What is Meeting Management?

Chorus.ai Meetings are recorded, transcribed, indexed, and analyzed.
Chorus.ai Meetings are recorded, transcribed, indexed, and analyzed.

One of the recent additions to Sales Engagement feature sets is meeting management. Two years ago, meeting functionality was little more than a Calendly link, but now meeting setup and analytics are being automated, providing a much better experience for both sales reps and prospects. Reps spend less time setting up meetings, are better focused during meetings, and can review and share call snippets afterwards. Furthermore, calls are likely to run more smoothly and quickly.

Sales Engagement vendor SalesLoft has moved quickly into building meeting management after acquiring NoteNinja last year. Key SalesLoft features include:

  • Automated Calendaring: The email template includes a calendar link which allows the prospect to view open meeting windows and setup the call without they typical back and forth that wastes time. Rescheduling functionality is also supported.
  • Video Meetings: Calls are supported by Zoom and other video meeting platforms.
  • Automated Recording: A bot automatically attends the call and records it, transcribes it, and indexes it. Reps can search by word or topic and review a call timeline color coded by topic and speaker.
  • Improved Presence: Because the sales rep is no longer charged with note taking, he/she can focus better on the conversation. This allows for fewer delays, better call management, and better comprehension.
  • One-Click Notation: During the call, the sales rep can click on a set of pre-defined buttons for reviewing a topic post call. Thus, next steps, open questions, issues, pricing discussions, etc. can be quickly found after the call. These are presented alongside the automated indexing.
  • Sharing: Excerpts of the transcript can be shared with managers, technical staff, customer support, etc., allowing them to hear the voice of the customer. This removes bias and errors on the part of the sales rep. For example, if a sales rep feels she poorly handled a situation, she can forward the excerpt to her manager for a coaching session during their next one-on-one.
  • Training: The call timeline helps the rep see whether the meeting was conversational or a set of monologues, whether too many filler words were employed (to help reduce them), or whether next steps were set. More broadly, the training department (or sales operations if there isn’t a training department) can assemble a set of best practice meeting excerpts providing a library of short videos around value proposition, objection handling, competitor discussions, new capabilities, etc.
  • Best Sales Practices: Longer-term, machine learning will be applied to the transcripts, helping identify best practices and evaluate deal health.

This functionality is also coming to mobile devices to assist field sales reps and reps that need to place calls during commutes. In March 2019, SalesLoft announced an app for placing digital calls through its platform and Chorus.ai announced a similar app:

“The Chorus Mobile app, paired with proprietary Smart Playlist technology, surfaces critical moments from sales calls that a manager should review, and allows them to provide personalized feedback to their teams. Using the mobile app, sales reps can now better prepare for customer interactions by reviewing sales calls, key moments and manager feedback while on-the-go. The solution proactively identifies patterns within conversations, and automatically curates playlists of relevant calls utilizing Chorus.ai’s proprietary AI-driven technology. With the Chorus Mobile app, users are no longer tethered to a computer and can take coaching and call preparation with them anywhere.”

Chorus.ai press release, March 26, 2019

Meeting Management is an exciting new set of functionality for sales reps and managers. It is likely to spread to other departments and be employed internally, particularly for remotely staffed companies.

SalesLoft Rainmaker Product Announcements

At their Rainmaker 2019 conference, SalesLoft announced a doubling of their partner ecosystem, mobile functionality, a rebuilt analytics engine, and a hot leads feature, and expanded CRM connectors.  The show attracted 1,300 attendees to hear 164 speakers.

SalesLoft released an iOS mobile app that allows users to place digital calls through the SalesLoft platform.  Calls are directed through a Twilio dialer and then analyzed by SalesLoft.  Post-call automated features include automated transcription and indexing, call analytics, and CRM sync.  Thus, if the rep places a call on the road, she will have a fully transcribed, indexed, and analyzed call when she returns to the office.

