ZoomInfo Elaborates on MarketingOS during Earnings Call

ZoomInfo continued its rapid growth, posting GAAP revenue of $222.3 million, up 59% year-over-year.  Growth was both organic (52%) and via acquisitions (7%), with a net retention rate of 116%, up from 108% in 2020.  Revenue grew 13% on a sequential basis.

Roughly half the increase in net retention was due to new functionality, and half was due to improvements in gross retention and lower down-sell rates associated with the initial shock of COVID in 2020.

High-level MarketingOS functionality (Source: ZoomInfo briefing)

CEO Henry Schuck is bullish about their new MarketingOS offering as part of RevOS.  Since acquiring Clickagy 16 months ago, the firm has been building out ABM expertise in its engineering, product, strategy, and customer success teams to bring the new marketing suite to market.

“In all of our prelaunch diligence, we heard over and over again that the applications that marketers were leveraging to do account-based marketing were falling short for one main reason,” detailed Schuck.  “The data being leveraged in those platforms was both inaccurate and incomplete.  And that’s no surprise.  Today’s ABM platforms were all designed to leverage a company’s own first-party data that exists in their CRM or marketing automation system.”

“And in 15 years of running ZoomInfo, I’ve never heard a rep manager or revenue leader describe that type of data as either complete or accurate.  Yet without accurate and complete data, marketers aim advertising dollars at the wrong company and target the wrong people at those companies.  They deliver fruitless leads to sales, which erodes confidence and fails to build alignment between sales and marketing.  So, we built MarketingOS the same way we build every application with our best-in-class data at the foundation of the application layer…

For today’s B2B revenue teams, data, insights, technology, and orchestration are core to the motion they use to market and sell their products.  But these capabilities are siloed.  Some can be found in marketing tech or revenue operations, while others are in the sales tech stack.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

MarketingOS also benefits from ZoomInfo’s longstanding presence among sales teams, improving the credibility of marketing data and removing channel conflict induced by sales and marketing standardizing on different third-party reference databases.

According to Schuck, the RevOS positioning helps reps better explain ZoomInfo’s broad value proposition:

“What RevOS does for us, and what the different platform and product pillars do for us, is it gives us a cohesive story that we can tell all across our business from our enterprise business to our mid-market business to our SMB business. And we believe that the products that we’ve put together have applicability across customers of all sizes…What it does from an enablement perspective is it gives our sellers the ability to go into those conversations in a way that allows them to articulate the broad spectrum of the platform in a way that our customers are understanding much more clearly.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

It test-marketed the RevOS positioning in December and January and found that the updated messaging raised both the win rate and average sales price.  RevOS messaging helps reps position Chorus, RingLead, and Engage at the beginning of conversations.

ZoomInfo now presents itself as a best-of-breed platform that replaces disparate elements of the sales and marketing tech stacks.

ZoomInfo, which announced the RevOS ABM Platform last week, is positioning itself as a best-of-breed platform for revenue teams.  ZoomInfo offers a unified platform for sales and marketing, removing the need to stitch together many point solutions that address individual workflows or problems.  With over 10,000 MarTech solutions alone (according to Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec), selecting and integrating many services has become increasingly difficult.  Conversely, go-to-market platforms such as ZoomInfo ABM Platform manage data, workflow, analytics, forecasting, and communications.

ZoomInfo is not looking to displace systems of record such as CRMs or MAPs but to synchronize with them and enrich their data.  For the past few years, it has been growing beyond traditional sales intelligence (companies, contacts, technographics, event triggers) to workflow, data orchestration, and engagement tools (webforms, visitor intelligence, programmatic marketing, chat, triggered workflows, sales cadences, engagement analytics, conversational intelligence, pipeline forecasting, etc.).  In 2021 it shifted from content acquisitions (e.g., Zoom Information contacts, Clickagy intent, Everstring business graphs) to orchestration (e.g., RingLead) and Engagement (e.g., Insent chat and Chorus Conversational Intelligence and forecasting) acquisitions. 

Likewise, ZoomInfo’s expanded product offerings support Sales Engagement, Recruitment, and ABM.

