Oracle Acquires DataFox

Oracle recently acquired DataFox, providing them with access to 2.8 million company profiles, including funding and M&A data.  DataFox “gives customers real-time insight to know when a business exhibits noteworthy behaviors.”

“The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of trusted company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes,” wrote Oracle’s EVP of Applications Development Steve Miranda to customers and partners.

Oracle provides the following deal shorthand:

Oracle Cloud Applications + DataFox = Even Smarter Decisions

DataFox is growing its database at 1.2 million companies annually.  The database will deliver real-time insights into its cloud-based ERP, CX, HCM and SCM platforms.

DataFox Data Engine Overview (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)
DataFox Data Engine Overview (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)

In a bit of extreme puffery, Oracle described DataFox as the “the most current, precise and expansive set of company-level information and insightful data.”  Bureau van Dijk and Dun & Bradstreet have 50X the active company coverage including detailed global linkage, risk models, and multi-year financial data.  Bureau van Dijk also offers the Zephyr database, an M&A and funding dataset with over twenty years of closed, pending, and rumored deals.  Where DataFox may have an advantage is in their focus on mid-size and emerging companies which have been recently funded, but this is a small subset of the company universe.

DataFox will continue to sell and support its products.  However, the DataFox roadmap and product line are fluid:

“Oracle is currently reviewing the existing DataFox product roadmap and will be providing guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle’s standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle’s review of DataFox’s product roadmap are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by DataFox or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.”

Along with AI insights, Oracle called out the needs for quality data to back data maintenance, artificial intelligence, and business signals.

Customer Data Challenges (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)
Customer Data Challenges (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)

DataFox has over 275 customers including Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company, Outreach, Live Ramp, and Twilio.

DataFox raised $19 million in funding.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  In January 2017, DataFox was valued at $33 million by Pitchbook.

Oracle should study Salesforce’s acquisition of Jigsaw (later renamed Data.com) as a cautionary tale.  Software companies struggle in selling data files as company and contact data decays rapidly and it is difficult to push data quality above 90% absent large editorial investments.  Furthermore, Jigsaw never represented more than 1% of Salesforce revenue so quickly fell off of the company’s internal radar.  The firm is now looking to decommission Data.com and asking its AppExchange partners to fill the sales intelligence and data hygiene gap left in its absence.  Coincidentally, DataFox is one of Salesforce’s Lightning Data partners.

On the positive side, LinkedIn hit $1.3 billion last quarter and has thrived under Microsoft’s ownership.  However, LinkedIn was a much more mature company at acquisition than DataFox with multiple revenue streams and a unique user generated content model.  Microsoft has provided LinkedIn with development capital and allowed it to maintain its independence.  It has also looked to leverage LinkedIn and Microsoft strengths when building sales and marketing products, instead of simply copying other vendors.  For example, Sales Navigator continues to respect the privacy of its members while using aggregated data to provide hiring and employment insights that other companies cannot deliver.  Navigator has also added strong messaging tools (chat, InMail, and PointDrive) which work around its lack of company emails.  Other innovations include SNAP workflow connectors, its new Pipeline CRM updating tool, and Buyer’s Circle for identifying the buying committee at large firms.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Pipeline Reviews & Buyers Circle (Q3 2018)

Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.
Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.

Last month, LinkedIn rolled out its Q3 Sales Navigator release to admins and trainers.  Enhancements include a new Deals feature to assist with pipeline reviews, “Buyer Circles,” an updated search user experience, and revised mobile lead pages.  Several partner platforms are also rolling out version 2 of their SNAP integrations.

During pipeline reviews, “managers are really trying to find out what are areas of weakness in the pipeline and how they can help. A lot of times, because the information that’s been put into CRM is incomplete, that can be a challenging conversation,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “The problem Deals is ultimately trying to solve is how do you increase the quality of that data that is ultimately stored in the CRM, and by making it much easier for the rep to quickly see missing points of information as well as to add in what one could argue is the most important information—who are all the people that are involved in that buying decision at the target company.”

