Outreach Guide

Outreach announced the general availability of Outreach Guide, its new revenue intelligence and deal management solution.  Guide provides real-time conversation intelligence, best practice action plans, and “deal health at a glance.”  Outreach also announced administrative enhancements to its Engage product and a “deep integration” with ABX Platform 6sense.

Outreach Guide, Engage, and Commit act as the “foundation” of Outreach’s sales execution platform, supporting revenue organizations across the full customer sales cycle “from prospecting for new business opportunities to deal management to sales forecasting.”

Outreach’s Customer Lifecycle loop.

Outreach aims to create a “single system of execution” that helps revenue organizations meet their full potential and address issues with prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.

To help address this “sales execution gap,” Machine learning models “learn from the actions taken in our platform and generate data-driven, predictive, real-time insights that recommend actions for users to take to improve their sales execution,” said CEO Manny Medina.

Outreach Guide supports three core capabilities:

  • Deal Health Scores: The Deal Health Score employs machine learning to predict deal health.  It also provides deal insights, recommended actions, and where to focus.  In addition, deal Health displays positive and negative indicators (e.g., stuck in current stage, no recent inbound emails, recent executive engagement). 

    Deal Health signals deals at risk to both the sales rep and sales management, providing an opportunity to address problems and adjust forecasts.

    Deal Health scores can be viewed in the aggregate as well, providing a neutral perspective on how each deal is proceeding versus comparable opportunities.

    Deal Health scores are currently in beta.
  • Kaia Real-time assistance and conversation intelligence: Kaia offers real-time call transcription, content cards, and context-based rep enablement during Zoom and Microsoft teams meetings.  After meetings, Kaia streamlines meeting summaries with AI-captured action items and follow-ups.  As a result, Outreach claims rep productivity increases by nearly 30%, and the likelihood of scheduling a follow-up meeting jumps by 36%.

    Kaia is linguistically customized for each client, capturing product names and competitors as keywords.  During a call, content cards display real-time sales aides, such as product summaries or technical notes.  Content cards provide quick cheat sheets on product value, pricing, or integrations (see the example on the right).

    By removing notetaking and displaying content cards, Kaia allows sales reps to be more present during calls and pitch with greater confidence;  instead of pausing a meeting to jot down notes, sales reps can quickly add a bookmark or short meeting note.
  • Automated and collaborative purchasing through Success Plans: Success Plans foster collaboration between buyers and sellers with detailed online purchase action plans that include a timeline, success criteria, resources, and team views.  Collaborative action plans align stakeholders, build buyer trust, ensure timely stakeholder engagement, and provide internal stakeholders with prospect engagement and deal progress.  Outreach claims that reps who closely monitor Success Plans enjoy a 13% bump in close rates.

“The buying team has all the information related to the deal in a central place, and all teams are aligned to clearly understand each other’s goals, interactions, and requirements essential for driving long-term success, delivering an unparalleled buying experience throughout the entire selling process,” stated Director of Product Marketing Elizabeth Dailing.

Furthermore, Success Plans are available to Customer Success teams when onboarding new customers, helping streamline handoffs.

The Team view helps track who is involved from the buying team and how engaged they are, how recently they were engaged, and what content they viewed.

Outreach Guide is designed to address the “Sales Execution Gap.”

Outreach also announced a set of administrative and data privacy enhancements to its Engage service:

  1. Trigger Enhancements – A streamlined trigger builder improves the creation, management, and discovery of triggers.  The refreshed trigger builder is aligned with traditional CRM language and supports multiple values per condition, drag-and-drop action reordering, and simplified condition group creation.
  2. New Outlook-Add In – A native integration lets reps ‘Send’ emails from Outlook and send and sync “relevant emails to Outreach, as well as insert their available times or add a link to their calendar.”  Outreach will also flag opted-out communications in Outlook and prevent them from being sent or added to a sequence.
  3. Microsoft Graph Integration
  4. Data Retention in Outreach Voice Recordings – Admins can configure data retention policies such as deleting data as a one-time event or setting up regular data deletions for Outreach Voice Recordings.

