Demandbase Closes $65M In Funding To Fuel AI, Machine-Learning Growth

Written by: Brian Anderson

demandbase fundingDemandbase, a leading account-based marketing (ABM) platform vendor, announced that it has closed $65 million in funding to fuel growth in its artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology. The round of funding was led by existing investor Sageview Capital, along with new investor Silver Lake Waterman.

The funding continues Demandbase’s expansion into the AI landscape. The company acquired data science company Spiderbook in 2016 to extend its AI capabilities. The company also acquired WhoToo in 2015 to enhance its data intelligence offerings.

Along with accelerating growth in its AI and machine-learning capabilities, the company stated that the funds will also help extend its ABM leadership position as ABM adoption expands. Existing investors Adobe Systems, Altos Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Split Rock Partners also participated in the funding round. Demandbase has received more than $150 million in funding to date.

“Companies spend more than $40 billion every year marketing themselves digitally to other businesses. ABM provides a much more efficient way to laser-target the right accounts and better align marketing spend with sales activity,” said Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, in a statement. “This additional financing will allow us to fast-track the innovation behind our AI-powered ABM solutions and make our platform a must-have for all B2B companies.”

Study: Post-Event Follow-Up Still A Challenge For B2B Marketers

Written by: Brian Anderson

certain event marketing studyNew research from Certain, an event automation solution provider, shows that companies have gaps in their post-event follow-up methods to measure, analyze and act on their success. More than half (57%) of the survey respondents stated that it takes them four days or more to follow up with leads after an event concludes. Only 6% can follow-up with prospects either on the same day or the day following the event.

Nonetheless, tradeshows and events were ranked the second most effective marketing tactic used by respondents, according to a survey of roughly 150 marketing decision-makers at enterprise-level companies. Moreover, 70% of the respondents plan to increase their investment in them this year.

Many companies may be missing out on opportunities to generate even higher ROI on their trade show spend. Less than a third (30%) of the respondents use a technology solution to capture leads at the events.

Kristen Alexander, CMO at Certain, suggested in an interview with Demand Gen Report that failing to adequately capture lead information at the event devalues the investment in managing the logistics of participating in them. Generating leads “is the whole point of hosting them in the first place for most event marketers,” she said. “Failing to take advantage of these digitals tools is likely a big reason why only 43% of those we surveyed were typically able to follow up with event leads in under four days.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • More than half (58%) are spending more than 25% of their annual budgets on events;
  • On a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best, 77% of respondents rate their ability to drive results from events as a four or a five; and
  • The top-three resources and technologies used to manage in-person events include in-house marketing operations (73%), in-house event planners (68%), and event management and automation software (49%).

Engagio Unveils Scout Extension For Marketing And Sales

Written by: Klaudia Tirico

Engagio’s new Scout solution is an ABM Chrome extension that enables marketing and sales teams to gain greater account visibility and communicate with customers and prospects inside the tools they already use—including LinkedIn, Gmail and Salesforce.

FEATURES/FUNCTIONALITY

Scout aims to help customer-facing teams run coordinated account-based plays without having to leave their platform of choice.

Key features of the Scout extension include:

  • Dashboards that pull individual and account-level data from major platforms, such as Salesforce, marketing automation, LinkedIn, Twitter and corporate email;
  • The ability to edit data on people and accounts, and sync to CRM, while matching leads to the account on the fly (if there’s a new person, Scout prompts you to add them);
  • Complete visibility of communication histories between your company and your target accounts; and
  • The ease of clicking one button to run plays orchestrating account-based interactions across departments and channels.

TARGETED USERS

Scout is used by marketers, sales and sales development executives and customer success representatives.

COMPATIBILITY

Engagio’s Account-Based Marketing and Sales solutions, including the new Scout extension, are compatible with Salesforce.com and all major marketing automation platforms, including Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot and HubSpot.

