Dreamforce Keynote: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

One of the key themes of Dreamforce 2017 was the ability of companies to customize the branding and content within Salesforce clouds via "clicks, not code."
One of the key themes of Dreamforce 2017 was the ability of companies to customize the branding and content within Salesforce clouds via “clicks, not code.”

The theme of this year’s Dreamforce was The Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Following after revolutions driven by steam, electricity, and information technology, the fourth industrial revolution blurs the “physical and digital worlds” creating a wave of “innovation in technology” which is transforming the economy, society, and lives while creating new jobs, industries, and opportunities.  This next wave is based upon intelligence.  Elements include IoT, 3D printing, biotech, robotics, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, and quantum computing.

“This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “There’s all these amazing new technologies, things like autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and mobile computing and all these things are really hitting at once. And companies are really transforming themselves and bringing all these new technologies in really to connect with their customers in new ways.”

Thus, elevators loaded with sensors now communicate back to the manufacturer and predict failures, calling for service prior to trapping people.  Likewise, with tires, “if the tire blows, nobody knows; but in the future, if the [smart] tire blows, everybody knows.”  So, firms like Kone (elevators) and Michelin (tires) are now B2B2C companies.  In the future, if a tire is about to blow, it will communicate to the autonomous vehicle to pull over.

“Every company is getting closer to their customers.  We’ve been talking about this for years.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B company or a B2C company, everybody’s becoming a B2B2C company.”

Salesforce and its customers are “delivering personalized one-to-one engagement at scale,” said Stephanie Buscemi, EVP of Product Marketing.  This is done “declaratively, with clicks and not code.”  Through the Salesforce Data Management Platform, ads are customized and delivered cross-device, allowing companies to redisplay ads or present new advertisements to their customers and prospects.

Benioff cited a series of companies providing customer service and support through Salesforce platforms including Louis Vuitton, Marriot, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Adidas, and Ducati Motorcycles.

“Behind all these things…behind everything is a customer.  And that’s what all of us do.  We are working to connect with our customers in an incredible new way.”

Simplified customization, development, and branding were emphasized during the keynote.  A set of customizable products provide a “smarter, more personalized Salesforce”:

  • MyTrailhead service supports custom branding, content, and learning paths that allows firms to onboard and train employees on desktops and phones.  Tools include quizzes, reference links, trails, and badges.  Salesforce Trailhead content is also available.
  • MyEinstein provides an artificial intelligence layer driven declaratively by “clicks, not code” supporting “smarter capabilities including bots.”
  • MyLightning customization provides an app builder with custom pages, a Lightning theming and design system, Lightning Flow, Components, and Bolts which operate automatically on both desktops and phones.  Designers will have access to dynamic components which are conditionally displayed.
  • MySalesforce branded “mobile apps without code” can be uploaded to the Google Play and App Store.
  • MyIoT supports native integration capturing real-time events, business rule automation, and low-code orchestration.

Based upon customer feedback, SFDC has shifted from IoT as a separate platform to an integrated feature of the CRM platform which also operates “declaratively without code.”

Benioff admitted that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating concerns and wondered whether it is “uniting us or dividing us.  Are we more connected or somehow less connected?”

He also asked whether there is more or less equality in the World.

“There is this stress being created by this fourth industrial revolution.  Yes, we have this promise of this new connected World.  But what is it doing to us? And what are other actors doing around the World using these technologies?  Are they changing our society?  Are they changing our elections?  What are they doing with this technology?”

Benioff is looking at the Trailblazers attending Dreamforce as the Customer Innovators, Technology Disruptors, and Global Shapers to ensure that the next wave is directed in a positive direction.  “You have all these new tools at your fingertips, these incredible new technologies, but you are doing some amazing things in the World.  You are changing your companies.  You are steering this technology in the right direction.  I’m so confident in who you are.  I’m so confident in what’s in your hearts and where we are all going.”

Benioff noted that most technology is generally neutral in it effect upon society.  It is therefore incumbent upon technologists, developers, and companies to deploy technology in a socially responsible manner which promotes greater equality.  Benioff called for companies to fight for equality through equal pay, investing in schools, and opposing discriminatory laws.  He also noted that it is the poor who are most hurt by environmental degradation and proudly stated, “we are a net zero cloud.”

