One of the most important SalesTech trends, besides the emergence of ChatGPT, is the rapid incorporation of engagement datasets alongside intent datasets for prioritization and messaging.
A few years ago, we saw the emergence of intent data sets such as first-party web visitor tracking, second-party product review site research, and third-party B2B media research. Initially, this content was integrated into MAPs, ABX platforms, and CDPs, but it was not well integrated into SalesTech. We are now seeing intent data being integrated into SalesTech platforms in a simplified fashion (e.g., High Intent Topics in CRM profiles and Slack alerts) that is digestible for sales reps.
However, intent data only indicates whether a company is in-market, not whether the buying committee is considering your offering or seriously engaged with your sales team. This intelligence comes from a new category of engagement data captured from digital interactions between the revenue team (sales, marketing, and customer success) and the buying committee. Engagement intelligence consists of both traditional digital interactions (e.g., clickthroughs, downloads) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytics derived from sales and buying team activities.
NLP helps RevTech platforms determine who is interacting with your firm. It also analyzes buyer sentiment, buyer concerns, deal health, and risk flags. The primary sources of engagement data are emails, recorded phone calls, and recorded meetings. However, any digital interaction between buyers and sellers can be captured such as activity in digital sales rooms, webinar attendance, chat messaging, and scheduled meetings. I anticipate that customer support platforms will also be tapped for engagement data to help gauge churn risk and friction during product trials.
Engagement data indicates whether a deal is on track and what issues could result in lost deals or pushed out pipeline. For example, engagement data assesses whether:
Discussions are single or multi-threaded
Key decisionmakers are involved (e.g., has a security review been performed or has legal been included?)
Competitors have been mentioned
Pricing concerns were raised
Follow on meetings have been scheduled
Meetings had a positive flow or were dominated by the sales rep
In short, engagement data provides sales reps and managers deal health and risk analytics that improve forecasting and ensure that deal risks are quickly mitigated. And as interactions are digital, managers can discuss these issues during one-on-ones or offer quick tips on next steps. They can even review the discussion associated with the risk and identify skills and knowledge gaps for coaching.
The interesting thing about intent and engagement data is they are highly complementary with each other. Operations teams should be looking at integrating intent data alongside engagement data. Intent data is valuable for identifying who and when to reach out to ideal customers. However, once a relationship is established, the focus shifts to engagement data for monitoring deal health. After a deal is signed, both engagement and intent data are in play. Intent data identifies cross-sell opportunities and churn risk through second and third-party intent topic monitoring while Engagement and Product Usage data evaluate adoption rates and potential implementation issues.
Sales Engagement vendor Groove introduced its Plays service to the market this morning. Groove observed that most sales engagement vendors tout flows (aka cadences and sequences) but that sequenced, linear processes fail to capture the increasingly complex nature of modern enterprise sales. Furthermore, flows were initially designed for SDRs and appointment setting but are inadequate for meeting the broader needs of the revenue team.
Along with the introduction of Plays, Groove is shifting from sales engagement to a broader vision of “Connected Sales Execution” that unifies team, strategy, and technology.
“When my co-founder Austin and I founded Groove, we were sales leaders facing the exact challenge that Groove Plays solves,” said CEO Chris Rothstein. “We knew that in order to digitally transform sales as a profession, we had to start by building a foundation in advanced data capture and linear-process automation. With Groove Plays, we are introducing the next generation of Groove to solve the biggest untapped market in sales.”
Forrester recognized this transformation in its Q3 2022 Sales Engagement Platforms Wave report, noting that Groove’s activity capture and interaction management are “top-notch.” Groove collects and aggregates signals from interactions and scores from Salesforce and external sources such as Clari, Seismic, 6sense, and Snowflake. “This information is used to connect buying group members and make suggestions based on broad data sets. Groove specializes in industry-specific and customer-specific suggestions and signals.”
“We’re launching Groove Plays as a way to take your playbook finally out of your head and put it into software so that you can assist reps at the right time, rather than after it’s too late,” explained Rothstein to GZ Consulting. “And then the second huge benefit: if you can constantly see what’s being done, what’s not being done, and what’s correlated with winning, then you can evolve and constantly get better.
Plays are designed for complex, non-linear sales processes. Sales Operations set up Groove Plays to monitor accounts for risks and opportunities. Plays are triggered when specified conditions are met (e.g., stalled deals, single threading, missing participants by role).
Groove Plays also monitors rep activity to see whether plays contributed to positive outcomes. Thus, sales managers and operations teams know whether sales reps follow company playbooks and which ones are effective. Play analytics are broken into outcomes without intervention (the playbook was followed), with intervention (the playbook was followed but after a reminder), or ignored.
Furthermore, by monitoring activity, Plays prevent reps from failing to follow critical steps (e.g., sending a follow-up message after a call, quickly turning around meeting action items).
Alerts are fed to Groove’s Master Review List, which is displayed in its Chrome extension and visible across Salesforce, Groove, and email. In addition, timers can be set to prevent plays from automatically firing, thus reducing the likelihood that reps are overwhelmed by automated triggers.
Plays provide proactive coaching instead of waiting until account reviews or forecasts. Delayed recommendations are generally reactive instead of proactive. “At that point, it’s too late. And then you react way too late. Our goal is for you to put the rules in the system, so it’s assisting you at the right time when there are signals…so you can be more proactive and consistent,” stated Rothstein.
