPR, CCPD, KYC, AML, PEP)

The SI edition of Market Insights will continue to publish on Sundays.

The new Sales Engagement (SE) newsletter covers

  • Sales Engagement Platforms
  • Hybrid Engagement Platforms (Sales Intelligence + ICP / TAM + Sales Engagement)
  • Sales Engagement Platform Ecosystem (e.g. Chat, Video, Attribution, Meeting Management, Analytics)
  • Sales Enablement

The SE edition will publish on Mondays.

Contact me if you’d like to be set up with a trial edition of either newsletter. I offer SMB pricing for startups, so don’t assume that I am unaffordable like other analyst services.