Artesian CEO on US Market Entry

Artesian Solutions provides deep trigger functionality combined with word cloud and filtering, helping sales reps hone in on talking points.
Artesian Solutions provides deep trigger functionality combined with word cloud and filtering, helping sales reps hone in on talking points.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including their 2016 entry into the US market.  Artesian provides a social selling solution for the UK, US, and Canada.  Their sales intelligence is delivered via a web browser, Salesforce.com, and their Ready mobile app.


Michael: You launched in the US exactly a year ago, officially. How’s your product buildup going?

Andrew: It’s going pretty well. I have to say, most of the progress has been in the last three to six months, because it took us a couple of releases to really get the US edition right. We learned quickly that there were some nuances in terms of the way sales teams work together in the US. The US sales focus is a very contact-centric mechanism. We realized pretty quickly because contact data is so sparse and difficult to get a hold of. We doubled down on our efforts to implement. We’ve got three contact data intelligence aggregation partnerships.  We got those into the product pretty quickly which dramatically enhanced not only access to the contact intelligence but also the social profiling capabilities.

Then in the third release, we were able to start to bring in some refinements. In the States, news gets syndicated a lot more than it does in the UK, in Europe. The same story you can get syndicated and copied many, many times. We were getting an unacceptable level of duplication, and, even if the stories were similar, we hadn’t trained the algorithm to discard similar stories. Only stories that were the same.

We rewrote the algorithm and we created the ability to group stories which are similar together. What we do now is we publish one and then underneath it there’s a little icon that says similar stories. Again, these are things you don’t learn until you deploy the software for real [in the US], and customers start beating it up and giving you their feedback.

Michael: Can you provide any growth stats for the US?

Andrew: We’re not publishing the numbers at that kind of level, but in percentage terms it’s huge because we started from virtually nothing. It’s growing steadily. The majority of the growth is still coming in the UK. I don’t think we’re backward in coming forward in terms of explaining that we’re a UK-centric organization with relationships in the US and capabilities in the US. In the last eight weeks. we’ve had a number of pretty decent large corporate opportunities land and I don’t know if that’s as a consequence of one of our competitors unraveling.

Michael: How else do the US and UK markets differ?

Andrew: A big learning for us was how much customers didn’t want to meet face-to-face. We weren’t ready for that. We need to go visit these customers, and we would be flying all over the place.  I think it was four months in and somebody sat me down and said, “You know you’ve got to stop this flying around stuff.” Nobody expects that. People just expect to do things on the phone. From a kind of scaling standpoint, we’re doing a bit of scaling locally, but we’re also doing a bit of scaling remotely because to the customer, as long as the time zones are aligned, it doesn’t matter where you are.

The kind of sales pursuits we’re getting more involved in are the ones that are better suited to our sweet spot. We’ll walk away from opportunities that we think are better suited to others. We might even recommend others.


The interview will be continuing over the next few days with discussions of artificial intelligence, what it means to be a “customer curious” business, and how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users.

Artesian Solutions: “Biggest Ever” Release

Artesian Insights Agents for Salesforce Opportunities
Artesian Insights Agents for Salesforce Opportunities

US and UK social selling vendor Artesian Solutions claimed that their 16.1 software release was their “biggest ever.”  The release included functional upgrades, expanded content, user experience improvements, and new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The new Insight Agents are their first step towards delivering “intelligent chat bots aimed at automating many of the tasks carried out by B2B professionals daily.”  The new AI tool combines advanced natural language processing and behavioural analytics.  The goal is to “deliver commercially valuable and immediately actionable insights, telling the user what they need to know and what action they need to take.”

The evolution of Natural Language Processing, Machine Based Learning and Artificial Intelligence technology is set to have a profound impact on the activities of those in commercial teams.  This product release is a significant stepping stone towards an AI future, the culmination of months of behind-the-scenes R&D based on an incredibly rich understanding of the enterprise B2B landscape through the eyes of some of the biggest and most influential companies in the world. We have been working closely with them to understand what their future looks like and where the biggest gains can be made.

  • Artesian CTO Steve Borthwick

Continued Borthwick, “Artesian has been evolving and improving its relevance and analytic algorithms over the last 10 years, benefiting from the feedback and success that our trusted customers have provided, and that has always kept them one step ahead of the sales intelligence race.”

Insight Agents are initially available within the AppExchange as Salesforce Opportunities.  This feature surfaces trigger events based upon the opportunity stage and preferences of each client.  “It provides a step change in productivity and customer engagement, enabling you to focus on the most important aspects of your most critical deals,” said VP of Product Management Rich Clark.

For example, Insights for Sales Opportunities will place higher emphasis upon opportunity alerts at the front of the pipeline and risk-based alerts during later stages.

