TechTarget Much Better Positioned to Withstand Recession than in 2008

Technology Sales and Marketing Services vendor TechTarget ($TTGT) believes it is in a much stronger marketplace and revenue position than in 2008, the last recession not caused by a pandemic. It has shifted away from economically sensitive brand revenues to a “robust product suite, which allows us to address the evolving needs of our customers.”  As a result, brand revenues have declined from 30% of total revenue to 10% since 2009.

TechTarget is fundamentally much stronger than in 2008.  It has trebled its revenue over the past fourteen years and doubled its Adjusted EBITDA margin.  In 2009, the firm had virtually no long-term contracts; now, 42% of revenue is associated with longer-term contracts.  Other positive signs: TechTarget has grown its customer base from 1,000 to 3,200 customers and is much less reliant on legacy global customers, reducing its revenue share from 32% to 20%.  Furthermore, its largest customers have shifted from hardware to cloud and software vendors with subscription customers.  Whereas its top customers in 2009 suffered revenue downturns, its current customer base is more likely to struggle to grow revenue than to suffer declining revenue.

“The modernization of the sales and marketing organization is a strong and durable trend.  It is hard to compete in today’s IT market without a data-driven go-to-market strategy,” argued CEO Michael Cotoia on TechTarget’s Q3 earnings call earlier this month.  “As the leading provider of first-party purchase intent data in the enterprise IT market, we will continue to benefit from this trend.”

Priority Engine

Priority Engine, its subscription sales intelligence platform, grew revenues by 15% last quarter.  TechTarget will continue to invest in Priority Engine after doubling the number of engineers working on the product in 2022.

In 2023, Priority Engine will further bolster its Salesforce integration with “bi-directional data flow, campaign orchestration from within Priority Engine, additional program impact reporting, market insights to inform marketing and sales outreach, and alert-driven account and prospect intelligence for our sales users.”

Priority Engine also plans to ingest Salesforce data for analytics dashboards around ROI, open pipeline, and won/lost opportunities.   The dashboards will answer the question, “how do we set up our sales reps within our customers’ environment to make the most appropriate and relevant follow-up?”

“We also want to make sure that we are working with our customers to provide more insights across their total campaign with TechTarget, both on the sales side and on the marketing side.  So, what you’re doing with their lead generation and demand gen, their content, their branding, the visitors on their website to really bring that end-to-end view into Priority Engine to help fuel and help modernize…both sales and marketing.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

The firm sees significant opportunity for growth in TechTarget’s sales-specific module, which is still in the early adoption phase as it was rolled out less than a year ago.

TechTarget does not break out the number of customers licensing Priority Engine or the Priority Engine sales module.  However, CFO Daniel Noreck said that the module is “growing nicely but still a small base.”

More broadly, the firm has 3,200 customers, but there are over 18,000 global technology companies with at least $50 million in annual revenue, providing plenty of market opportunity. 

“We believe most of those companies are good candidates for the Priority Engine sales module,” stated Cotoia.  “While we expect that our rollout to those customers will be slowed by macroeconomic weakness in the short term, we think the long-term opportunity is enormous.”

Content to Close

TechTarget’s fastest-growing service is Content Enablement which powers its Content to Close strategy.  In conjunction with its customers, TechTarget produced content “to fuel their marketing and sales outreach.”  The service is aligned with the growing focus on self-service research among younger purchasing and business professionals.

“Most technology companies’ current go-to-market strategy is very sales rep heavy. We believe this approach is going to need to transform in the coming years to adjust to the changing buyer dynamics.  The companies that win business will have a comprehensive content strategy to effectively influence buyers before their sales reps get involved.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

The acquisitions of Enterprise Strategy Group (“ESG”) and BrightTALK have “uniquely positioned” TechTarget to support growing self-service requirements.  Content Enablement via these subsidiaries will continue to be an “aggressive” investment area.

TechTarget also believes it has a market advantage due to its opted-in, privacy-compliant intent data sets gathered from its B2B media websites and BrightTALK.  Cotoia argues that customer sensitivity to privacy issues and growing government regulations will offer an ongoing competitive advantage for its intent data from permission-based audiences owned and operated by TechTarget.  This advantage “will become even more apparent when Google eliminates third-party cookies.”

TechTarget will continue to look for acquisitions like BrightTALK and ESG that expand the firm’s product capabilities.  It is also interested in acquiring vertical media companies like Xtelligent Healthcare that expand the firm’s TAM into verticals that share similar attributes as Enterprise IT: significant purchase price, complex buying process, long lead times, and large buyer teams.

