Outreach announced that it is selling the Sales Hacker community back to its founder Max Altschuler and the GTMfund. Outreach acquired the site five years ago, and Altschuler served as the company’s CMO for several years.
Altschuler noted that sales has changed significantly over the past few years and is no longer a standalone function but part of a much expansive view of the customer relationship and go-to-market processes. Thus, the vision of Sales Hacker is being expanded to encompass the broader set of customer-facing teams.
Recognizing this change, Sales Hacker will be rebranded as GTMnow and operate as an extension of the GTMfund. The broader vision will encompass sales, marketing, customer success, operations, and product.
“Sales Hacker had an amazing, decade-long run, but sales is no longer siloed, and we saw an opportunity to transform it into something geared toward the broader GTM space,” Altschuler explained to GZ Consulting.
The new GTMnow website launched yesterday. The site offers a weekly newsletter, podcast, videos, and articles.
“Sales Hacker has been such a great vehicle, a great platform, for educating sellers at scale,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “Sales [reps] learn from other salespeople. Sales is such an art that you always can learn a tip or trick or a move from other sales folks that are deploying this in their own shops.”
“We’ll be sharing the playbooks from our experienced GTM leaders as well as the experiments we’re conducting across our 100+ portfolio companies so that you can run them too,” posted Altschuler on LinkedIn. “We’ll stay focused on producing super high-quality content showcasing the ongoing innovation happening industry-wide.”
GTMfund is an early-stage VC fund “focused on investing in the most exciting, up-and-coming B2B SaaS companies across the world.” Its LP network of over 350 VP and C-level revenue leaders come from leading SaaS companies, including DocuSign, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Snowflake, Okta, and Zoom.
“This network acts as 350+ scouts as well as an expert network for conducting due diligence on companies. Our unique value add gives us access to the deal,” states GTMfund. “We help startups with distribution. With a network of proven go-to-market leaders, startups should never have to go at it alone again. We find the best companies and support them with revenue-generating playbooks, top-tier candidates, and all-around GTM support.”
Along with hosting conferences and training, Corporate Visions helps firms “articulate value and promote growth” in three ways:
Make Value Situational by distinguishing your commercial programs between customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.
Make Value Specific by creating and delivering customer conversations that communicate concrete value, change behavior, and motivate buying decisions.
Make Value Systematic by equipping your commercial engine to deliver consistent and persistent touches across the entire Customer Deciding Journey.
“I have been a fan of Corporate Visions and their work since the beginning of Outreach. Their commitment to research-backed solutions for sales challenges and solid track record of implementing solutions across GTM teams that lead to results is unmatched. Their work has resulted in increased revenue and profitability for many of the world’s biggest companies,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “That’s why Outreach is partnering with Corporate Visions to empower Chief Revenue Officers to unlock sales productivity so they can efficiently create pipeline and predictably close more deals.”
The partnership aims to increase deal velocity, improve sales quota attainment, and generate higher win rates. Corporate Visions will offer a quartet of Outreach-based services around tech implementation strategy, sales messaging optimization, skills coaching, and sales forecast process & measurement.
“By leveraging Corporate Visions’ best practices as organizations implement Outreach’s platform, enterprise sales leaders, from the CRO down, will ensure that every action their team is taking consistently builds enough pipeline coverage for the next quarter without sacrificing today’s deal velocity or pipeline conversion rates,” wrote the firms.
Sales Execution Platform Outreach unveiled a series of product enhancements and dashboards at its Explore+ web conference earlier this month. New features include Smart Email Assist with Generative AI, a Create Pipeline Calculator, Buyer Topics and Reactions in Kaia, Deal Grid, Deal Overview, Success Plan Methodologies, and Data Sharing with Outreach.
“The industry has never had a single place to generate and manage pipeline, run sales cycles from creation to close, coach reps, and forecast – until now,” said the firm.
Over the past decade, sales teams have acquired a set of SalesTech solutions that create a “hairball” of point solutions that work poorly together and suffer from siloed data and regular system switching. Furthermore, a unified data platform supports advanced workflows, AI models, and account insights for sales coaching and deal management.
