Echobot Growing Quietly

Echobot, the German sales and marketing intelligence vendor, continues to do well during the pandemic.  It has over 1,000 clients and a growing ACV.  They added 15 employees this year, bringing their staff count to 65.  The firm was founded in 2011 and has posted a consistent 40% compound average growth rate.  It is internally funded.

Echobot offers multiple products: The Target prospect database of European B2B firms (UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) and the Connect intelligence database with 11 million companies.  Content includes registered data, technographics, contacts, and news.  The firm also provides online and social print monitoring and DataCare DaaS Hygiene for CRMs and ERPs.

The Karlsruhe-headquartered firm is readying a new 18,000 square foot office, which it plans to move into in 2021.

“COVID-19 did not slow us down,” said CEO Bastiaan Karweg.  “In some cases it actually helped to put our agenda of digital sales intelligence front and center – mostly to compensate for missed trade shows and grounded field sales operations.”

Echobot Target supports firmographic and sales trigger (event) prospecting

I’ve followed the sales and marketing intelligence space for nearly two decades. The market developed in the United States with few European vendors (Bureau van Dijk being the exception). Often, it was US vendors such as OneSource, Factiva, and InsideView covering Europe as part of their global coverage . But over the past half decade, there has been a blossoming of European based sales and marketing intelligence solutions from

Not only are these vendors based in Europe, but they have a better understanding of the local datasets, regulatory requirements, and market nuances. Several are multi-lingual and carry local filings to serve financial services and compliance use cases.

Sales Navigator Q1 Release: Search, UI, and Other Enhancements

Funding Events Slide-in Panel

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been rolling out its Q1 release to users over the past few weeks. I already covered Contact Creation and Smart Links. Part III of this blog covers Saved Lead and Account Searches, Accounts Preparing to Grow alerts, UI and mobile enhancements, and an InsightSquared SNAP Connector.

Users may now share a Saved Lead Search, allowing them to put together dynamic prospect lists and share them across the account team.  Reps simply select who receives the shared search and include a note.  The recipients can then view the saved search with values pre-populated.

Another new feature is Saved Account Searches, which allow reps to set up a search with scheduled update alerts.  Users control the update notification period.

“Search is a newer area for us in Sales Navigator.  We’re finding more than ever that sales teams are looking at things collaboratively, so we introduced the idea that we need Sales Navigator to work across teams in order to allow that collaboration to happen.”

LinkedIn Sales Solutions Product Chief Lyndsey Edwards

The new Account Preparing to Grow alert notifies sales reps when the number of postings at a saved account has grown.

The Sales Navigator mobile app (Android and iOS) now supports all seven European languages available in the desktop application.  Another new app feature lets the rep set custom alert filters for accounts, leads, and relationships.

“Mobile has always been an area of focus and growth for us,” said Edwards.  “We are seeing more use on mobile than ever before, and we want desktop and mobile users to have an equal experience.  People want the full breadth of functionality on mobile.”

The homepage UI now supports a slide-in panel for viewing Account Funding News without leaving Sales Navigator.  The slide-in panel also supports CTAs, such as send InMail.

Other enhancements include a usage reporting refresh and an opt-out for usage report tracking.

LinkedIn released a SNAP integration with BI vendor InsightSquared.  The integration analyzes Sales Navigator usage and supports seven out-of-the-box workbook templates.

Edwards emphasized that the goal of Sales Navigator product updates is to promote simplicity by “simplifying the seller’s life and workflow.  We focus on sellers as end-users, but we want buyers to have a great experience, as well.”

Accounts Preparing to Grow Alert

Resources:

Vainu for CRM

Finnish sales intelligence vendor Vainu announced the immediate availability of their new Vainu for CRM connectors.  The new service supports data viewing, synchronization, prospecting, and triggered alerting in Salesforce, MS Dynamics 365, HubSpot, and Pipedrive.  Additional CRM integrations are planned.

Vainu launched its original prospecting service in 2014 but is looking to make its data more consumable by embedding it into user workflows. According to Vainu Head of Marketing Mikko Luhtava, Vainu’s retention rate is much higher when there is a clear user workflow.  Thus, the goal was to make the sales rep’s experience as “frictionless as possible.”