Healthcare Intent

TechTarget recently integrated XTelligent Healthcare intent into Priority Engine, creating a sales intelligence solution for HealthTech and Healthcare.

Priority Engine for Healthcare Highlights for Top Accounts.

Priority Engine for Healthcare supports over 400,000 opted-in healthcare contacts, including Providers, Health Systems, Payers, Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences, Accountable Care Organizations, and Federal/State Healthcare Agencies.  TechTarget claims that 90% of the US healthcare system is covered.  Xtelligent said its audience contains “70% Business & Finance Executives and Clinicians who have critical involvement across healthcare technology purchases that are becoming increasingly complex.”

To demonstrate confidence in the company, TechTarget began a new stock buyback program to repurchase up to $200 million in common stock and convertible debt over the next two years.

Chili Piper Distro for Salesforce

Calendaring vendor Chili Piper released its Distro app for Salesforce, providing revenue teams with automated lead routing and assignment.  Automated lead assignment improves speed to lead and bypasses spreadsheets, APEX code, and manual routing.  Marketing Qualified Leads can be distributed to sales reps when leads hit score thresholds or following events such as webinar attendance or downloading gated content.

Lead assignment details are synced with Salesforce, and users are notified via Slack or email.  In addition, a broad set of Salesforce record types are supported, including leads, contacts, accounts, cases, and opportunities.

Features include lead-to-account mapping, rule and trigger-based assignments, round-robin distribution, meeting reminders, and automated rescheduling.  The Distro Log provides a detailed breakdown of triggers, actions, and routes.

“Now more than ever, it’s crucial that high-growth companies optimize for efficiency in their marketing and sales processes without sacrificing on customer experience,” said Co-CEO Nicolas Vandenberghe.  “With Distro, revenue teams can effectively cover all of their routing and assignment needs while accelerating speed to lead.”

Chili Piper claims that it doubles top-of-the-funnel conversion rates.

A March 2011 article in The Harvard Business Review (“The Short Life of Online Sales Leads”) argued that speed to lead is critical for inbound leads.  Last year, XANT replicated the study las year 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 returned calls. 

A Lead Connect study found that 78% of companies that respond first to a demo request end up winning the deal.  Thus, firms that act immediately by returning a call or scheduling a meeting have a clear market advantage over firms with scheduling/call-back friction.

Chili Piper conducted a study earlier this year and found that 28.1% of demo requests submitted via chatbots or webforms to tech firms received no response after a week, and only 45% of requests were responded to within one hour.

Chili Piper studied response rates across technology firms.  Demo requests were placed via chatbots and web forms.

“In the past, marketers at leading organizations such as HubSpot and Vendasta have preached five minutes to two hours as the sweet spot for follow-up.  We, however, disagree,” blogged Chili Piper Content Marketing Manager Kelli Diffenderfer.  “In this day and age, responses should be instant.  And there’s absolutely no reason they can’t be.  If you’re not responding immediately, you’re losing out on a significant amount of revenue.”

Automated lead distribution and routing allows prospects to go from buyer research to an inbound inquiry to a scheduled meeting with a few clicks on a landing page or the corporate website, bypassing the delays inherent to traditional lead routing.

Yet, eleven years after the HBR first published its research, inbound response rates remain slow, with 26.8% of tech firms taking one to twenty-four hours to respond and 28.1% failing to respond.

“Distro for Salesforce is a welcome addition to AppExchange, as they power digital transformation for customers by simplifying lead management, improving conversion rates, and accelerating speed to lead,” said Woodson Martin, GM of Salesforce AppExchange. “AppExchange is constantly evolving to connect customers with the right apps and experts for their business needs.”

Distro is priced at $20 per user per month.  Chili Piper does not offer any discounts.

Distro supports automated lead routing and distribution based on triggered events including Lead Score thresholds.

Additional information about Chili Piper is available on the GZ Consulting blog and the Chili Piper website.

Nektar.AI Exits Stealth Mode

Nektar.AI supports automated activity capture and CRM sync across the full customer lifecycle.

After two years in stealth mode, Revenue Operations solution provider Nektar.AI was unveiled earlier this month.  Nektar looks to solve the “CRM data leakage” problem whereby critical lead, contact, and opportunity data is omitted or decays.  For example, Nektar recognizes meeting attendees missing from the CRM and automatically creates contact records that include email, direct dial phone, title, and buying committee role.  Out-of-date or missing data negatively impacts both the sales process and operational functions such as analytics, automated recommendations, and pipeline forecasting.

