On its earnings call last week, ZoomInfo provided further color on its Workflows and Engage products that leverage ZoomInfo’s content for sales and marketing automation. Along with company and contact data, ZoomInfo supports visitor intelligence, intent data, and events.
Since its founding, ZoomInfo has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in “to drive material improvements in the way we gather, normalize, match and cleanse that data with the use of AI and Machine Learning.” ZoomInfo has expanded the breadth and depth of its content and built a “fully scalable platform that powers the digitization of how companies go to market” across departments, funnel stages, and the customer lifecycle.
“Our platform starts with our market-leading and highly accurate data layer, delivers critical sales insights and signals, automates best actions with our next generation workflow software and our tightly integrated activation layer, Engage. This integrated suite of data and software helps businesses of all sizes and across all industries activate targeted opportunities in an efficient, scalable, and repeatable way,” stated CEO Henry Schuck. “As we continue to invest in automating workflow, expanding the coverage and quality of the data we publish, and leveraging that data asset across our platform’s application stack, we are building a wider and wider moat around the company.”
During Q1, ZoomInfo expanded the platform integration with Engage, their Sales Engagement service. Enhancements include the ability to “search and import contacts from ZoomInfo and Salesforce into Engage and allowing users to configure target market buyer personas to receive an automated feed of recommended contacts to pursue. Only a month after release, 40% of active users have taken advantage of these expanded touchpoints.
The also released Workflows enhancements that simplified the creation of Workflows based upon a Trigger / Actions / Filters structure. Workflows support actions across CRMs, MAPs, SEPs, and Engage.
A recruitment product, currently in beta, will be launched in June, just in time to take advantage of post-pandemic hiring growth in the US. The Recruiter service includes Engage and supports “a digital motion from candidate sourcing, to candidate engagement, to interview.” Multiple ATS (applicant tracking systems) will be supported.
Engage ACV doubled over the past quarter, with a 25% increase in usage of the core ZoomInfo platform among joint licensors, with Engage driving higher renewal levels.
Engage is still a new product and only represents “a tiny, tiny percentage of our customer base.” However, the market signals are strong, and ZoomInfo sees a “strong upside” with the offering. They have been receiving “great feedback from the customers who are on it.”
“We also see the benefits of this adoption within our retention and renewal numbers where customers who are dual users of Engage and ZoomInfo have materially higher renewal and retention rates than those who are ZoomInfo only customers. This is one of the most exciting things about the Engage platform: It has multi-area benefits. Customers buy Engage, which increases the adoption of both Engage and ZoomInfo. And investment behind Engage has material benefits across our Recruiter and International packages, where that product is a built-in offering.”
ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck
`ZoomInfo offers a sales engagement service and integrates with two of the leading SEPs: Outreach and SalesLoft. Justin Withers, SVP of Strategy & Corporate Development, described the company as “Switzerland in terms of data and intelligence.” ZoomInfo customers can choose to deploy Engage for their sales teams or other vendors. In either case, they benefit as they provide leads (ZoomInfo Company and Contact Data), signals (ZoomInfo Scoops and Streaming Intent), workflows (ZoomInfo Workflow), and activation across leading platforms.
“If an intent signal comes in for an account, and the topic is relevant for the customer, the signal can fire a workflow with ZoomInfo data and add to a sequence in Outreach, SalesLoft, or Engage,” Withers told GZ Consulting.
Happy Mother’s Day. I wrote this blog about six years ago, but it is no longer available online, so I thought I’d republish it here with a few minor updates.
My mother was a highly successful sales rep in two different capital goods industries for several decades. She regularly noted how important her reputation was in building her pipeline across her territory. From her perspective, acting unethically was severe short-term thinking. You were better off telling a customer that they should go to a competitor for a specific product if you can’t meet their needs than to shoehorn in a solution that only damages your reputation and that of your firm. While fibbing (using my mom’s polite term when she caught us in a lie) might close a few more deals early on, once you have been found to be slippery with the truth you are unlikely to close more sales at that account.
