Gong Deal Intelligence

Conversation Intelligence vendor Gong announced the availability of Deal Intelligence, their new AI-driven insights service that provides a “clear, up-to-date view” of deal status, recent interactions, and at-risk deals.  Deal Intelligence also helps sales managers provide targeted coaching and assess pipeline activity.

“Deal Intelligence allows us to do quicker pipeline inspections and validate with a third party that we really are where we say we are in the process,” said Armen Zildjian, VP of Sales at Drift.  “It is not to micromanage but to continue to coach and give reps the next best step with the customer, so we really can rely on that business.”

New features include

  • Deal Board:  Quickly understand which deals are healthy and which require immediate attention.
  • Deal Warnings: Spot warning signs such as a lack of recent activity and close date in the past.  Planned warnings include no future calls scheduled and no decision-maker involved.
  • Account Page: Centralizes deal-related interactions across email, web conference, and phone to proactively identify risks and review conversations
  • Engagement Map: Ensures that a deal is multi-threaded and that reps are engaged with the right people in the right way.

“Consider what can be done when you have every phone call, email, and customer interaction automatically captured and the ability to analyze those interactions.  It will allow organizations to get a sharper picture of prospect intent and where an account is in the sales process.”

TOPO Sales Analyst Dan Gottlieb

Pipeline Analytics and deal risk are an emerging category of sales analytics.  Firms such as Gong, Costello (recently acquired by SalesLoft), and Clari provide a single-pane view for identifying deal risk, assessing multi-threaded engagement, and conducting pipeline reviews.

Deal Intelligence is available to all current customers as part of their core offering.  Admins must turn on email sync from popular clients such as G Suite and Microsoft 365.  Sales Engagement partners include SalesLoft, Outreach, Groove, and Xant.

Deal Intelligence is view-only and does not support Opportunity record updating.  CRM sync is a planned feature.  

Gong supports a broad set of conferencing and dialing tools, including Zoom, UberConference, BlueJeans, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Join.Me, RingCentral, Dialpad, Amazon Connect, Google Meet, and Skype.

Gong does not publish any pricing and simply states that pricing is based upon “how many recorded reps you have,” not the number of listeners.

6Sense – PathFactory Partnership

Content intelligence vendor PathFactory announced a partnership with ABM Orchestration vendor 6Sense to “give marketers complete visibility into the quality of account engagement, as well as what content and topics are accelerating them through their customer journey.”

The new partnership taps 6Sense’s account identification capabilities and combines it with PathFactory’s content consumption data, providing richer account engagement intelligence.  “They can even watch a buying committee’s activities populate and track their journey in near real-time,” said PathFactory.  Account intelligence is synced with the CRM and displayed to sales reps, helping them understand which content and topics resonated at target accounts.

PathFactory offers a set of content tracks, either defined by marketing or PathFactory’s AI.  Content tracks are a sequence of relevant content associated with specific calls to action.  Content tracks “keep people engaged longer and helps them self-educate” while encouraging them to “binge on your content.”  By assessing which individuals and accounts are binging on account tracks, PathFactory can determine when accounts are “getting serious.”  Highly engaged accounts are more likely to turn into deals.  

Content insights suggest the next best content and next best action, with PathFactory personalizing content tracks in real-time.  PathFactory tracks engagement at both the individual and account level while assessing content attributes such as type, topic, and reading length.

“While B2B marketing organizations have invested heavily in ABM over the past several years, many marketers still struggle to successfully execute campaigns, scale programs, and report on results.  We are confident this integration will give marketers the unprecedented ability to optimize the customer journey and generate revenue from their ABM efforts.”

Dev Ganesan, CEO of PathFactory

PathFactory clients do not require a separate 6Sense license.

“PathFactory and 6sense are marrying two of the most critical data sets necessary for successful ABM execution,” said Jason Zintak, CEO of 6sense.  “With 6sense’s industry-leading account identification capabilities and PathFactory’s content consumption data, sales and marketing teams can get deep insight into anonymous buying behavior of individuals and accounts, and deliver hyper-personalized content journeys.”

PathFactory placed 186th on Deloitte’s Fast 500 list, and Gartner named them a Cool Vendor in their 2019 Technology Marketing category.

6Sense recently closed on a $40 million Round C.

6Sense Round C

Account Based Orchestration platform 6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round with growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.  Previous investors include Salesforce Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures.  The market cap was not disclosed.

6Sense doubled its revenue in both 2018 and 2019.  Last year, it added Box, Cisco, Dell, Zendesk, Sumo Logic, NetApp, Domo, Motorola, Cumulus, Symantec, and Tableau to its list of named customers.