“We significantly expanded our offering by developing an application layer on top of our best-in-class data assets and acquiring and quickly integrating chat conversation intelligence and orchestration technology into the platform,” explained Schuck.  “These innovations enabled us to add more new customers than ever before and drove increasing levels of sales to existing customers and record net revenue retention of 116%, up from 108% in 2020.”

From a GTM perspective, ZoomInfo is not looking to verticalize its platform but focus more on functional specialization.  As a result, the new RevOS platform positioning focuses on four functions: Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Recruitment.

“It’s more aligned around personas that we sell to,” explained Schuck.  “The new packaging and models that we’re rolling out are aligned around persona, so a sales persona, a marketing persona, an operations persona, and a recruiter and talent acquisition persona.  And that’s the way we really think about our offering and the way that we take them to market.”

SalesLoft Hits $100M ARR

Sales Engagement Platform SalesLoft announced that it hit the $100 million ARR mark, following 50% growth over the past year.  Since announcing its unicorn valuation in January ($1.1 billion), the firm has grown revenue by nearly 40%.  Last quarter, it “far exceeded its financial plan.”

It took roughly nine quarters to double their ARR.

SalesLoft ranked 1210 on the Inc. 5000 2021 list.  SalesLoft revenue grew 401% over the past three years, a 71% CAGR.

“Everything we’re doing is coming back to, ‘how do we empower our customers to deliver their customers with an amazing sales experience?'”

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

SalesLoft, which opened an EMEA office in April 2019, has grown revenue 125% in the European market over the trailing twelve months.  It plans to increase its European staff by 120% over the next year and open a German data center.

Its top markets in EMEA are the UK, Ireland, France, and Germany.

SalesLoft benefited from being the first SEP with a European office.  While the revenue team can create content in any language, the UI remains English only.  Their NLP is English only, but Porter anticipates supporting additional languages for conversational intelligence “in a very short time.”

SalesLoft is also enjoying strong growth in APAC even though it lacks a physical presence in the region.

“While we don’t have physical locations in Asia, we have many customers there and in Australia,” Porter told GZ Consulting.  “We have many customers that are US-based businesses with operations there. So we’re global in our customer base and usage of the application, but we don’t have feet on the street in the Asian or Australian market yet.”

The pandemic has driven demand into new segments as companies are looking to establish new communications channels with the loss of trade shows and face-to-face meetings.  Customer growth has been “across the board.”  SalesLoft has “really expanded to Main Street” as firms realized they needed to adopt a “digital sales motion.”

The pandemic “brought about some, incredible businesses that traditionally took a little bit longer to buy Sales Engagement,” explained Porter.  “We’ve got companies like 3M and Liberty Mutual and McGraw Hill and S&P and carpet manufacturers. It’s moved outside of tech to manufacturers, health care, financial services, [and] a number of different professional services. That’s been one of the great lessons learned post-pandemic.”

“As companies have pivoted to a full digital selling motion, SalesLoft has become a mission-critical partner and platform,” wrote the firm.  “Only SalesLoft combines the three most critical products in digital selling – Cadence for managing multi-channel communications, Conversations for recording and analyzing meetings, and Deals for managing opportunities and pipeline.”


Continue to Part II which discusses the addition of Calendly CEO Tope Antowana to SalesLoft’s board.

Cognism Growth

UK Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism continues its rapid growth with $11.5 million in 2020 revenue.  CEO James Isilay anticipates 2021 revenue of $20 million.  ACV is around $14,000 with over 1,000 customers.

Cognism had an initial one-month hiccup due to COVID as customers in the recruitment and events space were hit hard, and the firm needed to transition to a WFH sales environment.  However, the firm is back to growing “and hitting its targets every month.”

“COVID helped us get way more efficient.  We didn’t need an office anymore, it slowed our headcount growth,” said Isilay.” We really have an engine now where we can just put more money into headcount in terms of SDRs or into marketing and then get more growth.  So it’s really just a question of how much we want to put the foot down on the pedal.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

By the end of October, employment hit 179 with sixty headcount in Croatia and Macedonia.

When the firm acquired email signature marketing vendor Mailtastic back in May, they paid roughly $4 million for the company in a stock and cash deal.

Mailtastic’s net retention is around 110%, and the prospecting service is approaching 90%.  However, there is a high percentage of returning customers post-churn.  The company started in the SMB space and has moved up-market, so net retention should improve.

