I am pleased to announce that my next enterprise software purchasing report is available through this website and my partners at Tenbound. “Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms: A Guide for Purchasing SEPs” assists with the purchasing decision of this rapidly developing SalesTech category.
Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms
Single User License (October Discounted Price)
The report is available as both a single buyer license for smaller firms evaluating the sector and as a buyer-committee license for larger firms. The Buyer Committee license covers a team of seven and includes a Word document checklist to assist with the evaluation.
Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft rebranded its Meeting Intelligence functionality as Conversation Intelligence. SalesLoft describes four sets of features which help reps schedule meetings and then listen to, understand, and engage with customers and prospects. SalesLoft supports a broad set of conversation tools including appointment setting; automated recording, transcription, and indexing of calls; time-stamped notes, and call analytics. This functionality is available for prospect, customer, and internal calls. Managers, mentors, and trainers can join calls or whisper into a sales rep’s ear.
the evolution of SalesLoft’s platform and user experience, one feature has
changed so much that its prior name no longer did it justice,” wrote SalesLoft
Head of Community Aly Merritt. “Meeting Intelligence is now Conversation
Intelligence, because sales isn’t just meetings – it’s every conversation and
recordings can be stored in a training library or shared for coaching or
questions. For example, if a sales rep does not know the answer to a
question, it can be forwarded directly to customer support or engineering for a
Intelligence supports both SalesLoft’s native dialer and leading web meeting
applications: Zoom, GoToMeeting, join.me, UberConference, Cisco WebEx, and
Cisco WebEx Enterprise.
Sales calls come in many forms: prospecting, discovery, demos, stakeholder alignment, and so on. All of these interactions make up the foundation for the long-term customer relationship. High-value customer relationships are made possible when prospects feel that the relationship they are entering into is mutually beneficial.
How can you build such a relationship? By working to ensure your prospects feel heard and confident that you understand their needs. Work to engage them throughout their journey. After all, sales doesn’t stop when the deal closes, nor does engagement cease when a seller hangs up the phone.
▪ SalesLoft Product News
SalesLoft said that it is “designed to flex around the needs of the user based not only on their role but also on their preferred workflow. This empowers SalesLoft customers to offer consistent value at every stage.”
“Sales meetings are the moments in the sales cycle where you have the opportunity to provide the most value for your customers. As such, they are some of the single biggest opportunities for your team to influence revenue. It’s where your deals are won and lost,” wrote the firm. “Despite this, sellers often don’t get the opportunity to improve on this critical component of the sales process. Combine this with the challenges that face sales leaders around how much time it takes to digest sales meetings, gain visibility into what’s really happening, and be proactive in the deal cycle.”
Conversational marketing vendor RambleChat is the latest partner available through the SalesLoft app directory. Along with real-time website chat, joint customers can embed chat into SalesLoft email cadences. RambleChat then routes sales conversations to account owners “providing a more personalized interaction via chat.” Joint customers can also employ dynamic fields in SalesLoft to customize greetings with personal and company names.
“The SalesLoft/RambleChat integration gives a whole new capability for marketing and sales teams. RambleChat is the only chat platform that can instantly open chat from any online source. Ramble then routes sales conversations to the right account owner — enhancing both demand generation and ABM campaigns. And now, for the first time, chat can be an integral part of sales plays and interactions in the SalesLoft platform.”
Sean Kester, VP of Platform Strategy at SalesLoft.
Chat (SCC), RambleChat’s patent-pending technology, extends chat capabilities
from the website to outbound communications. So long as a URL can be
embedded, chat conversations can be initiated via a click. Along with
corporate websites, SCC enables chat initiation from LinkedIn, Twitter,
Facebook, digital ads, landing pages, blogs, QR codes, and product
collateral. SCC allows sales reps to “meet buyers at the moment of
automatically logs chat conversation histories and details at the SalesLoft
Account level. When a user navigates to an account, chat history is
displayed under the “Notes” section. If a SalesLoft user desires more
in-depth information about the chat conversation, a URL is automatically
provided for the user to click.
has been in partnership discussions with SalesLoft since at least March when
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald attended SalesLoft’s Rainmaker conference. Instead
of simply building a website chat solution, the firms chose to “build better
pipelines by extending chat beyond corporate websites and into SalesLoft
Cadences and social channels via RambleChat’s Single Click Chat.”
