So congratulations to CEO Manny Medina and the team at Outreach. The Sales engagement firm has been going head-to-head with SalesLoft to become the leading vendor in its category.
Outreach is based in Seattle and reached unicorn status earlier this year, a rather impressive feat for a five-year old company that doesn’t rent scooters. It is on track to hit 450 employees by the end of the year and has doubled its revenue growth each year since 2016.
Outreach has 3,500 customers including Adobe, DocuSign and eBay.
One area of rapid growth is in its Galaxy partner ecosystem. New partners include Seismic, BombBomb, and Sendoso. The Seismic integration allows reps to insert Seismic content into emails and multi-recipient sequences via a Seismic icon. Reps are notified when prospects view content, allowing them to “transition the prospect into a high-priority, more personalized Sequence.” Sales reps can also send follow-up content after a successful demo or meeting and modify messaging based upon which Seismic content is resonating.
BombBomb supports personalized videos which are inserted into
sequences. When a recipient watches the
video, reps can trigger an urgent call task or place the viewer into a
high-touch sequence. Recorded videos and
screen captures are also supported. BombBomb is priced at $29.99 per seat per
month with volume discounts.
Sendoso supports sequences which include e-gift or direct mail steps. Reps can also setup triggers when e-gift links are activated or direct mail items received. For example, I recently attended a trade show and received a box of mini-cupcakes afterwards with an accompanying note from the Sendoso sales rep.
I’m not sure whether PR teams are getting worse or I simply read more press releases, but marketers have to start using Grammarly and observe basic grammar and style tips.
One issue is simply bad grammar. I write a weekly newsletter and most of the errors pointed out by Grammarly are found inside quotes derived from websites, collateral, press releases, and blogs. I wasn’t an English major, but many marketers were English or Humanities majors and should know better. It is easy to run your copy through a grammar/style checker.
B2B press releases are a prime example. They are often written by junior marketers with limited technical knowledge of the product. Unfortunately, press releases are reviewed by multiple departments with different perspectives and recommendations. The result is an often wordy, buzzword-filled press release that is incomprehensible to all but industry insiders (and sometimes we struggle as well).
I pulled the following opening paragraph from a press release (see image above) to call out common issues:
Long Titles — 120 characters is a Tweet, not a headline. BusinessWire suggests headlines run 70 or fewer characters. Google cuts headlines at 70 characters.
Buzzwords — “Account-Based Experiences,” “Predictive B2B Intent,” and “AI” are all found in the headline. I had to look up ABX. It is a variation on Account Based Marketing promoted by Adobe which recognizes that ABM is broader than marketing. So not only was the headline a buzzword salad, but one of the buzzwords wasn’t particularly buzzy.
Absurd Puffery — Puffery is a common practice in marketing so acceptable. Puffery that is bald-faced lying is simply ridiculous. You cannot credibly call yourself “the leading B2B Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) company” when you have 21 employees listed on LinkedIn and do not have the words B2B or DaaS on your homepage.
Muddled Opening Sentence — The opening sentence should be clear and capture the 5 Ws. It shouldn’t have nested parenthetical statements and be overly wordy. “Marketo LaunchPoint integration” is much clearer than “a new integration available through LaunchPoint by Marketo, an Adobe company.”
Failure to Proof Your Copy — Typos include misspelling a customer’s name (LogMeIzn), multiple TM symbols for the same product, failed parallelism in lists, and a colon after a preposition.
Poorly Named Products — eCHO is an affectation that reads as e-CHOW not Echo. It also needlessly drives spell checkers crazy. “eCHO Predictive B2B Intent for Marketo Engage” is a mouthful. How about simply “Echo Intent for Marketo Engage?”
Failure to Test Your Hyperlinks — A hyperlink to an information page takes the reader to a service login page.
Omit a Hyperlink to Your Home Page — Really?
