For sales organizations, today’s announcement that InsightSquared has raised a $13.5 million Series C round is very exciting. With the Salesforce Analytics Cloud likely to focus on platform capabilities, and with the possibility of delays, it’s welcome news that InsightSquared is making a big commitment to easy-to-use sales analytics. This is especially true for their core audience of small businesses, which have never been served by BI (Business Intelligence) companies, such as Domo, Birst, Good Data, Tableau and others.
But the news from Cambridge is also reason for us to celebrate here at BrightFunnel headquarters in San Francisco. Just as InsightSquared is filling a very large niche in BI for sales organizations, BrightFunnel is helping modern, B2B marketing organizations become more data-driven and predictable. With the marketing technology landscape now settling, and the marketing ops function emerging, we believe it’s time for someone to focus on the analytical needs of B2B marketers. Their challenges are no less important than those of sales teams, and they are inadequately addressed by BI solutions.
So if you’re a rapidly growing business and you’re finding that most of your B2B buying cycle (and revenue generation) is happening before the sales team even gets involved, we’d encourage you to consider BrightFunnel. An easy test for fit is the 5-50-500 rule: you’ve built an initial marketing and market development team (5+ people), your company is no longer a small business (50+ employees), and you’re making sizable investments in marketing ($500k+ annual spend). Customers who fit that profile, such as ServiceMax, are seeing great success.
Here’s how BrightFunnel focuses on the unique needs of B2B marketers:
We cover the entire B2B buyers’ journey.
The B2B buyers’ journey involves multiple touchpoints, across many people in a customer organization. It can span months, even years. What you care about is not whether some arbitrary campaign or lead source was the first or last, but about the overall journey, and the appropriate, stage-specific marketing mix to take a prospect and turn them into a happy customer. We do this by taking an account-based, multi-touch attribution approach that looks at all touches across stages of your demand waterfall, even that surreptitious, late-night whitepaper-reading by your prospect’s CFO.
We help you forecast and plan marketing results.
It isn’t enough to measure the past. To be strategic, marketers must have a view of likely performance against Board-level priorities. But the key difference with Sales is that sales forecasting often involves gleefully pointing at fast-approaching iceberg, with little recourse. Our bag-carrying brethren can be awarded such latitude, given their proximity to the close. B2B marketers cannot afford such leeway. If today’s efforts are likely to result in insufficient pipeline and revenue over two quarters, we need to know that, and react to that information by adjusting our plans. BrightFunnel’s scenario analysis not only helps you plot the best course of action, but helps you do it in a way that brings along your CEO, CFO and VP Sales, by speaking to their future plans.
We identify themes that resonate.
Revenue-centric marketing is a team sport. Marketing ops and demand gen professionals rely on product marketers and content-creators to appropriately position their offerings and create the right content for the right audience. But too often, the feedback loop isn’t closing. We have precise granularity on hundreds or thousands of campaigns tracked in Marketo, but often can’t tell the product team whether, say, CIOs prefer the security-oriented messaging, and Directors of IT like the innovation themes. And by the way, the pattern in EMEA is reversed (so those guys are complaining for a reason). Such insights can only come from drilling down into revenue outcomes, and connecting marketing — including themes and audiences — directly to revenue.
We make it easy to collaborate.
Whether you’re prepping your Board slides, or making key decisions on your weekly team meeting, you need a way to simplify the process of uncovering insights from data. You can then make decisions from those insights. But that process invariably involves influencing multiple people, at various levels of seniority, expertise and attention span. While you think your pivot table is beautiful, no one else does; so you need ways to communicate insights in a way that’s shareable, easy to understand, and I daresay, beautiful.
We can “clean up” your messy data.
Finally, we know that you’re ashamed of your data. But you probably shouldn’t be. What you see as unattractive inconsistency in process and data, we see as rich testament to your rapid growth and evolution. And the data must often remain messy for another reason: Salesforce is primarily for the sales organization, and must be optimized as such; marketing automation systems (MAS), such as Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, HubSpot and Act-On, must serve the needs of front-line campaign managers who need a granular rules engine, reliable delivery and a path to speedy execution. Where does it leave the CMO or Director of Marketing Operations seeking decision insights? To make any sense of the data from CRM and MAS, they must first clean their data, right? Not quite. With BrightFunnel, we virtually “clean” your data by applying intelligent, policy-based rules and filters so that your data is accurate and manageable. This produces attribution, forecasts and plans that you can be proud of.
So as you see above, the next generation of intelligence companies will look and perform very differently from BI companies of old. We are delighted to join InsightSquared as one such emerging company upending traditional BI.
Nadim Hossain is co-founder and CEO of BrightFunnel. You can follow him on Twitter @nadimhossain.