Zoom IQ for Sales

Zoom Video Communications announced the availability of its new Zoom IQ for Sales conversational intelligence add-on for Zoom Meetings.  Zoom Phone support for Zoom IQ is in development.

“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings.  Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin.  “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”

Zoom IQ for Sales conversational analytics

Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.”  The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange.  Insights include

  • Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
  • Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
  • Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
  • Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
  • Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
  • Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.

AI provides a set of sentiment and engagement scores that assist with deal risk and health assessments.  Other features include transcription highlights, filler word frequency, and talk speed.

Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision.  General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.

Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars.  Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.

Zoom Sales IQ Playlists

“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI.  “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague.  Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”

Zoom IQ for Sales places Zoom in competition with many of its partners, including Salesloft, Outreach, Chorus, and Gong.

TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI.  Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”

“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers.  “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”

Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.

“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights.  This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”

Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events.  During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations.  Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.

Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.

D&B Hoovers Internationalizes

The Siemens Company Profile as it would display in German.

D&B Hoovers, a global sales intelligence solution that has long been English-only, began a multi-phase process towards becoming a truly global, multi-lingual solution.  Most sales intelligence vendors support only a single language, but European vendors Vainu and Echobot support multiple languages for their regional coverage.  Last year, when Dun & Bradstreet bought Bisnode, a firm that serves Central Europe and the Nordics, it declared that it would be sunsetting Bisnode solutions.  Internationalizing D&B Hoover’s then became a priority.

The D&B Hoovers’ UX already supports 17 languages:

  • European: Croatian, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish
  • Asian: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese

Adding international languages transforms D&B Hoovers from an Anglo-centric solution for multinationals and companies based in Anglophone countries to a localized version.

“In terms of personalization, we’re trying to switch this from being a US product that is sold globally to a fully local version of a global product,” explained International Product Development & Strategy VP Adam Leslie to GZ Consulting.  D&B Hoovers needs to be a “local product” that supports sales reps selling to local customers, regardless of language.  “Historically, it’s been a US product sold in the local market only where the local market user sells to the US and internationally.  If the local market user only sells domestically, they haven’t bought Hoovers.”

D&B Hoovers greatly expanded its industry code standards, allowing users to filter companies by global taxonomies (e.g., ISIC), regional (e.g., NAICS, NACE 2.0, ANZ SIC), or national standards:

D&B Hoover’s also supports two proprietary taxonomies: Hoover’s industry codes and eight-digit SICs.

Country-specific industry code descriptions will be displayed in either English or the local language.

D&B Hoover’s Localization Options

Along with expanded taxonomies, D&B Hoovers recently added website searching to identify companies based on their self-descriptions across one hundred languages.  Website search has gathered 247 million rows of structured data across 30 million websites and 300 million web pages.

This feature helps identify companies with emerging technologies or positioning (i.e., the evolving three-letter acronyms that firms use for classifying themselves).  The feature echoes its Conceptual Search, but instead of identifying companies based on topical references in news articles, it searches global corporate websites.

D&B Hoovers and its predecessor service, OneSource Global Business Browser (GBB), have supported English-speaking multinational teams for two decades.  Their content and functionality have always been the deepest for the US, UK, and Canada.  Yet, they also provided a robust set of international content:

  • Global Public (Quoted) Company Financials, Segment Reports, Executive Bios, and Long Business Descriptions.
  • Financial statements for 15 European countries and global publics.  The reports may be viewed in USD, EUR, GBP, and the As Reported currency, with currency conversion rates based upon the period or statement date.  Thus, revenue from a 2020 income statement (a flow statement) would be based upon the average conversion rate for the year, while assets from the balance sheet would be based upon the applicable rate for the statement date.
  • Global family trees
  • Industry Codes, including US SIC, NAICS, EU NACE, UK SIC, ANZ SIC, and UN ISIC.
  • Regional screening, including city, postal code, and sub-regions (e.g., state, province, county)
  • Regional customization for distances (KM vs. miles) and numeric formats

D&B Hoovers expanded its company coverage to 180 million active firms and 216 million active contacts as part of its internationalization.  Most of the new firms have between one and five employees.  It also increased the number of countries with sub-divisional regions (e.g., counties, provinces), having recently added sub-divisional filtering for the Nordic countries, Denmark, Hungary, etc.  Additional countries are planned.

Several enhancements came from local customer research.  In many European countries, departmental emails are employed in sales and marketing outreach.  These emails lack any personally identifiable information, so they are GDPR compliant.  Dun & Bradstreet is adding over seven million “entity-level emails” for European countries, including over three million entity-level emails for the D-A-CH region, 1½ million for the Nordics, and 2½ million for Eastern Europe.

Text searching was enhanced to recognize accents and diacritical marks (e.g., when performing location searches).  Leslie called synonymous search with or without special characters a “major ticket to the game.”  While it “sounds like a simple fix,” it was “extremely complex.”

As Dun & Bradstreet began its localization research, it realized the importance of small companies and informational depth in the context of national sales vs. international sales.

“We speak to local markets and say, ‘Well, what is it that will help you sell your products and use our products?’” explained Leslie.  Dun & Bradstreet’s research found that many customers and prospects sell locally to organizations with five or fewer employees.  “That becomes really important now that you can reach them.”