Nektar offers a no-code platform that applies natural-language processing against email, calendar, chat, and social touchpoints, capturing revenue activity data across the full customer lifecycle and syncing it with the CRM.  Automated activity capture improves rep productivity, allowing sales professionals to focus on selling instead of data entry and updating.

“Sales teams depend on their CRM data to gain insights into team productivity, pipeline insights, and revenue forecasting.  Despite a CRM being an important system of record for modern go-to-market teams, it still grapples with the problem of poor user adoption and missing data.  As per estimates, 40-50% of sales activity data remains missing from a CRM, while 27% of the data that’s available in a CRM decays every month.  This leads to major data and productivity leakage,” stated the firm.

Furthermore, deals are becoming increasingly complex, with larger buying committees and sales teams communicating across an expanding array of sales channels.  While most of these conversations are now digital, they take place across disparate platforms and channels, resulting in data fragmentation.  Nektar’s mission is to collect this fragmented intelligence and feed it into the CRM, making it available to the revenue team without requiring sales resources to key this intelligence.

“There are a lot of reporting and analytics solutions out there.  Other solutions have been investing primarily in the downstream problem with respect to visibility and analytics, an important problem to solve.  But the core problem actually starts upstream, which is where activities are taking place and where data is being generated.  A lot of that data doesn’t make its way into CRM, which actually results in downstream problems.  If there’s poor data in, you will have poor insights available,” explained CEO Abhijeet Vijayvergiya to GZ Consulting.

“We found our product-market fit when we found that more than 50% of critical revenue activity data is not going into CRM,” continued Vijayvergiya.  “This data leak results in productivity leaks, and that results in revenue leaks.”

Furthermore, as firms make staffing cuts, “they’re trying to do more with less” and losing implicit knowledge that never made its way into the CRM.  Nektar allows companies to recover much of this lost activity and contact intelligence, boosting a firm’s ability to manage revenue operations during a recession.

“There are tools like Gong and Clari and some other forecasting solutions which provide good insights,” expanded Vijayvergiya on Nektar’s value proposition.  But these systems are not resolving the data leakage problem. 

Nektar claims 95% accuracy in its data capture and syncing processes.  The service can go live in ninety minutes and begins providing time to value in three days as it gathers both historical data missing from the CRM and populates it with ongoing activity capture. 

Nektar operates in the background, collecting and syncing data.  Thus, there are no training sessions or additional UIs to learn.  Sales reps do not need to toggle to other platforms, and their data entry work is significantly reduced.

“Nektar plugs the CRM data leakage without a user lifting their finger.  We basically eliminate the need for user adoption and give all the time back to salespeople to go and sell while relieving their administrative burden,” said Vijayvergiya.

While there have been third-party solutions to populate and enrich account and contact data records for over a decade (e.g., Dun & Bradstreet, ZoomInfo), these vendors were blind to the demand unit unless a sales rep entered all members.  Nektar is complementary to third-party DaaS providers, Revenue Intelligence vendors (e.g., Clari, Revenue Grid), Conversational Sales (e.g., Gong, Chorus), and business intelligence vendors (e.g., Tableau).

“We are aware that some of these solutions have their own activity capture system, but most of their activity capture solutions work in silos for certain sets of users who adopt their solution,” continued Vijayvergiya.  “Users are not adopting the solution, or data loss happens anyway.   A solution which we replace, more often than not, is Salesforce Einstein Activity Capture.”

Nektar supports email and domain exclusion lists to prevent mining confidential information (e.g., legal, investor relations, partner development).

Nektar is generally available as a native Salesforce solution, with HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics on the roadmap.  In addition, all of its system integrations are native, providing higher quality and performance.

Nektar.AI closed a $6 million seed round last summer, raising its total funding to $8.1 million.  The round was led by B Capital Group, with Nexus Venture Partners, 3One4 Capital, and angel investors also joining.

Nektar has not disclosed pricing, but it is per user per month with SaaS-based pricing billed quarterly or annually.

Nektar is a fully remote company with 32 employees across seven countries with plans to hit fifty employees by the end of this year.  Although emerging from stealth, it already supports over 1,500 users. 

Nektar’s goal through year-end is to focus on its go-to-market strategy and North American hiring.

Nektar activity tracking at the account level

Data capture as an AI tool is becoming increasingly important. It probably isn’t a standalone offering but an underlying capability for populating the CRM with harvested digital intelligence, monitoring buyer engagement, and building out the buying committee. As such, it is core to both CRM data enrichment and revenue intelligence.