While the firm has a negative cash flow, it burns only $200K per month with six to seven million from the last raise sitting in the bank.  The August funding round valued the firm at a bit under $100 million.

Cognism offers sales intelligence, B2B DaaS, and sales engagement services. It maintains over 55 million European company profiles.

TechTarget Q3 2020 Earnings

After a weak second quarter, TechTarget’s revenue rebounded in Q3, rising 7% to $36.2 million (it was 1% in Q2).  Year-to-date revenue hit $102.5 million, up 4.5%.  Long-term revenues, which are primarily subscription contracts to Priority Engine, represented 35% of revenue, the same percentage as Q3 2019.  International sales are up 30%, with strength in both lead-gen services and Priority Engine.

Priority Engine revenue grew 4% during the quarter, with growth slowed by weakness at “smaller customers hesitant to commit to yearlong subscriptions to new products and services.”

TechTarget continues to invest in Priority Engine, releasing a significant upgrade in September that supported prospect-level intent and an improved Salesforce.com integration.  With the release, they initiated a “double-digit price increase” that has been accepted by the market. “We have not had pushback on the pricing so far,” said CEO Mike Cotoia. “So we see that as a positive sign going into 2021.”

Priority Engine’s “early usage is encouraging,” with page views up 80% since January; furthermore, “portal interactions by users that self-identify as salespeople are up over 40% since we released the new sales-friendly version.”

Cotoia called the release the most significant since Priority Engine’s launch.  Unlike previous releases that focused on the marketing function, the latest enhancements were centered around UI enhancements and the sales use case.  Combining account-level intent with prospect-level intent is “really enabling and empowering” sales teams, helping them “rank and prioritize within their own territories.”  Reps now have access to two views: a territory account report and an active prospects report.

Sales reps can now discover intent data and insights for active accounts and prospects within a Visualforce tab in Salesforce.  If a contact isn’t in Salesforce, they can quickly add the contact.

“Building a cohesive and easy-to-use workflow for both marketing and sales has always been in our roadmap,” summed up Cotoia. “The September release has been really, really impactful.”

TechTarget will focus on “leveraging our customer’s first-party data along with our data.  We have other key engagement opt-ins that we are going to be integrating into this as well.”

TechTarget also saw weakness in the large legacy IT vendors, though it was above Q2 numbers, and they anticipate growth in their Global 10 in Q4.  TechTarget has been diversifying its customer base, with the Global 10 accounting for 20% of its customer base, down from 40% a decade ago.

TechTarget anticipates that the shift from event sponsorships to online lead generation will persist after the pandemic.  

“We believe that much of this shift will become permanent as we do not believe the face-to-face business will return to its previous spend levels pre-COVID,” said Cotoia. “This is showing up mostly in our International numbers as those markets had significantly more events as part of their budget mix than in North America.  Today, most of those deals are short term, mirroring the event buy.  The opportunity that we are focused on here is to migrate those budgets from face-to-face to intent-based lead generation and then graduate those customers to annual Priority Engine subscriptions. We believe this is achievable as the vast majority of our customers have a strategic initiative to use data to make their sales and marketing organizations more intelligent, efficient, and effective.”

Customers are focusing on their digital strategy, and TechTarget offers content syndication, content marketing, lead generation, and Priority Engine.  All of these digital offerings help tech firms “get in front of their prospects and their existing customers.”

“Even if it starts with lead-generation and content marketing offerings integrated with some of the brand solutions, at the end of the day, our customers are really focused on leveraging the right intent throughout their marketing and sales cycles when they’re in market,” said Cotoia.  

These lead-gen campaigns provide a beachhead for upgrading to subscription services. “Priority Engine plays a really good place in that as we start transitioning folks from events to content syndication from content syndication to integrated online solution from integrated online intent-driven solutions to Priority Engine integrated campaigns,” said Cotoia. “I think this plays well for us in the long-term.”

“Let’s unpack what we are seeing and what we’ve learned from the pandemic.  First, IT spending is no longer a discretionary item for most companies. They see digital transformation as a necessary investment to remain competitive. This dynamic has benefitted our customers. Second, the migration of IT spending to a subscription model has built in significant resilience and predictability to most of our customer’s business models, which in turn has kept their spending levels on sales and marketing fairly stable as compared to more volatility in past downturns.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

Cotoia credited the shift to subscription revenue as a significant contributor to its success during the pandemic. “We are very pleased at how our business has performed during the pandemic. It reinforces that the changes we made to transition our business to a data subscription business is paying off in terms of building a stronger company with a more sticky and predictable revenue stream.”

