Practice + Authenticity = Modern Sales Excellence

The Greek orator Demosthenes was said to have treated his speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.
 
In high school, Larry Bird would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.
 
When I started my professional sales career in 2004, I wrote out every opening, iteration, objection handle, and closing approach. I then recorded myself speaking them until I was comfortable. I iterated on each talk track 20+ times until it was authentic and the language flowed naturally. Then I ditched the scripts and went to work.

What can you do outside of your day to day operations to be exceptional at your craft?

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (LinkedIn Post)

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter is a strong advocate for authenticity. Simply knowing your pitch is insufficient. Sales reps have to master their craft and infuse it with authenticity. This means developing a deep understanding of how to sell your product and service but then combining what is unique about your story (both personal and corporate) with passion for the product or service you sell.

It also means that you cannot be giving a robotic pitch or a one-size-fits-all spiel. Great salespeople adjust their message and approach to the prospect. This adjustment is across many dimensions:

  • Job Function – What is their department and role within the department?
  • Job Level – How high in the organization are they?
  • Industry – What is your value proposition with respect to the purchaser’s industry? How do they benefit?
  • Buyer Role – As part of a purchasing committee, are they the economic buyer, technical buyer, influencer, etc.?
  • Prospect Knowledge about Your Offering – You need to understand how knowledgeable they are about your offering and those of your competitors and then speak to that level.
  • Concerns – The larger the value or strategic importance of a B2B purchase, the greater the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). FUD is also higher if the total cost of ownership or switching costs are high. If you are inauthentic, you can raise the level of FUD. If you can connect authentically with the buyer, you build trust and drive down the level of FUD.
  • Individual – What are the individual concerns of the buyer? What is the buyer’s communication style?

Scripts work well for novice reps and those learning a new product category or vertical, but they should be viewed as building blocks towards a polished, authentic sales voice.

One should also avoid focusing on features. A feature-focused monologue says to buyers, “you figure out whether my product / service will help you because I don’t understand that myself.” The focus should always be on benefits and value with features only used to justify your value proposition or to address concerns of technical buyers.

And the conversation needs to be interactive. Meeting intelligence analytics display who is talking during a call. A sales rep can visually review whether he / she controlled the conversation or it was a true conversation.

Sales trainers have begun emphasizing the value of storytelling as a way to connect with the emotional buyer. Marketers long approached consumer sales as an emotional pitch and B2B as a rationale pitch, but are now arguing that rational B2B pitches ignore the inherent FUD involved when making strategic purchases.

As sales reps begin to be coached by sales engagement analytics (directly and via feedback from managers and trainers), they should shift away from controlling conversations and become more interactive, present, and empathetic.

SalesLoft Round D

SalesLoft Round D
SalesLoft Round D

On the heels of Outreach’s $114 million Series E, SalesLoft landed a $70 million round D led by Insight Partners with participation from HarbourVest Partners, Emergence Capital, and LinkedIn.  Total funding reached $145 million.

While the market valuation was not disclosed, TechCrunch indicated that the valuation was around $600 million.  Last year’s Round C valued the firm at $250 million.

“As the creators of the Sales Engagement category, we’ll use this investment to continue leading the innovation that has come to define the category,” blogged CEO Kyle Porter.  “This means investments in our ecosystem API, the mobile application, and our AI-powered sales coaching network.”

Porter laid out a vision for The Sales Coaching Network of full-time digital assistants which “gathers data from our network of distributed sellers and identifies what works and what doesn’t.”  

The Sales Coaching Network “learns best practices, proven effective across a variety of situations.  It identifies those outlier cases where a creative seller finds a new, better solution, and adds those techniques to its coaching.  This allows others to learn from the experience of those more creative sellers.”

Coaching advice will be tailored to individual sellers and their current activities.  According to Porter’s vision:

The Sales Coaching Network brings out the best in every authentic human-to-human interaction.  Sales can never be fully automated, but machines can coach humans in ways that improve our ability to deliver the customer with the best sales experiences while making decisions that allow them to generate the most revenue.

The additional funds will also be directed towards expanding their services team, certified partner network, professional services, and global support.

