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 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.
Keeping on the gifting theme, Boston-based Alyce announced a partnership with Salesloft to support “smart gifting” on the Salesloft Sales Engagement Platform. The partnership lets sales and marketing teams natively send gifts through Salesloft.
Alyce appears within the Salesloft People page side panel, where reps can select a gift and personalize the message. Gifting options include physical gifts, gift cards, subscriptions, branded swag, on-demand services (e.g., in-home massage, portrait session), experiences (e.g., walking tours, helicopter rides), and donations. Alyce’s AI suggests three gift choices, but reps can select other choices from the marketplace.
“Actionable insights, seamlessly integrated together can help your sales team say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time with the right gift to drive action that’ll ensure your team hits your targets month after month,” wrote Alyce.
A gifting history provides details on which gifts have been received and how the prospect engaged with the gift, helping revenue teams “optimize follow-up to drive greater impact.”
Alyce employs AI to assist with gift selection from its curated global marketplace. Alyce recipients are sent a physical or digital notification of a gift, which they can choose to accept, exchange, donate, or decline.
“Our partnership with Salesloft is such a natural match. We are both committed to enabling revenue teams to build strong relationships and improve business results with the help of smart technology. At Alyce, we are thrilled that our integration with Salesloft is giving marketing and sales teams new gifting superpowers right in their workflow that will allow them to deliver meaningful moments, increase revenue, and create greater impact.”
Alyce CEO Greg Segall
In a case study, Salesloft enjoyed a 50% increase in alignment between BDRs and strategic marketing with Alyce and drove a 9% increase in meeting attendance. Furthermore, twenty percent of gifts sent resulted in new opportunities.
“Through the platform, we have uncovered an increase in the sales team’s ability to sell to our target personas,” stated Nabiha Balala, Senior Manager of Enterprise Marketing at Salesloft. “Alyce has been such a game-changer. It’s organically become part of our everyday sales process.”
Alyce’s physical gifting is currently limited to the US and Canada. However, gift cards may be sent to the US, Canada, Britain, and Ireland.
Alyce raised a $30 million Series B in April.
I’ve been running a series on Offline Marketing Automation (E-Gifting and Event Marketing) this week: My other posts:
The Postal market supports 600 vendors, providing them with a corporate sales channel without spending on corporate channel marketing. Their vendor network is growing organically through word of mouth. Last month they added 149 vendors.
“Vendors can add their products to the Postal Marketplace and get direct access to B2B buyers as their preferred corporate sending partner,“ Product Marketing Director Allyssa Eclarin explained to GZ Consulting. Items can be purchased off-the-shelf or customized. For example, companies can send cookies with corporate logos or baby gifts with the child’s name or curated boxes for special occasions.
“People don’t necessarily want another Starbucks gift card. They want to hear that you heard them, that you value them, and that you understand their interests. Maybe you send them a mug of their favorite sports team or where they went to college, or a new baby bundle. Personalization matters. And that’s what we’re finding is people are getting more personalized than ever. People are automating this channel, and it’s working.”
Postal Director Product Marketing Director Allyssa Eclarin
Furthermore, now that we are entering people’s homes via Zoom, there is a greater level of intimacy for personalizing gifts.
Postal also supports automated direct mail, incentive marketing, brand advocacy, internal and external events, and branded company swag. CRM and MAP partner platforms include Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, and Eloqua.
For Salesloft and Outreach, Postal may be added as a sequence/cadence step, streamlining the gifting process. Gifts may be sent via email, social, direct message, or direct mail, with Postal tracking gifts and supporting analytics such as the cost per touch. Postal also offers a “Magic Link,” a unique URL that can be inserted into an email or social channel. For example, reps can send gifts through a DM and avoid the “what’s your email?” discussion with a magic link. The link is then tracked for shipping, attribution, budgeting, and analytics. Magic links can also be used for “send on behalf of” situations (e.g., an SDR building a relationship for the AE).
With face-to-face meetings stopped during the pandemic, e-gifting and personalized gifts are among the few methods for building goodwill and generating positive memories. Offline marketing platforms such as Postal, Sendoso, PFL, and Alyce have seen robust growth over the past eighteen months as sales reps struggle to build relationships.
Traditional gifting has been cumbersome and difficult to track, but offline marketing platforms streamline gift selection, logistics, and tracking, letting reps know when a gift has been received. Gifting serves multiple purposes: establishing a relationship, rewarding webinar attendance, keeping in touch with a champion during an absence (e.g., health, maternity / paternity leave), or maintaining goodwill (e.g., holiday gifts, birthday gifts).
“As marketing becomes increasingly technical and formulaic, businesses are struggling to create moments that break through the noise. The adoption of digital marketing has ironically made it harder than ever to truly connect with consumers. Postal is among the first to personalize marketing automation by creating a bridge between a boutique front-end marketplace and the established systems already embedded in most marketing technology stacks. The friction between offline and online marketing disappears, making it simple for brands to build more meaningful connections with consumers in any industry.”
