Drift Conversational Cloud

Last month, Drift rolled out its Conversation Cloud, which combines the capabilities of its Conversational Marketing, Conversational Sales, and newly launched Conversational Service offerings.  Drift’s Conversational AI guides visitors along any stage of the customer journey, helping them “voice their intent with open text questions, find answers to their own questions, get personalized recommendations, or book a sales meeting.”

“Everything starts with a conversation, and in-person communication and experiences are taking a back seat to the conversations we have online, especially in our business relationships.  Businesses are relying more and more on digital experience platforms – or in our case, conversational experience platforms – to bridge these connections and manage key customer interactions, touchpoints, and engagement. Our guiding philosophy at Drift is to put the buyer at the center of everything we do, and we are excited to bring the Drift Conversation Cloud to market to help our customers deliver a better experience to buyers at each stage of their journey, all while improving their sales teams’ efficiencies and accelerating revenue.”

Drift CPO Leo Tenenblat

Drift Conversational Marketing supports real-time conversations with web visitors, helping to answer questions, deliver desired content, or “qualify and convert best-fit buyers.”  Conversational Marketing functionality includes visitor intelligence, chatbots, meeting scheduling, and Fastlane lead form booking.

Drift Conversational Sales manages customer conversations across chat, video, email, and phone.  Drift routes high value leads to sales reps, notifying them when qualified leads are engaging with the chatbot or the website.  Sales reps can “craft personalized outreach based on what web pages buyers visited, which sales touchpoints they engaged with, and how often they interacted with your brand.”  Prospect activity is automatically logged to Salesforce.

Drift Video asynchronous video sharing on LinkedIn messenger

Reps can also deliver personalized video messages based on site activity intelligence.  Videos may be shared via LinkedIn, Drift, Outreach, or Salesloft.  Drift claims a more than 3X improvement in response rates for asynchronous video.

Drift not only schedules meetings but also offers a new Deal Room module for capturing interactions between buyers and sellers, including meeting transcriptions and document sharing.  Deal Room also provides real-time alerts when prospects engage with the Deal Room and manages Mutual Action Plans.

“Drift Deal Room enables seamless collaboration between your internal team and entire buyer committees in one central location,” blogged Drift Senior Product Marketing Manager Holly Xiao.  “Everyone involved will be able to have conversations, share files, manage action items, schedule meetings, and more — directly in Deal Room.”

Continued Xiao, “Drift Deal Room lets you see who, what, and how buyers interact with your business throughout their entire journey.  So, when it’s time for your next deal review, you’ll come to the table with a clear picture of deal activities and trajectory.  And if you notice opportunities with lower engagement, you can rely on Drift Video, Drift Chat, Drift Email, and more to help you nurture deals in the right channel at the right time and keep them moving in the right direction.”

Drift Dealroom supports document sharing, Mutual Action Plans, meeting scheduling, and on-demand chat.

Conversational Service answers simple support questions, allowing the service team to focus on difficult support problems and high-priority customers.  The Drift Chatbot supports Salesforce and Zendesk knowledge base articles.  Conversational Service lets customers create their own support tickets or hand high-priority requests over to live service reps.

“Translating click-based engagement into buyer-led enablement across interactions requires conversation design that senses and responds to spoken and unspoken buyer needs across complex and connected buying journeys, wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Jessie Johnson last November.   “Conversational interactions help B2B organizations meet buyers where they are in their journey, enable their buyers and customers in the moment, and inform the next interaction.  The impact of poor execution, however, can have a lasting negative impact on the buying journey, customer experience, and even the brand itself.”

Terminus Connected Account Experiences

Account Based Engagement platform Terminus announced Connected Account Experiences, which helps customers identify in-market prospects, reach out to them, and engage them across the buyer’s journey.

Terminus claims that its cookie-free, first-party data provides a 16% lift in traffic from its targeted audience activation.

“Marketers can continuously optimize ABM strategies with Terminus Identify, the visitor identification system recently added to the Terminus Platform which features the company’s own first-party data sets,” stated the firm.  “Unlike other platforms, this owned data is never static and gets stronger with every interaction and with every channel.”

Terminus leverages both first-party visitor intelligence and partner intent data sets from Bombora and G2, helping marketers identify in-market accounts.  Other Terminus intent datasets include psychographics (the wants and interests of a company based upon public messaging), technographics, and hiring insights derived from job postings.

