Blog post

59 More Updates to Sales Tech Mayhem and Mutual Action Mania

By Craig Rosenberg | October 12, 2021 | 1 Comment

SalesSales Strategy and Operations

This post has been co-authored with Dan Gottlieb along with a quote below from our colleague Robert Blaisdell

Welcome back to sales tech mayhem, where if you turn your head for even a second, you will miss something big. In the 6+ weeks since our last Mayhem post, we’ve seen:

  • 1.5 unicorns added
  • 7 acquisitions announced
  • 60% of a market gobbled up before it even launched
  • The CRM providers finally getting mayhemic

Sales tech mayhem describes the current sales tech market which is rapidly moving from a wide set of categories into a narrow list of vendors with wide portfolios of capabilities. If you are a sales tech mayhem newcomer, read the previous posts below and then come back for more:

Sales Tech Mayhem

Unicorn Tracker: The total is now 10 after adding 1.5 in 7 weeks

  1. New entrant to unicorn town #1: Drift 
  2. Drift is a .5 on the sales tech unicorn tracker because we give .5 to companies that are primarily considered martech unicorns but have significant traction with sales
  3. New entrant to unicorn town #2: Pandadoc
  4. Pandadoc’s Series C puts them over the billion dollar valuation mark
  5. If you are keeping score at home:
  6. 9 sales tech unicorns: Clari, Gong, Highspot, Mindtickle, Outreach, Pandadoc,, Salesloft, and Seismic
  7. 2 martech/sales-tech unicorns (both .5’s): Drift and 6Sense 
  8. When we wrote our first Mayhem post on July 28, 2021 there were 6.5 unicorns
  9. Since then we’ve added 3.5 in ~ 3 months 
  10. Relentless growth in Unicorn Town is so mayhemic.
  11. This isn’t over – expect more unicorns to join the party

M&A is so mayhemic: 7 acquisitions in 7 weeks (!)

  1. Fun fact, our colleague Brent Adamson loves the word “mayhemic” – we can’t stop saying it either. Get ready…
  2. M&A is so mayhemic
  3. The alpha platforms are at it again
  4. Alpha Platforms are hyper-aggressive vendors who are broadening capabilities at a breakneck speed either via M&A or development
  5. As we have written before, Alpha Platforms will continue to “roam the mayhem landscape and eat everything they can”
  6. It’s obvious that a market like this would consolidate, what makes it mayhemic is alpha platforms are not necessarily acquiring their direct category competitors who are trailing in the market, they are buying into adjacent categories
  7. Here is the M&A action:
  8. 6Sense acquired Fortella (3rd party analytics) and Slintel (technographic data) (1 and 2)
  9. ZoomInfo acquired RingLead (data workflow) (3) 
  10. Outreach announces acquisitions of Canopy (Intelligence) and Sameplan (Mutual Action Plans) (4 and 5)
  11. Speaking of mutual action plans, Clari acquired DealPoint (Mutual Account Plans) (6) – More on this acquisition down below 
  12. “The minute we announced funding, I have been getting nonstop acquisition interest” – Startup CEO
  13. We have heard this before from the CEOs of almost everyone in revenue tech  regardless of how well the company is doing or if they have even gone to market yet (more on that later)
  14. There are 43 tech types in our revenue tech stack (Gartner customer access required) – with M&A like this, that number is a moving target.

The CRM alphas are finally jumping into the mayhem

  1. “Where do the CRM vendors fit into mayhem?”  – the first question we received at our last Pipeline Growth Roundtable
  2. Almost like they heard the question, Salesforce bought sales enablement vendor LevelJump to get a piece of mayhem (7)
  3. We will have to see if that starts a run of sales tech acquisitions by the CRM vendors
  4. As we discussed in our previous post, sales enablement has its own version of Mayhem – 4 unicorns and now Salesforce
  5. To recap the post: the sales enablement market data looks great, it’s growing fast -Gartner estimates 12% market growth and buyers are buying and then coming back to buy more 
  6. 68% of organizations are inventorying their sales enablement tech every year (see what we mean by “coming back for more”?)
  7. Salesforce entering the market will accelerate an already surging market
  8. Exhausted yet? Ponder the question below

Can 60% of a market be acquired before it’s even a market? In Mayhem, the answer is…

  1. Yes
  2. To help you understand this, we’d like to introduce you to mutual action plan automation 
  3. First, let’s understand the mutual action plan:

The mutual action plan is an agreement that a salesperson and prospect enter into outlining the milestones that they must complete to close a deal and deploy a solution. This plan captures the mutually agreed-upon set of next steps with dates working backwards from deal signing or implementation (depending on the solution). By assigning accountability and ownership to all stakeholders involved and creating a mutual commitment to move toward a deal, the plan enables both sides to anticipate misunderstandings and challenges. 

  1. Sales leaders love mutual action plans for deal reviews; it’s the ultimate litmus test of whether a deal is “real”
  2. When done right, buyers love mutual action plans; it helps them run a buying process
  3. A batch of very small startups rose up to address this use case
  4. We will lead with the punchline: Only two standalone vendors now remain
  5. Accord ($6m seed) and Recapped ($6m seed) 
  6. Clari acquired DealPoint
  7. Outreach acquired Sameplan 
  8. People.AI acquired Close plan 
  9. Voila – In sub-6 months, Alphas came in and swooped up 60% of market before it could even launch 
  10. Mayhemic
  11. The idea of tech-enabled mutual action plans make a lot of sense
  12. First of all, there is pain: 70% of sales leaders say that their biggest challenge is lack of visibility into the prospect/decision maker process.
  13. Second, mutual action plans are historically a best practice for deal traction. If the buyer has agreed to facilitate the final steps, you are likely to close the deal
  14. The reason mutual action plans are not in widespread use because they are manual, lack standardization, and…
  15. definitely not mutual or collaborative 

    “Many of the clients I work with admit [mutual action plans] are a best practice, but they’re so manual and difficult to manage that realistically only the top 25% of their sales force use them with any consistency or rigor, if at all. At least this way, the tech can allow sales leaders to simplify a lot of the administration around [mutual action plans].”   — Gartner Analyst Robert Blaisdell

  16. Automating mutual action plans sounds great right? The biggest challenge in the market is adoption
  17. It’s hard enough to achieve seller adoption. With mutual action plans, you have to hit an adoption “triple”: the seller, the buyer, and the sales manager 
  18. Buyer adoption brings up an interesting angle – will a technology that incorporates the buyer like this build more buyer confidence? The data below says a rep’s use of tech overwhelmingly trumps other drivers in building confidence
  19. Talk about a market coming out of the gate with a bang 
  20. Our only prediction: more mayhem is coming so stay tuned

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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1 Comment

  • Lisa Horner says:

    Love it Craig and Dan – it really is Mayhemic! Thanks for the update!