I have seen a series of data capture announcements from vendors of all sizes: big (Microsoft Viva Sales), medium (People.AI, Introhive), and small (e.g., Nektar, Winn.AI). I also covered People.AI and Winn.AI this week.

Lusha Salesforce Data Exchange

Lusha Enrichment Editor

Contacts database Lusha announced the general availability of its Salesforce Data Enrichment (SFDE) service.  The new service provides on-demand, periodic, or continuous data enrichment, ensuring that company and contact data remain accurate. 

An Enrichment Editor helps operations managers understand how many records need enrichment and the number of leads, contacts, and accounts recently added to Salesforce and available for enrichment.  The Salesforce admin can run an initial enrichment against the full database or target a subset of records for enrichment, with the Enrichment Editor supporting custom audiences for updates based upon multiple Salesforce field criteria.

The Salesforce admin performs the initial field mapping during the integration setup.  Custom fields are supported, and the admin can choose whether to override existing values during enrichment.  Lusha recommends that admins create special fields, such as Lusha Email, to avoid overwriting current field values.

SFDE is an Enterprise add-on and is subject to an access fee.  Analyst Relations Manager Alina Sharon-Green warned GZ Consulting that “extensive usage may require the purchase of additional data credits.”  As a launch promotion, enterprise customers will receive SFDE for free through the end of the year.

Lusha already supports Send to Salesforce functionality but does not provide I-frame support or “stare and compare” updates within AppExchange records.

“Companies spend huge amounts of resources building CRMs of both current and prospective leads but suffer from the speed the data becomes outdated and irrelevant,” said CEO Yoni Tserruya. “B2B sales organizations rely on their CRM to identify the right prospects – so when this data is incomplete or inaccurate, their time is wasted, and opportunities are lost.  With our new SFDE solution, sales teams are given direct access to Lusha’s extensive database of accurate contact and company information to automatically enrich their existing data and gain new insights on their prospects to scale business results.”

Lusha has grown its database to 100 global million contacts, which includes 60 million emails and 50 million direct-dial phones.  All contact records are processed through a seven-step verification process.  Lusha also profiles 15 million global companies. Lusha continued its rapid pace of growth, doubling its paid user base in H1, “with significant growth in Enterprise users,” stated Sharon-Green.

Demandbase Unified CRM View

ABX Platform Demandbase announced that it is the first sales intelligence and account engagement platform to integrate both services jointly into CRM.  Demandbase offers a single view that combines first-party and behavioral data from the Demandbase ABX cloud and third-party datasets (firmographics, technographics, contact data, and news & social insights) from the Demandbase Sales Intelligence Cloud.

“Doing so gives B2B sellers access to all the information they need to spot and close larger deals faster,” stated the firm.  “This first of its kind application guides sales teams to know where and when to engage with the right accounts and decision-makers, leading to higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and bigger deals — boosting CRM adoption in the process.”

Demandbase brought firmographic, contact, and technographics databases in-house following the May 2021 acquisitions of InsideView and DemandMatrixIntent data includes first and third-party intelligence, including Surging Intent, Demandbase Keyword Intent, Campaign Response, and Web Page Visits.

Revenue Operations can also select intent data from Bombora and G2, which are processed through the ABX platform’s predictive models.

The Demandbase Timeline provides current and historical intent data.

The Demandbase platform also supports activity timelines, product and competitor intent datasets, and persona-based engagement heatmaps, helping revenue teams assess account potential and determine where accounts stand in the buyer’s journey.

Heatmaps may be viewed by engagement, people, or journeys.  Both preset and custom options are available.  In addition, users can drill down to details by clicking on a row or column header.

The SFDC Heatmap is presented at the Account level with Engagement Minutes (Demandbase’s contact engagement model) displayed within the heatmap matrix.

Sales users can utilize this heatmap to find champions at an org via the highest engagement and understand with which roles they need to communicate.

The Demandbase Heatmap is available with both preset and customizable views.

The platform also supports long-running InsideView for Salesforce functionality, including

  • Company and contact profiles
  • Prospect list building for companies and contacts
  • Contact searching at accounts
  • A news viewer that combines company news, social posts, and blogs
  • Corporate family trees
  • Add to CRM with duplicate checking
  • CRM “stare and compare” updates

According to Demandbase, the unified UI lets customers “consolidate their tech stack, replacing ABM, sales intelligence, advertising, and other vendors with Demandbase One, the Smarter Go-To-Market solution.”