Other account intelligence includes firmographics, event data, relationships, and engagement data captured through interactions between prospects and company employees and automated platforms.

New engagement channels span CTV and audio, including Spotify, Hulu, DirectTV, and other streaming services.

“CTV is considered one of the fastest-growing channels in video advertising,” advised Terminus.  “Leveraging CTV from Terminus means customers can diversify their arsenals of creative assets and advertising channels, reach customers while they’re watching Hulu or other ad-supported streaming platforms, and boost brand awareness and revenue.”

Connected Account Experiences supports partner integrations through Salesloft, Outreach, and Slack.

Terminus supports many channels, including targeted display advertising, email signatures, account-based chat, personalized websites, LinkedIn Sponsored Content, direct mail (via Sendoso), asynchronous video (via Vidyard, Wistia, CloudApp, Hippo Video, or Loom), CTV, and audio.

“Today’s marketers need an ABM strategy that engages buyers with personalized touchpoints and connected account experiences across all channels and across the full funnel,” said Tim Kopp, CEO of Terminus.  “With Connected Account Experiences, Terminus enables marketers to identify their buyers wherever they are, reach them on any screen they use, and engage them with the marketing and sales automation tools their teams use every day.”

Clearbit Data Activation Platform

Clearbit Audience Manager

Clearbit announced the general availability of its Data Activation Platform.  The new service helps B2B marketing teams “focus on creating demand, capturing intent, and optimizing their pipeline.”

The Data Activation Platform addresses the “business imperative for companies to have real-time intelligence about their target market, ideal customers, and engaged prospects.”  It then applies this intelligence across all stages of the customer’s journey.

The Data Activation Platform offers Clearbit customers a user interface for many of the features that were previously only supported as APIs.

“Data activation is specifically around the next step of how we’re helping companies put data to work,” explained CRO Kevin Tate to GZ Consulting.  “We started with the data.  How do you collect data and make it available so that companies can be smart as they engage your customers in the market?  And then, over the last three years, four years, what we’ve gotten to see is how these very fast-growing companies and their growth engineering teams and go-to-market teams have put our data to work in all these different customer touchpoints.  Until this Data Activation Platform, the way they put that data to work was through APIs and integrations that they stitch together.”

Clearbit observed how its data was used for website personalization, advertising campaigns (Google, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube), webforms, lead scoring, routing, etc.  Clearbit then identified several customer needs: a user interface for “putting the data to work,” audience segmentation and activation, audience expansion (similar accounts or contacts by persona), data enrichment, and Reveal visitor intelligence.

“We’ve been fortunate to work with many of the most innovative B2B growth teams in the world, and they’ve taught us that it’s not just about having good data.  It’s about activating that data to improve your funnel from top to bottom,” said Ross Moser, CEO of Clearbit.  “The ability to apply real-time intelligence to each step of the customer journey – and optimize experiences in real-time – is what’s driving success for Clearbit’s customers.”

Clearbit company and visitor intelligence

The Data Activation Platform leverages Clearbit’s heritage as a data company.  Its database spans 44 million companies with over 100 firmographic and demographic attributes.  Clearbit also maintains data on 350 million contacts.  Marketers can target audiences, enrich their CRMs and MAPs, and personalize their website and customer experience apps.  Capabilities include

  • Clearbit Reveal visitor intelligence for tying anonymous users to firms and detecting website visitor intent
  • Ideal Customer Profiling and best-fit prospect recommendations
  • Audience management and segmentation based on data ingested from a company’s CRM, MAP, or CDP.  Alerts may be triggered to activate audiences across systems.
  • Real-time enrichment for short webforms.
  • Real-time integrations and APIs

Audiences can be targeted in multiple ways.  For example, marketers can deploy audiences on Facebook and Google:

  • Prospect Audiences target employees across the complete ICP, including account expansion to new prospects outside the CRM.  Targeting may be filtered by role and seniority, providing persona-level targeting across the ICP.
  • Contact Audiences that sync all matches to a contacts audience for retargeting on Facebook and Google
  • Site Visitor Audiences that retarget web visitors when they match on Facebook and Google.

