Bombora RevTech Integrations

Bombora Insights in Terminus

Bombora is one of the leading sources of third-party intent data gathered from B2B Media sources, with over 5,000 media websites contributing to its Company Surge intelligence.  It has chosen to remain independent and broadly partner with RevTech Companies, including six of the seven vendors that were listed in Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for ABM Platforms: 6sense, Demandbase, Terminus, Madison Logic, RollWorks, and Triblio (Foundry).

“Gartner weighs Intent data as its single-most critical capability for new account acquisition and a driving force in both customer retention and expansion,” blogged Bombora Senior Product Marketing Manager Ryan Moline.  “This full-funnel visibility into what’s important to your prospects and customers empowers your go-to-market teams with the data needed to create hyper-personalized, omnichannel buying experiences that result in more meetings booked, accelerated deal cycles, and opportunities for long-term growth.  This is just one reason why many of the companies recognized in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant partner with Bombora for their Intent data needs.”

Both ABX platforms and direct customers rely on Bombora to identify in-market demand, allowing them to reach out to accounts in their ICP when they are actively researching solutions.  Company Surge data can also be deployed for identifying churn risk accounts and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

“Bombora’s content consumption model has become the de facto standard in B2B marketing for third-party behavioral data to indicate intent,” stated Forrester.

This month, Bombora announced an integration with HubSpot and an enhanced integration with Salesforce.

“Bombora has prioritized direct integrations and partnerships in order to make it easier for sales and marketing teams to access our insights without changing their workflows,” said Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.  “HubSpot is one of the most well-known marketing, sales, and service software companies in the world, and we’re thrilled for our app to be in the spotlight as they look to help B2B brands with their business challenges.”

Company Surge for Salesforce

HG Insights Acquires Intricately

Technology Intelligence vendor HG Insights acquired fellow data vendor Intricately.  The acquisition provides HG Insights with global cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data, “adding to HG’s market-leading optimization of the world’s top technology brands’ Go-To-Market.”

The entire Intricately team has joined HG Insights, including CEO Michael Pollack and CTO Fima Leshinsky.  Pollack assumed the role of EVP of Market Innovation, and Leshinsky was named an SVP of Product.

HG Insights’ NLP gathers technology installation and spend intelligence for eleven million global companies, capturing 96% of the world’s total IT spend and intelligence on over 15,600 installed products.

“We started Intricately to provide decision-makers with actionable data and insights they could use to plot a course through the ever-expanding Cloud universe.  At the time, we saw a world with individuals relying on gut instincts, teams making ‘best guesses,’ and organizations making big bets on circumspect data.  We started this business with the goal of making the unknown known.  Our vision was, and has always been, to be the authoritative source of truth for digital product adoption, usage, and spend.”

Intricately Founders Fima Leshinsky and Michael Pollack

Intricately’s proprietary sensor network gathers cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data for seven million global businesses across 21,000 cloud offerings.  Data are collected from over 150 global Internet points of presence, helping Intricately map digital infrastructure.  Its insights are delivered via an API, integrations, data snapshots, and web applications.

“Intricately provides unique and actionable insights that enable cloud sellers to increase velocity by focusing on the highest potential opportunities,” said Pollack.  “As the workforces of global companies become increasingly distributed, cloud spend and product adoption have become key indicators when assessing potential buyers’ likelihood of purchasing and deploying new products.  Intricately’s intelligence, now part of HG Insights, is uniquely positioned to lead the market on this trend.”

Intricately Cloud Intelligence

Intricately’s customers include the top three cloud companies.  In addition, the acquisition provides “real-time visibility into a company’s cloud footprint and application tech stack.”

“Now, with the addition of Intricately, we can provide real-time visibility into a company’s cloud footprint and application tech stack to provide richer insights for better decisions and faster results,” said HG Insights CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky.  “Our customers have come to rely on HG Insights as an indispensable input into their most strategic decisions such as market sizing, whitespace analysis, and territory planning as well as for fundamental activities including opportunity prioritization and account-based marketing intelligence.”