“The beauty of this unified sales UI is that all the data a salesperson needs is readily accessible, right in the CRM where they’re already working.  It’s revolutionary for sales teams,” said Demandbase CRO Allison Metcalfe.  “No more toggling between systems or wasting time in generic outreach that doesn’t drive sales.  Instead, they’ll have deeper insights and greater visibility into prospective deals, gaining knowledge about what buyers are doing around the web, what they engage with, who to contact (and how), and what the most relevant messaging is.  The actionability, productivity, and efficacy of such functionality is practically limitless.”

In other news, Demandbase was named to the Fast Company “100 Best Workplaces for Innovators.” The magazine noted that Demandbase reinvests 20% of its revenue in R&D.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2022 Release

The new Sales Navigator search UI dynamically updates the results list as soon as a filter is added or removed.

LinkedIn began rolling out its Q2 Sales Navigator release to users earlier this month.  As with previous releases, admins receive the release first, with general users following a few weeks later.  New features include expanded data validation, a new SNAP integration with conversation intelligence leader Gong, and the continued rollout of Sales Navigator’s new Search and Lead Page experiences.

Companies have responded to the pandemic and Great Reshuffle by increasing channel noise, hoping to break through the din, but this strategy is flawed.  Top-performing reps who heavily exceed their quota are “spending less time selling in the traditional sense — smiling-and-dialing and sending out mass outreach,” explained LinkedIn VP of Global Sales Solutions Alyssa Merwin Henderson.  They aren’t increasing the volume but carefully targeting their prospecting and messaging, conducting buyer research, and focusing on skill development.

“In today’s virtual world, where there’s more noise than ever, the recipe for winning is clear – fewer things done better,” concluded Henderson.

LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins highlighted three problems facing sales reps that LinkedIn is working to address:

  1. More virtual selling than ever, leading to more virtual noise than ever, with buyers being overwhelmed by irrelevant and generic outreach.
  2. Job switching continues to be higher than normal, making a mess of CRM data and putting deals at risk.
  3. A plethora of new sales tools have hit the market, many of which don’t integrate with each other, making it more confusing to choose the right tech stack.

Desjardins argued that the solution to these problems comes from real-time data fed into the CRM and “meaningful sales intelligence that helps you connect with and nurture the right buyers at the right time.”

The Great Reshuffle continues to create a “mess” of CRM data, resulting in inaccurate forecasts and irrelevant messaging.  According to LinkedIn’s upcoming “State of Sales” report, 41% of sales reps said their biggest problem was inaccurate, out-of-date CRM data.  To help address this issue, Sales Navigator now flags out-of-date contact and lead records and allows reps to update the CRM from Navigator to address this problem.

Sales Navigator Data Validation displays Update CRM badges and syncs updates to Leads and Contacts.

Data Validation displays an Update CRM badge on Sales Navigator member pages who have recently changed jobs, titles, or locations.  After clicking on the badge, reps are shown the new title, account, location, contact owner, and most recent opportunity.  Updates are made to matched Lead and Contact records, with the user controlling which fields are to be updated.  Reps are also shown which open opportunities are linked to the executive, allowing them to quickly remove departed execs from live opportunities.

“Clearly, this will save you time.  Instead of having to toggle back and forth between your CRM and Sales Navigator, you can do it all in our platform,” blogged Product Marketing Manager Austin Gray.  “More importantly, because updating your CRM is now easier to do, you’ll have more accurate data within it.  LinkedIn’s real-time first-party data means that you can have confidence that your CRM will have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available.”

Data Validation is available for Sales Navigator Advanced Plus and supports record updates in Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.  The functionality was released to customers with fewer than 15 seats this week and will be rolled out to large customers on June 22.

The New Search and Lead Page Experiences were rolled out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats last quarter.  The largest accounts will receive the updates this quarter.

The search feature has been streamlined to improve the time to “successful results.”  In addition, the search includes a “larger collapsible, intuitive grouped view of filters” that improves search filter discovery.  New and updated filters include TeamLink Connections of, Saved Leads, Saved Accounts, Previously Viewed, Current Company, Past Company, and Company Headquarter.

The search interface updates dynamically, providing results as each filter is added or removed.

The updated Sales Navigator Leads (Contact) Page

The new Lead Page (contacts) is designed for rapid lead qualification with “the most important info front and center,” including the most recent touchpoint, current role, and description.  Other features include a sticky action bar, conversation starters, and introduction paths.