Over the past few years, SalesLoft has evolved from a cadence service to a multi-channel communications platform which supports inbound and outbound leads, meeting management, analytics, and a partner ecosystem.  Its top partner, LinkedIn, is also an investor.

“We are seeing the highest usage in our LinkedIn integration among all the other integrations we provide,” said Porter.  “Our customers find that it’s the third most important behind email and phone calls.”

Porter called many of the sales tools on the market “dumb databases or repositories” which “are not focused on improving how to connect buyers to sales teams in sincere ways,” said Porter.  “And anytime a company like Salesforce has moved into tangential areas like these, they haven’t built from the ground up, but through acquisitions.  It’s just hard to move giant aircraft carriers.”

SalesLoft doubled revenues the past two years and recently opened an EMEA sales and support office in London.  Recurring revenue has grown ten-fold over the past three years.

Porter listed a set of reasons for Salesforce’s customer success including company purpose, reliability, adoption, and impact.  SalesLoft’s purpose is to elevate the sales profession and promote authentic selling:

SalesLoft exists to activate the authentic seller in all of us.  While some focus on simply sending more email, we focus on elevating the sales professional as a whole.  Today’s buyers deserve an incredible sales experience… one that is sincere, human, and relevant to their needs.  They want sellers to provide insights and solve their problems.  It’s essential for sellers to take a buyer-centric approach.  This is the heart of what we do.

Great sellers also need to be methodical and efficient.  At SalesLoft we’re dedicated to helping you codify a scalable and effective sales process so you can consistently hit and exceed your targets.

Reliability is based upon email deliverability, phone quality, and application speed.

Adoption is evidenced by their leadership position on the G2.com grid for Sales Engagement while impact was borne out by a recent Forrester “Total Economic Impact of SalesLoft” study which measured a 329% ROI, a 20% lift in Sales Qualified Leads to Opportunity Conversion Rates, and a 13% improvement in customer renewal rates.

“So many software companies build a product to meet a market need and then focus purely on selling.  SalesLoft is different.  This team is continually innovating, pushing the boundaries, and changing the face of sales,” said Jeff Horing, co-founder and MD of Insight Venture Partners.  “This is one reason the company’s customers are so devoted to them.”

What is Sales Engagement?

Over the past year, Sales Engagement has become the third pillar of my coverage (alongside Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS). So it is only fair that I write an overview of the space.

Sales Engagement began about four or five years ago as Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) with a focus on automating the SDR function. Its initial functionality consisted of a cadence tool which automated emails and outbound dialing for appointment setting. Cadences, also called sequences, are a set of scheduled steps that usually begin with an email but also include outbound calls, social steps (many vendors have integrated LinkedIn Sales Navigator via SNAP connectors), and direct mail.

Cadences can be paused if the prospect is out of office or halted if the prospect unsubscribes. Outreach just announced out of office functionality which pauses the call and checks whether an alternate contact is listed.
Functionality is similar to that of LeadGnome. Outreach noted that 18% of email responses are out of office emails. 25% of out of office emails include an alternate contact name with over half the names being manager titles or above.  The Out of Office reply detection extracts the return date and alternate names then pauses sequences until the prospect returns.  The sales rep is notified of automated actions.

Email is supported by targeted templates which can be personalized. Thus, reps can call cadences by function, level, industry, etc. and the associated templates are customized by target audience. Reps can view the emails prior to sending and personalize them. This helps bring authenticity to the email. SalesLoft estimates that the peak personalization level is 20%.

Most sales engagement solutions include a digital dialer for outbound calling. The system suggests the best time of day and adjusts for time zones. Other features include local dialing, call recording, and voice mail drops. Upon completion, the rep enters call disposition and sentiment information which is synched with the CRM.

Once calls are recorded, they are transcribed and indexed, allowing sales reps or managers to quickly review calls and quickly locate pain points, objections, pricing, and next steps. Vendors such as Outreach and SalesLoft are going a step further and analyzing the calls, providing a set of team reports. More broadly, machine learning tools are being applied against the calls to determine best sales practices.

Meeting Management is emerging as a key feature set. Some vendors offer simple Calendly-like scheduling while others provide full meeting transcription and analytics.

