Conversation Marketing platform Insent.AI integrated its service with Microsoft Teams, notifying users when customers and prospects are ready to chat. The conversation is conducted within Teams via an MS Teams AppSource app.
“With the Insent app for Teams, your team can get notifications for the incoming chats from your buyers, view detailed visitor insights to understand the context and strike up more personalized conversations, and make the necessary hand-offs inside your chosen MS channels,” blogged Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey.
Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform.” According to Jey ”integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”
Insent offers “Advanced Enterprise-grade routing,” which directs conversations to the CRM account owners. If the account owner is not available, calls are routed via a set of fallback rules based on time of day and location to other reps or the chatbot.
Insent emphasizes the value of “human-first conversations” with bots serving as a backup channel:
“Chatbots were meant to be your second line of defense, built to support marketing and sales when your team isn’t available – not pretend to be human.”
@ Mentions allow users to include additional staff in the conversation. It is not necessary to register individual users. Simply tagging them directs Insent to create a user profile based upon MS Teams data.
Insent also offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack.
ABM Platform vendor Terminus announced the immediate availability of the Terminus Engagement Hub, which applies data and attribution for advertising, email, web, and chat. The hub includes integration of RambleChat, its newly acquired account-based chat service. Other new capabilities include Trended ABM Scorecards and new target account list building rules.
Terminus’ Chat from Anywhere functionality allows sales and marketing to embed chat links in email, LinkedIn, Twitter, digital ads, QR codes, proposals, and other outbound communications and media. Chat from Anywhere moves beyond the company website and enables it contextually through a broad set of communications channels. Thus, chats are attached to the proper account, routed to the account owner, and attributed to the campaigns and actions which drove the engagement.
Chat from Anywhere is also integrated into SalesLoft and Salesforce, with employees responding via web browsers or mobile apps. Chat-based Leads are mapped to Salesforce. If the lead is not in Salesforce, then a new contact or lead is created by Terminus Chat.
The enhanced ABM Scorecards “help identify success across market segments over time, prove value, track win rates, and compare performance to prior periods.”
Terminus expanded its ABM Dashboards and custom views, including views of Engaged Accounts, ABM Win Rate, Opportunities Created, Revenue by Industry, and Pipeline by Program.
New Data Studio features include account filters ”based on advertising performance and engagement metrics for next best actions.”
New list building functionality “enables users to import and connect Salesforce Account IDs and push lists across engagement channels while also connecting those audiences to powerful measurement and attribution analytics.”
“We’ve taken our powerful data and attribution capabilities in Terminus and separated it into two parts – Data Studio and Measurement Studio. We’ve also integrated new marketing channels to help marketers create experiences for their prospects and customers. Advertising Experiences, Email Experiences, Web Experiences, and Chat Experiences are all now available in one place; all in the Terminus Engagement Hub. It’s never been easier to run coordinated, multi-channel marketing campaigns.”
Terminus Chief Product Officer Bryan Wade
“ABM is more than a marketing strategy, it’s a business strategy. And it’s more important than ever,” continued Wade. “Marketers are challenged to nurture an existing customer base while still driving quality top-of-funnel activity, all in a digital world. Now with the Terminus Engagement Hub, our customers can own every point of engagement with target audiences and track all activity at the account-level in a single platform. Full-funnel ABM is now easier than ever.”
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.
Last Friday, I began my coverage of Terminus’ acquisition of Ramble. The deal adds in-house ABM chat capabilities to Terminus’ ABM platform. It is a logical platform extension as Ramble’s ABM Chat Anywhere capabilities support both inbound web chat and chat links for social, email, digital advertising, etc. Ramble has also launched ABM chat capabilities within SalesLoft and Salesforce.
“By now, no one needs convincing that chat is more powerful than forms,” said Terminus Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown. “Data shows websites with sales chat enjoy an 82% increase in conversations over those without it and a 256% increase in outbound email response rate. There are a lot of terrific chat solutions offered by companies and today, officially, Terminus is one of them.”
“We live in an on-demand society where instant conversation is a new standard for the B2B sales process,” said Ramble CEO Justin McDonald. “Conversational Marketing and ABM-chat are at the core of what we do, but our vision has taken it further. We instantly connect buyers with the right sales rep, from the right territory, and the right product line from any online touchpoint.”
