Phil Garlick Joins Brainshark

Phil Garlick joined sales enablement vendor Brainshark as their VP of Corporate Development and Strategic Partnerships.  Garlick held a similar role at Zoominfo prior to its February acquisition by DiscoverOrg.  Before Zoominfo, Garlick was a founder of OneSource Information Services, a pioneer in the sales intelligence space.  He guided the sales and marketing functions before ascending to President.  He is joining Brainshark at a point when partnerships and integrated workflows are critical for sales and marketing teams.

“Phil’s deep experience in the sales intelligence and sales enablement markets, and his track record of success driving business growth, make him a valuable asset to our leadership team,” said Brainshark CEO Greg Flynn. “As Brainshark continues to expand its network of strategic partnerships, we’re confident that Phil’s expertise and customer-centric approach will help us continue to forge strong alliances that deliver great value to clients and improve their sales outcomes.”

Brainshark supports content authoring & management, sales training, video coaching & practice, dashboards & analytics, and creative services.

Over the past half-decade, there has been a steady flow of former OneSource sales reps and management to Brainshark.  Brainshark’s Chief Sales Officer, Colleen Honan, held a similar role at OneSource alongside Garlick.

“I’ve long admired Brainshark’s commitment to helping companies improve the readiness and results of their sales teams. This is a persistent challenge for organizations across industries and an area I’m passionate about. As Brainshark continues to innovate and enable sales teams to maximize their productivity, it’s an exciting time to join the company.”

Phil Garlick, Brainshark VP of Corporate Development and Strategic Partnerships

Note: Garlick was the President of OneSource Information Services while I was a Product Marketing Manager.

Drift Acquires Siftrock; Launches Product & Partnerships at HYPERGROWTH

Drift Botflow
Drift Botflow

At their HYPERGROWTH user conference this week, Drift announced the acquisition of email reply management firm Siftrock which tracks email replies, routes them to sales reps, and syncs data with marketing automation platforms.  Siftrock will be integrated into Drift’s Assistant for Marketing.

“Last year, we started talking about reinventing email and focusing on conversations and replies instead of opens and clicks,” said CEO David Cancel. “Siftrock has built a best-in-class product that manages email replies at scale, and this acquisition will help us deliver on that vision even faster. But most importantly, this is a move that adds real value to both of our customer bases immediately.”

Drift Assistant for Marketing includes email auto-reply detection for updating MAPs and Salesforce when execs change jobs or their emails bounce.  The service also drives email calls to action to conversational landing pages instead of a traditional landing page.

A new Conversational Advertising capability which builds conversations around advertising views was also unveiled.  Instead of sending prospects from ads to webforms, users are brought into conversations.

“With traditional advertising it’s always been about later,” said Cancel. “You drive people to a landing page, get them to fill out a form, and then someone at the company contacts you later.  But with Conversational Advertising, it’s all about right now. We can close the gap and help buyers connect with a business instantly by taking them right from an ad to a conversation to get the answers they need instantly.”

At HYPERGROWTH, Drift rolled out partnerships with Outreach, Marketo, and Demandbase.  Last month, they announced Drift Intel, a lead enrichment service powered by Clearbit.

“The key to high-performing ABM strategies is connecting marketing programs directly to sales activity,” said Demandbase CEO Chris Golec. “We are incredibly excited to be the exclusive launch partner for Drift’s new Conversational Advertising product because now B2B marketers can target specific companies with our account-based advertising, and move to a conversation with sales in a single click. The time from engagement to conversation to pipeline has never been faster.”

“Great conversations are the most powerful way to drive conversion,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “To accomplish this, you must have a consistent customer journey, from calls and emails to your buyer’s experience on your website. Now sales and marketing teams can share context from every touchpoint in the customer journey to drive stronger results wherever they communicate with their buyers.”

A Drift Assistant for Sales email feature helps reps prepare for meetings with briefings on the firm’s tech stack, a summary of previous conversations, and an analysis of recent website activity.  Other features include no show and cancellation rescheduling and next step recommendations (e.g. meeting follow up notes),

“B2B businesses have gone digital, but we haven’t been able to move on from all of the paperwork,” commented Cancel. “Only a third of a sales reps time is actually spent selling, with over 60 percent of their time wasted on administrative tasks and meetings.

SalesLoft Named Top Midsize Workplace in Atlanta

One of the New Features Being Shown at Rainmaker 2018 is an Integrated Meeting Schedule.
One of the new features being shown at Rainmaker 2018 is an integrated meeting scheduler.