Video is becoming increasingly important. Vendors support both video meetings (e.g. Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, JoinMe) and video attachments (e.g. Vidyard, Videolicious).

The Outreach Partner Directory offers ten categories of partners. Sales Intelligence and Data supports lead generation, intelligence, and management.

Other information and decisioning tools include leaderboards, dashboards, AI recommendations (e.g. who to call or email next), CRM synchronization, and A/B testing. Some of these tools are directly integrated into the service while others are available through app directories. Similar to the Salesforce AppExchange or Marketo LaunchPoint, functionality may be free, freemium, or premium. Likewise, you may need to separately license the partner solution prior to enabling the integration. Outreach and SalesLoft offer a broad set of app partners.

There are a broad set of Sales Intelligence partner services which feed leads or display lead intelligence within Sales Engagement platforms. Vendors include DiscoverOrg, Zoominfo, Datanyze, Owler, Crunchbase, and SalesIntel.io.

Sales Engagement platforms are evolving into a system of engagement that sits alongside CRMs (systems of record). There is already a shift taking place from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms. While Sales Engagement platforms are not looking to displace CRMs, sales reps are increasingly shifting screen time from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms with the Sales Engagement platforms syncing with the CRMs. This is one of the reasons that Salesforce.com recently launched its High Velocity Sales service which combines cadences, Salesforce Inbox, the Lightning Dialer, work queues, and Einstein. High Velocity Sales starts at $75 per user per month ($90 with outbound calling).

The Salesforce Lighting Dialer supports click-to-call, power dialing, inbound calling, voicemail drops, and call logging.

At the Salesforce World Tour in Boston this week, a sales rep told me that Salesforce is heavily investing in Sales Engagement and hopes to catch up to the market leaders in the next year (I think this is overly optimistic as the leaders are quickly building out functionality and partnerships). While Salesforce could catch up in a few years, I believe it is more likely that SFDC will acquire one of the leaders in the space followed quickly by Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions in the sector (of course, Microsoft or Oracle could be the first movers). Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, may also be interested in expanding its presence in B2B sales and marketing applications.

The top vendors in the space are SalesLoft, Outreach, and InsideSales. Other vendors include ConnectLeader, Yesware, Toutapp (Marketo), Mixmax, and VanillaSoft.

SalesLoft Partner Ecosystem

SalesLoft Partner Ecosystem (March 2019)
SalesLoft Partner Ecosystem (March 2019)

SalesLoft looks for partners that help “activate the authentic seller in everyone,” boost their productivity, and help customers scale their business.  Vendors should be adjacent to Sales Engagement, filling the gaps of functionality in the platform.  

Partners pledge to serve joint customers first, invest in the success of integrations through co-marketing, and “support our developer community, thus enabling innovation,” said VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester.

Kester noted that the partner ecosystem provides a strategic market advantage as it “creates a moat in the ecosystem supplanting us as the dominant #1 player.”  It also “significantly enhances customer LTV (lifetime value) due to the sticky nature of usage” and “drives customer acquisition through the roof, and CAC (customer acquisition cost) down due to leads driven from partners.”

The SalesLoft ecosystem has grown to 54 partners with a million “integration actions executed” over the past six months.  Nearly 2,700 teams have one or two integrations with 800 having implemented three and 500 having four or more integrations.

Kester discussed the partner ecosystem at SalesLoft’s recent #Rainmaker19 conference.

The top partner integrations are LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Sendoso, Showpad, and Vidyard.  VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester called Sales Navigator “by far the most popular integration we have.”  The SNAP integration supports four cadence steps: Account and Lead (contact) research, introductions, connection request, and InMail (Salesforce is an investor in SalesLoft).

Sendoso provides a direct mail service.  Integrated cadence steps allow sales reps to send direct mail, company swag, handwritten notes, eGifts, and Amazon items.

Showpad is integrated with the sales reps’ workflow.  Within SalesLoft, users can easily add content to their email campaigns, and gauge their prospects’ level of interest.  Showpad also provides context-specific content recommendations.

Vidyard GoVideo helps sales reps “easily create polished and personal videos for your prospects using Vidyard GoVideo webcam and screen recorder,” said Kester.  Sales reps can “boost response rates and humanize sales outreach by adding video to your sales emails in SalesLoft.

