SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter announced that his sales engagement firm hit $50M in ARR while maintaining a 4.9 Glassdoor rating. 96% of employees would recommend SalesLoft to a friend, 99% approved of the CEO, and 96% had a positive business outlook.
equated SalesLoft’s success with respect for his employees:
“Our owners and exec team loves on our employees so they love on you (our customers and soon to be customers). Here’s to keeping healthy as you scale.”
Porter had been advised by a founder / CEO that maintaining such a high-level of employee respect would be increasingly difficult with growth.“I remember a slight tinge of fear when they said this because organizational health is the most important focus area for me as CEO,” said Porter. “But…this team has channeled that fear and delivered. So take that naysayers! :)”
Customer engagement platform Outreach announced a $65 million Series D last week, bringing its total funding to $125 million. The round was led by Spark Capital and includes investment from Sapphire Ventures as well as from existing investors DFJ Growth, Four Rivers Group, Mayfield, MHS Capital, Microsoft Ventures and Trinity Ventures.
Business Insider placed the valuation around $500 million, more than double the Series C valuation. The firm is eyeing an IPO in 2021 subject to market conditions.
Funds will be deployed towards product development “with a specific focus on machine learning and extending the platform beyond the sales team to every customer-facing role.”
Outreach rolled out the first application of its Amplify AI platform in March for intent classification. “This feature detects the intent of an email reply from a prospect and uses that intent to automate or recommend the next best action for the sales rep to take,” blogged product storyteller Chelsey Feldman. “Our intent classification capabilities use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to go beyond reply rates and measure whether replies are positive, objections, or unsubscribe requests…The result is the ability to measure email effectiveness and classify intent at scale.”
The firm now describes itself as a Customer Engagement company that is employing machine learning “to scientifically test, measure and optimize the performance of sales teams, while also automating non sales-related tasks.”
Medina blogged about this broader company vision last week:
Our mission is to help innovators, the evangelists of new technologies who face a lot of no’s before reaching the yes, to get their products to the people who need them, to successfully build new markets, and to fund the cycle of continuous innovation. For the past couple of years we delivered against that mission by equipping sales reps and leaders to drive predictable and measurable growth, to increase efficiency and effectiveness across the team, and to improve visibility into sales activities and team performance. We pioneered a new category of technology – the Sales Engagement Platform – that drove significant bottom line results for our customers.
But achieving revenue efficiency and delivering a world-class experience to every customer is the job not just of your sales team, but of every customer-facing employee. Many of our customers have already realized the power of Outreach to drive efficiency and lift across the revenue organization and are using Outreach for account management and customer success in addition to pipeline generation and closing. The category has effectively grown beyond Sales Engagement to become Customer Engagement…
You can only make smart decisions around improving customer experience if you can measure the outcomes of every process for all customer scenarios, and understand how those outcomes directly impact revenue. The next revolution in business will be driven not by big bang AI programs that produce lofty recommendations that are difficult to put into action, but by stacking thousands of these quick wins on top of each other to drive efficiency into every corner of the business.
“Outreach has been instrumental in creating and evolving the customer engagement category, which is growing at an exponential rate,” said Alex Clayton, Investor at Spark Capital. “Outreach’s technology, approach and leadership team make it poised to capture this multi-billion dollar opportunity.”
The Series D follows after a strong 2017 where the company doubled its customer base and posted more than 100% revenue growth. Outreach also doubled its headcount over the past year to 300 employees with a goal of 350 by the end of the year. The firm has 22,000 global users and 2,400 customers including Cloudera, Adobe, Microsoft, and DocuSign.
“The customer engagement category is experiencing explosive growth, due in large part to high rates of usage, a rarity for enterprise software which is often used as a data repository or even worse, purchased and forgotten,” said CEO Manny Medina. “Our north star isn’t number of customers, it’s number of Weekly Active Users. This metric is proof we have created a technology that not only drives revenue, but also is viewed as indispensable to every member of the revenue team.”
