Mary Shea was named co-CEO of Mediafly, where she will join Carson Conant in managing the Revenue Enablement company. Shea joins with a solid RevTech pedigree. She was a Principal Analyst at Forrester and Chief Evangelist at Outreach. Shea first met Conant as a newly minted Forrester Principal Analyst in 2015 and later served as a company advisor.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mary join us as co-CEO. I’ve known Mary for over a decade and have benefited immensely from her deep knowledge of the revenue enablement landscape, her prescience in identifying the next big trend, and her vision for the future of B2B buying and selling,” said Conant. “Mary brings deep empathy for the day-to-day challenges sellers face and a forward-leaning sensibility for the brand experience B2B companies need to create for buyers. She will be a force multiplier for the Mediafly team and our customers.”
Shea argued that the RevTech unicorns “amassed large financial war chests” that helped them develop market recognition but that Mediafly and Boathouse Capital took a slower “Midwest approach” that relied more on individual investors than institutional funds.
“While this non-traditional route likely cost Mediafly some market recognition, today this ‘Midwest’ approach appears wise,” argued Shea. “Fast-forward to the past 6-10 months. As competitors and adjacents hunkered down and paused innovation to slow ‘burn’ to avoid ‘down rounds,’ Carson and the Mediafly team quietly acquired and integrated five companies — revenue intelligence provider InsightSquared, conversation intelligence providers ExecVision and Sonero, the enablement workflow solution, UserIQ, and talent intelligence provider Aptology.”
These acquisitions brought together underfunded assets with “great and complementary tech and talent” but which “lacked robust distribution channels,” argued Shea.
While Mediafly emphasized its contrarian approach, it is not immune to the layoff bug. It confirmed layoffs last Friday, attributing them to post-acquisition efficiencies, not the current tech slowdown.
“Today, the pendulum swings in the other direction as we made the difficult decision to let go of a number of talented individuals to achieve the efficiency desired after an intense year of acquisitions and integrations,” posted Conant on LinkedIn. “With these actions, Mediafly will be in a strong position as a uniquely profitable, revenue enablement company.”
Conant listed three organizational goals: “an unwavering commitment” to its customers, product innovation and category leadership, and profitability and operational excellence. Mediafly did not indicate the scope of the layoffs.
Mediafly offers a set of modules that can be purchased as standalone solutions or as part of an integrated suite. Functionality includes enterprise content management, revenue and conversation intelligence, value realization, coaching, deal management, and forecasting. To supplement this functionality, it developed a partnership ecosystem spanning seventy-five solutions across the RevTech space.
Mediafly has acquired six RevTech companies to build out its platform quickly. In 2022, it acquired and integrated revenue intelligence platform InsightSquared, conversation intelligence provider ExecVision, and talent intelligence provider Aptology.
Mediafly noted that customers are increasingly consolidating their tech stack with Mediafly while reducing their technology spend by thirty percent or more and enjoying “improved revenue team performance.”
Customers include PepsiCo, Nestle, Databricks, Honeywell, Sealed Air, Zscaler, and TransUnion.
“I’ve watched Mediafly for many years and always thought of the company as a hidden gem. Mediafly has grown organically and through acquisitions and has quietly compiled the most complete revenue enablement platform in the market — everything B2B teams need to successfully navigate today’s complex buying journey,” said Shea. “With this push towards a unified revenue enablement platform, it’s now time for Mediafly to step out of the background and help more B2B organizations create confident sellers who can deliver efficient predictable growth. I’m hitting the ground running — if you’re looking to improve seller effectiveness, buyer engagement, or consolidate your tech stack, take a fresh look at Mediafly.”
Shea announced the following goals over the next few months:
Expand and deepen the value we deliver to customers.
Partner with more large global brands.
Rebrand and rename our company.
Create provocative and actionable thought leadership.
Innovate through organic and inorganic product development.
Shea sees the RevTech industry at a “critical and exciting crossroads which includes the rise of digital buying and selling, sweeping generational shifts, rapid technological advancement, the proliferation of tools focused on efficiency, and market and tool consolidation.”
To compete in this dynamic environment, Mediafly “will continue to build onto our platform, integrating each new asset through a modern and scalable data architecture, complete with a revenue business intelligence layer.” As a result, Mediafly’s Revenue360 solution will become “the most complete revenue enablement platform in the market.”
Sales Engagement vendor Groove introduced its Plays service to the market this morning. Groove observed that most sales engagement vendors tout flows (aka cadences and sequences) but that sequenced, linear processes fail to capture the increasingly complex nature of modern enterprise sales. Furthermore, flows were initially designed for SDRs and appointment setting but are inadequate for meeting the broader needs of the revenue team.
Along with the introduction of Plays, Groove is shifting from sales engagement to a broader vision of “Connected Sales Execution” that unifies team, strategy, and technology.