Outreach has enjoyed solid adoption of its new platform since launching it ten months ago. Multi-product adoption is strong, with over 400 customers using two or more products. Furthermore, multi-product adoption is driving platform ARR, which has grown by over 100% in the past two quarters. Since the platform was launched, Outreach’s new logo deal size has increased by 16%.
“Today, Chief Revenue Officers are facing two major problems: pipeline coverage and conversion. They need to create an adequate amount of pipeline, and close it at a greater rate,” said CEO Manny Medina. “That’s why Outreach has been on a journey to expand our offerings to solve our customers’ biggest problems today. Our goal is to provide sales leaders with a single platform to manage all of their deals – from creating more pipeline to closing more deals. Today’s announcements at Explore+ are an important milestone in our platform journey, and we look forward to continue innovating for the 30 million B2B salespeople around the world to help them unleash their selling potential.”
The Smart Email Assistant generates automated email replies that go beyond email templates. AI factors in previous conversations between the buyer and seller when generating responses. By automating email responses, “sales reps can focus their time on editing and personalizing the AI-generated content, instead of drafting these emails from scratch.”
A new Pipeline Calculator recommends prospecting activities to fill pipeline gaps. The calculator utilizes historical pipeline data to determine the number of prospects that should be added to sequences to meet their quota. In addition, the historical conversion rate assumptions are displayed and adjustable. Thus, the assumed conversion or win rates can be adjusted to accommodate market shifts or new processes or messaging that boost historical results.
Outreach continues to develop Kaia, its conversational sales module, with the addition of Buyer Topics and Reactions. AEs and sales managers can revisit meeting recordings and review the buyer’s reaction to fourteen relevant sales topics, such as budget, legal, or support.
“Using AI, Outreach is able to understand the contextual utterance of relevant sales topics in any meeting or email – ranging from pricing to product to next steps to support – and can understand when the buyer raised an objection at any point in the meeting,” explained the firm. “It delivers invaluable insight into what is really happening in meetings, down to each moment, and at scale across all meetings.”
Success Plans now support popular sales methodologies, including MEDDIC, MEDDPICC, and SPIN Selling, helping reps “consistently and continuously qualify deals and align with champions to mitigate deal risk.”
Outreach added a single-pane-of-glass opportunity viewer called Deal Grid. Reps can view their deals sorted by health score and value to focus on their best opportunities. They can also edit fields such as Close Date, Amount, Stage, and Forecast status (e.g., omitted, commit, best case, most likely) with information synced to the CRM and forecasts updated.
Opportunity Viewers are a common feature of Revenue Intelligence platforms (e.g., Clari, RevenueGrid, People.AI), but with Sales Execution and Revenue Intelligence platforms expanding into each other’s domain, Deal Grid was an anticipated new feature. Opportunity viewers help reps review their deal status, update the CRM, and prepare for meetings with sales managers. They solve the problem of serially jumping between Opportunity records in Salesforce (which the firm has moved to resolve with similar functionality).
Outreach released several new reports and dashboards:
Create and Close Dashboard: Provides AEs and sales managers with a high-level forecasted revenue summary of the existing pipeline and highlights pipeline gaps and risks.
“The insight-laden dashboard shows the forecasted revenue from existing pipeline, and highlights pipeline coverage gaps for the current and future quarter, which helps reps proactively mitigate risk earlier and drive to success,” said Outreach.
Deal Overview: An overview of open opportunities with a deal summary, an engagement timeline, deal health, sales methodology insights, next steps, and the shared plan. The engagement timeline displays all sales activities and a heat map detailing customer engagement trends.
Pipeline Dashboard: Displays all “relevant pipeline details to life in a single, sortable view, allowing sales managers to stay on top of their quarter.” The dashboard includes a pipeline activity summary by stage, projected finish, revenue to date, quota, and top deals with deal health scores.
Outreach also announced bi-directional syncing with HubSpot. Earlier this month, it unveiled expanded Outreach Data Sharing with Snowflake.
Despite recent layoffs, Outreach continues to build its customer base. FY 2023 revenue (FYE Jan 2023) passed $200 million across 6000 customers. Outreach’s scale benefits its clients as it records over 25 million action/outcome pairings per week, helping refine its machine learning insights and recommendations.