TechTarget announced Q4 guidance between $42 and $43 million, almost 20% growth year-over-year.  Some of this growth is the transition from events to online, but some is “pent-up budget” from event marketing that has been held in reserve.

“They have end-of-the-year budget, [and] they want to use it,” said Cotoia.  “TechTarget is viewed as a trusted resource.”

Cotoia was asked about ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Clickagy but wasn’t overly concerned about the real-time intent solution, saying that Zoominfo simply acquired its supplier.  Cotoia called it a “smart move,” but not one that significantly changes its offering.  He also applauded Zoominfo’s contact quality, then pivoted to the differences between their services with opted-in reader intent derived from their media sites.

“What we have is what we call real and observed first-party purchase intent.  You have to start with investing in content.  We are 100% focused on the enterprise IT market.  We have the right engagements coming in.  What we know [is] which people are looking at which vendor content or which editorial content or peer-to-peer content, or were doing a search on a very specific technology segment within a very specific region.  That’s real.  It’s very difficult to leverage things like third-party cookies or bidstream data…[with] a lot of questions about that.  It’s only at the account-level.”

Cotoia said that TechTarget’s approach is “very transparent” in its practices, focusing on the “right” engagement and intent signals. “We’re the largest place on the web where enterprise IT vendors publish their content through their marketing efforts.”  TechTarget generates this content across 146 enterprise IT community websites and can tell its Priority Engine customers which articles were read, which white papers were downloaded, which webcasts were viewed, which terms were searched, which competitors are being evaluated, and by whom.  Owned media sites with opted-in readers deliver “real and observed intent and engagement signals that will help power and transition our customers’ sales and marketing efforts” that are data-driven. What’s more, TechTarget’s intent surfaces opportunities at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part IV)

The is the fourth, and final, blog on Dun & Bradstreet’s upcoming IPO. Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE Ticker: DNB) will be offering 65.75 million shares at an IPO price between $19 and $21.  The offering would raise just over $1.3 billion and value the firm at $8 billion. [Top of Coverage]

North American revenue increased by $12.1 million or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) in Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2019.  North American Finance and Risk rose $10.7 million (6%) year-over-year.  Finance Solutions were up $13 roughly million, while Compliance fell approximately $2 million.

North American Sales & Marketing grew revenue by $1.4 million (up 1%) in Q1.  However, $4.9 million of S&MS revenue was attributed to Lattice, which was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in July 2019.  North American Advanced Marketing Solutions revenue rose $4 million due to increased demand, but D&B Hoovers and the Data.com legacy partnership with Salesforce posted declining revenue.  The Data.com service is being phased out, so the $4 million in quarterly revenue drop was anticipated.  However, the drop of $3 million in quarterly revenue at D&B Hoovers, attributed to lower sales, was surprising.

International revenue fell by $0.2 million in Q1.  International Finance & Risk revenue increased $2.3 million, or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) for the three months ended March 31, 2020.  International Sales & Marketing revenue declined $2.3 million, primarily driven by lower product royalties from their WWN alliance.

Annual revenue dropped $139.8 million (8%), but the drop was due to purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustments (9%) due to the take-private transaction and Lattice acquisition.  There also was a one month lag in international revenue reporting due to the take-private transaction resulting in an additional 1.5% drop in revenue.

2019 North American revenue rose by $44.1 million (3%) with increases in both product lines.  The Finance & Risk division increased revenue by $16 million, or 2%.  The Risk & Compliance products grew revenue by $11 million, and the D&B Credibility products contributed an additional $4 million.

2019 North American Sales & Marketing revenue grew $28.1 million (4%), with $17 million in increased revenue from Master Data solutions and $12 million from Lattice, which was acquired at the beginning of Q3.

2019 International revenue fell $3.1 million after the impact of foreign currency but was up 2% before foreign currency impacts of $9.5 million.  “Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, growth of $6.4 million was primarily due to increased revenue in our U.K. market driven by higher demand and usage related to our Finance & Risk solutions, including Risk & Compliance products.”