“When my co-founder Austin and I founded Groove, we were sales leaders facing the exact challenge that Groove Plays solves,” said CEO Chris Rothstein. “We knew that in order to digitally transform sales as a profession, we had to start by building a foundation in advanced data capture and linear-process automation. With Groove Plays, we are introducing the next generation of Groove to solve the biggest untapped market in sales.”
Forrester recognized this transformation in its Q3 2022 Sales Engagement Platforms Wave report, noting that Groove’s activity capture and interaction management are “top-notch.” Groove collects and aggregates signals from interactions and scores from Salesforce and external sources such as Clari, Seismic, 6sense, and Snowflake. “This information is used to connect buying group members and make suggestions based on broad data sets. Groove specializes in industry-specific and customer-specific suggestions and signals.”
“We’re launching Groove Plays as a way to take your playbook finally out of your head and put it into software so that you can assist reps at the right time, rather than after it’s too late,” explained Rothstein to GZ Consulting. “And then the second huge benefit: if you can constantly see what’s being done, what’s not being done, and what’s correlated with winning, then you can evolve and constantly get better.
Plays are designed for complex, non-linear sales processes. Sales Operations set up Groove Plays to monitor accounts for risks and opportunities. Plays are triggered when specified conditions are met (e.g., stalled deals, single threading, missing participants by role).
Groove Plays also monitors rep activity to see whether plays contributed to positive outcomes. Thus, sales managers and operations teams know whether sales reps follow company playbooks and which ones are effective. Play analytics are broken into outcomes without intervention (the playbook was followed), with intervention (the playbook was followed but after a reminder), or ignored.
Furthermore, by monitoring activity, Plays prevent reps from failing to follow critical steps (e.g., sending a follow-up message after a call, quickly turning around meeting action items).
Alerts are fed to Groove’s Master Review List, which is displayed in its Chrome extension and visible across Salesforce, Groove, and email. In addition, timers can be set to prevent plays from automatically firing, thus reducing the likelihood that reps are overwhelmed by automated triggers.
Plays provide proactive coaching instead of waiting until account reviews or forecasts. Delayed recommendations are generally reactive instead of proactive. “At that point, it’s too late. And then you react way too late. Our goal is for you to put the rules in the system, so it’s assisting you at the right time when there are signals…so you can be more proactive and consistent,” stated Rothstein.
Plays recommend actions when specific criteria are met. For example, a play can be built for deals with negative sentiment concerning price and slowing engagement. The play could then recommend an ROI calculator to a prospect, helping shift their thinking from cost to ROI.
Plays can also be built around handoffs, ensuring that crucial transition steps are not skipped.
Plays are also integrated into Groove’s conversational intelligence service and generative AI, providing meeting follow-up emails based on insights. Reps can choose to regenerate the email or add snippets.
Plays can also be designed around deal risk, suggesting actions if key buying committee members are not engaged. Likewise, plays can be setup if MEDDIC steps have not been completed, the primary contact has not responded to a renewal message, or internal approval timelines are not being met.
Groove’s RIO AI engine consists of three underlying engines:
NLP: Analyzes emails and generates insights for coaching.
Association: Ties actions to outcomes across the tech stack.
Guidance: Suggests actions based on sales plays and generates personalized content and best engagement times.
Groove supports “Connected Sales Execution” across sales, marketing, and customer success. RIO ingests account and activity histories with feedback loops to refine plays and recommendations. Thus, Connected Sales Execution spans teams, processes, and technology.
“We’re a platform to help you execute your sales strategy,” argued Rothstein. At its heart, Groove employs AI, processes, rules, and sensors (e.g., email capture, calendar capture, logging, phone calls) that analyze activities and generate insights.
“We’ve always been a company that connects all these things: the technology and the process, the team and the process,” stated Rothstein. “Where we can help is getting everyone on the same page, executing the playbook in real-time, and seeing what’s working and [what’s] not.”
Groove Plays is in Alpha with a planned Q2 beta. Groove Plays will be available to all customers at no additional cost when it GAs this summer.
Kyle Porter, who founded and led Salesloft for the past dozen years, stepped down from the CEO role and was named Salesloft’s Chairman last week. In his place, the firm named SaaS veteran David Obrand its new CEO. Obrand is also joining Salesloft’s board.
I’ve known Kyle Porter for around a decade. I was impressed when he mothballed his first email guessing product because it wasn’t aligned with his belief in sales authenticity. It was a gutsy move. While he didn’t burn his boats (i.e., immediately remove the product from the market), he stopped selling the service and phased out the product while fulfilling current contracts.
Porter is also a gifted storyteller, which he emphasizes as a skill that sales reps should hone. His personal story is embedded into his management style.
I had the opportunity to interview Kyle on Friday. The conversation below was edited for length.
Why have you chosen to move upstairs?