HG Insights and Intricately offer complementary spend data.  HG Insights focuses on projected spend for forecasting and go-to-market planning while Intricately measures actual spend for benchmarking and plan measurement.  Combined, the companies offer “unmatched spend insights in the Cloud Market that support the full lifecycle of Plan, Optimize, and Execute to empower sales and marketing organizations.”

HG Insights listed a series of technical benefits:

  • Richer combined datasets to operationalize the planning, targeting, and messaging to prospects based on technology adoption and usage
  • Improved precision of workload volumes, estimated spends, and the related technologies running on cloud-based infrastructure
  • Expansion of insights into customer-built cloud and self-hosted applications
  • Detailed location insights providing a view into both the location of consumption and/or physical infrastructure to power hyper-focused Go-to-Market strategies
  • Real-time detection of changes to a company’s cloud application and technology strategy

Business professionals can leverage HG Insights expanded intelligence to evaluate their TAM/SAM/SOM, prioritize ABM campaigns, establish “equitable and efficient” sales territories, and determine which prospects have the highest propensity to buy.  In addition, sales reps can identify prospects evaluating other vendors or shifting their usage patterns, signals that an account is at risk.

“With this new intelligence in its offering, HG will provide game-changing insights that transform our customers’ Go-To-Market initiatives and accelerate growth,” HG Insights Product Marketing Director Darcy Moss told GZ Consulting.  “Strategy, marketing, sales, and operations teams can leverage this insight to answer critical business decisions with greater confidence.”

The addition of Intricately Cloud insights helps answer the question, “What is Coming?”

“By adding Intricately’s market-leading workload and usage data, we’ll give our customers the most detailed, unique picture available of an account’s technology strategy; not just what they have, but why they have it, how they’re using it, and ultimately, what they’re likely to do next.  It’s a competitive advantage unmatched in the market,” stated Moss.

Intricately was founded in 2014 and is based in San Francisco.  LinkedIn states that it has 54 employees, having grown its headcount by 35% in the past year and 93% over the past two.  However, its employment plateaued last November.

“At this time, we will be business as usual until the transition is completed,” stated Moss.  “This includes retaining current office locations.”

HG Insights did not disclose any size or growth details.  It also did not disclose the acquisition price. Intricately is HG Insights’ second acquisition.  In 2018, the firm acquired Pivotal IQ, a curator of IT contract and spend intelligence.

Market Flash: ZoomInfo Releases MarketingOS and Unveils RevOS Packaging

ZoomInfo provides a set of data-enabled services for sales, marketing, recruitment, and revenue operations under the RevenueOS brand.

ZoomInfo announced the immediate availability of its new MarketingOS ABM Platform.  The service is part of a broader RevOS offering that supports marketing, sales, operations, and recruitment.  MarketingOS consolidates ZoomInfo’s legacy marketing capabilities, bringing together two recent acquisitions, Insent and RingLead, with new programmatic and audience management functionality.

ZoomInfo also refined its positioning statement from Revenue Acceleration to Revenue Operating System.  It stated that RevOS is “the World’s only revenue operating system of its kind.”

“Our comprehensive B2B database is the key differentiator that sets MarketingOS apart from other ABM solutions,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “ZoomInfo’s unique data science algorithms allow marketers to connect with the right prospects at precisely the right time.  No other solution on the market combines the power of data-driven insights and marketing-optimized workflows like ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS.”

“Marketers typically fail because the data in most ABM platforms is both inaccurate and incomplete.  Current ABM solutions are designed to leverage companies’ own first-party data, which exists in their customer relationship management or marketing automation systems.  Without quality data, marketers pour advertising dollars at the wrong prospects and companies, and, as a result, deliver fruitless leads to sales and waste time and resources.  With ZoomInfo’s best-in-class data and intelligence at its foundation, MarketingOS enables marketers to effectively reach target accounts and drive qualified leads for sales.”

ZoomInfo Press Release, “ZoomInfo Launches New Account-Based Marketing Platform, MarketingOS,” (Feb 8, 2022)

New functionality includes social and display advertising, abandoned from tracking, and audience targeting.  Marketing can build audiences and track campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Marketing can also build campaigns and manage them programmatically through Clickagy DSP (ZoomInfo) or TradeDesk.