Eugene Lee, OMERS Ventures (Postal.io investor)
Along with the funding round, Postal announced a set of product enhancements:
Domestic and international warehousing for branded products.
International gifting across seventy countries with wallets and pricing in local currencies.
Postal Events, launched in February, supports hybrid teams. Postal Event enhancements include custom event images on event pages, customized event email templates and messaging, custom form fields on registration pages, and integration of Postal Events with Salesforce Campaigns.
Calendar booking on gift landing pages
Postal.io posted 10X ARR growth year-over-year and added over 250 new customers and 4,000 users. The firm is based in San Luis Obispo.
Postal and its competitors disagree on their category name, with terms such as Tactile Marketing, Sending Platform, and Personal Experience Platform. Postal uses the category name Offline Marketing Automation. The G2 review site has the firms categorized as Account-Based Direct Mail Software.
Postal customers “get it.” They say, “you’re going to automate this channel that I know works. I’m already spending the money, but I have no way to attribute it, track it, push it back, check the ROI, or anything like that without a platform. Now, with Postal, they can, and customers are resonating with the term ‘offline marketing automation’,” explained Eclarin. “We’re seeing the same thing happening to our category as we saw with email marketing automation boom, with the rise of MailChimp and the like. We have given teams an automated, scalable, and repeatable way to manage their offline channels. “
A Postal license runs across the company with no per-seat pricing. Instead, admins set up individual and departmental budgets. Thus, the HR department can leverage Postal to build camaraderie (e.g., events), welcome new employees with swag packages, and express congratulations (e.g., baby, company anniversary). Likewise, managers can send gifts to reward performance.
Building camaraderie during WFH has become increasingly important for Postal. When events launched, roughly 70% were for marketing and 30% for team building. However, as Zoom fatigue settled in and the pandemic slowed the return to offices, companies began looking for fun team-building exercises that avoid Zoom burnout. Thus, corporate event volume has moved closer to parity with marketing events.
This is the third in a series of articles on Offline Marketing Automation (i.e. e-gifting and digital event marketing).
Offline Marketing Automation Platform Postal.io closed on a $22 million Series B led by OMERS Ventures, with current investor Mayfield Fund also joining the round. The series raised total funding to $31 million.
The funds will be directed toward growing the Postal.io team, ongoing product development, and international expansion. The firm is looking to address the lack of tracking, attribution, automation, and scale in the $120 billion market for direct mail, personalized incentives, branded swag, and corporate gifting.
Postal offers an “expansive marketplace featuring high-end, locally curated items from specialized vendors” that foster “meaningful experiences to drive better engagement with prospects, increase conversion rates, and boost employee engagement.”
“Teams that were once manually sending offline touchpoints are now able to efficiently automate and track direct mail, branded company swag, personalized gifts, and virtual events at scale. We help companies leverage this proven channel with a frictionless, team-agnostic platform. Companies are using Postal.io across their organization to deliver more meaningful, impactful, and delightful experiences.”
Postal.io CEO Erik Kostelnik
Events began as mostly marketing activities, but with so many employees working from home, roughly half of their events are employee team-building activities or celebrations. Postal claims an average attendance rate of 90% for its events.
Postal offers a concierge team that operates as an “extension of your marketing team.” Postal Concierge assists with managing “curated, branded, specialty items, and experiences that are guaranteed to surprise and delight your prospects and clients.” The Concierge team also assists with event customization and talent booking.
Another feature is collections. Instead of picking a single item, the rep sends a link to an array of themed items, allowing the user to choose from the collection. Thus, a drink collection would include coffee, tea, and cocoa options. Likewise, a cocktail-making event would offer a mocktail option.
Part II continues with a discussion of the Postal Marketplace and integrations.
CEO Kyle Porter launched SalesLoft nearly ten years ago and the SEP Cadence product (its flagship) in late 2014. To recharge and reflect, he took a sabbatical earlier this summer to his family’s tangerine grove.
“One of my biggest conclusions was that I’m given this thing another ten years. So I’m committed to running this business and outlasting and out-executing and out-innovating others in the market.
Another one of those conclusions was [that] we don’t really compare ourselves to the competition. We focus entirely on our customers’ needs, and delivering them the best digital sales combination and workspaces that ever existed…I see all of these companies as different than SalesLoft. We’re very unique. We’re unique in the way that we show care for our customers and each other. We’re unique in the way we innovate and bring new ideas to market and trailblaze the path for digital sales. We’re unique in how we combine these multiple different new, impactful digital solutions into one workspace for our customers.”
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (GZ Consulting Interview 8/20/21)
Porter is “exploring multiple options” to remain an independent business and continue growing SalesLoft’s market presence. Doing so entails getting “better and better over time at serving our customers [and] at innovating in the marketplace.”
The firm is also preparing for a future IPO. “We’re going down the road to build a public business prior to being a public business,” commented Porter. “And so we’re putting that governance in place [and] those financial controls in place. You see the independent board member being added. We’ve got an opportunity to continue that with an audit committee chair and another independent board member.”