Usage remains high with 75% of sales reps signing in daily. “Now salespeople have a place to live,” Medina said.
Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg crowed about its 2017 performance with growth in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), customers, staff, and data coverage. The firm, which acquired its top competitor RainKing in August, exceeded $130 million in ARR, above projections at the time of the acquisition. As subscription revenue is recognized over the life of the contract, 2017 revenue was likely between $110 and $120 million. DiscoverOrg, which has long stated that it is profitable and cash flow positive, also exceeded its profitability target for 2017, but did not provide details.
DiscoverOrg employment grew to more than 500 employees in Maryland, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Headcount increased by 50%. The additional staff allowed DiscoverOrg to grow the database and “deliver an unparalleled customer experience” through an expanded customer success team, redesigned customer training and certification programs, and user experience improvements to both platforms.
The customer base grew by more that 25% to greater than 4,000.
“After the acquisition of RainKing in August 2017, we made a commitment to our combined customer base that they would be able to access more high-quality data as we brought the businesses together,” said Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO. “In the five months since the acquisition, we more than doubled the datasets our customers access. This phenomenal increase means that our customers are more effective at finding, connecting, and selling to their target buyers.”
In 2017, DiscoverOrg launched SMB and HR datasets which provided a “larger addressable target market for DiscoverOrg and a more diversified customer base.” A few weeks ago, DiscoverOrg released its Legal and Compliance dataset.
Following the merger, the firm swiftly combined the RainKing and DiscoverOrg company and contact universes. DiscoverOrg contact coverage expanded 124% while the RainKing universe grew 127%. With respect to global companies, counts increased 82% to 130,000.
In 2018, DiscoverOrg plans to further grow its database and develop ”new tools and applications that make the data even more easily actionable for sales and marketing teams,” said Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard. “Our roadmap is focused on enabling our customers to build an end-to-end pipeline engine with DiscoverOrg’s data as the foundation.”
While the coverage continues to increase, they have maintained their data research focus. “We repeatedly hear from sales and marketing organizations that the overwhelming abundance of data available today— mostly low-quality and unverified—actually makes it harder for them to do their job effectively,” said Bullard. “We have focused on delivering both the right data and the right tools to make sense of that data in a simple and practical package. The result is that our customers get to market faster, build more pipeline, and close deals more often than their competitors.”
LinkedIn Sales Navigator had another strong year of growth in-line with its historical Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR). Extrapolating from data published prior to its Microsoft acquisition, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has global revenues between $300 and $350 million. This would make LinkedIn the largest vendor of sales intelligence solutions with revenue roughly double that of Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers, D&B Hoovers, Data.com, D&B360) and triple that of DiscoverOrg.
Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, described the service as “one of the fastest growing SaaS B2B products in history.”
LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its first quarterly release on February 7th. Quarterly releases help LinkedIn manage its communications and ensure that admins and trainers are prepared for the changes. Enhancements will roll out first to this group before becoming available to general users in subsequent weeks.
“In the early days of Sales Navigator, we chose to act like a startup and launch products as soon as they were ready, without much warning or pre-release training for our customers. We also acted independently, only integrating with a couple of systems, instead of opening up the platform to the dozens of types of sales applications a rep uses throughout their work week. Starting today, we will release Sales Navigator product updates on a quarterly cycle to provide advanced communications and training for administrators and users so they have adequate time to familiarize themselves with new features and take advantage of them properly.”
Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions
The product is maturing as it develops connectors with other services and formalizes its releases and communications. “Sales Navigator is growing up and learning how to play with others,” said Camplejohn.
As part of this development, LinkedIn announced four new members of its Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) partners. SNAP is a broad partner program that spans business intelligence, CRM, eSignature, MAP, Sales Acceleration, and Web Conferencing. A year ago, LinkedIn only supported Salesforce and MS Dynamics.
The new Oracle Sales Cloud integration displays LinkedIn prospect and contact data within the Oracle CRM.
A SugarCRM integration displays a LinkedIn dashboard within Sugar Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts, and Leads.
