Predictive analytics company Fiind rolled out a set of product enhancements at the beginning of March to assist with company analysis, framing discussions, and identifying potential product issues. According to the company, “Fiind helps businesses find their customers efficiently using machine learning – by enabling marketers and sellers tune into signals that customers send prior to buying. Fiind’s library of over 100 million signals serves as a Customer GPS with answers to questions such as who is likely to buy (and what and why).”
The company announced the following additional insight visualization tools for sales reps:
Pitch Points – Guidance on signals and supporting points to script effective Sales pitch.
Forum Talks – Topics (technologies, complaints, issues, etc.) classified based on the discussions in the forums.
Success Stories – Case studies/success stories on tech usage
Top Picks – Visualize corporate hiring patterns
Survey Results – Run a survey (externally) and display the key findings (e.g. DB Admin for a DB product)
The Pitch Points feature identifies company insights and frames them within the context of a company’s product offerings.
Forums helps identify potential pain points based upon public forum discussions while case studies/success stories extract intelligence from published case studies.
Company Hiring patterns are useful for discerning the underlying technology and emerging staffing requirements at companies.
Fiind predictive scores and insight visualization tools are available via browsers, email alerts, Salesforce.com, and Microsoft Dynamics. They can also provide a “personal briefing agent” within Office 365 or Google Apps.
Prior to SalesLoft’s Rainmaker user conference, their VP of Product Marketing Sean Kester provided me with a demo and overview of the enhancements to their Account Based Sales Engagement Platform. The key product announcement is their new Live Call Studio which allows managers to monitor outbound calls. The firm will also be demonstrating enhanced Salesforce and Gmail connectors which support sales engagement intelligence and the Twilio dialer.
Amongst their new partners are Zoominfo, TalkIQ, and Vidyard which will provide company and contact details, call transcription, and video messaging services.
The other new feature is a “Draft on Behalf” service that allows reps to create emails to be sent from executive inboxes.
SalesLoft closed on a $15M Round B last month. The firm said that the funds would be used towards product, marketing, and opening an office in San Francisco. The 2017 product focus includes improved orchestration between sales, marketing, and supporting executives; enhanced insights and reports; expanded governance tools; role based workflow assignments; greater connectivity; and enhanced analytics.
Call Studio provides live coaching and feedback to help managers shape a consistent message. Call Studio assists with new hire training as well as upsell and cross-sell training for more experienced sales staff. The Studio displays a set of conversational tiles which track all current calls along with duration and participants. A manager can listen in on any call and provide feedback afterwards, whisper advice into the rep’s ear during the call, or join the conversation. Managers and trainers do not need to be at the same location as the Sales Development Reps (SDRs). Conversely, reps can digitally raise their hand if they need assistance and will feel more confident as they ramp up.
Kester noted that “Front line sales is one of the most difficult positions in a business. Live Call Studio reduces on-boarding time, coaching time, and increases rep effectiveness with the ability to coach from anywhere. Live coaching can quickly identify learning and advancement opportunities so that reps can stay motivated and be more productive.”
Call Studio will officially be launched at their Rainmaker conference during the first week of March and is currently live at ten accounts.
Draft on Behalf
SalesLoft will also be unveiling an as yet unnamed “Draft on behalf ” service which allows sales reps to write an email to be sent from company execs. The note includes subject, message, and recipients. The rep also provides an explanation of the request.
Once written, the CxO is sent an email with an overview of the request and a button to open the message. Executives can also view pending messages stored in a “Requests” tab queue.
The “Draft on behalf” feature will initially be available in Gmail with plans to extend the service to Outlook down the road.
Recently enhanced connectors include SalesLoft Connect in Gmail and Salesforce. The Gmail Connect tool displays SalesLoft in a new right-handed sidebar. SDRs can click-to-dial from within Gmail and view the live feed for the prospect. Other SalesLoft Connect for Gmail features include contact search, launching emails, and adding the message to SFDC. The contact profile includes a set of functions including
Add or remove from a cadence (templated SDR multi-channel messaging workflows)
View recent notes and activity
Flag as Do Not Contact
Link to social profiles
Open and edit SalesLoft profiles
View additional contact information
Connect in Salesforce is both Classic and Lightning-ready providing access to SalesLoft Cadences within SFDC. Features include the contact profile, SalesLoft Dialer, Cadence view, prospect activity view, and bi-directional synching between SalesLoft and Salesforce.