IDC CRM Market Share (Courtesy: Salesforce 2017)
IDC CRM Market Share (Courtesy: Salesforce 2017)

Benioff was also proud to have founded and led the leading CRM with an 18.1% market share (2016 IDC) nearly double that of Oracle (9.4%).  Salesforce has the top solutions for sales (34.2%), service (33.7%), marketing (9.9%), and Platform-as-a-Service.  Within the marketing cloud, Salesforce claims to offer the leading Data Management Platform and commerce Platform.

What’s more, the firm is on track to be the fastest enterprise software company to hit $12.5 billion in revenue.  They hit $10 billion this year and have FY19 guidance of $12.5 billion in year 20.

One of the issues facing businesses and policymakers is an increasing skills gap.  Benioff proposed MyTrailhead as one of the tools to help address the problem of workers across many industries and skill levels.  MyTrailhead provides a customized, branded training platform.

TechCrunch complained that this year’s Dreamforce lacked drama as it lacked new initiatives such as the social enterprise, artificial intelligence, and IoT.  “They are a company that embraces the cutting edge, but this year lacked that kind of big announcement,” complained enterprise reporter Ron Miller.  To be fair, though, the company has rolled out a series of new platforms, clouds, and acquisitions over the past few years.  A year with few fireworks is not necessarily a year without forward progress for Lightning, Quip, Einstein, Trailhead, and platform customization.

The conference remains a monster with 170,000 registered participants joining in San Francisco and millions of online views.


This was the beginning of my weekly newsletter coverage on Dreamforce.  Please contact me if you’d like a free trial subscription.

Form Follows Function

InsideView users can quickly target additional executives by function and level.
InsideView users can quickly target additional executives by function and level.

One of the key aphorisms in architecture is that form follows function.  The quote, attributed to Louis Sullivan, holds that a building’s design should be based upon the underlying purpose of the building, not driven by ornamentation.  Twentieth century design took this maxim to heart with similar thinking spreading through industrial and software design.

In the case of information services, a focus on flashy design or “bells and whistles” can be a distraction if the underlying service fails to meet the basic informational and workflow needs of its users.  One of the great things about Google is that it returns high precision results from a few words entered into a search box.  It was this simplicity that allowed them to grab and hold two-thirds of the search engine market share, leaving Bing and Yahoo! to pick up the scraps.

A well-designed sales intelligence solution supports multiple sales and support workflows.  These users span multiple functions and departments (e.g. sales, sales directors, sales operations, sales support, service departments, business development, and marketing).  Furthermore, there are multiple types of sales reps within larger organizations so your sales intelligence platform needs to be flexible enough to meet differing information requirements and workflows.

Thus, tactical sales reps need to quickly locate contact information and a few prospect qualification variables.  They want to make sure that the contact they are about to call is in their territory and doesn’t work at a subsidiary of a named account.

Conversely, a strategic rep has broad information requirements around companies, company structures, executives, and key events.  Strategic reps are focused on who to call, when to call, and what to say.  Sales triggers are not only a flashing green light that a prospect is more likely to buy, but conversational material for catching the prospect’s attention and signaling that the rep has prepared for the call.  Likewise, SWOT reports, biographies, industry market research reports provide insights into client interests and needs.

Named account reps sell only to a few firms so need a deep understanding of their target accounts.  They need to be apprised of key events at an organization that could positively or negatively impact their pipeline.  Furthermore, named account reps are looking for additional contacts and locations for extending their corporate footprint.   Thus, searching across a company for specific job functions and then reviewing subsidiary profiles and bios is an important task in growing the account.  Named account reps also benefit from PDF exportability so they can review the latest information about their client or prospect while traveling.  These reports can also be shared with other members of the sales and support team.

Territory reps and financial services relationship managers need to be apprised of sales triggers within their territory, quickly research and qualify companies, and dig deeper on larger opportunities.  Furthermore, as they generally sell cross-industry, they  also benefit from industry overviews from vendors such as First Research.  These primers are written in plain English and provide a set of Q&A sections by topic and job function.