Plays recommend actions when specific criteria are met. For example, a play can be built for deals with negative sentiment concerning price and slowing engagement. The play could then recommend an ROI calculator to a prospect, helping shift their thinking from cost to ROI.
Plays can also be built around handoffs, ensuring that crucial transition steps are not skipped.
Plays are also integrated into Groove’s conversational intelligence service and generative AI, providing meeting follow-up emails based on insights. Reps can choose to regenerate the email or add snippets.
Plays can also be designed around deal risk, suggesting actions if key buying committee members are not engaged. Likewise, plays can be setup if MEDDIC steps have not been completed, the primary contact has not responded to a renewal message, or internal approval timelines are not being met.
Groove’s RIO AI engine consists of three underlying engines:
NLP: Analyzes emails and generates insights for coaching.
Association: Ties actions to outcomes across the tech stack.
Guidance: Suggests actions based on sales plays and generates personalized content and best engagement times.
Groove supports “Connected Sales Execution” across sales, marketing, and customer success. RIO ingests account and activity histories with feedback loops to refine plays and recommendations. Thus, Connected Sales Execution spans teams, processes, and technology.
“We’re a platform to help you execute your sales strategy,” argued Rothstein. At its heart, Groove employs AI, processes, rules, and sensors (e.g., email capture, calendar capture, logging, phone calls) that analyze activities and generate insights.
“We’ve always been a company that connects all these things: the technology and the process, the team and the process,” stated Rothstein. “Where we can help is getting everyone on the same page, executing the playbook in real-time, and seeing what’s working and [what’s] not.”
Groove Plays is in Alpha with a planned Q2 beta. Groove Plays will be available to all customers at no additional cost when it GAs this summer.
Kyle Porter, who founded and led Salesloft for the past dozen years, stepped down from the CEO role and was named Salesloft’s Chairman last week. In his place, the firm named SaaS veteran David Obrand its new CEO. Obrand is also joining Salesloft’s board.
I’ve known Kyle Porter for around a decade. I was impressed when he mothballed his first email guessing product because it wasn’t aligned with his belief in sales authenticity. It was a gutsy move. While he didn’t burn his boats (i.e., immediately remove the product from the market), he stopped selling the service and phased out the product while fulfilling current contracts.
Porter is also a gifted storyteller, which he emphasizes as a skill that sales reps should hone. His personal story is embedded into his management style.
I had the opportunity to interview Kyle on Friday. The conversation below was edited for length.
Why have you chosen to move upstairs?
There are two major reasons. The first is for the greater good of the business. I’ve seen this market unfold and the opportunity that we have in front of us just open up. It’s unlimited what we can do in sales and revenue generation. And our mission has always been to fundamentally change the profession of sales forever and really build a world where sellers are loved by the buyers they serve. I want every Lofter to have our mission as their primary focus within this business. And that means I need to have it as well. My goal is to always do that. And when I looked out to the future of everything that we could achieve, the biggest fear I had was that I wouldn’t be the right person to help us get there – that I would leave something on the table.
My skills are always growing, always developing. I consider myself a lifelong learner. And I’ve worked really hard to be just as good as I can at this stage as I was when there were zero people at the company. That evolution, however, is hard work. And that self-development is a deep investment.
The second piece of this is more of a personal perspective. On my very first date with my now wife…she asked me what my dream was, and I told her it was to run a technology company that makes a dent in the universe. I asked her hers, and she said it was to restore the glory that was the Florida citrus industry…
Now with someone like David, he’s already gained that wisdom, experience, know-how, and recall. It’s so natural for him. And I felt like we could accelerate the development of the CEO’s capability to take us to the next level by bringing in someone like David. So really, it’s based on my limitations as CEO. The opportunity ahead of us is just so big. And we have an amazing future in this business. We do the right things, and we serve our customers with excellence. There’s no limit to what we can achieve, so I wanted to accelerate the office of the CEO’s capabilities and really improve the handicapped chances to achieve our mission.
Some opportunities came up to really achieve that mission that she’s been on. And I realized that my talents and resources could greatly assist her just as she sat on the sidelines and helped me achieve my mission for over twelve years. I realized that it’s not right for this organization with so much growth ahead to have a CEO that’s not singularly focused on the mission of the business…I’m going to do tangerines with my wife, and that meant that it was the best decision to have someone that would be singularly focused on the mission of this business…
Of course, there are also my three children. While my daughter Brooklyn (8) is still going through the change curve of me no longer being CEO, I’m incredibly excited to pour more time and attention into her, my son Clark (5), and daughter Abby (1) as well!
How active will you be as the chairman?
Pretty active. We have a founder lunch that I’m going to continue. I’ve been corresponding with many customers this week, and I will retain those relationships and meet with them continuously. I’ll be a board member. David has asked for a once-a-week meeting indefinitely with him.
I just have really deep relationships with so many people inside the organization and with so many of our customers and partners. My enjoyment and my passion are to continue to work with those people. So customer meetings, board meetings, and one-on-ones with the CEO.
We got some really fun content projects that we’re working on. We’re going to be doing some work together to really show the market what’s happening and what’s changed and how to be more effective in this new world of modern sales.