LinkedIn noted that pipeline review sessions are often frustrating due to incomplete and out of date CRM information resulting in a “20 questions” session in search of deal risks.  The new Deal feature pulls deal and contact intelligence from the CRM and streamlines the update process.  Instead of jumping between opportunity records, reps can manage their pipeline updates from a single pane of glass.  The update table allows reps to quickly enter deal intelligence including deal size, stage, close date, and next steps with information immediately written back to the CRM.

Deals requires that the Salesforce Admin enable CRM synch.  Reps will only be able to view and edit fields for which they have been granted permission and only for Opportunities in their name.  Managers will only be able to view Deals for their team members.

Deals includes a Buyer’s Circle feature which helps reps quickly fill gaps in their Buying Committee.  “The real power comes when you want to add missing role contacts,” Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP Products wrote to licensors.  “Buyer’s Circle makes it easy to select anyone on LinkedIn and drag them to a role, which, again, automatically updates your CRM. And if that contact is not already in your CRM, Deals lets you create a new CRM contact associated with that opportunity in just a few clicks.”

As LinkedIn does not deliver member-specific details to third-parties, Buyers Circle only uploads First and Last Name, Title, and Company.  Other buyer details would need to be keyed in by the sales rep or populated by a third-party enrichment vendor.

Deals is available in Salesforce.com with the Q3 release and will be available in Microsoft Dynamics in Q4.

The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.
The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.

Deals is part of the Team and Enterprise editions and is based on a Heighten capability “rebuilt from the ground up.”  Heighten was acquired in 2017.

“B2B selling is more complicated these days where you often have half a dozen people involved, but they’re not all recognized.  A sales rep will put a single contact into the system, and if the deal goes sideways it’s hard to figure out who to contact or how to move forward.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

“I think the Deals module is the most interesting part of this release because it offers the biggest benefit,” said Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz. “If you are in a market like tech or manufacturing or a complicated services deal, the number of people involved keeps going up including those who can influence the deal or an assassin who can kill it. The more information you can provide about all the people involved in the deal, the better. And the way the Buyers Circle surfaces information on people and brings it forward with one click is a real benefit.”


Part II covering additional features such as new SNAP integrations and mobile Lead profiles will publish on Monday.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 Release

LinkedIn Sales Navigator will be rolling out its Q2 release in the coming weeks. New features include a redesigned Leads page, a mobile new Accounts page, additional SNAP partners, and improved message actions in the Inbox.

LinkedIn also announced that its Sales Solutions are fully GDPR compliant with the following changes being implemented later this year: 

  • Notification of data collection to all LinkedIn members using Sales Navigator at onboarding: We’ll continue to provide notifications of how data is used in our Sales Solutions products before user onboarding for mobile and desktop access to Sales Solutions products, and will add the ability for users to track confirmation of these policies in their LinkedIn account.
  • Export of Sales Navigator data: Exports of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
  • Deletion of Sales Navigator data: Deletion of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
  •  Requests from individuals and contract administrators: Users and contract administrators will be able to request export or deletion of their user data via a clearly documented request process.

 LinkedIn did caveat its GDPR support noting that “LinkedIn cannot control the specific messages sent by a customer, which ultimately determine the customer’s compliance with relevant laws throughout the world. As such, we advise our customers to seek the advice of their own counsel regarding their specific uses of promotional messaging within LinkedIn.” 

LinkedIn collects marketing consent as part of the terms and conditions during account creation and reconfirms it at the email verification stage.  Users can also opt out of marketing materials and messages in their privacy settings. 

“It’s always been challenging for salespeople to access all the important information about their prospects in one place,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of product management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve Sales Navigator, so we’re pleased to release our redesigned lead page, which will save salespeople valuable time and help them better understand their prospects.” 

The Detailed Lead Summary section includes contact intelligence pulled from the CRM..
The Detailed Lead Summary section includes contact intelligence pulled from the CRM..