“As we met with joint customers in mid 2018, a constant theme surfaced; the market was struggling to find practical and tangible means of Account-Based Selling and Marketing. There’s no shortage of ABM technology, but many lacked quick deployment and immediate results for sales organizations. This became the MO for the RambleChat + SalesLoft partnership, and we landed with a more powerful integration that fills the ABM gap for both sales and marketing.”
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald
immensely excited about our joint efforts. This integration delivers new
opportunities for sales engagement and improves functionality for sales reps to
execute account-based selling. Account-based marketing (ABM) requires an
equal effort from Sales, and RambleChat delivers immediate functionality to
bridge the gap for SalesLoft customers,” said RambleChat CEO Justin
Clari is the latest vendor to join the SalesLoft app directory of over fifty partners. Clari’s Connected Revenue Operations Platform “automatically tracks sales activity data and engagement for your entire revenue operations team so you can measure the health of your pipeline and forecast more accurately,” announced SalesLoft. “Increased signal intelligence helps reps and managers understand which opportunities are trending in the right direction, and which can use more engagement to drive them forward.”
engine analyzes SalesLoft engagement activity including email opens, calls made, and LinkedIn messaging to help “reps focus on
the right deals and managers make more accurate forecasts.”
noted that the buyer’s journey is complex with enterprise deals touching eight
buyers and influencers at enterprise prospects. Thus, “it can be tough to
know what activities have occurred with which personas and even tougher to know
which activities to attempt next to move the needle.”
joint solution provides a single pane of glass for assessing sales rep
activities, determining which activities move deals forward, and planning for
“Too often, go-to-market teams operate in disconnected silos. We’re fixing this by using AI and automation to connect real-time business activity with back-office systems and processes so teams spend less time entering data, and sales, marketing, and customer success are always on the same page. Bridging these silos makes every campaign, QBR [Quarterly Business Review], and forecast call more data-driven and actionable.”
Clari CEO Andy Byrne
Besides SalesLoft, Clari application partners include Outreach, Yesware, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, Gmail, and Outlook.
Costello, which describes itself as sales co-pilot software, released an upgraded integration with SalesLoft. The app displays Salesforce Opportunities from within the SalesLoft sales engagement platform. The service is generally available to joint customers through SalesLoft’s App Directory.
displays a Deal Dashboard and Deal View from within SalesLoft for pipeline
management. Deal Status elements include deal stage, days in stage, days
active, and deal amount. Costello also calls out Deal Gaps (missing deal
fields, days past due), Stakeholders (buyers’ circle with roles and concerns),
Call Summary with notes, and a deal timeline.
reps and managers can quickly review three to five of the most important deal
details such as key buying criteria, key challenges, and desired outcomes.
“Deal View gives reps, managers, and leaders across the company a simple, streamlined view of everything that matters when managing a deal. And it gives your team an easier, more intuitive way to manage stakeholders, so you can quickly figure out who matters most, what they care about, and what their blockers are.”
Costello Chief Strategy Officer Rod Feuer
A single-pane view supports In-line opportunity edits and a unified view which supports quick updates and pipeline review meetings. Costello claims opportunity updates may be performed 75% more quickly. “This is a game-changer not only for productivity but for pipeline confidence,” said Costello CEO Frank Dale.
I am pleased to announce that the first in a series of sales engagement profiles is available through this website and my partners at Tenbound. These reports are written to assist with the purchasing decision. SalesLoft is the first Sales Engagement purchasing profile to be completed, but additional reports for Outreach, VanillaSoft, and Salesforce High Velocity Sales are planned for release.
SalesLoft Buyers Profile
Buyer's Profile of SalesLoft Sales Engagement Profile (Single License).
SalesLoft, based in Atlanta, provides a set of sales engagement tools for SDRs, Account Executives, Sales Operations, Sales Managers, and Sales Training. Features include
Multi-channel cadences spanning email, phone, social, text, and direct mail.
Email templates, snippets and call scripts
Automated meeting scheduling and meeting intelligence
Analytics, dashboards, queue prioritization, and coaching tips
Salesforce bi-directional sync
Partner ecosystem for chat, video, sales intelligence, security, LinkedIn, etc.
This 33-page report covers the following topics:
Return on Investment
Strengths & Weaknesses
GZ Consulting / Tenbound reports are independently written and not sponsored by any of the profiled vendors. Lynne Trocciola of GZ Consulting wrote this report.
The Greek orator Demosthenes was said to have treated his speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.
In high school, Larry Bird would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.