Additionally, Outreach announced an Irish Datacenter for Outreach Engage, meeting EU data residency requirements for GDPR compliance. “The EU Datacenter for Outreach Engage allows an organization’s data to be stored in a specific geographic location,” blogged Caroline Shin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach.  “This means customer-owned data associated with those Outreach instances including prospects, accounts, organizations, and workflow data such as sequences and meetings will be stored and contained within the EU infrastructure.”

Salesloft Forecast Launched

Salesloft’s new Forecast module ingests deal data from multiple platforms, allowing sales professionals to review deals and take actions necessary to stay on track.

Salesloft continues to extend its value proposition beyond sales engagement and conversational intelligence into deal forecasting and revenue intelligence.  Its new Forecast capability, bundled with the Enterprise edition, is available as part of Salesloft’s Spring ’22 Release.  Other spring enhancements include Multi-language Support for Conversations, Out-of-Office Detection, and mobile updates.

Salesloft noted that forecasting remains a “disjointed and manual process” often conducted with spreadsheets.  Sales professionals must collect information from disconnected systems and often deliver inaccurate numbers that waste “valuable selling time.”  What’s more, manual processes provide few insights for improving sales results and aren’t actionable.  Thus, significant resources are expended coming to a forecast number, but by the time the CSO or CRO rolls it up to the CEO, the forecast is a black box number based on quickly aging data with few actionable insights.

The disjointed forecasting process (Source: Salesloft)

“Forecasting is a critical process for every revenue organization,” said Salesloft CPO Ellie Fields.  “But when sellers use spreadsheets, there’s a high risk of user error and acting on old data.  Spreadsheets aren’t scalable, are incredibly manual, ungoverned, and only serve as a snapshot in time.  There’s no context to help sellers look ahead.”

In a presentation to GZ Consulting, SVP of Product Management Frank Dale emphasized that Salesloft is looking to stay in the “revenue lane” focusing on “what happens between the buyer and the seller.”  Forecasting falls within the revenue lane as it “leverages the data generated from interactions between buyers and sellers.”  Furthermore, forecasting should not be separate from revenue generation.  It isn’t simply calling a number but “taking action to make that number.”

The revenue lane “covers all core selling jobs” and tasks, including driving demand, generating pipeline, managing deals, and engaging customers.

“Revenue teams don’t want a forecast.  They want a real-time, adaptive week-by-week action plan to beat their number.  That’s not what forecasting is today.  Forecasting, as it is done today, sucks.  For most revenue teams, it is something they have to do, not something they want to do.  That’s because the tools they have available make just getting to a forecast number difficult and time-consuming.  What’s worse is that they don’t often trust the number they arrive at.  That’s a big problem.  It’s hard to know where to spend your time when you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is accurate.”

Salesloft SVP of Product Management Frank Dale

The Salesloft Modern Revenue Workspace is built on three pillars: Connecting with buyers, improving interactions with customers and prospects based on the data that is generated from interactions, and aligning the team around best practices.  Forecasting falls into the alignment pillar but is designed to support connection and feedback.

“There is a huge gap.  The gap is not necessarily about calling the number, but it is more about the action plan on that number,” explained Senior Director of Product Management Anshu Chowdhery to GZ Consulting.  Salesloft set two goals for its Forecast launch: A shared workflow for gathering deal intelligence and turning it into a forecast; and the ability to achieve that number. 

Salesloft Forecast capabilities include

  • Forecasts are rolled up across the organization. 
  • Users can drill down to opportunities and track changes in the pipeline.  They can also take action from within Forecast.
  • An AI-driven forecast model employs “sales engagement data and historical performance to dial in on what’s likely to land, and what you can influence.”
  • Forecasts are based on AI models and engagement data gathered by Salesloft. 