Leslie listed other findings and subsequent upgrades: “We capped the number of contacts at eleven.  That’s been changed.  We were missing the middle name.  That has been changed.”

When I was a product marketing manager at OneSource (2001 – 2010), I explained that we delivered the top N companies in each European country because “you aren’t selling to Polish abattoirs.”  That logic made sense when selling to multinationals and exporters based in English-speaking countries.  After all, they weren’t selling to Polish slaughterhouses.  But this approach fails to meet the needs of sales reps based in Poland, EU industrial manufacturers, or logistics companies. 

Localization requires local language support, content depth, national standards support (e.g., industry codes, geographic districts, GDPR), in-language news and triggers (coming in phase II), market knowledge, and in-market sales and support. Dun & Bradstreet also simplified the UI and improved its dynamic display for various screen sizes and devices.  The new UI was implemented in September, and 96% of browser users and 98% of CRM users have switched to the updated format.

D&B Hoover’s old and new company profiles.

In-product tutorials also enhance the user experience.  For example, if a user utilizes a feature inefficiently or has not used core functionality, the tutorial will provide on-demand coaching.  This feedback is also provided to account representatives to provide guidance.  The in-product tutorials were launched last summer, and Dun & Bradstreet continues to collect data for honing its training recommendations.

There is also a new onboarding virtual assistant for providing on-demand training.  Tutorial translations should be available to users in Q2.  Expanded in-product training and virtual onboarding are consistent with the emerging Work from Anywhere expectation of business professionals.

Dun & Bradstreet provided its internationalization roadmap through the end of the year.  The firm intends to extend local content, expand time-dependent sales triggers, and support multi-lingual news.  New content includes more digitally sourced data, detailed financials, and country-specific datasets such as country export data for Chinese companies, product codes, and expanded tech data for India.

Ostensibly, Phase I, which completed at the end of March, serves as a minimal viable product for localized products (or what Leslie called a “ticket to the game”), and Phase II continues internationalizing the content and expanding localized content. 

“We are working with each local market to collect these [data requirements], source the data, transfer to D&B, and load into the product,” said Leslie. Finally, D&B Hoovers will continue to expand its email and direct dial coverage.

Market Flash: ZoomInfo Releases MarketingOS and Unveils RevOS Packaging

ZoomInfo provides a set of data-enabled services for sales, marketing, recruitment, and revenue operations under the RevenueOS brand.

ZoomInfo announced the immediate availability of its new MarketingOS ABM Platform.  The service is part of a broader RevOS offering that supports marketing, sales, operations, and recruitment.  MarketingOS consolidates ZoomInfo’s legacy marketing capabilities, bringing together two recent acquisitions, Insent and RingLead, with new programmatic and audience management functionality.

ZoomInfo also refined its positioning statement from Revenue Acceleration to Revenue Operating System.  It stated that RevOS is “the World’s only revenue operating system of its kind.”

“Our comprehensive B2B database is the key differentiator that sets MarketingOS apart from other ABM solutions,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “ZoomInfo’s unique data science algorithms allow marketers to connect with the right prospects at precisely the right time.  No other solution on the market combines the power of data-driven insights and marketing-optimized workflows like ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS.”

“Marketers typically fail because the data in most ABM platforms is both inaccurate and incomplete.  Current ABM solutions are designed to leverage companies’ own first-party data, which exists in their customer relationship management or marketing automation systems.  Without quality data, marketers pour advertising dollars at the wrong prospects and companies, and, as a result, deliver fruitless leads to sales and waste time and resources.  With ZoomInfo’s best-in-class data and intelligence at its foundation, MarketingOS enables marketers to effectively reach target accounts and drive qualified leads for sales.”

ZoomInfo Press Release, “ZoomInfo Launches New Account-Based Marketing Platform, MarketingOS,” (Feb 8, 2022)

New functionality includes social and display advertising, abandoned from tracking, and audience targeting.  Marketing can build audiences and track campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Marketing can also build campaigns and manage them programmatically through Clickagy DSP (ZoomInfo) or TradeDesk.

Marketing OS looks to address the “Funnel Famine” suffered by traditional marketing teams.  Several issues cause Funnel Famine: crowded B2B advertising channels, dirty data, leaky black-box marketing campaigns, siloed data, and sales’ longtime distrust of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

MarketingOS addresses the issue of leads created by “The Funnel Famine.”

“Most marketing programs begin with data, whether it’s for tailoring your communications, whether it’s for sending an email, whether it’s for sending a direct mail.  It’s all about those accounts that you’re targeting and the professionals at those accounts,” explained ZoomInfo SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing Justin Withers to GZ Consulting.  “And the reality is that a lot of data, especially if it’s pulled from the CRM or other systems, is outdated.  It’s inaccurate.  It’s incomplete, and that can actually pollute or even inhibit the lead flow at the top of the funnel, and [it] ultimately leads to poor conversion.  It leads to leaks in the funnel, and all this hard work that marketers put in at every stage of the funnel ultimately spills out before it can even reach sales.”

The reality is that the sales and marketing funnels operate in parallel, not sequentially, as represented in traditional funnel diagrams.  MarketingOS lets marketers run account-based programs in parallel with sales running account-based sales programs “so that everyone’s aligned at every step of the funnel.”