There are two major reasons. The first is for the greater good of the business. I’ve seen this market unfold and the opportunity that we have in front of us just open up. It’s unlimited what we can do in sales and revenue generation. And our mission has always been to fundamentally change the profession of sales forever and really build a world where sellers are loved by the buyers they serve. I want every Lofter to have our mission as their primary focus within this business. And that means I need to have it as well. My goal is to always do that. And when I looked out to the future of everything that we could achieve, the biggest fear I had was that I wouldn’t be the right person to help us get there – that I would leave something on the table.
My skills are always growing, always developing. I consider myself a lifelong learner. And I’ve worked really hard to be just as good as I can at this stage as I was when there were zero people at the company. That evolution, however, is hard work. And that self-development is a deep investment.
The second piece of this is more of a personal perspective. On my very first date with my now wife…she asked me what my dream was, and I told her it was to run a technology company that makes a dent in the universe. I asked her hers, and she said it was to restore the glory that was the Florida citrus industry…
Now with someone like David, he’s already gained that wisdom, experience, know-how, and recall. It’s so natural for him. And I felt like we could accelerate the development of the CEO’s capability to take us to the next level by bringing in someone like David. So really, it’s based on my limitations as CEO. The opportunity ahead of us is just so big. And we have an amazing future in this business. We do the right things, and we serve our customers with excellence. There’s no limit to what we can achieve, so I wanted to accelerate the office of the CEO’s capabilities and really improve the handicapped chances to achieve our mission.
Some opportunities came up to really achieve that mission that she’s been on. And I realized that my talents and resources could greatly assist her just as she sat on the sidelines and helped me achieve my mission for over twelve years. I realized that it’s not right for this organization with so much growth ahead to have a CEO that’s not singularly focused on the mission of the business…I’m going to do tangerines with my wife, and that meant that it was the best decision to have someone that would be singularly focused on the mission of this business…
Of course, there are also my three children. While my daughter Brooklyn (8) is still going through the change curve of me no longer being CEO, I’m incredibly excited to pour more time and attention into her, my son Clark (5), and daughter Abby (1) as well!
How active will you be as the chairman?
Pretty active. We have a founder lunch that I’m going to continue. I’ve been corresponding with many customers this week, and I will retain those relationships and meet with them continuously. I’ll be a board member. David has asked for a once-a-week meeting indefinitely with him.
I just have really deep relationships with so many people inside the organization and with so many of our customers and partners. My enjoyment and my passion are to continue to work with those people. So customer meetings, board meetings, and one-on-ones with the CEO.
We got some really fun content projects that we’re working on. We’re going to be doing some work together to really show the market what’s happening and what’s changed and how to be more effective in this new world of modern sales.
What were the top criteria for selecting your successor?
Number one is that they are aligned with the mission of the business. When we talk about fundamentally transforming sales and revenue forever, this person that we brought on board had to have that in their heart already. Number two is they have to realize and understand that organizational health is the biggest sustainable differentiating advantage that any company can have. So when we love on our Lofters, they turn around and love on our customers, and the CEO needed to understand those dynamics and be willing to continue running this business with that framework and mindset. Three, I wanted someone that was well-rounded functionally. Not just a sales leader, but someone that understood product engineering, finance, marketing, [and] customer success.
I saw it firsthand when David Obrand got up and spoke with the product and engineering team. I sat, and I listened to someone say things that I wish I had thought of saying to them in the past. Things that I didn’t know and didn’t experience. And the way he connected with them was on a very deep level. And it was really refreshing for them to see someone that understands them even better than I did. So that was really cool.
When you think about succession as a founder, there’s a point at which your skillset, knowledge, or experience isn’t the right fit for taking the company to the next level. And many executives, out of hubris, choose to continue in that role, even though they may not be the best person for that role.
I believe exactly what you said. But I also believe that we really don’t have any limits except for those imposed upon us by ourselves. I’ve always believed that we can grow and develop into that next stage, and I’ve always believed that for myself, but that investment sometimes takes time. And if you have other things that you’re focused on, it’s more difficult to get down that development path.
You had a quiet layoff last week. Usually, you’re more transparent about these things. Why the shift away from the prior transparency, and why was it necessary to do so?
Necessary is an interesting word. I teach our leadership team that they don’t need to do anything; they always choose to do certain things.
On the transparency front, we did have a layoff after COVID. And we didn’t make a public announcement on that, as well. We believe that’s a private thing for the people that are part of the organization. We want to be super transparent internally about everything that happened. And if someone goes out and posts something, we don’t stop them or send them a note saying, don’t write that by any means. But that is a private kind of situation for the people who are impacted and affected.
Now, I am certainly helping people to find jobs. And we’ve assembled a list. And I’ve made many introductions. I’ve brought a lot of investors in, And we are helping those folks to find their next path.
SalesLoft, like many companies, saw lots of growth in the market and then saw some headwinds in front of us. And the way we think about it is that you’re in an airplane, and when the headwinds come, you can do two things: you can accelerate through and burn all your fuel, or you can lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and pick back up. The decision we made was to lay back a little bit, let the headwinds pass, and then pick back up with the business.