“Since we founded Vainu, we’ve known that in addition to the who, when, what, and why of sales, the other challenge is to get people to actually use that information.  We realized that the key to success there is removing friction; making data as easy as possible to consume.  With Vainu for CRM, we’ve done exactly that—embedded into everything you do in the CRM, real-time company data will be hard to avoid.”

CEO Mikko Honkanen

The sync initially updates account and opportunity records, but additional record types will be supported in the future.  Custom field mapping and update / overlay rules are also planned.

Data syncing is asynchronous and bi-directional.  “Any time you add a record to the CRM, it will search Vainu to fill in data, and any time Vainu receives an update on a company, it will push the update to CRMs with that entity in the database in a matter of minutes,” said Luhtava.

Multi-variable fuzzy matching logic is employed with match confidence scores.  Vainu also supports auto-match functionality for new records and Send to CRM from the Vainu browser service.  Additional features include duplicate record checking and “stare and compare” updates by sales reps.

“Syncing up with a CRM requires an excellent matching tool, and ours is world-class,” said CTO Tuomas Rasila.  “Instead of merely matching based on global unique identifiers, it compares the full extent of a company record to our database to increase our confidence rating in the match.  Once connected, our platform learns from everything salespeople are doing in the CRM to deliver information that’s as relevant as possible.  And since everything is automated, the data-driven experience won’t require endless effort on our customers’ end.”

Vainu for CRM includes two advanced features: CRM-Vainu joint-variable prospecting and triggered workflows.  Joint-variable prospecting allows sales or marketing to build lists using both CRM and Vainu variables.  For example, a targeted prospecting list can be built for a territory which excludes current accounts or for which there was no recent activity. Over 100 joint selects are available. The only other vendor that provides such a feature is D&B Hoovers.

Workflows can be triggered by any of Vainu’s event triggers, which are derived from news, filings, and data changes.  Vainu supports 55 triggers which can be combined with keywords.  Both general company-level events (e.g. mergers, acquisitions, expansions, funding) and “very detailed, database-specific” triggers such as new vehicles, new website registrations, and new technology deployments are available.

“With the trigger-based approach, the likelihood of bringing in a new customer is more than two-times higher if there is an event within a prospect that triggers you to reach out to them.”

Vainu

Triggered events are displayed within the CRM and Slack.  They can also be sent as email alerts and through Zapier connectors.  Workflows are currently available for Nordic companies and the Netherlands.

Vainu includes connectors as part of their standard subscription.  Pricing begins at €6,600 per year for one country and five seats.

Helsinki-based Vainu has grown revenue to €15 million in five years.  The firm supports over 2,000 customers, including EY, Santander, Bridgestone, SAP, and Telia.  

The Vainu database covers Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands with registry data matched against web mined intelligence and 55 business signals.  France, Britain, and the United States are currently in beta.

US data is gathered from state Attorneys General filings supplemented with crawled intelligence.  At the moment, the US database is mostly being sold for data projects.

Vainu sells databases by country with both local language and English user interfaces.


See Previous Post: Vainu Rebrands (24-09-2019)

Vainu Control analyzes the “revenue impact of your data usage.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release Part II

The new Funding Events Spotlight Filter allows reps to focus on accounts with recent private equity or venture capital funding events.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q4 release to end-users and admins over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I covered their new data validation flag and Admin tools. Today, I am discussing the rest of the release including new alerts, list sharing, and SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Partner) enhancements.

Sales Navigator added two more Saved Account Alerts: headcount growth and Senior Leadership Hires.

When sharing lists, owners may now designate them view-only or editable.

“List collaborators with edit permissions will be able to add, remove, and comment on Leads or Accounts within a Shared List, and alerts will be sent to collaborators when Leads or Accounts have been added to or removed from a Custom List or when there are new comments on a Custom List.”

LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn

LinkedIn added SNAP integrations for Tableau and Power BI.  They also extended SNAP integrations to Oracle Sales Cloud Lead and Account pages (Contacts were already supported).

Teams will benefit from improved TeamLink recommendations on “who to reach out to first for a warm introduction, using connection strength scores based on a members’ interactions.”

PointDrive Roadmap

Finally, LinkedIn teased an improved PointDrive service that will be “deeply integrated” into Sales Navigator beginning in early 2020.  PointDrive provides sales reps with a custom landing page for delivering multi-media content with descriptions and company branding.  The multi-quarter release will streamline access to PointDrive functionality.  However, PointDrive will no longer support shared content.