Prior to making the call, the user can set one-sided recording or local number calling.  Users can also add new contacts to cadences and will be notified when prospects engage with a cadence.  An activity stream is on the mobile app roadmap.

For inbound calls, the rep can quickly enter call notes which are synced to the CRM.

There are no immediate plans for an Android app.

“I believe sales is about relationships and sales engagement is essential to building those relationships.  Through data science, meeting intelligence and efficient account-based workflows, SalesLoft lets you focus on what matters most: building relationships and solving customers’ problems.”


SalesLoft VP of Product Butler Raines

SalesLoft is implementing a new reporting framework with an event-driven architecture which supports an open data API.  Two reports, a Cadence Performance report and an Account Report, have already been rolled out.  The framework supports configurable dashboards which can be quickly built with advanced analytics and visualizations using Business Intelligence tools.  Sales Ops can also build real-time reports and dashboards within Salesforce.

SalesLoft is extending machine learning and AI into its platform.  For example, SalesLoft machine learning tools detect the prospect’s position and level at a firm and selects the optimal persona-based cadence.  A new Hot Leads feature prioritizes prospects based on content engagement and website activity.

SalesLoft, which has long supported Salesforce, will be adding connectors for Microsoft Dynamics and SAP.

“We have seen a sizeable increase in CRM demand beyond the Salesforce ecosystem. SalesLoft is excited to enable organizations running on SAP C4C and Microsoft Dynamics to better serve their customers.”


Sean Kester, SalesLoft VP of Platform Strategy

SalesLoft will be regionalizing its data hosting by region or usage.  “This not only allows for customization (for example, keeping data that originates from the European Union in the EU) but also improves security and platform performance,” blogged the firm.  “Whether it’s through regulation compliance, security-minded development, or thought leadership, SalesLoft looks to partner with our customers for mutual success.”


SalesLoft announced a set of additional partners available through their app directory. I will discuss these on Monday.

Vertical IQ Launches Mobile App

Vertical IQ Summary (Mobile App)
Vertical IQ Summary (Mobile App)

Industry research firm Vertical IQ launched a mobile app which delivers condensed profiles of 300 industries which can be quickly viewed before meetings or while commuting.  The app is available on iPhone and Android devices at no additional charge for current customers.

“Vertical IQ users are busy professionals, and the reality is that they often don’t have the time to research and read an entire industry-related paper to prepare for a client or prospect meeting,” blogged the firm.  “In order to best help our busy customers, we have to design the most efficient, practical way possible to prepare for meetings—writing and organizing industry-specific information that is digestible, quick, and to-the-point.”

Industries are listed alphabetically and searchable by Vertical IQ industry, NAICS / SIC, and Favorites.  Searching is by keyword, so “Pest” returns Pest Control, Agricultural Chemical Manufacturers, Landscape Services, and Pest Control Services.  The results list may be viewed alphabetically or by sector.  The app has a short “Time to Pie,” a term coined by Intuit which means how quickly do users get to useful information.

Content is broken into eleven chapters which are navigated by a three-bar icon across fromthe chapter title:

  • Summary
  • Big Picture Video –  an industry overview which helps reps “quickly visualize the business, gain insight, and be ready to talk about points of [my client’s] industry.”
  • Fast Facts – Average company size, geographic distribution, top firms, business structure, etc.
  • Call Prep Questions – Capital Financing, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Risks to Watch Out for, Working Capital
  • Working Capital – Sell and Invoice, Collect, Manage Cash, Pay, Report, Cash Management Challenges
  • Trends
  • Risks – Industry Risks, Company Risks
  • Numbers – BizMiner industry ratios
  • News
  • Quarterly Insights
  • Bank Product Usage – Industry adoption of standard bank products from Barlow Research

Vertical IQ was co-founded by Bobby Martin, who also started First Research.  Both services provide an extensive set of industry snapshots for relationship managers looking to quickly learn about key industries.