“This latest release without doubt places Artesian at the leading edge of innovation for enterprise B2B,” said CEO Andrew Yates. It delivers the first milestone on our road-map to predicting customer needs, automating and directing pipeline activities, and the delivery of hyper-personalised communications and custom marketing.”

Administrators can now tailor the trigger topics available to their users including adding custom topics and constructing a topic taxonomy focused on industry-specific triggers.

User experience improvements include easier access to topic filters, color-coded triggers in email alerts, and adaptive HTML design for improved mobile navigation and display.

Other design upgrades include the social media viewer which now surfaces social media links alongside inline blogs and tweets and a social selling leaderboard at the team or corporate level which benchmarks Artesian usage versus peers.

Hotness flags were added to the US service. They were already available in the UK edition.
“Hotness” flags were added to the US service. They have long been available in the UK edition.

In the UK edition, Artesian partnered with Blue Sheep to add three million contacts and double the number of emails to 875,000.  The additional executives were focused on non-directorial positions, helping expand coverage beyond filed corporate directors.  The new set of contacts raised the UK contact count to 9.7 million.  Furthermore, the new execs were matched against the Full Contact file, providing additional social media links and biographic relevance to contact profiles.

The expanded contacts and social media links are also available to users of the Artesian Ready mobile app which combines mobile calendars with Artesian insights.  Ready helps reps prepare for meetings by supporting on demand company and executive research, sharing meeting notes with colleagues, and reviewing the latest attendee triggers and social media posts.

The firm also added Auditor Fees as a new UK select.  Auditor Name was already supported.

For the US edition, Artesian now supports a “Hotness” indicator highlighting firms with recent key trigger events and improved event prospecting (see image above on right).  The Hotness indicator was already available in the UK edition.

Artesian has formalized its training and certification program with an integrated leaning management system.  The older training was more PowerPoint oriented but the new system is more blog-like with videos and quizzes.  Along with tool certification, Artesian includes annual refresher courses.

 

Ignite Technologies Acquires FirstRain

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FirstRain Coverage of Lattice Engines includes web volume, business influencers, market drivers, Twitter trends, recent stories, related topics, and subject filtering.

Ignite Technologies will be acquiring news analytics vendor FirstRain as part of a pre-negotiated, Chapter 11 corporate reorganization.  The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July subject to court approval.  The acquisition is being funded by Ignite’s parent company, ESW Capital.

FirstRain provides a set of company-specific insights and analytics derived from news, press releases, filings, Twitter, and other open web content sets.  FirstRain applies a high-precision taxonomy to the “business web” which spans companies, industries, geographies, and business topics.  For the past few years, FirstRain has been the source of company and industry news for Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers Classic, First Research, D&B Direct, and D&B 360), Mergent, and other OEM partners.  FirstRain also provides integrated solutions on Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Microsoft SharePoint.

FirstRain Who to Call Panel.
The FirstRain Who to Call Panel provides insights on which accounts have Deal Threats and Accelerators, Reasons to Check In, or New Information.

“FirstRain’s leading-edge, analytics technology providing actionable insights for its clients’ sales and marketing teams strengthens Ignite’s portfolio of sales and marketing solutions,” said Ignite’s CEO Davin Cushman. “Additionally, with the close of the FirstRain acquisition, Ignite will be materially expanding our foundation of sales and marketing solutions that Chief Marketing and Chief Revenue Officers can depend on to drive their business.”

Once the acquisition closes, FirstRain will be part of the Ignite Prime product offering which provides access to enterprise software by simply paying a maintenance fee on at least one Ignite standard solution.

“Ignite has a proven track record of buying, strengthening and growing the companies it acquires, and FirstRain is excited about the potential for our world-class teams to carry the FirstRain solutions and customers forward,” said YY Lee, Chief Executive Officer of FirstRain. “Through this acquisition, Ignite’s foundation of success and innovative programs, including their unique Ignite Prime program, extends the value proposition even further for FirstRain customers, now and into the future.”

DataFox Growth and Enhancements

DataFox grew its year-over-year annual recurring revenue by 150% and trebled its presence at Fortune 500 companies.  According to the firm, “Its exceptional growth has sparked a major hiring initiative as well as plans to secure a larger San Francisco headquarters office to accommodate a growing team of engineers and data scientists.”

The DataFox CRM Orchestration service  provides company profiles and insights for two million companies.  The firm collects 100,000 signals each week across seventy signal categories.  DataFox supports both an initial batch enrichment and ongoing data refreshes.

DataFox Signals
DataFox Signals

A unique feature is their coverage of conferences which helps marketing departments identify which conferences to attend and assemble conference based prospecting lists.  The service also captures major lists such as the Inc 5000 and Fast 500 along with niche lists.