SalesLoft Leveraging Data Validation Flag

SalesLoft is one of the first vendors to take advantage of the Sales Navigator Data Validation process.  SalesLoft uses the Data Validation flag to notify the SDR or sales rep.  SalesLoft automation rules can then trigger workflows based on whether a prospect on the decision-making committee has left or whether an admin or champion at a customer has changed jobs.  These insights help reps evaluate whether an opportunity may be in jeopardy, the likelihood of closing this quarter pushed out, or they need to move quickly to identify new buying committee members or champions.

“Customers leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator Data Validation are now able to use real-time insights to influence critical workflows when their prospects and customers change jobs,” said SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan. “Ultimately, this saves time spent reviewing customer data manually, and it will increase the quality of all opportunities as salespeople progress through the buying cycle.”

Zoominfo Workflows

Workflows deliver triggered audiences to CRMs, MAPs, and SEPs.

Zoominfo which launched its combined Zoominfo powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September, released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.”

Workflows identify new and existing prospects based on real-time B2B intelligence.  The prospects are then deployed to automated sales and marketing campaigns.  Audience segmentation can be applied according to intent, event, and news-based triggers including new technology installations, funding rounds, product launches, first- and third-party web activity, spending priorities, and other buying signals with additional company attributes.

One of the triggers is visitor intelligence gathered from their recently launched WebSights service.  “Now, you can engage prospects from organizations researching your site with direct-dial phone numbers and accurate email addresses.  What’s more, you can view your data and segment it according to firmographic filters, for instance, enabling better, more personalized outreach.”

Workflows support a set of sales engagement, CRM, and MAP platforms including Outreach, SalesLoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eloqua, and Marketo.  Sequences can drop audiences into campaigns or kick off sales cadences.  For example, a trigger can be set up for specific events and filtered by firmographics, technographics, biographics, or event-specific parameters such as Funding Amounts.

“Integrations with popular sales and marketing applications give customers the opportunity to marry ongoing custom triggers with essential prospecting information from ZoomInfo and connect with potential buyers in a personalized, more efficient way.”

Zoominfo

“Modern B2B buyers demand a personalized experience,” said Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “Solely relying on standard and static company criteria to identify key prospects restricts sales and marketing’s ability to meet those expectations, especially when timing is so often the difference between a deal that is won or lost.  ZoomInfo Workflows solves this problem with features that capture dynamic buying behavior across first- and third-party channels, as its collected, along with hundreds of rules to automate as little or as much of the go-to-market motion as they’d like.”

Zoominfo has migrated 1,000 customers to its new platform.

Hybrid Engagement Platforms

Cognism Intelligence within Salesforce. Hybrid Engagement Platforms Continuously update CRMs and MAPs.

The market is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad set of sales and marketing services.  The boundary between sales and marketing is quickly crumbling.  Hybrid engagement services manage both data and workflows.  Features include

Future functionality will include Next Best Actions, Embedded 1:1 Video, SNAP (Sales Navigator) Integrations, and Programmatic Advertising.

No vendor provides all of these services and some provide them as separate offerings, but firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, Infogroup (Salesgenie), Lead411, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Cognism have all taken steps over the past two years to meet the emerging requirements of the CRO.

For the moment, I’m calling these emerging offerings Hybrid Engage Platforms, but that is a placeholder name as the market evolves.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2019 (Part II) – Alerts

Last month, LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out a set of alert enhancements as part of its Q2 release. Alerts are intended to deliver “timely, relevant, and actionable insights” which allow reps to shift from researching to selling and building relationships.  As with other recommendation engines, Navigator alerts call out the “Next Best Action” with an “instant snapshot of the things that matter most about your prospects along with recommended action step for each.”

“At LinkedIn, our goal is to arm you with timely, relevant, and actionable insights so you spend less time sifting through information and more time focused on what matters: building relationships and closing deals,” stated the firm in its release notes.  “Alerts on the homepage gives you all the functionality of Newsfeed in a compressed, easy-to-use dashboard.  Don’t worry about missing anything — all of your favorite items from the old Newsfeed live on as alerts.  We’ve also added some new types of alerts as well!”