“What we’re building is an integrated, whole system,” remarked Dale.  “We’re integrating all of the activity capture from Cadence, all of the conversation data and capture from our conversation intelligence product, the CRM data from our deals product, and then the ability to turn around and take action again through our cadence product once you’ve made the call.”

“This forecasting product is built on top of [our] Deals product,” expanded Chowdhery.  “Deals bi-directionally syncs with Salesforce.  So, everything that lives on Salesforce is in Deals, and that’s the significant advantage of [our] forecasting solution.  We are able to sync everything and pull all information, not only from Salesforce but across our platform – every engagement that’s happening on the cadence side or conversation side.  The sales leader has the ability to view that timeline and identify…[whether] no conversations happened in the last thirty days; this deal is at risk; what should I do in order to win that deal?”

A Weekly Opportunity Changes view lists all of the changes to amounts, close dates, and stages over the past week and how those changes impact the forecast, providing a dynamic view of weekly activity.

Dale stated that Forecast provides value across the revenue team.  Frontline sales management has greater visibility into the pipeline, and Forecast provides sales reps “a true read on what they need to do to land and hit their number.”  In addition, both reps and managers benefit from reduced busy work in managing pipeline updates. 

Dale contends that daily administrative work for reps is reduced by an hour by streamlining the forecasting and updating process.

While Forecast focuses on new business forecasting, future enhancements will support renewal forecasting and run-rate forecasting (i.e., intra-period deals).  Also, Salesloft will continue to build out its analytics and plans to release Vulnerable Opportunities Notifications for flagging at-risk opportunities.

Forecast provides a common workflow that rolls up deal intelligence across the organization.  Users can drill down into specific deals and take actions, greatly improving insights and actionability.  “This is a seamless workflow for the reps and honestly, across the entire revenue organization to submit their forecasts and submit their number,” said Chowdhery.

Salesloft’s Forecasting workflow.

A modern forecasting system must be part of your sales execution system,” blogged Fields.  “The information about your deals in flight – who’s contacting the customer, what meetings were had and what was said, how the customer responds — is the foundational information that your forecast rests on.  If you’re using a sales engagement platform, all of that activity is already being tracked automatically, without your sellers needing to spend time logging their activities.  Meetings and calls are recorded and searchable so you can review that pivotal moment with the buyer.”

“Forecasting under-delivers when the end result is just a number,” continued Fields.  “The end result should be a set of actions you can take to deliver better results.  To do that, you need to not only see a number, but you need to see areas of softness and strength, important deal gaps, and opportunities.  You need to recognize that the East team will need your support this quarter, but that the West will probably overachieve.  You need to know where to spend your team’s time most productively to get over the line.”

Dale emphasized the importance of cross-product workflows aligned with “things people actually want to do.”  Unfortunately, vendors often build technology that “chases a problem” or is designed to answer checklist questions about functionality.  Salesloft “starts with problems people have and then builds solutions to match that.  So anytime you see us build something like forecasting, we’re building it based on what people are actually trying to do.”  Forecasting was built because it was a regular customer request.

Submitted forecasts show progress towards goal and a comparison vs. the prior week.

Forecasting builds on Salesloft’s pipeline management and deals product, including its AI-powered Deal Engagement Scores released last June and Deal Progression Indicators released last November.

Salesloft claims that its new Forecast module transforms forecasting “from a burdensome task into a strategic action plan to close more revenue.”  Revenue estimates and deal close dates are derived from real-time data and employ “multiple forecasting techniques to make it easy to see where the team’s performance is trending.”  AI helps identify missed opportunities and deals at risk, letting reps mitigate deal risk and factor it into pipeline estimates.  As Forecast is native to Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace, managers can assign follow-ups or add deal notes within the Salesloft workflow.

“With Forecast, customers have the visibility, intelligence, and workflow to close deals more consistently and act upon unrealized opportunities,” stated the firm.

“Forecast by Salesloft is an intelligent solution with strong data governance, so there’s less room for errors,” stated Fields.  “Sellers can forecast and take action on those deals from the same platform.  When sales managers have real-time visibility and the ability to drill down, coaching sellers and taking action happens naturally, leading to better deal outcomes.”