SalesLoft includes a freemium version and has supported 175,000 platform videos.

New partners include

  • Sales Content: Costello (Playbooks), OneMob (Video), VidGrid (1:1 Video), Outgrow (Interactive Content), Nova.ai (Messaging Hooks)
  • Sales Coaching: Outgrow, Fusion Funnel
  • Sales Intelligence: SalesIntel.io (Contacts), RingLead (Lead Enrichment), Buzzboard (SMB Profiles)
  • Compliance: DataGrail (GDPR)
  • Integration: Fireflies, PieSync, AppBuddy (SFDC Tools), Azuqua, Tray.io
  • Analytics: Triblio (ABM, Intent)
  • Video Conferencing: GoToMeeting; Zoom; JoinMe; WebEx
  • Email: Inbox Ignite (Email Reputation Score), Makesbridge (Mass Email / MAP)
  • Outbound Services: ConnectandSell

SalesLoft announced several partnerships that are in their development pipeline including LeanData, Drift, Ramble Chat, and Seismic.

LeanData provides Lead-to-Account assignments with automated cadences by persona and customized conditions.  Sales Operations defines the lead assignment and routing rules which are displayed as a flow diagram with Send to SalesLoft Cadence steps.  Duplicate checking will prevent a second cadence from being kicked off.

Drift and Ramble Chat are joining Intercom as chat partners.  “Ramble empowers sales engagement customers with a unique ability to extend chat directly through their platform,” said Kester.  “Ramble creates an additional channel of communication for their customer interactions.”

Ramble Chat performs a reverse IP lookup that identifies the account and logs it to Salesforce or SalesLoft, providing a form of first-party intent intelligence.  Both inbound (anonymous) and outbound (Cadence driven) chat are supported with outbound chat connected to the originating sales rep.

“We are excited for our partnership with SalesLoft.  Ramble’s unique architecture enables us to deploy chat within third-party applications, like SalesLoft, which changes how sales leaders utilize chat for pipeline contribution.  We not only make chat ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound,’ but we give companies the ability to extend chat anywhere online as a means of instant connection and sales acceleration.  Moving beyond ‘omnichannel’ and towards ‘omnipresence.’  The full breadth our chat technology can be deployed organically, directly from SalesLoft, which provides a more seamless client experience and new channels for Sales Engagement.”


Ramble CEO Justin McDonald

Seismic offers an enterprise-grade content management system which recommends the next-best action for content.  The platform employs analytics to recommend which content is most likely to resonate with a prospect based on buying stage, vertical, etc.

DataGrail provides a GDPR and CCPA compliance tool which “enforces on-demand access and deletion of a requester’s personal data across all first and third-party/external business systems.”  DataGrail also centralizes customer email preferences.  Other features include the “detection of non-consented or high-risk contacts, including geographic fingerprinting and migration for consented to non-consented purposes” and alerts if a deleted contact is being recreated in a sales or marketing platform.

Current apps are displayed on SalesLoft’s App Directory which helps admins see how integrations work, understand their use cases, and co-market the integration.  A developer’ portal is in development.


Prior articles on SalesLoft Rainmaker 2019:

SalesLoft Rainmaker Product Announcements

At their Rainmaker 2019 conference, SalesLoft announced a doubling of their partner ecosystem, mobile functionality, a rebuilt analytics engine, and a hot leads feature, and expanded CRM connectors.  The show attracted 1,300 attendees to hear 164 speakers.

SalesLoft released an iOS mobile app that allows users to place digital calls through the SalesLoft platform.  Calls are directed through a Twilio dialer and then analyzed by SalesLoft.  Post-call automated features include automated transcription and indexing, call analytics, and CRM sync.  Thus, if the rep places a call on the road, she will have a fully transcribed, indexed, and analyzed call when she returns to the office.

Prior to making the call, the user can set one-sided recording or local number calling.  Users can also add new contacts to cadences and will be notified when prospects engage with a cadence.  An activity stream is on the mobile app roadmap.

For inbound calls, the rep can quickly enter call notes which are synced to the CRM.

There are no immediate plans for an Android app.

