Trends in Technology Used to Drive Revenue Growth

Reading Time: 28 minutes

Overview: In this RevTech keynote Dave Elkington and Godard Abel discuss martech and salestech trends heading into 2021 at the Annual RevTech Summit.

About the speaker: Godard Abel is the co-founder and CEO of G2. He previously built cloud CPQ pioneers BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce).

Dave: Hi, my name is Dave Elkington, I’m on the board of ChatFunnels, the host of the virtual event. And I’m super excited to introduce Godard Abel. Godard and I have been friends, and we’ve known each other for years. Godard is the CEO and founder of G2. Everybody knows who G2 is. I believe everybody knows who Godard is. This is a company that is revolutionizing the way we think about technology and the way we interpret when we’re making buying decisions. I think everybody at this point, goes  through G2 to understand better what the company’s reputation is, and what the features are, and a price points are. And this is really been Godard vision for a long time.

As Billy Bateman, the founder of Chatfunnels, was thinking about different keynotes. We were talking about revtech revenue technology in this Revtech event, we thought there is one person if he would be willing to keynote this event, it would be pivotal to really understand what’s happening in the market, and understanding what’s happening in a COVID context, and what’s happening next. He was willing to do this. So, again, I’m very excited to welcome him. I’d love a little bit of background, if you’d share with the group here. Love you to share where you’re from how you got into entrepreneurship. Then let’s talk about G2. But really, how did you get to G2? 

Godard: Thank you for having me here. Dave. Great to be with you. I think you and I both been entrepreneurs in this world of sales and marketing tech a long time. But I did start my first company, Big Machines way back in 2000. So which was still really early. Yeah, it was really early, and really in some ways too early. Because we did really struggled for a few years. We were building a cloud or SaaS app all the way from 2000. Back then I was actually inspired by my father’s business. So my father was also an entrepreneur originally in Germany.

He moved our family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because he was building a small family pump manufacturing company. Really also spawned my idea for big machines. Yep. Because the internet was just emerging. And obviously, I remember even back then Amazon was already hot. But Amazon was just selling books. Yeah, the idea I really had was to help my father sell his highly engineered complex pumps online.  

Dave: Interesting. And I didn’t know this actually. This is early, right. I mean, this is 2000. That’s First of all, a really hard time to start any company. If this is at the beginning of Right? companies were declining. Technology, like there was the bubble and it burst or right on the verge of bursting. So you’re helping your dad, Was he an engineer, then I take it? 

 Godard: Yeah, he was an engineer. And the pumps were very engineered. And so when I was talking about the internet, he just said to me, hey, it’s not gonna be relevant for my business. Yeah, he was back in Pittsburgh, I was already out in the Silicon Valley. I had gotten out there for schools working with another startup. Like everyone in the valley, I’m like, no, that the internet’s gonna change everything. Look, every pump we sell is custom configured. Where we have different motors, couplings housings based on the customer’s applications. I need smart German pump engineers, to help the customer pick the right pump. But then I really seen Cisco and Dell, were already selling high tech products, PCs, routers, 

 Dave: It’s the Dell of pumps, right? Like it’s bigger. And I just said the word I realize how Big Machines probably then came about. So how, what was the transition transition to them Big Machines from the pumps? 

Godard: Well, and I think, but the idea was, my dad only had two IT guys who, frankly didn’t know anything about the internet, or what you today called the cloud. And so that’s right kind of division, hey, let’s build something in the cloud where you don’t need IT people. You can pump engineer, you just upload your products, put in your rules. And then you could enable e-commerce for pumps or any big machine, right, any complex industrial product. But we realized we had to make it super easy. We had to do it in the cloud, that you didn’t have to buy your own servers, build your own infrastructure, which obviously today, nobody would do. But back then there really was no cloud.

Frankly, that was also what was hard about Big Machines, we had to build our own cloud. We had set up data centers and all that stuff was just so much harder. That’s also why the business struggled, because in hindsight, we were a little bit ahead of the times my father signed up as a customer, but he was my dad. Most of the industry really was reluctant, especially after dot bomb, 911 happened they weren’t investing in anything and they certainly. I remember 2002 as calling on companies are like interesting idea, but when you’re going out of business. By the way, the internet was just a fad. So good luck to you. But I’m not I’m not buying your software.  