Darryl Praill, CMO of Sales Engagement Platform VanillaSoft, is excited about the announcement and opportunity to integrate chat into his campaigns:
“All of these platforms [Terminus, Sigstr, and Ramble] are about three things specifically:
– Targeting your audience – Knowing your target contact and accounts digital ID so that you can recognize them across multiple channels – Engaging with them in a live conversation so that you can qualify them
Yes. You can absolutely do this today by cobbling together different vendors, but you’re limited by their APIs and their roadmap. By having a single vision and a master platform under the guidance of one development team, ABM is maturing into a beast and Terminus has clearly taken the lead on this, moving much faster and more aggressively and more confidently than the other players in the space.”
Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft CMO
The full Ramble team is joining Terminus with McDonald being named General Manager of Chat. Both Ramble and Terminus are headquartered in Atlanta.
Terminus has assembled an impressive executive team with deep executive experience in the MarTech space. CEO and Chairman Tim Kopp was the CMO at ExactTarget which was acquired by Salesforce. He also is a General Partner and Managing Director at Hyde Park Venture Partners and serves on G2.com’s Board. Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown was the VP of Product Strategy at SilverPop and the Product Strategy Executive for Commerce Marketing and Analytics at IBM. Chief Customer Officer Bryan Wade was CEO at Sigstr and SVP and Chief Product Officer for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. CMO Derek Slayton held the GM & Global Leader position in Dun & Bradstreet’s Sales & Marketing division, joining them from NetProspex where he was the CMO. Chief Evangelist Sangram Vajre co-founded Terminus and heads up the FlipMyFunnel Movement. He also served as the Head of Marketing at Pardot.
Many of these execs held leadership positions at marketing automation and omni-channel marketing platforms (e.g. ExactTarget, SilverPop, and Pardot). They well understand the strengths and weaknesses of MAPs. For example, MAPs are lead-based, not account-centric like Terminus and Ramble. As ABM continues to ascend and a greater focus is placed on orchestrated communications and attribution across the account, platforms such as Terminus, Demandbase, 6Sense, and Engagio are better situated to meet the requirements of B2B CMOs.
Yesterday, ABM Platform vendor Terminus announced the acquisition of ABM chat vendor Ramble. Terminus has acquired three companies in three years: Brightfunnel ABM analytics, Sigstr relationship intelligence, and Ramble account-based chat for sales, marketing, and customer success.
In late 2019, Terminus acquired relationship intelligence vendor Sigstr, which it quickly incorporated into its service. Sigstr supports signature block advertising within emails, allowing marketing to customize signature block messaging. Sigstr relationship intelligence analyzes email and calendar patterns across an account to determine a relationship score and relationship strength trends.
Ramble is another logical acquisition as its Chat from Anywhere functionality allows sales and marketing to embed chat links in email, LinkedIn, Twitter, digital ads, QR codes, proposals, and other outbound communications and media. Chat from anywhere allows chat to move beyond the company website and be contextually enabled through a broad set of communications channels. Thus, chats are attached to the proper account, routed to the account owner, and attributed to the campaigns and actions which drove the engagement.
Chat from Anywhere is also integrated into SalesLoft and Salesforce with employees responding via web browsers or mobile apps. Chat-based Leads are mapped to Salesforce. If the lead is not in Salesforce, then a new contact or lead is created by RambleChat.
“Native chat is a game-changer for our customers as we help them drive full-funnel engagement,” said Terminus CEO Tim Kopp. “We’re in the middle of a major industry shift – marketers want all-in-one platforms over best-of-breed integrations because, at the end of the day, integrations can only do so much. Now with Ramble, our customers can personally engage target audiences at any stage of the funnel. We’re so impressed with this team and couldn’t be more pumped to officially have them as part of Terminus.”
And with 8,000 MarTech vendors populating the ChiefMartec 2020 landscape, vendors that can orchestrate audience selection, multi-channel campaigns, and analytics will have a significant advantage over vendors that serve only one or two channels.
“That’s just too much tech and an endless list of APIs making technologies talk can’t provide elegant and measurable outcomes,” blogged Terminus Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown.
“We will be building the modern marketing cloud, end-to-end with an account based structure, and could not be more excited about it.”