When I started my professional sales career in 2004, I wrote out every opening, iteration, objection handle, and closing approach. I then recorded myself speaking them until I was comfortable. I iterated on each talk track 20+ times until it was authentic and the language flowed naturally. Then I ditched the scripts and went to work.
What can you do outside of your day to day operations to be exceptional at your craft?
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (LinkedIn Post)
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter is a strong advocate for authenticity. Simply knowing your pitch is insufficient. Sales reps have to master their craft and infuse it with authenticity. This means developing a deep understanding of how to sell your product and service but then combining what is unique about your story (both personal and corporate) with passion for the product or service you sell.
It also means that you cannot be giving a robotic pitch or a one-size-fits-all spiel. Great salespeople adjust their message and approach to the prospect. This adjustment is across many dimensions:
Job Function – What is their department and role within the department?
Job Level – How high in the organization are they?
Industry – What is your value proposition with respect to the purchaser’s industry? How do they benefit?
Buyer Role – As part of a purchasing committee, are they the economic buyer, technical buyer, influencer, etc.?
Prospect Knowledge about Your Offering – You need to understand how knowledgeable they are about your offering and those of your competitors and then speak to that level.
Concerns – The larger the value or strategic importance of a B2B purchase, the greater the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). FUD is also higher if the total cost of ownership or switching costs are high. If you are inauthentic, you can raise the level of FUD. If you can connect authentically with the buyer, you build trust and drive down the level of FUD.
Individual – What are the individual concerns of the buyer? What is the buyer’s communication style?
Scripts work well for novice reps and those learning a new product category or vertical, but they should be viewed as building blocks towards a polished, authentic sales voice.
One should also avoid focusing on features. A feature-focused monologue says to buyers, “you figure out whether my product / service will help you because I don’t understand that myself.” The focus should always be on benefits and value with features only used to justify your value proposition or to address concerns of technical buyers.
And the conversation needs to be interactive. Meeting intelligence analytics display who is talking during a call. A sales rep can visually review whether he / she controlled the conversation or it was a true conversation.
Sales trainers have begun emphasizing the value of storytelling as a way to connect with the emotional buyer. Marketers long approached consumer sales as an emotional pitch and B2B as a rationale pitch, but are now arguing that rational B2B pitches ignore the inherent FUD involved when making strategic purchases.
As sales reps begin to be coached by sales engagement analytics (directly and via feedback from managers and trainers), they should shift away from controlling conversations and become more interactive, present, and empathetic.
On the heels of Outreach’s $114 million Series E, SalesLoft landed a $70 million round D led by Insight Partners with participation from HarbourVest Partners, Emergence Capital, and LinkedIn. Total funding reached $145 million.
market valuation was not disclosed, TechCrunch indicated that the
valuation was around $600 million. Last year’s Round C valued the firm at
“As the creators of the Sales Engagement category, we’ll use this investment to continue leading the innovation that has come to define the category,” blogged CEO Kyle Porter. “This means investments in our ecosystem API, the mobile application, and our AI-powered sales coaching network.”
out a vision for The Sales Coaching Network of full-time digital assistants
which “gathers data from our network of distributed sellers and identifies what
works and what doesn’t.”
Coaching Network “learns best practices, proven effective across a variety of
situations. It identifies those outlier cases where a creative seller
finds a new, better solution, and adds those techniques to its coaching. This
allows others to learn from the experience of those more creative sellers.”
advice will be tailored to individual sellers and their current activities. According
to Porter’s vision:
The Sales Coaching Network brings out the best in every authentic human-to-human interaction. Sales can never be fully automated, but machines can coach humans in ways that improve our ability to deliver the customer with the best sales experiences while making decisions that allow them to generate the most revenue.
additional funds will also be directed towards expanding their services team,
certified partner network, professional services, and global support.
past few years, SalesLoft has evolved from a cadence service to a multi-channel
communications platform which supports inbound and outbound leads, meeting
management, analytics, and a partner ecosystem. Its top partner,
LinkedIn, is also an investor.
