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.”

Outreach Guide

Outreach announced the general availability of Outreach Guide, its new revenue intelligence and deal management solution.  Guide provides real-time conversation intelligence, best practice action plans, and “deal health at a glance.”  Outreach also announced administrative enhancements to its Engage product and a “deep integration” with ABX Platform 6sense.

Outreach Guide, Engage, and Commit act as the “foundation” of Outreach’s sales execution platform, supporting revenue organizations across the full customer sales cycle “from prospecting for new business opportunities to deal management to sales forecasting.”

Outreach’s Customer Lifecycle loop.

Outreach aims to create a “single system of execution” that helps revenue organizations meet their full potential and address issues with prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.

To help address this “sales execution gap,” Machine learning models “learn from the actions taken in our platform and generate data-driven, predictive, real-time insights that recommend actions for users to take to improve their sales execution,” said CEO Manny Medina.

Outreach Guide supports three core capabilities:

  • Deal Health Scores: The Deal Health Score employs machine learning to predict deal health.  It also provides deal insights, recommended actions, and where to focus.  In addition, deal Health displays positive and negative indicators (e.g., stuck in current stage, no recent inbound emails, recent executive engagement). 

    Deal Health signals deals at risk to both the sales rep and sales management, providing an opportunity to address problems and adjust forecasts.

    Deal Health scores can be viewed in the aggregate as well, providing a neutral perspective on how each deal is proceeding versus comparable opportunities.

    Deal Health scores are currently in beta.
  • Kaia Real-time assistance and conversation intelligence: Kaia offers real-time call transcription, content cards, and context-based rep enablement during Zoom and Microsoft teams meetings.  After meetings, Kaia streamlines meeting summaries with AI-captured action items and follow-ups.  As a result, Outreach claims rep productivity increases by nearly 30%, and the likelihood of scheduling a follow-up meeting jumps by 36%.

    Kaia is linguistically customized for each client, capturing product names and competitors as keywords.  During a call, content cards display real-time sales aides, such as product summaries or technical notes.  Content cards provide quick cheat sheets on product value, pricing, or integrations (see the example on the right).

    By removing notetaking and displaying content cards, Kaia allows sales reps to be more present during calls and pitch with greater confidence;  instead of pausing a meeting to jot down notes, sales reps can quickly add a bookmark or short meeting note.
  • Automated and collaborative purchasing through Success Plans: Success Plans foster collaboration between buyers and sellers with detailed online purchase action plans that include a timeline, success criteria, resources, and team views.  Collaborative action plans align stakeholders, build buyer trust, ensure timely stakeholder engagement, and provide internal stakeholders with prospect engagement and deal progress.  Outreach claims that reps who closely monitor Success Plans enjoy a 13% bump in close rates.

“The buying team has all the information related to the deal in a central place, and all teams are aligned to clearly understand each other’s goals, interactions, and requirements essential for driving long-term success, delivering an unparalleled buying experience throughout the entire selling process,” stated Director of Product Marketing Elizabeth Dailing.

Furthermore, Success Plans are available to Customer Success teams when onboarding new customers, helping streamline handoffs.

The Team view helps track who is involved from the buying team and how engaged they are, how recently they were engaged, and what content they viewed.

Outreach Guide is designed to address the “Sales Execution Gap.”

Outreach also announced a set of administrative and data privacy enhancements to its Engage service:

  1. Trigger Enhancements – A streamlined trigger builder improves the creation, management, and discovery of triggers.  The refreshed trigger builder is aligned with traditional CRM language and supports multiple values per condition, drag-and-drop action reordering, and simplified condition group creation.
  2. New Outlook-Add In – A native integration lets reps ‘Send’ emails from Outlook and send and sync “relevant emails to Outreach, as well as insert their available times or add a link to their calendar.”  Outreach will also flag opted-out communications in Outlook and prevent them from being sent or added to a sequence.
  3. Microsoft Graph Integration
  4. Data Retention in Outreach Voice Recordings – Admins can configure data retention policies such as deleting data as a one-time event or setting up regular data deletions for Outreach Voice Recordings.

Additionally, Outreach announced an Irish Datacenter for Outreach Engage, meeting EU data residency requirements for GDPR compliance. “The EU Datacenter for Outreach Engage allows an organization’s data to be stored in a specific geographic location,” blogged Caroline Shin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach.  “This means customer-owned data associated with those Outreach instances including prospects, accounts, organizations, and workflow data such as sequences and meetings will be stored and contained within the EU infrastructure.”