Outreach announced the general availability of Outreach Guide, its new revenue intelligence and deal management solution. Guide provides real-time conversation intelligence, best practice action plans, and “deal health at a glance.” Outreach also announced administrative enhancements to its Engage product and a “deep integration” with ABX Platform 6sense.
Outreach Guide, Engage, and Commit act as the “foundation” of Outreach’s sales execution platform, supporting revenue organizations across the full customer sales cycle “from prospecting for new business opportunities to deal management to sales forecasting.”
Outreach aims to create a “single system of execution” that helps revenue organizations meet their full potential and address issues with prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.
To help address this “sales execution gap,” Machine learning models “learn from the actions taken in our platform and generate data-driven, predictive, real-time insights that recommend actions for users to take to improve their sales execution,” said CEO Manny Medina.
Outreach Guide supports three core capabilities:
Deal Health Scores: The Deal Health Score employs machine learning to predict deal health. It also provides deal insights, recommended actions, and where to focus. In addition, deal Health displays positive and negative indicators (e.g., stuck in current stage, no recent inbound emails, recent executive engagement).
Deal Health signals deals at risk to both the sales rep and sales management, providing an opportunity to address problems and adjust forecasts.
Deal Health scores can be viewed in the aggregate as well, providing a neutral perspective on how each deal is proceeding versus comparable opportunities.
Deal Health scores are currently in beta.
Kaia Real-time assistance and conversation intelligence:Kaia offers real-time call transcription, content cards, and context-based rep enablement during Zoom and Microsoft teams meetings. After meetings, Kaia streamlines meeting summaries with AI-captured action items and follow-ups. As a result, Outreach claims rep productivity increases by nearly 30%, and the likelihood of scheduling a follow-up meeting jumps by 36%.
Kaia is linguistically customized for each client, capturing product names and competitors as keywords. During a call, content cards display real-time sales aides, such as product summaries or technical notes. Content cards provide quick cheat sheets on product value, pricing, or integrations (see the example on the right).
By removing notetaking and displaying content cards, Kaia allows sales reps to be more present during calls and pitch with greater confidence; instead of pausing a meeting to jot down notes, sales reps can quickly add a bookmark or short meeting note.
Automated and collaborative purchasing through Success Plans:Success Plans foster collaboration between buyers and sellers with detailed online purchase action plans that include a timeline, success criteria, resources, and team views. Collaborative action plans align stakeholders, build buyer trust, ensure timely stakeholder engagement, and provide internal stakeholders with prospect engagement and deal progress. Outreach claims that reps who closely monitor Success Plans enjoy a 13% bump in close rates.
“The buying team has all the information related to the deal in a central place, and all teams are aligned to clearly understand each other’s goals, interactions, and requirements essential for driving long-term success, delivering an unparalleled buying experience throughout the entire selling process,” stated Director of Product Marketing Elizabeth Dailing.
Furthermore, Success Plans are available to Customer Success teams when onboarding new customers, helping streamline handoffs.
The Team view helps track who is involved from the buying team and how engaged they are, how recently they were engaged, and what content they viewed.
Trigger Enhancements – A streamlined trigger builder improves the creation, management, and discovery of triggers. The refreshed trigger builder is aligned with traditional CRM language and supports multiple values per condition, drag-and-drop action reordering, and simplified condition group creation.
New Outlook-Add In – A native integration lets reps ‘Send’ emails from Outlook and send and sync “relevant emails to Outreach, as well as insert their available times or add a link to their calendar.” Outreach will also flag opted-out communications in Outlook and prevent them from being sent or added to a sequence.
Microsoft Graph Integration
Data Retention in Outreach Voice Recordings – Admins can configure data retention policies such as deleting data as a one-time event or setting up regular data deletions for Outreach Voice Recordings.
Additionally, Outreach announced an Irish Datacenter for Outreach Engage, meeting EU data residency requirements for GDPR compliance. “The EU Datacenter for Outreach Engage allows an organization’s data to be stored in a specific geographic location,” blogged Caroline Shin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach. “This means customer-owned data associated with those Outreach instances including prospects, accounts, organizations, and workflow data such as sequences and meetings will be stored and contained within the EU infrastructure.”