What advice would you give founders of technology startups?
Really obsessing over the problem you solve is the first and foremost most critical thing that founders need to do. And when I say obsessed, I mean you need to get everybody in the organization on board with caring so much that they love their customer; they love solving the pains for them. And the company that cares the most is the one that’s going to win. Number one is that customer obsession and a really deep focus on the problem that you solve to the point where it becomes just a daily rhythm of your life.
The second one is aligning your organization to go after your mission. The mission statement is something where you’re one stop short of changing the world. We want to fundamentally transform sales forever. And that’s what we’re here to do. And so we need to hire people who believe in that mission, even down to the engineer.
We’ve created this whole community of people from every walk of life who love sellers and who understand the beauty of what sales is and how it transforms economies and markets. How it helps companies hire, invent, bring new products to life, and really change the fabric of our society. Making sure that your team is focused on that mission is critical. Then you got to have the rhythms in place where they’re being held accountable [and] where you’re achieving your goals.
You’ve emphasized the importance of culture. How did Salesloft benefit from your five core values?
What we’re looking for when we hire people is not that they’re five out of five A+, but that they have many of the core values [and] also believe that the other ones that maybe they’re not as strong in are important enough to work towards.
The other thing is that core values are a way to stop yourself before you make a mistake. Once a mentor told me [that] a good leader makes a mistake and quickly fixes it, [but] a great leader is about to make a mistake and fixes it before they do. And for me, that’s what the core values are. If we say that we want to be glass half-full, and I find myself about to say something negative. In the old days, I would say it, learn it, and fix it. But now, before it even comes out of my mouth, my head says, “glass half-full,” and I change the way I deliver that message.
Or if I’ve got a decision where I can go left, and it’s maybe better for money and then go right, and it’s better for customer experience. Then, customer obsession comes into my mind before I make that decision so that I can go right for the customer. We look at core values as triggering mnemonic messages in your head that help you to be the person you want to be.
As a CEO, you’ve got to repeat those [values] over and over again. Reward people who exhibit it. You’ve got to praise those who showcase it. Repetition is persuasion in that regard.
What is one mistake you wish you could have avoided?
We never anticipated the market would come back so fast post-COVID. Nobody did. Had I understood that, we wouldn’t have slowed down like we did. But then, we also never anticipated that the SaaS market would crash the way that it did. Had we understood that, we would have slowed down a little bit more before we did. Hindsight is 20/20. If you can predict those things, you can be a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager.
We’re always trying to align market demand with the resource supply of the organization. So that’s a continual trade-off that we’re working to make.
Are you looking forward to more time on the citrus farm?
I’m really excited. One of the things we do is send tangerines out to our customers. Every single year we do it, and I’m not going to miss that. We’ve got to keep producing great tangerines, so we can keep getting them into the hands of our customers. It is a joy and a passion of mine and my wife’s. She’s been so helpful to me on this journey, and I’m excited to help her follow her dreams.
Any last thoughts?
Yeah, we’re in a great spot. As a company, even with what we’ve seen in the downturn in the marketplace, we saw a really strong end to our Q4, and Q1 is off to a great start. Our CEO is highly capable. He’s wise. He’s been welcomed with a huge Salesloft hug inside the organization, and I’ve seen our customers and market participants really appreciate who he is and what he’s going to do. We’ve got a big opportunity to fundamentally transform the sales profession ahead of us. And we’re going to do it.
RevTech Vendor and Consultancy ClickDimensions rolled out its Sales Engagement service that works alongside its other Dynamics 365 sales and marketing services. ClickDimensions is looking to unify sales and marketing motions, particularly among SMBs.
“ClickDimensions Sales Engagement makes this unification possible, giving teams control over leads and better visibility into revenue-driving activities. Once these teams are better aligned, companies see an average revenue increase of 34%,” stated the firm.
ClickDimensions aims to “democratize best-in-class tools for all companies” and unify sales and marketing strategies. According to ClickDimensions, Sales Engagement “offers a unified approach for sales and marketing teams and eradicates the potential for customer drop-offs and miscommunication between each team as leads progress through the funnel. The result is greater sales team efficiency, higher-quality buyer journeys, and increased customer loyalty and revenue.”
ClickDimensions Chief Growth Officer Margaret Wise explained to GZ Consulting that many of their Microsoft Dynamics customers “aren’t the digital leaders. They are often digital laggards. They are often in manufacturing, associations, and nonprofits. They’re not bleeding edge typically from a marketing perspective.”
So, the question for Wise becomes, “How do we provide solutions that are accessible, integrated, easy to use, and affordable for that specific kind of customer that doesn’t want to be bleeding edge on the latest and greatest? They want something dependable, easy, [and] that they can find resources for.”
At SMBs, CEOs often take an active role in the technology purchasing decision “because it is tied directly to revenue and growth,” continued Wise. “A lot of the change urgency is being driven out of the C-suite.” Thus, their messaging needs to address C-level issues around lead generation and revenue management.