Under current processes, sales and marketing operate in parallel to each other with little coordination and a single point of handoff for MQLs, a situation that “really doesn’t set marketing up for success…and it leaves sales in a bind,” continued Withers.  Thus, marketing complains that sales teams ignore its leads, and sales reps complain about the quality and quantity of marketing-sourced leads.  As a result, there is an “acute misalignment between sales and marketing.”

With MarketingOS, handoffs can occur at different points along the marketing funnel, based on the channel and prospect response.

Sales and Marketing are aligned around a set of target accounts both within and beyond the ICP.  Thus, an ICP account with spiking intent will be passed to sales, even if marketing has had limited conversations.  Furthermore, the rep will know that multiple individuals from the firm have visited the website or that individuals have clicked through on ads or email campaigns.

Likewise, chatbot conversations with target companies can immediately route a chat to the sales rep or schedule a call.

New functionality for managing abandoned forms can revive a prospect.  ZoomInfo claims a 60% increase in lead flow with its abandoned form tracking.

MarketingOS Audience Builder with Audience Segmentation

MarketingOS functionality includes

  • Expanded targeting that leverages the full set of ZoomInfo’s first and third-party intelligence for building and activating audiences.  ZoomInfo selects include firmographics, technographics, biographics (e.g., Title, 192 Job Functions, Job Levels), web forms, and uploaded lists (e.g., tradeshow lists).  Other selects include business events (e.g., funding data, executive changes, projects) and over 300 company attributes (advanced data-mined firmographics such as fleet size and company benefits).  Targeting also ingests account, contact, and lead attributes from Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo. 
  • First and third-party intent data time outreach while buyers are in-market, helping to improve marketing and sales efficacy.  Marketers can track up to 500 intent topics, with up to 50 available at a time.  In addition, chat-based targeting is coming soon.
  • An “in-market predictive score” that identifies each prospect’s buying stage, “informing how and when marketers should engage with prospects based on their ranking and helping them to prioritize their outbound efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert.”
  • Campaign Management and Analytics.  Marketers upload their creative, build an audience, set the budget, and select their channels.
  • Webforms, infused with automated enrichment, support shorter forms with reduced abandonment rates
  • Abandoned form tracking, with Workflows passing the lead to sales or additional nurture steps
  • ZoomInfo Chat (FKA Insent), a conversational marketing chatbot that leverages ZoomInfo data to score and route leads.  Chat immediately passes high-scoring, live leads to sales reps.  The chatbot also automates meeting scheduling.
  • Visitor Intelligence, with pages scored differently (e.g., Product Pages are scored higher than Career or Investor Pages)
  • Automated workflows triggered by intent, custom intent, WebSights visitor intelligence, Scoops (e.g., business events, projects), Funding, Technologies, and FormComplete.  Workflows can also be built to expand reach across the potential buying committee by persona.
  • RingLead data orchestration to dedupe, cleanse, enrich, and route leads
  • ZoomInfo Enrich, a set of DaaS enterprise platform integrations for data enrichment and hygiene.

MarketingOS is powered by ZoomInfo’s database spanning 100 million companies, 150 million executives, technographics, intent and engagement data, and event data.

“Marketing and sales funnels work in parallel, so everyone is aligned at every step of the funnel,” explained Justin Withers, SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing.  With MarketingOS, “sales and marketing are working in lockstep at every stage of the journey.”

MarketingOS is one of four products branded under the RevOS banner.

Tying together intent and engagement data and processing them through ZoomInfo Workflows is the future of ABM.  Intent data is employed at the top of the funnel when buyers are in the initial research phase.  Once prospects have begun interacting with a vendor, most buyer behavior research falls under the engagement category (e.g., web forms, email responses, chatbots, conversational intelligence, etc.).  Finally, intent data helps identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities at the tail end of the customer lifecycle. 

Engagement and intent data are also valuable churn risk indicators, helping customer success and account managers detect potential cancelations or defections well before decisions have been made.  In addition, intent data can show a spike in research related to product-associated topics and competitors.  Engagement monitoring widens to include customer success interactions, training participation, platform usage, and general account health indicators.

“We can support your new customer acquisition with these signals,” stated Withers.  “We can support your opportunity acceleration with these signals.  We can also support your renewal, upsell, cross-sell motions based on different types of signals that are happening at those accounts.  So, it really is a full customer lifecycle marketing solution.”

MarketingOS will be available as a pair of SKUs:

  • ABM Elite+: The full ABM Platform package, including RingLead Cleanse, Enrich, and Route
  • ABM Advanced+: Package includes everything except RingLead

“The purpose behind the two distinct offerings is to simplify our primary offering for those focused on ABM engagement and marketing programs, as opposed to the more operationally focused data orchestration capabilities,” explained ZoomInfo Analyst Relations Director Michael Basilio to GZ Consulting.

MarketingOS includes ten marketing seats and three administrative seats for RingLead routing and ZoomInfo Chat.

The broader RevOS branding consists of MarketingOS, SalesOS, OperationsOS, and RecruitingOS.  ZoomInfo calls RevOS the “world’s first integrated go-to-market platform.”  All four RevOS services are generally available.