“This is an incredible acceleration point. Customers are seeing the immediate benefits of investing in our solutions that automate grunt work and help guide better, faster decision-making,” said DataFox CEO Bastiaan Janmaat. “DataFox has been able to improve the way people approach their jobs in sales, marketing, and other growth functions by helping them find, orchestrate, and leverage CRM data so they can focus on what matters most – building relationships and growing their business.”

Along with Salesforce, DataFox provides integrations with Marketo, Google Chrome, and Slack.

DiscoverOrg Startup & SMB Dataset

"Building a Winning Dataset" from DiscoverOrg Collateral.
“Building a Winning Dataset” from DiscoverOrg Collateral.

Sales and Marketing intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg announced their latest database earlier today.  The new Startup and SMB dataset covers more than 60,000 small and mid-size businesses and 400,000 executives.  The initial North American coverage profiles companies with between 50 and 1,000 employees.

All of the contacts are editorially verified and will be maintained via the same sixty-day review cycles as their other contacts.  Executives cover “all key departments, including IT, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR, and Operations.”

“DiscoverOrg’s data difference is its team of 250+ researchers who constantly augment and verify the data in our platform,” notes Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO. “Unlike other vendors that provide SMB lists with thousands of irrelevant contacts, companies, and incomplete and duplicate records, the DiscoverOrg Startup & SMB dataset is as rich and accurate as our enterprise data.”

CMO Katie Bullard said that DiscoverOrg has “aggressive plans” to invest in SMB dataset development due to customer benefits.

With more companies, our researchers won’t have to skip over Triggers that they find through their research. We’re able to return a greater number of companies that use a certain technology, and our predictive tools like AccountView and DealPredict have larger reach with more matched accounts.

  • DiscoverOrg CMO Katie Bullard

The initial dataset is limited to North America as that is where they have the greatest current demand, but DiscoverOrg plans to internationalize the Startup and SMB dataset in the future.  While the goal is to cover all firms with at least 50 employees, the initial dataset consists of firms requested by their customers.

The press release noted how difficult it is to find reliable, actionable intelligence for SMB sales teams.  Along with company and executive profiles, the database provides 6,000 “research verified buying triggers” per month.

In smaller businesses without media coverage or press releases, almost none of the buying intent triggers that DiscoverOrg gathers – including planned investments, key projects, personnel moves, and internal spending budgets – is made available to the public. This is where DiscoverOrg’s team of researchers provides a clear advantage: While there are millions of registered companies in the US, the difficulty is identifying and gathering intelligence on the small percentage of these companies who are 1) legitimate entities and 2) have true spend / budget. By continuously verifying contact info, conducting interviews, and engaging in research activities, DiscoverOrg overcomes the shortcomings of web-scraping for hard-to-find data on the SMB space, ensuring the intelligence customers receive is highly relevant and immediately useful.

  • DiscoverOrg Press Release

“Sales and marketing teams that want to reach the SMB market have had a very difficult go of it,” said Nancy Nardin, President of advisory firm Smart Selling Tools. “There’s been a real dearth of verified, accurate data on SMBs, quite simply because it’s harder for data companies to get. DiscoverOrg is solving for this very real pain point by bringing their best-in-class research verification model to the SMB space. You can expect the same high-quality data you get from DiscoverOrg’s broad datasets. ”

Across all databases, DiscoverOrg now covers 1.5 million executives and 90,000 companies.  Customers may purchase access to the full database or various databases by job function, company size, or region.

 

Sparklane €4m Funding Round

Sparklane Lead Scoring
Sparklane Lead Scoring

Sparklane, which describes itself as “a publisher of sales intelligence SAAS solutions,” announced that it received a €4m funding round from XAnge and Entrepreneur Venture Investment Fund.  The round raised its total funding to €7m.  XAnge also participated in Sparklane’s previous funding round.

“We were won over by Sparklane’s disruptive positioning and the impressive performance of its management team, prompting us to offer them our renewed support as we participate in this fundraising initiative alongside Entrepreneur Venture,” stated Guilhem de Vregille, Deputy Director of XAnge.

The round allows Sparklane to continue its European expansion.  The French company established itself in the UK in 2016 and is currently eyeing the German market.  The funding will also be directed towards expanding its artificial intelligence capabilities, and growth in their sales and R&D teams.

According to Chairman Frédéric Pichard, the funding round is a “real vote of confidence,” in the company.  “Our goal remains the same: to help marketing and sales people identify their future customers more quickly using Artificial Intelligence.”

Sparklane offers predictive lead scoring and prospecting tools for sales and marketing teams in the UK and France.  Their Predict platform processes client CRM data to define an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), apply predictive lead scores, and identify look-a-like prospects.

Sparklane supports nearly 350 clients across banking, insurance, technology and business services.  The firm was listed in Deloitte’s 2016 EMEA Fast 500 list of technology companies with 265% revenue growth between 2012 and 2015 (three-year CAGR of 54%).