Dave: Those are fantastic meetings, right? They really boost your confidence. Most people don’t remember this. In fact, I had a conversation. I was in a group that was listening to the founder of Facebook, and he was sharing how much easier it is for entrepreneurs to build technologies now. Because like, you don’t have to think about buying servers. And like, all of the infrastructure that’s in place today versus what it was even 10 years ago, is so different. It’s so much easier. I think we just are now standing. We’re sounding like our parents back when we were entrepreneurs. It was so much harder. It was uphill always. That’s really interesting. When did Big Machines really become a thing? Like, when did you feel like you turned a point to where you’re like, Okay, this is a success. 

Godard: It was really at about 2007.  

Dave: What was the impetus? What made it feel like, we kind of got this. 

Godard: I think what really what really started taking off for me was partnering with Salesforce. I actually reached out to Marc Benioff, the founder, CEO of Salesforce back in 2003. He was just starting to launch it wasn’t even the app exchange yet, but their first API’s are first partners. Yeah. I saw Salesforce, we were an early Salesforce customer. Kind of at the beginning, and Mark talks about in his book where he was just selling to other dot coms. We use his CRM from the beginning. And then we saw the opportunity Hey, RCP Q, which became a more horizontal sales configuration, sales quoting platform. That would be a really nice compliment to a cloud CRM like Salesforce.

Obviously at that time, especially Salesforce was really just SFA, just Salesforce automation. But Mark was open to the idea is like, Oh, great. I’m just starting to build my first partner ecosystem. We signed up early, but even then that for a couple years struggle, because Salesforce was only selling to small companies, but they started going up market. In 2007 one of the breakthroughs was, I remember, we did a big joint deal with Salesforce. Big copier, or they called the printer, a company. And all of a sudden, what happened at Rico, Salesforce was trying to sell them, they’re trying to display Siebel. But Siebel also had their own CPQ. They had their own configurator. What Rico said to Salesforce Hey, without a CPQ, because they sold in these very complex printing systems or like we need a configurator.

Then Luckily, Salesforce like, Oh, we don’t have one. But we have this partner Big Machines, and we’ve got over 1000 seats, and all of a sudden, big deal, hundreds of 1000s of ACV. And we started getting multiple of those. All of a sudden I was like. Then we were lucky. I think they also I think Mark also got people to trust the cloud. By 2007 companies instead of saying, oh, the cloud, the internet, that was a fad. Yeah, at least a visionary customer started seeing Oh, wow. It’s actually a better way to deploy software.  

Dave: This is a real way to consume technology. That’s interesting. At InsideSales, I was the founder of inside sales. That ecosystem was a turning point. You described it right. It was very early. Early in that ecosystem, it kind of worked, it kind of didn’t. Building into Salesforce kind of work. But by about 2008, 2009, it started to become a little more stable, and your bigger companies came into it. That’s amazing. Tell me you sold the business, and then were you cooking this idea for G2 to for a while? When did the the concept of G2 to come to you? 

Godard: Yeah. Ultimately big machines had become a success. We wound up selling the company to Oracle. That experience, that pain we had putting big machines on the map was really what inspired G2. We were frustrated, especially the status quo at the time was Gartner. I remember and Gartner was so key at getting the customers but it just took nine years for Big Machines to ever get a Gartner report. It took us 12 years to become the leader. Ironically, right after we became a leader was when Oracle called and said, Hey, we want to buy the company. But as entrepreneur that is super frustrating to take 12 years to be recognized as the leader.

The other problem we saw was hard for software buyers to discover our CPQ app. I remember we had a customer Rolls Royce, and they make big steam turbines, big machines. And eventually they discovered us, I think, through Google, but remember, we talked to them, they’re like, wow, we wish we’d known about you guys three years ago. We’ve been trying to build our own CPQ. And we’re not good at building software. But it was really hard to discover, great apps like Big Machines. We wanted to create a much more consumer experience. And when we started in 2012, Yelp was really hot.

They really changed how we discover restaurants and things in our day to day lives. We really thought, wow, why can we get more insight on $100 hotel room on TripAdvisor, and we can get on $100,000 CRM package. And so we just wanted to bring that consumer model, peer reviewed user reviews, real time information and try to make a buying b2b apps more like shopping on Amazon. 

Dave: That’s amazing. Because I think any entrepreneur and frankly, any salesperson or marketer, who’s listening to us right now. We’ve got kind of a who’s who, in the audience. It’s surprising how many people seem to be interested in this topic. But everyone’s been frustrated with this problem of like, how do we become noticed for what makes us unique? And again, that Gartner Forrester, IDC approach was kind of the only real way to do it all the way through the 90s. And really, largely through the early 2000s. So this really became a platform that small startups could be recognized way before and frankly, in a way that is much more cost effective.

I mean, instead of spending the 100 $200,000 a year fee with gardener or Forrestter. Which can be effective, assuming you have the time, and you’re selling in a very large enterprise. It’s very effective. But boy, that’s a long route. When did you say okay, I’m gonna go start this? And then what were the early days of G2? what was the goal? The philosophy? How did you get to the point where, like, I’m gonna go do this? 

Godard: Like I said, I was cooking up the idea. And then part of the impetus also for get wanting to get back with what I call my entrepreneurial family. Because after leaving Big Machines. I had a little bit of time off, and it’s time I live in Chicago. But after a few months of not really working, I was somewhat depressed. My wife and friends were like, what’s wrong with you? You just had a great exit, why aren’t you happy. Then it kind of also realized, wow, I just I miss the challenge, the thrill of building something with a team.

Then I also got together with four of my team members from Big Machines. We discussed a bunch of ideas, but I always had this idea of, let’s disrupt gardener, let’s change software buying. Ultimately, we all jumped around it. And because we thought, wow, if we could change our industry. Also at the time, that was when Marc Andreessen set software in the world. We also thought, wow, SaaS and cloud is just getting started. We also said this is going to be an inevitable wave, like someone is going to create this. Why not us? 

Dave: Look, I think there was some brilliance in it. I think people were questioning how big is SAS? And is it really a thing? Is technology really going to be as big as people like Marc Andreessen was talking about or Benioff was talking about. But you definitely were sitting around the corner. Again what was the primary goal. Like when we build this, this is like the problem we think we can solve. 

Godard: Yeah, and I think it really is consumerizing buying. So that it’s really easy to discover the best app for your business, and ultimately buy it online. Just like we’re shopping on Amazon. And we thought that it was gonna be massive opportunity, because it’s a massive growing industry. The other reality we saw, and still today, right? Also, software vendors all have to spend so much on sales and marketing. Even if you look at an amazing company, like Salesforce, if you look at their public company, they probably spend half of revenue on sales and marketing. That’s wonderful. But it also tells you it’s still an inefficient industry.

I think that the software vendors have to educate the buyers and make sure they discover their apps. And obviously, look at consumer products, Amazon, change the world, where it can just be 2 or 3% in sales and marketing. Then that also means for the software buyer, that means the software vendors can invest more in product. Invest more in customer success. That’s how we also think we can make the world better, because we can make it much more efficient for software buyers and sellers to connect.

Yeah, the software vendors can really just compete based on having the best products, the best customer service. And I do think a lot of the emerging vendors, like you’ll get zoom, and you guys lucky to meet Eric Won the Zoom founder. In early days, we shared an investor. I remember I first met him in 2014. Because we shared an investor in emergence capital. And I was skeptical. I’m like, why does the world need another video conferencing app? There was already, Goto meeting.  

Dave: There were a bunch. And they snuck up, right? They snuck up and passed everybody up. 

Godard: Really his strategy was simple. He still talks about it today. He’s focused on delivering happiness, and delivering more happiness to customers to his employees. But he just really focused so much on user experience. User happiness, and also from the beginning from when he and I met, he always loved the idea of G2. You’re a great way for me to validate that I do deliver more happiness. And to actually differentiate through customer satisfaction through customer success. Today, I think it’s like 50,000 reviews on G2. Really highly rated app. One other interesting story, I think he wound up taking some growth capital from Sequoia. This was maybe like 2017. But I also met the Sequoia partner invested. And he said one of the things that gave them confidence. They had to pay even at a time a high valuation.

Obviously, in hindsight, it was brilliant. But the timing, they had to overpay, but part of the way they justify, they said, they looked at all the reviews on G2. They saw that Zoom had a statistically significant, I think three standard deviation, higher customer sat, than WebEx and other apps. Okay, this gives us the confidence they thought to kind of overpay to get into the company. I think it’s also become an interesting leading indicator of, because the companies that had the really high sat that really take care of the customers, right, they do ultimately win in the market as well. 

Dave: So you look, if you’re weren’t sure if you’ve disrupted in a market, at that point, when you have Sequoia, one of the premium one of the top tier investment firms using your platform to determine value and market perception and actually paying a premium. At that point, you’ve got to be looking at yourself in the mirror thinking I have built something kind of interesting here. Now you bring up a really interesting point in the sales and marketing space, we’ve done a lot of research around how many touch points people make before they actually engage with a company. There’s been a shift over the last 10 years. It’s been a pretty aggressive shift where I think people relied on a salesperson to educate. So they would call in, they’d say, Okay, tell me about your product.

Tell me about the industry help me know what the right pricing points are. Let’s just call it mid 2000s. Today, people are not interested in that. A sales rep has basically two things, the growth title has two things that they’re trying to do. That they provide. Number one, it’s pricing. And the other one is kind of key features, differentiation and features. Aside from that, people will find all of the information online. So we know that there’s 17 research points before they ever reach out to a company. What we found in our research is G2, and sites like G2 are almost always either the first second or third. They will go to G2 to learn before they’ll even go to company websites.

What you also identified was the consumerization of research and the buying process, and this buying process has shifted really pretty aggressively. Let’s transition a little bit to what you think is happening in the market from a sales and marketing standpoint. This is a meety topic, there’s the COVID topic, but before we even get into COVID. What’s your sense on the divide of sales and marketing? Where are we at today? From your perspective? Like? Are they the same? Are they merging? It’s a very open ended question. What’s your sense in terms of sales and marketing? As a role in companies? Then there’s where’s it going? 

Godard: Yeah, now, and I think as an entrepreneur it’s always been a challenge how do you get your sales and marketing teams aligned? In the traditional world, it was more disconnected. It was kind of a pon marketing, hey, you deliver x leads x pipeline. Okay, you have to convert, a high percentage of that pipeline, close the deals. And then there was a lot of tension, right? Because the classic thing was always sales like, oh, you’re not giving me enough leads or the leads, you’re giving me your crap. And then marketing would say, No, I’m giving you plenty of leads, you stink at following up on them. Then as a CEO, how do I sort this out? 

Dave: Totally. They’re blaming each other in every case. Right? 

Godard: I think that’s more of the traditional world. I do think, because I think ultimately, what’s changing is the buyer behavior. As you said, Dave, I think also the software buyer, they’re doing all this online research. You mentioned 17 touch points, they’re looking, they’re really getting smart on their own. And they are finding sites like G2, that also LinkedIn, where they can also blind reference technology. Use a salesperson and I remember when I started in 2000, right. We got solution selling training. As a salesperson you control the information, right? And I think also classic sales training was Hey, only sprinkle the information on the customer but in return, always get something you want to, commit to the next step. 

Dave: Only give if you get. 

Godard: But the reality is that doesn’t really work anymore, because all the information is out there online. Find peers. And so I also think now modern sales and marketing has to change where it really is about the customer. It’s about the buyer and about their experience. How do they engage with you. I do think a great company also an example of this is HubSpot. Their founder CEO, Brian Halligan has done terrific job of this. But you also see it on G2. Their products have 1000s of really happy customer testimonials. But also they’ve always been about inbound. I think this is more modern sales marketing where they’ve always had more learn content. Hey, educate the marketer for free. Share with them. How do you write a press release. Share with them best practices, and then gradually walk them down the funnel?

Yeah, but allow the buyer to control it right? Where they can choose to engage with you. Okay, your contents amazing. Yes, I’ll give you my email so I can get your newsletter. So much smarter about marketing. Then when you’re ready, you’re like, Oh, I do need some more tech, and obviously, HubSpot, already knows. Then they’re actually able, I think their statistic is like, over half their business, they actually close without a salesperson even talking to the customer. That’s 50%. That’s obviously they’re more SMB focused. So that’s harder to do with large enterprises who still want to talk to someone. But I still think that’s a trend. This software buyer, a customer’s in control, they’re gonna get their own information.

And I also think sales and marketing. Now in my mind, they have to be very aligned to that much more customer oriented. I think also, the hard part is building the digital infrastructure. All that data is seamless, right? Obviously, that ideal world now marketing is digitally scoring, the buyer, the user, seeing how they’re engaging. And at some point, they’re like, oh, wow, they’re ready. Just the right moment sales does their part, right. They do the outreach, they do answer the questions, and they close the deal. But I think you need much better digital tools. To deliver that buyer customer experience. 

Dave: So tell me a little more about what you’re seeing. I mean, G2 is an interesting platform. And I’ve got to imagine you’re sitting at the top of the this information highway where you’re seeing new companies submit and get listed on G2. You’re seeing review trends. So I imagine you’re a little bit of the wizard in the tower, because you have access to information nobody else has. So what is the data that is? Or let me say differently. What technologies are you seeing that are solving these problems better? And are there specific companies? Are there trends? What are the categories that are emerging, that are really helping solve this consumerization of the enterprise buying experience? 

Godard: I do think, obviously, there’s the big platforms, the HubSpots of the world. But also we’re seeing on G2 now, there’s over 10,000, different sales, tech marketing tech apps. So I do think what’s really cool is now there are all these companies trying to solve all the digital pain points, and offer that seamless buyer customer experience digitally. I think we have seen even in the last year there’s over 1000 new apps listed in sales and martec. On G2, I think there’s more and more innovation. And what we have seen obviously, I think there’s it’s kind of in some ways getting more narrow, like one good example is like Gong, that just emerged Gong and chorus. It’s also a whole new category on G2 we call conversation intelligence software.  But that’s a category that didn’t exist 3, 4, 5 years ago.

All of a sudden, right, the technology tipped we’re now with AI and NLP, I think you guys were early in doing some of that InsideSales as well. But all of a sudden, the AI NLP started working better and better, right. You could parse these calls automatically draw the intelligence out of the conversations. And obviously, the big platform vendors, like Salesforce, also try to solve these problems. But I think oftentimes, like in that case, Gong, Chorus, whole new category emerged, where they just saw that one point better. Starting with just sales call recording transcription, drawing insights out of sales calls. I think that’s just one example where amazing new categories are popping up.

It’s a solid one pain point within the sales and Mar tech stack, hyper focus, right. And I think what all those vendors have to do in the successful ones like Gong. They integrate to the big platforms? Yes, you can push it back onto your Salesforce CRM or your HubSpot, platform, whatever it is. And I do think that’s a trend. There’s 1000s of new cool best of breed apps. I think you have to be really strong on API’s in a platform so that the data still flows, and you can be coordinated in your customer and buyer outreach. 

Dave: I mean, that that’s kind of one of the key questions, I’m actually super interested to get your take on it platform versus best of breed. And, again, I think there’s arguments on both sides. I think these these API ecosystems are helping, you know, improve the best of breed approach versus platform. But what’s your take? Where do you see people more satisfied? Again, you’ve got this inside of understanding where the trends are, and where people seem to be happy with it. What’s your take is best of breed or, or platform a better approach and at what segment size? 

Godard: And I really think especially as a customer, I think you need both. Obviously, you need a data platform like Salesforce as your master system of record. But I think also to really be an innovative company, right to get the highest sales productivity, the highest marketing productivity, you need best of breed apps. Because they do solve these single pain points, I think better and it has gotten a lot easier. You and I’ve also seen this over the last 20 years API’s used to be really hard. I remember like Big Machines, we partnered with things like web methods and tipco. Integrations were like months long. 

Dave: Even just hearing those two company names just like what a morass of integration and politics and policy and just try they made it. That’s very, very difficult to solve those kind of problems. 

Godard: Yeah. And I think with these modern rest API’s, right, and also, I think the big platforms, HubSpot, Salesforce, they’ve also built appexchange made it easier and easier to help in. But now you can do it with a couple clicks, put in your credentials. Right. And you’re connected. Good to go. Yeah. I do think and I think that’s what all the innovators in sales tech, Mar tech are doing, right. They’re obviously taking advantage of the platforms and just making it super easy for the customers to hook in. Then I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Now, as a sales or marketing leader, you can truly have the best of breed apps, solving particular pain points, while still having all the data come together in platform. But it does also require I mean, you need very smart savvy sales ops systems people, right, because a lot of companies still struggled actually, in the demo. It always works. Right, but then really operationalize it is still challenging. 

Dave: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. I mean, so what’s your take? And I referenced this before? It definitely feels both operationally and technically, the sales and marketing gap is getting very narrow. What’s your perception as you see what’s happening in the market? technologically, in the new new platforms? My theory, at least my hypothesis is, when you’re selling into Mar tech, or sales tech, you need to get sponsorship and buy up as much from the opposing department. So if I’m selling and marketing, they need sales sponsorship, and vice versa, because they’re really solving the same kind of problems. But where are we in that kind of consolidation of sales and marketing? From your perspective? 

Godard: I do think they just have to work together more closely. And I think part of it is work alignment. I think sometimes not putting it all under one person. But I also believe really systems and data is so key. There’s also one interesting example pie sauce segment. The customer data platform. I think they were just bought by Twilio for over $3 billion, which was obviously amazing. They weren’t that big yet. But as Twilio and others are seeing, wow, you really need to bring the data together in one customer platform, so you can really coordinate the sales and the marketing. I would argue even a lot of these traditional friction points and the org struggling is because the systems in the data aren’t there. Because I think once everyone has the same data, and yeah, we can all see the full customer lifecycle.

We can see, hey, another dollar on this marketing campaign results in this much revenue down the funnel. Once everyone sees it, arguably, a lot of controversy goes away. You no longer have to argue are these leads good or bad. If y’all have the same, the same insights, then it frankly becomes a fairly simple business decision. Now, let’s put a few more dollars in this campaign. A few less than that one, let’s hire more bdrs. I think once you have all the data, then they’re easy. 

Dave: Man you just hit on like five really interesting points first, why did Twilio buy, I mean, that’s it feels like a deviation from their core communication strategy. So what do you believe the strategy behind that was? And then I’m going to also follow up with asking, you talked about data, what’s your stance on ABM? But let’s peel this one piece at a time. First, why? Why did Twilio by segment? What an amazing, really interesting acquisition. 

Godard: Yeah, and I think and obviously, Twilio, traditionally, as we know, they’re more about, APIs is right comms voice. Then they added email. But they’re all about communications. And I think now they have a massive market cap, right, many billions. I think my story is he also realized they need to become more of a platform. Yeah. They obviously had amazing start is just best of breed voice and made it really easy to add voice to any application. Then they’ve done the same thing with email. But I think they also and part of it, also their coo George Hugh Must. Remember, he was a CEO of Salesforce.

I also suspect there’s someone following the Salesforce playbook of how do you really become a platform, instead of just being a vendor that has a couple of amazing best of breed apps? Then I do think with segment, right, the customer data platform level while we’re talking about it. I do think segment has that right? They have one platform to bring together all the data on the customer on the user. And then make sure that your sales and marketing outreach can be seamless based on that. Maybe that’s the new platform. So traditionally, Salesforce has been right? They own the data on all your customers on all your sales activities. But yeah, but maybe Twilio wants to become the new platform by having all that customer data. That’s in segment. 

Dave: That’s what I was leading you because I’m curious is this a play for Twilio to begin to compete with Salesforce. Because that becomes a system of record versus a Salesforce or a CRM at that point, right? 

Godard: Yeah. And so we’ll see.  

Dave: Now we don’t we don’t have too much more time, but I want to hit some interesting kind of meaty topics. ABM is such a buzzword in the sales and marketing space. Is it real. what is it? Of the things that seem to be working that you see what are the ones that are working? Or what are the approaches that are that are working in the market right now? 

Godard: I think a company’s marketing, back when I said earlier, I do think it’s an essential part of this. Because it’s about becoming more customer focused. Most of us in our systems we call a customer an account. 

Dave: They put ABM on their company, they go do another fundraise. What real of this stuff? Where’s the value? And I think you may have just answered it, is it really nothing more than just really kind of managing at an account level? I mean, what’s your sensor? 

Godard: Yeah, I think it’s really bringing them together. I think the also the weakness in traditional market automation systems, was that they were based around the contact, and around a person they weren’t based around. In b2b, we’re not selling to one person, or selling to a company. And so bringing together all those threads, right? What’s all the engagement? I do think, is this modern shift. Where you can monitor? How’s this company. Or at the account level? How are they engaging with you, and then keep track of all the digital signals scoring that, and then doing your outreach at the right time. We have a lot of categories around account based marketing, right, that are really emerging. But we do see a lot of vendors doing well.

There’s like 6Sense Terminus, Demand Base. But I definitely think and we’re seeing the traffic, more and more companies are interested in buying that kind of software. As I do think stitching together and a little bit, it’s a different way to solve what segment solvin. Stitching together all your information. All your data, all your marketing and sales activities at the customer level in a more coordinated way. because whats super frustrating as a customer. You probably still get a lot of this, right, because I do get a lot of inbound from bdrs. But it is super frustrating also to the buyer when it’s uncoordinated. And some BDR pings you and it’s the same conversation yesterday.

You just reply, you’re like, hey, by the way, you’re already talking to my VP of engineering. It’s not useful. And frankly, it’s annoying, it’s detrimental. I think that’s what account based marketing system we’re trying to solve is how do you orchestrate in a coordinated way across sales and marketing so that you do deliver a great customer experience? 

Dave: Yeah. Okay. So there’s value in it. It sounds like solving some of the same problem that segment was solving. It’s really understanding an account view of all both the buyer behavior and the seller behavior. What are the trending, you talk about you’re seeing a lot of traffic and research around ABM in the sales and marketing space. In this Revtech space. Where are you seeing the the current trend of research? Like what are the categories that seem to be pretty hot right now? 

Godard: Yeah. And there’s many, and I think one of them is one of the ones you helped create around sales engagement software. Yeah. That has over the last couple years. Frankly, as one we also started up before Gartner, Forrester, nutritional analysts got there. It has been amazing and been cool to see many great entrepreneurs, obviously, both inside sales, and I am also seeing Manny and outreach and Kyle and sales loft. But that’s just been a new category that’s really grown. 

Dave: It’s really amazing.  

Godard: I think we only started on G2 probably three years ago from nothing. It has grown to multiple unicorns. Every year now I look, there’s over a half a million sales leaders researching that kind of software now, but that’s just been amazing. And maybe category growth.  I already mentioned conversational intelligence. And I will say also, one related to account based marketing that we’re also involved in is buyer intent data. Because to fuel this account based marketing buyer intent data is all about the digital signals to give you signals on what are these companies shopping for now? Obviously, we we offer buyer intent data where you can actually see what companies are shopping for what right now. We’re not the only ones. There’s also apps like bombora, and many different data sources.

I think and that’s really the also the shift now is you can really digitally, much more figure out what are people shopping for. Also in the old days, that’s why you build inside sales. Now, the only way to do it in the old days, like when I started was to call people. Figure out what are they doing, and obviously, that’s still very valuable, but now you can call at the right time. When you know, they’re already interested and when you’ve seen there digitally already engaging. I think these trends coming together, and that’s fueling growth for for many different sales and marketing apps. 

Dave: And so I’m going to give a shameless plug for the G2 intent data. It’s probably not appropriate for you, but I will. Just for all the listeners and the people watching right now. G2 actually has a very, very unique data set, they can give you access to the companies that are searching your category, searching your company. If you give that kind of information to your salespeople into your marketers, that gives you the ability to engage at a time when we know people are actually likely to buy.