Finally, can we improve the quotes put in the mouths of executives and alliance partners? They often sound like five people wrote a non-grammatical buzzword salad that says both everything and nothing. When I am quoted in press releases, I work closely with the company to ensure the quote is tight, grammatical, and meaningful. The draft quote is bounced back and forth several times with the vendor’s marketing team to ensure that each sentence and word adds value. Here is an example of a published quote and my rewrite:
“The best accounts to engage with are the ones that are already actively researching around your solution. eCho intent data from <Anonymous Grammar Offender> offers an opportunity for marketers to engage with accounts that have a high propensity to buy, ultimately delivering a more qualified pipeline to sales and increasing the speed of the sales process.”
Press Release Quote
eCho intent data from <Wordy Vendor> identifies accounts that are actively researching solutions like yours. eCho delivers an actionable set of highly qualified, engaged leads which help sales reps exceed quota.
My Alternative Press Release Quote
A press release is a key messaging opportunity. Failure to follow basic rules of grammar and clarity tells customers, partners, and prospects that you are a lazy company that cannot be counted on to do the basics. That is marketing malpractice. It would be akin to showing up late to an interview with a stained shirt and a sense of entitlement.
Sales intelligence service Salesgenie released enhanced UI and platform upgrades which increase “system speeds and overall productivity.” Other enhancements include a streamlined details / profile page for reviewing prospecting lists and a file library for organizing sales and marketing content within Salesgenie and InfoUSA products.
The new File Library provides a centralized content store for sales and marketing professionals which can be quickly accessed within email campaigns. Content is available within both personal and shared team folders. Shareable content includes logos, images, HTML, PDF, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets. Content is shared as hyperlinks.
“This is great for keeping sales quotes, pricing templates, and marketing efforts organized in Salesgenie,” said VP of Product Neil MacLeod.
The customizable details / profile page, which will be available in early Q2, allows reps to review lists more efficiently. The new view “will give you access to the same in-depth data you have today, but it will allow you to stay on the same page as your results list,” Macleod told Salesgenie users. “That means no more going back and forth between pages while working on your leads. You can easily pop out new tabs for records that you want to return to later or keep open while you move through your list.”
Salesgenie, an Infogroup offering, is designed for both SMBs and enterprise sales teams. The service offers both business and consumer files along with New Businesses, New Homeowners, and New Movers. While the service was designed as a sales prospecting database, the service has broadened its functionality over the past few years:
Marketing Tools: suppression files, lead enrichment, SEO, marketing design services, best prospect identification, direct mail marketing, display advertising
Mobile App: search near me, research and manage leads, map leads
Team Tools: lead assignments, activity tracking
Connectivity: Salesforce and MS Dynamics integrations, API
Separately, Infogroup announced that its business and consumer files now integrate with the Adobe Audience Marketplace. Marketers will be able to access Infogroup data within Adobe and perform data hygiene and enrichment on customer profiles.
Amongst the announcements at their Rainmaker 2018 conference, SalesLoft added an app directory to its service to assist with partner discovery across 28 solutions. Partner applications are split into eight categories with a few listed in multiple categories:
Sales enablement vendor Highspot was demoed at Rainmaker. The native service assists with content searching for inclusion in cadence campaigns. The service also supports email tracking and analytics.
“Highspot Everywhere is designed to seamlessly tie sales enablement processes into tools your team uses every day–including SalesLoft,” blogged Highspot Senior Content Marketing Manager Kate Kirby. “Sales representatives can leverage the power of Highspot directly within SalesLoft by inserting content into email cadence campaigns, taking full advantage of the Highspot content engagement analytics and user tracking capabilities.”
Sendoso, a direct mail gifting program, was also announced at Rainmaker. The gifting platform supports new SalesLoft steps including rewards for attendance, thanking new customers, and garnering prospect attention.
TalkIQ joins several call coaching services on the platform which create and analyze call transcripts. “More than 70% of customer interactions occur over the phone,” notes SalesLoft in its app directory. “TalkIQ analyzes each of these conversations and surfaces insights about how customer-facing teams operate. TalkIQ’s best-in-class, proprietary AI, reveals hidden trends, recommends actions, and predicts call outcomes in real-time. Successful companies use TalkIQ daily to make smarter decisions, increase revenue, improve customer engagement, and build better products.”
Other Rainmaker announced partnerships include Dark Sky (weather data) and Bombora (intent).