The Outreach platform manages and monitors deal health beginning with Sales Development Reps warming up accounts via sequenced outreach. Once a prospect is ready to speak with an account executive, the meeting is calendared, and relevant stakeholders are notified. During meetings, Outreach Kaia records, analyzes, and summarizes calls while providing real-time transcription, bookmarking, and insights.
Outreach Kaia also triggers the creation of an opportunity and “recommends a pre-built blueprint for a mutual action plan, known as Success Plans, between buyer and seller.”
Outreach Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability. They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines. Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents. Only invited individuals can participate in the Success Plans.
Outreach claims that two-thirds of buyers have “stopped working with a company mid-deal, simply because the competitor provided a better buying experience.” Thus, streamlining the document sharing process, framing the timeline, and agreeing on success criteria facilitates the process and improves deal visibility and the likelihood of winning each deal.
“The Success Plan in Outreach is the only integrated mutual action plan that already has all the activity data to date associated with the deal, including the meeting notes and email exchanges. Combined with the power of AI-captured job titles and sentiment, Success Plans include all the people engaged in the deal on the buying team, along with the milestones, purchasing steps, and resources needed to collaborate on the deal going forward. Every new meeting booked, stakeholder introduced, and resource shared is automatically synced into the Success Plan. This takes the administrative tax off the seller and gives them more time to actively sell while ensuring accurate and timely data capture of granular buyer engagement. Each phase in the Success Plan is pre-configured and linked to a stage in the sales process under the hood. Gone are the days of sales leaders hounding reps for status updates – they are now updated and monitored automatically.”
Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage
As the deal progresses, Outreach captures engagement and sentiment across meetings, emails, and the Success Plan, feeding AI-based deal health insights and recommendations to sales reps and management. In addition, deal health is aggregated at the team level in Outreach Commit, with projections around which deals are likely to close during the quarter.
Outreach is positioning the new functionality as a “single source of truth for deals, pipeline, and forecasting” that drives “faster deal cycles and more predictable revenue.” Its platform offers a single solution for sales engagement, conversation intelligence, digital salesrooms, and revenue intelligence.
“Outreach has already demonstrated that by creating operational excellence with a system of action for prospecting, you can optimize your sales processes and qualify more deals, faster,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “Outreach’s new AI-Guided Deal Intelligence demonstrates this again with the closing process – by centralizing the activity around a deal behind a single pane of glass, capturing accurate data and transforming it into deal health insights that drive actions, account executives are more equipped than ever to close more deals, faster, and sales managers, leaders and CROs can sleep soundly knowing they finally have a source of truth for deal health.”
Deal Intelligence will be available for an open beta in early 2022.
Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach will be rolling out AI-Guided Deal Intelligence in 2022. The new Deal Insights functionality provides a consolidated opportunity view that includes a deal overview, deal health, risks, and next best action recommendations from a single pane of glass.
“Deal Intelligence doesn’t just warn you a deal is off track but will actually guide you to help understand what you can do now, in the moment, to change the outcome,” explained Senior Communications Manager Amanda Woolley to GZ Consulting. “Deal Intelligence is going to reach across the Outreach platform and gather signals from all facets of the platform and throughout the customer journey and move from risk identification into action.”
Many of the components of Deal Intelligence such as Sentiment Analysis, Success Plans, Kaia, Commit, and engagement monitoring already exist in the Outreach platform, with the new Deal Intelligence tying together data and insights from the various modules and summarizing them with deal health and next best action recommendations.
“Built on the foundation of our deep machine learning tools like Kaia, Intent, title classification, and more, Deal Intelligence will help remove some of the “best guesses” we revenue leaders have been doing,” explained Outreach CRO Anna Baird. “Deal Intelligence will be gathering signals and let us know – not only when we have a risk – but what we can do to change the outcome! It’s not just a warning light, but a full explanation of how to correct the issue. Deal Intelligence will bring true transparency to opportunity management and help us get to that predictable revenue goal we all want.”
Deal intelligence is gathered across the deal lifecycle and ongoing customer interactions, including sequences, email sentiment, calendaring, Outreach Kaia (conversational intelligence and real-time recommendations), Success Plans (digital salesrooms), and Outreach Commit (pipeline health and forecasting).