2019 International revenue was negatively impacted by $1.8 million, mostly in the UK, “as a result of transferring legacy Avention contracts to our WWN alliances pursuant to preexisting agreements governing partner exclusivity in certain territories.”

The filing also provided some color into their 2018 performance vs. 2017 as a private company:

“The increase in Sales & Marketing Solutions reflects increased revenue from new business in our Master Data offerings of approximately $7 million as well as our Audience Solutions products (Visitor Intelligence and Programmatic) of approximately $5 million and Analytics products of approximately $5 million.  The aforementioned increases were partially offset by lower royalty revenue from our Data.com legacy partnership of approximately $7 million and decreased revenue in D&B Hoovers of approximately $5 million.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1 Filing

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part III)

Continuing my discussion of Dun & Bradstreet’s planned IPO. The firm was taken private by a group of private equity companies in January 2019 and restructured.

The S-1 laid out how the firm has been restructured over the past eighteen months:

  • “We immediately reorganized our management and operating infrastructure into vertically aligned business units to increase focus and accountability.
  • As a result of this realignment, 18 of the 19 executives, or 95%, and 30 of the 46, or 65%, members of the broader leadership team are new or in a new role, with nearly half of all employees reporting to a new leader.
  • Our total employee turnover was approximately 1,500 and our leadership was able to identify and eliminate ineffective headcount resulting in a net employee reduction of approximately 850, or 17% of total employees.
  • We will continue to optimize our organizational structure and make targeted hires to build out our team at all levels.”

Other changes include

  • Incentivizing long-term contracts in commission plans
  • A focus on tracking and monitoring service metrics
  • “Modernizing our infrastructure and optimizing our architecture to increase control, create efficiencies, and greatly enhance the ability of our platforms to scale,”
  • Expanding their ability to “seamlessly add and integrate new data sets and analytical capabilities into our simplified and scaled technology infrastructure.”
  • Increasing their coverage of SMBs and “incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients.”
  • Implemented a Data Watch Program which proactively monitors and repairs issues
  • Improved AI capabilities across a broader set of content

According to the S-1, “Enhanced analytics enable us to provide easy to implement end-to-end solutions; by creating configurable, rather than customizable, analytics solutions, we believe that we can increase the adoption of solutions by our clients and expand the size of our client base.”

The reorganization and other changes have resulted in a $206 million annualized run rate savings as of March 31, 2020.

“DNB has been reconstituted into presumably more efficient and responsible operating units,” stated Donovan Jones of IPO Edge.  “The problems with the IPO are that it is too early to tell if the reorganization is delivering better results than the previous structure and the firm is heavier with debt.”


In Part IV, I will be covering their financials.

Zoominfo Reaffirms IPO Plans

I have put together a detailed analysis of Zoominfo as it prepares for its IPO. The analysis is based upon twenty years of experience in the Sales & Marketing Intelligence Space, the past eight as an independent analyst.

Topics include an Overview, COVID Impact, Risks, Market Overview, Key Industry Trends, Content & Functionality, Growth Strategy Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Key Events. The 100+ slide presentation is bundled with a phone consult. If you are interested in licensing the analysis, please contact me.

I also publish a weekly subscription newsletter which covers Sales & Marketing, B2B DaaS, and B2B Data. Here is my article on the planned IPO:


Zoominfo reaffirmed its plans to IPO, possibly launching a virtual roadshow next month.  In Q1 2020, revenue nearly doubled to $102 million year-over-year.  The firm also significantly reduced its losses to $5.9 million in Q1 compared to $40.2 million in Q1 2019.  

Losses were driven by debt, much of it associated with the Zoom Information acquisition in February 2019.  EBITDA rose 55%, year-over-year, to $51 million in Q1.  At the end of Q1, long-term debt stood at $1,238.8 million.

Zoominfo included Annualized Contract Value (ACV) data in its amended prospectus.  They likely wanted to emphasize that they are doing well during the recession, and revenue figures, which are a trailing indicator of sales success at subscription services, were not going to make that case as strongly as the ACV data.