First Research reports, found in Dun & Bradstreet products, provide a series of Q&A topics by C-level functions, opportunities, and challenges.
First Research reports, found in Dun & Bradstreet products, provide a series of Q&A topics by C-level functions, opportunities, and challenges.

Most reps work within a CRM, so review the capabilities of sales intelligence CRM connectors.  The tighter the integration the better.  If your CRM is your system of record, you want the sales reps working within the CRM on desktops and mobile devices.  Services that bounce the user between a web browser and the CRM are less effective than those that provide most or all of their content and functionality within Salesforce.com, MS Dynamics, or other CRMs.  Also, look for “stare and compare” updating of records, batch and real-time synchronization of data, custom fields, and duplicate checking.

Many sales intelligence services also support the marketing department.  Standardizing the two functions on a common vendor helps reduce cost and channel conflict.  It also provides a basis for successful ABM programs which cross the two departments.  Several years ago, sales intelligence vendors only offered prospecting to marketing, but now they also support web forms, real-time and batch enrichment of leads, lead-to-account mapping, marketing automation connectors, lead scoring, segmentation analysis, Ideal Customer Profiling, TAM analysis, and net-new leads and contacts.  A few also offer standalone services for the marketing department such as programmatic advertising, visitor id, multi-channel marketing, and SEO.

When evaluating sales intelligence solutions, you should understand the workflows and information requirements of each of your sales groups along with other potential beneficiaries of the service.  Don’t evaluate simply on counts and features, but on the information needs and workflows of your various sales and marketing teams.

2016 in Review: Sales Intelligence Connectors

Avention offers OneSource for CRM connectors for SFDC, MS Dynamics, and Oracle for Sales Cloud (Oracle connector shown)
Avention offers OneSource for CRM connectors for SFDC, MS Dynamics, and Oracle for Sales Cloud (Oracle connector shown)

Continuing on my discussion of Sales Intelligence enhancements in 2016, my next area of coverage is connectors which extend functionality into CRMs, MAPs, Google Chrome, etc.

Almost all Sales Intelligence vendors offer Salesforce.com connectivity as a baseline offering.  Some have limited functionality while others provide a fully integrated offering encompassing virtually all of their website features along with update features (e.g. Batch, continuous, “stare and compare”).

The following vendors launched or enhanced their CRM connectors:

  • Zoominfo released a new version of Zoominfo for Salesforce in February 2016. Features include on-demand updating, new contact matching, segmentation analysis, and new targeted contacts. Zoominfo stresses that all enrichment, analysis, and targeting are done via “one easy-to-use interface” without the need to export files to Excel.  Zoominfo for Salesforce also added integrated prospecting. Data may be shared bi-directionally between the services so users can check for duplicates before uploading prospects to SFDC.  Zoominfo also added custom mappings for all fields into its Salesforce connector and improved the company and contact lookup workflows.
  • Avention released OneSource for MS Dynamics and OneSource for Oracle Sales Cloud connectors which integrate Avention functionality into the Microsoft and Oracle CRMs. Features include I-frame display, “stare and compare” updates, custom variables, prospecting, and the Avention Journal.  Avention also rolled a series of enhancements into its CRM connectors. These include:
    • The automatic population of matched records, bypassing the “stare and compare” step for new accounts
    • Avention Journal filtering
    • Avention Journal list views (the default view is calendared)
    • Modify the Avention Journal viewing period
    • Contact filtering by job function, level, title, keyword, etc.
    • News filtering
    • DataVision tab (if licensed)
    • Salesforce Lightning support providing improved tablet usability and dynamic resizing.
    • Batch duplicate management on bulk uploads (ignore, create, update)
  • Data.com added a Prospect Insights view which can be accessed from Opportunity and Account Detail pages. A “See More Insights” button takes the user to additional business and financial details from Dun & Bradstreet. Company intelligence includes D&B WorldBase firmographics and linkage, Hoover’s top company descriptions and competitors, and First Research industry overviews including call prep questions and industry summaries.  Data.com also upgraded the Dun & Bradstreet company family view to the Lightning platform.
  • DiscoverOrg released CRM connectors for Talent Rover, Zoho, and Bullhorn. They also enhanced their Salesforce connector.
  • InsideView redesigned its Salesforce.com AppExchange user interface and launched Refresh which provides automated account cleansing within Salesforce.com.
  • RainKing improved Salesforce.com synchronization.
  • To improve the Salesforce experience, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is no longer requiring sales reps to manually identify which contacts should be downloaded from SFDC to Sales Navigator. Synchronization can be managed at the administrator level. While SFDC describes this as improved synchronization, it basically downloads leads and accounts to Sales Navigator. No LinkedIn member account or lead intelligence is uploaded or available for updating SFDC records. However, the system does flag which records are in SFDC so that reps can manually key information from LinkedIn to SFDC.  For example, sales reps may add tags (e.g. Qualified) and notes to leads and accounts with this information then synched with Salesforce.
  • Artesian redesigned its Salesforce and MS Dynamics connectors.  Among the new features are sales trigger filtering by topic and trigger sharing by email, social media, and Chatter.