ZoomInfo’s data cloud, orchestration tools (e.g., RingLead, B2B DaaS, Workflows), and engagement tools (advertising, sales engagement, web forms, chat, and conversational intelligence) are at the heart of RevOS.

“There’s nothing more important in business than successfully executing your go-to-market strategy,” states ZoomInfo in its product collateral.  “Get it right, and your business flourishes.  Get it wrong, and you’re toast.  That’s why having one integrated go-to-market platform is so crucial.  You can think of it as your revenue operating system.”

SalesOS bundles together a set of new and legacy sales tools:

  • Sales prospecting
  • Chorus, the conversational sales platform the firm acquired in July
  • Sales insights, including Chorus Momentum
  • Sales CRM integrations and continuous data maintenance
  • The ReachOut browser extension for real-time company and contact research and Send to CRM and SEP functionality
  • ZoomInfo Engage (Sales Engagement Platform)

Sales and Marketing Alignment has been a stated goal of the two functions for at least a decade, but they have operated with different datasets, metrics, objectives, and platforms.  Thus, alignment was more vision than reality.  By aligning ABM on a common platform and reference database, alignment is no longer impaired by an organization’s tech stack and data foundation.

“Crucially, MarketingOS lets marketing teams work from a common data foundation. Only 39% of sales and marketing teams share buyer signals, and half say it’s because their sales and marketing systems don’t integrate. The shared data foundation of SalesOS and MarketingOS tightens key handoffs and unlocks true marketing and sales alignment, eliminating conflicting records, wasted effort, and missed opportunities.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, “Introducing RevOS: The future of modern go-to-market software,” (Feb 8, 2022)

OperationsOS contains RingLead data orchestration (i.e., match, unify, dedupe, normalize, cleanse, enrich, score, and route data) and B2B DaaS services (e.g., APIs, webhooks, cloud data warehouse integrations).

Finally, RecruitingOS contains ZoomInfo Recruit, its recently launched prospecting and engagement service for HR departments and recruiters.  RecruitingOS also includes a set of Applicant Tracking Service connectors.

“Recruiters can filter and reach more good-fit candidates, use pipeline management tools to collaborate and organize the hiring process, and automate the candidate outreach process,” explains Zoominfo.  “This helps you source and connect with candidates faster, reducing the time to find and hire talent.”

Along with new product positioning, RevOS sports new logos, color palettes, styles, and a “unified in-app experience to create a singular, cohesive go-to-market solution that spans the entire suite of ZoomInfo products.”  There are also redesigned data dashboards and reports that “offer a faster, more responsive experience that allows your sales, marketing, and recruitment teams to visually demonstrate ROI and how their work aligns with broader organizational objectives.”

In short, RevOS unifies sales, marketing, revenue operations, and recruitment on the same set of data, providing “the same source of truth” and “one integrated platform for every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.” “If data is the lifeblood of the modern sales organization, then go-to-market teams must have the technology to act upon that data.  RevOS’ unified data tech stack gives sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting teams a single source of truth from which to launch their campaigns and go-to-market motions, simplifying internal workflows, reducing costs, and maximizing interoperability between teams,” blogged Schuck.  “RevOS is the next chapter in ZoomInfo’s journey as the world’s leading go-to-market platform.”

MarketingOS supports a Campaign Manager for building, sizing, and tracking campaigns.

Cognism $87.5M Series C

London-based Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism closed on an $87.5 million (£64m) Series C.  The round was led by Viking Global Investors and Blue Cloud Ventures, with follow-on investors AXA Venture Partners, Swisscom Ventures, and Volution.

Total funding is just shy of $130 million.

The funds will be deployed for European expansion and strengthening Cognism’s position in the United States.  Growth will be a “combination of organic growth and acquisitions.”

“The funding will help us empower many more businesses with international sales intelligence over the coming years, setting a new standard in data quality and compliance,” explained CEO James Isilay.  “It will accelerate our growth and global expansion plans as the leading provider of intelligent B2B sales data.”

“We will be organically expanding in the United States this year and have just hired new sales leadership (Mark Sparaco) to accelerate our growth,” Isilay told GZ Consulting.  “Europe remains our primary focus, but we see significant differentiation to other providers in our US and International data that we see significant growth opportunities.”

The firm will remain focused on improving its global data coverage and Sales Intelligence capabilities in 2022.  Roadmap features include marketing enhancements and localization in non-English speaking countries.

Cognism is coming off another strong year, with ARR growth hitting 100%.  They have over 1,000 customers, located in over forty countries.

Isilay is targeting another year of 100%+ growth and stated that Cognism is off to a good start in January with a “record revenue month.”

2021 data improvements include Diamond Data and the addition of Bombora’s intent data set as a premium offering.  Diamond data provides “the most accurate, GDPR & CCPA compliant phone-verified contacts for business development teams internationally, setting a new standard in data quality,” boasted the firm.

The Diamonds-on-Demand request feature supports on-demand phone verification from both the web application and the Cognism Chrome extension.  Users click on a Diamond Verify button to initiate the verification process, which is completed within 48 hours.  In addition, users can track the status on the platform.