“Vertical IQ helps you save time, increase the likelihood and effectiveness of pre-call planning, deepen relationships with clients, improve banker confidence during calls, and bridge the gap between a banker’s financial knowledge and business knowledge.”

Vertical IQ

Vertical IQ supports nearly 35,000 bankers, accountants and advisors who serve small to medium-sized businesses and professionals.  Along with subscription services, users may purchase individual reports for $99.

Artesian CEO on Their 89% Daily Engagement Rate

­­This is the last of a series of blog posts containing interview transcripts between Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and me.  This excerpt discusses how Artesian drives high engagements rates across their multi-platform social selling service.


 

The Artesian Ready app supports company and contact profiles for meeting attendees, shared meeting notes, and event triggers.
The Artesian Ready app supports company and contact profiles for meeting attendees, shared meeting notes, and event triggers.

Michael: You quote an 89% daily user engagement rate for your platform. 

Andrew: Yes.

Michael: Having looked at competitors, nobody is close to that rate.

Andrew: I know, that’s true.  It’s because we go beyond the 80/20 rule*. We work really, really hard to make sure that the interdependency with Artesian isn’t limited to a desktop or web app-based user interaction. We’ve invested a ton in things like optimization for mobile devices, smart calendar apps, real-time alerting, actionable insights from an alert and an action center that sits midway between the web app and the mobile app. Consequently, we keep people interested in using the service on a daily basis because there’s so many different ways to interact with it.

Also, our philosophy is a key differentiator. Others talk about this, but I don’t see them doing it. When we’re teaching users what to do with Artesian, we say, “If all you do is consume, then we’ve not done our job, and you’ve wasted your opportunity.” What we are encouraging you to do is think about how you can drive actions from the insight. If you drive action, good things will happen. Not only will we make it easy for you to drive actions, but we’ll also measure the outcome.

Everything you do in Artesian is tracked, as is everything you output. When you share a link or you share a piece of insight, not only does it come in a nice condensed form, but it’s fully trackable.

I know you’ve opened it.  I know you’ve shared it.  I can do the same thing on social media for posts to LinkedIn. I know how many people have clicked on it, how many people have viewed it. We give you all that feedback plus an influence score to really gratify you that you’ve done something great, and it’s working. That’s the big difference from just providing access to a service.  What we are about is not force feeding the patient, but encouraging the user to interact with the service and really do something with the insight.

Michael: What percentage of your users have installed your Ready mobile app?

Andrew: Artesian Ready has about 25% penetration.  That’s pretty good considering we mainly work with large enterprises, many of which place limitations on what you can do with your mobile device.  The very fact that it’s an app is a barrier. That’s why in [the recently released version] 16.1 we’ve done a fully mobile-optimized version of the web app for the mobile phone.  It’s not an app.  You don’t need to download anything to use it and we don’t hit the buffers in terms of corporate [security].

Michael: And what percentage of your users are accessing Artesian through Salesforce?

Andrew: About 25%, which might surprise you, because what we found in the larger corporates is, we’ve introduced Artesian as an integrated part of our concept but people have said there’s a backlog, like a queue of apps that they want to get approved and installed. We tend to say to the customer, “Well, get going with Artesian standalone, then integrate it with Salesforce later.”  That said, with the release of 16.0 which had the first Opportunity View integration, we’ve seen our Salesforce pipeline opportunities go from 20/80 to 80/20.


This is the last of four blogs derived from an interview of Artesian CEO Andrew Yates.  The previous blogs covered:

I’d like to thank Andrew and the team at Artesian for supporting this interview.

* The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, when applied in a sales context states that 20% of your customers typically represent 80% of your sales.

Artesian Solutions’ Social Selling Enhancements

Artesian Solutions combines company and market (industry) Watchlists with a broad set of social sharing, emailing, and bookmarking tools.
Artesian Solutions combines company and market (industry) Watchlists with a broad set of social sharing (Twitter, LinkedIn, Chatter), emailing, calendaring, and bookmarking tools.

