EXPLORE Sales Intelligence

EXPLORE.FR, which has historically been more of a niche data provider for the French market, now offers a full sales intelligence and DaaS offering covering the entire French market.  In March, EXPLORE took a minority stake in Societeinfo and published its set of registered Sirene data for ten million active businesses.

“With Societeinfo, we can offer a wide range of data enrichment scenarios, contextualized email generation, semantic targeting without equivalent on the market,” said Laurent Nicouleau, Associate Director of EXPLORE.  “These data can, of course, be integrated into the information systems of our customers, including those deployed by GESTINNOV, our subsidiary dedicated to CRM & ERP integration.”

EXPLORE describes itself as ”a designer of high value-added B to B behavioral data solutions” that “identify all the life stages of your prospects and customers and transforms them into a lever for commercial performance.”

EXPLORE French market intelligence includes company and executive profiles, financials, and triggers.  Features include prospecting, list mapping, news alerts, and mobile apps.

EXPLORE offers connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Oracle, SugarCRM, Efficy, and SAP.

A new Microsoft Teams feature lets users look up and share company profiles within the Teams discussion stream.  Company profiles may be looked up via their Siret # (registration number), name, or address.  From the mini-profile, colleagues can link to the company website or view additional details in EXPLORE.  The service works as a freemium with non-EXPLORE users viewing a limited profile and EXPLORE users viewing a complete profile.

The Teams application is French only.

EXPLORE captures business signals from news, social media, the open web, and governmental sources.

EXPLORE triggers are gathered from regional and national news, social media, the open web (e.g., governmental sites, real estate developers, public purchasers), and public data resources (e.g., building permits, legal announcements).  Triggers fall into three categories:

  1. Strategic events such as M&A, Fundraising, IPO, Investment Projects, and Restructuring.  EXPLORE captures 3 million strategic events per annum.
  2. Relocation Projects and profiles spanning 15,000 annual events.
  3. Legal News such as company registration, dissolution, change in capital, divestitures, litigation, etc.  EXPLORE tracks 2.7 million legal events per annum.

EXPLORE targets commercial real estate, real estate developers, financial services, building supplies, and B2B services.  EXPLORE pricing begins in the €2,000 to 3,000 range.

EXPLORE has 160 employees, with offices in Paris and Nantes, and an annual turnover greater than €14 million.  EXPLORE has 1,500 clients and over 40,000 users.

In other news, EXPLORE acquired Belgian data vendor CODATA which collects information about retailers in France and Benelux.  The dataset covers 370,000 retail locations at 4,600 sites (e.g., city centers, shopping centers, outlets).  The new content augments EXPLORE’s coverage of commercial real estate.

“EXPLORE has been present for many years on the commercial property market; our offer is mainly “project” oriented (construction and renovation of buildings, urban development, CDAC-CNAC decisions, etc.),” said Nicouleau.  “We were very impressed by the high quality of the teams and the data produced by CODATA in the field.  Associated with EXPLORE, CODATA will have new operational resources to develop and strengthen their positions.”

Artesian Solutions Engagement Signals

Artesian Solutions released Engagement Signals, a set of bespoke rules for its Connect platform.  Engagement Signals deliver “a constant supply of highly relevant intelligence and insight on their clients to facilitate advanced prospecting, customer monitoring, efficient onboarding, ongoing assessment of portfolio risks, and automated underwriting.”

Artesian Connect applies customer “Know-How” to structured and unstructured data, identifying “highly targeted calls to action.”  Engagement Signals combine triggers with Next-Best-Actions related to accounts.

We make it a priority to listen to our users and evolve our platform to solve their highest value challenges and ability to deliver transformational results. Financial Service organisations are now in a position where they must urgently transform their digital business strategies. With Artesian Connect, modern frontline banking and insurance teams can rapidly merge disparate data sources, create bespoke rules for risk selection utilising rich firmographic data and, most importantly, deliver insight from unstructured data that paints a much deeper picture for next-generation client experiences. Engagement Signals represent a simple way for our users to leverage the power of the Connect Platform through a pre-built set of features and rules.

Rich Clark, Artesian VP of Product Development

Artesian also launched a new Briefing Page that provides a snapshot of a company’s health,  financials, and signals.  At the top of the Briefing Page are financials and ownership flags, followed by Engagement Signals.  A set of tabs below Engagement Signals lets finance and sales professionals review the latest news, data, blogs, tweets, and pinned stories.

The Company Briefing provides current financials and Engagement Signals.

ZoomInfo Workflows Enhanced (Part III)

Continuation from yesterday’s article about ZoomInfo Workflows (Part I).

ZoomInfo hinted at an even broader vision of automated lead qualification and workflows in a recent blog that listed four categories of qualifying data:

Source: ZoomInfo, “How To Automate Lead Qualification for Increased Response Rates,” March 8, 2021 Blog.