“No other software company offers a truly global sales intelligence platform like Cognism. “By pairing our premium quality contact data with advanced contextual data points like technographics and buyer intent signals, we help modern revenue teams connect with confidence and exceed targets. We enable them to build a meaningful connection with their next best customer in the most predictable, efficient, and cost-effective way.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

Cognism has grown to over 250 employees in seven countries: the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, South Africa, Croatia, Macedonia, and Germany.

Cognism did not state its market valuation.

Cognism also announced that it is SOC II Type 2 compliant.  The designation confirms that Cognism meets AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria for Security, Availability, Confidentiality, Processing Integrity, and Privacy with regards to data.

“We live and breathe security and compliance at Cognism as we handle large amounts of company data that help our customers reach new target audiences,” blogged Cognism CTO Stjepan Buljat. “Most companies, when they start their SOC 2 compliance journey, choose to select type 1 qualification, whereas we’ve selected the more complex type 2 route – often described as the difference between a balance sheet audit and a full audit of financial operations.  Type 2 looks at the information security controls we have in action and confirms that we’re organised to handle the data privacy concerns of the largest companies on the planet.”

Cognism Funding History (Source: Owler)

Apollo.IO $32M Series B

Sales Intelligence and Engagement vendor Apollo.io closed a $32 million Series B led by Tribe Capital, with participation from NewView Capital and existing investor Nexus Venture Partners. In addition, Sri Pangulur, a partner at Tribe Capital, joined Apollo.io’s board.  Total funding sits at $41.3 million.

Apollo is deploying the funds towards building out its product and engineering teams.  It will also expand its sales, marketing, and operational resources, including additional leadership hires.

In a blog announcing the transaction, CEO Tim Zheng admitted that the Apollo brand is not well known and that Apollo will be using the funds to address brand weakness.  “Our next steps include increasing awareness of Apollo, increasing our user base outside of small teams, and building out an intelligence layer in Apollo to make individual sales reps and teams more successful.”

Apollo is growing rapidly, with its customer base increasing 200% over the past year despite awareness issues.  It has been profitable for the past eighteen months and has more than one million users and 9,000 paid customers.

Recent enhancements include an international dialer, contact and company data improvements, and prospecting and Chrome extension upgrades.

“Apollo is challenging the status quo in B2B lead intelligence and sales engagement by making contact data and prospecting tools in this space more accessible,” said Pangulur. “Seeing the company’s incredible growth over the past year, enhanced product offerings, and new client acquisitions, we are confident in Apollo’s ability to disrupt the SalesTech market for B2B companies, offering a more intelligent, more cost-effective, and simpler solution.”

Apollo falls into a category that I’ve labeled Hybrid Engagement that combines sales engagement tools with sales intelligence and B2B DaaS.  Other vendors with Hybrid Engagement capabilities include ZoomInfo, Cognism, Data Axle Genie, and VanillaSoft.

“Sales professionals at B2B companies are burdened by a go-to-market process that’s manual, tedious, and complex. It’s stifled by convoluted workflows, very little guidance, lengthy onboarding, and high price tags for name-brand solutions,” said CEO Tim Zheng. “This funding will help us further accelerate our product-led growth model, which has seen tremendous success in the contact data space. 

“Apollo’s vision is to give its customers the most powerful and intelligent GTM platform in the industry, so they can reach their full market potential,” continued Zheng. “We want to make access to B2B data even easier, while enhancing the data with sales intelligence and automated workflows.”

Apollo Job Change Alerts

Apollo has assembled a database of 200 million contacts across ten million companies.  Data include direct-dial phones, emails, funding intelligence, technographics, and job changes.  Apollo’s dataset supports direct research, lead prospecting, and LinkedIn matching via a Chrome Extension. In addition, Apollo Refresh performs real-time updates in Salesforce.

Sales Engagement features include sequences (cadences), automated emails, A/B testing, a click-to-call dialer, and a rules engine.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, buyers want an Amazon-like experience where companies are anticipating their needs. You need user data to better drive the sales experience, and as it evolves more personalized capabilities as well,” said Zheng.  “Apollo has some unique positioning in that they are doing product-led growth, but also covering the data stack as well.”

Apollo employs a freemium model with ten free exports per month, the Chrome extension, a Gmail extension, and limited sequences. 

Basic, at $49 per user per month ($39 billed annually), provides 250 export credits per month, unlimited sequences, email integrations, and a broader set of reports and Dashboards. 

The Professional edition adds the dialer, call recordings, customizable reports, and 1,000 exports per month.  Professional is priced at $99 per user per month when billed monthly and $79 per user per month when billed annually.

There are additional fees for full Salesforce synchronization, API access, Apollo Refresh, and exporting up to 10,000 records at a time. In addition, advanced dialer features (e.g., international dialing, call transcription, local presence, and CRM logging) are only available as part of custom packages.

Apollo employs a freemium model with 9,000 paid customers.

Introhive – BoardEx Partnership

Introhive and BoardEx announced a partnership that will “enable shared clients to uncover more high-quality connections and business opportunities that accelerate growth.”  The partnership will assist with discovering opportunities, deepening relationships, increasing internal collaboration, and mitigating risk.

“We are excited to offer our clients a joint solution with BoardEx,” said Diana Sapienza, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Introhive. “With Introhive’s advanced AI-powered relationship mapping, automation, and enrichment capabilities and the BoardEx alerts on role and/or company changes at the executive and board level, our clients can better manage their ever-growing networks to spot opportunities sooner and grow their businesses faster.”