Zoom IQ for Sales

Zoom Video Communications announced the availability of its new Zoom IQ for Sales conversational intelligence add-on for Zoom Meetings.  Zoom Phone support for Zoom IQ is in development.

“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings.  Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin.  “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”

Zoom IQ for Sales conversational analytics

Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.”  The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange.  Insights include

  • Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
  • Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
  • Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
  • Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
  • Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
  • Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.

AI provides a set of sentiment and engagement scores that assist with deal risk and health assessments.  Other features include transcription highlights, filler word frequency, and talk speed.

Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision.  General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.

Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars.  Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.

Zoom Sales IQ Playlists

“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI.  “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague.  Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”

Zoom IQ for Sales places Zoom in competition with many of its partners, including Salesloft, Outreach, Chorus, and Gong.

TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI.  Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”

“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers.  “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”

Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.

“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights.  This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”

Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events.  During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations.  Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.

Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.

Drift Conversational Cloud

Last month, Drift rolled out its Conversation Cloud, which combines the capabilities of its Conversational Marketing, Conversational Sales, and newly launched Conversational Service offerings.  Drift’s Conversational AI guides visitors along any stage of the customer journey, helping them “voice their intent with open text questions, find answers to their own questions, get personalized recommendations, or book a sales meeting.”

“Everything starts with a conversation, and in-person communication and experiences are taking a back seat to the conversations we have online, especially in our business relationships.  Businesses are relying more and more on digital experience platforms – or in our case, conversational experience platforms – to bridge these connections and manage key customer interactions, touchpoints, and engagement. Our guiding philosophy at Drift is to put the buyer at the center of everything we do, and we are excited to bring the Drift Conversation Cloud to market to help our customers deliver a better experience to buyers at each stage of their journey, all while improving their sales teams’ efficiencies and accelerating revenue.”

Drift CPO Leo Tenenblat

Drift Conversational Marketing supports real-time conversations with web visitors, helping to answer questions, deliver desired content, or “qualify and convert best-fit buyers.”  Conversational Marketing functionality includes visitor intelligence, chatbots, meeting scheduling, and Fastlane lead form booking.

Drift Conversational Sales manages customer conversations across chat, video, email, and phone.  Drift routes high value leads to sales reps, notifying them when qualified leads are engaging with the chatbot or the website.  Sales reps can “craft personalized outreach based on what web pages buyers visited, which sales touchpoints they engaged with, and how often they interacted with your brand.”  Prospect activity is automatically logged to Salesforce.

Drift Video asynchronous video sharing on LinkedIn messenger

Reps can also deliver personalized video messages based on site activity intelligence.  Videos may be shared via LinkedIn, Drift, Outreach, or Salesloft.  Drift claims a more than 3X improvement in response rates for asynchronous video.

Drift not only schedules meetings but also offers a new Deal Room module for capturing interactions between buyers and sellers, including meeting transcriptions and document sharing.  Deal Room also provides real-time alerts when prospects engage with the Deal Room and manages Mutual Action Plans.

“Drift Deal Room enables seamless collaboration between your internal team and entire buyer committees in one central location,” blogged Drift Senior Product Marketing Manager Holly Xiao.  “Everyone involved will be able to have conversations, share files, manage action items, schedule meetings, and more — directly in Deal Room.”

Continued Xiao, “Drift Deal Room lets you see who, what, and how buyers interact with your business throughout their entire journey.  So, when it’s time for your next deal review, you’ll come to the table with a clear picture of deal activities and trajectory.  And if you notice opportunities with lower engagement, you can rely on Drift Video, Drift Chat, Drift Email, and more to help you nurture deals in the right channel at the right time and keep them moving in the right direction.”

Drift Dealroom supports document sharing, Mutual Action Plans, meeting scheduling, and on-demand chat.

Conversational Service answers simple support questions, allowing the service team to focus on difficult support problems and high-priority customers.  The Drift Chatbot supports Salesforce and Zendesk knowledge base articles.  Conversational Service lets customers create their own support tickets or hand high-priority requests over to live service reps.

“Translating click-based engagement into buyer-led enablement across interactions requires conversation design that senses and responds to spoken and unspoken buyer needs across complex and connected buying journeys, wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Jessie Johnson last November.   “Conversational interactions help B2B organizations meet buyers where they are in their journey, enable their buyers and customers in the moment, and inform the next interaction.  The impact of poor execution, however, can have a lasting negative impact on the buying journey, customer experience, and even the brand itself.”