ACV grew 87% year-over-year in April, with the customer base now above 15,000.  As revenue is recognized over the life of a subscription contract, ACV increases precede revenue growth.  Prepaid subscription revenue is displayed as a Balance Sheet liability that is reversed over the lifetime of each deal.  

Paid users rose to 202,000.

Net ACV growth remains strong, with ACV increasing $9.9 million in March and $10.4 million in April.  The April growth was their best first month of any quarter, surpassing October 2019 by ten percent.

The number of customers with ACV greater than or equal to $100,000 grew from 580 on December 31, 2019, to 630 on March 31, 2020.  Over 25% of ACV is tied to multi-year contracts.

The size and date of the IPO were not disclosed.  In February, a placeholder value of $500 million was provided.  The Zoominfo NASDAQ ticker will be ZI.

“Because of our largely subscription-based business model, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be fully reflected in our results of operations and overall financial condition until future periods, if at all.”

Zoominfo Amended S-1, May 11, 2020

As the original S-1 was released before COVID-19 hit the US, this week’s amended prospectus contained the first mention of COVID as a business risk.  The pandemic has disrupted global business and could negatively impact Zoominfo’s stock price.  Zoominfo listed retail, restaurants, hospitality, airlines, oil, and gas as affected industries.  While none of these segments are part of their ICP (except for possibly their NeverBounce email verification subsidiary), they will be negatively impacted in recruitment (roughly ten percent of revenue) and event management.  Zoominfo lists recruitment as a targeted job function for ongoing development.

Furthermore, Zoominfo’s strategy is to expand beyond its moat of technology firms into broader sales intelligence and marketing services.  The recession reduces the number of favorable segments for executing this expansion strategy.

Zoominfo lists its Total Addressable Market (TAM) at $24 billion with a 2% penetration rate.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect we will experience slowed growth or decline in new customer demand for our platform and lower demand from our existing customers for upgrades within our platform, as well as existing and potential customers reducing or delaying purchasing decisions.”

Zoominfo Amended S-1, May 11, 2020

A secondary impact of the pandemic and subsequent recession is increased buyer negotiating power.  Customers are expecting more significant discounts and more favorable contract terms.  They are also asking for early contract terminations and waivers of payment obligations.

However, Zoominfo’s core business is reasonably well protected from the recession.  In 2019, 39% of their ACV was generated in the software industry and 29% in business services.  These segments are less exposed than retail, travel, hospitality, and energy.  Software has heavily shifted to subscription models over the past few years, making revenue less volatile.  While their core industries are subject to layoffs in revenue operations, Zoominfo offers multiple features that make sales and marketing more efficient and effective in reaching WFH buying committee members.  Features and content sets that support WFH outreach include direct-dial and mobile numbers, org charts, deep contacts across the organization, data as a service for enriching and updating enterprise software platforms, the ReachOut Chrome plug-in, ICP/TAM tools, technographics, Scoops (sales triggers), Bombora intent data, and executive change alerts.  

New services such as Form Complete (web forms), WebSights (visitor intelligence), Komiko InboxAI (email insights), and Workflows (triggered sequences) help with collecting and enriching activity data.

Zoominfo, which has significant operations in Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Israel, has fully transitioned to remote employment.  They have also implemented travel restrictions and shifted to virtual event marketing.


Continue on to a post-IPO follow-up article.

Microsoft Strong Q3 Led by Dynamics 365, Teams, and the Cloud

Microsoft posted another strong quarter, with revenue up 15% (16% in constant currency) to $35 billion.  Operating income rose 25% to $13.0 billion and EPS rose 23% to $1.40.  The pandemic has slowed some revenue streams such as LinkedIn advertising, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Bing Search advertising, and SMB transactional licensing; however, accelerated digital adoption resulted in little overall impact on quarterly revenues.

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.  From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security – we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything,” said CEO Satya Nadella.  “There is both immediate surge demand and systemic structural changes across all of our solution areas that will define the way we live and work going forward.  Our diverse portfolio, durable business models, and differentiated technology stack across the cloud and the edge position us well for what’s ahead.”

Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased by 17% (up 20% in constant currency), driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 47% (49% in constant currency).