Data syncing includes “Audience inclusion attributes” or “smart attributes” that are calculated, such as a Boolean ICP or current customer flags that can be pushed downstream to Salesforce and other platforms.  The refreshed value is automatically pushed to downstream systems if the calculation is modified.  Smart attributes are updated every fifteen minutes.

Clearbit partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Segment, Drift, Intercom, Chili Piper, Slack, Zapier, Qualified, and Clari.  Personalization partners that leverage Clearbit Reveal include Uberflip, Optimizely, and Mutiny.

Clearbit is coming off a “big, big growth year” but does not disclose any sizing or growth details.  LinkedIn lists it with 177 employees, up 90% over the past year.  Business Development and Sales grew at a 150% pace. While Clearbit originally targeted B2B Internet service companies, it is gaining traction in financial services, retail services, and investments, businesses that are “looking for data, to power their intelligence, their go-to-market motions,” said Tate.

Intentsify Equity Round

Intent data vendor Intentsify announced that it received a strategic investment from BV Investment Partners, a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on the tech sector.  The new funds will help the firm accelerate growth and product development.

Intentsify, founded in 2018, continued its pace of strong growth in 2021.  The firm quadrupled revenue in 2019 and 2020 and expected to treble income in 2021 (as of mid-December). In addition, it has grown its customer base to over 150 customers.

Venn-diagram-intent-data-sources
Intentsify layers multiple, complementary intent feeds into its proprietary intent dataset.

“B2B organizations are increasingly leveraging multiple sources of intent data to focus time, efforts, and resources where and how they’ll have the most impact,” said Intentsify CEO Marc Laplante.  “The problem is most B2B companies struggle to quickly gather, analyze, and act on buyer intent signals, which change on a weekly basis. Intentsify is streamlining all of this so our customers can more effectively scale account-based demand and revenue. We are excited to partner with BV who understands our business and has the expertise to help us take Intentsify to the next level.”

Intentsify’s Intent Activation software ingests multiple categories of intent data from several proprietary data sources “to deliver a broader, more accurate view into which targeted accounts are in-market to purchase and the issues they care about.”

Intent data is gathered from over 50 billion intent signals per month from over 5,000 B2B media sites. Intentsify also includes Visitor tracking as part of its offering.

Intentsify offers a pair of Intent Activation Solutions for Demand Generation and Programmatic Marketing. Intent-Activated Demand Generation helps marketers engage target personas at accounts displaying relevant research activity while Intent-Activated Programmatic targets key personas “at the right locations among in-market target accounts.”

“Intentsify uses its proprietary technology backed by a global data science team to power numerous marketing, sales, and customer success use cases,” stated Justin Harrison, Managing Partner of BV Investment Partners.  “Intentsify’s co-founders have long experience in this field and are acknowledged thought leaders in the intent data space who have built a strong company with an impressive leadership team, and we look forward to working with them to scale their business.”

Intentsify did not disclose the size of the investment.

IDG Acquires LeadSift

Technology media company IDG Communications acquired Halifax-based intent data vendor LeadSift.  LeadSift identifies a daily digest of in-market leads, “allowing B2B marketers to craft the appropriate messaging for outreach and sales follow-up resulting in robust new business opportunities.”

Over the past eighteen months, IDG has been assembling elements of a MarTech solution, having acquired

  • Triblio – Acquired in 2020, The Triblio ABM platform supports account-based advertising, website personalization, sales activation, orchestration, and intent-based audiences.  Triblio is integrated with Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Salesloft.  In addition, Triblio recently added a Smart Score that employs AI for account prioritization.  The Smart Score uses first and third-party intent, website activity, and CRM data “to identify what accounts should be prioritized for sales outreach.”
  • KickFire – Acquired in September, KickFire provides a cookieless, privacy-compliant visitor id service (first-party intent) that de-anonymizes website traffic at the account level and enriches it with firmographics.
  • LeadSift – LeadSift captures third-party, cookieless intent data at the account and contact level.  Each week it captures 80 million intent signals.  The LeadSift database spans 20 million companies and 30 million contacts.  Customers can create custom triggers based on keywords, job postings, and competitor names.

KickFire and LeadSift are complementary intent services. KickFire identifies in-market buyers on a company website, and LeadSift determines which companies are in-market based on B2B media search activities.

