It’s that time of year again! Cool Vendor reports are being released on a near-daily basis. For the third year in a row, my colleagues and I on the Tech Go-to-Market team at Gartner (and some of our friends), have highlighted a selection of SaaS vendors that help improve go-to-market effectiveness for technology and service provider (TSPs). Gartner clients can read the report here.
TSPs are often on the forefront of adopting new technologies to help increase sales and marketing effectiveness. Two of the companies in the report, Clari and Engagio, fit that bill. But TSPs also have some unique go-to-market needs as well, especially around partners and product management. The other two companies in the report, 7Summits and Revulytics, are included for their specific ability to help TSPs in those respective areas. Quick highlights of the four vendors are below.
Enablement of sales reps is a complicated task that many TSPs struggle to get right, but enabling partners is even harder, and many channel-driven TSPs fall short in this area. Milwaukee-based 7Summits takes a novel approach to partner enablement through their community technology platform. Their solutions integrate with leading CRM platforms and help speed partner onboarding, reduce training time and improve lead matching. The overall improvements in partner enablement delivered by 7Summit communities also leads to better overal customer experience for the buyers. And since many TSPs have partners that compete with each other, the 7Summit partner communities afford a more private experience while still delivering a traditional portal capability with extended community functionality.
Sunnyvale, CA-based Clari could have been on this list because of the way they use predictive and prescriptive analytics to help improve pipeline visibility and forecast accuracy for complex sales processes. Or because of their new ClariBot, a smart, personalized AI-driven virtual digital sales assistant (VDSA) that prompts sales reps and managers with prescriptive guidance. But many Clari customers love the solution because it fills in key forecast management gaps from CRM megavendors and saves sales operations teams dozens of hours per month, while delivering a more granular forecast. Clari not only looks at opportunity data, but derives it predictions and recommendations by also looking at interaction data such as e-mail and meetings. The end result of these predictive sales analytics solutions is better insight about what is likely to close (and when it will close), which helps everyone in the sales organization and suggestions for the sales reps (and their managers) to improve likelihood of close along with faster and larger deals.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is all the rage in B2B marketing, especially within the tech industry. (See our new five-part ABM series for more information). ABM requires a lot of different technologies and solutions to help across the entire process. Two of the most critical needs for TSPs are around tracking/measuring success and outbound engagement (typically via SDRs). San Mateo, CA-based Engagio helps to solve both of these challenges. Their core solution helps marketers avoid the reliance on marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), which have far less importance in the ABM world. With their marketing-qualified accounts (MQA) metric, which is based on the concept of “engagement minutes,” TSP marketers can quantitatively and qualitatively measure engagement at an account-level. (Go to any marketing conference and you’ll hear MQAs and Engagement Minutes mentioned frequently). But one of Engagio’s other products, the PlayMaker sales acceleration tool is also really cool. It’s the first tool in the category that is purpose-built for ABM. While the SDRs are the primary users, the marketers in charge of the ABM program can orchestrate the “plays” that the SDRs run and gain visibility as to how they are performing at the account-level.
While many software companies were “born in the cloud” or have migrated to SaaS-based models, the reality is that a lot of software is still deployed via an on-premise model and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. In a SaaS-world, it’s fairly easy to track software usage and compliance, but tracking those things is much more challenging when solutions are deployed behind a company’s firewall. Waltham, MA-based Revulytics helps TSP product managers address this challenge. The Revulytics Compliance Intelligence solution finds and reports unlicensed product use to build strong case evidence and complement existing licensing and compliance strategies. The Revulytics Usage Intelligence solution (which came via the 2016 Trackerbird Software Analytics acquisition), helps product managers better understand which features are adopted and which are ignored. Through in-application messaging capabilities, product managers can also tailor personalized messages during trial periods to improve conversions and educate existing customers around upgrades or new features. Taken together, their solutions answer pressing questions for product managers and open up new revenue opportunities for sales reps.
Read the report for full profiles of the four companies included in Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market, 2017.