New alerts are highlighted in blue at the top of the feed.  Each alert contains an action step (e.g. Message, See Article, See List).  Alerts may be filtered by type and individual alerts may be deleted or turned off.

Three new alert categories were released

  1. An account has had a funding event
  2. A colleague shared a custom list
  3. Pending actions in Sales Navigator Coach

LinkedIn recommends that Navigator Alerts be reviewed once or twice a day.

“Every sales professional faces the challenge of how to best spend their time, maximize their productivity and close more deals,” said Camplejohn.  “That’s why Sales Navigator is now centered around alerts — making it easier for salespeople to identify important changes and prioritize the best next steps to take.”


On Monday, I covered enhancements to the Sales Navigator Sales Coach. On Friday, I will discuss other Q2 2019 enhancements.

People.AI Launches The Wire

People.AI announced availability of The Wire, their new artificial intelligence service for sales reps which suggests next best actions. According to the firm, “Like a brilliant personal assistant who’s always on top of his game, The Wire uses AI intelligence to remind you when to follow up on key accounts, suggest next-best-actions, warn you when a rep or account is falling behind, let you know when customer champions switch jobs, and ensure you’re always prepped for every meeting.”

The Wire suggests emerging opportunities, opportunities requiring attention, and champions that have departed to other companies.

The Wire flags opportunities that are in jeopardy of slipping due to inaction.
The Wire flags opportunities that are in jeopardy of slipping due to inaction.

Managers are alerted when sales reps are falling behind targets.  A Rep Ramp Alert “helps you move from data-aware to data-driven, proactively leveraging industry data to guide and coach your teams.”

Ramp Alerts identify reps that are lagging behind best-in-class recent hires and suggest when a one-on-one meeting may be required.
Ramp Alerts identify reps that are lagging behind best-in-class recent hires and suggest when a one-on-one meeting may be required.

The Wire also supports meeting intelligence with meeting prep reminders and post-meeting note capture and CRM sync.


Last Friday, I covered People.AI’s Round C and the company more broadly.

Artesian Solutions Tech Sector Sales

UK social selling vendor Artesian Solutions
recognized significant growth in the technology sector in 2018, with tech sector revenue up 255% in 2018.  Artesian attributed the growth to the “vast return on investment that can be achieved by leveraging millions of data points to create new relationships, establish credibility, address individual pain points and wider market challenges, and create new opportunities.”

The Artesian social selling platform provides users with a rich set of sales triggers combined with company intelligence.

“Technology companies are increasingly investing much of their valuable brain power into crafting long-term, powerful relationships from the start of the customer journey,” said CEO Andrew Yates.  “By harnessing technologies such as Artesian they’re uncovering opportunities to act in more contextually aware, empathetic and personalised ways and in turn are seizing opportunities to differentiate in an entirely different way, rather than focusing on features, benefits and brand reputation alone.”

Yates continued describing Artesian’s value proposition to technology sales reps:

“Harnessing the most valuable company information, market data and customer insights means Artesian’s technology customers can build innovative propositions for their products and services, prioritising ideas based on solving actual business challenges in each customer segment they serve.  The sheer pace of change in the technology sector, including new entrant disruption, means enterprise providers can quickly fall behind if they’re not able establish deep, value-based relationships, especially when they may not be able to react as quickly within product development as their smaller competitors.  Artesian’s growth in the sector highlights a shift in focus towards customer experience and value-based selling.  Our technology customers are great examples of how to stay relevant and grow, even in a challenging political and economic environment.”

Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates

Artesian’s technology customers include Oracle, Amazon Web Services, SAP, BT, Infinity Tracking, and Canon.

Artesian Solutions has also shown strength selling to British banks and insurance companies.  Another 2019 object is the infusion of artificial intelligence into financial services onboarding and compliance tools. The firm has 30,000 users located in the United Kingdom and United States.

LinkedIn Q4 Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator now supports custom Account and Lead lists.
Sales Navigator now supports custom Account and Lead lists.

LinkedIn rolled out its Q4 Sales Navigator release in November, but I failed to blog about it.  (Q1 will be covered next week in this blog.) The release contains several nascent initiatives including custom lists and the collection of “Reports To” data to assist with organizational mapping.  Other feature sets include three new alerts, an improved accounts center, PointDrive activity logging, and additional SNAP connectors.