“I’d love this to be a public business,” continued Porter. “And if that’s what’s right for the company, that’s what will happen.”
Porter is also proud of his ownership structure, saying that SalesLoft has the “cleanest cap table” and fewest investors amongst companies in the space that have reached scale. The presence of Jason Green of Emergence Capital and Jeff Horing of Insight Capital also gives him confidence. Porter views them as “invest and hold” partners. Both serve on SalesLoft’s Board.
Porter has a great deal of respect for ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, whom he met at Dreamforce in 2013. “It’s amazing to see what they’ve done. He’s an inspiration and role model for us, definitely a different business with data at the core. We no longer do data. And they’ve moved into the application space. But this is a giant market, and [in] some of the areas they play, we’ve got more experience and capabilities and history and lessons learned and edge case analysis that we’ve been through. And in some of the areas, primarily the data side, he’s got more experience and capabilities. So, we’re excited to see what they’re doing. I love reading his quarterly reports and learning what’s on his mind. He and I stay in touch regularly. It’s a joy to be in the category with people you love and respect.”
Porter would like to return to live conferences but expects to initially host “smaller, more intimate settings” such as a fifty-person CRM summit or a sales operations leader event. Later on, Porter looks forward to hosting large events again, such as their 2,000-person Atlanta Rainmaker conference held in 2019.
Last month’s InStereo acquisition is going “incredibly well.” The acquisition of one of its service partners brought SalesLoft “capabilities to serve our most critical enterprise customers.” The purchase was prompted by feedback from their joint customers who told Porter “how amazing” the InStereo team was in delivering “critical experiences to help them push the boundaries of modern revenue.”
Furthermore, “there were just such good relationships” between the companies that it allowed everybody to “hit the ground running once the transaction closed. SalesLoft employment has grown 50% since the beginning of the pandemic and now stands at 615 headcount.
Technology purchase intent data vendor TechTarget added another arrow to its intent quiver with the acquisition of BrightTALK, a leader in the marketing and virtual events space. BrightTALK said virtual event attendance has “high predictive value because IT buyers are making a material investment of their time to engage with vendor-produced content.”
The acquisition increases TechTarget’s universe of opted-in professionals. TechTarget already has over twenty million opted-in business contact records (mostly in technology positions from its 140 enterprise technology sites), and BrightTALK has eight million registered attendees on its media platform. There is likely to be some overlap in names, but having a second source of opted-in professionals increases the scope of measured intent across TechTarget, BrightTALK, and corporate websites (a KickFire OEM deal).
The acquisition offers substantial cross-selling opportunities in 2021 as vendors continue to focus on virtual events in lieu of face-to-face trade shows and conferences. Furthermore, “BrightTALK generates a large volume of valuable content in webinar and video format that is incremental to TechTarget’s current offerings. This content improves TechTarget’s potential ability to attract new users and diversifies the content available via TechTarget’s portfolio of web sites.”
And because both platforms are opted-in, the intent data does not need to be anonymized. TechTarget can deliver person-level intent data that includes contact information, articles read, webinar sessions viewed, potential competitors, and their stage in the buyer’s journey. What’s more, these rich intent datasets are GDPR-compliant across both platforms.
“TechTarget’s leadership position in the market is further strengthened by the acquisition of BrightTALK. This acquisition checks all the boxes. It allows us to increase our original content, grow our opt-in audience of registered members, and add a material amount of proprietary first-party purchase intent data. It’s a very powerful combination that will enhance our customers’ abilities to use our purchase intent data to grow their revenues and increase their market share.”
TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia
“We are excited to join forces with TechTarget. They are the leading provider of original expert content and distributor of vendor decision-support content in the B2B tech market, which has allowed them to develop the preeminent first-party purchase intent offering,” said BrightTALK CEO Paul Heald. “Combining our leading platform for online IT events is a winning combination.”
BrightTALK has over 1,000 customers who created 25,000 webinars and videos over the past year. The platform generates over 200,000 unique monthly viewers and six million annual content engagements.
BrightTALK also fits with TechTarget’s financial objectives. It is on track for $50 million in 2020 revenue, with approximately half this revenue under long-term contracts. TechTarget hit 35% in subscription revenue last quarter but has stated a 50% subscription revenue goal. With Priority Engine on track for approximately $50 million in 2020 subscription revenue and BrightTALK posting roughly $25 million, the combined pro forma company would generate $75 million in subscription revenues on $195 million in 2020 revenue (Q3 YTD + mid-point Q4 guidance + $50M BrightTALK estimate), or approximately 38 – 39% in contract-based revenue.
BrightTALK has also done well during the pandemic, with revenue on track to grow 30% this year. It added one million additional opted-in professionals over the past year.
The deal is priced at $150 million, a 3X multiple over projected 2020 earnings. The cash transaction will close before the end of the year.
BrightTALK has four offices in the US, two in the UK, and two in APAC (Sydney and Singapore). LinkedIn lists them with 275 employees, a headcount growth of 15% over the past year.