UK Social Selling vendor Artesian Solutions announced a set of enhancements to its social selling platform.  Amongst the improvements are an improved CRM connector, “fully customisable” triggers, market sector alerts, employee display filters, and an update to their Ready mobile app.  They are also in the midst of soft launching a US edition with a comparable set of social selling features.

The enhanced CRM connectors for Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics “drive a more dynamic connection between interaction information, business information and market insight for more intuitive and contextualised sales and marketing.”  Among the features are sales trigger filtering by topic and trigger sharing by email, social media, and Chatter.

A new employees page allows users to filter employees by job function and level and set priorities by executive role and level.  The firm has also expanded the depth of executive content including executive overviews and social media links.

Along with market alerts, Artesian has increased the granularity of its market views.  Market alerts may be filtered by industry and country and are delivered weekly.

AS TW R
Artesian Ready Twitter Feed

Artesian also rolled out version 2.3 of its Ready mobile app which provides company and executive insights synched with the mobile calendar.  The service also supports collaborative note taking and a “360° comprehensive profile of customers and prospects.”

New Ready features include Twitter timelines and Twitter sharing (see image on left), social links (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, AngelList, Crunchbase, Klout), job information, and a data quality form for reporting incorrect information.

Rachel Oldroyd, Artesian Product Manager for Mobile commented that Ready “delivers the latest social profile insight straight to users’ fingertips, right up to the very second they go through the meeting room door, for the ultimate in readiness and customer engagement. Its summer launch is very timely, offering a real opportunity to brush off the dust, re-invigorate meetings with new ideas and fresh thinking, and get back into gear ahead of September.”

Ready is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Artesian is priced at $99 per user per month in the US and £89 per user per month in the UK with volume discounting available at higher seat counts.  This pricing is in line with other social selling products such as InsideView and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.  Ready and CRM integrations are included as part of the core service offering along with onboarding, training, and social selling scores.  The firm strongly believes that sales training is key to user adoption so does not charge for custom training sessions.

Social Selling Scores are similar to LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index.  These scores introduce a gamification element to the service helping encourage best practices and ongoing use by sales reps.  Artesian bases its scores on targeting, connecting, and sharing.

Artesian Solutions provides a Social Selling Score Dashboard on the home page to encourage broad usage of their service.
Artesian Solutions provides a Social Selling Score Dashboard on the home page to encourage broad usage of their service.

Artesian opened a Boston office at the beginning of this year and recently soft launched their US edition.  The firm has not disclosed their primary US vendor but it is a credible source of company and contact information.  The US version supports 4.2 million companies and 400,000 Canadian firms.  Social Selling functionality is similar to the UK product with the exception of filed data not available in the US (e.g. registered company financials; directors and shareholders; mortgages and charges; and Companies House images).  Key features in both services include social selling alerts and sharing, company prospecting, watchlists, and social selling scores.

Artesian Solutions Plants its Flag in Boston

Art1

UK social selling vendor Artesian Solutions recently incorporated in the United States and opened a Boston office.  The firm has also signed several data partnerships which allow them to expand coverage to 25 million companies and 65 million people.  The firm did not indicate the names of their partners or geographic distribution of the coverage.

The firm has already signed five US customers from the banking, finance, and technology sectors.  To manage US operations, founder Mike Blackadder has relocated to Boston.  The firm has also hired Tom Beriau as their new Vice President of Sales based out of Boston. Tom has over twenty years of enterprise software sales experience.

Artesian Solutions provides mined news and sales triggers from the open web along with a social media view (Twitter and Blogs). Their core offering is the Artesian Social Intelligence SaaS platform which supports company and prospect research on the web, within CRMs (SFDC and MS Dynamics), and via the mobile browser (iPad).

Artesian supports 25,000 users in the UK.  Clients include Adobe, American Express, Barclays, Cisco, Citi, Deloitte, HSBC, KPMG, and Siemens.