BoardEx, a division of Euromoney People Intelligence, employs a team of over 300 global research analysts focused on mapping relationships between more than 1.5 million business leaders and decision-makers.

“Having a resilient network is critical to the success of any business, and that resiliency relies on the ability to understand and leverage the most impactful professional relationships,” explained Jubayer Kalam, Head of Product for BoardEx. “We are excited to partner with Introhive by embedding BoardEx data and insights directly into their environment for our mutual clients.”

Introhive, which describes itself as a Relationship Acceleration Platform, released a set of enhancements last month that include a new Salesforce Sales Activity Dashboard, Business Intelligence Webhooks, MS Dynamics hygiene tools, and an Outlook Intelligence Panel Search.

Introhive Sales Activity Dashboard for Salesforce

The new Sales Activity Dashboard “cuts through the noise of activity data and delivers the signal directly to sales professionals and leaders alike,” blogged Lead Product Marketer Julie Taylor.  “At a glance, Sales Leaders can get a sense for the type and volume of activities their teams are investing their time in, and individual sellers can keep a pulse on their own activity levels to see where they stand.”

The Sales Activity Dashboard is available at both the team and individual rep levels.  The report summarizes calls, meetings, and email volumes over the past seven and thirty days.

Global View of Relationships Dashboard is one of Introhive’s new BI webhooks.

New Business Intelligence Webhooks include a Global View of Relationships, Account Relationships Dashboard, and Activities Dashboard.

Introhive’s Cleanse for Microsoft Dynamics added contact record merging and archiving stale records.  The service already supported CRM contact data entry and updates. “Understanding your data provides your team with powerful capabilities. 

Your success lies in the ability of your people to understand your data and use it to make better decisions,” explained Taylor.  “The faster you can make sense of your data by transforming it from information to insights, the further you and your team can go.”

Cognism a Future Fifty Company in UK

UK Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism was named to Tech Nation’s Future Fifty 2021 list.  CEO James Isilay called the past year “a year of incredible transformation” for Cognism as it grew revenue by 90% and closed in on $20 million ARR. 2021 is the second consecutive year that Cognism made the exclusive Future Fifty list.

Cognism was also named one of the top 15 UK Startups by LinkedIn.  The firm continued hiring through the pandemic, with LinkedIn listing 277 employees in the UK, US, and Europe.  Cognism has been rapidly building out its sales team, growing it 165% over the past year to 90 headcount.  Its support team grew 58% over the past year to 40 CSMs.  Cognism also doubled its product management and IT teams.

London-based Cognism grew its headcount 63% over the past year and 115% over the past two. It’s ARR is nearing $20M.

Cognism plans to retain a flexible working environment and recruit talent outside of its primary office locations.  LinkedIn lists 23 positions in London, Boston, New York, Germany, Croatia, and South Africa.

On Monday, Cognism announced Diamond Data, “a new standard in B2B data quality.”  It emphasized that its contacts are accurate, compliant, and phone-verified.  Mobile numbers are phone-verified and checked against global do not call (DNC) lists. Cognism contacts are GDPR and CCPA compliant.

Cognism promises to “minimise inefficiencies due to inaccurate job titles and incorrect / misdialed numbers and create a leaner, faster sales process.”  Cognism offers revenue teams “unrestricted access to prospect data” available through its platform and via CRM and SEP connectors.

A new Diamonds-on-Demand request feature supports on-demand phone verification.  Users simply click on a Diamond Verify button to initiation validation.  A diamond appears on headshots of verified contacts.

“As a company we are constantly researching and identifying new opportunities and partnerships to ensure our platform delivers the best possible results for the highly competitive B2B market landscape. Diamond Data is just that – the best you can get. It is always evolving, and we want to assure our clients that they can target their prospects in confidence, leaving the compliance and data accuracy to us.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

Diamond Data is immediately available.

Cognism is also delivering Bombora’s intent dataset for identifying in-market buyers and related contact information.  Intent data is available as a screening select and displayed as a build-a-list Heat Map.

Cognism’s new Diamond Data offering.

Finally, Cognism announced that industry veteran Phil Garlick joined their board.  Garlick served as the VP of Corporate Development at DiscoverOrg and President of OneSource Information Services.

Echobot TARGET 2.0

German Sales Intelligence vendor Echobot released version 2.0 of its TARGET prospecting service with a refreshed UI, improved data quality, and AI tools for ICP and segmentation analysis.

“If you want to digitize your sales processes and save a lot of time, money, and nerves, you can’t ignore Echobot,” said CEO Bastian Karweg.  “TARGET 2.0 inspires the everyday sales life of our customers – the new version is fast, intuitive to use, and simply fun.”

Echobot has set its product vision based on the “first principles of data” delivered through its service.  “For data to be useful, it has to be high quality, connected, and fully compliant,” said Karweg.

The first step was unifying their database across regions and datatype and removing data silos within the platform.  Echobot implemented a “unified, nested data index” that improved query times up to ten-fold and allowed for enhanced switching between company and contact results.

Users no longer need to build company and contact lists separately. Instead, build-a-list results are displayed as tabs, allowing users to analyze both company and contact results without requiring them to rekey their query.