My mother worked her territory for over a decade and didn’t win any significant business at some prospects for the first few years. At the outset, her company had little market presence in the region. But she hung in there and sold a few beachhead deals that solved niche problems. It was with this long-term approach that she slowly built trust with her new customers. They then brought her in when new RFPs were being written – she had earned their trust.
Because she sold capital goods to only three segments (Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Universities), she approached the market with an Account Based Marketing (ABM) perspective. Each account represented a series of opportunities over the next five to ten years. She treated each account with respect and built her relationships well ahead of RFPs. She intuitively understood Lifetime Value (LTV).
It is only with a reputation for integrity that you can expect to be called when an exec moves to another company.
It is only with integrity that you will be asked to advise on an RFP.
And it is only with integrity that customers will be willing to take referral calls for you or recommend you to their colleagues.
Being shady eventually backfires. Who is going to call you back when you have failed to deliver on your promises? It can be a scorched earth approach that is contrary to today’s ABM focus. With ABM, there are a limited number of top accounts within your territory which are to be nurtured and grown. Playing fast and loose with the truth, delivering shoddy products and services, or failing to live up to your promises will undermine your reputation at key accounts and erode your brand value.
It can even backfire quickly. One time, my mother responded to a state RFP with aggressive pricing she knew her competitor was unlikely to match. She attended the bid award meeting and was shocked to find she was underbid. As state bidding is open, she reviewed the competitor’s bid and found they had substituted refurbished equipment for new even though the RFP barred used equipment. She contested the bid on the grounds that the firm had failed to comply with RFP requirements and was later awarded the multi-year contract. Not only did her competitor lose the contract in question, but it undermined its reputation at the state purchasing department.
Ethical Competitive Strategy
When training sales reps, I also emphasize staying “above the fray”. Besmirching a competitor’s product also sullies your reputation. It shows a lack of class and a sense of desperation. It is much better to position the value of your offering and focus on areas of differentiation than it is to throw mud. You should lay landmines for competitors, not besmirch their reputation.
A landmine is simply an emphasis upon those features and benefits where your product or service offering excels. The goal is to frame the discussion around the dimensions in which your product provides superior value to the end user. Keep in mind that value is dependent upon the customer in question, so you need to factor in job function, industry, company size, etc. Also, be careful to select areas in which your firm excels overall, not dimensions in which you are superior to competitor X that is vying for the deal but inferior to competitor Y. Otherwise, you may later find out you lost the deal to Y.
Likewise, you should expect your competitors to be laying landmines for your sales reps. They need to understand where these mines are laid and how to diffuse them.
One tool I recommend is the quick parry. This is a quick response to the question, “how are you better / different than company X?” A quick parry is only three or four sentences and usually begins by saying something positive about the competitor before transitioning with a BUT or HOWEVER. The positive item can be a recognition of some dimension in which they are the acknowledged leader or a dimension that is of limited importance to the customer in question. Thus, if you are selling to an SMB, you might emphasize the breadth of their solution for enterprise customers vs. the ease of use, quick implementation, and pricing models you offer for smaller firms. Such a tool differentiates your service from the competitor without throwing mud.
While modern sales tools don’t make sales reps more or less ethical, digital tools allows them to focus on relationship building instead of cold calling and administrative tasks. When I’ve shown my mother the current generation of sales tools, she becomes jealous of today’s sales reps. Think about
How much closer she would have been to her customers had she been able to review profiles for each company; seen detailed lists of contacts with titles, emails, and phone numbers; and received daily email alerts with account and prospect sales triggers.
How much less time she would have spent filling out monthly pipeline reports (three-part carbon forms) had account intelligence been integrated into a CRM.
How easily she could have reached out to clients via email or social media by quickly leveraging a trigger.
How much faster she would have learned that a key contact moved to another company and planned her strategy accordingly.
How she would have benefited by viewing her accounts and prospects displayed on a map to assist with road trip planning.
How she could have mapped out the demand unit, identified gaps, and tracked engagement with revenue and sales intelligence tools.