DELIVERY/PRICING MODELS

Scout is an extension of Engagio’s ABM platform, which is SaaS based. The pricing for Engagio’s ABM solutions averages in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

CURRENT CLIENTS/USERS

Engagio customers using Scout include VersionOne, Box, VMware, Domo, Silkroad, 360 Insights, Invoca, Zenoss and many more leading companies.

COMPETITIVE POSITIONING

No other ABM solution offers best-of-breed account access, visibility and account-based engagement that Scout from Engagio provides. With Scout, Engagio helps make marketers the hero by letting them provide sales reps with the tools they need for account-based insight and action.

CONTACT INFO

Engagio
101 S San Mateo Drive (Medical Building, Floor 4)
San Mateo, CA 94401
1-650-487-2050

AgilOne Launches New Customer Insights Application On Oracle Cloud Marketplace

Written by: Klaudia Tirico

1agiloneAgilOne, a predictive marketing cloud, has announced the launch of its Customer Data and Engagement Hub for the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

The Hub is designed to help marketers create a single customer profile, apply predictive intelligence to customer data and arrange omnichannel personalization delivered through Oracle Responsys, an email marketing and cross-channel orchestration solution from Oracle Marketing Cloud.

AgilOne’s single customer profile enables Oracle Marketing Cloud customers to integrate data from both online and offline sources. The application’s predictive analytics and insights also are designed to enhance marketers’ abilities to gain deep customer insight, as well as apply machine learning to these insights to understand customer segments and identify revenue opportunities.

When Not To Challenge Your Customer

Written by: Tim Riesterer, Corporate Visions

1riesterer1The call for B2B marketers and salespeople to always be challenging and disrupting the customer is a great piece of advice when you’re trying to acquire new business. But it’s actually very bad advice when you’re trying to keep your customers and convince them to pay more. In fact, disrupting your customer during a renewal or price increase discussion is exactly the wrong approach—one that could drive a great customer right into the arms of your competition.

Recently, my company conducted research exploring the pitfalls of applying a provocative message to renewal conversations, or the “why stay” discussion. Since then, we turned our attention to a related discussion that marketers, salespeople and account teams need to handle well: price increases.

Ongoing investments in servicing accounts and improving solutions all end up in the same spot: a post-purchase price increase conversation. The question is, how do you tell this story in a way that drives more revenue without jeopardizing existing customer relationships?

My company, Corporate Visions, collaborated with Dr. Nick Lee, a professor at the Warwick Business School in the U.K., on academic research to answer that very question—and determine the best messaging framework for what I call the “why pay” conversation.

The “Why Pay” Study

For the study, we recruited 503 participants to take part in an online experiment that simulated a renewal and price increase selling scenario. Participants were told they ran a small business and that a two-year contract with a vendor they’d hired to promote their health and wellness plan (and retain employees) was coming to an end, and it was now time to discuss a renewal and price increase.

We tested six different approaches. All the test conditions started by documenting business results to date and all requested the same 4% price increase for the next two-year agreement. Participants were divided into six different groups and placed into different experimental conditions. The range of conditions included a message that introduced a new insight designed to challenge a customer’s current perspective and situation. Other conditions offered certain types of price anchors and discounts (all landing at the same 4%). Another sought to reinforce the status quo bias—an approach our past research revealed to be effective in a renewal context.

The Results 

The experiment revealed that the “challenging” provocation-based message that introduced an unconsidered need was the least effective in terms of framing a price increase—by a statistically significant margin.

Participants in the provocative condition were found to have:

  • 18.8% less favorable attitudes toward the message.

 In addition, participants in the provocation-based message were:

  • 15.5% less likely to renew with their current vendor; and
  • 16.3% more likely to switch to another vendor.

But the study didn’t just reveal what doesn’t work for the “why pay” story; it also shows what does. Specifically, the winning message, according to the study, is one that:

  • Reinforces the status quo bias while introducing key, new capabilities to solve existing needs—not introduce new needs, and;
  • Anchor high with the price increase request, before giving a loyalty discount if the buyer purchases within an advantageous timeframe.