One of the major trends in 2016 was the continued expansion of sales intelligence vendors into the marketing department.  Most commonly, this involved Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) connectors with Marketo and Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud), though some vendors support other MAPs as well.

  • InsideView released an ABM solution in partnership with Marketo. The ABM solution is a bundle that includes products and data services to enable targeted account and contact selection, campaign execution, and measurement.
  • RainKing released connectors for Pardot and NetSuite
  • Avention released connectors for Oracle Marketing (Eloqua) and Marketo which support data enrichment, account insights, and predictive analytics. The new MAP connectors support three marketing use cases: web form enrichment, uploaded list matching via the OneSource platform, and prospect list building within OneSource. Lists built and enriched within OneSource are then fed to Eloqua or Marketo.

Several vendors built Chrome connectors in late 2015 or early 2016.  Chrome connectors build additional feature functionality into the Chrome browser, usually centering around the contextual display of company and contact information related to corporate websites and LinkedIn profiles.  Firms with Chrome Connectors include DataFox, MattermarkZoominfo, DiscoverOrg, and HG Data.

To assist with messaging, LinkedIn now offers a Chrome extension for Gmail. The extension provides integrated access to public LinkedIn profiles and social contact information as a right-handed information bar. If a contact is not in Sales Navigator, users can quickly add him or her as a lead without exiting the Inbox. Icebreakers such as shared connections, experiences, and interests help shape account or prospect messaging. TeamLink colleague connections are also displayed.

Finally, several Sales Intelligence vendors began supporting Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendors (there are also non-SI vendors participating in ABSD ecosystems providing coaching, transcription, analytics, and other services):

  • DiscoverOrg: SalesLoft, Outreach, Tellwise
  • Owler: Outreach, SalesLoft
  • InsideView: KiteDesk, Quota Factory, SalesLoft
  • Zoominfo: KiteDesk
  • D&B NetProspex: KiteDesk
The Owler news feed is now displayed within SaleLoft allowing sales development reps to quickly customize their messaging.
The Owler news feed is now displayed within SaleLoft allowing sales development reps to quickly customize their messaging.

 

InsideView: CRM Connector Enhancements

The new Discovery Center provides company insights, firmographics, and contacts for 12 million global companies.
The new Discovery Center provides company insights, firmographics, and contacts for 12 million global companies.

Sales Intelligence vendor InsideView released a pair of enhanced connectors for Salesforce.com and MS Dynamics 365.  The Microsoft connector is the next generation of their Dynamics partnership.  The Salesforce Target connector provides company and contact prospecting within the AppExchange.

Insights version 4.0 is being released as part of MS Dynamics 365.  Said InsideView, “Insights 4.0 is more deeply embedded in the sales workflow than ever, so sellers can quickly find data, insights, and connections wherever they are within their Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment and use that intelligence to close deals faster.”