What about the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) strategy? I tend to dislike it unless it addresses a true pain or fear of the buyer. When I worked at MCI back in the ‘90s, one of AT&T’s strategies was to emphasize their reputation and solidity. We used to refer to it as the “Nobody ever gets fired for recommending AT&T strategy”. It addressed the inherent risk aversion of recommending an upstart over the industry behemoth. Such a strategy often works best for incumbents as it allows them to focus on their strengths (e.g. experience, stability, breadth of solution, zero transition costs). Upstarts using FUD need to make sure that they don’t come across as mocking the larger firm instead of emphasizing their strengths as an upstart (e.g. innovation, flexibility, focus).
When training your sales reps, make sure they fully understand your value proposition and those of your competitors. Reps should only be discussing competitors when directly asked about them. Landmines and quick parries emphasize your value proposition and differential value while avoiding the pitfalls of mudslinging. My mother understood these truths four decades ago.
“It’s a feeling of expansion, born of learning so much from our customers, and born of the digital transformation that has happened in the last year,” said Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol. “This is an intentional step for us beyond being solely an ABM leader and into broader B2B go-to-market. That’s important because ABM is just a part of the go-to-market challenges that B2B companies face.”
The new services are packaged as an ABM Suite consisting of four clouds: ABX, Advertising, Sales Intelligence, and Data. Customers will have the flexibility to order various elements of the suite, selecting the clouds and services that fit their needs.
“Our focus has been on building the most complete ABM solution (we call it ABX, because it’s not just marketing),” said Rogol, “and that was the impetus behind acquiring Engagio, putting a lot of the top of funnel and lower funnel stuff together. That will still be important.”
While some may view this as Demandbase growing beyond ABX, it is an opportunity for them to complete the ABX vision. I have long been critical of Demandbase’s limited framing of ABM within the marketing department. While they acquired Spiderbook, a small sales intelligence vendor, a few years ago, it withered on the vine and is no longer mentioned by the firm. InsideView provides them with an opportunity to realize ABX as a complete customer lifecycle solution. There are still missing elements such as sales engagement tools and chatbots, but they are now working on a much wider canvas.
Demandbase is in a sprint to establish the ABX platform space against vendors such as Terminus, 6Sense, and Dun & Bradstreet. It has been using the ABM three-letter acronym for a dozen years and was a lonely voice extolling ABM for half of that time, arguing for a shift from demand generation marketing to account-based strategies. Earlier this year, it shifted from ABM to ABX (Account Based Experience), which places a greater emphasis on long-term relationships with customers and the broader revenue team (sales, marketing, customer success).
“We’re proud to join forces with these two great companies. Our vision is bold. We are transforming how B2B companies go to market, helping them deliver great experiences at every stage of the account journey. This requires great data — and we now have the premium B2B data and intelligence solutions to help companies identify, understand, and engage their customers and prospects. With this move, Demandbase moves from being ‘just’ a leader in account-based programs to being the definitive leader in B2B go-to-market…
These new offerings let us work even more flexibly with our customers. Customers can mix and match to focus on the areas most important for them, whether that’s data embedded to their existing systems, or advertising, or sales intelligence, or a full account-based transformation. We are moving aggressively to deliver on this mission, and no company will move faster than us to achieve it.”
Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol
Acquiring InsideView and DemandMatrix strengthens its position in both marketing and sales. Furthermore, InsideView’s sales triggers provide Demandbase customers with a rich set of talking points for account managers and customer success teams, letting them know if there are executive changes, M&A events, new partnerships, etc.
Demandbase, which offers an ABX Cloud and an Advertising Cloud, now supports a Data Cloud and Sales Intelligence Cloud. The Sales Intelligence Cloud is based upon InsideView and supports:
Prospect Finder – A traditional list-building feature for company and contact data. Along with firmographic and biographic data, the InsideView prospect finder includes connection variables (Who Know Who “six degrees”), sales triggers (17 + custom variables), data availability (e.g., LinkedIn Connections, Email), and suppression lists.
Browser Extension – A Chrome extension for quick lookup and prospecting. The extension displays InsideView company and contact profiles from LinkedIn, company websites, and CRMs. Records may be sent to the CRM or Sales Engagement Platforms.