What were the top criteria for selecting your successor?
Number one is that they are aligned with the mission of the business. When we talk about fundamentally transforming sales and revenue forever, this person that we brought on board had to have that in their heart already. Number two is they have to realize and understand that organizational health is the biggest sustainable differentiating advantage that any company can have. So when we love on our Lofters, they turn around and love on our customers, and the CEO needed to understand those dynamics and be willing to continue running this business with that framework and mindset. Three, I wanted someone that was well-rounded functionally. Not just a sales leader, but someone that understood product engineering, finance, marketing, [and] customer success.
I saw it firsthand when David Obrand got up and spoke with the product and engineering team. I sat, and I listened to someone say things that I wish I had thought of saying to them in the past. Things that I didn’t know and didn’t experience. And the way he connected with them was on a very deep level. And it was really refreshing for them to see someone that understands them even better than I did. So that was really cool.
When you think about succession as a founder, there’s a point at which your skillset, knowledge, or experience isn’t the right fit for taking the company to the next level. And many executives, out of hubris, choose to continue in that role, even though they may not be the best person for that role.
I believe exactly what you said. But I also believe that we really don’t have any limits except for those imposed upon us by ourselves. I’ve always believed that we can grow and develop into that next stage, and I’ve always believed that for myself, but that investment sometimes takes time. And if you have other things that you’re focused on, it’s more difficult to get down that development path.
You had a quiet layoff last week. Usually, you’re more transparent about these things. Why the shift away from the prior transparency, and why was it necessary to do so?
Necessary is an interesting word. I teach our leadership team that they don’t need to do anything; they always choose to do certain things.
On the transparency front, we did have a layoff after COVID. And we didn’t make a public announcement on that, as well. We believe that’s a private thing for the people that are part of the organization. We want to be super transparent internally about everything that happened. And if someone goes out and posts something, we don’t stop them or send them a note saying, don’t write that by any means. But that is a private kind of situation for the people who are impacted and affected.
Now, I am certainly helping people to find jobs. And we’ve assembled a list. And I’ve made many introductions. I’ve brought a lot of investors in, And we are helping those folks to find their next path.
SalesLoft, like many companies, saw lots of growth in the market and then saw some headwinds in front of us. And the way we think about it is that you’re in an airplane, and when the headwinds come, you can do two things: you can accelerate through and burn all your fuel, or you can lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and pick back up. The decision we made was to lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and then pick back up with the business.
What advice would you give founders of technology startups?
Really obsessing over the problem you solve is the first and foremost most critical thing that founders need to do. And when I say obsessed, I mean you need to get everybody in the organization on board with caring so much that they love their customer; they love solving the pains for them. And the company that cares the most is the one that’s going to win. Number one is that customer obsession and a really deep focus on the problem that you solve to the point where it becomes just a daily rhythm of your life.
The second one is aligning your organization to go after your mission. The mission statement is something where you’re one stop short of changing the world. We want to fundamentally transform sales forever. And that’s what we’re here to do. And so we need to hire people who believe in that mission, even down to the engineer.
We’ve created this whole community of people from every walk of life who love sellers and who understand the beauty of what sales is and how it transforms economies and markets. How it helps companies hire, invent, bring new products to life, and really change the fabric of our society. Making sure that your team is focused on that mission is critical. Then you got to have the rhythms in place where they’re being held accountable [and] where you’re achieving your goals.
You’ve emphasized the importance of culture. How did Salesloft benefit from your five core values?
What we’re looking for when we hire people is not that they’re five out of five A+, but that they have many of the core values [and] also believe that the other ones that maybe they’re not as strong in are important enough to work towards.
The other thing is that core values are a way to stop yourself before you make a mistake. Once a mentor told me [that] a good leader makes a mistake and quickly fixes it, [but] a great leader is about to make a mistake and fixes it before they do. And for me, that’s what the core values are. If we say that we want to be glass half-full, and I find myself about to say something negative. In the old days, I would say it, learn it, and fix it. But now, before it even comes out of my mouth, my head says, “glass half-full,” and I change the way I deliver that message.
Or if I’ve got a decision where I can go left, and it’s maybe better for money and then go right, and it’s better for customer experience. Then, customer obsession comes into my mind before I make that decision so that I can go right for the customer. We look at core values as triggering mnemonic messages in your head that help you to be the person you want to be.
As a CEO, you’ve got to repeat those [values] over and over again. Reward people who exhibit it. You’ve got to praise those who showcase it. Repetition is persuasion in that regard.
What is one mistake you wish you could have avoided?
We never anticipated the market would come back so fast post-COVID. Nobody did. Had I understood that, we wouldn’t have slowed down like we did. But then, we also never anticipated that the SaaS market would crash the way that it did. Had we understood that, we would have slowed down a little bit more before we did. Hindsight is 20/20. If you can predict those things, you can be a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager.
We’re always trying to align market demand with the resource supply of the organization. So that’s a continual trade-off that we’re working to make.
Are you looking forward to more time on the citrus farm?
I’m really excited. One of the things we do is send tangerines out to our customers. Every single year we do it, and I’m not going to miss that. We’ve got to keep producing great tangerines, so we can keep getting them into the hands of our customers. It is a joy and a passion of mine and my wife’s. She’s been so helpful to me on this journey, and I’m excited to help her follow her dreams.