Marketing OS looks to address the “Funnel Famine” suffered by traditional marketing teams.  Several issues cause Funnel Famine: crowded B2B advertising channels, dirty data, leaky black-box marketing campaigns, siloed data, and sales’ longtime distrust of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

MarketingOS addresses the issue of leads created by “The Funnel Famine.”

“Most marketing programs begin with data, whether it’s for tailoring your communications, whether it’s for sending an email, whether it’s for sending a direct mail.  It’s all about those accounts that you’re targeting and the professionals at those accounts,” explained ZoomInfo SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing Justin Withers to GZ Consulting.  “And the reality is that a lot of data, especially if it’s pulled from the CRM or other systems, is outdated.  It’s inaccurate.  It’s incomplete, and that can actually pollute or even inhibit the lead flow at the top of the funnel, and [it] ultimately leads to poor conversion.  It leads to leaks in the funnel, and all this hard work that marketers put in at every stage of the funnel ultimately spills out before it can even reach sales.”

The reality is that the sales and marketing funnels operate in parallel, not sequentially, as represented in traditional funnel diagrams.  MarketingOS lets marketers run account-based programs in parallel with sales running account-based sales programs “so that everyone’s aligned at every step of the funnel.”

Under current processes, sales and marketing operate in parallel to each other with little coordination and a single point of handoff for MQLs, a situation that “really doesn’t set marketing up for success…and it leaves sales in a bind,” continued Withers.  Thus, marketing complains that sales teams ignore its leads, and sales reps complain about the quality and quantity of marketing-sourced leads.  As a result, there is an “acute misalignment between sales and marketing.”

With MarketingOS, handoffs can occur at different points along the marketing funnel, based on the channel and prospect response.

Sales and Marketing are aligned around a set of target accounts both within and beyond the ICP.  Thus, an ICP account with spiking intent will be passed to sales, even if marketing has had limited conversations.  Furthermore, the rep will know that multiple individuals from the firm have visited the website or that individuals have clicked through on ads or email campaigns.

Likewise, chatbot conversations with target companies can immediately route a chat to the sales rep or schedule a call.

New functionality for managing abandoned forms can revive a prospect.  ZoomInfo claims a 60% increase in lead flow with its abandoned form tracking.

MarketingOS Audience Builder with Audience Segmentation

MarketingOS functionality includes

  • Expanded targeting that leverages the full set of ZoomInfo’s first and third-party intelligence for building and activating audiences.  ZoomInfo selects include firmographics, technographics, biographics (e.g., Title, 192 Job Functions, Job Levels), web forms, and uploaded lists (e.g., tradeshow lists).  Other selects include business events (e.g., funding data, executive changes, projects) and over 300 company attributes (advanced data-mined firmographics such as fleet size and company benefits).  Targeting also ingests account, contact, and lead attributes from Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo. 
  • First and third-party intent data time outreach while buyers are in-market, helping to improve marketing and sales efficacy.  Marketers can track up to 500 intent topics, with up to 50 available at a time.  In addition, chat-based targeting is coming soon.
  • An “in-market predictive score” that identifies each prospect’s buying stage, “informing how and when marketers should engage with prospects based on their ranking and helping them to prioritize their outbound efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert.”
  • Campaign Management and Analytics.  Marketers upload their creative, build an audience, set the budget, and select their channels.
  • Webforms, infused with automated enrichment, support shorter forms with reduced abandonment rates
  • Abandoned form tracking, with Workflows passing the lead to sales or additional nurture steps
  • ZoomInfo Chat (FKA Insent), a conversational marketing chatbot that leverages ZoomInfo data to score and route leads.  Chat immediately passes high-scoring, live leads to sales reps.  The chatbot also automates meeting scheduling.
  • Visitor Intelligence, with pages scored differently (e.g., Product Pages are scored higher than Career or Investor Pages)
  • Automated workflows triggered by intent, custom intent, WebSights visitor intelligence, Scoops (e.g., business events, projects), Funding, Technologies, and FormComplete.  Workflows can also be built to expand reach across the potential buying committee by persona.
  • RingLead data orchestration to dedupe, cleanse, enrich, and route leads
  • ZoomInfo Enrich, a set of DaaS enterprise platform integrations for data enrichment and hygiene.