News and Social Insights – InsideView publishes daily email alerts based upon their sales triggers. As these are event-based, most company noise (e.g., stock price fluctuations, scores for teams playing at branded stadia) is removed and duplicates suppressed. They also support inline social media viewing for Facebook, Twitter, and Company Blogs. Inline viewing helps account managers and customer success teams stay abreast of key accounts. It also assists marketing and CI professionals in monitoring key partners and competitors.
Corporate Hierarchies – Family trees assist with lead-to-account mapping, selling deeper into an organization, and ensuring that leads are accurately scored and routed.
The Data Cloud consists of Demandbase, InsideView, and DemandMatrix assets. InsideView contributes close to 100 million global contacts and 17 million companies. DemandMatrix supports technographics (current tech stack, future technology needs, technology-based skill set trends, cloud consumption revenue, and IT Spend).
Other Data Cloud services include Demandbase Account Identification, InsideView Apex (ICP Discovery and Expansion), InsideView Data Integrity hygiene tools, and the InsideView API.
“For the last 15 years, we’ve been focused on empowering our customers to experience rapid revenue growth through the power of data. InsideView’s leadership in sales intelligence made it clear to us years ago that stronger ties between sales and marketing lead to more revenue—and data is the key. By joining forces with Demandbase, we’re combining our legacy and leadership in sales, and the industry’s freshest, most reliable data, with leading marketing technology. Our customers will be able to do more with data across more B2B revenue channels from sales, to advertising, to account-based campaigns. We’re taking the convergence of data and workflow to the next level.”
InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti
InsideView was highly rated in The Forrester Wave B2B Marketing Data Providers Q2 2021 report, scoring a five (highest score) across 14 of Forrester’s 24 evaluation criteria. Among the categories in which they excelled were data management, data coverage, and customer support.
Rogol emphasized the value of technographics for enterprise technology companies, saying that “for technology companies, the number one feature in a data science model is what technologies your prospect owns.”
“B2B data is complex, and customers consistently ask us for help with their data stack,” said DemandMatrix CEO Meetul Shah. “We started with further innovating technographic data to give customers valuable insights into their prospects and what other technologies they might buy. By now being part of the Demandbase Data Cloud, we’ll be able to provide customers access throughout the B2B data stack to help them realize their revenue goals.”
Both Milletti and Shah will continue running their respective businesses and join the Demandbase executive team as general managers. The two subsidiaries will operate separately, but the firm will consolidate the data across the offerings.
Acquisition prices for the two firms were not disclosed. The InsideView service lists its revenue at $30.5 million and 275 employees, which has remained stable over the past few years. DemandMatrix is listed at $3.0 million in revenue with 90 employees.
“At Demandbase, our vision is bold. We are transforming how B2B companies go to market, helping them deliver great experiences at every stage of the account journey. This requires great data,” said Demandbase. “We now have the premium B2B data and intelligence solutions to help companies identify, understand, and engage their customers and prospects. With this move, Demandbase goes from being ‘just’ a leader in account-based programs to being the definitive leader in B2B go-to-market.”
InsideView and DemandMatrix customers benefit from the more extensive go-to-market capabilities of their parent. The DemandMatrix suite helps customers:
Design and orchestrate their entire buyer’s journey across marketing and sales
Personalize their website experience, track account-level engagement, and attribute revenue
Deliver account-based display, native, and social media advertising that is brand safe for B2B
Target and segment their market
Rogol admitted that the integration work would not be easy. “Obviously, we still have a lot of the execution work ahead. One thing to point out is that these are different types of acquisitions than Engagio. With Engagio, the goal was to get to the most comprehensive ABM platform. These are adjacent expansions, so they’re going to operate as standalone businesses pretty much.”
Barb Mosher Zinck of Diginomica was bullish on the transactions, calling it a “smart move” to consolidate the data from three companies under a single platform. “It’s essentially a Customer Data Platform (CDP) without the CDP name (and some CDP capabilities), providing all the critical information sales and marketing need to find the right accounts and contacts within those accounts. The intelligence DemandMatrix brings on technology is key, as is the ability from InsideView to see when things are changing in a company.”