“We are seeing the highest usage in our LinkedIn integration among all the other integrations we provide,” said Porter. “Our customers find that it’s the third most important behind email and phone calls.”
called many of the sales tools on the market “dumb databases or repositories” which
“are not focused on improving how to connect buyers to sales teams in sincere
ways,” said Porter. “And anytime a company like Salesforce has moved into
tangential areas like these, they haven’t built from the ground up, but through
acquisitions. It’s just hard to move giant aircraft carriers.”
doubled revenues the past two years and recently opened an EMEA sales and
support office in London. Recurring revenue has grown ten-fold over the
past three years.
listed a set of reasons for Salesforce’s customer success including company
purpose, reliability, adoption, and impact. SalesLoft’s purpose is to
elevate the sales profession and promote authentic selling:
SalesLoft exists to activate the authentic seller in all of us. While some focus on simply sending more email, we focus on elevating the sales professional as a whole. Today’s buyers deserve an incredible sales experience… one that is sincere, human, and relevant to their needs. They want sellers to provide insights and solve their problems. It’s essential for sellers to take a buyer-centric approach. This is the heart of what we do.
Great sellers also need to be methodical and efficient. At SalesLoft we’re dedicated to helping you codify a scalable and effective sales process so you can consistently hit and exceed your targets.
is based upon email deliverability, phone quality, and application speed.
evidenced by their leadership position on the G2.com grid for Sales Engagement
while impact was borne out by a recent Forrester “Total
Economic Impact of SalesLoft” study which measured a 329% ROI, a 20% lift
in Sales Qualified Leads to Opportunity Conversion Rates, and a 13% improvement
in customer renewal rates.
software companies build a product to meet a market need and then focus purely
on selling. SalesLoft is different. This team is continually
innovating, pushing the boundaries, and changing the face of sales,” said Jeff
Horing, co-founder and MD of Insight Venture Partners. “This is one
reason the company’s customers are so devoted to them.”
Over the past year, Sales Engagement has become the third pillar of my coverage (alongside Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS). So it is only fair that I write an overview of the space.
Sales Engagement began about four or five years ago as Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) with a focus on automating the SDR function. Its initial functionality consisted of a cadence tool which automated emails and outbound dialing for appointment setting. Cadences, also called sequences, are a set of scheduled steps that usually begin with an email but also include outbound calls, social steps (many vendors have integrated LinkedIn Sales Navigator via SNAP connectors), and direct mail.
Cadences can be paused if the prospect is out of office or halted if the prospect unsubscribes. Outreach just announced out of office functionality which pauses the call and checks whether an alternate contact is listed. Functionality is similar to that of LeadGnome. Outreach noted that 18% of email responses are out of office emails. 25% of out of office emails include an alternate contact name with over half the names being manager titles or above. The Out of Office reply detection extracts the return date and alternate names then pauses sequences until the prospect returns. The sales rep is notified of automated actions.
Email is supported by targeted templates which can be personalized. Thus, reps can call cadences by function, level, industry, etc. and the associated templates are customized by target audience. Reps can view the emails prior to sending and personalize them. This helps bring authenticity to the email. SalesLoft estimates that the peak personalization level is 20%.
Most sales engagement solutions include a digital dialer for outbound calling. The system suggests the best time of day and adjusts for time zones. Other features include local dialing, call recording, and voice mail drops. Upon completion, the rep enters call disposition and sentiment information which is synched with the CRM.
Once calls are recorded, they are transcribed and indexed, allowing sales reps or managers to quickly review calls and quickly locate pain points, objections, pricing, and next steps. Vendors such as Outreach and SalesLoft are going a step further and analyzing the calls, providing a set of team reports. More broadly, machine learning tools are being applied against the calls to determine best sales practices.
Meeting Management is emerging as a key feature set. Some vendors offer simple Calendly-like scheduling while others provide full meeting transcription and analytics.
Video is becoming increasingly important. Vendors support both video meetings (e.g. Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, JoinMe) and video attachments (e.g. Vidyard, Videolicious).
Other information and decisioning tools include leaderboards, dashboards, AI recommendations (e.g. who to call or email next), CRM synchronization, and A/B testing. Some of these tools are directly integrated into the service while others are available through app directories. Similar to the Salesforce AppExchange or Marketo LaunchPoint, functionality may be free, freemium, or premium. Likewise, you may need to separately license the partner solution prior to enabling the integration. Outreach and SalesLoft offer a broad set of app partners.
Sales Engagement platforms are evolving into a system of engagement that sits alongside CRMs (systems of record). There is already a shift taking place from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms. While Sales Engagement platforms are not looking to displace CRMs, sales reps are increasingly shifting screen time from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms with the Sales Engagement platforms syncing with the CRMs. This is one of the reasons that Salesforce.com recently launched its High Velocity Sales service which combines cadences, Salesforce Inbox, the Lightning Dialer, work queues, and Einstein. High Velocity Sales starts at $75 per user per month ($90 with outbound calling).