IDG also recently launched a second-party intent data service called IDG Neon that leverages B2B Media interactions with “verified data from personal interactions with technology audiences across events, conversations, and surveys.”  Intent data is gathered from the nearly 45 million global B2B technology purchasers and influencers registered across its proprietary network of digital tech publications.

Neon captures branded conversations, event attendance, roundtable participation, conversations with event sponsors, and individuals posing questions at event sessions.  This level of “deeper engagement” indicates “stronger intent.”

IDG brands include CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld, and Tech Hive.

“Expectations of tech marketers have never been higher as the technology landscape continues to become more competitive.  By positioning IDG at the intersection of media and MarTech, we help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets.  LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

IDG Communications President Kumaran Ramanathan

“The buying journey for B2B technology purchases are extremely complex and involve multiple decision-makers,” said LeadSift co-founder Sreejata Chatterjee.  “Having a view into those intent signals at the contact level provides a massive competitive advantage and directs your sales team to engage with the right buyers at the right time.”

LeadSift was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2012, focusing on “mining information from public web sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.”   They were an early proponent of intent data, recognizing its value before it became a core element of ABM programs.

“It is obvious the company that has the most depth and breadth of data wins the B2B demand generation space,” wrote Das and Chatterjee to their customers.  “IDG.com being the #1 Tech Media company with troves of proprietary first-party intent-data across event attendance, engagement with editorial articles, branded conversations, and human-verified insights has a massive head start.  Imagine how scalable and actionable our intent signals will be once we integrate our 3rd-party real-time web-based intent signals with this proprietary first-party intent data stream.”

IDG, based in Boston, provides LeadSift with global reach and access to enterprise customers.  It also offers complementary intent data sets and the Triblio marketing platform for activating the intent datasets.

“3rd-party intent data is one piece (albeit a very important one) of the overall B2B marketing and demand generation puzzle,” continued Das and Chatterjee.  “But what if you could know all the information about your first-party web visitors (IDG | KickFire), cross-reference and prioritize them with 3rd-party intent signals (LeadSift + IDG proprietary first-party data), activate them seamlessly across digital channels (IDG | Triblio), and run highly targeted lead generation programs, all from one single dashboard!”

IDG sees itself at the intersection of media and MarTech.  However, it is not the only tech media vendor playing this angle. For example, TechTarget and Ziff Davis also combine B2B media assets, events (TechTarget’s are digital), multiple categories of intent data, and activation platforms.

“IDG’s goal of moving to the intersection of media and MarTech is to help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets,” stated Ramanathan.  “LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

Account-level intent starts at $12,000 per year. 

Last week, they launched LeadSift 360, a contact-level intent service that supports both keyword and research-based intent signals gathered from over five data sources.  LeadSift360 starts at $30,000 per year. IDG did not disclose deal terms.  LeadSift’s management and staff of fifteen will continue to operate in Halifax.

Qualified Signals

Conversational Sales and Marketing vendor Qualified announced select availability for its new Signals intent product.  Qualified Signals delivers sales intelligence gleaned from company websites, helping them identify in-market accounts and prioritize their outreach.

Qualified Signals is an “AI product that combines website engagement with Salesforce data to surface the buying intent of a B2B company’s target accounts; helping sales reps focus on exactly the right accounts to generate more pipeline and revenue,” blogged Qualified CRO Robert Zimmerman.

When ABM was proposed as the successor to lead-generation marketing, it focused on defining the ICP and targeting accordingly.  While the ICP concept is still important, it fails to recognize that at any one moment, most ICP accounts are not in-market.  Thus, a further refinement was in order, deploying intent (e.g., visitor intelligence, chatbots, third-party B2B website activity) and engagement data (e.g., email responses, meeting attendance, sentiment) to prioritize accounts so that sales reps focus on the accounts that are in market and marketing continues to nurture ICP accounts with low-level intent signals.

“Sales reps need a simple way to identify the accounts with high purchase intent so they can maximize pipeline more efficiently,” argued Zimmerman.  “Meanwhile, target accounts are poking around the website and signaling buying intent, but sales reps have no idea.  This is a missed opportunity because website engagement is a critical predictor of purchase intent.  It demonstrates patterns of website activity that indicate whether an account is sales-ready.”

Unfortunately, website activity is a “blind spot for salespeople” that leaves them “in the dark as to where to focus their attention, how to engage target accounts, and how deals are progressing.”