ZoomInfo Chorus Integration

Go-to-Market Platform ZoomInfo announced that it completed the first stage of its Chorus Integration after acquiring the Conversational Sales firm in mid-July.

“Since announcing ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Chorus…our team has made great strides in seamlessly making key features of the Chorus platform available to our customers. These integrations will allow sales, marketing, and operations teams to instantly use both ZoomInfo and Chorus to expand their pipelines via a data-first approach that they can’t get with any other platform on the market.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

Conversational Sales functionality has also been added to ZoomInfo’s Engage SEP.  Chorus transcribes and analyzes calls, helping them build strong customer and prospect relationships and be more present during calls. For example, ZoomInfo dialer calls are recorded and stored in Salesforce while Chorus transcribes and analyzes the conversation.

Chorus’ Momentum Insights are displayed in the ZoomInfo platform under the Chorus tab.

Momentum Insights are available in ZoomInfo, Chorus, and Salesforce, delivering call insights wherever the rep is working.  “Combined Chorus and ZoomInfo users can now view conversation and relationship insights within the ZoomInfo platform for better visibility and management of their prospect and customer pipeline,” stated the firm.

The new Chorus tab in ZoomInfo lets revenue teams see with whom they’ve engaged across the account; whether the interactions were via inbound email, outbound email, or meeting; and the most recent interaction.  The Momentum Insights chart shows touchpoints over time with the ability to search by participants and activity type.  Users can drill down on any of the interactions for email or call details.  Audio can be reviewed from within ZoomInfo’s account and contact views.

Users can also drill down on Quick Signals or search by keyword from the Chorus tab, allowing reps to research deal risks, wow moments, negative sentiment, next steps/to-dos, timeline discovery, etc.  Chorus supports hundreds of topics that can be customized.  For example, companies can filter by specific competitors or product feature capabilities.

While the primary use case for Signals is rep account review, managers can use the tool for deal discussions, skill review, and coaching.  Likewise, product managers can broadly investigate customer calls to research specific topics (e.g., product complaints, competitors). 

When the user clicks on a signal, a textual synopsis of the discussion is provided, along with the ability to review that part of the discussion.  These tools are essential for reviewing negative sentiment, pricing discussions, competitors, etc.  Also, call snippets can be extracted for training (e.g., objection handling, competitive parrying, value messaging) or forwarding questions in the voice of the customer to subject matter experts or service departments.

Chorus users also benefit from the integration, with ZoomInfo serving as the reference data set for customer contact intelligence.  ZoomInfo claims that switching to ZoomInfo’s database and matching logic (from Clearbit) resulted in a 33% lift in match rates and a 10X faster load time for contact records in Chorus (150 MS).  Enriched company and contact intelligence include department, job function, seniority level, business email, phones, industry, location, and company.

According to Chorus, ten percent of calls have attendees that were not announced, leaving the rep blind to the role and importance of the additional attendees.  In other cases, a third party is mentioned, but that individual is not in attendance.  In either case, ZoomInfo will surface contact information for these individuals, helping fill out the Buying Committee.  ZoomInfo also recommends personas who are likely Buying Committee members, fostering multi-threaded discussions across the Demand Unit.

“In addition to helping you expand across your deals, you’ll gain a new understanding of which deals are more likely to close, helping improve your forecast accuracy and visibility across your pipeline,” blogged Senior Director of Customer & Product Marketing Sophie Cheng.  “ZoomInfo’s rich company insights like noteworthy scoops (news and events), intent data, and reporting relationships, infused with Chorus’ new Momentum suite will help paint a clearer picture of the entire relationship context like who’s involved in each deal, what’s being discussed, and the likelihood to close.”

Chorus speaking track analysis

Outreach KAIA Meeting Assistant

Sales Engagement vendor Outreach presented its 2020 product roadmap at its Unleash virtual conference.  The most compelling announcement was Kaia, its voice-enabled sales assistant that works alongside sales reps during video calls to record, transcribe, and deliver real-time assistance.  Other new capabilities include Sequence Intent Reporting, Outreach Voice Connectors, and Bombora Intent Scores.

“I’ve been waiting five years for Outreach Kaia.  This is the most powerful tool to be introduced in the sales industry in a long time, and we are very excited to be bringing the next generation of sales technology to life,” crowed Outreach CEO Manny Medina, who demoed the digital assistant during his keynote.  “Now more than ever, sales teams need Outreach Kaia — especially when so many of them are working remotely.  Outreach Kaia’s ability to surface real-time information exactly when a sales rep needs it during a live conversation is powerful.”