The Conversation Starter section displays recent posts for comments and commonalities.

The Get Introduced section has been redesigned and expanded.

The TeamLink section is now organized by seniority level so that reps can find “their best path in.”  In addition, the section supports a pre-populated InMail to save reps time writing messages.

Sales Navigator is also adding a new Lead Panel for researching contacts in a prospecting list without having to open multiple windows.

“Prospecting in Sales Navigator often means using our powerful search to find your target buyer,” wrote Desjardins.”  Once you’ve found that list of potential buyers, we’re betting you then open a tab for each individual, which can mean a lot of open tabs and a lot of switching back and forth.  The new Lead Panel streamlines this process and keeps you on the same page the entire time.”

The new Lead Panel streamlines qualification and messaging from lead (contact) prospect lists.

The Lead Panel displays job title, job description, and conversation starters to assist with quick qualification and messaging.

The Lead Panel will be rolling out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats this quarter and enterprise accounts next quarter.


LinkedIn also added a Gong SNAP integration for viewing LinkedIn intelligence within Gong’s conversational intelligence platform.

Groove Conversations and Groove+

Groove Conversations

Sales Engagement Platform Groove announced the general availability of Groove Conversations, the “first conversational intelligence product that enables revenue teams to access call recording and insights directly from the inbox and calendar instead of a separate platform.”  The firm also announced the Groove+ mobile app for iOS that helps remote and hybrid teams prepare for meetings and manage post-meeting follow-up (Android will be available later this year).  Groove+ also displays Salesforce and key meeting insights.

Groove is natively built in Salesforce.  Unlike its competitors, Groove does not sync data between a separate database and Salesforce but stores and accesses it natively in Salesforce.  Thus, conversational insights and Salesforce updates are directly managed by Groove inside Salesforce.

Groove Conversations offers call recording, transcription, and analysis without leaving the Inbox.  Additionally, insights are associated with Salesforce Activities and Opportunities.

Conversations initially supports Zoom and Groove’s OmniDialer, with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, WebEx, and other services in development.

Conversations are fully searchable, with users able to listen to the searched term or keyword-related discussion.

Analytics include talk time, keyword mentions, sentiment analysis, and talk timelines for each attendee.  In Q3, the firm plans on adding “deeper analytics and AI-driven insights.”

Additional features include

  • Picture-in-picture viewing capabilities to support multi-tasking
  • Recording, transcript, and keyword access from email, calendar, Salesforce, or the Groove app
  • Internal sharing of meetings for review and team coaching
  • Custom keywords and keyword categories (e.g., product names, competitors, feature sets)
  • Internal and external sharing of calls, with the ability to extract and share a snippet of a meeting available soon

Groove+ delivers meeting alerts powered by Salesforce data to reduce deal time.  Users can easily access deal history, account information, meeting attendees, and activity history.  In addition, meeting notes may be logged to Salesforce with voice-to-text functionality.  Reps can also update meetings, accounts, contacts, opportunities, custom fields, or unique Salesforce configurations.

“The value of Groove+ goes beyond sales to include all revenue team members,” explained Groove Director of Communications Jason Klein to GZ Consulting.  “Essentially, anyone interfacing with clients should find value from Groove+.”

Groove conducted a survey in December and January of 1040 B2B sales reps which determined that 46% of companies are not planning a total return to the office.  Thus, managing remote and hybrid sales teams will remain a top issue for the CRO.  Top concerns for remote sales reps include updating CRM platforms (48%), inputting account notes (46%), and scheduling follow-up meetings (45%).

“Now that most reps are working in a hybrid role permanently, revenue teams need to focus on maximizing the value of their CRM.  Extending the power of CRM to remote teams makes them productive and effective while also providing leaders with the visibility and insight needed to manage them effectively.”

Groove CEO Chris Rothstein

Groove Conversations and Groove+ provide remote, hybrid, and inside sales reps with immediate access to sales productivity tools, conversational analytics, and deal insights.  Additionally, sales reps can update SFDC from Groove+ and access call recordings and insights from anywhere, providing centralized call coaching, next steps, and follow-up.

Groove Conversations and Groove+ are separate offerings but will be integrated later this year.  Groove+ is available with any Groove core license.  Groove Conversations is available as a premium add-on. “When we founded Groove, we knew that building for the seller first was the key to driving widespread adoption and seller productivity,” said Rothstein.  “As a result, we are the only platform that is just as easy to use and relevant for field sales as it is for sellers working from home or in the office.  Our customers typically see over 90% adoption rates of Groove and Salesforce, realizing as much as 83% seller productivity improvements as a result.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce

Dun & Bradstreet announced its spring releases and enhancements at Forrester’s B2B Data conference in Austin.  Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Connect for Salesforce, its new data management service, and expanded D&B Rev.Up ABX functionality.