Qualified Signals employs an AI-predictive model that collects “hundreds of thousands of website data points to determine which accounts are in-market to buy and sales-ready.”  Models include website activity such as mouse movement, clicks, scroll depth, page views, active time on site, chatbot engagement, live chat, voice calls, meetings booked, recency and frequency of visits, and visitor count.

“In a booming sales tech market, there are countless sales intelligence tools out there, but they often overlook the most important sales and marketing asset—the corporate website,” said Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud.  “Signals arms sellers with an entirely new type of buying intent data, so revenue teams know exactly which accounts to pursue to crush their quota.”

The Qualified Signals Account Trend Report analyzes buyer activity on the company website across a rep’s territory, helping her prioritize activity and identify accounts where activity is cooling.

Signals are displayed to sales reps in the Salesforce Account record and convert complex buyer behavior into straightforward trends such as cooling, neutral, heating, and surging.  Trend data “can also be customized using unique Salesforce Account data to home in on the accounts that matter most, like ABM tier, account owner, region, or industry.”

Signals optionally pushes custom Account intent fields to Salesforce, which can then be built into custom reports and dashboards.

Qualified also displays Signals Account 360, a dynamic graph that visualizes purchase intent fluctuations over time for individual accounts.  Signals are expressed as a current Heat Index temperature, dynamic trend, and detailed account activity view that replays account engagement at the contact level.  The account timeline “offers a detailed, highly visual, timestamped overview of notable website events that occurred throughout the buying process,” blogged Zimmerman.

The Account 360 view combines heat index trend data alongside visitor intelligence.

Additionally, Signals supports mobile, email, and Slack alerts when an account hits client specified thresholds on the Qualified Heat Index.  Alerts may be sent in real-time or included in a daily or weekly email digest.

“Qualified Signals amplifies Qualified X, bringing purchase intent data to the visitor level within your conversational sales and marketing application,” stated the firm.  “When a sales rep prospects into a target account, they’re instantly notified when that account arrives on the site.  Plus, they have all intent data at the ready. They can instantly meet with the prospect using a full stack of meeting tools, including chat, voice, and screen-sharing.”

Due to the complexity of visitor intelligence and similar data, intent signals have mostly been fed into marketing platforms and not converted into actionable semaphores; however, sales intelligence vendors have begun enabling these signals.

“The website is no longer just for marketers; it’s now a window into your biggest sales opportunities.  Sellers have their standard indicators that an account is interested, and a deal is moving forward; but in between the standard touchpoints, prospects are poking around your website, reading a customer story, or engaging via live chat.  Sellers have had limited insight into how target accounts are exploring this property, but the website is an amazing predictor of intent.  Now, Qualified Signals will surface this invaluable insight for revenue teams.”

Qualified CEO Kraig Swensrud

Qualified Signals will GA in early 2022.

Qualified closed on a $51 million Series B round in May that Salesforce Ventures led.  The firm describes itself as “the only conversational sales and marketing platform purpose-built for Salesforce Sales Cloud.”

Qualified Insights delivered via Slack and mobile devices.

D&B Rev.Up ABX Launched

Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Rev.Up, a new RevTech product line that brings together first and third-party data in “an open and agnostic platform that aligns teams, data, and technology to deliver relevant and engaging buyer experiences for target accounts.”  The datasets are unified via D&B Lattice, the CDP Dun & Bradstreet acquired in 2019.

The first offering is D&B Rev.Up ABX, which supports “first- and third-party data, activation capabilities and measurement, on top of its industry-leading customer data platform (CDP), giving sales and marketing teams a singular view of an account from targeting to revenue.”

“As sales and marketing leaders move to shared revenue responsibility, it becomes important to gain a common view of the customer throughout the buying lifecycle,” said Dun & Bradstreet CMO Stacy Greiner.  “We designed D&B Rev.Up ABX to simplify marketing and sales workflows by providing data, targeting, activation, and measurement in one platform, using an open architecture that allows teams to complement and capitalize on existing investments.”

D&B Rev.Up ABX aligns teams, data, and technology.