Zoom IQ for Sales

Zoom Video Communications announced the availability of its new Zoom IQ for Sales conversational intelligence add-on for Zoom Meetings.  Zoom Phone support for Zoom IQ is in development.

“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings.  Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin.  “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”

Zoom IQ for Sales conversational analytics

Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.”  The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange.  Insights include

  • Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
  • Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
  • Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
  • Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
  • Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
  • Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.

AI provides a set of sentiment and engagement scores that assist with deal risk and health assessments.  Other features include transcription highlights, filler word frequency, and talk speed.

Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision.  General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.

Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars.  Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.

Zoom Sales IQ Playlists

“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI.  “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague.  Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”

Zoom IQ for Sales places Zoom in competition with many of its partners, including Salesloft, Outreach, Chorus, and Gong.

TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI.  Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”

“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers.  “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”

Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.

“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights.  This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”

Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events.  During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations.  Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.

Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.

Outreach Deal Intelligence

The Outreach Deal Summary provides an opportunity overview, recent activity, and access to Kaia, Commit, and Success Plans.

Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach will be rolling out AI-Guided Deal Intelligence in 2022.  The new Deal Insights functionality provides a consolidated opportunity view that includes a deal overview, deal health, risks, and next best action recommendations from a single pane of glass.

“Deal Intelligence doesn’t just warn you a deal is off track but will actually guide you to help understand what you can do now, in the moment, to change the outcome,” explained Senior Communications Manager Amanda Woolley to GZ Consulting.  “Deal Intelligence is going to reach across the Outreach platform and gather signals from all facets of the platform and throughout the customer journey and move from risk identification into action.”

Many of the components of Deal Intelligence such as Sentiment Analysis, Success Plans, Kaia, Commit, and engagement monitoring already exist in the Outreach platform, with the new Deal Intelligence tying together data and insights from the various modules and summarizing them with deal health and next best action recommendations.

“Built on the foundation of our deep machine learning tools like Kaia, Intent, title classification, and more, Deal Intelligence will help remove some of the “best guesses” we revenue leaders have been doing,” explained Outreach CRO Anna Baird.  “Deal Intelligence will be gathering signals and let us know – not only when we have a risk – but what we can do to change the outcome!  It’s not just a warning light, but a full explanation of how to correct the issue.  Deal Intelligence will bring true transparency to opportunity management and help us get to that predictable revenue goal we all want.”

Deal intelligence is gathered across the deal lifecycle and ongoing customer interactions, including sequences, email sentiment, calendaring, Outreach Kaia (conversational intelligence and real-time recommendations), Success Plans (digital salesrooms), and Outreach Commit (pipeline health and forecasting).

“The current ML model looks at the multiple factors and compares them across benchmarks we have collected to derive the [Health Insights] score,” explained Woolley.  “Some of the key top-level factors included Decision-maker engagement, activity across email and calls, meeting analysis as well as interaction within Success Plan.  For every deal, the ML model determines which factors are positive (‘green flag’) or negative polarity (‘red flag’).”

Both red and green flags are displayed in Deal Intelligence.  The Deal Intelligence service summarizes relevant signals, but “given the number of signals captured, it is very hard for a sales rep to drill through every deal.”  Outreach’s goal is to “surface all the relevant information for the sales rep in a unified view with the ability to drill deeper as well as take action from within Outreach.”

“Sales reps only succeed when they take the right actions to close deals, yet for far too long they have lacked true visibility into the health of their deals and are forced to turn to intuition and guesswork to select the next best actions to take. Sales leaders and reps have to contend with disparate, dated sales technologies as they strive for an accurate understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast.  CRM solutions provide a way to store data but rely on extensive tedious manual data entry from sales reps, often resulting in a “garbage-in garbage-out” situation that does not help reps or managers make confident decisions.  Point solutions like conversation intelligence offer a way to record conversations and glean insights hours or days later, but at best, they can tell what the reps’ next actions in other systems should be. All are failing to deliver deal observability. And none of them give real-time deal intelligence to sales reps and seamlessly automate the next actions all in one continuous experience.  Until now, that is.”

Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage

Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of Outreach deal health analytics across the deal lifecycle.

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.”

Chili Events

The name of the game in Revenue Acceleration is Digital Engagement. There are many forms of engagement that are now being captured (emails, chat, meetings, webinars, etc.), but offline events seemed to be beyond the scope of capture; however, Chili Piper, the calendaring company, has designed tools for scheduling meetings at trade shows and from trade show floors.

The new Chili Events service offers an “all-in-one Event Meetings Management solution for generating more meetings and maximizing ROI from in-person conferences and trade shows.”  In short, Chili is looking to facilitate meetings and gather engagement data from in-person events.

As in-person events return, it is vital to gather registration data as event attendees are likely to be part of the demand unit.  According to Chili Piper, “81% of conference and trade show attendees have buying authority.”

“In-person events are hugely important for B2B revenue teams,” said Chili Piper CEO Nicolas Vandenberghe.  “With Chili Events, we’re making it possible for marketing and sales to not just automate booking conference and trade show meetings with key prospects and customers, but to treat those meetings like any other digital touchpoint in the customer journey, with quantifiable results and data.”

Chili Event Reminders support a rescheduling link.

Chili Events features include URLs to pre-book meetings, meeting space availability, unified meeting calendars, automated reminders and rescheduling via email and SMS, and an event management dashboard.  Chili Events are integrated with GSuite and Outlook365. Additionally, check-ins and no-shows are synced to Salesforce Campaigns.

Chili Events also supports meeting scheduling from trade booth floors via QR codes for mobile phones, computers at the booth, or register on the prospect’s behalf via Chili’s Instant Booker Scheduler.

Engagement intelligence supports multiple revenue acceleration features including engagement scoring, deal health signals, and deal risk alerts. It can also be used to identify and upload missing contacts in the CRM and build out the buying committee.

Market Flash: Outreach Acquires Canopy and Launches Outreach Commit (Part II)

Continuing from yesterday’s post that discussed revenue innovation and the Sales Execution Gap. Today I am discussing their new Outreach Commit and Outreach Success Plans.


Outreach Commit, based on their Canopy acquisition, offers sales analytics and forecasting capabilities that augment Outreach’s AI-based buyer sentiment and Success Plans, providing Outreach customers with “true visibility across the entire revenue cycle.”

“The use of deep learning and big data has the potential to transform B2B forecasting in the same way it has transformed B2C forecasting. Such changes are shifting the emphasis on forecasting from predicting the number to beating the number…Reliable activity data allows sales leaders, for example, to drive more rigorous pipeline reviews and estimate forecasts with greater confidence.  It allows companies to discover and capture data about prospects and customers that previously lived in the realm of the ‘shadow pipeline’ — that murky world of secret selling that organizations have traditionally been blind to.”

Forrester Research Principal Analyst Anthony McPartlin, “Enabling B2B Interaction Visibility In A Converging Sales Tech Landscape” (June 2021)

Commit provides a flexible forecasting model with multi-level views, allowing managers to view a probabilistic model of outcomes for multiple periods and teams based upon prior win-loss histories, current pipeline, and adjustable assumptions.  Revenue forecasts are broken into Booked, Weighted Pipeline, and Intra-period high-velocity deals (i.e., projected new opportunities that are not in the pipeline but will close before the end of the period).  In addition, models can be adjusted to account for events external to the model (e.g., new product launches, tradeshow held earlier or late in the quarter, economic shocks).  The underlying KPIs that drive the models are selectable when setting them up, with the model updating every fifteen minutes.

Outreach Commit supports dynamic forecasting with bear, bull, and most likely outcomes.

Commit provides individualized rep scorecards based on company KPIs.  Managers can set targets, coach to outcomes, and level up their team.  Managerial note-taking helps them track 1:1’s, assign tasks, and track completion.