Echobot also implemented a new Email Validation Engine (EVA) that “eliminates stale records” and implements mail server and pattern checking to improve data quality.  The EVA reduces bounce rates by up to thirty percent.

Echobot licensed company records directly from trade registers and implemented a “True Compliance” process.

“For your outreach to be truly GDPR compliant, you not only need a Legitimate Interest but also be mindful of the preferences of the people you are trying to contact,” stated Karweg.  “Using Echobot, each contact record comes with a public source URL so you can be 100% confident when a prospect asks you, ‘Hey, where did you get my data from?’”

Echobot Job Title Suggestions

Echobot implemented AI to assist users, building a subject taxonomy that covers over 100,000 topics and industry keywords.  TARGET 2.0 sports a keyword type-ahead tool that “guides you towards the right queries and also intelligently suggests alternative keywords or job titles you also might want to include in your search.”

The firm’s new segmentation analysis is their “most advanced AI” that builds a company vector model for clustered analysis of highly similar companies from uploaded files.  The clusters identify similar companies for downloading to the desktop or uploading to the CRM.  Thus, users can upload their Ideal Customer Profile and expand it with similar companies.  The ICP is also used to score prospects and sort them by priority.

“Echobot uses a new company vector model for the first time in addition to rigid industry codes. The technology is based on machine learning and makes it possible to select companies in a fine-grained manner according to thousands of specialist areas. The assignment takes place automatically on the basis of text content that is associated with the respective company. This means that if you are looking for industries, Echobot now offers an immense wealth of detail and can thus easily find even high-precision target groups. With the help of so-called cross joins, filters of different data areas can be combined with each other in real-time. This completely eliminates the time-consuming storage of interim results.”

Echobot Press Release (Translated from German)

TARGET 2.0 supports a broad set of screening variables:

  • Industry – Industry codes or keywords.
  • Keyword
  • Contacts – Department, Level, Title
  • Trigger Events
  • Location – Region and Radius
  • Company Size
  • Financials
  • Technographics – Software and Systems
  • Firmographics
  • Data Completeness

Their instant access to data allows for complete data visibility without slowing down users with credits to display contact details. In addition, the contract includes a minimum of 10,000 monthly record uploads or downloads with a FLAT-RATE Guarantee that provides an additional 5,000 monthly data records after consuming the EXPORT quota. The guarantee ensures budgeting stability while providing export flexibility should the marketing department consume their entire download quota mid-year.

Echobot pricing starts at €999 per month for up to three users.  This price is introductory and will increase for new customers in 2022.

Echobot supports four countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK – and two languages – German and English.  The Echobot roadmap includes “intelligent” email alerts, “helpful” trigger events, and “smart” campaign management.  Additional languages and countries are also in development.

ZoomInfo Chorus Integration

Go-to-Market Platform ZoomInfo announced that it completed the first stage of its Chorus Integration after acquiring the Conversational Sales firm in mid-July.

“Since announcing ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Chorus…our team has made great strides in seamlessly making key features of the Chorus platform available to our customers. These integrations will allow sales, marketing, and operations teams to instantly use both ZoomInfo and Chorus to expand their pipelines via a data-first approach that they can’t get with any other platform on the market.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

Conversational Sales functionality has also been added to ZoomInfo’s Engage SEP.  Chorus transcribes and analyzes calls, helping them build strong customer and prospect relationships and be more present during calls. For example, ZoomInfo dialer calls are recorded and stored in Salesforce while Chorus transcribes and analyzes the conversation.

Chorus’ Momentum Insights are displayed in the ZoomInfo platform under the Chorus tab.

Momentum Insights are available in ZoomInfo, Chorus, and Salesforce, delivering call insights wherever the rep is working.  “Combined Chorus and ZoomInfo users can now view conversation and relationship insights within the ZoomInfo platform for better visibility and management of their prospect and customer pipeline,” stated the firm.

The new Chorus tab in ZoomInfo lets revenue teams see with whom they’ve engaged across the account; whether the interactions were via inbound email, outbound email, or meeting; and the most recent interaction.  The Momentum Insights chart shows touchpoints over time with the ability to search by participants and activity type.  Users can drill down on any of the interactions for email or call details.  Audio can be reviewed from within ZoomInfo’s account and contact views.

Users can also drill down on Quick Signals or search by keyword from the Chorus tab, allowing reps to research deal risks, wow moments, negative sentiment, next steps/to-dos, timeline discovery, etc.  Chorus supports hundreds of topics that can be customized.  For example, companies can filter by specific competitors or product feature capabilities.

While the primary use case for Signals is rep account review, managers can use the tool for deal discussions, skill review, and coaching.  Likewise, product managers can broadly investigate customer calls to research specific topics (e.g., product complaints, competitors). 

When the user clicks on a signal, a textual synopsis of the discussion is provided, along with the ability to review that part of the discussion.  These tools are essential for reviewing negative sentiment, pricing discussions, competitors, etc.  Also, call snippets can be extracted for training (e.g., objection handling, competitive parrying, value messaging) or forwarding questions in the voice of the customer to subject matter experts or service departments.