Finally, SalesLoft will be showing off three new ecosystem partners at Rainmaker. SalesLoft looks for partners that will offer a freemium strategy within their service, so that even SMBs can obtain benefits from SalesLoft partnerships.
Vidyard supports quick custom videos which help “humanize” SDR emails along with video playlists. Thus, an SDR could attach two short demos and a personalized introductory message. According to Kester, “adding a highly engaging video thumbnail to your email cadence in SalesLoft will help your emails stand out, boost click through rates, and send response rates soaring.”
Vidyard tracks which videos were watched and notifies sales reps.
Free Vidyard allows users access to all their features with limitations on the total number of videos hosted in their libraries along with some sharing limitations. The paid version offers a more robust library, organization, and hosting feature set.
TalkIQ provides integrated call transcription. Features include a summary tab, cross-call searching, audio clips, and coaching commentary. Premium features include analytics and admin-defined algorithms that automatically pull calls based on specific criteria. These calls will be displayed in a premium dashboard.
From within Chrome, users will have access to Zoominfo’s ReachOut connector which provides in-context account and contact information to SalesLoft. For example, an SDR could identify the perfect contact in LinkedIn, use the ReachOut extension to obtain contact information, and send company and contact details to SalesLoft to begin a cadence.
I generally avoid playing in the prognostications game. After all, it is difficult enough to understand what happened over the past year without projecting it forward or relying on simple extrapolation. Nevertheless, nothing prevents me from relaying a few of the more interesting sales and marketing related technology predictions during the Predictions Season (and you thought it was the holiday season!).
We’ve all heard “data science” creep into the CRM conversation over the past few quarters, but mostly as it relates to marketing. Although marketing was the first area to get predictive, the future for all three pillars (sales, marketing, and service) of CRM is predictive – taking advantage of the intelligence of the software to look forward, not just track progress. Some of the most interesting opportunities are in customer service, where better data about customer’s habits and the products and services they use can be used to proactively support them (think predictive maintenance of automobiles, for example). The concerns about customer data are less prevalent on the service front than in sales and marketing because they tend to opt in. The challenge for companies will be in addressing the human barriers to adopting process changes driven by more predictive and proactive CRM.
While I agree that marketing has taken the lead on predictive analytics with a focus on lead decisioning (e.g. scoring; nurturing vs. promoting to sales; customizing campaigns at the lead level based on behavioral, firmographic, and biographic forecasting) and best customer cloning (determining the “ideal customer” and providing similar leads), predictive has helped close the gap between sales and marketing.
For example, predictive scoring allows marketing to limit promotion to the top N percent of leads, resulting in much better set of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) being sent to sales. While fewer leads are being distributed over the Sales/Marketing Wall, they are of a much higher quality. Furthermore, because the leads are scored and the predictive companies are beginning to provide insights around those scores, sales can begin to develop confidence in the MQLs passed to them. The funnel attrition rate from marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads should decline sharply. This is a point made by Lattice Engines and reinforced by today’s strategic partnership announcement between Infer and InsightSquared.
You also will hear fewer arguments between the parties about lead quality. Marketing has long complained that sales ignored their leads while sales complained that marketing sent too many junk leads resulting in sales quickly cherry picking the lists. Predictive tools should help eliminate this infighting by emphasizing lead quality over volume while providing insight into which leads are dormant.
Likewise, nothing prevents sales reps and sales ops from playing the cloning game and identifying similar companies of their own. Historically, this was done via peer searching where reps took a single customer and found companies of a similar size in the same industry. Ideal Profiles allow for a similar process, but one based upon the attributes of a group of customers. These profiles are much more sophisticated in that they build their models from many customers instead of a single profile and utilize potentially thousands of business signals to determine the ideal profile. Furthermore, many of the business signals may have been previously unknown because they were not available.
We are also seeing sales acceleration tools that
Make sure that customer questions and requests aren’t ignored.
Provide updated profiles and alerts to reps prior to meetings.
Warn service departments of pending customer sales calls so that the problem is given a higher priority.
Deliver messaging advice to reps around what to say and which products to lead with.
Thus, predictive analytics and machine learning are becoming more proactive and prescriptive. The next few years are likely to transform marketing, sales, and customer support.