“The current ML model looks at the multiple factors and compares them across benchmarks we have collected to derive the [Health Insights] score,” explained Woolley. “Some of the key top-level factors included Decision-maker engagement, activity across email and calls, meeting analysis as well as interaction within Success Plan. For every deal, the ML model determines which factors are positive (‘green flag’) or negative polarity (‘red flag’).”
Both red and green flags are displayed in Deal Intelligence. The Deal Intelligence service summarizes relevant signals, but “given the number of signals captured, it is very hard for a sales rep to drill through every deal.” Outreach’s goal is to “surface all the relevant information for the sales rep in a unified view with the ability to drill deeper as well as take action from within Outreach.”
“Sales reps only succeed when they take the right actions to close deals, yet for far too long they have lacked true visibility into the health of their deals and are forced to turn to intuition and guesswork to select the next best actions to take. Sales leaders and reps have to contend with disparate, dated sales technologies as they strive for an accurate understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast. CRM solutions provide a way to store data but rely on extensive tedious manual data entry from sales reps, often resulting in a “garbage-in garbage-out” situation that does not help reps or managers make confident decisions. Point solutions like conversation intelligence offer a way to record conversations and glean insights hours or days later, but at best, they can tell what the reps’ next actions in other systems should be. All are failing to deliver deal observability. And none of them give real-time deal intelligence to sales reps and seamlessly automate the next actions all in one continuous experience. Until now, that is.”
Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage
Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of Outreach deal health analytics across the deal lifecycle.
Continuing from yesterday’s post that discussed revenue innovation and the Sales Execution Gap. Today I am discussing their new Outreach Commit and Outreach Success Plans.
Outreach Commit, based on their Canopy acquisition, offers sales analytics and forecasting capabilities that augment Outreach’s AI-based buyer sentiment and Success Plans, providing Outreach customers with “true visibility across the entire revenue cycle.”
“The use of deep learning and big data has the potential to transform B2B forecasting in the same way it has transformed B2C forecasting. Such changes are shifting the emphasis on forecasting from predicting the number to beating the number…Reliable activity data allows sales leaders, for example, to drive more rigorous pipeline reviews and estimate forecasts with greater confidence. It allows companies to discover and capture data about prospects and customers that previously lived in the realm of the ‘shadow pipeline’ — that murky world of secret selling that organizations have traditionally been blind to.”
Forrester Research Principal Analyst Anthony McPartlin, “Enabling B2B Interaction Visibility In A Converging Sales Tech Landscape” (June 2021)
Commit provides a flexible forecasting model with multi-level views, allowing managers to view a probabilistic model of outcomes for multiple periods and teams based upon prior win-loss histories, current pipeline, and adjustable assumptions. Revenue forecasts are broken into Booked, Weighted Pipeline, and Intra-period high-velocity deals (i.e., projected new opportunities that are not in the pipeline but will close before the end of the period). In addition, models can be adjusted to account for events external to the model (e.g., new product launches, tradeshow held earlier or late in the quarter, economic shocks). The underlying KPIs that drive the models are selectable when setting them up, with the model updating every fifteen minutes.
Commit provides individualized rep scorecards based on company KPIs. Managers can set targets, coach to outcomes, and level up their team. Managerial note-taking helps them track 1:1’s, assign tasks, and track completion.
Commit supports active deal monitoring that flags deal risks and delivers insights. “Signals notify leaders of the things they need to know today. From opportunity risk identification to shifts in top of funnel metrics, Signals act as your eyes and ears–ensuring your frontline leaders are focused on what matters most to your business.” Deal risk is significantly reduced when issues are flagged early to reps, and managers can provide on-demand coaching to address nascent problems.
Commit also supports Custom Signals. Revenue Operations sets custom thresholds and unique parameters.
At a recent analyst briefing, Outreach management emphasized that they offer a tripartite value proposition: Engage (Sales Engagement), Guide (Kaia Conversation Intelligence), and Commit (Outreach Commit).
“To achieve predictable, efficient growth, every organization needs to engage with their buyers, guide their sellers through strong sales cycles, and then commit the number with confidence.”
Canopy deal terms were not disclosed. All nine employees have joined Outreach. The startup, founded in 2019, had raised $2.1 million.
