6Sense Doubling Revenue

ABM Platform vendor 6Sense announced that it is on target for its third consecutive year of at least 100% growth.  The firm has also rapidly grown its customer base with a 204% growth in customers since January 2019, and 54% growth since January.  Its net customer retention rate is 109%, indicating a strong ability to renew and upsell its platform.

LinkedIn employment figures also indicate strong growth, but at a rate slower than customers and revenue, an indication of increased revenue per employee. LinkedIn employment grew 72% over the past year and 192% over the past two.

“6Sense was founded upon the vision of transforming B2B sales and marketing with a next-generation platform that engages target buyers at exactly the right time,” said 6Sense CTO Viral Bajaria. “Our patented AI-powered capabilities, including 6sense’s time-based predictions and industry-leading account identification capabilities, continue to be differentiators in the market — and deliver real business value to our customers.”

6Sense continues to invest in platform development with the rollout of new ABM capabilities in 2020:

  • Native Retargeting, which programmatically serves display ads to all website visitors or visitors from target accounts
  • A LinkedIn advertising integration for account targeting across all ad types
  • AI-based Next Best Actions, a set of prioritized actions recommendations for BDRs across the buying committee.
  • Model Metrics, which provide customers with self-service analytics which assess the impact of 6sense’s predictions on pipeline and revenue

CMO Latané Conant cited a series of benefits enjoyed by 6Sense clients, including a 75% higher conversion rate, 40% higher win rates, and a 50% increase in contract values.

Inc. recently named 6Sense the 5th Best Place to Work in the small and medium business category.  

“6sense believes that culture is based on trust, open communication, dedicated leadership, and a fun space where employees can take risks. We take everyone’s opinion into account, from the very top to the bottom.  Employees take chances, put more responsibility on their shoulders, and work hard for one another.  We are a team-first, people-centric organization that prioritizes teamwork above all else.  Our weekly all-hands meetings give everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

6Sense Inc. Submission

6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round in January led by growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.

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.”

LinkedIn Restates Its Members-First Principles

LinkedIn Logo

In a blog titled, “Maintaining the Trust of our Members,” LinkedIn recommitted itself to a members-first approach.  The Microsoft subsidiary frames its decision-making with the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our members?”

Along with a members-first policy, LinkedIn employs four principles to frame decisions:

  • Members maintain clarity, consistency, and control over their data. This goal is manifested in a broad set of privacy settings, observing the stated wishes of each member, and protecting their data.  Microsoft employs a global GDPR standard and does not transfer member data to other companies.  For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator limits data access to member-data view-only access, which displays profiles within CRMs and other partner applications but does not transfer data to those platforms.
  • LinkedIn will remain a safe, trusted, and professional platform.  The firm removes content which violates their Professional Community Policies and removes fake profiles, jobs, and companies.
  • LinkedIn is committed to removing unfair bias from its platform so that individuals with equal talent have equal access to opportunity.  “To achieve this goal, we are committed to building a product with no unfair bias that provides opportunity to all of our members.  There is a lot of work still to do, but we are focused on working across our company, with our members and customers, and across the industry to close the network gap.”
  • As a global platform, they are committed to respecting the laws that apply to them and “contributing to the dialogue” about legal frameworks.

LinkedIn Advertising is subject to an initial review.  LinkedIn vets ads to ensure they are non-discriminatory:

“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote, or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual preference.  Ads that promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education, housing, or credit or career opportunities are prohibited.”

Blake Lawit, LinkedIn General Counsel

The statement of principles comes at a time when other social media firms are struggling to develop rules and policies around political advertising. LinkedIn does not carry political advertising and also restricts adult content, illegal, health, gaming, weapons, multi-level marketing, alcohol, tobacco, and financial (payday loans, cryptocurrency) products.  

LinkedIn continues to grow its customer base with 660 million members across 200 countries and 30 million companies.  The top countries are the United States (165M members), India (62M), China (48M), Brazil (40M), and the UK (27M).

LinkedIn maintains offices in nine US cities and 24 international locations. The platform supports 24 languages.

Lattice Engines Campaigns

The Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Product Stack
The Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Product Stack

Dun & Bradstreet, which acquired Lattice Engines at the beginning of Q3, launched a Lattice Campaigns App for LinkedIn.  The new app “improves campaign performance by creating and activating always-on AI-based audiences for LinkedIn Ads.”

“When Dun & Bradstreet acquired Lattice Engines, we were building on an existing partnership of the world’s most comprehensive B2B data and the world’s leading B2B Customer Data Platform,” said Dun & Bradstreet’s President of Sales & Marketing Solutions Michael Bird.  “This is the first in a series of innovations we’re quickly bringing to market to power more effective and efficient digital marketing, demand generation and sales acceleration programs for our customers through the intelligent use of data.”

The Lattice Customer Data Platform supports “hyper-targeted” LinkedIn advertising as part of a broader omnichannel engagement strategy.  Lattice combines first and third-party customer data, displays account and contact insights, and uses “AI to segment their buyers and deliver hyper-targeted engagement in an automated fashion across display, web, email, CRM and now social channels.”