ClickDimensions argues that these laggards often lack a digital strategy, have uncoordinated social media marketing, and mostly transmit one-off email messages.
ClickDimensions Sales Engagement, which runs natively in Dynamics, offers templated emails sent through Outlook, sales sequences, lead scoring, and next-best-action recommendations. When combined with ClickDimensions Marketing Automation, revenue teams have a “complete view of every step of the customer journey.”
Sequences can be built for initial meeting requests, prospecting, follow-up, inbound, events (both invitation and follow-up), periodic check-ins, account review, and upcoming renewal. This breadth supports sales and customer success teams across the customer lifecycle.
Sequence analytics are also provided with step-level results (e.g., calls, bounces, opens, replies) and post-activity disposition capture (e.g., interested, not interested, interested – not now).
Sequenced tasks include manual and automated emails, phone calls, LinkedIn, and generic tasks; however, they do not yet support dialer or LinkedIn integrations.
Admins also set up sequence-based rules for scenarios such as reply action for sequenced emails and bounce handling. Admins can also set sequences to automatically trigger or wait for sales review before triggering.
“The modern buying journey has completely transformed from what it was a mere three years ago, which means companies need to adapt how they sell – and fast,” stated ClickDimensions CEO Mike Dickerson. “Launching ClickDimensions Sales Engagement is our way of responding to these industry challenges, equipping our customers with critical tools to boost revenue, and unifying sales and marketing teams around a digital-first customer experience.”
ClickDimensions Sales Engagement is a “natural progression and the perfect complement to its flagship solution, ClickDimensions Marketing Automation,” continued the firm. “The platform helps marketers optimize campaigns, automate follow-ups, create lead nurturing processes, and target leads to sales. From there, ClickDimensions Sales Engagement will help salespeople with the next best action, automating outreach to leads and redirecting leads to marketing for further nurture if they’re not ready to purchase.”
ClickDimensions Marketing offers one-to-many outreach during the nurture phase (e.g., newsletters, marketing campaigns, event invitations). Later, ClickDimensions Sales Engagement supports one-to-one or one-to-few communications with prospects and customers. Marketing Automation can send leads to sales reps based on triggers or lead scores, and Sales Engagement offers a button to return prospects to nurture for leads that are not in active buying cycles. Thus, the problem of MQLs being ignored and dropped by sales as not qualified has a logical resolution – return the lead to marketing nurture and support a “non-linear customer journey.”
The passing back and forth of leads between sales and marketing enables a “continual process until the actual opportunity progresses,” said Wise.
ClickDimensions Marketing Automation supports email marketing, campaign automation, surveys, events, landing pages, forms, SMS, and Social. While the company now offers marketing automation and sales engagement, its long-term plans are to provide a “full RevTech solution” built on the Dynamics platform. This future platform and services organization will be built both organically and via acquisitions and support embedded AI for sentiment analysis, next-best actions, opportunity scoring, and activity capture.
ClickDimensions is a Microsoft VAR and consultancy with a global footprint across 76 countries and 3,500 customers. Half of its revenue is derived in the EMEA region, with most of the rest in North America. It serves a broad set of industries, with no segment representing over 25% of its customer base.
ClickDimensions also offers consultancy services that provide “fractional access to skilled resources that are in short supply.” Services include onboarding, training, and execution; demand generation; customer data services; and marketing operations.
Demo Experience Platform vendor Saleo launched its Saleo Live platform which transforms “existing demo environments into data-complete, relevant demos that help pre-sales and sales teams turn more deals into ‘closed won.’”
Saleo noted a series of demo platform issues that it addresses, including “bad demo data, unstable demo environments, generic use cases, costly demo prep time, and expensive engineering investment in supporting the demo environment.” Furthermore, sales engineers and solutions consultants find it challenging to customize demos by persona and industry.
“The north star with Saleo and Saleo Live has always been resolute – we believe that software companies should be able to demo their live native SaaS product with full control and complete reliability. Anything else is unauthentic. Fake screenshots, HTML screen capture, and click-through demos lead to a disingenuous buying experience from pre-sales. Saleo is the only platform in the market that empowers full control of every element in a live SaaS product; the end result is a transformed demo experience that leads to reduced pre-sales costs and higher win rates.”
Saleo CEO Justin McDonald
Saleo Live lets sales organizations define and share no-code custom demos “within minutes.” Sales engineers can quickly customize text, tables, images, graphs, and metrics. New features include Single Sign On, a “more sophisticated modeling engine to support advanced graph permutations,” an updated UX (UX), advanced user permissioning, and a new token system that scales personalization.