“Dynamics 365 is helping thousands of organizations accelerate digital transformation as they remote every part of their operations from manufacturing to supply chain management to sales and customer service, inclusive of new scenarios like curbside pickup, contactless shopping, remote customer assistance, and operations,” said Nadella.  “Patagonia is using Dynamics 365 Commerce to rapidly move to new, more intelligent distribution and fulfillment models, including contactless shopping.  And we are working with card issuers like American Express so merchants who use Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection can reduce fraudulent activity as they process more transactions online.”

In the Productivity and Business Processes and Intelligent Cloud segments, there was an uptick in cloud usage, “particularly in Microsoft 365 including Teams, Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop, advanced security solutions, and Power Platform, as customers shifted to work and learn from home.”

“We are empowering people and organizations for a world of secure remote work and learning with Microsoft 365 and Teams.  As work norms evolve, organizations are realizing they need a comprehensive solution that brings together communications, collaboration, and business process, built on a foundation of security and privacy.  Microsoft Teams supports multiple communications modalities in a shared workspace.  It’s the only solution with meetings, calls, chat, collaboration, and with the power of Office and business process workflows in a single integrated user experience with the highest security as well as compliance.

Teams keeps all your work and communication, conversations, documents, whiteboards, and meeting notes in context.  It helps people collaborate inside and outside meetings, making them more efficient and effective while reducing fatigue.  We’re accelerating Teams innovation, adding new capabilities each week, and now support meetings of all sizes, meetings that scale from 250 active participants to live events for up to 100,000 attendees to streaming broadcasts.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Teams usage has exploded during the pandemic, with more than 200 million meeting participants in a single day.  The platform has over 75 million active users, with two-thirds of them sharing, collaborating, or interacting with files on Teams.  The number of organizations integrating their third-party and Line Of Business apps with Teams has tripled in the past two months.

Teams now has over 20 organizations with at least 100,000 deployed employees, including Accenture, Continental AG, Ernst & Young, Pfizer, and SAP.  It is also being widely deployed in medicine and education.

Nadella argued that Microsoft is “not immune” to the broad economic downturn, but that the accelerated shift to digital solutions is to its benefit.  “I would claim that digital as a component of that economic activity is going to increase.  And specifically, the full stack we have from infrastructure to our SaaS applications are going to be very competitive in that context.”

“In our commercial business, our strong position in durable growth markets means we expect consistent execution on a large annuity base, with continued usage and consumption growth across our cloud offerings,” said CFO Amy Hood.  “However, we expect the sales dynamics from March to continue, including a significant impact in LinkedIn from the weak job market and increased volatility in new longer lead time deal closures.”

Outreach: Growth through Redefinition

Sales Engagement Platform Outreach, which is enjoying significant growth and good press, has twice had to redefine itself.  The first time was a pivot from supporting recruiters to sales reps.  The second redefinition was cultural – reshaping its male-centric, burn-the-midnight-oil culture into a more inclusive, hospitable environment.

Forbes estimated Outreach revenue at $70 million in its last fiscal year (January 2020) up from $38 million in fiscal year 2019.  The firm is considering a direct IPO, but views that event as several years out.  In the meantime, “Our goal is to take Outreach and become a large, independent company,” says DFJ Growth partner Sam Fort.

Outreach’s initial sales were mostly into tech firms such as DocuSign, where the software saves reps at least ten hours per month by streamlining and improving sales communications.  “You have to land tens of thousands of customers and you can’t do that with a team of 100 people cold calling,” says DocuSign CRO Loren Alhadeff.  “Your best bet is to find a way to make your touches more important and more pertinent.”

Medina sees the opportunity as much broader and believes only 1% of the market has been tapped.  Sales engagement may even expand beyond B2B sales functions and support higher-end consumer sales roles such as financial advisors and mortgage brokers.

The path to success has been rocky.  The firm began in the recruitment space and was nearly bankrupt when it began marketing some internal sales tools it developed.  Outreach has also had problems with employee churn due to rapid hiring, a difficult winner-take-all pace that burned-out staff, and a male culture that permitted “sexually charged jokes.”

But Medina, an Ecuadorian immigrant, realized that cultural change was necessary.  “I don’t come from central casting.  I’m not an old white guy from Silicon Valley,” he said.  “I know what it’s like to be marginalized, so I take this to heart.”

To address these problems, the firm released managers that promoted the negative culture, centralized sales teams so that reps could learn from each other, and hired Anna Baird as COO.  Baird has focused on hiring and building an inclusive culture where “everyone has a fair shot.”