Outreach also provided updates on Outreach Kaia and Success Plans at its Unleash event. Kaia, its Conversation Intelligence platform that was developed in-house, is adding real-time talk analytics, Comprehensive Search, Saved Search, and Outreach Voice Import. The new capabilities will be available by the end of the month.
Call analytics provide real-time talk-time visibility, letting reps self-correct if they are speaking too much.
Comprehensive Search provides managers with access to notes, content cards, action items, and transcripts across the sales organization. Additionally, both meeting platform intelligence and Outreach Voice cold calls are included. Thus, “leaders can identify trends and risks across teams and at various stages of the sales cycle.”
Saved Search Alerts provide scheduled intelligence on key topics, allowing managers to track competitors, pricing, functional requests, etc.
Outreach Voice Import supports post-call analysis of Outreach Voice and Microsoft Teams. Fully integrated support for Teams is scheduled for 2022.
Outreach warns RevOps not to trust the algorithm blindly. Instead, revenue teams should understand “the math behind every forecast to see what’s actually driving the number.” Accordingly, Outreach maintains the fidelity of data signals such as engagement and sentiment through transparency that displays “every opportunity and signals where sellers should take action.”
“Canopy’s Augmented Revenue Analysis engine combines advanced statistical modeling with machine learning and artificial intelligence,” states the Canopy website. “Simply put, we show our math. Instead of black box predictions, we show you every trend and variable driving our predictions, ensuring you have access to every data point necessary to confidently call your business.”
Users can also review “where you started and where you finished,” providing a post-mortem period review that “pinpoints slippage, forecasting variance, and conversion rates across any data point from any time window.” They can also generate “what if” scenarios with multiple assumptions.
Outreach Success Plans, which were announced back in May, will be generally available on October 27. Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability in a shared deal room. They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines. Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents. Only invited individuals can participate in the Success Plans.
Success Plans provide an additional set of engagement intelligence for tracking deal risks and momentum. The Opportunity View includes Success Plan views, comments, resource downloads, and shares, providing engagement insights specific to deal planning and document sharing.
Outreach Success Plans deliver “unparalleled visibility into pipeline opportunities and risks,” blogged VP of Product Marketing Victoria Grady.
Outreach claims that two-thirds of buyers have “stopped working with a company mid-deal, simply because the competitor provided a better buying experience.” Thus, streamlining the document sharing process, framing the timeline, and agreeing on success criteria not only facilitates the process and improves deal visibility but improves the likelihood of winning each deal. Outreach supports 5,000 customers, including 19 of the 25 fastest-growing public companies and more than 60% of the Cloud 100.
Sales Engagement Platform Outreach expanded its value proposition with the acquisition of Revenue Intelligence service Canopy. Outreach immediately began integrating the service into its platform, with GA expected in H1 2022. The new Outreach Commit service “significantly expands” Outreach’s revenue intelligence capabilities, “giving revenue leaders the sales analytics and forecasting capabilities they need in today’s sales environment.”
“In the past 18 unpredictable and transformative months, we have seen the rise of a new cohort of leaders we are calling Revenue Innovators who have thrived by embracing the digital disruption of sales,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “These are leaders who had to adapt and evolve their mindset to embrace automation and machine learning as the keys to driving predictable, efficient growth – consistently and despite the uncertainty in the market. They need tools that combine engagement with intelligence and marry together the art and the science of sales. The evolution of the Outreach platform does exactly that.”
Outreach provides revenue innovators with “predictable, efficient growth” based upon AI guidance for more effective engagement, improved forecasting, and next best actions. The objective is to reduce the “Sales Execution Gap” between revenue potential and actual performance based on instinct and limited data; instead, data and AI will narrow the gap.
“The Sales Execution Gap manifests itself in several ways across the business — decisions based on gut instincts, slow rep ramp times, competing priorities, random achievement, missed opportunities with little understanding as to why,” explained Medina. “And yes, lost revenue, but also a growing disconnect between what high-performing reps want and what employers can deliver.”
“Once a seller has experienced the power of an Engagement and Intelligence platform, they won’t want to go back to inefficient, broken workflows — and they’re making career decisions because of it.”