“The reaction to our latest release has been incredibly positive from Sales & Product Marketing teams,” said Saleo CPO Daniel Hellerman. “The reaction to Saleo from the pre-sales market has been overwhelming. We are solving an age-old problem with a unique architecture that puts sales engineers at the forefront of the solution. Screenshots and click-throughs from existing solutions have been prohibitive, and limit sales teams to on-rails demos, where they can’t showcase their genuine application; Saleo Live has unleashed their potential.”
Gong is the latest RevTech company to join LinkedIn’s SNAP program of Sales Navigator integrations. Joint customers can view LinkedIn Sales Navigator Embedded Profiles directly in Gong. Functionality includes executive profile display, related leads, icebreakers, and introductions. Contacts may be viewed or Saved as Leads in Sales Navigator.
“Being a great seller requires two datasets – the quantitative data of when to reach out to whom and the qualitative data of, once you connect with those people, ensuring you have a full view of deal health and that you are employing sales best practices in all your interactions,” argued LinkedIn’s Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins. “Sales Navigator does a great job of providing the former, and Gong’s Reality Platform, the latter.”
The SNAP integration provides context around key accounts and the demand unit, helping them build broader relationships and leverage TeamLink (colleague) connections. Furthermore, Sales Navigator within Gong helps reps build credibility, establish rapport, and multithread.
“Integrating Gong’s Reality Platform with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is all about empowering revenue teams with actionable sales intelligence they need to build stronger relationships with prospects more efficiently. Bringing together these two powerful datasets will give sales reps insights and recommended next steps that result in more closed deals, faster,” commented Gong’s Senior Director of Market Strategy Craig Hanson. “Successful go-to-market teams understand that contact inspection and validation are paramount to successful deal management.”
The SNAP integration is only available to Gong customers with Sales Navigator Advanced or Advanced Plus licenses. SNAP integrations are also available across major CRMs and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics 365, HubSpot, Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove.
Sales Navigator added M&A Alerts for saved companies. The alert is displayed on the Homepage and is shared for both acquired and acquiring companies. Another new feature is a Weekly Leads and Accounts List Digest that suggests the most relevant Leads (contacts) and Accounts for outreach. It highlights accounts showing interest in the rep’s company, recommended leads, past customers at a new company, and opportunities at risk due to headcount changes.
Growth equity firm Great Hill Partners invested €180 million in Echobot and Leadfeeder, merging the firms into a Sales Intelligence and Go-to-market platform. Both firms are based in Europe (Germany and Finland) and will benefit from the roadmap set out by North American RevTech firms.
The merged firm will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg continuing as CEO. Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskinen will become the CPO. The combined company has a headcount of 250 across six offices in Europe and the US. The new firm’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds €20 million.
Leadfeeder serves around 7,000 customers and Echobot 1,500.
Echobot offers a Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS platform for the D-A-CH region, UK, and France. Late last year, it added a broader European data pack. It supports a database of 20 million European companies and over 60 million GDPR-compliant contacts. Company and contact data is derived from both registered filings and open web sources and includes directors, shareholders, and financials.
Echobot takes a “True Compliance” approach which gathers data only from publicly accessible sources. Furthermore, it provides verification links to the source URLs that allow reps to answer the question, “where did my data come from?” All data is hosted in Germany.
Echobot’s products include TARGET (prospecting), CONNECT (Sales Intelligence), DATACARE (B2B DaaS), and an API. In addition, Echobot offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.
“It is our goal to be the leading sales intelligence and go-to-market platform to our core European and North American markets,” said Karweg. “Thanks to Great Hill, we have now assembled the best data, AI / ML, talent, and operating experience to achieve just that. We are increasingly seeing organizations looking to take advantage of their own data and third-party data, and then to augment this intelligence with better, more personalized outreach. The combination of Echobot and Leadfeeder is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a massive market opportunity at the early stages of adoption.”
Leadfeeder offers website visitor intelligence that maps IP addresses to company intelligence. During the pandemic, it worked to identify remote workers and map them to their employers, helping refine which companies are in-market. It also supports connectors for Google Analytics, chatbots, audience retargeting, major CRMs, Zapier, and Slack.
“Integrating Leadfeeder’s web visitor identification system with Echobot’s data and prospecting solutions creates a unique platform upon which we can both enable organizations to identify and engage high-intent prospects as well as introduce incremental applications that enhance B2B sales and marketing operations,” said Koskinen.
Karweg envisions an ABM workflow that begins with an ICP analysis that identifies net-new accounts. The ICP is then mapped against Leadfeeder’s visitor intelligence and Echobot’s firmographics and event triggers to identify high-value, in-market accounts for programmatic marketing. While programmatic campaigns are not yet supported, they are in development.
Great Hill Partners has also committed an additional €50 million toward future acquisitions. In an interview with GZ Consulting, Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg indicated that the €50M in dry powder would be used towards acquiring talent, RevTech functionality, or expanded content.
The equity acquisition is a combination of primary and secondary funding, with Great Hill Partners buying out many of the original investors. It named Growth Partner Derek Schoettle Chairman of the Board and placed Great Hill Partners Managing Director Chris Gaffney and Vice President Greg Stewart on the board of the merged organization.