Commit supports active deal monitoring that flags deal risks and delivers insights.  “Signals notify leaders of the things they need to know today.  From opportunity risk identification to shifts in top of funnel metrics, Signals act as your eyes and ears–ensuring your frontline leaders are focused on what matters most to your business.”  Deal risk is significantly reduced when issues are flagged early to reps, and managers can provide on-demand coaching to address nascent problems.

Commit also supports Custom Signals.  Revenue Operations sets custom thresholds and unique parameters.

At a recent analyst briefing, Outreach management emphasized that they offer a tripartite value proposition: Engage (Sales Engagement), Guide (Kaia Conversation Intelligence), and Commit (Outreach Commit).

“To achieve predictable, efficient growth, every organization needs to engage with their buyers, guide their sellers through strong sales cycles, and then commit the number with confidence.”

Canopy deal terms were not disclosed.  All nine employees have joined Outreach. The startup, founded in 2019, had raised $2.1 million.

Outreach also provided updates on Outreach Kaia and Success Plans at its Unleash event.  Kaia, its Conversation Intelligence platform that was developed in-house, is adding real-time talk analytics, Comprehensive Search, Saved Search, and Outreach Voice Import.  The new capabilities will be available by the end of the month.

Call analytics provide real-time talk-time visibility, letting reps self-correct if they are speaking too much.

Comprehensive Search provides managers with access to notes, content cards, action items, and transcripts across the sales organization.  Additionally, both meeting platform intelligence and Outreach Voice cold calls are included.  Thus, “leaders can identify trends and risks across teams and at various stages of the sales cycle.”

Saved Search Alerts provide scheduled intelligence on key topics, allowing managers to track competitors, pricing, functional requests, etc.

Outreach Voice Import supports post-call analysis of Outreach Voice and Microsoft Teams.  Fully integrated support for Teams is scheduled for 2022.

Outreach warns RevOps not to trust the algorithm blindly. Instead, revenue teams should understand “the math behind every forecast to see what’s actually driving the number.”  Accordingly, Outreach maintains the fidelity of data signals such as engagement and sentiment through transparency that displays “every opportunity and signals where sellers should take action.”

“Canopy’s Augmented Revenue Analysis engine combines advanced statistical modeling with machine learning and artificial intelligence,” states the Canopy website.  “Simply put, we show our math.  Instead of black box predictions, we show you every trend and variable driving our predictions, ensuring you have access to every data point necessary to confidently call your business.”

Users can also review “where you started and where you finished,” providing a post-mortem period review that “pinpoints slippage, forecasting variance, and conversion rates across any data point from any time window.”  They can also generate “what if” scenarios with multiple assumptions.

Outreach Success Plans provide a shared portal for buyers and sellers to exchange timelines, success criteria, resources, and people.

Outreach Success Plans, which were announced back in May, will be generally available on October 27.  Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability in a shared deal room.  They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines.  Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents.  Only invited individuals can participate in the Success Plans.

Success Plans provide an additional set of engagement intelligence for tracking deal risks and momentum.  The Opportunity View includes Success Plan views, comments, resource downloads, and shares, providing engagement insights specific to deal planning and document sharing.

Outreach Success Plans deliver “unparalleled visibility into pipeline opportunities and risks,” blogged VP of Product Marketing Victoria Grady.

Outreach claims that two-thirds of buyers have “stopped working with a company mid-deal, simply because the competitor provided a better buying experience.”  Thus, streamlining the document sharing process, framing the timeline, and agreeing on success criteria not only facilitates the process and improves deal visibility but improves the likelihood of winning each deal. Outreach supports 5,000 customers, including 19 of the 25 fastest-growing public companies and more than 60% of the Cloud 100.