“As a startup, a company can sell via personal relationships and word of mouth.  In the scaleup growth phase, the equivalent is Account-Based Marketing and Sales,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners.  “After an exhaustive review process, we were blown away by the data-focused sophistication of 6sense’s technology and firmly believe it is the best solution for B2B companies who need to scale their go-to-market efficiency and grow revenue.  The company’s account-based solution should be a core part of every scaleup company’s growth strategy.  We’re excited to invest in 6sense as the market-leading solution.”

“An investment is a sign that we’ve done something over the past 2 ½ years,” said 6Sense CEO Jason Zintak.  “Investing is confidence, and it’s just so incredibly humbling that we as a team, as a company, have gotten to the point where people want to trust us and hand over money.”

Zintak attributed the firm’s success to the belief that AI and Big Data are at the core of the MarTech stack:

Our strategy has always been to lead in those areas, specifically 6sense’s ability to

    – Process large amounts of data and deliver actionable insights
   – Segment micro-audiences based on these data insights
   – Uncover anonymous buyer intent and identify accounts
   – Predict which accounts are an Ideal Customer fit, and when they are “in market,” allowing organizations to focus engagement on accounts most likely to buy

6sense has evolved from delivering predictive scores to providing customers with a robust Account-Based platform for the entire revenue operations team.

6Sense CEO Jason Zintak

The investment will be dedicated to accelerating its product roadmap, “both organically and inorganically.”  Zintak listed three roadmap objectives:

  1. Improved orchestration, which moves from rules-based engagement to “true AI-based orchestration of tactics.”
  2. Expanding intent and predictive data use cases beyond email to include website personalization, content experiences, advertising, conversational marketing, etc.
  3. Delivering insights to all revenue operations functions, including marketing and customer success.

The firm lists 37 open positions across customer success, engineering, data science, administrative, marketing, sales, and product.  6Sense has shown steady employment growth over the past two years.  Roughly half of the employees are in revenue generation roles (Sales, Support, Marketing, and Business Development).

“Our mission is to tackle the biggest challenges facing B2B sellers and marketers by helping brands reach the right accounts for their business at the right time, through the right channels, and with truly engaging experiences,” said Zintak.  “Our company growth has been fueled by the success of our customers, and our Series C funding will enable 6sense to further invest in AI-driven orchestration capabilities to help companies of all sizes build and scale account-based programs, uncover new opportunities, and efficiently create pipeline and revenue.”

6Sense competitors include Everstring, Demandbase, LeadSpace, and Lattice Engines (Dun & Bradstreet).

Brainshark – TopOPPS Partnership

Sales enablement vendor Brainshark and AI-based sales pipeline management vendor TopOPPS announced a strategic partnership that “will empower sales organizations to deliver ‘in-the-moment’ guidance that improves reps’ skills at key points throughout the sales cycle.”  The combined solution is tailored to the individual learning needs and styles of each rep across the buyer journey.  TopOPPS delivers sales pipeline insights and forecast metrics that help management “understand pipeline activity and identify deficiencies before they impact yield.”  The combined solution identifies skills gaps and then suggests Brainshark learning content.

“Many sales organizations try to do pipeline analysis through their customer relationship management (CRM) systems – but these systems are simply data repositories that provide no actionable insights for sales leaders,” said TopOPPS CEO Jim Eberlin.  “TopOPPS brings that data to life – providing activity analysis at the individual rep level, which enables a much more accurate assessment of pipeline health and productivity.  This enables sales leaders to then use Brainshark to act on this data by delivering targeted coaching that directly impacts revenue.”

For example, Brainshark training metrics are displayed in a combined Coaching view (see the figure on the right).  The view helps managers “track training processes and knowledge retention to understand the readiness of each sales rep and sales team’s ability to sell at the highest level.”  The view also includes over twenty trended sales measures, training insights, and pipeline metrics.

“Managers, a lot of times, will just coach reps generally or are guessing on what they need coaching on.  Our AI (artificial intelligence) will actually pinpoint and make it more precise on exactly what a rep needs coaching on,” said TopOPPS CEO Jim Eberlin.

The two firms have a joint go-to-market strategy and revenue sharing agreement.

The TopOPPS partnership, along with Brainshark’s recent acquisition of sales scorecard vendor Rekener, is part of Brainshark’s mission to deliver “a true data-driven sales readiness platform.”