“Incorporation sends a clear message to our US customers about our intention to provide support for our award winning service on a global basis,” said CEO Andrew Yates. “Our largely multi-national customers many of whom are headquartered in the US, have been driving demand for Artesian – regarded by them as more than just smart data and insights about customers but a complete sales engagement solution which complements LinkedIn. Think of Artesian providing engagement smarts for companies and markets is the same way LinkedIn does for people insights. Our new office in Boston is just the beginning of our expansion strategy, but it will ensure we are perfectly placed to capitalise on this glaring gap in the market, and provide our customers with the solutions they are demanding, everywhere they operate.”

Boston was selected as it offers “a great base from which to service customers across the whole of the US, as well as a stepping stone towards delivering a truly global offering.”

Boston is also the home of several other sales and marketing intelligence companies including Avention, D&B NetProspex, and Zoominfo.

The firm claimed that it is growing at 100% per annum.  Unfortunately, they did not provide the growth metric (i.e. revenue, customers, users).

Artesian posted an impressive 94% retention rate last year.

Last June, Artesian closed an $8 million Round B. The round was led by previous investors Octopus Investments and Kreos Capital raising total funding to $11.2 million. The funds were dedicated to UK infrastructure growth, international expansion, and ongoing investment in mobile and social apps.

In December, the firm released a calendar-linked mobile app called Ready which helps sales professionals prepare for meetings by providing the latest news, insights, and financials to sales reps. The new service “demonstrates Artesian’s commitment to product innovation and developing cutting-edge mobile applications that help strengthen its customers’ brands and accelerate their sales success.”

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The Artesian Ready mobile app provides integrated calendaring, meeting notes sharing, and alerting via Apple iOS and Android devices.

The app, available at no charge to Artesian customers on the Apple and Google stores, also supports team collaboration and information sharing. According to Artesian, “Ready allows users attending the same meeting to collaborate and share insight on the go, ensuring that they never miss a thing. Ready delivers tangible commercial outcomes – the pre-sales meeting ritual will never be the same again!”


In the 2016 edition of my Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors, I am planning on expanding coverage to UK products.  This will include profiles of DueDil, Bureau van Dijk (BvD), and Artesian Solutions.  Avention, which has strong offerings for US, UK, and global sales teams, is covered in my 2015 edition.

Infofree: SMB Prospecting, Credit Scores, SFA, and Mobile App

Infofree mobile creditIn the past two weeks, SMB Sales Intelligence vendor Infofree has added 16 million US emails and light credit report information to its service.  Infofree provides low cost access to business and consumer databases for the SMB market (they also serve some enterprise clients, but their sweet spot is SMB).

The service has a number of similarities to Infogroup’s Salesgenie service, so prospects would be well advised to evaluate both offerings before signing up for a contract.

Key features include business and consumer prospecting; light sales force automation (SFA) features such reminders, tagging, and note taking; business trade credit profiles; events databases (e.g. New Businesses, New Movers); and a mobile app.

Infofree is not a candidate for strategic sales teams.  Profiles and screening are thinner than found in enterprise sales intelligence vendors.  You also won’t find sales triggers, public company financials, company news, or industry research.  Instead, the product should be viewed as an SMB service designed for industries that sell to both businesses and consumers (e.g. office supplies, insurance agencies, communications services, food services).

Infofree also includes a light SFA service called CRM101 which serves as a contact and list manager.  Users can store notes, set up reminders, and assign tags within CRM101.  Furthermore, CRM101 is available through their mobile app, allowing for quick note taking after field sales calls.

Other Android and iOS mobile features include mobile prospect lists, map viewing of prospect lists, click-to-call, click-to-email, driving directions, and company and credit profiles.

Infofree.com is priced at $79.95 monthly or $799 annually. The annual subscription includes up to 10,000 downloaded records per year with additional records available for five cents each.  Volume discounts apply for multiple seats.

Infofree is one of the eleven vendors I profiled in my just published 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.  In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of each of these vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few: