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Week of Nov. 26, 2019


Not collecting sales tax on delivery fees could be a problem for food delivery companies, Xactly expands to Latin America, and more sales news

MindTickle joins LinkedIn Learning Solutions to enhance sales enablement. The sales readiness and enablement platform has integrated with LinkedIn’s partner program to allow users access to over 15,000 LinkedIn Learning online courses for knowledge and skill development. Gopkiran Rao, chief strategy and marketing officer at MindTickle said, “By integrating LinkedIn Learning with MindTickle and leveraging our onboarding, microlearning, role play, and coaching modules, organizations can improve skills and put knowledge into action for customer-facing teams.”

Xactly expands its global footprint to Latin America. The provider of cloud-based sales performance management (SPM) software plans to open offices in Latin America, with a hub in Mexico City and new offices in São Paulo, Bogotá, Santiago, and Lima. This will allow the company to tap into the rising demand for SPM software in the Latin American market. The news of the expansion comes on the heels of the company’s significant international growth in France, Germany, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, India, and Romania.

DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats neglect to collect sales tax on delivery fees in some states. In a recent story, Vox revealed that the food delivery companies were not collecting sales tax on delivery and service fees in some states where it is required. The companies behind the apps could be in trouble if regulators take notice and object. Another food delivery company, Grubhub, has reportedly collected hundreds of millions of dollars in tax on delivery and service fees in the same states.

Week of Nov. 12, 2019


UK regulators greenlight Salesforce and Tableau deal, meat-free burgers turn climate change concerns into sales pitch, and more sales news

InsideSales.com rebrands as XANT. Under the new name, the company will continue to provide sales engagement solutions. In addition, XANT will expand its newly launched Revenue Acceleration Cloud to incorporate marketing and account management teams, as well as sales. The change in name reflects the company’s attempt to highlight its new revenue acceleration solution and move beyond being a sales-only solution.

Sales engagement platform provider SalesLoft acquires sales management company Costello. The acquisition was announced Nov. 4, and comes just months after SalesLoft raised $70 million in a Series D funding round. With the acquisition, SalesLoft will be able to leverage Costello’s user dashboards, quick deal updates, and guided selling playbooks, so sales teams can better nurture leads and manage sales on its platform. In addition to merging Costello’s features into its own platform, SalesLoft plans to continue to support Costello’s existing customers and enhance its own product’s capabilities.

Climate concerns become a sales pitch for meat-free burgers. Companies that produce plant-based alternatives to meat burgers, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are pitching their products as being part of a climate-friendly lifestyle. Beyond Meat’s logo, for example, is a cow in a cape on a green circle, highlighting its mission to “positively impact climate change.” Impossible provides a plant-made meat replacement that “bleeds like beef”; the company aims to contribute to ending animal agriculture entirely by 2035. Efforts to turn climate change into a sales pitch come amid rising awareness of the meat industry’s large carbon footprint.

UK regulators give go-ahead to Salesforce and Tableau to integrate operations. The two software companies came together earlier this year when Salesforce acquired Tableau for $15.7 billion in August. However, the deal was stymied when the U.K.’s antitrust regulator, Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), passed an order asking the companies to keep their operations separate while it examined the merger to determine the impact on market competition. With the recent approval, the two companies will be able to start integrating their business operations. CMA, however, plans to continue to assess the deal, still leaving open the possibility of regulatory actions that could include asset divestitures or certain restrictions on operations.

Week of Oct. 29, 2019


U.S. retail sales drop in September, Vendr raises $2 million in funding, and more sales news

Demodesk secures $2.3 million in funding for sales-focused meeting platform. The startup is building an intelligent online meeting tool specifically designed for inside sales and customer service teams. Demodesk does not require users to download anything to use it and the experience is meant to be more interactive than traditional web conferencing, with both participants having the option to interact with the screen. When the salesperson is presenting a slideshow, however, only they will see the presentation notes. The company plans to use the funding to further develop its technology and scale the teams in its two main offices in Munich and San Francisco.

U.S. retail sales drop in September. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales in the country dropped 0.3% in September. This is the first drop in sales since February, and it comes as a surprise, as economists had predicted a rise for September. Put together with the lingering trade war and weaker business investments and manufacturing, this report could trigger fears of a slow down to the nation’s longest economic expansion on record.

Vendr raises $2 million for enterprise sales SaaS solution. The startup’s product is a subscription software service that is designed to let other companies and startups purchase or upgrade their software solutions directly through the software platform. Aiming to put an end to “persuasion driven” sales, the startup wants to bring the consumer-product-purchase experience to enterprises that are purchasing software. Vendr was founded 14 months ago and is already profitable, having reached $1 million in annual recurring revenue. It is also showing a 15% month-over-month growth rate.

Week of Oct. 15, 2019


Gartner highlights impact of blockchain for lead generation, new sales tax rules take effect in many U.S. states, and more sales news

As much as 4.2% rise expected in 2019 holiday sales in U.S.

The National Retail Federation announced that it expects holiday sales to rise by as much as 4.2% this year, despite signs of a slowing economy and the impact of U.S.-China trade war. Sales are estimated to grow to between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion, up from $707.5 billion reported last year.

New sales tax rules take effect in more than a dozen states.

Changes in sales tax compliance laws kicked in on Oct. 1, requiring remote sellers and marketplace facilitators in more than a dozen states to collect sales tax subject to certain criteria, which vary by state. Sellers must ensure they understand which laws affect them and how. The complexity of the process can make tax compliance challenging for retailers, especially small to midsize businesses.

Gartner highlights transformational impact of blockchain for lead generation in sales.

The use of blockchain for lead generation has garnered press and industry interest recently, helping it reach the Innovation Trigger in Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycle for CRM Sales Technology. Blockchain offers businesses the ability to generate the most current and highest-quality leads via crowdsourcing collection methods. In addition, it allows monetizing data while also protecting privacy. Gartner notes that this is the first time the technology is entering the sales world, and it has the potential to transform how organizations source leads.

Week of Oct. 1, 2019


AI can close four times as many sales as a human, Salesforce expands financial service cloud, and more sales news

Mastercard launches digital sales platform for farmers

In partnership with Rabobank, Mastercard is offering a digital platform to make it easier for farmers to sell produce and build a sales network. With this platform, Mastercard intends to expand digital access for one million farmers in emerging markets, building on its Mastercard Farmer Network, which has connected farmers across regions in Africa and Asia.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is four times more effective than some human salespeople

A study shows that when customers don’t know they’re interacting with a chatbot, AI can be four times more effective at sales than inexperienced workers. However, when consumers know it’s a chatbot on the line, sales rates decline by around 80%. This data empowers businesses to improve their implementation of chatbots and how they use AI to target customers.

Salesforce expands financial services cloud to bring insurance sales agents closer to policyholders and insurers

New features include an Agent and Customer Service Rep Console, prepackaged Lightning Flow templates, and prebuilt analytics via Einstein, the AI tool for customer relationship management. Salesforce has introduced these features to its Financial Services Cloud to help sales agents engage policyholders at the right time and place and to support cross-sell and upsell activities.

Week of Sept. 17, 2019


Agents waste over half a billion hours every year with bad software, Salesforce launches a new ad campaign, and more sales news

B2B salestech adoption prioritizing AI, refining sales processes to accelerate deals. Millions of dollars are being invested in developing sales enablement and intelligence tools, increasing the number of distinct salestech solutions by 25% from 2018. However, industry experts note that sales reps need to focus on process and strategy before tools, even though they are increasingly learning to rely on tech to boost efficiency and automate tasks.

Sales and support agents waste over half a billion hours every year using bad software. The wasted time is spent searching for information, clicking through menus that are not intuitive, and working around bugs and missing functionalities. These activities represent $8.3 billion in lost productivity every year, as was revealed in a recent survey conducted by customer engagement software company Freshworks Inc.

Salesforce launches new ads to explain what the $130 billion company actually does. The ad campaign will use radio, print, TV, and digital channels, as well as metro ads and local events to showcase how its tech is helping businesses. With this ad campaign, the company hopes to increase awareness about its products, acknowledging that even though there is a high recognition of the brand, most people don’t understand how its products actually work.

Mediafly acquires iPresent in a bid to expand global footprint. The acquisition joins Mediafly’s existing Evolved Selling portfolio with iPresent’s user interface and setup design. This combination will allow Mediafly to bundle sales enablement workshops and advisory services, content management, interactive selling tools such as ROI and total-cost-of-ownership calculators, sales readiness tools, AI-powered CRM integration, and analytics into a single platform.

Week of Aug. 27, 2019


What LinkedIn’s new features mean for sales teams, desalination equipment manufacturer uses AR to cut pre-sales visits in half, and more sales news

Why “tell them something they don’t know” is bad advice in B2B sales. Sixty percent of buying decisions are actually to postpone the decision. This is partly because the sales approach to “tell the lead something they don’t know” can actually encourage the salesperson to develop and share “irrelevant factoids” instead of delivering insights, as the strategy intends. Instead, salespeople should customize their approach based on who they’re talking to and where they are in the sales cycle. This will hook more leads and increase the chances of conversion.

Water-treatment equipment company cuts pre-sale visits in half with AR. Water-treatment equipment company, Magna Imperio Systems Corp., is using a 3D augmented reality (AR) system to let buyers visualize the equipment in their homes using their mobile devices. Letting buyers see how the equipment fits into their space effectively has reduced pre-sale visits from an average of six to three or fewer. This is an interesting example of how new technologies are transforming not just consumer-focused sales but also business-to-business (B2B) sales.

LinkedIn expands features to surface more content for sales teams. The social networking platform for professionals has integrated its content discovery tool, Elevate, with its lead management tool, Sales Navigator, making it easier for sales professionals to share content and track leads on LinkedIn. For example, a new feature called “active status” lets sales professionals know when a lead is active on LinkedIn and expanded search results will give sales professionals 2.5 times more potential leads.

ReadyCloud CRM rebrands as ReadyCloud Suite. The eCommerce tool rebranding itself could help it move out from under the shadow of the label of “CRM” and highlight the fact that the tool is intended to help online stores understand customers better with the help of cross-channel sales data.

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Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari is a specialist analyst covering Sales and Account Management markets. She received her Masters degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world's leading technology products and companies.

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