“Through our acquisition of Rekener last month, and now our partnership with TopOPPS, Brainshark is transforming sales-readiness from art to science,” said Brainshark CEO Greg Flynn.  “With our data-driven platform and associated technologies, sales leaders will always have easy access to the information they need to orchestrate and execute effective sales-readiness strategies that deliver quantifiable growth in corporate revenue.”

Nudge.AI Bows Out with Class

Relationship strength analytics company Nudge.ai folded this week.  Nudge identified the corporate relationship strength with contacts and filtered the open web and social media to provide contact insights.  Relationship strength analytics has long been an area of unfulfilled promise going back to early Relationship Capital Management vendors such as VisiblePath.  LinkedIn is the only major firm that has successfully built such tools.  They provide lead recommendations, referrals, and TeamLink networking with colleagues, but relationship strength is not a focus of their offerings, but more of a side feature in Sales Navigator.

Nudge was available on the SalesLoft and Outreach partner ecosystems and the AppExchange.

One of 22 employee bios posted in the Nudge.ai Thank You coda.

Nudge did something classy when it folded.  It thanked its customers, employees, and investors in its coda.  They also turned their website into a thank you page which highlighted the strengths of each employee and provided a link to his or her LinkedIn profile. Because they were a startup, the bios are based upon knowledge of each employee and serve as a reference from management.

“While we can’t say we are “celebrating” failure today, we are thankful that the journey was possible.  Although the failure itself is sad, it’s only because it is the end of a journey that was so challenging and rewarding.  Every product innovation, customer win, market recognition, or challenge overcome was a step towards a goal we all were working towards.   We didn’t reach that goal, but because of everyone around us, we did have a chance to try.   And that – that chance to try – is worth celebrating.

Nudge.AI celebrating the journey

LeadSpace Fall Release

LeadSpace rolled out its Customer Data Platform (CPD) fall release with improved processing of first-party data, enhancements to their Salesforce app, and refinements to their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) modeling.  Automated ingestion of first-party data and custom data sources deliver unified customer profiles “for use across systems.”  Automated data onboarding assists with AI modeling, scoring and analytics, and enterprise software activation.

“Customers can use data on engagement, product use, relationship, and other information unique to their business to power real-time orchestration of activities and processes,” stated the firm.  “Decisions about how to route leads, assign nurture programs, segment for campaigns, and personalize interactions can now be made with all the intelligence of the CDP and a complete customer view.”

The fall release also supports data hygiene with the sunsetting of Data.com Clean in mid-2020.  Both real-time and on-demand matching and enrichment are supported.  Triggers automatically identify new or updated records and automatically look to match them against the LeadSpace CDP.  At the end of the year, a sync button will be displayed within individual records.

“Getting a complete view of the customer is critical to improving the customer experience for B2B.  Buyers no longer tolerate generic and impersonal content and interactions.  Our Customer Data Platform gives B2B marketers a real path to being able to orchestrate the ideal customer experience at scale.  Improving the ability to ingest 1st party data makes that even more powerful because it is unique to each of our client’s journey with their customers.”

LeadSpace CEO Doug Bewsher

Enhanced ICP Analytics help select the right accounts and personas for ABM targeting.  Interactive, filterable reports display account, contact, and intent data matched against conversion and revenue data to “uncover which categories and segments have performed well historically.”  

LeadSpace On-Demand look-a-like segment building now supports company suppression.

LeadSpace customers include Microsoft, HPE, SAP, Iron Mountain, IBM, and Symantec.

Cien Hidden Revenue Assessments

Cien contends that a sales rep is only as successful as his or her weakest skill permits.  Therefore, it is best to determine skill deficiencies and coach for them.

Cien announced the availability of its Hidden Revenue Assessment report which analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of sales reps to determine which qualitative factors are limiting their success.  Cien ingests data from Salesforce Enterprise to “reveal the factors that are preventing their teams from achieving their numbers.”

Cien Head of Marketing Damien Acheson noted that firms such as Gong and Chorus are more prescriptive while Cien is diagnostic, helping managers identify skill gaps and determining where reps add or destroy value during deal flow.

Presented as individual scorecards, Cien employs over 100 AI models to identify issues in sales enablement, training, and onboarding.  Cien does not believe in cloning the best sales reps as reps have different strengths and weaknesses.  Instead, reps are assessed for value-add across the pipeline, helping determine where reps need coaching, which reps are creating value, and which reps are benefiting from a rich set of leads but not adding significant value to them.