The new ABM service supports a channel-agnostic, “360-degree view” of accounts, contacts, campaigns, and sales plays.  Four ABX channels are supported:

  1. D&B Rev.Up ABX for Ads deploys paid media campaigns across demand-side platforms (DSPs) and social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Ads, theTradeDesk, Google Video & Display360, Verizon Media, Xandr, and MediaMath.  ABX for ads is available as either a managed service or a self-serve option.  The managed services option supports media, data, execution, and analytics.

    Revenue teams can target by role, firmographics, technographics, and intent data.  They can then engage audiences via programmatic advertising, paid search, and social media.
  2. D&B Rev.Up ABX for Web supports visitor intelligence, tying visitor activity to accounts across both offices and homes.  The service also pre-populates shortened forms, personalize websites, and deploys a tracking pixel to tie engagement back to D-U-N-S Numbers

    Because users select the company name from a type-ahead, drop-down list of names and addresses, the user only needs to enter a partial company name.  Dun & Bradstreet then enriches the record with firmographics, linkage, and D-U-N-S numbers.  According to Andrew Berg in Dun & Bradstreet Analyst Relations, the “waterfall matching technology” combines IP, cookie, and API matching logic.  The API type-ahead drop-down matching is completed in under 200 milliseconds after the first two characters are entered into the company name field on a form.
  3. D&B Rev.Up ABX for Sales builds lists for sales teams, rates opportunities, and activates sales plays with connectors to SalesTech solutions.  ABX for Sales supports predictive analytics, propensity modeling, sales plays, sales recommendations, and buyer propensity tracking.  SDRs may engage customers and prospects via Outreach sequences.  SalesLoft support is planned for later this year.

    Sales Engagement sequences can be driven by first and third-party intent, marketing engagement data from MAPs, and Folloze engagement.
  4. D&B Rev.Up for Email builds targets audiences and activates email campaigns via Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot (June GA), and Pardot (June GA).  Functionality includes campaign building, opt-in/opt-out support, and engagement analytics.

Analytics partners include Google Analytics, Optimizely, Adobe Target, and Adobe Analytics.  Other partners include Outreach and Salesforce.

“Teams aren’t trapped in a single, enclosed platform like other tech on the market.  D&B Rev.Up ABX integrates and works with their existing Martech and SalesTech so that they can activate in one channel, many, or all of them in a consistent and orchestrated way. They gain the power of the Data Cloud and our CDP, while also being able to use tools they already have,” blogged Greiner.  “This openness and flexibility helps teams to work efficiently and means they can maximize previous investments and use dollars wisely.  You can choose the full power of D&B Rev.Up ABX, or use it just in one channel – ads, email, web, sales plays – and then scale up to achieve a coordinated conversation with buyers everywhere they’re likely to engage.”


Part II discusses Rev.Up ABX modeling.

Sales Navigator Q3 2020: Listening to the Buyer

LinkedIn is rolling out its third-quarter Sales Navigator release.  The enhancements focus on “features that help you put your buyers first through intelligent action, simplified day-to-day activities, and consistent insight into keeping relationships warm.”  The release theme is “listening to the buyer.”

LinkedIn is dipping its toes into intent data with Buyer Interest Alerts that signal when employees or corporate leaders from a saved account have visited the company’s LinkedIn Page or company website.  Buyer Interest Alerts are available in conjunction with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and delivered through the Sales Navigator Enterprise edition.  

Marketers install a snippet of code to their website that drive the notifications.  They can then track conversion rates, retarget visitors, and analyze visitor demographics.  The code also powers Buyer Interest Alerts within Sales Navigator.

“With Buyer Interest Alerts, you have buying intent insights that help you to decide when to engage, allowing you to provide a timelier and more customized buyer experience,” blogged Lindsey Edwards, the Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions.  “As we strengthen our buyer intent models with the rich buyer insight that the LinkedIn network contains, we’ll continue to enhance our Interest Alerts to include more signals that will allow you to target the right buyer at the right time.”

Buyer Interest Alerts are anonymous.  LinkedIn notifies the user if there is a visitor from the company but does not disclose details beyond account name, seniority level (i.e. Leadership or Employee), and geography.  Users can then search for Linkedin Members that match these criteria.  Anonymity ensures GDPR compliance.

While many vendors are now offering visitor intelligence, Sales Navigator is the only service that combines LinkedIn company profile views with visitor intelligence.

Account-Level Buyer Interest is not yet supported but is on the product roadmap.