MarketingOS is powered by ZoomInfo’s database spanning 100 million companies, 150 million executives, technographics, intent and engagement data, and event data.

“Marketing and sales funnels work in parallel, so everyone is aligned at every step of the funnel,” explained Justin Withers, SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing.  With MarketingOS, “sales and marketing are working in lockstep at every stage of the journey.”

MarketingOS is one of four products branded under the RevOS banner.

Tying together intent and engagement data and processing them through ZoomInfo Workflows is the future of ABM.  Intent data is employed at the top of the funnel when buyers are in the initial research phase.  Once prospects have begun interacting with a vendor, most buyer behavior research falls under the engagement category (e.g., web forms, email responses, chatbots, conversational intelligence, etc.).  Finally, intent data helps identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities at the tail end of the customer lifecycle. 

Engagement and intent data are also valuable churn risk indicators, helping customer success and account managers detect potential cancelations or defections well before decisions have been made.  In addition, intent data can show a spike in research related to product-associated topics and competitors.  Engagement monitoring widens to include customer success interactions, training participation, platform usage, and general account health indicators.

“We can support your new customer acquisition with these signals,” stated Withers.  “We can support your opportunity acceleration with these signals.  We can also support your renewal, upsell, cross-sell motions based on different types of signals that are happening at those accounts.  So, it really is a full customer lifecycle marketing solution.”

MarketingOS will be available as a pair of SKUs:

  • ABM Elite+: The full ABM Platform package, including RingLead Cleanse, Enrich, and Route
  • ABM Advanced+: Package includes everything except RingLead

“The purpose behind the two distinct offerings is to simplify our primary offering for those focused on ABM engagement and marketing programs, as opposed to the more operationally focused data orchestration capabilities,” explained ZoomInfo Analyst Relations Director Michael Basilio to GZ Consulting.

MarketingOS includes ten marketing seats and three administrative seats for RingLead routing and ZoomInfo Chat.

The broader RevOS branding consists of MarketingOS, SalesOS, OperationsOS, and RecruitingOS.  ZoomInfo calls RevOS the “world’s first integrated go-to-market platform.”  All four RevOS services are generally available.

ZoomInfo’s data cloud, orchestration tools (e.g., RingLead, B2B DaaS, Workflows), and engagement tools (advertising, sales engagement, web forms, chat, and conversational intelligence) are at the heart of RevOS.

“There’s nothing more important in business than successfully executing your go-to-market strategy,” states ZoomInfo in its product collateral.  “Get it right, and your business flourishes.  Get it wrong, and you’re toast.  That’s why having one integrated go-to-market platform is so crucial.  You can think of it as your revenue operating system.”

SalesOS bundles together a set of new and legacy sales tools:

  • Sales prospecting
  • Chorus, the conversational sales platform the firm acquired in July
  • Sales insights, including Chorus Momentum
  • Sales CRM integrations and continuous data maintenance
  • The ReachOut browser extension for real-time company and contact research and Send to CRM and SEP functionality
  • ZoomInfo Engage (Sales Engagement Platform)

Sales and Marketing Alignment has been a stated goal of the two functions for at least a decade, but they have operated with different datasets, metrics, objectives, and platforms.  Thus, alignment was more vision than reality.  By aligning ABM on a common platform and reference database, alignment is no longer impaired by an organization’s tech stack and data foundation.

“Crucially, MarketingOS lets marketing teams work from a common data foundation. Only 39% of sales and marketing teams share buyer signals, and half say it’s because their sales and marketing systems don’t integrate. The shared data foundation of SalesOS and MarketingOS tightens key handoffs and unlocks true marketing and sales alignment, eliminating conflicting records, wasted effort, and missed opportunities.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, “Introducing RevOS: The future of modern go-to-market software,” (Feb 8, 2022)

OperationsOS contains RingLead data orchestration (i.e., match, unify, dedupe, normalize, cleanse, enrich, score, and route data) and B2B DaaS services (e.g., APIs, webhooks, cloud data warehouse integrations).