Terminus CEO Tim Kopp
Marketers can personalize the Ramble chat experience via UTM variables. “This helps marketers personalize the buying experience while also tracking demand generation data, lead flow, conversion metrics, and much more,” said the firm.
As Chat from Anywhere links are tied to Accounts, they automatically route chat conversations to the appropriate sales or customer support rep.
“Bringing Ramble into the Terminus platform makes a ton of sense,” said Ramble CEO Justin McDonald. “We’re incredibly aligned with Terminus’ vision to build the most robust B2B marketing suite on the market, now including powerful account-based chat capabilities. Not only is this a strong fit in terms of product, but it’s also a natural fit culturally. We’re immensely proud to be joining this talented team.”
Chat vendor RambleChat released Ramble Marketing Bot, its new chatbot builder for sales and marketing. According to RambleChat, users can build custom bots in a few minutes that “help businesses qualify leads, start more sales conversations, offer up content, and book meetings for sales 24/7.”
Enterprise and Developer customers can continue to deploy and develop bots through the IBM Watson Assistant integration within the Ramble portal. Ramble designed their Marketing Bot for firms that lack technical expertise.
Ramble lists the following Ramble Bot features:
Easily Qualify Leads & Conversations
SDR / BDR After Hours Support
Collect Critical Buyer Information
Playbook / Bot Cloning
Offer Content, Links or Suggestions
Ramble Bots may also be customized by different experiences, pages, and time zones. For example, users can be supported by different bots based upon time of day, with a more comprehensive bot provided after hours.
Ramble Bots support Ramble’s Chat from Anywhere functionality where a chat may be initiated from emails, LinkedIn posts, display ads, Facebook, or other digital channels. ABM Anywhere chats may be handled by the bot or immediately routed to the appropriate sales rep.
“Ramble’s unique architecture enables us to deploy chat within third-party applications, like SalesLoft, which changes how sales leaders utilize chat for pipeline contribution. We not only make chat ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound,’ but we give companies the ability to extend chat anywhere online as a means of instant connection and sales acceleration. Moving beyond ‘omnichannel’ and towards ‘omnipresence.’”
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald
RambleChat announced that Q1 has been their best quarter so far, with quarter-on-quarter growth of 74% and solid Q1 bookings. The firm noted a slowdown in March, but “we believe this is only temporary.”
Josh Allen, CRO of conversational marketing vendor Drift, doesn’t believe in Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Chat Qualified Leads (CQLs) are more valuable, argues Allen. CQLs are “the best leads that we have in the business.” CQLs show immediate intent as they capture prospects as they come to the website and interact with either a chatbot or sales rep. This moment is when they are “at their point of highest intent” and ready to engage with the company.
Allen said that CQLs are the highest converting lead source at Drift. They are often driven by outbound marketing campaigns and events. Chat conversations can also be driven by B2B social sites such as executive articles on LinkedIn.
“Because we’re able to engage when they are really trying to learn and are most interested in what Drift has to offer, there is a high conversion rate.”
Drift is a leader in conversational intelligence, a quickly developing market for chatbots, which support sales, marketing, and customer support. Drift also offers chat enabled video.
Conversational marketing vendor RambleChat is the latest partner available through the SalesLoft app directory. Along with real-time website chat, joint customers can embed chat into SalesLoft email cadences. RambleChat then routes sales conversations to account owners “providing a more personalized interaction via chat.” Joint customers can also employ dynamic fields in SalesLoft to customize greetings with personal and company names.
“The SalesLoft/RambleChat integration gives a whole new capability for marketing and sales teams. RambleChat is the only chat platform that can instantly open chat from any online source. Ramble then routes sales conversations to the right account owner — enhancing both demand generation and ABM campaigns. And now, for the first time, chat can be an integral part of sales plays and interactions in the SalesLoft platform.”
Sean Kester, VP of Platform Strategy at SalesLoft.