Chorus users also benefit from the integration, with ZoomInfo serving as the reference data set for customer contact intelligence.  ZoomInfo claims that switching to ZoomInfo’s database and matching logic (from Clearbit) resulted in a 33% lift in match rates and a 10X faster load time for contact records in Chorus (150 MS).  Enriched company and contact intelligence include department, job function, seniority level, business email, phones, industry, location, and company.

According to Chorus, ten percent of calls have attendees that were not announced, leaving the rep blind to the role and importance of the additional attendees.  In other cases, a third party is mentioned, but that individual is not in attendance.  In either case, ZoomInfo will surface contact information for these individuals, helping fill out the Buying Committee.  ZoomInfo also recommends personas who are likely Buying Committee members, fostering multi-threaded discussions across the Demand Unit.

“In addition to helping you expand across your deals, you’ll gain a new understanding of which deals are more likely to close, helping improve your forecast accuracy and visibility across your pipeline,” blogged Senior Director of Customer & Product Marketing Sophie Cheng.  “ZoomInfo’s rich company insights like noteworthy scoops (news and events), intent data, and reporting relationships, infused with Chorus’ new Momentum suite will help paint a clearer picture of the entire relationship context like who’s involved in each deal, what’s being discussed, and the likelihood to close.”

Chorus speaking track analysis

RelPro – IBISWorld Partnership

Sales Intelligence vendor RelPro announced a partnership with well-regarded industry research vendor IBISWorld to deliver an integrated solution for commercial banks.  The joint offering, delivered via the RelPro platform, assists with meeting preparation, due diligence, and industry research.  Ten commercial banks have already deployed the integrated solution, including three of the top five.

RelPro serves business development and relationship management professionals in Financial Services (banking, insurance, wealth management, private equity) and Professional Services (legal, and advisory).  RelPro users are often industry generalists who serve SMBs across many industries.  IBISWorld provides broad industry research across sectors along with economic and environmental changes.

RelPro is a traditional sales intelligence service with company and executive content sourced from seventeen partners.  Data partners include ZoomInfo, Dun & Bradstreet, BoardEx, GuideStar, Crunchbase, and HG Insights.  RelPro users build prospecting lists, perform account planning, identify additional contacts at key accounts, and, with the IBISWorld partnership, research industries based upon each company’s industry codes.

IBISWorld industry intelligence is linked by industry codes to company profiles in RelPro.

“RelPro has always been a client-driven solution, focused on the needs of business development and relationship management professionals in financial services and professional services, so when our clients asked us to integrate with a new intelligence source we listened!” said RelPro CEO Martin Wise, “The value of industry insights has been so evident as our users have pivoted and navigated through the shifting economic landscape, preparing for meetings with prospects and clients.  We are thrilled to be partnering with IBISWorld and delivering our combined capabilities to mutual clients.”

RelPro said that the partnered solution is consistent with its mission “to deliver valuable insights and time-saving efficiencies to business development and relationship management professionals” across banking and professional services.

The partnership began a year ago when a top five commercial bank requested an integrated solution.  The firms polished the integration over the past year, with the announcement synced to the April launch of My IBISWorld for Banking.

My IBISWorld for Banking includes tailored industry tools, data, and analysis to support banking professionals throughout the entire credit process.  Expanded content includes enhanced financial ratios, localized statistics “to understand concentration and major market data,” role-based views, risk snapshots that highlight industry risks and trends, and targeted meeting prep questions.

“Recently, we’ve seen a shift towards banking professionals working more closely with other functions, creating cross-department synergies in this newly-remote world.  We’ve also seen a great need for hyper-local data so banks can better serve small businesses during these unprecedented times. My IBISWorld for Banking fosters this cross-departmental work and helps banks support their customers.”

Carmen McKinney, Chief Operations Officer and Head of Customer Success at IBISWorld

“Being a part of our clients’ workflows has been a continuous goal for us at IBISWorld,” said Jason Falkowitz, SVP, IBISWorld Industry Research Division.  “From the launch of our My IBISWorld for Banking platform and our robust API offering to our new partnership with RelPro, we are committed to offering world-class industry information in client-led formats. Combining IBISWorld’s industry intelligence with RelPro’s focus on targeting companies and decision-makers, mutual clients will be best positioned to win and retain commercial relationships.”

IBISWorld content is delivered within the RelPro solution, with single sign-on supported.  The partners initially focused on their set of joint customers with contracts written on separate paper.  There is no surcharge for the cross-product authorization and functionality.

RelPro company profile screen showing links to IBISWorld Research on primary NAICS / SIC Codes.

Last year, RelPro released a similar solution with Vertical IQ.  Both Vertical IQ and IBISWorld provide industry profiles and economic data, with Vertical IQs content written in plain English for cross-industry generalists, while IBISWorld offers a more formal format.

“RelPro now integrates with the two leading independent sources of industry research,” Wise told GZ Consulting.  “It is for clients to decide which of these two solutions best meets their needs, and RelPro can deliver an integrated and time-saving user experience to either / both sources. This new partnership announcement is consistent with RelPro’s mission to deliver valuable insights and time-saving efficiencies to business development and relationship management professionals in banking and other financial and professional services sectors.” RelPro revenues (bookings) grew 40% in 2020, and the company expects that growth in 2021 will be at least that much