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.
Conversational Marketing vendor Drift is moving away from volume-based pricing and offering unlimited contacts for its chat platform. Volume pricing places pressure on marketing departments to trim the number of contacts in their databases to stay below volume thresholds. By moving to unlimited leads, marketers can better forecast their budgets and avoid panic as they approach volume limits.
companies punish you for growing?” blogged Senior Director of Demand Generation
Kate Adams. “After all, that’s the promise most software products these
days make. Use our service and you’ll grow your business faster. Install
our product and your conversion rates will skyrocket.”
“Because you’ve spent YEARS building up your database. And now you need to decide if contacts that are 1 year old or 6 months old or 3 months old make the cut. You’re literally washing money down the drain. What if the leads you’re throwing in the trash to keep your marketing budget below your benchmark are actually just higher up in your funnel? And require more nurturing and education about how you can help them solve their problems?”
Drift Senior Director of Demand Generation Kate Adams
announced a Drift Meetings feature which allows prospects to schedule meetings
directly from the company website via a “book a meeting” call to action. Meetings
can also be booked by chatbots, and sales development reps can qualify a lead
during a live chat and book meetings on behalf of account executives.
Meetings, you can target your best visitors and ABM accounts, welcome them with
a personalized message from the right rep, and let them instantly schedule a
meeting right from your website,” says the firm.
At their HYPERGROWTH user conference this week, Drift announced the acquisition of email reply management firm Siftrock which tracks email replies, routes them to sales reps, and syncs data with marketing automation platforms. Siftrock will be integrated into Drift’s Assistant for Marketing.
“Last year, we started talking about reinventing email and focusing on conversations and replies instead of opens and clicks,” said CEO David Cancel. “Siftrock has built a best-in-class product that manages email replies at scale, and this acquisition will help us deliver on that vision even faster. But most importantly, this is a move that adds real value to both of our customer bases immediately.”
Drift Assistant for Marketing includes email auto-reply detection for updating MAPs and Salesforce when execs change jobs or their emails bounce. The service also drives email calls to action to conversational landing pages instead of a traditional landing page.
A new Conversational Advertising capability which builds conversations around advertising views was also unveiled. Instead of sending prospects from ads to webforms, users are brought into conversations.
“With traditional advertising it’s always been about later,” said Cancel. “You drive people to a landing page, get them to fill out a form, and then someone at the company contacts you later. But with Conversational Advertising, it’s all about right now. We can close the gap and help buyers connect with a business instantly by taking them right from an ad to a conversation to get the answers they need instantly.”
At HYPERGROWTH, Drift rolled out partnerships with Outreach, Marketo, and Demandbase. Last month, they announced Drift Intel, a lead enrichment service powered by Clearbit.
“The key to high-performing ABM strategies is connecting marketing programs directly to sales activity,” said Demandbase CEO Chris Golec. “We are incredibly excited to be the exclusive launch partner for Drift’s new Conversational Advertising product because now B2B marketers can target specific companies with our account-based advertising, and move to a conversation with sales in a single click. The time from engagement to conversation to pipeline has never been faster.”
“Great conversations are the most powerful way to drive conversion,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “To accomplish this, you must have a consistent customer journey, from calls and emails to your buyer’s experience on your website. Now sales and marketing teams can share context from every touchpoint in the customer journey to drive stronger results wherever they communicate with their buyers.”
A Drift Assistant for Sales email feature helps reps prepare for meetings with briefings on the firm’s tech stack, a summary of previous conversations, and an analysis of recent website activity. Other features include no show and cancellation rescheduling and next step recommendations (e.g. meeting follow up notes),
“B2B businesses have gone digital, but we haven’t been able to move on from all of the paperwork,” commented Cancel. “Only a third of a sales reps time is actually spent selling, with over 60 percent of their time wasted on administrative tasks and meetings.
Conversational marketing vendor Drift released Drift Intel, a real-time enrichment service which maps anonymous leads to accounts using IP addresses. The firm calls their Clearbit-powered account intelligence “x-ray vision for qualified leads.” Clearbit firmographics drive the messaging flow, sales conversations, and lead routing; thus, prospect interactions are personalized to the account and directed to the proper sales rep or team.
Account matching is global, with a 40% to 60% IP-to-account match rate. If the bot acquires an email address, then contact intelligence is also provided from Clearbit.
“In the old days, forms were the only way to get the info you need to qualify visitors,” states the firm. “With Drift Intel, you’ll get a full company profile in Drift the moment they land on your site. That means you’ll know the visitor on your pricing page isn’t just a random person—it’s someone at a software company in NYC with 500 employees and $25-50m in annual revenue.”
Furthermore, because the intelligence is provided in real-time, leads can be properly routed to sales reps by account, region, size, etc. If the account owner is not available, the AI chatbot automatically sets up an appointment for the rep. The chatbot also personalizes the message based upon the account intelligence.
“The last decade in B2B sales and marketing was all about the business following up later. But today, B2B sales and marketing have to be about now. The internet has changed everything and put customers in control of the buying process, not the business. As a result, people won’t put up with waiting days and weeks to get a response — they want answers now.”
Drift CEO David Cancel
Drift Customer Marketing Team Lead Chris Handy blogged about the cost and foolishness of investing in inbound marketing and then making prospects wait for marketing tools or sales reps. “We asked them for information before we’d let them send us a simple question about our product. We lost what might have been our best accounts—sometimes by making them wait days or weeks for someone to follow up—even when they were ready to buy right then. This wasn’t the way we liked to buy. We had to change the way we sold to match the way we bought.”
Drift’s goal is to “remove friction,” shorten the sales cycle, and connect businesses with their customers at peak interest.
In a quick test of the bot on the Drift website, it accurately identified my company name and location, but lacked industry and sizing data. As I am a one-person company, the lack of richer firmographics is common. I was quickly chatting with a sales rep and she offered three days for a product demo within the chatbot (see image on top).
Drift Intel is available as part of their Company ($1,500 / month) and Enterprise (starting at $5,000 / month) plans. Unlimited company matches are supported.