“I believe sales is about relationships and sales engagement is essential to building those relationships.  Through data science, meeting intelligence and efficient account-based workflows, SalesLoft lets you focus on what matters most: building relationships and solving customers’ problems.”


SalesLoft VP of Product Butler Raines

SalesLoft is implementing a new reporting framework with an event-driven architecture which supports an open data API.  Two reports, a Cadence Performance report and an Account Report, have already been rolled out.  The framework supports configurable dashboards which can be quickly built with advanced analytics and visualizations using Business Intelligence tools.  Sales Ops can also build real-time reports and dashboards within Salesforce.

SalesLoft is extending machine learning and AI into its platform.  For example, SalesLoft machine learning tools detect the prospect’s position and level at a firm and selects the optimal persona-based cadence.  A new Hot Leads feature prioritizes prospects based on content engagement and website activity.

SalesLoft, which has long supported Salesforce, will be adding connectors for Microsoft Dynamics and SAP.

“We have seen a sizeable increase in CRM demand beyond the Salesforce ecosystem. SalesLoft is excited to enable organizations running on SAP C4C and Microsoft Dynamics to better serve their customers.”


Sean Kester, SalesLoft VP of Platform Strategy

SalesLoft will be regionalizing its data hosting by region or usage.  “This not only allows for customization (for example, keeping data that originates from the European Union in the EU) but also improves security and platform performance,” blogged the firm.  “Whether it’s through regulation compliance, security-minded development, or thought leadership, SalesLoft looks to partner with our customers for mutual success.”


SalesLoft announced a set of additional partners available through their app directory. I will discuss these on Monday.

SalesLoft Rainmaker 2019 Keynote

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter Gave the Opening Keynote at the SalesLoft Rainmaker 2019 Sales Conference.
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter Gave the Opening Keynote at the SalesLoft Rainmaker 2019 Sales Conference.

At their Rainmaker 2019 conference, SalesLoft announced a doubling of their ecosystem, mobile functionality, a rebuilt analytics engine, and a hot leads feature.  The show attracted 1,300 attendees to hear 164 speakers.

“We’re in the middle of an evolution in the relationship between sellers and buyers,” said SalesLoft’s CEO, Kyle Porter.  “Sales teams need to tear up their playbooks and start fresh with a blend of human, relevant sales tactics and the modern technology needed to create an authentic sales experience that is repeatable and scalable.”

SalesLoft’s purpose is to “to activate the authentic seller in all of us” and elevate the sales profession by offering “world-class experiences.”  The firm operates under a quintet of values that inform its hiring and operations:


SalesLoft Operating Principles.

These principles led to SalesLoft being named the top-midsized employer in Atlanta for the second year in a row.  “We embrace the transformative power of technology innovation for our customers, but we believe in people first,” said Porter.  “Our founding purpose is to create an environment where others can come to learn more, do more, and become more.  Team members are encouraged to take their talents and skills and apply them to serve others and find fulfillment.  We show love to our people so they can share that sentiment with our customers.”

SalesLoft’s sales engagement platform is designed to support evolving buying behavior.  B2B buyers are swamped by messaging and “super busy,” yet need to solve complex problems.  Buyers are looking for an “engaging, authentic experience” that understands buyer needs and solves their problems.  However, sellers are inefficient and operate with broken processes.  SalesLoft is looking to address process failures by centralizing sales workflows and encouraging best practices.  Objectives include elevating the sales profession through community, encouraging diversity amongst its staff and event speakers (54% of whom were women or minorities at Rainmaker), and transparency in its policies and outcomes.

Porter described his future vision of sales where “every single seller has a digital assistant by their side” along with a “sales coaching network” which is a “giant distributed network of sales activity.”  Sales reps are supported by a digital assistant which delivers broad data and context-specific insights based on seller, stage, and customer to help reps “connect authentically with the buyer.”

Porter contends that “you can’t take the human out of the equation” but you can make it “easier to distribute a world-class experience to your customer.”

“[It’s time to] elevate the profession of sales to focus on delivering customers world-class experiences.  With that, you can maximize revenue.  A sales experience must be authentic, engaging, relevant, human, one-to-one and, most importantly, it understands buyers’ needs and solves their problems.”


SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

Sales reps have long suffered from a bad reputation, being forced to take ethical shortcuts to meet managerial demands.  SalesLoft is looking to lead by example.  According to Porter, when “we do right,” SalesLoft customers are able to hire, innovate, and invent new things.

SalesLoft’s other goal is to improve the efficiency and efficacy of sales teams.  A SalesLoft study found a 22% increase in opportunities created when comparing the 90-day windows before and after implementing their platform.  To back up their research, they commissioned a Forrester study of their customers which found a

  • 2.5X improvement in response rates
  • 20% lift in conversion and productivity
  • Doubling of the funnel
  • 13% increase in renewals
  • 329% ROI

“Many people say we’re in a state of digital transformation,” said SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan.  “For sales, we’re entering a revolution of how we engage customers.”

Buyers are looking for partners that work with them to identify and resolve issues.  “Today’s successful seller has to be a problem solver and you do that by asking great questions and collectively solving the problem with and for your customer,” said Sloan.  “It doesn’t matter if the product goes 10 miles an hour or 50 miles an hour, it’s the people I want to work with in partnership and, at the end of the day, it’s the people I want to work with.  I’ll pick a company because of the relationship.  The product still has to solve my problems but if two things are equal, I’ll go with the partnership.”

Buyers are looking for partners that work with them to identify and resolve issues.  “Today’s successful seller has to be a problem solver and you do that by asking great questions and collectively solving the problem with and for your customer,” said Sloan.  “It doesn’t matter if the product goes 10 miles an hour or 50 miles an hour, it’s the people I want to work with in partnership and, at the end of the day, it’s the people I want to work with.  I’ll pick a company because of the relationship.  The product still has to solve my problems but if two things are equal, I’ll go with the partnership.”


Part II: SalesLoft Rainmaker Product Announcements

SalesLoft CEO Eats His Own Dogfood

SalesLoft Meeting Intelligence transcribes and indexes Zoom calls to share with stakeholders.
SalesLoft Meeting Intelligence transcribes and indexes Zoom calls to share with stakeholders.

I always enjoy hearing about companies eating their own dogfood, but it is rare that it is the CEO utilizing his or her own platform to demonstrate product value post-sale and collecting meaningful customer intelligence.

Last week, Kyle Porter gave a master class on how he has deployed SalesLoft functionality to build relationships with SalesLoft’s top new clients.  Not only does it magnify goodwill at the beginning of a relationship, but Porter garners insights into his company’s product and sales process while offering tips to new customers.

Briefly, here is how SalesLoft leverages Salesforce and SalesLoft to delight its top customers:

  1. Salesforce kicks off a cadence email for each closed/won opportunity over $50,000. The email is a congratulatory note to the primary account rep who closed the deal.  It includes a request for an introduction to the executive sponsor.
  2. The email is forwarded by the sales rep to the sponsor with Porter cc’d.
  3. Porter responds and forwards his open times (SalesLoft calendaring technology)
  4. Porter joins the Zoom call with four objectives: Thank them for their business; solicit feedback on the SalesLoft sales experience; share the company vision and roadmap; and share three pro tips which “If they get out ahead of these, they will be wildly successful in sales engagement.” (Zoom is a SalesLoft partner)
  5. The SalesLoft bot automatically transcribes and analyzes the conversation which is shared with internal stakeholders.
  6. Porter sets up a follow-up cadence for six months later.

Before sales engagement, this would have required a substantial number of manual tasks and likely have been limited to top brands or million-dollar contracts.  But with SalesLoft’s cadence and meeting management tools, it is likely that the time involved on the sales side is four minutes for Porter (note response and scheduling the six-month follow up), two minutes for the sales rep (email forward), and the time meeting with the executive sponsor at the new customer (a high-return use of Porter’s time).

Sometimes the dog food tastes good.

SalesLoft: Employee Love Brings Happy Customers and $50M ARR

CEO Kyle Porter attributes SalesLoft's revenue growth to a strong company culture.
CEO Kyle Porter attributes SalesLoft’s revenue growth to a strong company culture.

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter announced that his sales engagement firm hit $50M in ARR while maintaining a 4.9 Glassdoor rating.  96% of employees would recommend SalesLoft to a friend, 99% approved of the CEO, and 96% had a positive business outlook.