The best performing messages in the study suggest that your message should open by documenting results to date before reinforcing status quo bias, introducing new capabilities and anchoring a high price increase before providing a loyalty discount.

You can view the full research in our new report on communicating price increases.

The big takeaway from this study? The disruptive message so popular today may work wonders when you’re trying to win net new customers. But beware: When you’re trying to convince customers to stay or pay more, that message will set you back in a big way—potentially making your customers susceptible to inroads from the competition.


 

Tim Riesterer is Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Corporate Visions, a marketing and sales messaging, tools and training company. He is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the company in thought leadership, positioning and product development.

Act-On Software, Evergage Announce Tech Partnership For Omnichannel Personalization

Written by: Klaudia Tirico

ActOn evergage NBAct-On Software, an integrated marketing automation platform, announced it has partnered with real-time personalization platform Evergage to extend Evergage’s personalization functionalities to Act-On’s Adaptive Journeys capabilities.

The partnership enables B2B marketers to use engagement data to personalize and adapt customers’ web and mobile app experiences. Both the Act-On and Evergage technologies will work together to predict and deliver the right message, at the right time, across channels such as email, web and mobile.

The integration also supports:

  • Real-time email content personalization: Using Act-On’s email campaigns and automated programs that use behavioral insights from Evergage, marketers can design personalized content and deploy it via Act-On email templates, according to the company.
  • Email click-through triggers for website personalization: This capability positions marketers to deliver personalized web experiences that adapt to every visitor or account based on email engagement.

“As B2B marketers seek to more effectively reach their audiences, it’s important to deliver unique and cohesive experiences across channels,” said Andy Zimmerman, CMO of Evergage, in a statement. “Our partnership with Act-On helps digital marketers meet these goals—improving demand generation and the overall customer experience. With our combined technologies, marketers can build more complete profiles of their visitors, maximize the results of email campaigns, and deliver website experiences that are maximally relevant at the individual and account level.”

Salesforce Introduces Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management App

Written by: Terry Moffatt, Contributing Editor

1salesforceNBSalesforce, a global leader in CRM, has introduced a new partner relationship management (PRM) app. Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management, an amalgamation of new and existing Salesforce technologies, is designed to allow companies to build modern, branded partner communities, the company said.

A new guided setup wizard will enable channel managers to easily configure, customize and deploy the app. Using the interactive wizard, channel managers will be able to seamlessly configure lead distribution, deal registration, marketing development funds and AppExchange Components, such as Xactly for compensation management and NetExam for a learning management system.

Additionally, channel managers will be able to automatically assign partners into tiers and provide targeted promotions and customized content based on those tiers.

Customized Partner Experiences

Lightning CMS Connect will allow channel managers to create a customized, branded partner experience. Channel managers will be able to drag and drop existing website content, graphics and videos ensuring partner portals stay as up-to-date as a company’s website.

The company’s Einstein Content Recommendations feature will use machine learning to surface files that enable channel reps to be more productive. For example, if a partner views a new product description document, Einstein will recommend files, including logo graphics, product placement instructions and pricing documentation for that new product.

Channel Marketing Automation will extend the power of Marketing Cloud to every partner, enabling them to build, track and analyze email campaigns to deliver 1:1 customer journeys on any device. Companies will be able to ensure partners are using the right messaging and collateral as they implement their own marketing initiatives.

Mike Micucci, GM and SVP, Salesforce Products, commented that Sales Cloud PRM fills the need of many companies. It is “a turnkey app that enables them to extend the world’s best CRM to their partners,” he said.

Sales Cloud PRM is generally available now with the Partner Community Cloud License. The new Guided Setup Wizard, Einstein Content Recommendations and Channel Marketing Automation are expected to be generally available in the second half of 2017. Lightning CMS Connect will be in beta in June 2017.