Any last thoughts?
Yeah, we’re in a great spot. As a company, even with what we’ve seen in the downturn in the marketplace, we saw a really strong end to our Q4, and Q1 is off to a great start. Our CEO is highly capable. He’s wise. He’s been welcomed with a huge Salesloft hug inside the organization, and I’ve seen our customers and market participants really appreciate who he is and what he’s going to do. We’ve got a big opportunity to fundamentally transform the sales profession ahead of us. And we’re going to do it.
Asynchronous video vendor Vidyard announced the appointment of Jonathan Lister as its new COO. Lister joins from LinkedIn, where he served as VP of Global Sales Solutions. Prior to LinkedIn, Lister was the Country Manager for Google Canada and held multiple executive positions at AOL.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Jonathan to the Vidyard team,” said Vidyard CEO Michael Litt. “His unique experience as a global leader at LinkedIn will be a tremendous asset as we build on our mission to empower every go-to-market professional with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in the new world of digital customer communication.”
While at LinkedIn, Lister increased the division’s customer base to one million users paying $1,000 per year for Sales Navigator.
“So, he drove it to a billion dollars a year in revenue,” said Litt. “And we have the same user — the sales professional using video to communicate with their customers.”
“The next stage is, how do we commercialize and value at scale?” continued Litt. “And that is exactly what Jonathan is here to help us with.”
Video adoption remains strong among sales and marketing organizations. According to Demand Metric’s 2022 State of Video Report, 82% of go-to-market teams report that video is becoming increasingly important when connecting with buyers. Furthermore, 70% of sales reps stated that video converts better than other content formats.
“There are few SalesTech companies that are truly focused on empowering the individual sales professional,” said Lister. “That’s really what drew me to Vidyard. I believe the company is uniquely positioned in that its products can be used by any go-to-market professional in the world to impact every stage of the customer journey. I’m looking forward to building on Vidyard’s strong momentum and reputation as a world-class provider of sales technology and community education.”
Vidyard also provided a summary of its 2022 enhancements
Video Templates: Video Templates guide sellers on how to use videos across various including getting in front of a new prospect, recording a custom demo, or closing out a deal. Video Templates include sample scripts, example videos, recording tips, and related best practices. There are also community-contributed templates from Shari Levitan, Sales Gravy, Katherine Caldwell, Todd Caponi, and Salesloft.
Enhanced Editing: Enhanced video trimming and cutting features.
Video Chapters: Add chapters to mark specific topics and improved navigation.
Salesloft Insights Integration:Salesloft users can discover which prospects are watching their videos natively within Salesloft. Vidyard video views are surfaced within the Salesloft activity feed to “empower sellers with timely customer insights.”
Sales Feed Learning Hub: Vidyard launched a new learning hub, accessible within the Vidyard app, powered by its Sales Feed media network. Vidyard users can access sales learning content, including cold calling, prospecting, discovery and qualification, negotiation and proposals, and selling with video.
“Our singular focus with Sales Feed is to help B2B sales professionals learn, laugh, and live a better life in sales,” said Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing at Vidyard and Head of Sales Feed. “The response we’ve received from our community has been nothing short of incredible, and we’re thrilled to put our top-rated content into the hands of every Vidyard user. At the end of the day, if we can help one more sales rep close one more deal – and feel good about how they did it – we feel like we’ve done our jobs.”
Litt argued that field sales reps were already in decline in 2020 and that “the pandemic basically killed field selling,” The pandemic forced firms to sell remotely, benefiting Vidyard, which offered a personalized communications channel that allowed sales reps to stand out in the inbox.
“That story played out again, and again, and again,” said Litt. “That enabled us to accelerate our trajectory through to profitability, invest as much as we could back into [research and development], and totally embrace this video messaging story.”
Vidyard now supports 12 million business professionals at 250,000 companies. At this point, the firm can either operate on a cash flow neutral basis or be more aggressive to foster growth.
Vidyard has not had a funding round since 2019, as the firm did not look for an “insane valuation.” Litt said, “[this] means not doing big financial raises at crazy valuations because we want our employees to have upside. We want all of our stakeholders to be engaged with the same outcome.”
Litt said Vidyard has been “judicious” about its spending. The CEO noted that the company has kept its focus on retaining “really strong delta option value,” adding, “[this] means not doing big financial raises at crazy valuations because we want our employees to have upside [and] we want all of our stakeholders to be engaged with the same outcome.”
Although the firm did not state its current revenue, Litt sees $100 million as Vidyard’s “next meaningful milestone.”
Litt sees a great opportunity in asynchronous video. Vidyard’s R&D efforts center around more compelling video content, including AI assistance to improve content efficacy.
As firms face a challenging market, Litt is eyeing potential acquisitions, “especially in the next couple of quarters as businesses look for a soft landing. We think there’s going to be some opportunities to pick up some interesting tech to better complete our vision, and again, come out of this cycle with a really, really amazing suite of products that benefit our go-to-market teams.”
With firms cutting travel budgets during the recession, demand for Vidyard should remain strong. “Fortunes are built in bear markets and harvested in bull markets, and we’re in a bear market. But we have the balance sheet and financials to invest heavily in product and value for our users,” said Litt.