Chat (SCC), RambleChat’s patent-pending technology, extends chat capabilities
from the website to outbound communications. So long as a URL can be
embedded, chat conversations can be initiated via a click. Along with
corporate websites, SCC enables chat initiation from LinkedIn, Twitter,
Facebook, digital ads, landing pages, blogs, QR codes, and product
collateral. SCC allows sales reps to “meet buyers at the moment of
automatically logs chat conversation histories and details at the SalesLoft
Account level. When a user navigates to an account, chat history is
displayed under the “Notes” section. If a SalesLoft user desires more
in-depth information about the chat conversation, a URL is automatically
provided for the user to click.
has been in partnership discussions with SalesLoft since at least March when
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald attended SalesLoft’s Rainmaker conference. Instead
of simply building a website chat solution, the firms chose to “build better
pipelines by extending chat beyond corporate websites and into SalesLoft
Cadences and social channels via RambleChat’s Single Click Chat.”
“As we met with joint customers in mid 2018, a constant theme surfaced; the market was struggling to find practical and tangible means of Account-Based Selling and Marketing. There’s no shortage of ABM technology, but many lacked quick deployment and immediate results for sales organizations. This became the MO for the RambleChat + SalesLoft partnership, and we landed with a more powerful integration that fills the ABM gap for both sales and marketing.”
Ramble CEO Justin McDonald
immensely excited about our joint efforts. This integration delivers new
opportunities for sales engagement and improves functionality for sales reps to
execute account-based selling. Account-based marketing (ABM) requires an
equal effort from Sales, and RambleChat delivers immediate functionality to
bridge the gap for SalesLoft customers,” said RambleChat CEO Justin
Congratulations to conversational marketing vendor Drift and sales intelligence vendor Cognism for making LinkedIn’s Top Startups: Hottest Companies to Work for Now lists.
Boston-based Drift was ranked 46 in the US. The firm has grown from 65 employees to 280 over the past year and plans to “double down” on its product and sales teams.
Yesterday, at their Hypergrowth conference, Drift announced the acquisition of Giant Otter, an AI and machine learning company, and the launch of Drift Automation.
Drift Automation understands the specific context of what someone is asking and can engage in conversations that go in a variety of directions. For the first time, this puts the customer is in control of the conversation — not the chatbot.
Lacey Berrien, Drift Senior Manager, Public Relations
Drift co-founder Elias Torres was impressed by Giant Otter which is based on research led by Dr. Jeff Orkin at the MIT Media Lab.
“When I met Jeff Orkin and he showed me what Giant Otter could do, I knew that I had seen the future of marketing automation,” said Torres. “We’ve been working on Drift Automation behind the scenes with early customers who have been seeing incredible results — including improvements in inbound sales velocity, pipeline and revenue growth, time back for the marketing team, and the ability to put the customer in control of the buying experience.”
London-based Cognism was ranked 21 on the UK list with plans to open offices in the US and Singapore and triple its headcount to around 200 over the next year. Cognism products include
Cognism Prospector for lead list building, prospect research, and prospect/account current awareness.
Cognism Refresh for CRM data maintenance and enrichment.
Cognism Wealth list building and TAM analysis for financial services firms and wealth managers.
Cognism closed on its Series B back in July. According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions. Isilay noted that Asia is a particularly compelling market due to SaaS being relatively immature in the region.
Cognism is hosting its first RevenueAI user conference at the Science Museum London on 19 September. I will be speaking on Trends in Sales and Marketing Intelligence at the conference.
Drift, which has quickly established itself as a leader in the chatbot space, is upping the ante by integrating video and chat. Users will be able to share and record videos via a Chrome extension or mobile app. Recorded videos can then be dropped into emails and sent to customers or prospects.
are “private and secure” with single sign-on functionality from Okta, OneLogin,
and Microsoft Azure. Users can restrict viewing to a specific email or
email list and “everyone else will have to request permission, just like you
would with a Google Doc.”
suggests three sales use cases for video: as a conversation starter, as a
second chance to refine a message after a call, and as a group selling tool
Video provides real-time desktop and mobile notifications when viewed. Users
can immediately start a conversation while somebody is viewing their video “so
you can reach out and say hello or follow-up at the perfect time.”
is the immediate notification element which Drift claims to be its product
“There are a few good software products out there that make it easy to capture and share videos. But we took a look around the market and noticed one big thing missing: none of those products create a better buying experience because they don’t actually help you start conversations with potential customers. You still have to make a video, send an email, and hope to get a response. But with Drift Video, you can get a notification in real-time while someone is watching your video and then hop right in and say hello.”
starting Drift, we’ve said there are two mega-trends that would shape the
future of B2B sales and marketing: messaging and video,” said CEO David Cancel.