InsideView lists the following new capabilities:

  • Global contact filtering to assist with contact discovery
  • A new Discovery Center for searching InsideView’s universe of global companies.  Discovery Center supports company searching against companies not yet added as accounts. Users can view firmographic data, key contacts, and company news. Users can add companies as accounts or to a Watchlist.
  • Custom field mapping
  • Social feed suppression to enable/disable social media integration and social media stream customization

“Microsoft is the only major CRM provider to embed external customer data, millions of key contacts, and timely, actionable insights within CRM at no additional cost. That’s leadership,” said Heidi Tucker, VP of Global Alliances at InsideView. “Buyers expect salespeople to be relevant, understand their business issues, and come prepared with meaningful solutions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 subscribers get that advantage included with their CRM Online license. All they have to do is turn it on. And now, it’s even easier with Insights 4.0.”

Contact Insights include news. co-workers, connections, buzz (twitter, Facebook, blogs), and conversation starters.
Contact Insights include news. co-workers, connections, buzz (twitter, Facebook, blogs), and conversation starters.

Insights is bundled into the following MS Dynamics products: Dynamics CRM Online Professional and Enterprise, Dynamics 365 Plan 1 and Plan 2, Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Dynamics 365 for Field Service, and Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation.

InsideView also announced immediate availability of InsideView Target for Salesforce which provides company and contact prospecting from within SFDC.  Target provides dynamic list building using firmographic, biographic, and technographic variables.  Screening variables include eighteen high-precision trigger events, news keywords, the presence of emails or phones, and technologies employed (2,200 categories across 525,000 companies).  Trigger events (“InsideView Agents”) and news go out as far as thirty days and may be combined with keywords (e.g. Partnership triggers mentioning Apple).

Although the InsideView database contains global companies, screening variables are not internationalized beyond country and international region.  Revenue sizing is in US dollars and there are no international industry codes, indexes, or sub-regions.

InsideView Target Technology Screening
InsideView Target Technology Screening

Other features include deduplication, custom field mapping, saved searches, and one-click pushing of records to Eloqua and Marketo.

InsideView provides a screenable dataset of 12 million global companies and 30 million “director-and-above decision-makers.”  InsideView positions their smaller dataset as a valuable feature.  “No noise, no mom-and-pop companies, and none of the clutter from lower-level contacts and tiny businesses.”

Earlier this year, InsideView released a refreshed user interface for their sales product on the AppExchange along with the automated Refresh hygiene service.

InsideView Target is sold on a pre-purchased credit basis.  Both company and contact records are counted towards the contract allotment.  If a record has been previously purchased during the contract period, the marketer is not charged a second time.

InsideView has invested heavily in CRM and MAP connectors over the past five years.  They support a broad set of partner platforms with rich content and functionality.

Data Enrichment Assists Digital Transformation

Blog on the Sparklane UK website discussing how sales and marketing can prepare for Digital Transformation.
Sparklane Blog

In a blog on Sparklane’s website, I had the opportunity to discuss how sales and marketing can digitally transform their departments by focusing on data enrichment and sales intelligence.

Firms have traditionally taken a haphazard approach to data quality, failing to recognize that data quality is a function of both initial data (keyed data, web forms, trade show scans, purchased lists, etc.) and time.  Data is dynamic.  It can be accurate today and inaccurate tomorrow.  That’s why data quality is often broken down into three dimensions: Accuracy, Completeness, and Timeliness.

So not only are firms failing to enrich data in real-time as data is acquired (or batch if purchased), they are ignoring the simple fact that

  • Companies relocate
  • Offices are shuttered
  • Execs change companies or positions within companies
  • Corporate URLs and email domains are changed when companies are acquired or renamed
  • Companies grow and shrink

The result has been saw-tooth data quality charts with quality spiking at data refresh and then quickly declining.  Both company and contact data are subject to data decay with contact data declining at a rate of 25% per annum (A recent Radius study has it at 27%).

To address this problem, firms should evaluate third-party solutions which provide a reference database matched against their sales and marketing datasets.  By standardizing on a reference dataset, sales and marketing operations can deploy a single source of truth across data acquisition (e.g. list loads, prospecting, web forms) and maintenance (ongoing updates to their CRM and Marketing Automation platforms).