The redesigned Leads page provides a Show All button for displaying contact information from LinkedIn, CRM contact records, or details entered by the user or her colleagues.  The Lead page summary also includes user tags, a CRM badge that provides a direct link to the CRM contact record, and a contact overview.

While the platform remains view only, sales reps can share contact specific details across the Sales Navigator service with colleagues.  “You can see additional emails, phone numbers, website URLs, social handles and office addresses pulled from both their LinkedIn profile and your CRM in one place. And if you add, say, a social handle for a person in Sales Navigator, that information is shared with other team members on the same Sales Navigator contract,” said LinkedIn.

A Highlights section calls out common attributes such as Groups, shared companies, schools in common, and connections.  Also displayed is the “best path” connection to the individual.  The best path could be via TeamLink or personal and professional connections.  Highlights also includes a synopsis of recent LinkedIn activity such as posts, likes, and comments.

Highlights cover commonalities, best introduction path, and recent lead activity.
Highlights cover commonalities, best introduction path, and recent lead activity.

A Recommended Leads section provides a custom set of additional names at the company based upon search preferences, new contacts at the firm, people with shared connections, and people who have recently viewed the user’s profile.  

The Locate Similar Leads section identifies leads at other firms that are similar to the current lead. 

The iOS and Android mobile apps support a redesigned Company Summary along with new Saved Leads, Recommended Leads, and Best Path Into modules.  News and Updates are also available.

“Our redesigned Mobile Account Page highlights key account details and unique LinkedIn insights about a lead, such as company news like financial milestones or key announcements, basic company info, or recommended prospects,” said Camplejohn.  “Ultimately, this will give salespeople access to the information they need, when they need it, wherever they are, so they can act quickly and be more productive.”

If the user hovers over a message in the Sales Navigator Inbox, she will be presented with Archive / Unarchive and Mark Read / Unread toggles. 

“By highlighting important information about a prospect such as their job title, contact information, common groups or interests, and CRM activity, salespeople can find natural icebreakers to start a conversation so they can personalize their messages, grow their pipelines, and, ultimately, close more deals,” said Camplejohn.

Sales Navigator users can flag the level of detail passed to Leads when the user views a profile.  The lead will see either see the full set of viewer details including name, headline, and location; title and company; or no details (anonymous).

New SNAP partners include Clari (Business Intelligence),  SAP Hybris and Pegasystems (CRM), Oracle Eloqua (Marketing Automation), and Groove (Sales Acceleration).

Beginning last quarter, Sales Navigator adoped a more formalized quarterly release process.  The Q2 release will be available to Sales Admins on May 21st with the enhancements being rolled out to users in the subsequent weeks.

SalesLoft $50M Series C

SalesLoft supports email templates and cadences for managing multi-channel communications.
SalesLoft supports email templates and cadences for managing multi-channel communications.

Atlanta sales engagement vendor SalesLoft received $50 million in Series C funding this week, bringing their total funding to $75 million. Insight Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Emergence Capital, which had participated in previous rounds, and LinkedIn. Funds will be deployed to add another 200 employees in Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, and Europe.

While the market value was not disclosed, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the valuation at more that $200 million.

“Things have gotten very noisy for buyers these days. They are bombarded with sales activity via phone, email, social, and many other channels,” said CEO Kyle Porter. “When buyers are able to peel away from those distractions, they still have problems to solve — and an overwhelming range of solutions to sift through. Now more than ever, buyers really need sellers who can rise above all this noise and provide them with a better sales experience — through our product innovation and our people, it’s our mission to help sellers do just that.”

SalesLoft will soon be releasing its SalesLoft Assist artificial intelligence module “which is informed by more than 500 million sales interactions, providing users with dynamic and real-time suggestions.” The firm is also looking to expand its development and partner network.  The recently launched app partner directory already supports thirty partner solutions.

