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July 19, 2021
6 min read
Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch! Our newsletter covers the stories and insights that matter most to the sales community.
We go double feature this week with two stories. First, we unpack ZoomInfo's acquisition of Chorus and the potential impact on the sales community.
Our second story looks at steps in a world-class preboarding program for new hires in sales. We hope leaders can steal some ideas to improve how they motivate employees before Day 1.
Let's start with our chart of the week.
When it comes to "conversational intelligence" tools in the sales technology landscape, there's Gong, Chorus, and everyone else.
Even between the two, Gong's valuation of $7.25B dwarfs Chorus's recent sale to ZoomInfo at $575MM.
Let's examine why the ZoomInfo and Chorus marriage makes sense for both sides and how it might impact the sales world moving forward.
A few words flash across the screen – Go-To-Market Intelligence – when watching ZoomInfo's hype video announcing the Chorus acquisition. The company wants to build a new category that's different from Clari, Gainsight, and People.ai. Though quite intelligent and robust, those platforms focus on internal revenue operations from marketing to sales to customer success.
ZoomInfo's strategy is to build an entire platform – an ever-growing database – that taps into all the external forces that go into revenue generation.
This strategy started well before last week's acquisition. Looking at ZoomInfo's explicit labels on the product suite, new additions send a clear message they intend to compete with most sales tech heavyweights and high-flying startups:
Chorus recorded 35 million calls last year. The tool will record even more this year. ZoomInfo thinks those transcribed calls are gold for sales leaders as data insights quickly become the planet's most valuable commodity. Paired with a supercharged and highly accurate leads database, Chorus envisions a win-win for both sides.
From ZoomInfo's CEO:
Combined with ZoomInfo’s intelligence data and go-to-market motions, Chorus will change how go-to-market teams search for target accounts, monitor account activity, trigger automated workflows, and expand buying committees. In short, it will allow salespeople to enter meetings with complete intelligence about each participant and company. Together, ZoomInfo and Chorus will open doors where no doors existed before.
That last sentence got us thinking.
Could a rep one day log into ZoomInfo to see the last call a prospect joined, even if it was outside her sales team? Would she have access not to the call recording itself but pertinent information like sentiment analysis, what time the call occurred, how long the prospect talked, how long the call lasted, and how many colleagues joined in from the company?
Could a rep one day already know the prospect's pain points and objections, which competitors are in the mix, who is the incumbent? All of this intelligence, right inside ZoomInfo.
Given the constant scrutiny over privacy laws, it isn't easy to imagine this type of future. Still, the current state of advertisers' ability to tap into vital demographic information makes us wonder if ZoomInfo could one day offer this type of insight.
Virtual selling accelerated the growth for both Gong and Chorus, so we think more reps will get exposed to the value of "conversational intelligence" as closing deals over Zoom isn't going away anytime soon.
For those reps not using a call recording tool, we think Chorus – now backed by ZoomInfo's brand and marketing power – will make its way in front of your manager. This deal's headline is excellent exposure for the nascent space.
We imagine a few sales teams will switch from Gong to Chorus by the start of 2022. Tool and platform fatigue is real, so the idea of contracting the tech stack is attractive.
Despite Gong's valuation and recent Series E funding, this certainly isn't good news to hear about your main competitor. ZoomInfo's near-monopoly and stronghold in the leads database category makes it one of the stickiest tools in the sales leader's tech stack.
That alone gives Chorus reps a puncher's chance to compete in Gong deals. Chorus will inevitably have more pricing power and leverage in negotiations too.
Gong's the market leader and has a nine-figure lead in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Triangulating valuations and employee headcount with bookings, Gong is most likely near $150,000,000 in ARR. An estimate for Chorus would be $35,000,000 (ZoomInfo expects $700MM in ARR for FY '21 with the Chorus acquisition included).
Gong's product gets the slight nod over Chorus with better dashboarding and analytics, a more modern user interface, and the ability to identify multi-threading in deals. Their branding and marketing horsepower might even exceed ZoomInfo's. In case you missed it, here's their Super Bowl commercial.
This chart, courtesy of Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools, shows how the sales tech landscape has exploded recently. From CRM systems at the bottom of the chart to "data intelligence" tools right above (where ZoomInfo lives) to "skills development" (where Chorus and Gong align), there are close to a thousand tools a sales leader could include in her tech stack.
We believe future deals are on the horizon where a big fish joins forces with a smaller fish, and everyone else in the ocean fights to survive. Market consolidation is healthy and promotes efficiencies, but we hope it won't stunt the product innovations we've seen over the last few years. Tools like ZoomInfo and Chorus certainly play a part in making us better sellers.
According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions research, a staggering 22% of all new hires leave within 45 days of starting a new job. One-third start looking for a new job only six months in after day one of employment.
When factoring in the cost of turnover – a study by Deloitte pegged it at 3x an employee's salary – it's critical to select and retain the talent we hire. Building a world-class preboarding program for sales can help prevent new hires from jumping ship.
Once employers extend an offer and the sales leader or rep accepts, the work of engaging, motivating, and onboarding these new employees into the organization begins.
With the tight labor market and employees quitting at rates not seen since the dot com boom era, it's vital to roll out some combination of the following steps:
Day 1 - email the future employee, sharing the good news that an offer is coming.
Day 2 - hold a video meeting to go through the offer package and terms of employment.
Day 3 - send a branded deck with offer details spelled out clearly.
Day 6-8 - set a clear deadline for the candidate to accept or reject the offer.
Day 9 - send an employment agreement to make it feel more official.
Day 10 - make a courtesy call to check in and help answer any questions.
Day 11 - send a text welcoming the new employee to the team
Day 12 - announce to the company or sales team that the new employee is joining.
Day 13 - encourage future team members to reach out to the new employee on LinkedIn and share congratulatory messages.
Day 14 - send the onboarding class a group email.
Day 15 - start a messaging thread with relevant learning content right inside LinkedIn Learning.
Day 16 - recommend some additional resources such as books, blogs, or podcasts.
Day 17 - share "all-hands" recordings, a customer highlight reel, and an overview of the company and team goals.
Day 18 - keep the new hire engaged with a strategic question (or two) to ponder before starting.
Day 19 - send out a survey about the company's current tech stack and asking for the new employee's level of comfort to customize their onboarding.
Day 20 - share screenshots of the new employee's calendar for the first few weeks with meetings already booked; of course, build in ample downtime for breaks and self-directed learning.
Day 21 - mail the new employee's equipment, company swag, or a small gift basket!
Kyle Peterson, head of sales at Catalyst Software, posted on LinkedIn his five tips before Day 1. He believes talking with a customer or prospect as close to the first day as possible reinforces the mission and purpose of the company for new hires.
Given remote working for many, company IT departments now have a penchant for allowing enough time to ship equipment well ahead of the employee's start date. Sales enablement and corporate onboarding teams also like the efficiency of having monthly hiring classes.
Work in any or all of these twenty-one steps to engage new hires before Day 1!
Before we go, here are two articles to check out:
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