Outreach CEO Manny Medina
Unfortunately, CRMs were “not designed for sellers.” They are systems of record that store information but lack engagement and insights. Firms that want reps to “live in the CRM” will drive away their best sales reps and candidates who “demand AI-driven insights and workflow automation to guide their actions in real-time.” As more sellers become “digital natives,” this performance gap will widen.
Top-performing reps and managers that have enjoyed modern SalesTech tools will be reluctant to work without digital tools. They expect their sales toolbox to include AI-generated intelligence, including email sentiment, live meeting guidance, real-time call analysis, and automated deal review and scoring. They are also looking for sales engagement with templated sequences (cadences), multi-channel outreach, task prioritization, and recommended actions. Finally, they are looking for improved forecasting, risk alerts, engagement data, and deal facilitation.
With Commit, Outreach has added forecasting and expanded risk analytics to its toolkit.
“Revenue innovators are embracing automation and AI in real-time to provide guidance to reps mid-cycle, guide more effective engagement with customers, and entirely rethink how they forecast because they have the signals that can proactively identify risk in their pipeline and deals,” stated the firm.
Continue to Part II which discusses Outreach Commit and product enhancements announced at the Outreach Unleash virtual meeting.
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).
Sales Engagement Platform vendor Outreach closed on a $200 million financing round that values the firm at $4.4 billion and brings total funding to $489 million. The round trebled its market cap over the past year.
Premji Invest and STEADFAST Capital Ventures led the round. Other new investors include Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Vista Public Strategies, and one of the largest U.S. asset managers based on the West Coast. Existing Outreach investors, including Salesforce Ventures, Lone Pine Capital, Sands Capital, Mayfield Fund, DFJ Growth, and Trinity Ventures, also participated in the round.
Outreach continued its rapid growth during the pandemic, with B2B firms looking to operationalize their sales outreach, improve remote coaching, refine forecasts, and monitor sales activities and engagement.
The firm more than doubled Q1 ARR year-over-year and has signed 18 of the top 24 fastest-growing public software companies. ARR is around $125 million, according to Nathan Latka. LinkedIn shows them adding sixty employees a month over the past three months.
Outreach has grown to more than 871 global employees, with recently opened offices in Prague and London. The firm is based in Seattle and has a San Francisco office.
At their Unleash user conference last month, they released their real-time conversational intelligence platform Outreach Kaia along with Outreach Insights, their buyer emotive signals and sentiment service.
Outreach Success Plans, which is currently in beta, was also unveiled at Unleash. Success Plans align buyers and sellers to improve action and predictability. They act as a buying hub that allows buyers and sellers to agree on shared success criteria, objectives, and timelines. Success Plans also support shared access to project resources, allowing new demand unit members to quickly access project documents.
“This past year represents a true moment of maturity for Outreach – we are now a mission-critical part of the revenue tech stack for customers. The bets we made years ago, including significant investments in artificial intelligence combined with prospecting, closing, and customer success capabilities integrated into one holistic platform, are what revenue organizations need most right now to be successful. We continue to lead and expand the vision for sales engagement. Now, we are poised to deliver more meaningful business outcomes for our customers than ever before – from the rep to the CRO and from small businesses to the enterprise.”
Outreach CEO Manny Medina
Outreach will deploy the additional funds to expand its sales and marketing functions to meet “the growing demand” for its Sales Engagement Platform. Funds will also be used to build, acquire, and deliver “new revolutionary technologies.” Finally, the funds will support expansion plans and new market investments.
“Over the past five years as I’ve served on the board, Outreach emerged as a definitive standard for sales and customer engagement – proven by thousands of companies that use Outreach every day as a critical component of their workflow and their tech stack,” said Karan Mehandru, Managing Director of STEADFAST and Outreach board member. “Companies across every industry are reaccelerating growth and hiring post-pandemic and embracing intelligent automation to power their revenue teams.”
Mehandru told Bloomberg that he expects to see multiple sales software startups succeed with “multiple winners in the category.” Mehandru likened Outreach to a modern-day Salesforce.
“If (Salesforce CEO) Benioff were to start a sales company today, it would look a lot more like Outreach,” stated Mehandru. Mehandru did not forecast when an IPO would take place but said, “We do think going public is an important event in the company’s cycle.”