“The acquisition extends Bigtincan’s lead in AI-driven revenue intelligence by improving B2B sales organization’s ability to scale by delivering insights and recommendations directly to sales reps for better decision-making to increase revenue,” the firm told investors. “The SalesDirector.ai technology links people, activity, and engagement across the buyer’s journey to derive insights, including opportunity risk and relationship strength, and then makes intelligent recommendations. By capturing all sales, marketing, and customer success activity the technology drives actionable revenue insights required to make the right business decisions.”
Bigtincan stated that SalesDirector’s technology would improve its AI-powered insights capabilities and forecasting accuracy.
SalesDirector ingests data from GSuite/Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Exchange and feeds contact data (e.g., Title, Department, Level, Phone) to Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. SalesDirector also captures Engagement Signals and writes them back to CRMs as custom fields:
Executive Engaged on Opportunity / Account
Single or Multi-Threaded Opportunity Relationship
Last QBR Complete / Next QBR Scheduled
Partner / Sales Engineer Engaged on Opportunity
Next Step / Meeting Scheduled
AI tools include stakeholder identification, individuals who are supporters or detractors, disengaged stakeholders, account risk scoring, sentiment analysis, and deal health.
“Every organization has to be more productive,” said Bigtincan CEO David Keane. “With the Sales Enablement market shifting towards a more holistic approach encompassing Revenue Enablement, we can deliver more value to our customers by providing full-cycle sellers with AI-driven recommendations on the next best actions based on intelligent sales analytics from SalesDirector.ai.”
SalesDirector pricing begins at $29 per user per month for activity capture. Revenue Insights pricing is not published.
Bigtincan will incorporate SalesDirector’s functionality into its product suite and phase out the SalesDirector brand.
“Traditionally, when we do small tech-focused acquisitions, they become part of the Bigtincan product suite, so that capability gets added to the existing platform we have,” said Keane. “We don’t tend to run these things as separate businesses, mostly because we miss out on some of the benefits for our shareholders of taking it all together and taking that technology and really getting in the platform. This is no different than our existing strategy – embed, connect it all together and make it something that our customers can choose to add. We do believe that it is all about choice, and we want people to be able to buy these technologies from us as additional value-added options. I think that’s going to be the case here as well.”
Bigtincan paid $1.2 million in cash and equity for SalesDirector.
The entire SalesDirector team is joining Bigtincan.
Bigtincan, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has acquired a series of RevTech companies, including ClearSlide, Brainshark, and VoiceVibes.
Salesloft released a trio of enterprise-grade features to its Sales Engagement platform. New Enhancements support account-based team selling, improved governance and access controls, and mobile app improvements.
Account-based team selling allows multiple team members to work on an account and set multiple account owners with a single, shared view. Furthermore, Salesloft automation rules support team selling with automated role assignments and account relationships across the customer lifecycle “so that reps can easily follow rules of engagement without losing time to admin tasks and workarounds.”
Expanded access controls provide complete control over which data customers have access across Cadences, Conversations, and Deals. Organizations can limit access to sensitive opportunity data, call recordings, and customer records, ensuring security, compliance, and privacy.
Data access is based on the principle of least privilege, so users only have access to data required to do their job. Thus, sales managers have access to all data relevant to their direct reports, while AEs can only view their data.
Recognizing that field sales reps are returning to the road, the Salesloft Mobile App supports immediate customer engagement in support of time-sensitive communications. Features include a Mobile Live Feed similar to the Salesloft Live Feed, person searching, email sending, and messaging (text).
The Mobile app lets sales reps make and log calls, send messages, and send emails directly from the mobile app using the mobile phone’s network. The mobile app places a pair of calls that bridges the mobile device through the Salesloft dialer, with caller id displaying the dedicated Salesloft number. Call recording, Live Call Studio, and voicemail drops are not supported.
Email enhancements are available now, with broader cadence step support in early 2023.
“Sales teams have adopted technology quickly, often at the expense of critical governance capabilities. This exposes companies to policy or compliance violations,” said Salesloft CPO Ellie Fields. “We believe it is Salesloft’s job to provide sales teams with technology they need to sell, and to make sure that technology is governed. Especially in tight markets, our customers want to spend time selling, not managing disparate systems.”
Salesloft also announced that it rearchitected its Google Chrome extension, providing the “full Salesloft platform through one, consistent sidebar across Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and Gmail.” The redesigned extension will be available in early 2023.
Other platform enhancements include automated data enrichment based on email signatures; out-of-office detection for Spanish, French, and German; Slack notifications for one-off tasks; improved email sentiment analysis; future period forecasts in Deals; and improved Deal Engagement Scores.
New integrations include Gryphon.ai (phone and email certifications), EveryoneSocial, Salesfinitiy (dialer), and StoryDoc (build presentations and share prospects via cadences).
Enhanced integrations include HubSpot (syncing of ownership data) and Vidyard (Live Feed notifications when a Vidyard video is shared).
RevTech Vendor and Consultancy ClickDimensions rolled out its Sales Engagement service that works alongside its other Dynamics 365 sales and marketing services. ClickDimensions is looking to unify sales and marketing motions, particularly among SMBs.
“ClickDimensions Sales Engagement makes this unification possible, giving teams control over leads and better visibility into revenue-driving activities. Once these teams are better aligned, companies see an average revenue increase of 34%,” stated the firm.