“Over the last few years we’ve built an industry-leading messaging
platform used by over 150,000 businesses, and now we’re expanding our
Conversational Marketing platform by adding video.”
is driving global IP demand. According to Cisco, one million minutes of
video will be crossing the Internet every second by 2020 and 82% of all
Internet traffic will be video by 2021.
video is available today as part of the Drift offering. There is no
surcharge for video functionality for up to ten videos per month with a chat
option embedded into the video. For $12 per seat per month or $120 per
annum, reps are provided with a Pro license which includes unlimited HD quality
video sharing and storage. Only the Pro version restricts video sharing.
features include Team Analytics, Book Meetings from Video, and integrations
with Salesforce, Pardot, and Marketo.
spent the last year working on Drift Video and it was one of the main reasons
for raising our Series C in April 2018,” stated Cancel. “In looking at
the market over that time, we saw that while there are many products that make
it easy to create and share videos, none of them were built to help to start
conversations and create a better buying experience. After a private beta
with some great early customers, that’s what we’re bringing to market today
with Drift Video.”
has integrated video in its own sales process with 50% of Drift revenue
“influenced by video in the selling process.”
is the greatest conversation starter in B2B buying,” said Alexa Nguyen in a
Drift video. “In a world of faceless phone calls and emails, video has
helped us build trust, and video has helped us close more deals.”
Video is another way for salespeople to engage with their prospects outside of the norm. Prospects are constantly bombarded with emails and phone calls asking for their attention. But it’s hard to cut through that noise because they don’t trust easily. In order to build that trust, you need to build a personal connection. And all personal connections start with a conversation. Video allows people to be personal, show that they’re human, and help build that connection that might be lost through text in an email.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
to research from Forrester and Boston Consulting Group, 75% of B2B transactions
have little or no sales interaction. Thus, video offers a valuable
channel through which sales reps can avoid being disintermediated. However,
sales reps could push this functionality too far. While chat
functionality sounds like the next step for video, reps should be careful not
to step over the line from personable to creepy.
prospects view an email, most understand that the act of opening an email
triggers a notification to the sender, but they don’t expect that the viewing
of a video will be treated as a real-time permission for a call or chat. Immediately
reaching out to customers and prospects may be viewed as a non-permissioned
extension of an asynchronous communication into synchronous. Drift does
not discuss GDPR in the announcement, but this seems to cross the boundary into
non-permissioned communications and the release of personally identifiable
is viewing your video. Call immediately”). The video privacy
permissions are focused on the seller (ensuring they aren’t shared with
others), but there does not seem to be any functionality to limit the “call me
back” immediacy of the service. If anything, the immediate messaging will
drive down the open rate of all embedded video and kill its efficacy.
I raised this concern to Drift, they offered a best practice to address this
issue. Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager, suggested that sales
reps could either wait for the contact to initiate the chat or use a message
such as “Thanks for watching my video! I’m here if you have any
questions.” This approach makes sense. By utilizing a generic
message that sounds automated, it feels less invasive. This may be a
situation where a generic message may be welcome as it serves as an invitation
to chat while a personalized message may be off-putting.
The user can take one of two roads — proactively engage with the video viewer while they’re watching via the chat functionality OR not engage at all and allow the video viewer to chat with them at their own discretion…Other customers have gone the route of not messaging and just offering the viewer another channel to engage with them outside of email or a phone call. Buyers have all of the power. And the ultimate goal is to meet them where they are…and to always be available to help.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
appears to be a Gresham’s
Law of MarTech (“Bad money drives out good”); an effective channel or
marketing tool quickly becomes overused or misused, resulting in lowered
efficacy. Embedded video could quickly convert a golden channel into
chaff through overuse and perceived creepiness. What makes embedded video
so compelling today is its ability to personalize and deliver a relevant
message on a 1:1 basis. If embedded video overwhelms prospects or is seen
as inviting immediate, unwanted contact, it will kill the golden goose. A
softer touch is likely the best practice. If viewers maintain the control
and opt into contact, then it will enhance the value of a video by providing a
Call to Action that the prospect controls.