ZoomInfo does not support programmatic advertising, chatbots, or Slack notifications, so there is significant running room for product development, particularly around expanded intent.  For example, a recent study by XANT found that inbound lead response rates decay quickly, but reps fail to respond promptly, and many fall between the cracks.  The study analyzed three years of inbound leads at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT.  “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times: the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

Tying inbound leads (emails, webforms, chatbots) to workflows is the next step beyond enrichment.  It allows for immediate lead scoring, assignment, and routing decisions, speeding up the response rate while determining each lead’s best course of action.  The Trigger / Filter / Action methodology for intent and event-based leads fits perfectly with these other inputs.  Furthermore, Chatbots and FormComplete often gather a few extra qualifying details that would be filter inputs.

“There is perhaps no greater need than for sellers to be calling on the right people at the right time,” said SalesTech analyst Nancy Nardin.  “Fortunately, the level of accuracy and timeliness of data has improved by leaps and bounds with the emergence of AI, and improved data collection, cleansing, and enrichment.”

ZoomInfo Workflows Enhanced (Part II)

Continuation from yesterday’s article about ZoomInfo Workflows.

For over a decade, Sales Intelligence vendors such as Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Artesian Solutions, and ZoomInfo have offered sales triggers based upon executive changes, funding events, M&A, etc..  D&B Hoovers, along with many European vendors that process registered filings data, includes data change alerts (e.g., credit score change, revenue growth) and registered filings.  As vendors are now adding in visitor intelligence and intent signals, there is the risk of quickly overwhelming sales reps with alerts.  And since most vendors do not yet offer workflow solutions for filtering and automating sales activities, there is a strong likelihood that reps begin to view these alerts as noise instead of actionable signals.  The more generalized the signal (e.g., website visits), the greater the possibility of signals being considered spam. 

To further confuse things, Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) have emerged as sales automation platforms, but they are only loosely tied to a few of the sales intelligence vendors.  In many cases, the functionality is simply Send to SEP functionality.

ZoomInfo and Vainu (see 3/21 issue) now tie together triggers and actions subject to filters.  While there is still a risk that reps are overwhelmed (e.g., too many automated cadences being sent to SEPs), the filters help mitigate the risk and ensure that activity is focused on an organization’s best prospects and tied to event-specific messaging. 

For technology sales, ZoomInfo offers technographic changes and Scoops.  The Scoops dataset is gathered from official data (e.g., public filings, PPP loans), surveys, and in-house research teams.  Daily, ZoomInfo reaches out to contacts in its database to gather market intelligence about projects and the challenges they face in their department.  As an incentive, ZoomInfo offers an Amazon gift card or charitable donation to each respondent.  The responses are the basis of many of their Scoops.

“We are constantly evaluating new sources and pieces of information that can provide value to our customers in the form of Scoops.  Last year, our Scoop number increased greatly because of new processes and expanded information coverage, including the addition of Scoops directly related to PPP loan recipients. Through continued innovation and expansion, we anticipate that our Scoops volume will continue to increase over time.  We have several in-house research teams dedicated to various types of Scoop coverage, and we utilize many of the same sources to gather Scoops that are laid out on our B2B Data Sources webpage, including updates from leadership webpages, news monitoring, public filings, and company-issued announcements.”

ZoomInfo Communications Director Steve Vittorioso

The Scoop volume doubled to 917,000 events in 2020.

While the primary Workflows use cases are focused on revenue acceleration, Workflows may also be used for executive recruitment.

Admins have an approval queue for workflows created by non-admins.

Admins can edit, clone, run, or delete Workflows.  They can also create workflows for non-admins or permit non-admins to create workflows subject to admin approval. 

Non-admins have access to fewer integrations, cannot assign workflows to peers, and are subject to lower export limits.

Workflows do not support FormComplete, ZoomInfo’s webform, but the functionality is on the product roadmap.


Continue to Part III.

ZoomInfo Workflows Enhanced

ZoomInfo Workflows are natural language statements that follow a trigger/filter/action process.

ZoomInfo rolled out an upgraded Workflows product for automating trigger-based tasks.  The service sports a simplified natural-language UI for building workflows “in ways that feel conversational, simple, and secure.”

ZoomInfo Senior Product Director Apparao Karri explained that Workflows are at the intersection of go-to-market data availability and sales automation, calling it “the long tail of GTM automation.”

Continued Karri, “Intelligent Automation is a key differentiator for businesses, and the underlying technology stack is mature and ready to deliver at scale.  ZoomInfo Workflows is a product built on this framework to improve productivity, reduce lost opportunities, and bring consistency to the go-to-market motions.”

Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson contrasted Workflows with Marketing Automation Platforms:

“Marketing automation has existed for many years, but often on a generic playing field.  For example, when visitors fill out a form on a company website, marketers can drop their information into a sequence or a campaign in their CRM.  But those campaigns are limited because a form-fill mechanism doesn’t provide targeted and specific information for each of those prospective customers. Now we live in a world where individual sales reps can create hyper-targeted campaigns based on nearly every imaginable scenario.”

ZoomInfo Product Marketing Director Thad Peterson

The basic structure of a Workflow is triggers, filters, and actions.  Triggers are business events detected by ZoomInfo and include ZoomInfo WebSights (website visitor intelligence), technographic changes, Clickagy Streaming Intent, fundings, and ZoomInfo Scoops (e.g., projects, PPP funding).  Triggers may also be created from saved searches that identify new companies or contacts that meet the saved criteria.