Finally, RecruitingOS contains ZoomInfo Recruit, its recently launched prospecting and engagement service for HR departments and recruiters.  RecruitingOS also includes a set of Applicant Tracking Service connectors.

“Recruiters can filter and reach more good-fit candidates, use pipeline management tools to collaborate and organize the hiring process, and automate the candidate outreach process,” explains Zoominfo.  “This helps you source and connect with candidates faster, reducing the time to find and hire talent.”

Along with new product positioning, RevOS sports new logos, color palettes, styles, and a “unified in-app experience to create a singular, cohesive go-to-market solution that spans the entire suite of ZoomInfo products.”  There are also redesigned data dashboards and reports that “offer a faster, more responsive experience that allows your sales, marketing, and recruitment teams to visually demonstrate ROI and how their work aligns with broader organizational objectives.”

In short, RevOS unifies sales, marketing, revenue operations, and recruitment on the same set of data, providing “the same source of truth” and “one integrated platform for every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.” “If data is the lifeblood of the modern sales organization, then go-to-market teams must have the technology to act upon that data.  RevOS’ unified data tech stack gives sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting teams a single source of truth from which to launch their campaigns and go-to-market motions, simplifying internal workflows, reducing costs, and maximizing interoperability between teams,” blogged Schuck.  “RevOS is the next chapter in ZoomInfo’s journey as the world’s leading go-to-market platform.”

MarketingOS supports a Campaign Manager for building, sizing, and tracking campaigns.

HG Insights Contextual Intent

Technology Market Intelligence vendor HG Insights announced the global availability of Contextual Intent, a “solution designed for companies seeking to leverage the power of customer buying patterns.”   Contextual Intent is available through HG Universe data subscriptions and the Snowflake Data Marketplace.  It is currently in “late-stage” beta on the HG Insights Platform, with a scheduled December launch.

Contextual Intent combines firmographics, technographics, contract intelligence (via their 2018 Pivotal IQ acquisition), and bidstream data to deliver “buyer intent data, without all the noise.”  It employs web users’ behavior and content consumption to determine which firms are researching, evaluating, or buying technology products or services.  In addition, Contextual Intent identifies in-market companies for new technology and potential churn candidates, helping prioritize outreach.

HG Insights ingests two billion intent records each week and matches them against 120 million verified technology installations for 14,000 products, solutions, and services.  The HG Insights scoring model measures the frequency of defined topics mined from locations, with observed activity tracked for nine million companies.

“Contextual Intent is the first intent solution to contextualize data with a company’s technographic profile. Our proven, data-driven methodologies now include the use of intent data—providing our customers with what they need to accelerate growth and gain a competitive edge through contextualized buying signals. Our new solution is designed specifically for Go-To-Market teams to remove the noise from intent data and make it actionable. Context matters, and we are able to provide insights that support hyper-targeting for growth and competitive advantage.”

HG Insights CTO Rob Fox

HG Insights cited January 2021 research from Ascend2 that asked sales and marketing professionals about intent data obstacles.  Half said that data quality was an issue, and 40% stated that it was challenging to make intent data actionable.

Revenue teams can select twenty to over 100 intent topics from HG Insights’ taxonomy which spans over 4,000 technology-based topics.

Contextual Intent identifies both buyers in the market and churn risk candidates.

HG Insights employs a scoring model based on the frequency of defined topics being researched across the web for each company.  It factors in the number of locations demonstrating the activity and baselines intent over time to determine the “increases and trajectories” of research.

Like intent models from other vendors, the Intent Score is measured as the deviation from a company’s baseline and normalized from 1-100.  It is updated weekly and incorporates past and present activity.  However, interpretation of the scores differs between vendors.  Concerning HG Insights, the signal strength is deemed high when the topical intent score exceeds 84 and medium when it falls between 60 and 84.