“I also like that Demandbase has broadened its offering from only account-based marketing to sales intelligence because the two groups are tightly aligned,” continued Mosher Zinck. “These two solutions can operate separately but bringing them together under the same umbrella with access to the same data is key to ensuring a company-wide focus on customer experience.”
The following Market Flash published on May 4th to my newsletter subscribers. I also offer a detailed InsideView product review for purchase ($349).
Instead of building the ICP on commonly available firmographic variables, the ICP is customer service based and defined through the discovery process. A bespoke taxonomy is created that applies custom tags by persona, industry, size, etc.
“We want to align your database with your go-to-market strategy,” Feldman told GZ Consulting.
RevenueBase promises to “replace all of your data vendors with one solution” that “reaches every company and decision-maker across the globe that will benefit from your unique offering.” By delivering high-quality, targeted data, revenue teams can shift from managing databases and researching prospects to creating campaigns and focusing on selling.
RevenueBase employs AI for aggregating and integrating its multi-sourced data with the AI building a quality hierarchy for selecting which field to accept when vendors disagree on a value. The research team assists the AI modeling by collecting training data.
Data quality steps include custom research, quarterly email re-verification, and annual phone checks. Data is delivered via a quarterly secure CSV file transfer with a 90% accuracy SLA.
Content includes standard firmographics, mined and licensed business descriptions, sizing ranges, industry codes (SIC, NAICS, and custom), contact information, and technographics. Funding data includes total funding, most recent round amount, and most recent round date. While full family trees are not available, locations are tied to parent companies.
Contact data includes mobile numbers, direct numbers, LinkedIn URLs, tenure at current job, work addresses, and mapped persona.
RevenueBase has already aggregated 700 million business contacts and 100 million companies, providing it with one of the most extensive sets of contacts in the industry.
Intent data and sales triggers are not currently available.
RevenueBase provides opt-out notifications to its customers, letting them know when an individual has opted out of their database or the database of one of their contributing vendors. It also suppresses California mobile numbers in support of CCPA.
RevenueBase is off to a strong start. Since soft launching the service in October, they have generated $800,000 in revenue and have a $500,000 ARR. Early success has allowed it to launch the service without accepting outside funding.
The firm is still in the early stages of development. It has focused on building its content aggregation model, custom research, and customer service/discovery model based upon Feldman’s experience as both a B2B marketer and data industry executive. As such, RevenueBase has an advanced DaaS vision but does not yet have APIs and connectors for data delivery. However, it has a unique approach that is gaining early market traction. Initial customers include Siemens, PTC, Localytics, SolidWorks, and CB Insights.
RevenueBase is sold as a flat-rate subscription service between $50,000 and $100,000 per annum. Additional fees are applied for custom research. RevenueBase is headquartered in Boston.
Sales Enablement vendor Seismic rolled out a set of platform enhancements last month that are “designed to help organizations capture every revenue moment and drive effective, efficient buyer engagement across all digital channels.” The release included Seismic Aura, their new AI Engine for sales content.
Seismic Aura employs AI and machine learning to surface “new business opportunities and increase seller efficacy.”
“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift to all-digital buyer engagements. At Seismic, we’ve anticipated this change for some time now. Our platform exists to make go-to-market teams more effective, whether their buyers are face-to-face or remote,” said Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada. “The next challenge for technology leaders like Seismic will be to enable businesses to thrive in this new era of digital-first selling. The innovations we’re launching at [Seismic’s virtual conference] Shift, along with the product updates we have coming later this year, bring sales and marketing teams closer together, helping them reach new customers and engage with existing customers in a compelling manner regardless of where they are.”
Continued Mantripragada, “humans can analyze only so much. Buried inside data are patterns, behavior, and insights that will hold keys to your questions and undiscovered opportunities. We are combining human intelligence and machine intelligence to harness the power of this data.”
Other Spring 2021 release features include
CRM SmartPlays employ predictive intelligence to recommend the most effective sales plays at any moment. SmartPlays are delivered within the rep’s CRM workflow.
Seismic Sidekick, a Chrome extension powered by Aura, delivers guided selling and content recommendations “based on past engagement, similar buyers, and interests specific to each contact.” Sidekick helps surface engagement opportunities and reduces time spent searching for content.