At the Salesforce World Tour in Boston this week, a sales rep told me that Salesforce is heavily investing in Sales Engagement and hopes to catch up to the market leaders in the next year (I think this is overly optimistic as the leaders are quickly building out functionality and partnerships). While Salesforce could catch up in a few years, I believe it is more likely that SFDC will acquire one of the leaders in the space followed quickly by Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions in the sector (of course, Microsoft or Oracle could be the first movers). Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, may also be interested in expanding its presence in B2B sales and marketing applications.
The top vendors in the space are SalesLoft, Outreach, and InsideSales. Other vendors include ConnectLeader, Yesware, Toutapp (Marketo), Mixmax, and VanillaSoft.
SalesLoft looks for partners that help “activate the authentic seller in everyone,” boost their productivity, and help customers scale their business. Vendors should be adjacent to Sales Engagement, filling the gaps of functionality in the platform.
Partners pledge to serve joint customers first, invest in the success of integrations through co-marketing, and “support our developer community, thus enabling innovation,” said VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester.
Kester noted that the partner ecosystem provides a strategic market advantage as it “creates a moat in the ecosystem supplanting us as the dominant #1 player.” It also “significantly enhances customer LTV (lifetime value) due to the sticky nature of usage” and “drives customer acquisition through the roof, and CAC (customer acquisition cost) down due to leads driven from partners.”
The SalesLoft ecosystem has grown to 54 partners with a million “integration actions executed” over the past six months. Nearly 2,700 teams have one or two integrations with 800 having implemented three and 500 having four or more integrations.
The top partner integrations are LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Sendoso, Showpad, and Vidyard. VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester called Sales Navigator “by far the most popular integration we have.” The SNAP integration supports four cadence steps: Account and Lead (contact) research, introductions, connection request, and InMail (Salesforce is an investor in SalesLoft).
Sendoso provides a direct mail service. Integrated cadence steps allow sales reps to send direct mail, company swag, handwritten notes, eGifts, and Amazon items.
Showpad is integrated with the sales reps’ workflow. Within SalesLoft, users can easily add content to their email campaigns, and gauge their prospects’ level of interest. Showpad also provides context-specific content recommendations.
Vidyard GoVideo helps sales reps “easily create polished and personal videos for your prospects using Vidyard GoVideo webcam and screen recorder,” said Kester. Sales reps can “boost response rates and humanize sales outreach by adding video to your sales emails in SalesLoft.
includes a freemium version and has supported 175,000 platform videos.
announced several partnerships that are in their development pipeline including
LeanData, Drift, Ramble Chat, and Seismic.
LeanData provides Lead-to-Account assignments with automated cadences by persona and customized conditions. Sales Operations defines the lead assignment and routing rules which are displayed as a flow diagram with Send to SalesLoft Cadence steps. Duplicate checking will prevent a second cadence from being kicked off.
Drift and Ramble Chat are joining Intercom as chat partners. “Ramble empowers sales engagement customers with a unique ability to extend chat directly through their platform,” said Kester. “Ramble creates an additional channel of communication for their customer interactions.”
Chat performs a reverse IP lookup that identifies the account and logs it to
Salesforce or SalesLoft, providing a form of first-party intent intelligence.
Both inbound (anonymous) and outbound (Cadence driven) chat are supported
with outbound chat connected to the originating sales rep.
“We are excited for our partnership with SalesLoft. Ramble’s unique architecture enables us to deploy chat within third-party applications, like SalesLoft, which changes how sales leaders utilize chat for pipeline contribution. We not only make chat ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound,’ but we give companies the ability to extend chat anywhere online as a means of instant connection and sales acceleration. Moving beyond ‘omnichannel’ and towards ‘omnipresence.’ The full breadth our chat technology can be deployed organically, directly from SalesLoft, which provides a more seamless client experience and new channels for Sales Engagement.”
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald
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.
DataGrail provides a GDPR and CCPA compliance tool which “enforces on-demand access and deletion of a requester’s personal data across all first and third-party/external business systems.” DataGrail also centralizes customer email preferences. Other features include the “detection of non-consented or high-risk contacts, including geographic fingerprinting and migration for consented to non-consented purposes” and alerts if a deleted contact is being recreated in a sales or marketing platform.
Current apps are displayed on SalesLoft’s App Directory which helps admins see how integrations work, understand their use cases, and co-market the integration. A developer’ portal is in development.