LinkedIn, which has often suffered from spam alerts that overwhelm users, is employing predictive AI to surface the critical notifications for “building and maintaining the relationship with your buyer.”  Users may filter alerts by Lead, Account, shared activity, and alert type with the “most urgent and timely” alerts displayed at the top of the list.

Sales Navigator is also improving its synchronization with Salesforce and MS Dynamics.  Users can now bring their book of business into Sales Navigator through the automated syncing of Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities.  The syncing improves the delivery of people and company alerts and insights within Navigator.  CRM synchronization is available as a feature of the Team and Enterprise Editions.

To improve relationships, LinkedIn is now reporting on LinkedIn outreach activity across all Sales Navigator editions.  Lead Lists (followed members) now track LinkedIn engagement with additional columns for actions by the Sales Navigator user and subsequent responses:

  • InMail and Messages sent, responses received, and attachments clicked
  • Connection requests sent from Sales Navigator and LinkedIn and accepted requests
  • Smart Links sent and opened

Lead and Account List sizes were increased from 250 to 1,000, expanding the scope of contacts and companies tracked.  Users may also take bulk actions on up to 25 Lead or Account records at a time, making it easier to remove them from lists or move them from one list to another.

Sales Navigator is well-positioned to assist sales reps during the pandemic as its messaging tools are not location or time-specific.  Sales professionals can reach out with InMails and Connection Requests, and prospective buyers can respond asynchronously.  SDRs and AEs don’t need to obtain (or guess at emails) or place direct dials that go unanswered at empty offices.  Furthermore, Smart Links, launched earlier this year, provides a tool for sharing documents and multi-media with view tracking.

“In what continues to be a unique and challenging moment in history, buyers and sellers, alike, are adjusting to a new normal.  Just like you, they’re juggling the pressures of succeeding in their day-jobs, while also managing their personal lives — homeschooling, daycare, elder care, multiple people working from home, and/or reduced income.  The hurdles might look different from buyer to buyer, but one thing is consistent — they need to feel confident that you understand their challenges and goals.  In the end, you aren’t necessarily selling a product or service, you’re selling a trusted relationship, and the person at the center of that relationship is the buyer.”

Lindsey Edwards, Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

By the end of the year, the Deals functionality will be integrated directly into the Sales Navigator workflow.  This enhancement will improve relationship status and pipeline visibility.

SalesIntel Launches VisitorIntel

B2B DaaS vendor SalesIntel added visitor intelligence (first-party intent data) to its marketing capabilities.  VisitorIntel matches website traffic to companies and enriches the subsequent event records with firmographics, technographics, and contacts.  Visitor intelligence provides an early warning system that a company is being researched before anybody registers for a white paper or requests a callback.

SalesIntel also has a partnership with Bombora for their B2B intent data derived from a co-op of media sites.  Thus, SalesIntel users have access to both first and third-party intent intelligence.  The firm licenses IP and cookie to domain data, but most of the VisitorIntel intellectual property was developed internally.

Marketers insert a few lines of JavaScript into their corporate website to enable VisitorIntel.   SalesIntel then matches visitor activity to company domains and associated account intelligence.  While the visitors are anonymous, sales or marketing can reach out to targeted personas at the company, leveraging SalesIntel’s universe of recently verified contacts with emails, mobile numbers, and direct dials.  If relevant contacts are not available for the account, users may avail themselves of SalesIntel’s Research on Demand service.

Marketers may filter the visitor window (e.g. today, yesterday, this week, this month) to view recent site activity.  Site activity may be downloaded as a CSV or uploaded to Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Outreach, or SalesLoft.  When sent to SalesLoft or Outreach, a cadence / sequence can be initiated.

VisitorIntel should be viewed as a V1 release.  Activity is processed daily, with plans for real-time updates.  Its reporting is also fairly simple.

“It always helps our sales and marketing teams shorten sales cycles when we are able to target companies that have expressed interest in our products and services, and website visits are a terrific indicator of that interest.  If we can find the people who are checking us out on the web, and easily find the other people in that organization who we might want to reach out to, we are ahead of the game.  We believe our clients can similarly benefit, so we conceived and launched VisitorIntel within our SaaS product.”

SalesIntel CEO Manoj Ramnani

VisitorIntel is available as part of SalesIntel’s Pro premium package that also includes data enrichment and Bombora intent.  Pro pricing begins in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.