“Go-to-market is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B software. Sales and marketing organizations need timely, accurate information and intelligent systems to identify and engage their prospects in an increasingly personalized, automated fashion. By bringing together Echobot and Leadfeeder, we can create the next-generation sales intelligence and go-to-market platform,” stated Derek Schoettle.
The transaction is a merger of equals bringing together two firms of roughly the same revenue and employee base. Both firms have over €10M in ARR and are growing rapidly. Echobot grew 70% last year, while Leadfeeder had a 50% growth figure. Echobot has long been profitable, and Leadfeeder is nearing profitability.
The firms will initially run as independent brands as they merge their operations and platforms. The deal closed a few weeks ago but was announced this morning. Thus, they have already begun combining finance and HR. The two brands will be maintained in the near term with rebranding under consideration for 2023 as Echobot is also the name of a Mirai malware variant.
Valuation figures were not disclosed, but the final price was determined before the recent valuation declines and did not change. The firms were both being advised by GP Bullhound, which suggested that packaging the two firms together would result in a more effective growth equity round. Furthermore, the two companies offered features on each other’s roadmap so were logical complements.
Europe has been tracking behind the US in the Sales Intelligence space, with several national champions now looking to offer European datasets and local UIs. European sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions must meet higher data compliance and privacy standards, incorporate registered data from national registers, support multiple currencies, and many languages.
Echobot covers the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK, and France, with a general European data package added late last year. A Nordic data package has been accelerated due to the merger, which would increase its competitiveness against Dun & Bradstreet and Vainu.
“One of the most requested developments for 2021 was to access data from the entire European market. That was not only requested from German customers with a strong export to European countries, but also from new, international users that want to expand into Europe,” explained Karweg last November when Echobot added coverage of over twenty European countries.
“Europe is not one country but many, and there are differences between them, whether it’s to do with culture or data compliance,” remarked Schoettle. “Having a platform that is unique and linguistic-specific, and serving its markets with high-quality data, is a differentiator.”
“It’s a dream match,” argued Koskinen. While previously the firm purchased contact data from multiple sources, “it has been difficult to get sufficiently up-to-date and accurate data.” With the merger, Leadfeeder will offer better data quality and “have all the expertise in-house” to expand its coverage.
Along with higher quality data, Leedfeeder will benefit from a broader set of firmographics, financials, and sales triggers for data enrichment and lead scoring. Leadfeeder will also be able to cross-sell Echobot’s sales intelligence, prospecting, and data enrichment services to its 7,000 customers.
“We want to be the biggest in Europe,” stated Koskinen. “It’s going to take a few years, but I think we’re succeeding…We have long had customers all over the world. After the merger, we will be able to offer something that no one else can.”
Recently founded demo experience software company Saleo received $1.5 million in early-stage investment for its live demo platform. Funding came from Tech Square Ventures, Jon Hallett, Kyle Porter, Rob Forman, Tim Kopp, John Hanger, Bryan Wade, and Eric Spett. The firm is based in Atlanta, as are most of the investors.
Justin McDonald and Daniel Hellerman, experienced RevTech execs who previously worked at Terminus (three of the investors are Terminus executives), founded Saleo. In addition, McDonald launched Ramble Chat which he subsequently sold to Terminus.
“We believe that every software company should have the means to deliver the perfect software demo that ‘wows’ their buyers every time. No more missing data, hours of prep time, or sub-par generic demos,” posted McDonald on LinkedIn.
Saleo enables real-time customization of demo environments and supports collaboration among revenue teams during the demo creation process. As a result, Saleo helps revenue teams “shorten their sales cycle, increase win rates, and close more deals by removing the burden of missing data, outdated demo environments, and time-consuming demo prep.”
Saleo supports a demo library that can be personalized by industry, company, use case, and job function. Successful demos can be shared as a template or cloned and customized. In addition, Saleo provides revenue teams with complete control over the demo environment, including graphs, metrics, tables, text, and images, “enabling you to create the perfect software demo that connects directly to your customer’s pain points and lands exactly the way you want.”
“We’re the only technology that allows software companies to manipulate and customize their live demo environment. Other players breaking in are taking screenshots of existing applications and making changes to them.”
Saleo CEO Justin McDonald
Saleo has a no-code integration that runs with any browser-based SaaS app via a Chrome extension that connects to their SaaS platform. Time-based metrics are always current. Furthermore, Saleo doesn’t operate as a screen capture service but demos the firm’s live SaaS product without requiring any embedded code.
“Saleo represents one of those very rare early-stage companies that is launched with such a compelling combination of team, vision, product, and market potential. Saleo’s customers have been blown away by the impact on sales conversion.” said Jon Hallett of Hallett Capital. “I was stunned when I saw how easy it was to use and the potential sales impact it represents for future customers. Of all the new companies I have seen this year, this one has me the most excited.”