“SalesLoft is one of the most innovative companies in the sales engagement category and a leading provider on the Sales Navigator Application Platform.  SalesLoft has integrated Sales Navigator into their application in a way that provides great user value while protecting LinkedIn member data. We look forward to working with SalesLoft to create even more value for our joint customers in the future.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn

“We didn’t create the sales engagement category; our customers did,” noted Porter. “They weren’t satisfied with the tools their teams had to connect and engage buyers. They made their needs clear, and we listened. As a result, sales engagement has evolved from a point solution to the system of record for sales organizations. Users are spending more time within SalesLoft than any other technology, including their CRM. Our customers are leading the way in this exciting new category, which is really just a reflection of their efforts to serve their customers in new, authentic ways.

New SalesLoft Capabilities (Rainmaker Part II)

The Sales Navigator Side Panel supports key functionality with SalesLoft including icebreakers, introductions, connections, and profiles.
The Sales Navigator Side Panel supports key functionality with SalesLoft including icebreakers, introductions, connections, and profiles.

SalesLoft is quite pleased with its previously announced LinkedIn Sales Navigator partnership.  SalesLoft VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester noted that SalesLoft “worked extremely closely with their team” and that SalesLoft has the highest widget use amongst all of LinkedIn’s SNAP partners.  The Sales Navigator app supports real-time news, account information, introductions, ice breakers, connections, and recommended leads.  LinkedIn intelligence is delivered within SalesLoft’s Persona and Company Smart Panels.

“Our organization and thousands of others like us depend on LinkedIn daily for prospecting, insights, social selling, and the tools to build real, authentic relationships with your prospects and customers,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter.  “In many ways, SalesLoft’s technology has been built to be extremely complementary with that of LinkedIn.”

SalesLoft recently launched a meeting tool which integrates with Outlook and Gmail.  The new service provides calendar links to customers and prospects so they can quickly book time on the rep’s calendar.  Booked meetings are visible within both SalesLoft and Salesforce.  A booked meeting can trigger automation rules such as changing a cadence stage, marking as success, or moving to a cadence such as setting follow up meetings or kicking off a meeting prep cadence.

Calendar settings include default meeting length, daily meeting windows, time zone, and standard message.  Users may continue to use Calendly and Chili Piper for setting meetings.

Another new feature is live website tracking which captures who visited a corporate website and which pages were visited.  Initially, the functionality is cookie based, but SalesLoft will support IP tracking in the future.  Sales reps can use the tracking to leverage past activity (e.g. suggesting additional resources related to past research history) or calling prospects while they are live on a corporate site.

“Live Website Tracking brings a brand new prospect readiness cue to the surface by exposing live and historical website activity to SalesLoft.  When you combine the unspoken signal of website activity with the more explicit signal of email interaction and direct response, you move closer than ever to understanding what the prospect needs and where they are in their buying journey.”

  • SalesLoft Product Marketing Manager Sunshine Levin

SalesLoft has a single-price user model of $139 per month.  The subscription provides full platform capabilities with some dialer minute limits.  Volume discounts are available.

Part I of this article covered SalesLoft’s new App Directory.

Sales Navigator Q1: Revenue Growth and Expanded Partner Network

Sales Navigator Employee Insights
Sales Navigator Employee Insights, a new feature added in Q1.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator had another strong year of growth in-line with its historical Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR).  Extrapolating from data published prior to its Microsoft acquisition, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has global revenues between $300 and $350 million.  This would make LinkedIn the largest vendor of sales intelligence solutions with revenue roughly double that of Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers, D&B Hoovers, Data.com, D&B360) and triple that of DiscoverOrg.

Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, described the service as “one of the fastest growing SaaS B2B products in history.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its first quarterly release on February 7th.  Quarterly releases help LinkedIn manage its communications and ensure that admins and trainers are prepared for the changes.  Enhancements will roll out first to this group before becoming available to general users in subsequent weeks.