Furthermore, their models indicate that addressing weaknesses is the best method for improving sales outcomes and reaching quota.  If a rep is weak at any of the key sales skills, he or she is unlikely to reach quota.  As reps are only as successful as their weakest skills, it is better to identify gaps and coach accordingly.  Cien holds that the best path to driving revenue growth is focusing on mid-level success reps as they are the ones with the greatest opportunity to improve their performance.

“When it comes to managing sales teams, it’s important to understand that no sales rep is created equal, and no opportunity is created equal,” contends Cien CEO Rob Käll.  “To date, Cien’s Hidden Revenue Assessments have uncovered between 20-40% worth of lost revenue due to gaps in selling skills.”

“Cien’s AI models search for correlations between reps’ skills and attributes and their impact on the final value of opportunities.  This is the basis for a set of patented algorithms called the ​Cien Value Chain​.  Cien determines the relative value of each lead as it enters your CRM and tracks its value at the end of the sales cycle.  The Cien Value Chain measures the value-added at each stage of the opportunity and the skills and attributes that drive incremental value.“

Cien FAQ

The Hidden Revenue Assessment is available as a free report to technology companies with at least ten sales reps and a minimum of one year of Salesforce data.  It provides an assessment of a few sample reps across work ethic, product knowledge, engagement ability, and closing ability.  The Hidden Revenue Assessment also evaluates CRM data quality to provide a level of confidence in the assessment.  Firms that have deployed Sales Engagement Platforms such as Outreach and SalesLoft often have complete data as they automatically gather activity data and sync it with their CRM.

Cien “Baseball Card” Profile

The Hidden Revenue Assessment includes a 30-minute walkthrough.

The Cien app, available for $49 per month per rep, provides mentor prescriptions that help prioritize coaching.  While flagging weaknesses can be demotivating, Cien inverts the model and calculates the revenue opportunity available to reps who focus on developing their skills.  Being told that you are weak at prospect engagement is unlikely to motivate a rep.  Being told that focusing on prospect engagement can retire $200,000 worth of quota is much more likely to motivate the rep to focus on his or her weak-link skills.

The Cien app provides data on all of the reps and covers a broader set of skills.  The app also provides dynamic data indicating how the reps are performing over time.

Cien is Privacy Shield certified and does not gather Personally Identifiable Information beyond rep names. Cien received a $3.5 million seed round in June.

Einstein Service Cloud Voice and Voice Skills

Einstein is embedded within the Salesforce platform, providing tools for users, admins, and developers.
Einstein is embedded within the Salesforce platform, providing tools for users, admins, and developers.

At Dreamforce, Salesforce rolled out a set of Einstein Voice capabilities which will be launching in the coming months. New services include Einstein Call Coaching for sales, Service Cloud Voice, and Einstein Voice Skills for developers and Salesforce admins.

Service Cloud Voice provides an integrated console which unifies, phone, digital channels and CRM data in real-time.  The service also performs real-time voice-to-text transcription allowing Einstein to offer recommended responses, support content, and next best actions.  Service Cloud Voice will enter its pilot phase in February with a June GA date.

“Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it’s been in our homes. With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business, giving everyone an intelligent, trusted guide at work.”

Salesforce Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor

During an insurance claims call, for example, Einstein would recognize the nature of the claim and pull up the policyholder’s coverage specific to the claim, delivering a faster and superior customer experience.  Next best actions such as additional riders or cross-selling opportunities are presented to the rep.  During its beta, State Farm closed cases 31% faster.

For State Farm, Einstein Voice is tracking both products and Life Events.  Managers can drill down to recent mentions for review and coaching.

80% of consumers stated that speed is the most important element in delivering an “amazing customer experience.”

Finally, the call notes are automatically transcribed for the rep, allowing him or her to quickly move on to the next support call.

“Einstein is specifically designed for simplicity.  It’s designed for Salesforce Admins or Developers to be able to set up for a Salesforce user to be able to understand, and, as a result, folks that use Einstein get real results,” said VP of Einstein Products Marco Casalaina.  “So, how can you become successful with Einstein?  It all starts with a question.  You need to formulate a question that makes sense for your business.”

Questions could be which opportunities will convert, which customers will drop, will a researcher engage with my email, or will the customer buy this item?

Einstein Voice Skills will be in beta in February with a 2021 general availability.  Voice Skills will allow admins and developers to deploy custom voice apps across the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform.  For example, a technician can call up a customer’s service history while en route.

“Each app is purpose-built for the specific needs and processes of each role. Plus, admins can also control how the information will be read back to the user, including the ability to offer next steps or follow-up tasks within the response, and which channels and devices that the skill is accessible on, such [as] smart speakers or phones,” said Salesforce.