Dynamic Email Templates
Global Privacy Management supports GDPR and country-specific, multi-lingual privacy requirements and notifications.
Grooveand Seismic announced an integration partnership to “deliver relevant, approved, [and] compliant” Seismic content and LiveSend links within the Groove Sales Engagement Platform. The integration delivers relevant content and CRM data within the Groove workflow and assists with intelligent content discovery.
Along with announcing new features, Seismic boasted about its ongoing momentum. Their net retention rate stands at 111%. They have over one million users at over 700 enterprise clients, including deep penetration in the financial services sector. Seismic claims that 22 of the top 25 global asset management companies are customers, along with 7 of the top 10 US banks and 4 of the top 5 North American wealth management firms. Seismic added over 200 employees last year and opened its first Canadian office with the December Grapevine6 acquisition. They now have more than 1000 workers across fifteen offices.
European third-party intent data vendor Cyance closed on an £860,000 funding round that included existing investors Blackfinch Ventures and Nexus Investments. The funds will be deployed for ongoing product and market expansion, including enterprise customer expansion in Europe and ABX platform development.
Last year, the firm doubled its headcount, grew revenue by 18%, and raised ACV by 30%. It also shifted from being an intent data vendor to an ABX platform. As with many other MarTech vendors, revenue flattened in Q2 of last year and began growing again in the second half of the year. They have built significant momentum in 2021 and are on pace to nearly double ARR this year.
“The fact that we’ve seen such solid commercial and financial performance over the past 12 months, despite the tough market conditions, demonstrates the appetite for accurate and localised intent data and the enormous potential within this market. And as businesses start to look beyond the pandemic and the economic recovery gathers pace, we expect demand to increase further. Taking on this new investment allows us to strengthen our team and further invest in our product. We’re now perfectly placed to take advantage of these new opportunities and cement our position as the leading ABX platform with unique intent data for European buyers.”
Cyance CEO Bulent Osman
According to CPO Jon Clarke, Cyance is “rapidly building out an ABX platform proposition” that drives better decisioning and aligns sales and marketing teams. The platform serves both sales and marketing teams, promoting revenue team collaboration, cohesion, and efficiency with a unified versus siloed data platform.
As with other vendors that have recently begun using ABX instead of ABM, Cyance emphasizes account-based programs and processes across the full revenue team and customer life cycle. ABM has long emphasized sales and marketing alignment, but the bulk of product development has been marketing-centric. The shift to ABX captures both the broader vision of ABM and a greater emphasis upon the customer experience across the full lifecycle.
“Cyance has transformed account-based marketing by developing and integrating a sophisticated SaaS solution with global, third-party intent data which addresses the needs of the European market,” said Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch Ventures. “They have demonstrated solid growth from global B2B brands in the last 12 months, despite the challenging times we find ourselves in. We’re excited to continue supporting Cyance as it helps some of the world’s leading companies to transform their demand generation and account-based marketing programs and achieve more efficient ROI.”
Their January release sports improved intent signal tailoring and segmentation, beefed up technographics, new customer dashboards, and improved service and support. The platform offers an updated UI, enhanced ICP definition, and buying journey stage identification.
First and third-party intent data vendor Bombora closed on $20 million in growth capital financing from Runway Growth Capital. The cash infusion “will be used to help Bombora capitalize on market opportunities, build stronger partner relationships, and accelerate its pace of innovation.”
The funds will help them expand data partnerships across the sales and marketing ecosystem.
“We want to make it easier for brands and their agencies to use it in their own stacks and chosen solutions, and for our platform partners to enhance the value of their own offerings,” said Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.
The firm is also looking to “deliver solutions that enable addressable advertising across the cookieless landscape for publishers and partners alike,” Matlick told Adweek.
“The B2B intent data market is growing quickly, and marketers are seeking better, more efficient ways to identify and engage with in-market prospects. We have been impressed with Bombora’s expertise, and its ‘data collective’ approach really stood out to us in the market. This partnership adds to Runway’s already strong history of supporting key players in the data and marketing technology space and we are excited to have Bombora join our portfolio.”