“Let’s say a buyer at a cold account starts visiting certain product pages on your website anonymously.  Rather than just showing this buyer a generic ad about your brand, you could show them an ad with more specific copy and CTA [call to action] related to the product pages that they visited on your website.”

Dun & Bradstreet President of Sales & Marketing Solutions Michael Bird

The app creates matched audiences for LinkedIn ads and then lets marketers adjust media spend to target high-performing audiences.  The app then updates LinkedIn audiences based on “changes in buyer engagement, interest and company data.  As a result, marketers can ensure that buyers are engaged with the most relevant campaigns based on not only persona but on profile, propensity, interest and buyer stage.”

Dun & Bradstreet is claiming a 42% increase in click-through rates and triple the post-click conversion rates resulting in a 54% reduction in qualified lead expenditures.

According to Gartner, CMOs are spending 23% of their marketing budget on paid media.

“In an environment where B2B marketers are overwhelmed with data and technology options, our goal is to make their jobs easier by connecting interactions across customer journeys,” says Bird.  “This allows marketers to target the right audiences with the right message and make the best use of their ad dollars.”

Connectors for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are in the works.

Bombora Workflows & Partnerships

A/B Testing analysis of Company Surge variables in LinkedIn Campaign Manager
A/B Testing analysis of Bombora Company Surge variables in LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Intent data vendor Bombora has enlarged its direct sales team and is looking to shift from data resellers to OEM partnerships.  The OEM partnerships will deliver a “limited but powerful amount of data (or limited supported use case)” to customers and partners that want full, direct access.  Terminus is their first OEM partnership, but Bombora is looking to roll out three or four OEM relationships in Q4.

Shifting to OEM workflow solutions for intent data makes sense.  Unlike firmographics, technographics, or contacts, first and third-party intent data is more difficult to present to end users as it is both ephemeral (i.e. changing weekly) and statistically based (i.e. firms with a score above 70 are in the top 6% of signaled intent).  Thus, filtering the data by topic, company, and surge score provides confidence to end users that the data is meaningful.  OEM deals also place the intent data in the proper workflows for sales and marketing end users.

“Say a 200 person software business has Boeing as an account record in their Salesforce. We will append the topics surging at Boeing that that customer has licensed from Bombora onto the account object in Salesforce.  Once it’s there, it becomes searchable, so they can create tasks for salespeople, or they can use Salesforce as a hub and pipe that data to sales platforms, or marketing automation platforms.  Once the data’s in the system, it can be piped out to a bunch of different workflows.”

Bombora SVP Data Sales Michael Burton

Bombora also recently began providing intent-based audience feeds to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for sponsored content, sponsored InMails, text ads, video ads, and dynamic ads.  Each week, Bombora provides an updated list of domains to LinkedIn based upon ABM lists or firmographic selects.  The domain list is updated dynamically based upon surge data with the first set of matched audiences available within 48 hours.  On the LinkedIn side, LinkedIn member targeting is available (e.g. job function, level, interests) through the Campaign Manager.

Bombora recommends that users perform A/B testing against the standard B2B audience list and the company surge list.

Bombora was spun out of Madison Logic in 2014 and made the Inc 5000 list for the first time in 2019 placing #997.  2018 revenue hit $26.4 million, up 425% over three years.

Clearbit X

Clearbit X Audience Builder
Clearbit X Audience Builder

Data vendor Clearbit officially launched Clearbit X, their new marketing and sales “growth engine.”  The new service provides digital marketing and demand generation functionality with first and third-party intent data enrichment.  The Clearbit X platform consolidates data from CRM systems, activity data such as web events, visitor intelligence enriched with IP and domain information, and Clearbit’s third-party business data on companies and employees (e.g., company size, industry, contact information, etc.).

“Never before has a company created a growth suite built from the ground up to be data-first and focused on B2B buyers.  And what’s more, X is the only platform to natively combine both data the customer owns with our popular Clearbit data.  I’m looking forward to a future where marketing data is democratized, data-enabled, and smart.  Clearbit X is a big step towards this future.”

Clearbit CEO Alex MacCaw.

Features include Facebook and Google targeting, Slack and email alerts highlighting active opportunities based on intent, and Clearbit’s visitor intelligence which matches visitor activity to account intelligence via IP addresses.  Visitor intelligence assists with dynamic chat and website personalization.

Clearbit is positioning X as the “center of your data universe.“  According to the firm, “The power supply of any great growth engine is real-time access to what we call your entire dataverse – all your user data, activity data, and enrichment data.  Clearbit X brings all of that together in one place.”

“Being able to layer Clearbit firmographic data onto our existing data in Salesforce is really powerful,” said Yuri Daniels, director of performance marketing at Zenefits.  “X has helped ensure that we are targeting customers in our ideal customer profile as well as being able to exclude people already inside of our funnel to make new leads.  We can target very specific lists on Facebook with much more efficiency and LinkedIn-level specificity.”

Clearbit is focused on onboarding their first twenty-five customers and will release more product details towards the end of the year.