SalesIntel also added keyword searching to its list building.  SalesIntel filtered two million terms down to 70,000 searchable keywords.  Keywords let marketers identify prospects based on ideal buyer persona or targeted messaging.

“Good, clean, and insightful data is the true enabler for sales and marketing teams, and it is core to our mission to provide our clients with as much detail as we can so that they can truly know their target buyer,” said CEO Manoj Ramnani.  “Keywords will greatly benefit our user base by providing that extra level of detail.”

SalesIntel has trebled its customer base over the past year, benefiting from market consolidation and its high-quality data positioning.  Sales slowed during the first two months of the pandemic, but have picked up with a strong pipeline.

SalesIntel continues to build out its database of quarterly re-verified contacts, reaching 6.2 million this month.  They have begun to internationalize this dataset.

HubSpot Sales & Marketing COVID Activity Metrics

HubSpot has measured aggregated sales and marketing platform activity across its 70,000 customers since the pandemic began and benchmarking this activity against the pre-COVID level (January through early March).  Looking back at Q2, CMO Kipp Bodnar noted that “the data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and that businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.”

Marketing teams have risen to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in a messy, chaotic crisis and met an audience of buyers who suddenly spend all day at their computer,” commented Bodnar.  “While email volume has risen significantly — typically a no-no for teams hoping to keep their open rates up — open rates have risen faster than volume has grown, demonstrating that teams have been successful at providing relevant and helpful content.”

Marketing email open rates are up ten to twenty percent above pre-COVID levels, with the last week of June running 18% above the baseline.

Sales teams have been less successful in their outbound communications.  While sales emails have risen 60% since mid-March, “response rates have been dismal. Marketing teams have been able to connect, but sales teams haven’t. This is a huge area of opportunity for businesses as they enter the next quarter of COVID-19.”

Sales email open rates are down 25 to 30%.  “As sales teams increased email sends, customers began to tune these messages out or even mark them as spam in their inboxes,” warned Bodnar.  “So far, it seems if email send rates remain this high, we can expect response rates to trend in the opposite direction.”

“Volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn’t personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data. At this point, sales teams should be working closely with marketing to understand how they can improve their email engagement rates, and sending far less email.”

HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar

Website traffic increased during the pandemic as decisionmakers and influencers began working from home.  Global site traffic is up 16% in Q2 vs. Q1 with it peaking at 24% above the benchmark on April 20th.  Software industry site traffic is running at 40% above pre-pandemic levels.

Customer-initiated chat levels have also risen sharply during the pandemic.  Total volume is up 31% over the pre-pandemic baseline, with every measured industry seeing increased volume.  “Sales teams have pivoted to chat to grow their pipelines, while customer service teams are leveraging this medium to manage the increased demand for support,” observed Bodnar.

Call prospecting has dropped significantly during the pandemic as it has become more difficult to reach individuals who are now working at home.  Call prospecting fell as much as 27% below baseline the week of April 6th and now is down around 9%.  Before COVID, there was a rough balance between phone and email prospecting, but in Q2, email activity doubled that of phone calls.  “Sales teams will need to return to their pre-COVID balance in order to see improvements in response rates,” argued Bodnar.

Deal Creation has improved in eight of the eleven weeks since April 6th, with deal creation up the past four weeks.  APAC deal creation was down 5% in Q2, North America down 6%, EMEA down 12%, and LATAM down 12%.  Large companies have recovered deal creation activity faster than small firms.  Computer Software deal creation was down 3% in Q2.

Deal Won has improved ten of the last eleven weeks, after dropping to 36% below baseline the week of April 6th.  For the full quarter, deals won were down 11%.  Smaller firms did best at closing deals, with larger firms posting the weakest performance, likely due to large firms selling a greater percentage of high-dollar, strategic deals that would have stalled in their pipeline.  Computer software Q2 was 14% above baseline, but this probably overstates industry performance due to Q1 often being the slowest month of the year and the loss of many “hockey stick” end of quarter deals at the end of Q1 as the pandemic struck.  Some of these likely slipped into Q2.

Bodnar provided three suggestions for Q3: invest in chat, shift from quantity to quality in sales prospecting and communications, and invest in online discoverability.