“In the early days of Sales Navigator, we chose to act like a startup and launch products as soon as they were ready, without much warning or pre-release training for our customers. We also acted independently, only integrating with a couple of systems, instead of opening up the platform to the dozens of types of sales applications a rep uses throughout their work week.  Starting today, we will release Sales Navigator product updates on a quarterly cycle to provide advanced communications and training for administrators and users so they have adequate time to familiarize themselves with new features and take advantage of them properly.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

The product is maturing as it develops connectors with other services and formalizes its releases and communications. “Sales Navigator is growing up and learning how to play with others,” said Camplejohn.

As part of this development, LinkedIn announced four new members of its Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) partners. SNAP is a broad partner program that spans business intelligence, CRM, eSignature, MAP, Sales Acceleration, and Web Conferencing. A year ago, LinkedIn only supported Salesforce and MS Dynamics.

The new Oracle Sales Cloud integration displays LinkedIn prospect and contact data within the Oracle CRM.

A SugarCRM integration displays a LinkedIn dashboard within Sugar Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts, and Leads.

Implemented partnerships were also announced with Demandbase and InsideSales’ Predictive Playbooks. LinkedIn lists 11 future partners including Tableau, Adobe Sign, BlueJeans, Microsoft BI, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing), and SAP Hybris.

The SNAP announcements were part of the Q1 release which included a redesigned Account page, new alerts, seat transfers to enterprise accounts, and Seniority Level preferences.

Sales Navigator Q1 18: Seat Transfers, Additional Alerts, and Seniority Preferences (Oh My!)

SN Seat Transfers
If your firm has an enterprise Sales Navigator team account, you can migrate your standalone account to the enterprise account and let your employer pay your subscription fees.  Just realize that all of your current data (InMails, Messages, Saved Leads and Accounts, etc.) are being uploaded into the corporate account.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator adopted a new quarterly release system for 2018 and has begun rolling out its Q1 release.  Yesterday, I touched upon their redesigned Account profiles.  Today, I’m delving into other new features that are rolling out to clients over the next few weeks.  These include self-service seat transfers to enterprise accounts, expanded alerting, and a Seniority Level preference.

The new self-service seat transfer feature allows sales reps to import their Sales Navigator information into a corporate account. Thereafter, the corporation pays for the license. Migrated content includes Saved Leads, Saved Accounts, Saved Searches, InMail, Messages, InMail Credits, Notes & Tags, and personal Sales Navigator settings. However, when a rep leaves a firm, there is no way to migrate content back to the individual account (their LinkedIn connections are untouched). While activity that took place after the rep merged their account can reasonably be considered company intellectual property, the shared information contributed by the new rep should be returned to the individual’s private account afterwards.

Alerting for the PointDrive service (an enhanced email which directs users to an HTML page containing attachments and multi-media) has been modified to provide real-time email messages when an individual views PointDrive content. Alerts are suppressed for subsequent views by the same individual. The alert’s viewer data includes name, title, company, email, and location. The feature allows reps to reach out to viewers in a timelier manner (perhaps while still viewing the content). PointDrive also provides activity reports and identifies individuals to whom content has been forwarded.

LinkedIn added a new email alert called “Saved Leads Who Viewed My Profile.” According to LinkedIn, the mobile push notification for this event has the highest click through response rate. Sales reps perceive the trigger “as a potential buying signal and want to know ASAP when this happens.” LinkedIn added the near real-time email feature because not everybody has installed the Sales Navigator mobile app. The alert includes quick account and contact details along with account employment details by function for the past six months (if available). To avoid email SPAM, users are only re-notified of visits after seven days.

LinkedIn inserted a new variable for Seniority Level in its Sales Preferences which are employed for recommendations. Sales Navigator also added the option to quickly toggle preferences on and off during Account and Contact Searches. For example, a Boston-based rep for an enterprise Martech Solution can automatically target New England executives, Director or Higher, working in Marketing, IT, Finance, or Purchasing.

Preferences are set during the Sales Navigator onboarding process.
Preferences are set during the Sales Navigator onboarding process.