“With more accurate, actionable CRM data, businesses can make more confident decisions, identify more cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and target with greater precision,” blogged North American Sales & Marketing GM Stacy Greiner.  “That’s the foundation for strong account-based strategies and digitalization.  It’s the foundation for a stronger business, period.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce is the next generation of Salesforce hygiene products, superseding D&B Optimizer for Salesforce.  Users have broader control over matching logic.  They can employ easy matching based on Dun & Bradstreet Confidence Codes or customize the match logic by leveraging Confidence Codes alongside country/region selects and match quality. 

The operations manager can set the importance of individual match grades by field (e.g., street number, name, etc.).  Admins can also set match inclusion criteria, defining which fields should be excluded from matching (e.g., Non-Headquarter locations, Out-of-Business locations, Non-Marketable locations, or Undeliverable/Unreachable locations).

Connect for Salesforce has dramatically expanded the data sets available for enrichment, providing access to over 1,600 data elements based upon subscribed data blocks. Admins also have control over refresh frequency and rematch rules.  Data may be refreshed every 14 days with the option of rematching unmatched records.  Transactional matching is also supported, allowing real-time match and append for newly created records.

D&B Connect match logic administration

Other features include data health reports, field-level mapping, out-of-business flags, and duplicate management.  In addition, Dun & Bradstreet offers 37 million subsidiary and branch linkages, ensuring proper territory management and lead assignment.

“What is preventing our marketing campaigns and sales plays from firing on all cylinders? asked Dun & Bradstreet Greiner.  “Quite simply, bad data that is outdated, incorrect, duplicate, improperly formatted, or just outright missing.  Let’s face it — we’re all to blame.  We’re just not good about keeping our data up to date and refreshed.  We don’t even do a good job entering the right data in the first place.  This may be due in part to subjectivity, in part to laziness, and in part because there’s just not enough time in our day to be thorough enough.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce starts at $5,000 per company per year.

VanillaSoft Announces a Trio of Integrations

VanillaSoft announced a trio of new or upgraded integrations for its Sales Engagement Platform.  First, VanillaSoft upgraded its integration with Salesforce, providing synchronization of accounts, contacts, leads, activities (e.g., Tasks, Events, History), and opportunities.  Custom Object syncing is coming soon.  VanillaSoft also announced new technology partnerships with Chorus (ZoomInfo) and Zapier

The Salesforce integration is bi-directional with instant updates.  Prospects from VanillaSoft’s AutoKlose subsidiary are fed to VanillaSoft and uploaded to Salesforce.  The integration also supports improved Salesforce reporting and dashboards, providing a unified reporting interface for all sales activities.  Salesforce reporting “accurately shows conversion ratios and funnel math from stage-to-stage and team-to-team.”

“In most cases, organizations use SFDC as the primary hub for all their lead and account information,” noted Product Marketing Director Bergen Wilde during a demo to GZ Consulting.  “Leads coming in from outside sources, such as marketing automation, would be immediately shared with VanillaSoft.”  For example, “marketing may examine old leads or accounts in SFDC and create a new campaign for these, sending them back into VanillaSoft for pursuit by SDRs.”

The upgraded integration “empowers a sales team with immediate information updates across both platforms so agents using either system can take action without delay.”

Updates to Salesforce are always real-time and triggered by VanillaSoft result codes.  Updates from Salesforce can be either real-time or performed in batch.  For example, Sales Operations can set up real-time synchronization for web form submissions fed into SFDC.  Web leads are then synced with VanillaSoft, providing immediate routing of web leads to SDRs, with both platforms tracking submissions and responses.

A novel VanillaSoft use case is multi-client synchronization between VanillaSoft and client Salesforce instances.  The VanillaSoft project code acts as a “top-level, self-contained database in VanillaSoft,” which signals the relevant client instance, allowing lead generation companies and agencies to support multiple clients. “Lead generation has always been a consistent market for us because we keep the data segmentation.  That’s been since day one – we’ve kept our projects separate,” explained Director of Customer Success Daniel Sims to GZ Consulting.  “Tied to that, we have some pretty cool appointment setting functionality that tends to make us attractive to most lead gen companies.”