Part II of this blog discusses new SalesLoft functionality and partnerships concerning LinkedIn, Calendaring, website tracking, and email connectors.
DiscoverOrg is partnering with technology media and marketing company TechTarget to deliver its IT intelligence through TechTarget’s Priority Engine platform. The new offering, which will be available on November 2nd, provides a “unified data feed” of DiscoverOrg executive intelligence alongside TechTarget intent and Active Prospect insights. DiscoverOrg doubles or trebles the contacts available for Priority Engine prospects.
TechTarget provides real-time analysis of the “most active accounts and named prospects conducting purchase research” and ranks those accounts by “likelihood to engage.” Prospects are segmented by geography and hundreds of marketing segments. The joint solution “creates a world-class ABM solution that combines breadth of reach, purchase power insights and the ability to pinpoint and influence key prospects in one place.”
Joint customers will have full access to DiscoverOrg’s editorially verified decision makers alongside TechTarget contacts that are conducting active research. Priority Engine customers that have not licensed DiscoverOrg will be limited to ten names per account. The partnership displays the “Target Buying Team within a single dashboard.”
“Our goal is to help B2B tech providers discover and influence the Target Buying Team at accounts in their market segment,” said TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia. “Our partnership with DiscoverOrg means that our sales and marketing customers have the ability to create, prioritize, influence and convert new pipeline opportunities faster and more cost-efficiently than ever before.”
TechTarget has embraced ABM and recently published a three-part blog on the topic. According to TechTarget, classic demand generation is based upon generic value-generation arguments:
Classic B2B targeting methods have relied too much on size and seniority. We assume that if a company is huge it must have a need. It’s logical. We assume that the CXO will ‘get’ our value proposition — makes sense, we think, because those people are really smart and our value prop seems super compelling to us. In the end, it’s the very obviousness of this kind of thinking that’s its downfall. Not only is everyone else targeting the same people, but they’re also raising up their message to a CXO level of abstraction to make it very clear. They’re talking “value delivery”, TCO, “next generation” and all those generalities that make everyone sound like everyone else. This can’t possibly work. And it doesn’t. We all know that.
To be effective, you’ve got to think long and hard about who you’re talking to and how what you do can make a substantive difference to them in their business lives. It starts with targeting the right people. Then it’s all about speaking to them at a level that will resonate…
For many of our clients, it’s simply the availability of these new data sources that starts to change everything for them. They now begin with a much better picture of what is actually happening within their target audience so all their campaign activities become more focused in nature. And as they become more adept at using the material, we see them start to refine their approaches to a very granular level. When they start adjusting their messages to address install changes within an account and the concerns of real people within these targets, they achieve another level of performance yet again.
TechTarget argues that firms should micro-target and micro-message to individuals in the enterprise that are dealing with the issues which a vendor’s solution addresses. Furthermore, campaigns should be based upon win research and persona development. ABM programs span renewal and upgrade campaigns, add-on/complementary solution campaigns, and competitive targeting.
TechTarget manages a set of 140 technology research sites. “By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.”
TechTarget publishes 275,000 technology articles and claims to have “more 1st page Google results than any other B2B publisher.” Traffic and site activity is then mapped against their taxonomy of over 5,000 technology topics across 300 segments.
Priority Engine offers marketing automation and Salesforce connectors which provide “weekly feeds from Priority Engine to your MarTech stack.” MAP partners include Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot, and Integrate.
Along with DiscoverOrg, TechTarget also partners with HG Data to provide product / vendor insights.
Priority Engine customers include Cisco, McAfee, and White Hat Security.
One of the important recent B2B MarTech innovations is the development of intent data from vendors like Bombora. As prospects are now using the Internet to self-educate, they are reaching out to a smaller set of pre-screened vendors later in the sales cycle. But if firms are being stealthy to avoid detection during this initial phase, B2B firms have been looking to uncloak this veil of secrecy and reach out to firms during the initial phase.