HG Insights provides intent location, a feature that is available from only a few vendors.  Knowing the research location helps identify the potential nexus of the demand unit (or at least the individuals performing initial research).

Contextual Intent supports multiple use cases, including whitespace scenarios (researching a new category of technology for the firm), expansion (current customer is researching additional products), displacement (potential customer take away), and churn.  Contextual Insights is tagging Whitespace, Expansion, and Displacement scenarios in its data feed, with Vendor Threat, Upgrade, and Migration tags in development.

“We provide insights surrounding the buyer’s journey about when the buyer is more likely to make a purchase decision. We can provide the context of when a customer indicates moving to an evaluating phase, further into a late stage buying cycle. We provide this context as researching or evaluating. We use NLP to determine when enough activity is detected that indicates a potential buying motion, where specific vendors or products are being considered.

Darcy Moss, HG Insights Product Marketing Director

The current offering employs bidstream data, which is potentially problematic as a long-term source of data gathering.  Congress has raised questions about the practice and tying online activity to individuals without consent is a violation of GDPR (Contextual Intent is tied to locations and accounts, not individuals).

“We are always evaluating additive intent supply to diversify our signals,” explained HG Insights Product Marketing Director Darcy Moss to GZ Consulting.  “We are sourcing from bid-stream as we develop and refine other techniques and methods.  Should any regulatory matters influence existing processes for us and the industry overall, we are confident that we will have a compliant and high-quality source and methodology to continue to provide Contextual Intent to our customers.”

For the direct data subscription product, customers have access to all topics regardless of their signal strength score.  Pricing for the data subscription is additive for the Contextual Intent offering.

The Great Reshuffle

According to LinkedIn, “The Great Reshuffle” has increased turnover amongst buyers and sellers, leading to greater deal risk.  Over the past three months, executive departures (Director and above) have increased by 31% globally.  Among sales reps, the rate is up 39%.  Thus, the likelihood of a deal being delayed due to a key member of the demand unit or sales team leaving has grown sharply.

Before the pandemic, the standard decay rate of contact records was between 25 and 30%.  If the rate has jumped by one-third, then the likelihood of a specific member of the buying committee departing over a three-month sales cycle is approaching ten percent.  Thus, a demand unit with six members will likely have one departure every three months, increasing the need for executive change alerts, multithreading of deals, and a deeper understanding of the demand unit.

If the deal is more complex, the odds of delays and stalled deals due to executive changes increase rapidly.  A six-month deal cycle with a dozen members of the demand unit (financial, technical, and functional decision-makers, purchasers, influencers, lawyers, compliance, etc.) could lose two or three members.  And that doesn’t even factor in the risk of churn on the vendor side.  What’s worse, single-threaded sales reps have close to a 20% risk that their champion leaves the company or assumes a different role over the deal lifecycle.

The renewal math becomes scary as well.  If the customer success team regularly interfaces with four individuals on the customer side, one or two of them may depart over the year, increasing churn risk.  Furthermore, a higher churn rate among customers necessitates greater administrative and training tasks.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 80% of sales reps have had a deal delayed or lost due to departures.

LinkedIn Senior Director of Global Sales James Burnette argued that multithreading is key to managing deal risk.  “Multithreading – i.e., forming relationships with multiple people on the buying committee at an account – is always a best practice.”  Burnette noted that sellers with at least four connections at an account are “16% more likely to close a deal with that company, compared to sellers who have less than four connections.”

“The most beneficial thing you can do right now is to learn how to master multithreading,” JB Sales Training Director Morgan Ingram said. “Gathering champions, influencers, and talking directly to the decision-makers is the key to success when it comes to closing deals faster in a difficult environment.”

Conversely, departures can foster relationships at new accounts, so knowing that a key demand unit member has departed is important for both risk mitigation at current opportunities and accounts and building relationships at new organizations.  LinkedIn can both flag executive departures and maintain an open line of communications with a champion after he or she has settled into a new position.

“Resources are scant with so many people exiting key roles, so there are opportunities where they might not have been opportunities in the past,” Assist You CEO Robert Knop said. “Look through your connections – there are uncovered sales there.”

Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst at Forrester, predicts that the Great Resignation will also impact marketing teams, with CMOs assembling more virtual teams consisting of freelance talent, fractional executives, and agency partners.

“We’re seeing clients in places like the Midwest having trouble keeping the talent they’ve built because their team members can get 25% more by working remotely for a New York agency. The distance and untethering from our geographies give people a lot more options, and they will minimize their pain and maximize their gain.  So, there will be some stress on those internal competencies.”

Job turnover is likely to continue in the near term. The labor market remains out of balance with 100 open jobs for every 75 unemployed professionals, driving the quit rate to 4.4 million in September, a record high.

“You’re essentially seeing demand continuing to increase without an offsetting increase in talent,” Ryan Sutton, a district director at staffing company Robert Half International. “Until some new talent comes in, until we get employees who are on the sidelines back into the market, it’s very likely this is going to continue.”

SaaS Sales Efficiency

RBC calculated sales efficiency for 72 public SaaS companies and found the average sales efficiency at .8X, meaning that public SaaS companies returned 80 cents for every dollar spent on sales and marketing in the previous year.

Sales Efficiency is defined as the revenue growth rate over a period divided by sales and marketing expense margin in the previous period:

According to OpenView Partners SaaS benchmarking report, “Sales and marketing spend peaks at 50% of ARR at the expansion stage.  Too many companies underinvest in sales productivity, saddling them with huge costs without the ROI…You should be carefully monitoring your sales efficiency and looking for ways to improve or maintain it year-over-year.  Look out for the ‘leaky bucket’ problem, where you spend significant sums to acquire new customers, but then they churn shortly thereafter (churn bait).“

As a general rule, firms with a sales efficiency less than 0.5 do not have a “sustainable investable growth model,” wrote startup advisor Anna Talerico in SaaSX.  A ratio between 0.5 and 1.0 is “much better;” however, “while this isn’t necessarily capital efficient (which would make it a hard ratio for a bootstrapped company to maintain for any length of time), it does indicate sales & marketing efficiency and many investors view this as acceptable.” Better yet, firms with a ratio above one have a “strong sales efficiency and a capital-efficient growth model.”  However, when the ratio is significantly above one, the firm may be underinvesting in sales and marketing and “leaving growth on the table.”

MSD 365 Customer Insights Enhancements

Microsoft has begun beta testing a set of enhancements to its Dynamics 365 Customer Insights CDP.  The upgrades focus on extending CDP capabilities into deeper insights and AI capabilities.  The new functionality will GA during the first half of 2021.

Engagement Insights, currently in preview, provides cross-channel analytics that assess customer behavior and intent across the web, mobile, connected devices, and other touchpoints.  Engagement Insights combines behavioral analytics with transactional, demographic, survey, and other data sets “to create interactive and rich insights that help drive the next best actions and personalized experiences.”

Engagement Insights begins with standard analytics around web site visitors, pages viewed, and visit duration.  A custom report builder lets marketers “curate the exact views to answer the business questions at hand.”  Funnel reports track customer journeys, identify gaps and opportunities, and inform next best actions.

“Engagement Insights is about directly funneling web, mobile and connected product data back into Customer Insights to help continue to enrich that understanding of the customer in order to better serve them.

James Phillips, President of Microsoft Business Applications.

Insights are deployed across the customer lifecycle and assist with personalizing offers, including presenting new product or services that better match customer needs.

“As everything’s gone digital, the need to deeply understand your customer and to increase the efficacy of those engagements has really been heightened through this pandemic,” said Phillips.

AI enhancements focus on better customer predictions.  The AI functionality employs Azure Synapse Analytics and includes a set of pre-built templates for predicting customer churn, automating product recommendations, and evaluating customer lifetime value.  The templates help marketers gather customer insights without requiring data science or IT professional support.

A new integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Voice captures customer sentiment and feedback.

According to Phillips, Customer Insights is the “fastest-growing application in the Dynamics 365 portfolio.”


Part II covers Customer Insights partnerships.