Porter equated SalesLoft’s success with respect for his employees:

“Our owners and exec team loves on our employees so they love on you (our customers and soon to be customers). Here’s to keeping healthy as you scale.”

Porter had been advised by a founder / CEO that maintaining such a high-level of employee respect would be increasingly difficult with growth.“I remember a slight tinge of fear when they said this because organizational health is the most important focus area for me as CEO,” said Porter.  “But…this team has channeled that fear and delivered.  So take that naysayers! :)”

SalesLoft is holding its Rainmaker Conference in Atlanta March 11 – 13. Coincidentally, one of their top competitors, Outreach, is holding its Unleash Conference in San Diego March 10 – 12.

Linkedin Sales Navigator List Building, Mobile Lead Profiles, & SNAP Integration (Q3 2018)

Last month Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q3 release.  Amongst the features are a Pipeline Review and Buyers Circle (discussed last Friday), improved Search, and additional SNAP integrations.

Sales Navigator Account and Lead Search have been redesigned for speed and ease. The Account and Lead Search functions and results (see 1 below) are more prominent, offer streamlined search filters (see 2), and deliver simplified save search and alerting processes. Other enhancements include hover cards (see 3) which display company intelligence when mousing over a company name. Hover cards include a Save as Account button.

Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).
Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).

LinkedIn originally designed their mobile app to complement the desktop service but is working to make mobile a “full-featured Sales Navigator experience.” Last quarter, they focused on Account enhancements and this quarter they brought the mobile Lead experience to parity with the desktop service.

“We will continue to narrow the gap between our mobile and desktop experiences in upcoming releases, and take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile as well.”

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

LinkedIn continues to invest in its SNAP partner program. This quarter, Adobe Sign was added as a partner and three partners (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and SalesLoft) took advantage of their version two capabilities. SFDC and MSD now broadly embed LinkedIn intelligence in Lead, Account, and Opportunity pages. Users may also send InMails from within the CRM.

SalesLoft has built research, connect, InMail, and messaging features within cadences, providing a robust LinkedIn channel alongside phone and email.

The next generation SNAP integrations are modular, providing greater flexibility around where content is displayed. New modular features include InMail support and the handling of Potential Profile Matches.

New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.
New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.

LinkedIn has taken a “Switzerland approach” to its partnerships, working with both Microsoft and its competitors.

The firm reiterated its commitment to data security and GDPR compliance. “LinkedIn maintains ISO 27001 & ISO 27018 certifications, as well as a SSAE-18 certification, SOC 2 Type I report,” noted the firm in its briefing to Admins.

Finally, LinkedIn added an Ideas site to its Sales Navigator Community portal where admins can “submit, vote on, comment on and track status of ideas for how to improve Sales Navigator.”

Sales Intelligence Vendors (and a Few Others) in the Inc. 5000 List

Inc 5000 Rank, Revenue, and CAGR Data (2014-2018 Lists)
Inc 5000 Rank, Revenue, and CAGR Data (2014-2018 Lists)

Several sales and marketing intelligence firms made the 2018 Inc. 5000 list including DiscoverOrg, Zoominfo, and FullContact.  Signaling difficulties in the predictive analytics space, no firms from that category made the Inc. 5000 list.

Inc. magazine lists the top 5,000 US firms based upon three-year revenue growth rates. Eligible firms must have at least $100,000 in 2014 revenue and $2 million by 2017.

Zoominfo made the list for the fourth consecutive year, with revenue reaching $59.4 million and a three-year CAGR of 45%.  Zoominfo grew its headcount by 50% between July 2017 and July 2018 and raised its customer base to 8,000 enterprise customers.

“The Inc. 5000 is the measuring stick for successful, high-growth, private companies,” said new Zoominfo CEO Derek Schoettle. “Since joining ZoomInfo earlier this summer, I’ve seen the tech innovation and the business demand for trustworthy customer data that makes me confident that ZoomInfo will continue to make this prestigious list for years to come.” 

Zoominfo added over 100 staff and 2,000 customers in the past year.  At their June Growth Acceleration Summit, VP of Corporate Development Phil Garlick attributed the firm’s success to hard work, teamwork, sweat, and tears. 