Einstein Call Coaching

Einstein Call Coaching Dashboard

Salesforce has been teasing voice services since the last Dreamforce when they launched Einstein Voice Assistant which supports routine Salesforce CRM functions such as creating or updating customer records, getting personalized daily briefings, and exploring dashboards.  This year, they announced Einstein Call Coaching, Service Cloud Voice for transcription and AI-powered recommendation services, and Einstein Voice Skills.

Einstein Call Coaching is currently in pilot and should be generally available as a Sales Cloud High Velocity Sales (SEP) service in June.  Call Coaching utilizes natural language processing against call transcripts.  Managers view “insights and trends within conversational data.”  NLP tags keywords, alerts managers about spikes in competitor mentions, and monitors pricing discussions and objection handling.  Managers can then focus their coaching based upon individual rep needs.

“Companies with dynamic sales coaching programs see 28% higher win rates, unbelievable results.  And Einstein call coaching is your coach.  This is an AI feature that can process audio clips to serve up those key moments for this type of coaching,” said Sarah Patterson, SVP of Product Marketing.  

Being able to track keywords, discussion topics, and competitors should prove highly valuable for one-on-one and team coaching sessions and broader analytics.  Sales reps often fail to record competitor and objection details (or they are trapped in notes).  Even when custom fields are set up to capture these details, they are often weakly populated. Being able to track objections and competitor discussions provides improved coaching and product road mapping input.  This is far better than querying sales reps to be told that they lost on price or aren’t sure who won the deal.

Product tracking and objections also assist with gathering early intelligence following a product launch.  Are the sales reps balking at discussing the new offering, unable to handle objections for which they weren’t trained, or tripping on a missing feature that should have been included in the MVP?

“You launch a new product, but you have no idea whether your reps are actually comfortable selling it,” said Patterson.  “Well, now you are getting the insight you need to know if they are.  And if they’re not, you can lean in to guide them, to coach them, to help them.  More than this, you can even customize this to look for things that matter to your business.”

Call Coaching provides “management-level visibility into key moments during a sales call” allowing the coach to listen to those moments and how the rep handled them.  Those moments are then immediately available for one-on-one review or group coaching.

Call Coaching Insights include tabs for objection mentions, product mentions, talk / listen ratios, and custom topics.  For State Farm Insurance (the Dreamforce demo), this includes life events.

Call Coaching conversation trends help identify market shifts, opportunities for bundled offerings, and emerging competitors.

“73% of managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching their reps, and we wanted to make the most of that time. Einstein Call Coaching helps managers more effectively coach individuals, provides the ability to scale those learnings across teams and gain deeper insights into customer needs and experiences.”

Efrat Rapoport, Director of Product Management, Salesforce Sales Cloud

“Just like athletes can sit down with their coaches and look at video clips, now sales reps can sit down and listen to audio clips,” said Patterson.

Call Coaching also supports a library of best-practice call excerpts for new hire training and sales refreshers.


Tomorrow, I will discuss the other voice tools launched at Dreamforce.

Episerver Acquires Idio

Idio's AI Powered 1:1 Marketing Platform

Web content management vendor Episerver acquired web content personalization and analytics firm Idio.  Episerver will now be able to predict the interests and intent of buyers and deliver “hyper-relevant” content.  The combined company is able to deliver personalized content, product recommendations, product search, triggered emails and messages, and visitor intelligence.  B2B solutions span manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, technology, information services, and financial services.

“At the end of the day, people realize every digital interaction is fueled by a business selling something to them whether the sale is via a shopping cart, a service or a subscription,” said Justin Anovick, chief product officer at Episerver.  “Persuading people to act is not problematic if the business is providing something of value to them but most digital interactions are created for the masses and end up catering to no one.”

“Idio powers 1:1 digital experiences at global scale. This acquisition is the next part of our mission to help our enterprise clients serve their end customers with timely, relevant and cross-channel experiences.  The combined organization, with Episerver’s deep content and commerce expertise and Idio’s predictive and analytical capabilities, make for an exciting future for customer-centric marketers.”

Idio CEO Edward Barrow.  

Idio will continue as a standalone product but will be “merged functionally” with Episerver.

“The combined company, with the financial backing from Insight Partners, intends to aggressively grow our deployment and success teams, as well as a significant acceleration in product innovation to help marketers achieve greater value from customer-centric marketing,” blogged Idio.

No financial terms were disclosed as both companies are private.

Note: Idio slide courtesy of Idio.