Implemented partnerships were also announced with Demandbase and InsideSales’ Predictive Playbooks. LinkedIn lists 11 future partners including Tableau, Adobe Sign, BlueJeans, Microsoft BI, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing), and SAP Hybris.
Technology Sales Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg closed out another year of significant growth in customers, product, content, and revenue. “DiscoverOrg saw significant advancements in its workforce, physical locations, data insight, product development, and market share,” blogged the company. “In the process, we are creating jobs, establishing a stronger presence, and delivering more product value to customers. As DiscoverOrg succeeds, we are primed to level the playing field in business-to-business sales and marketing … to help small companies grow into big companies … to create a global revolution in B2B sales.”
Amongst the growth metrics they published on their blog:
Customer accounts increased 36 percent.
Platform users increased by 17 percent.
Search queries increased from 721,862 in 2014 to 733,277 in 2015.
The firm discussed three of their 2015 objectives: strategic hires, physical presence, and greater data insight.
In 2015, the firm added 93 employees, nearly doubling their staff to 203. Hiring centered around their research team as “data accuracy is a top focus”. Some of this growth was from the mid-summer acquisition of iProfile, but the majority was organic hiring.
2015 hires included a new SVP of Customer Success and CFO. The firm also added three new Board Members including the former COO of Forrester Research and the former CEO of Capital IQ.
Along with moving into larger facilities in Vancouver, Washington (20 miles from Portland), they opened satellite facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Philadelphia.
2015 also saw significant database growth and new product offerings. The iProfile acquisition helped accelerate their global build out. The database grew by more than 50% with the marketing dataset growing by 85%. During 2015 they added datasets for finance and Europe along with the OppAlerts intent data service.
”More platform perks, datasets, and integrations are in development for release in 2016, including: a new, responsive platform design; a new product development dataset; an updated Google Chrome Extension; and an updated, ‘Lightening Ready’ Salesforce Native App.”
Their “new and improved platform” is currently in final stage beta rollout. The enhanced platform “offers a complete redesign of the user interface and numerous ‘under the hood’ speed and functionality enhancements.”
Chrome Extension Update
The Google Chrome extension enhancements, which were released just as the year closed, provide context based intelligence from all of their datasets including IT, marketing, and finance. The Chrome extension will support additional databases in 2016.
The Chrome extension works as a side panel that automatically displays company intelligence, including contacts and company overviews, based upon the current website. The system stores account credentials so that company overviews are immediately displayed. From the browser, a user can quickly select a contact or company name and look it up within the Chrome extension. Thus, the service is bi-directional with users switching between the extension and browser without additional logins and without having to reenter information to conduct company searches.
DiscoverOrg provided the following Chrome Connector data workflow scenario on their blog:
Assume you’re an information security vendor and you are researching Fannie Mae, the Chrome Extension will return the CISO’s full group and contacts to you right in the browser – no need to login to DiscoverOrg and run another search. From there you can easily add contacts to your CRM tool, research the company further in DiscoverOrg, or lookup a similar company or contact.
Because DiscoverOrg also supports CRM platforms including SFDC, MS Dynamics, NetSuite, Talent Rover, and SugarCRM, users can begin with a company, contact name, or URL for research then upload the company or contact information to their CRM from DiscoverOrg. Company and contact data is not mined from the web but collected by its team of researchers, ensuring higher quality information.
Other Chrome Extension features include executive lists with filtering; executive headshots with responsibilities, contact information and social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) links; technology details; similar companies; and sales triggers.
The Chrome extension is free to current subscribers.
While Google Chrome has only garnered limited support from sales intelligence vendors, it has seen significant development from vendors providing technology overviews. Along with DiscoverOrg, there are Google Chrome extensions from HG Data, Datanyze, BuiltWith, SimilarTech, W3Techs, and HIveMind. Most of these services are limited to an analysis of online technology associated with the corporate website, but DiscoverOrg utilizes researchers and HG Data employs semantic mining of news and websites to obtain behind the firewall platforms and vendors.