“SaaS companies have always struggled to deliver great software demos – either in the time investment to prepare a sales demonstration, or the myriad of challenges around missing data or how to customize a demo for different buyers,” said Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter. “Saleo has created an ingenious solution to help sales engineers and account executives demo their software apps like never before, and most importantly, increase their win rates. I am excited to be a part of it.”
Saleo currently has four remote employees and is looking at office space. It plans to expand to twelve headcount by the end of the year, with hires in engineering, sales and customer services. It expects to close a seed funding round in the next six months and sign forty customers before the end of the year.
Technology Marketing Intelligence vendor HG Insights released Functional Area Intelligence, a set of advanced insights that specify the department and location where specific technologies have been deployed. The new offering provides deeper intelligence for sales and marketing teams.
“Functional Area Intelligence is a first-in-the-market [capability], deriving insights about a company’s organization linked to its technology profile,” said CTO Rob Fox. “By providing actionable data at the departmental level, we’re enabling companies to better understand technology adoption across teams and locations. This increases the ability to better optimize territories, hypertarget marketing campaigns, and build better account plans across sales. We’re committed to improving insights for sellers and marketers so they can close more deals, and this is a step in that direction.”
HG Insights employs advanced NLP for analyzing structured and semi-structured documents to determine where technology has been deployed at global organizations. Functional Area Intelligence is available through the HG Universe data subscription as a monthly or quarterly feed. Functional Area Intelligence includes
The department tied to a particular technology and specific location
Summary and detailed location views
Department size predictions down to the location
Trend analysis to show department adoption changes over time
Decisionmakers associated with the documents from which the technology signals have been mined.
“Armed with this knowledge, Go-To-Market teams can develop targeted competitive campaigns connecting the organization, key location, and technology information, enhancing program effectiveness to drive revenue,” stated HG Insights.
Conversational Sales vendor Avoma closed on a $12 million Series A led by Headline, with participation from Storm Ventures, Global Founder Capital, Zoom Apps Fund, Operator Partners, Industry Ventures, and existing investors K9 Ventures, Dragon Capital, and Twin Ventures. Founded in 2017, Avoma has garnered $15 million in total funding.
Avoma combines meeting management, an AI assistant, CRM synchronization, and conversation intelligence into a unified tool. Other features include meeting snippets, conversational analytics, and keyword searching.
“AI does the first draft, but then you have notes and can go back and highlight notes and provide more context if you need to,” remarked CEO Aditya Kothadiya.
Avoma’s integration partners include
CRM: Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zoho
Video Collaboration: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet
SEP: Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove
The funds will expedite the build-out of their meeting lifecycle assistant. According to TechCrunch, Avoma will focus on three pillars: AI, user interface, and workflow integrations. It will invest in its machine learning and natural language processing for notetaking and enhance the user experience.
“Since our launch, we have helped over 300 customers and tens of thousands of professionals save multiple hours per week with AI-generated notes and collaboration and improve meeting outcomes by 30% with actionable insights,” posted Director of Marketing Yaagneshwaran Ganesh on LinkedIn. “But so far, we have probably accomplished a small percentage of our vision. Our goal is to not only assist you in notetaking and CRM data entry, but also to help you research attendees, get real-time coaching recommendations, send a follow-up calendar invite, and more.”
One of the core value propositions of conversational sales services is their ability to improve the presence of sales reps during calls. Once relieved of notetaking, sales reps no longer need to delay conversations to jot down notes; instead, they can focus on meeting attendees, gather non-verbal cues, and better manage the discussion flow.
“As a product leader, I was constantly in meetings and spent time taking notes. With every new product, I would hand it over to the customer or product market team but would find that during meetings, I was not listening to what was going on because I was taking notes. We wanted to apply technology to this so we would make sure nothing was lost.”
Avoma CEO Aditya Kothadiya
Avoma claims that this improved meeting presence results in a thirty percent improvement in meeting outcomes. Furthermore, reps no longer need to toggle between four or five applications to “prepare for a meeting, take notes, participate, and follow through with participants with action items.”
“With so much context switching and information loss in disparate tools, knowledge professionals spend over 20% of their time on low-value admin tasks,” blogged Kothadiya. “And that’s why there is an urgent need to streamline and automate workflows across the meeting’s entire lifecycle.”
Avoma is targeting mid-market customers and enjoys “obsessed customers,” according to Jeff Fein, a partner at Headline. The firm has been using Avoma internally and “loved it.”
“It helped in our own processes, and when we talked to their customers, they were obsessed, many of them saying they could not live without it,” said Fein. “They said it made their work that much more efficient. We heard that more consistently, and it piqued our interest in a huge way.”
Avoma has quintupled growth each of the past three years and now supports over three hundred customers. Success has been built with a lean team of only 15 employees, but the firm plans to quadruple its US and Indian headcount over the next year. Hiring will focus on the engineering, product, and go-to-market teams.