Mark Donnelly, Managing Director, Head of Origination at Runway
In other news, Bombora announced that it implemented BERT-based natural language processing in its intent categorization, resulting in a 26% increase in topic prediction. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) looks at the context of each occurrence of a word.
“Bombora’s engineers and data scientists never stop looking for ways to serve our customers better,” said Bombora Data Science VP Nicholaus Halecky, Ph.D. “The BERT-based B2B Topic Classifier demonstrates a substantial performance increase in Company Surge intent signal quality, and we know this will improve our customers’ business results.”
The BERT implementation was spearheaded by former PwC and DialogTech data scientist Amber McKenzie, Ph.D., who joined Bombora as VP Data Science. BERT is an open-sourced NLP developed by Google. It was implemented in Google Search in late 2019 and has since been deployed by Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wayfair. BERT distinguishes meaning by assessing word order context, seeing the difference in meaning between “the stock of apples has dropped” and “Apple’s stock has dropped.”
For over a decade, Sales Intelligence vendors such as Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Artesian Solutions, and ZoomInfo have offered sales triggers based upon executive changes, funding events, M&A, etc.. D&B Hoovers, along with many European vendors that process registered filings data, includes data change alerts (e.g., credit score change, revenue growth) and registered filings. As vendors are now adding in visitor intelligence and intent signals, there is the risk of quickly overwhelming sales reps with alerts. And since most vendors do not yet offer workflow solutions for filtering and automating sales activities, there is a strong likelihood that reps begin to view these alerts as noise instead of actionable signals. The more generalized the signal (e.g., website visits), the greater the possibility of signals being considered spam.
To further confuse things, Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) have emerged as sales automation platforms, but they are only loosely tied to a few of the sales intelligence vendors. In many cases, the functionality is simply Send to SEP functionality.
ZoomInfo and Vainu (see 3/21 issue) now tie together triggers and actions subject to filters. While there is still a risk that reps are overwhelmed (e.g., too many automated cadences being sent to SEPs), the filters help mitigate the risk and ensure that activity is focused on an organization’s best prospects and tied to event-specific messaging.
For technology sales, ZoomInfo offers technographic changes and Scoops. The Scoops dataset is gathered from official data (e.g., public filings, PPP loans), surveys, and in-house research teams. Daily, ZoomInfo reaches out to contacts in its database to gather market intelligence about projects and the challenges they face in their department. As an incentive, ZoomInfo offers an Amazon gift card or charitable donation to each respondent. The responses are the basis of many of their Scoops.
“We are constantly evaluating new sources and pieces of information that can provide value to our customers in the form of Scoops. Last year, our Scoop number increased greatly because of new processes and expanded information coverage, including the addition of Scoops directly related to PPP loan recipients. Through continued innovation and expansion, we anticipate that our Scoops volume will continue to increase over time. We have several in-house research teams dedicated to various types of Scoop coverage, and we utilize many of the same sources to gather Scoops that are laid out on our B2B Data Sources webpage, including updates from leadership webpages, news monitoring, public filings, and company-issued announcements.”
ZoomInfo Communications Director Steve Vittorioso
The Scoop volume doubled to 917,000 events in 2020.
While the primary Workflows use cases are focused on revenue acceleration, Workflows may also be used for executive recruitment.
Admins can edit, clone, run, or delete Workflows. They can also create workflows for non-admins or permit non-admins to create workflows subject to admin approval.
Non-admins have access to fewer integrations, cannot assign workflows to peers, and are subject to lower export limits.
Workflows do not support FormComplete, ZoomInfo’s webform, but the functionality is on the product roadmap.
ZoomInfo rolled out an upgraded Workflows product for automating trigger-based tasks. The service sports a simplified natural-language UI for building workflows “in ways that feel conversational, simple, and secure.”
ZoomInfo Senior Product Director Apparao Karri explained that Workflows are at the intersection of go-to-market data availability and sales automation, calling it “the long tail of GTM automation.”