“Imagine you’re on a sales call, and someone asks you a question about your product or your competitor’s pricing, and you don’t know the answer.  Well, Outreach Kaia will automatically pull up the information you need – in real-time.  This level of intelligent assistance will make sales teams productive immediately.  Outreach already drives a nearly 5x return for our customers.  Now, with Outreach Kaia, we expect that ROI to soar.”

Outreach CEO Manny Medina

Kaia (Knowledge AI Assistant) delivers guided engagement for sales reps.  At the outset, reps are shown meeting and attendee information.  Tabs provide additional details on the account and opportunity, providing a quick pre-meeting review opportunity.  As the call gets underway, real-time transcription and analysis take place so that reps do not need to jot many notes during the call.  At any point, the rep can set a bookmark or add a short note.  As the note is stored in context, it might only require a word or two (e.g. Roadblock, Budget).  

Outreach Kaia operates as a real-time intelligent assistant that supports sales reps during customer calls. It transcribes the call, sets bookmarks for review, notes attendees and action items, and provides topical summary cards.

Kaia both records and analyzes the discussion, providing in-line prompts to the rep, such as a quick overview of a third-party mentioned during the call, short answers to technical and product questions, or objection handling tips.  The answers and objection handling are customer-defined, ensuring that company-specific details are displayed on a just-in-time basis.  Not only does each content card provide a technical and product backstop for new sales reps, but it allows experienced reps to speak with confidence on more technical details or dynamic topics from which they might shy away.

Content and people cards are trackable, “so managers can see which cards produce the best results and scale these insights across their teams,” wrote Product Storyteller Sunny Bjerk.

Kaia also notes action items during the call, again relieving reps of note-taking duties.  After the call, a summary is emailed to the rep with a set of action items, bookmarks, notes, and attendees.  The rep can then customize the document and share it with other stakeholders.

Kaia is displayed as a meeting participant, with attendees alerted at the beginning of the call that is it being recorded.  Transcripts and recordings are “securely stored within Outreach, which has enterprise-grade security measures already in place.”  Transcripts are available for training or review after the call.

Outreach Kaia is available for Early Access Signup for the summer 2020 beta and will be generally available in late 2020.  It is currently available for Zoom video conferencing with additional video partners in development.

SalesLoft Conversation Intelligence

Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft rebranded its Meeting Intelligence functionality as Conversation Intelligence.  SalesLoft describes four sets of features which help reps schedule meetings and then listen to, understand, and engage with customers and prospects.  SalesLoft supports a broad set of conversation tools including appointment setting; automated recording, transcription, and indexing of calls; time-stamped notes, and call analytics.  This functionality is available for prospect, customer, and internal calls.  Managers, mentors, and trainers can join calls or whisper into a sales rep’s ear.

“Through the evolution of SalesLoft’s platform and user experience, one feature has changed so much that its prior name no longer did it justice,” wrote SalesLoft Head of Community Aly Merritt.  “Meeting Intelligence is now Conversation Intelligence, because sales isn’t just meetings – it’s every conversation and interaction.”

Call recordings can be stored in a training library or shared for coaching or questions.  For example, if a sales rep does not know the answer to a question, it can be forwarded directly to customer support or engineering for a response.

Conversation Intelligence supports both SalesLoft’s native dialer and leading web meeting applications: Zoom, GoToMeeting, join.me, UberConference, Cisco WebEx, and Cisco WebEx Enterprise.

Sales calls come in many forms: prospecting, discovery, demos, stakeholder alignment, and so on.  All of these interactions make up the foundation for the long-term customer relationship.  High-value customer relationships are made possible when prospects feel that the relationship they are entering into is mutually beneficial.

How can you build such a relationship?  By working to ensure your prospects feel heard and confident that you understand their needs.  Work to engage them throughout their journey.  After all, sales doesn’t stop when the deal closes, nor does engagement cease when a seller hangs up the phone.

▪ SalesLoft Product News

SalesLoft said that it is “designed to flex around the needs of the user based not only on their role but also on their preferred workflow.  This empowers SalesLoft customers to offer consistent value at every stage.”

“Sales meetings are the moments in the sales cycle where you have the opportunity to provide the most value for your customers.  As such, they are some of the single biggest opportunities for your team to influence revenue.  It’s where your deals are won and lost,” wrote the firm.  “Despite this, sellers often don’t get the opportunity to improve on this critical component of the sales process.  Combine this with the challenges that face sales leaders around how much time it takes to digest sales meetings, gain visibility into what’s really happening, and be proactive in the deal cycle.”