SalesLoft made the list for the first time as the firm caught fire after launching their sales engagement platform a few years ago.  Revenue grew at a 77% three-year CAGR to $13 million in 2017.  SalesLoft also placed seventh on the most recent North American Deloitte Fast 500.  The Atlanta-based firm recently acquired NoteNinja to integrate its meeting intelligence software into the broader set of SalesLoft sales engagement capabilities. 

CEO Kyle Porter is “excited” to “empower” his customers in delivering “a better sales experience.  Buyers around the world are recognizing the differentiated benefits of purchasing products and solutions from sellers who use SalesLoft.” 

Other first-timers were identity resolution vendor FullContact (76% three-year CAGR to $14.0 million) and data hygiene and enrichment vendor Stirista (23% three-year CAGR to 5.0 million). 

“Marketers, product professionals, and data analysts have had a lot of success using FullContact to enrich the data that exists in their CRM, marketing automation, and other databases,” said Scott Axcell, VP of Marketing at FullContact. “From audience insights to customer care, there is no shortage of use cases for accurate, enriched customer data.” 

FullContact acquired Mattermark and its company and event database last December to complement the FullContact people dataset. 

While Madison Logic once again made the list, their growth stalled with revenue declining $200,000 last year to $54.2 million.  Their three-year CAGR was 27%. 

“We achieved this honor through the strength of our team and success of our customers. Our platform, ActivateABM, helps the most innovative global companies accelerate growth by converting top prospects into customers. By integrating directly into the martech stack, we can deliver solutions that are simple, strategic and entirely ROI-focused,” said Tom O’Regan, Madison Logic’s CEO. “We are thrilled to be recognized for the sixth time and proud of the momentum we’ve achieved on our mission to make the B2B marketer the driving force for growth and change in the enterprise.” 

CreditSafe USA made the list for the second time, growing revenue to $13.3 million last year with a three-year CAGR of 52%.  However, most of the growth was in the first two years with 2017 revenue only growing $500,000.  The firm has over 100,000 subscription customers, 10,000 in the United States. 

“Our team is extremely humbled to be included in such an elite group of high-growth companies,” said Matthew Debbage, CEO of Creditsafe USA and Asia. “When we established here six years ago, there was one large entrenched player in the business credit space in the US, so we felt our success was far from a sure thing. This recognition really helps put our hard work into perspective.” 

“Being the younger, more nimble and tech-friendly player in the space has given many advantages as we strive to provide exceptional value to our customers,” continued Debbage. “We know that if are going to disrupt the industry, then we’d need to out-hustle our competition each and every day and really want to thank all those customers who’ve taken a chance on us.” 

CreditSafe primarily provides credit data in the US, although they did enter the US and UK sales intelligence market a few years ago with Sales Joe.  CreditSafe financials and filings are at the core of several European product lines including DueDil. 

CreditSafe maintains offices in eight European countries, Japan, and the United States. The company serves the credit, collections, sales, marketing, and compliance functions.

Private company profiler Pitchbook is no longer eligible for the list as they were acquired by Morningstar, but the firm disclosed a 60% CAGR since 2009.  They have grown their user base from 11,000 to 18,000 since the end of 2017.  Since the beginning of the year, Pitchbook has grown from “just over” 600 employees to 908.

Finally, Pure Incubation made the list for the fifth year in a row posting a 43% three-year CAGR on $20 million in revenue.  The Massachusetts demand generation firm offers data and marketing services for the medical and technology sectors.  Products include PureB2B (Content Syndication and Intent Marketing), PureMed (Healthcare Providers and Facilities Database), ProspectOne (B2B Intelligence and Data Services), and Demand Science (Philippines-based Back Office Marketing, HR, Seles Development and Engineering Services).

Pure Incubation’s consistent growth “is another testament that we are building a strategically relevant and innovative company in the demand generation space,” said Chairman Barry Harrigan.  “Pure Incubation’s continued placement on the list is not something we take for granted and we are going to keep pushing to appear again in 2019.”

DiscoverOrg made the list for the eighth-straight time.  I covered their achievement yesterday.