Continued Karri, “Intelligent Automation is a key differentiator for businesses, and the underlying technology stack is mature and ready to deliver at scale. ZoomInfo Workflows is a product built on this framework to improve productivity, reduce lost opportunities, and bring consistency to the go-to-market motions.”
Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson contrasted Workflows with Marketing Automation Platforms:
“Marketing automation has existed for many years, but often on a generic playing field. For example, when visitors fill out a form on a company website, marketers can drop their information into a sequence or a campaign in their CRM. But those campaigns are limited because a form-fill mechanism doesn’t provide targeted and specific information for each of those prospective customers.Now we live in a world where individual sales reps can create hyper-targeted campaigns based on nearly every imaginable scenario.”
ZoomInfo Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson
The basic structure of a Workflow is triggers, filters, and actions. Triggers are business events detected by ZoomInfo and include ZoomInfo WebSights (website visitor intelligence), technographic changes, Clickagy Streaming Intent, fundings, and ZoomInfo Scoops (e.g., projects, PPP funding). Triggers may also be created from saved searches that identify new companies or contacts that meet the saved criteria.
Triggers act as signals subject to pre-defined filters. The filters are conditions that must be met for an action to be taken. They can be based upon ZoomInfo or Salesforce criteria. For example, presence in an ABM list, meeting firmographic criteria, assigned to a rep in Salesforce, or not present in Salesforce. Actions dictate the Workflow response and include sending emails, assigning contacts, creating records, or kicking off sales flows (cadences) in ZoomInfo Engage, SalesLoft, or Outreach. Marketing actions can be processed through HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and Eloqua.
Actions include a processing frequency (e.g., daily, weekly) and limits on the number of exported records. The limit works as a throttle so that reps are not overwhelmed with too many leads. It also prevents a workflow from using up too many ZoomInfo credits. Some actions have sub-actions associated with platforms (e.g. set campaign or cadence / sequence / flow).
Filters can also be employed for territory assignment, ensuring that the activity is routed to the proper sales rep. As ZoomInfo has one of the deepest pools of professional contacts with emails and direct-dial phones, they can activate sales and marketing activity from anonymous account-level signals for targeted functions and levels.
“If businesses want to scale quickly, they can’t become mired in day-to-day tasks that can easily be automated,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck. “ZoomInfo’s Workflows eliminates redundant, repetitive tasks and helps teams to focus on the human side of closing business by establishing strong relationships with prospects and customers.”
Demandbase, which reframed itself as an Account Based Experience platform last month, announced a pair of enhancements to its service: Site Customization and Form Enrichment. Site Customization lets marketers display “unique site experiences for their target account” based upon more granular segmentation (e.g., firmographics, intent, website activity).
Other customization enhancements include
Preview links for stakeholder review before release
Account list targeting with personalized ads
Tailored landing pages based upon the stage of the buying journey
The website can be personalized based upon industry, stage, geography, company size, or other variables. Messaging, CTAs, collateral, and creative elements can be customized based upon the visitor.
“The creative elements and the experience you want to give to your customer or prospect are up to you,” blogged Demandbase Director of Product Marketing Ruth Juni. “One thing is for sure: Taking the time to think through the messaging from the consumer’s perspective will ensure you’re delivering the right message to the consumer at the right time.”
Marketers can also display unique web form designs with minimal field display. Demandbase then enriches the submitted form with additional prospect details.
“ABX is rooted in an intense focus on the customer at every stage of the buying cycle, using intelligent insights to know when and how to engage, and what to say to each account,” said Jon Miller, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase. “Your website is one of the most important interactions a customer or prospect can have with your brand, which is why it’s critical that your website experience should be as personalized as email or other channels. Our new features for Demandbase Personalization make it easy to deliver the right website experience and elevate the entire journey.”
According to Gartner, 98% of marketers argue that personalization enhances customer relationships. “Gartner is predicting that smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 25% by 2023,” said Demandbase Product VP Seth Myers. “Personalization is taking center stage in business today. This makes the case even more for our enhanced Personalization product and its industry-leading features that treat personalization as seriously as it should be treated. We’re bound and determined to keep anticipating what our customers want and need, in order to continue to elevate ABX.”