Congratulations to SalesLoft on being named the Top Midsize Workplace in Atlanta. The sales enablement firm added 120 employees over the past year to 220 headcount. SalesLoft is looking to add another 150 employees in 2018.

“SalesLoft’s core values are like motivational mantras: Team over self, bias towards action, focus on results, put customers first and glass half full.

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

CEO Kyle Porter has long stressed the value of transparency at SalesLoft with Sunday evening company-wide emails and Friday all-hands meetings where staff are encouraged to ask any question.

“What I’ve constantly heard is just massive amounts of appreciation for being kept in the loop,” he said.

The firm also emphasizes recognition, cross-team interactions, career development, and teamwork. Chessboards in the lobby foster friendly competition. “It shows that salespeople can have a scientific mind and that engineers can have a relational mind, and that’s really the exact thing that we do for our customers, is we bring the science and relationships together,” said Porter.

SalesLoft is holding its annual Rainmaker conference in Atlanta this week.

Social Selling Benefits

Sales Research company CSO Insights and Seismic, a sales enablement vendor, asked 400 global B2B professionals about the benefits of social selling tools.  These tools include sales enablement, social listening, and social marketing solutions.  A full 38% weren’t sure of the benefits of these tools speaking to a need for vendors to better explain their value and provide user metrics.

The problem of value attribution has long been an issue with sales intelligence services as well, but as sales intelligence has become more tightly tied into the overall sales and marketing process, clear benefits such as reduced time spent keying and maintaining account information and the direct display of account intelligence within CRM I-frames have helped validate sales intelligence tools.

Likewise, B2B professionals found the biggest benefits of social selling tools to be reduced account / contact research time (39%), an increase in the number of leads (33%) and deeper client relationships (31%).  Broader process improvements were noted at lower rates with improved lead conversion (24%), shorter sales cycles (14%), and increased win rates on forecasted deals (13%) rounding out the benefits.

However, when the sub-group of professionals at firms which have aligned their social marketing and selling strategies was assessed, CSO Insights found a sixteen percent improvement in win rates.  Furthermore, the benefits were better understood with 57% enjoying more leads and 56% found deeper client relationships.  Amongst this group, only 18% were unsure about the benefits of social selling tools.  Thus, CSO Insights concluded that the high percentage of B2B professionals doubting the value of social selling tools was due to “a lack of maturity.”

CSO Insights defined social engagement as “equipping salespeople with skills, tools, and content to successfully navigate the change, decision, and value dynamics along the entire customer’s journey by leveraging social media.”  I find this definition a bit limiting operationally for vendors as it focuses exclusively on social media.  Both social selling and sales intelligence vendors have made the mistake of ignoring each other.  There are a few exceptions such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator adding a news feed and InsideView’s integrated social media Buzz tab, but most vendors either focus on profiles and news alerts/triggers or social monitoring and messaging.  The lack of fully integrated social monitoring and messaging tools within sales intelligence platforms remains a missed opportunity to improve sales intelligence products.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers Lead (executive) and company news alongside LinkedIn updates. Sales reps can filter for news or shares.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers Lead (executive) and Company News alongside LinkedIn updates. Sales reps can filter for news or shares.

A 2015 CSO Insights study of sales reps found that 33% felt social selling training was in need of a major redesign and 31% felt the training needs improvement.  CSO Insights warns against reducing social selling training to LinkedIn or Twitter training.  Research Director Tamara Schenk cautions that lessons from CRM training were not transferred to social selling training. “Salespeople are again asked to take tool training when at the same time the tool and the required skills have not yet been integrated into the current sales system, methodologies and processes. The result is the same. The new tool, social selling, is then considered as a time-consuming add-on rather than an effective enabler to create more and better business.”

Schenk noted that social strategy needs to be defined with marketing.  “An organization’s social strategy has to be aligned along the customer’s journey. [Sales] Enablement leaders are in an ideal position to orchestrate this process. After that, social selling skills have to be integrated in the current methodologies, engagement principles, and processes. Only then, not earlier, can social selling training services be designed and provided. And using the technology effectively is just one element. Another key element is the content challenge. Relevant and valuable content to attract prospects has to be made available for salespeople, ideally on the sales enablement platform with no further internal obstacles to access this content.”

The CSO Insights research was conducted in July by Schenk and Strategic Advisor Jim Dickie.  The study was based upon responses from B2B sales managers (61%), sales ops (21%), marketing (8%) and other roles located in North America (59%) and rest of world (41%).