Triggers act as signals subject to pre-defined filters.  The filters are conditions that must be met for an action to be taken.  They can be based upon ZoomInfo or Salesforce criteria.  For example, presence in an ABM list, meeting firmographic criteria, assigned to a rep in Salesforce, or not present in Salesforce.  Actions dictate the Workflow response and include sending emails, assigning contacts, creating records, or kicking off sales flows (cadences) in ZoomInfo Engage, SalesLoft, or Outreach.  Marketing actions can be processed through HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and Eloqua.

Actions include a processing frequency (e.g., daily, weekly) and limits on the number of exported records.  The limit works as a throttle so that reps are not overwhelmed with too many leads.  It also prevents a workflow from using up too many ZoomInfo credits.  Some actions have sub-actions associated with platforms (e.g. set campaign or cadence / sequence / flow).

Filters can also be employed for territory assignment, ensuring that the activity is routed to the proper sales rep.  As ZoomInfo has one of the deepest pools of professional contacts with emails and direct-dial phones, they can activate sales and marketing activity from anonymous account-level signals for targeted functions and levels.

“If businesses want to scale quickly, they can’t become mired in day-to-day tasks that can easily be automated,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “ZoomInfo’s Workflows eliminates redundant, repetitive tasks and helps teams to focus on the human side of closing business by establishing strong relationships with prospects and customers.”


Continue to Part II.

Vainu Workflow Triggers

Sales Intelligence vendor Vainu has added a set of Workflow Triggers that take automated actions based upon CRM data updates.  As Vainu enriches CRMs with financial data mined from European registered data filings, it has raw, current data for triggering activities.  Admins set up the trigger rules, and Vainu creates “smart actions” such as creating CRM Tasks, adding a row in Google Sheets, or sending a Slack notice.

For example, a Workflow Trigger may be set up to look for SaaS companies that meet the “Rule of 40” condition (revenue growth plus profitability margin).

Vainu CEO Mikko Honkanen notes that trigger rules and ratios will vary by industry and may include custom rules specific to each of Vainu’s customers.  Thus, the Rule of 40 “is typical of the software industry but isn’t that critical for other businesses.  For being truly data-driven, each company has its own magic numbers based on the data points of their interest.”

Vainu claims that it supports thousands of data points for triggered workflows, kicking off both sales notifications and custom marketing messages associated with each trigger.

“Some people might want to know when a company starts using lead capture forms on its website.  Someone else might want to be alerted as soon as a company adds a new environmental standard to their corporate social responsibility web page.  Or when a company appoints a new CEO. Or when it adds an auxiliary name that includes the word ‘restaurant’ in it.  The most valuable trigger event is often a change in that specific event.”

Vainu CEO Mikko Honkanen

Along with data changes, actions may be based upon any of seventy event triggers or new accounts meeting ICP criteria.

Vainu, headquartered in Helsinki, emphasizes the value of dynamic data fed into enterprise platforms.  Dynamic data ensures that decision-making is based upon timely and accurate data.  It also allows salespeople to be customer-centric.

“By having access to data that informs them of the current situation of an organization, as well as what recent changes the organization has undergone, salespeople are able to tailor their messaging and offer a personalized experience,” blogged Vainu marketer Nikolai Bang. Vainu covers nearly thirty million companies across Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom.  Triggers are based upon the licensed countries.

Vainu Sales Triggers support automated Workflows.

Warmly, Seed Round

Warm leads startup Warmly, (yes, with a comma as when signing a letter), raised a $2.1 million seed round led by NFX.  Y Combinator, Matchstick Ventures, Scribble Ventures, Mike Vernal of Sequoia, and Harry Stebbings’s 20VC also joined.

The new funds will be used to build out their sales team and hire additional engineers to embed machine-learning capabilities into their software.

“We want to end cold outreach altogether because we should be able to show you the shortest-path warm intro into any company you want to sell to, and the number of hops [it] takes to get there,” said Warmly CEO Max Greenwald

Warmly tracks job changes and tracks champions that have decamped to other companies.  They leverage a firm’s CRM to identify relationship strength and identify former users of a firm’s products and services.  Alerts are sent to sales reps when a former user or advocate resurfaces at other organizations.  Warmly also notifies the customer success team when a user or advocate has left.

“We’re going to make customer success teams more powerful than sales teams in generating revenue.  Now that 84% of all b2b sales come from a referral, traditional methods of customer acquisition like outbound sales & marketing are less effective.  Warmly is building the first ever customer network graph, a novel way to leverage customers to drive new sales.”

Warmly, Website

Warmly was founded in early 2020 by three former Googlers (Greenwald, CTO Carina Boo, and Chief Product Officer Val Yermakova) and VP of Engineering Alan Zhao.

“They’ve got this wide-open market.  It’s this fantastic fertile soil [that] they’ve put themselves in,” says NFX managing partner and Warmly board member James Currier.  Currier also emphasized that customer success software is in its early stage of development.

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.”