Lead Companies can manage prospecting in VanillaSoft and sync activity and lead data with multiple client Salesforce instances.

Other use cases include

  • Managing SDR to AE handoffs: As SDRs book meetings, the information and task are posted in Salesforce for the AE.  If the client is a no-show, the lead can be passed back to the SDR for rescheduling.
  • Upselling: A customer success agent identifies an upsell opportunity and enters it in SFDC.  The record then syncs with VanillaSoft, which notifies the SDR to schedule an appointment for the AE.
  • Triggered Alerts: Salesforce alerts (e.g., overdue payments, deviations from volume commitments, or new opportunities) are routed to SDRs for follow-up.
Salesforce can trigger activity in VanillaSoft.

VanillaSoft noted that it can store raw MQLs until they are sales qualified, at which time the data is synced with Salesforce.  This flow reduces storage fees for low-yield prospects.  Thus, contact records can be purchased from AutoKlose and enabled in VanillaSoft, only becoming Salesforce records once they are sales qualified.

VanillaSoft supports both the Salesforce Lightning and Classic user experiences.  Integration management is performed within SFDC, so admins do not require a VanillaSoft license.

The Chorus partnership is supported for joint customers, providing access to Chorus recordings and transcripts from VanillaSoft.  Similar functionality for Gong is planned for the end of this quarter.

Chorus transcription and analytics are triggered by VanillaSoft result codes, with recordings immediately passed from VanillaSoft to Chorus for processing.  A Chorus logo is then displayed within VanillaSoft, providing a hyperlink to the recording, transcript, and analysis.

Chorus in VanillaSoft

Zapier provides broad integration with other enterprise software platforms.  Sales operations can bi-directionally connect VanillaSoft to hundreds of other applications via a “simple, graphical user interface.”

Zapier is often deployed by SMBs for connecting platforms and triggering workflows.

“VanillaSoft helps SMB sales teams in real-world industries to enhance their sales capabilities and productivity – enabling them to increase their outreach and close more deals,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood.  “By establishing relationships and enhancing integrations with other key technologies that our customers rely on within their sales organizations, we are working to make their sales processes more seamless, and ultimately are helping them to ensure their sales success.”

Chili Distro

Last week I wrote about Chili Events, the new event calendaring service from Chili Piper. Today, I am profiling their new Distro service which acts as a “one-stop-shop for lead qualification, routing, distribution, and booking.”  Distro routes and assigns multiple Salesforce objects in real-time, including leads, contacts, opportunities, cases, and accounts.

Distro expedites the inbound lead process by immediately routing prospects and customers to the correct sales rep. In addition, Distro supports lead-to-account matching so that inbound prospects are assigned to the proper account owner when applicable.

“Whether a lead comes through your organization’s web form or from an offline source, routing can get quite tedious,” explained Chili Piper in the product announcement.  “With the launch of Distro, teams can create intelligent rules to decide which lead gets routed to which rep (or group of reps) on the team. With this intuitive technology, hand-raisers will have the ability to book a meeting instantly, while buyers who need more nurturing are automatically assigned to the appropriate sales rep for follow-up.”

Chili Piper Distro qualifies, routes, and schedules meetings.

If rules do not assign a lead, round-robin assignments ensure that reps receive an equal number of leads.

Chili Piper has been busy with new product releases.  A few weeks ago, Chili Piper announced Chili Events, an Event Meetings Management solution for in-person conferences and trade shows.  The product lets Chili gather engagement data from events and manage pre-conference meetings on the floor as well as post-event meetings with reps. 

The firm also announced a HubSpot integration earlier this month.

“Today, capturing existing demand for a product or service, in real-time, is vital; yet, ensuring each lead is routed and assigned correctly is way harder than it needs to be. With Distro, we can help B2B sales and marketing teams automate the first step in a meaningful engagement and prevent leads from falling out of the marketing funnel. This is a crucial step for increasing inbound conversion rates and boosting revenue generation.”

Chili Piper CEO Nicolas Vandenberghe

Inbound and event lead management address the issue of speed-to-lead with which many B2B organizations struggle.  The average time for lead follow-up is 42 hours.  Automating the process greatly increases the likelihood of scheduling a meeting and converting leads to subsequent stages.

“Chili Piper allows you to connect inbound leads with a rep at the moment they’re interested,” blogged Senior Marketing Manager Maggie Aland.  “This increases your inbound conversion rates and prevents leads from falling out of the marketing funnel.”

Chili Distro is only available for Salesforce.