ClickDimensions aims to “democratize best-in-class tools for all companies” and unify sales and marketing strategies. According to ClickDimensions, Sales Engagement “offers a unified approach for sales and marketing teams and eradicates the potential for customer drop-offs and miscommunication between each team as leads progress through the funnel. The result is greater sales team efficiency, higher-quality buyer journeys, and increased customer loyalty and revenue.”
ClickDimensions Chief Growth Officer Margaret Wise explained to GZ Consulting that many of their Microsoft Dynamics customers “aren’t the digital leaders. They are often digital laggards. They are often in manufacturing, associations, and nonprofits. They’re not bleeding edge typically from a marketing perspective.”
So, the question for Wise becomes, “How do we provide solutions that are accessible, integrated, easy to use, and affordable for that specific kind of customer that doesn’t want to be bleeding edge on the latest and greatest? They want something dependable, easy, [and] that they can find resources for.”
At SMBs, CEOs often take an active role in the technology purchasing decision “because it is tied directly to revenue and growth,” continued Wise. “A lot of the change urgency is being driven out of the C-suite.” Thus, their messaging needs to address C-level issues around lead generation and revenue management.
ClickDimensions argues that these laggards often lack a digital strategy, have uncoordinated social media marketing, and mostly transmit one-off email messages.
ClickDimensions Sales Engagement, which runs natively in Dynamics, offers templated emails sent through Outlook, sales sequences, lead scoring, and next-best-action recommendations. When combined with ClickDimensions Marketing Automation, revenue teams have a “complete view of every step of the customer journey.”
Sequences can be built for initial meeting requests, prospecting, follow-up, inbound, events (both invitation and follow-up), periodic check-ins, account review, and upcoming renewal. This breadth supports sales and customer success teams across the customer lifecycle.
Sequence analytics are also provided with step-level results (e.g., calls, bounces, opens, replies) and post-activity disposition capture (e.g., interested, not interested, interested – not now).
Sequenced tasks include manual and automated emails, phone calls, LinkedIn, and generic tasks; however, they do not yet support dialer or LinkedIn integrations.
Admins also set up sequence-based rules for scenarios such as reply action for sequenced emails and bounce handling. Admins can also set sequences to automatically trigger or wait for sales review before triggering.
“The modern buying journey has completely transformed from what it was a mere three years ago, which means companies need to adapt how they sell – and fast,” stated ClickDimensions CEO Mike Dickerson. “Launching ClickDimensions Sales Engagement is our way of responding to these industry challenges, equipping our customers with critical tools to boost revenue, and unifying sales and marketing teams around a digital-first customer experience.”
ClickDimensions Sales Engagement is a “natural progression and the perfect complement to its flagship solution, ClickDimensions Marketing Automation,” continued the firm. “The platform helps marketers optimize campaigns, automate follow-ups, create lead nurturing processes, and target leads to sales. From there, ClickDimensions Sales Engagement will help salespeople with the next best action, automating outreach to leads and redirecting leads to marketing for further nurture if they’re not ready to purchase.”
ClickDimensions Marketing offers one-to-many outreach during the nurture phase (e.g., newsletters, marketing campaigns, event invitations). Later, ClickDimensions Sales Engagement supports one-to-one or one-to-few communications with prospects and customers. Marketing Automation can send leads to sales reps based on triggers or lead scores, and Sales Engagement offers a button to return prospects to nurture for leads that are not in active buying cycles. Thus, the problem of MQLs being ignored and dropped by sales as not qualified has a logical resolution – return the lead to marketing nurture and support a “non-linear customer journey.”
The passing back and forth of leads between sales and marketing enables a “continual process until the actual opportunity progresses,” said Wise.
ClickDimensions Marketing Automation supports email marketing, campaign automation, surveys, events, landing pages, forms, SMS, and Social. While the company now offers marketing automation and sales engagement, its long-term plans are to provide a “full RevTech solution” built on the Dynamics platform. This future platform and services organization will be built both organically and via acquisitions and support embedded AI for sentiment analysis, next-best actions, opportunity scoring, and activity capture.
ClickDimensions is a Microsoft VAR and consultancy with a global footprint across 76 countries and 3,500 customers. Half of its revenue is derived in the EMEA region, with most of the rest in North America. It serves a broad set of industries, with no segment representing over 25% of its customer base.
ClickDimensions also offers consultancy services that provide “fractional access to skilled resources that are in short supply.” Services include onboarding, training, and execution; demand generation; customer data services; and marketing operations.
Revenue Platform Clari made a trio of announcements related to a partnership with Sales Engagement Platform Groove, the full integration of conversational sales platform Wingman, and the pending release of its Optimize module for controlling revenue leaks. Optimize helps revenue teams diagnose and address revenue leaks, reducing revenue loss due to deal slippage, bad data, and error-prone manual processes.
“The Clari Revenue Platform gives revenue leaders the past, present, and future data they need to not just control revenue but help grow it,” said Clari CEO Andy Byrne. “Only Clari provides the full historical picture and adds real-time capabilities to act fast as well as the forward-looking projections to proactively strategize revenue precision.”