There are many benefits to this approach:

  • Web Form and other keyed data is immediately verified and graded.
  • Lead Scoring is based upon richer and more accurate data.
  • Duplicates are detected before being created, allowing leads to be matched to current customers and prospects.
  • Leads from subsidiaries and branches are tied to ABM accounts, ensuring they are properly scored and routed.
  • Addresses, Phones, and other key firmographic and biographic fields are standardized ensuring they are properly segmented, targeted, and routed.
  • Sales and Marketing no longer waste resources targeting individuals who have left an organization.
  • Sales has more complete data for lead qualification, prioritization, and messaging.
  • Higher quality data is propagated to downstream systems, reducing the long-term cost of maintaining those platforms and helping prevent downstream errors and duplicates created by low quality upstream data.

And those benefits are simply those from cleaner data.  That is before we begin to consider the value of sales intelligence platforms in account planning, messaging, current awareness, identifying additional contacts at current accounts and prospects, and opportunity prioritization.

So if you want to begin to improve enterprise decision making and efficiency, an excellent place to start is in improving the data which is the lifeblood of your digital platforms.

The Corporate Data Show Podcast

"Effective sales is not just about how many people to contact at the company, but who are the right people and what should I say to them."
The Corporate Data Show Podcast

I was privileged to be recently interviewed by Rick Holmes for the Corporate Data Show podcast.  The two of us discussed the benefits of sales intelligence, how sales intelligence differs from business intelligence, data collection methods, CRM and MAP integrations, ABSD, and sales triggers.

Rick is the CEO of Every Market Media so also very knowledgeable about the content industry.  EMM is a compiler of US and global B2B Emails.

Bill Gates on LinkedIn

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates supports the LinkedIn acquisition and views it as an opportunity to build a Facebook for business professionals.  This perspective is in line with LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner’s vision of an economic graph that captures the broad scope of business activity.

“This professional feed in LinkedIn, that is how I want to learn about my career, my company, my industry, and I’m going back there,” Gates told Bloomberg last month. “If we can make that as valuable as the Facebook feed in the social world, that’s huge value creation and that’ll happen over a period of years.”

Gates contends that Microsoft and LinkedIn are more valuable together than as separate entities even though Microsoft stock slipped two percent on the announcement.  “I certainly think that the value of the two companies combined is greater than the two by themselves, but I love the idea that the market wants us to show that,” he said.

Gates remains a member of Microsoft’s Board and is formally listed as a Technical Advisor to CEO Satya Nadella.

Dynamics 365 and AppSource

In other news, the firm continues to enhance the Dynamics platform (CRM and ERP) with the introduction of Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource.  “Dynamics 365 provides business users with purpose-built SaaS applications. These applications have intelligence built in. They integrate deeply with communications and collaboration capabilities of Office 365,” said Nadella.  “Dynamics 365 along with AppSource and our rich application platform introduces a disruptive and customer-centric business model so customers can build what they want and use just the capabilities they need.”

The new Dynamics 365 platform will be available this fall.

Merging the Microsoft and LinkedIn graphs to advance the Economic Graph (Slide from Fair Disclosure call on June 13, 2016).
Merging the Microsoft and LinkedIn graphs to advance the Economic Graph (Slide from Fair Disclosure call on June 13, 2016).

Nadella views Office 365, Dynamics 365, AppSource (a newly launched SaaS app ecosystem for businesses), and LinkedIn as all working together to provide “services in the cloud where you can reason about the activity and the data underneath these services to benefit the customers who are using these services. So that’s what this notion of a graph represents.”

Nadella continued, “The professional cloud or the professional network helps usage across all of that professional usage. Whether it’s in Office 365 or whether you’re a salesperson using any application related to sales, you want your professional network there. Of course, it’s relevant in recruiting, it’s relevant in training, it’s relevant in marketing. So that’s really our strategy with LinkedIn as the professional network meeting the professional cloud. And so you were right to point out that these are all part of one overarching strategy, and ultimately it’s about adding value to customers.”

On Microsoft’s Q4 2016 earnings call this week, the firm reiterated their belief that the LinkedIn acquisition will close before the end of the calendar year.