Study: 56% Of B2B Decision Makers Gain No Value From Thought Leadership Content

Written by: Matt Halchak, Contributing Writer

edelman linkedin studyDespite the known potential of thought leadership content in B2B campaigns, many decision-makers are disappointed with the quality of available thought leadership insights, according to new research from Edelman, the global marketing firm, and LinkedIn. More than half (56%) of respondents agreed that they do not gain valuable insights from the thought leadership content they consume.

The How Thought Leadership Impacts B2B Demand Generation study, which surveyed more than 1,300 business decision makers and executives, aimed to understand how thought leadership influences the behaviors of decision makers in the B2B purchase process. 

The study determined that:

  • Eighty-six percent of thought leadership consumed is considered merely good, mediocre or poor in quality;
  • Forty-five percent of business decision makers and 53% of C-suite executives reported that they sometimes lost respect and admiration for organizations that produced thought leadership content that was not high quality, insightful or relevant; and
  • Thirty percent of business decision makers and 35% of C-suite executives removed companies from consideration after engaging with what they viewed as poor thought leadership content.

What Do B2B Buyers Want In Their Thought-Leadership Content?

Decision makers want thought leadership that is timely, relevant and substantive, according to the study. More than three-quarters of decision makers (78%) and 79% of C-suite executives noted that successful thought leadership content provided insights on specific trends and challenges within their respective industries.

Thought leaders should aim to identify the drivers of relevant issues and propose a plan in a concise, easily consumable form. Seventy-one percent of decision-makers and 67% of C-suite executives preferred content in short form, three to four-page documents that can be easily absorbed.

 “Earning the trust of customers is vital in the B2B buying process, where investments are large and the professional reputations of decision-makers may be at stake,” said Joe Kingsbury, U.S. Managing Director of B2B at Edelman, in a statement. “The study points to a reality many marketers have struggled to quantify: the ability to demonstrate valuable insights about trends and customer challenges is critical for engaging with senior executives and can lead to tangible, positive business outcomes.”

Cloudwords Launches Localization Solution In Partnership With Lilt

Written by: Klaudia Tirico

Cloudwords software aims to speed time to market for global marketing campaigns and localized content. By integrating directly with leading marketing automation, CRM, CMS, and Web CMS platforms, Cloudwords automates project workflow, eliminates time-consuming tasks and delivers unprecedented visibility into the localization process.

FEATURES/FUNCTIONALITY

Cloudwords recently partnered with Lilt, an AI-infused translation platform, to deliver an end-to-end localization solution that incorporates the best of both Cloudwords’ and Lilt’s technology solutions: Cloudwords software is designed to speed global marketing workflows, while Lilt’s interactive Machine Translation (MT) and Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) software aims to boost translator productivity.

Together, Cloudwords and Lilt can help multinational organizations shorten localization turnaround times, reduce cost and increase quality for multilingual content. The joint solution further enables global marketers to quickly and efficiently create and deliver localized marketing campaigns and content at scale, according to Cloudwords.

Cloudwords’ partner ecosystem, which includes nearly 500 professional language service providers (LSPs), can leverage the joint solution to further increase translation efficiency.

TARGETED USERS

The Cloudwords platform is used by global enterprises with $500M+ in revenue, that have 40% or greater revenue coming from outside their head office location, are operating a sophisticated marketing stack and are marketing globally in five+ languages.

COMPATIBILITY

Cloudwords integrates with leading marketing automation, CRM, CMS, Web CMS and File Sharing technologies, including Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, HubSpot, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Sitecore, SDL, Salesforce Knowledge, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and more.

DELIVERY/PRICING MODELS

Cloudwords is a cloud-based SaaS product. Pricing varies depending on platform edition, number of integrations and number of users. Database size and number of languages do not impact Cloudwords’ pricing.

CURRENT CLIENTS/USERS

Global brands including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, CA Technologies, Fitbit, Forcepoint, Hach, Marketo, Oracle, PTC, HubSpot and many others use Cloudwords to make their marketing content go global.