Salesloft and the Modern Revenue Workspace (Part II)

Continued from Part I


Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter suggested that the answer to overwhelmed sales reps is not more technology and data but better-designed tools and workflows that address the “Revenue Performance Gap.”  Salesloft’s Modern Revenue Workspace offers

  • “Proper insights at the right time
  • The ability to take action
  • The ability to communicate
  • The coachable moment”

Instead of a series of tools, Salesloft is positioning itself as one of Gartner’s “alpha platforms” that broadly ties together sales workflows and channels.  Gartner noted a set of attributes of these platforms:

– “Alpha Platforms are hyper-aggressive vendors who are broadening capabilities at a breakneck speed. 

– It’s not just M&A, some companies will evolve into alpha platforms by building capabilities. This is totally doable, they just have to be able to work fast.

– Alpha platforms aren’t necessarily buying competitors in the same category – they are buying into adjacent categories.”

Gartner Analysts Craig Rosenberg and Dan Gottlieb, “Sales Tech Mayhem: 39 Observations From a Scorching Hot Tech Market,” Garter Blog (July 28, 2021)

“It’s a time to tell a new story about sales and provide you with a complete, digital go-to-market solutions your sellers and sales teams need,” said Porter.

The Salesloft Platform supports Deals, Conversations, Cadences, a partner ecosystem, administration, and governance

According to Salesloft Chief Product Officer Ellie Fields, this advanced sales platform is “built for sellers.”  It reduces workflow friction, allowing reps to “take faster action” and prioritize their time.  The platform also serves as a centralized engagement hub with the “most critical tools for digital selling,” including email, phone, SMS, meetings, social, etc.

The Modern Revenue Workspace deploys data and AI within the workflow, delivering insights such as the most engaged prospects, deals at risk, and “trends that improve outcomes.”

The Salesloft platform acts as a hub for digital selling, driving alignment across the revenue team.  Along with Deals, Conversations, and Cadences, the platform synchronizes data with a system of record (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, or HubSpot) and supports sales intelligence and workflows with over 115 ecosystem partners.

The new release is based on a set of advanced objectives:

  • Take Action Anywhere – Communications channels are available throughout the platform.  For example, reps can call, email, book a meeting, or send an SMS message within the Deals view.  Digital communications are then captured and analyzed, helping identify “the most engaged prospects, stalled but winnable deals, and trends that help revenue teams adjust course to improve performance.”
  • Know What Changed in Your Deal – Reports identify which opportunities were updated, how long the deal is in the current stage, and whether the close date or amount changed.  For example, progression indicators are now displayed in Pipeline Review and Deals reports.
  • Enterprise Ready Conversations – Salesloft continues to enhance its communications channels with support for Microsoft Teams, native Zoom and WebEx support, improved transcription, and governance enhancements.  The native Zoom support is more reliable than the previous bot tool.  Salesloft also added Consent to Record for MS Teams and will be adding it for other platforms and its dialer.  They also added English language recording announcements with additional language announcements in development.

    The enhanced Conversations transcription engine offers “improved accuracy, searchability, and filtering” that helps managers and sellers “easily identify buyer and market trends and coaching opportunities to set more meetings, build more pipeline, speed deal cycles, and improve the chances of winning more deals.” 

    A new Conversations Summary is delivered to inboxes.
  • Unify Communications across Channels – Conversations in Activity Feed provide updates on important meetings.
  • Understand Outcomes across the Platform – Outcomes in Step Analytics identify which steps are working, helping improve Cadences.
  • Insights Anywhere – A Meetings panel on the home page summarizes pending meetings to assist with call prep.
  • Automate No-Show Workflows – New cadence workflows help reps reschedule missed meetings.  A “partial show” workflow also provides the call hyperlink and summary to those who missed a meeting.

At a high level, the goal is to remove friction in the sales process by reducing the need to jump from app to app.  Instead, reps can engage with shareholders and obtain insights from anywhere in Salesloft.

Future items include SHAKEN/STIRRED registration, native Google Meeting support, and Salesforce Event field logging.

The Salesloft Opportunity Dashboard supports custom coloring for Deal Gaps to highlight deals most at risk.