LinkedIn is beginning to collect data around who reports to whom.  As sales reps or others learn about reporting relationships, they can add them to executive profiles.  The data is then shared across the LinkedIn contract with co-workers but not more broadly.  Following after last quarter’s support of buying committees, it is evident that LinkedIn is looking to infuse additional project and reporting relationships within Sales Navigator.

“We’re laying the foundation for full-blown org charts by adding a new “Reports To” field on the Lead Page,” blogged Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Doug Camplejohn.  “Once you learn who someone’s manager is, you can add that info to their page by searching for a name or browsing our recommendations.  Any additions you or your colleagues make will only appear to those in your company’s Sales Navigator contract. So, the next time you or a team member looks that lead up, you’ll see who they report to, who added that connection, and a reporting history.”

An unlimited number of custom lists of accounts or leads may be built within the LinkedIn desktop or mobile app. Users may post notes on saved leads or accounts and filter the lists by people who have changed jobs in the last 90 days, people who have posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, companies who have had senior leadership changes in the past 3 months, etc.

LinkedIn does not yet support custom list uploading. Custom Sharing is part of the Q1 release.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator added three new alerts
LinkedIn Sales Navigator added three new alerts

LinkedIn added three new alerts:

  1. Someone at a saved account viewed your profile
  2. A saved account has just raised funding
  3. A saved lead has engaged with LinkedIn posts from your company

which accompany six current alerts:

  1. A saved lead started a position at a new company
  2. A saved lead has a new position within the same company
  3. A saved lead viewed your profile
  4. A potential lead recently joined a saved account
  5. A saved lead has accepted your connection request
  6. A saved lead was mentioned in the news

Alerts are now included in the main menu bar of both the desktop and mobile editions.  Camplejohn noted that LinkedIn has improved the “signal-to-noise ratio” of its alerts.

“Think of our Alerts as a trusted sales advisor tapping you on the shoulder with information about your saved leads and accounts when it’s most important and relevant to you,” said Camplejohn.

LinkedIn has simplified its admin experience and “made it much easier to do tasks from assigning users to managing groups.”  LinkedIn also unified its administration module across Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Learning, and LinkedIn Recruiter.

Advanced Searching was added to the Sales Navigator mobile app, bringing it to list building parity with the desktop application.  Earlier this year, LinkedIn enhanced its company and lead profiles, also bringing them to parity with the desktop application.

“LinkedIn’s recent updates to its Sales Navigator management tool makes it a more robust platform for sales teams.  More importantly, the moves to bring more of its desktop features to the mobile app are evidence that LinkedIn finally understands how crucial a mobile experience is when designing a sales tool focused on lead management.”


Amy Gesenhues, MarTech Today

PointDrive, Sales Navigator’s multi-media sharing application, will begin writing activity history back to Microsoft Dynamics.  Salesforce PointDrive sync will come in 2019.  PointDrive presents documents and video to end users as a landing page and tracks views and shares.

“Now when you send that pricing proposal to a prospect in PointDrive and members of the buying committee engage with it, you’ll be able to see that activity in both Sales Navigator and your CRM,” blogged Camplejohn.

LinkedIn continues to expand its SNAP partnerships, adding Zoom as their first web conferencing partner.  Users can now hover over an attendee name and view Sales Navigator intelligence including their profile photo, title, and common connections.  

The Zoom LinkedIn SNAP integration provides meeting attendee insights and connections from within Zoom.
The Zoom LinkedIn SNAP integration provides meeting attendee insights and connections from within Zoom.

Four vendors launched v2 SNAP integrations which provide broader access to Sales Navigator actions:

  1. Yesware (Email Engagement)
  2. Leadfeeder (Visitor ID Analytics)
  3. Groove (Sales Engagement)
  4. Outreach (Sales Engagement)

SalesLoft, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics previously released V2 SNAP integrations.

In the Salesforce Winter Lightning release, admins will be able to configure Sales Navigator and add support for Person accounts without having to go to the AppExchange.

This year, Sales Navigator focused on improved functionality and display for accounts, leads, and list building in their mobile and desktop applications; SNAP integrations; GDPR compliance and security; CRM opportunity management and buyers circles; alerting; employment analytics; and PointDrive CRM integration.  Details on earlier releases are available in my blog: Q1, Q2, Q3.