COMPETITIVE POSITIONING

Companies use Cloudwords to decrease the time it takes to localize global marketing content and to scale the simultaneous creation and delivery of multiple multi-language campaigns.  By integrating Lilt’s technology into their translation workflows, Cloudwords customers will be able to deliver more content, in more languages, to more customers faster.

CONTACT INFO

Cloudwords
201 California Street, Suite 1350
San Francisco, CA 94111
1.415.394.8000

info@cloudwords.com

 

3 Sales Metrics Marketing Should Own

Written by: Samantha Stone, The Marketing Advisory Network

1sstoneI’m the type of person who measures everything. I know how many proposals I convert to revenue. I know the profile of the executives that hire me vs. take free advice. I know how many hours each type of engagement takes to complete. I even know how many truffles it takes to get through a difficult conference call.

Thank you, Dad, the primary influencer of my number obsession.

I’m not alone. As marketers, we become obsessed with open and click-through rates. We fret over keyword ranking. We’re thrilled when our email subscription rates skyrocket—and for good reason. These are tools of our trade we must learn to master. However, these are not the measurements marketing should be held accountable against. When we concentrate exclusively on them, we lose focus on our core mission: to drive business growth.

I’m always shocked when I speak to sales and marketing professionals and find that they have very few shared metrics aside from revenue or profitability. Marketers are responsible for leads, unique website visitors and brand awareness. The sales team is responsible for the length of the sales cycle, win-rates and bottom-line closing business. On the surface this makes perfect sense—divide and conquer. But in fact, it’s this black-and-white division of labor that leads to unhealthy tension and inefficiencies.

Lead To First Meeting/Demo

While I never met a sales team that didn’t want more leads, what they really want is more opportunities. Executive pressure to increase leads often comes at a cost: the passing of poor-quality leads that don’t align to target markets and buying intent.

Marketers must be responsible for the ratio of leads to first meeting. The magic happens when we hold ourselves accountable to maintain or improve this ratio. We start training sales people on how to follow-up on specific types of leads. We make sure the sales team is well armed with first meeting incentives. We ensure that what they present during those first meetings leaves a lasting impression. We relentlessly follow-up with sales to make sure they are quickly picking up the hand off we sent them. We even focus on finding better quality leads in the first place.

Length Of Time In Each Buying Stage

The second metric is length of time for each stage in the buying process (typically measured in days). Even those enlightened marketers who measure the conversion from lead to first meeting—sometimes labeling them Sales-Qualified Leads—rarely measure anything between first meeting and the percent of overall leads that result in revenue. This is a huge missed opportunity. After all the buyer’s journey mapping we do, we don’t measure how well we’re impacting each stage!

By evaluating along the way, if we’re reducing the amount of time each buyer spends in the buying stages, we are motivated to improve the buyer’s experience with helpful content and resources that match their needs. We improve the delivery and format of this content. Ultimately, we better train the sales team to use the tools we’ve worked so hard to build.

Win Rate

And our last sales-oriented metric and one that is so important: win rate. Too many marketers are afraid to take ownership of the company’s average win rate. It’s deemed outside of marketing’s control and often viewed as a direct result of the sales team’s skills. While sales effectiveness certainly plays a part, sharing ownership of win rate can significantly change the behavior of marketers in a good way. Suddenly we are building content for the last stretch of the sales process. We’re investing in training programs that better align sales actions to target personas. We even pay closer attention to the competition and building a differentiated offering. And best of all, the organization gives us the emotional permission and resources to do it.

These metrics go beyond the number of orders placed, lead generated, profitability and retention metrics that are typically measured. I challenge you to focus on them; they provide insight that can specifically be acted upon and have a direct impact on growth.


 

Samantha Stone is the Founder and CMO of The Marketing Advisory Network. This piece is an adapted excerpt from her book Unleash Possible: A Playbook that Drives Sales. Throughout her career, Stone has launched go-to-market initiatives and led marketing strategies for award-winning, high-growth companies, including Netezza, SAP, Ascential Software and Powersoft.

Follow Samantha Stone on Twitter at @samanthastone.