Optimize offers a “single, centralized view” of revenue metrics, including win rates, forecast accuracy, and deal cycle times. In addition, Optimize helps revenue leaders answer questions such as “How is my team trending this quarter? Are we going to meet, beat, or miss on revenue? How can I ensure my reps are doing the right things to produce predictably winning results?”
Clari argues that market leaders have been unable to answer these questions proactively, making it difficult to mitigate issues and risks. Clari combines historical and external data to assist with revenue benchmarking. Thus, Clari can reach beyond the CRM to gather account intelligence. For example, it can look at usage data to assess churn risk.
“Optimize is all about finding revenue leaks so customers can see not just where and why they’re missing revenue, but what they can do about it. No other solution on the market has the ability to harness past time series data to provide a historical view of revenue leak.”
Clari CEO Andy Byrne
Optimize, available soon, will provide a single view for the whole organization of revenue and insights, capturing CRM intelligence, activity data, and forecasts. With the integration of Wingman, its recently acquiredconversational intelligence subsidiary, the voice of the customer is fully embedded within Clari analytics and forecasts.
Furthermore, Wingman provides real-time coaching during sales calls, helping reps avoid mistakes and providing real-time intelligence (e.g., technical information, competitive battlecards) to sales reps. By improving sales objection handling, parrying competitive attacks, and preventing delays due to technical follow-ups, Wingman also reduces revenue leakage.
“It’s not just about coaching your teams to sell more, or about deal reviews,” said Holly Procter, senior vice president and global head of sales at Clari. “It’s more about running your revenue better—governing revenue-critical moments for success and collaboration across revenue-critical people, which includes buyers as well as sellers. Nobody else offers this collaborative, real-time approach.”
Clari and Groove announced a partnership at Dreamforce that helps “joint customers run revenue with more precision, greater collaboration, and faster execution.” Sales Engagement Platform Groove acts as a “system of action,” while Revenue Intelligence platform Clari acts as a “system of collaboration and governance.” Both platforms sync with Salesforce, which serves as the “system of record” for sales activity.
The partners argue that while revenue is at the heart of every business, CEOs struggle to get a handle on revenue and are uncertain about whether they will meet, beat, or miss revenue projections.
“Up to fifty percent of entire company employees are revenue critical. They are responsible in some form or fashion for delivering revenue.”
Clari SVP of Marketing Kyle Coleman explained to GZ Consulting
Revenue responsibility is broader than quota carriers and includes SDRs, CSMs, AMs, leadership, product managers, and engineers. Unfortunately, “consistent, predictable execution and collaboration” across these employees remain “very challenging” due to the lack of a unified platform shared across all these roles.
“It’s also very difficult, therefore, to govern any sort of revenue process or sub-process in a repeatable way,” continued Coleman. “What revenue leaders end up doing is every quarter, they’re trying to capture this lightning in a bottle to know whether they’re going to meet, beat or miss, but it’s sort of a scramble more often than not.”
With the Groove / Clari partnership, “we will be able to govern processes, we’ll be able to replicate the best practices, we’ll be able to do the right kind of real-time analysis that leads to action in a closed loop way so that we know that everything is happening as it should be when it should be,” argued Coleman.
A common issue for revenue teams is identifying revenue leaks and mitigating them. Revenue leaks exist across the full revenue lifecycle. For example, deal slippage is identified in real-time, allowing reps to take action via Groove to bring the deal back on track.
When Clari identifies a deal slipping for competitive reasons, it can suggest a play be executed in Groove. Likewise, Clari can identify sub-par win rates, overly generous discounting, and low conversion rates for early-stage opportunities.
“We can tie our campaigns through to revenue in Salesforce, and that is something that they (Groove’s competitors) cannot do,” argued Groove VP of Marketing Kristin Hersant. “Then all of that rich data, tying engagement through to revenue is able to be pulled into Clari and used in the analysis, and that is available today.”
Coleman explained that while you can’t win a deal at any moment, you can certainly break a deal. And once a deal is lost, “it’s very difficult to un-lose” it. Thus, “if you don’t do the right thing at the right time – handle the right objection, or pull the right person in or do the right kind of follow-up” – the deal could be jeopardized. Therefore, “handling revenue critical moments expertly and in a prescribed way” that is governed by best practices is critical in addressing revenue leaks.
“Having all of that insight into all these moments that exist and then having confidence that every one of your employees is going to be able to execute on this? Well, this is what’s so exciting to us,” said Coleman.
“Clari has always been about providing companies with the collaboration and governance required to run revenue with maximum precision, and Groove completes the equation by enabling our joint customers to turn the insights we provide into action,” said Byrne. “We’ve seen incredibly strong results from joint customers using our two platforms together, and this formal partnership will help us transform even more revenue organizations.”
Groove offers enterprise customers a Salesforce-native SEP that records all activity directly to Salesforce.
“Groove and Clari coming together is definitely a ‘1 + 1 = 3’ scenario for revenue leaders,” said Groove CEO Chris Rothstein. “Bringing together Clari’s revenue collaboration and governance capabilities with Groove’s strength in sales execution and productivity provides the ultimate value proposition: See the future with Clari and then create that future with Groove.”
Sales Engagement Platform Salesloft formally opened an AsiaPac headquarters based in Singapore. The firm began internationalizing a few years ago when it opened its London EMEA office. Salesloft is looking to replicate its EMEA success across the APAC region. It trebled its EMEA revenue over the past two years, with European revenue growing 140% last year.