The executive team is now 40% female with a goal of parity.  “This is not a checkbox for me,” said Medina.  “This is the life I want to live.  I want to be surrounded by people who want to feel included, who are doing their best work with peers that they love and respect.”

Cancels Unleash 2020 (Covid 19)

SalesLoft and Outreach both made difficult decisions this week, canceling planned user conferences. SalesLoft aborted its Rev2020 conference, which was to open today, and Outreach scrubbed its April Unleash show.  Adobe, Zendesk, and Shopify also canceled events, while Twitter and Facebook pulled out of SXSW.

We have been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Our first priority will always be the health and safety of our community, employees, customers, and partners. After careful consideration of the developing situation, we have come to the incredibly difficult decision to cancel Unleash 2020 scheduled for April 7-9. 

Unleash is my favorite event of the year. I love having the chance to meet with all of you and share in the excitement of what’s to come. It’s with a heavy heart that we made the decision, but we believe your health and safety should come first, no matter what. 

Outreach CEO Manny Medina (March 3, 2020)

SalesLoft will still be presenting its opening keynote, but as a virtual presentation on Tuesday.  Outreach is planning a virtual event and twelve-city Unleash Summit tour later this year.

Vendors invest millions in marketing dollars hosting their own events. It is an excellent opportunity for them to build their brand, promote ecosystem partners, roll out their roadmap, provide specialized training by job function and role, expand their organizational presence at current accounts, and convert prospects to customers.

TechTarget Posts Strong Q2

Priority Engine provides rich company data including intent data (buying stage, competitors under evaluation, top trends), contacts, social links, and firmographics.

TechTarget posted a strong second quarter with revenues up 9% to $34.3 million.  Growth was led by their Priority Engine technology sales intelligence service which added 38 new customers in Q2 and grew revenue by 44%.  

Long-term contracts now comprise 33% of revenue.

TechTarget expanded its Total Addressable Market (TAM) from 1,500 Enterprise IT vendors to an additional 5,000 IT vendors consisting of small software companies and regional VARs.  The firm has been executing a soft rollout of Priority Engine Express to this expanded universe.

“We are still in the learning stage but the early feedback is that this customer segment is embracing the value proposition,” the firm told shareholders.  “We are increasing the number of salespeople dedicated to this product in the near-term and remain on track for the full product roll-out in 2020.”

“We added several enhancements to Priority Engine in May including Personalized Account Rankings that reflect organic research with TechTarget and direct engagement with the customer to improve marketing and sales effectiveness. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) creation and filtering directly within Priority Engine to efficiently find, track and convert identified best-fit customers. Enhanced Qualification Intelligence showcases the key attributes that make accounts high priority targets, including buying stage, ICP match and if there is a confirmed project. Improved Engagement Signals show you precisely when accounts visit your website, click on your banners and/or download your content. Indicators of New and Recent Activities give sales users new reasons to call and help them engage the buying team with highly tailored outreach.”

TechTarget Q2 2019 Shareholder Letter

TechTarget provided Q3 revenue guidance between $33 and $34 million and annual guidance of $133 and $134 million.

The firm is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month and used the opportunity to credit its employees.  “We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated team of employees who are smart, innovative, motivated, passionate and hard-working. This team makes us look good and creates a win-win scenario for customers, investors, partners and the communities where we operate. We are especially proud of the transition that the Company has been able to make over the past 5 years from an online media company delivering quarterly marketing campaigns to a purchase intent data company selling annual subscriptions. We think most people would agree that is not an easy transition to make. We are very confident that our best days are ahead of us as we are now a leader in the fast growing data intelligence market.”

TechTarget added Christina Van Houten to its Board.  She currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Mimecast Limited, a public email management company, where she is responsible for driving corporate development, product management, and market strategy.  She previously held senior positions at Infor, IBM Netezza, and Oracle.  Van Houten has “more than two decades of extensive, focused experience in marketing strategy with some of the world’s largest firms as well as significant corporate and business experience.”  She has an MBA from the Booth School (University of Chicago) and a BA from Georgetown.


Continue to Part II on Priority Engine Express and the expansion of their target market to include small software vendors and value-added resellers.