One response to anonymity was content marketing which looks to deliver information (and perhaps uncover prospects) during this early phase. But it is difficult to customize messaging to anonymous individuals. Thus sprung up visitor id services such as Demandbase that map IP addresses to company firmographics in real-time. For example, a visitor from a P&C insurance IP address would be shown a website and content that speaks to their industry specific needs.
Firms also engaged in SEO and SEM to drive traffic to vertical content. While these activities were an improvement, they provided no indication concerning whether the prospect was in the market for a firm’s solutions.
Firms like Bombora and The Big Willow work with B2B media sites to map site traffic and actions (e.g. downloading white papers, webinar attendance, site searches), to specific companies. Thus, each IP address has a baseline activity trail which indicates topics of interest. Intent firms then match B2B media site visitor actions to an intent taxonomy covering thousands of topics. Of course, larger firms will leave more distinct trails and firms will display heavy footprints around their own industry and target segments. These patterns are company-specific background noise. To find the intent signals, intent vendor analytics determine which topics are surging at each company. For example, If GE has X searches per week on cloud computing, then this activity rate is general background noise. But if activity spikes to 2X, then there is likely to be some initiative underway at the firm concerning cloud computing. It is these surges that identify firms to be targeted. Intent data provides a mechanism for placing calculated bets on which accounts and prospects deserve additional resources.
Keep in mind, this activity remains anonymous. A cloud computing vendor does not know who at GE is involved in cloud computing initiatives, but they know it is the appropriate time to target GE with stepped up marketing (SEM, email, sales calls, etc.).
Thus, intent data is integrated into predictive marketing platforms such as Lattice Engines, LeadSpace, Mintigo, Everstring, and Radius.
Just this month, Everstring added Bombora’s intent data to their Audience platform. Surge data is also available for programmatic targeting on platforms such as BlueKai (Oracle), Krux, and Lotame. Thus, it is possible to target advertising for firms that have shown a surge of interest in a topic.
Like any technology, intent data has its limits. While it helps identify when to call into an account and topics of interest, it doesn’t identify whom to call and whether there is an actual initiative related to the topic. Furthermore, intent data does not indicate whether a firm is a good fit (e.g. size, industry, technographics) or how far along they are in the discovery process.
There are a large number of scenarios where intent data and models don’t add nearly as much value (if any). It’s not because the intent data is inaccurate. It’s because there is simply not enough data available to use directly or to put in models. They include:
New and emerging technology categories
Certain geographies, industries or other niches
Solutions (especially services) that can’t be easily categorized
Thus, intent data works best for well-established technology segments (versus emerging ones). Just make sure to also look at fitness indicators when building surge-based campaigns.
Within 15 minutes of posting this blog, I saw that Bombora was named a 2017 Cool Vendor by Gartner.
“We believe it’s a true milestone to be recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor in SaaS for 2017,” said Erik Matlick, founder and CEO of Bombora. “Our customers choose Bombora so that they may access the largest source of B2B intent data for use in their account-based marketing strategies. For us, being a ‘Cool Vendor’ serves as a validation of our ‘everybody wins’ approach to the ecosystem and the impact that our dynamic, quality intent data is having across B2B sales and marketing.”
“We’re very excited to provide our customers with a whole new level of targeting information based on the combination of our proprietary analytics, and our new technology installation information,” said Aberdeen CEO Gary Skidmore. “Originating and curating this data, along with our already vast data set, gives us the kind of precision to be able to provide our customers insights that nobody else can.”
Aberdeen offers over one hundred analytic models which benefit from the improved data. The content is available through its Lead Essentials service which combines account data and content in a single platform. Thus, sales and marketing professionals can target active buyers and “engage them with relevant content trending within their category.”
The enhanced data is also available via a free Google Chrome browser extension Lead Essentials Lite. The extension provides technology and footprint intelligence for the current website. Other content includes contacts, buying centers, and purchasing plans.
“Our enhanced data set creates a whole ecosystem of data and content,” said Chief Data Officer Charlie Allieri. “For example, if our data analysts see a surge in installations of a particular type of technology at a certain company or category, they can create content about the best practices surrounding that technology. This represents a strategic change that lets us leverage all data points and business knowledge to provide more powerful marketing.”