The new office provides sales and support for its “thousands of users” in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the broader Asian market.
Salesloft “recognizes that making a human connection is important to building relationships in the Asia Pacific market,” wrote the firm. “Core to Salesloft’s mission is a hyper-focus on customer success and helping customers become more efficient and productive to achieve better sales outcomes.”
Newly appointed Asia-Pacific Vice President Vincent Ooi will manage the regional HQ. Ooi previously managed Southeast Asian and Korean Sales for Tableau Software and was the Asia-Pacific VP for DataRobot. Ooi will be responsible for “building and scaling” the Salesloft team in the APAC market and “lead the company’s revenue and customer growth strategy in the region,” announced Salesloft.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Salesloft team at such a pivotal moment in the company’s growth,” said Ooi. “The company and the category are growing exceptionally fast. I look forward to building a team that consistently delivers significant business results quarter over quarter. More importantly, I’m excited to help bring the power of sales engagement to more customers around the world to help them exceed their sales goals.”
Salesloft’s top regional verticals include software, professional services, and education.
“We are committed to making the lives of sellers easier, not just in the U.S. but around the globe,” said Nate Remmes, Executive Vice President, Commercial Business Unit at Salesloft. “At Salesloft, we put our customers at the center of our business. Our continued growth has allowed us to expand into the Asia-Pacific market and offer in-region support to our customers.”
Salesloft also announced that it would soon be offering native integrations with HubSpot CRM and Microsoft Dynamics. Both vendors have large installed bases in the APAC and European markets. Like its long-standing integration with Salesforce, the partnerships will support the syncing of Account, Contact, Lead, and Activity records. The CRMs will act as systems of record, while Salesloft will be the system of engagement.
The HubSpot and Dynamics integrations are currently in beta, with GA later this year. “General availability of these integrations will ensure customers around the world will have maximum flexibility and benefit using Salesloft regardless of their CRM,” wrote Salesloft.
Sales Engagement Platform Groove announced the general availability of Groove Conversations, the “first conversational intelligence product that enables revenue teams to access call recording and insights directly from the inbox and calendar instead of a separate platform.” The firm also announced the Groove+ mobile app for iOS that helps remote and hybrid teams prepare for meetings and manage post-meeting follow-up (Android will be available later this year). Groove+ also displays Salesforce and key meeting insights.
Groove is natively built in Salesforce. Unlike its competitors, Groove does not sync data between a separate database and Salesforce but stores and accesses it natively in Salesforce. Thus, conversational insights and Salesforce updates are directly managed by Groove inside Salesforce.
Groove Conversations offers call recording, transcription, and analysis without leaving the Inbox. Additionally, insights are associated with Salesforce Activities and Opportunities.
Conversations initially supports Zoom and Groove’s OmniDialer, with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, WebEx, and other services in development.
Conversations are fully searchable, with users able to listen to the searched term or keyword-related discussion.
Analytics include talk time, keyword mentions, sentiment analysis, and talk timelines for each attendee. In Q3, the firm plans on adding “deeper analytics and AI-driven insights.”
Additional features include
Picture-in-picture viewing capabilities to support multi-tasking
Recording, transcript, and keyword access from email, calendar, Salesforce, or the Groove app
Internal sharing of meetings for review and team coaching
Internal and external sharing of calls, with the ability to extract and share a snippet of a meeting available soon
Groove+ delivers meeting alerts powered by Salesforce data to reduce deal time. Users can easily access deal history, account information, meeting attendees, and activity history. In addition, meeting notes may be logged to Salesforce with voice-to-text functionality. Reps can also update meetings, accounts, contacts, opportunities, custom fields, or unique Salesforce configurations.
“The value of Groove+ goes beyond sales to include all revenue team members,” explained Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein to GZ Consulting. “Essentially, anyone interfacing with clients should find value from Groove+.”
Groove conducted a survey in December and January of 1040 B2B sales reps which determined that 46% of companies are not planning a total return to the office. Thus, managing remote and hybrid sales teams will remain a top issue for the CRO. Top concerns for remote sales reps include updating CRM platforms (48%), inputting account notes (46%), and scheduling follow-up meetings (45%).
“Now that most reps are working in a hybrid role permanently, revenue teams need to focus on maximizing the value of their CRM. Extending the power of CRM to remote teams makes them productive and effective while also providing leaders with the visibility and insight needed to manage them effectively.”
Groove CEO Chris Rothstein
Groove Conversations and Groove+ provide remote, hybrid, and inside sales reps with immediate access to sales productivity tools, conversational analytics, and deal insights. Additionally, sales reps can update SFDC from Groove+ and access call recordings and insights from anywhere, providing centralized call coaching, next steps, and follow-up.
Groove Conversations and Groove+ are separate offerings but will be integrated later this year. Groove+ is available with any Groove core license. Groove Conversations is available as a premium add-on. “When we founded Groove, we knew that building for the seller first was the key to driving widespread adoption and seller productivity,” said Rothstein. “As a result, we are the only platform that is just as easy to use and relevant for field sales as it is for sellers working from home or in the office. Our customers typically see over 90% adoption rates of Groove and Salesforce, realizing as much as 83% seller productivity improvements as a result.”