So again, I know that you probably aren’t going to do it, but I will pitch it. If you’re not, at least considering using that kind of an intent data. And even specifically, the G2 data is very, very rich, and it’s extremely valuable. So I would say if you’ve not dug into that, you should maybe pause the video, go to G2 go look at it.

Dig in a little bit more, because the cost versus the return the ROI on this is is exceptional. Anyway, just shameless plug. But we find we find a huge amount of value in it. I again, I think people would be remiss to not dig into it a little bit more. Tell me now, just two more questions. With COVID, how have people been I mean, the whole sell selling and marketing and buying environment is on its ear I think entirely. What are you seeing people do? Or what are the technologies? And what are the techniques? What’s working, what’s not working from your perspective? 

Godard: Yeah. And we did see with COVID in March and April, we saw tremendous surge in companies researching digital collaboration apps, enterprise video conferencing was up 400%. Right? Obviously, all of us in tech, we already had zoom, but also business collaboration apps like Slack but we had about 200 categories that surged three to 400%. The weeks because I think a lot of companies were somewhat panicked, right, because they didn’t have digital apps yet to run their business. And I think also in some of our investors we have investors like Excel and IVP leading VCs, what they’re also saying is, hey, this digitization trend was just accelerated four or five years.

I think it’s not only these broad collaboration apps, but also one of the categories that took off was HIPAA compliant messaging, right. And that’s for healthcare. HIPAA being the the protocol to make sure it’s all secure, and your healthcare data is private. But also, obviously, health care. But many industries had to shift to remote and serving patients remotely. We also have seen many vertical apps take off. So that that was pretty cool to see. And also that we could actually help people and discover those apps when when they really needed them. 

Dave: It’s you bring up an interesting point. I sit on a couple of different boards and help different organizations. And you’re right, like chat funnels, that the host of the event will be a full HIPAA compliance process. Because they saw really an initiation of lots of like, health related services and things like that. That might be an interesting just trick for the listeners here. If you’ve not really gone through a HIPAA compliance process. Billy the founder of Chatfunnels here has had lots of health care related opportunities. So if you’ve not gone through that HIPAA process, it is arduous. Right? It I mean, it’s a security and compliance process. But if you’ve gone through that, I think people would find there’s a lot of opportunity that they don’t normally have. So that’s an interesting point.

If you were to look around the corner a little bit? I mean, these are my favorite questions. No one’s gonna hold you accountable, except we’re all going to look back in twelve months. If you were to say, I think this is where the next 12, 24 and maybe, five years out from like, what are the things that you think are going to happen? Frankly, sales and marketing, I would unshackle you like in tech in general. What’s gonna happen? 

Godard: Yeah, and I think one overall good thing for all of us, it’s gonna keep growing. Right, software’s gonna keep eating the world. And I think overall year over year, our traffic was up by 100%. And I think that just means businesses are buying more software researching more software. I think that’s gonna be a continue to be a rising tide lifting all boats, so lucky to be in this industry. But I change this give you one example of one area that I think is gonna take off even more is privacy management. And then we talked about HIPAA rights for health care, but I think also now and we’ve all seen GDPR in Europe.

He’s taking off I think there’s also talk now with a new administration. And we’ve had ccpa and California consumer Privacy Act, which puts a lot more requirements on anyone handling consumer data. Yeah. Empower the consumer, right? If they want to be removed from your systems, like you have to be able to do that overnight. And so I think there’s gonna be a lot more focus on privacy. 

Dave: Management. Yep. That makes sense. 

Godard: And there’s all emerging category. We also have, you know, privacy management software, and there’s some vendors like one trust Data Grail. Emerging to serve this, but I do think privacy, and probably similarly, security. We already saw that this year where they’re also like 20%, more security apps all of a sudden listed on GT, because as everything goes digital, it’s wonderful. But I think it also creates those fears around privacy security.

We’ve seen many bad examples, that if we don’t secure now, all this digital data that we’re going to have big problems, no nation and as individual companies. So I do think privacy security are going to grow even faster. We’re already seeing that. But I think it’s going to continue in the next couple of years. 

Dave: What about from the buying trends of both sales and marketing technologies. If you were to say, this is the space I would bet on, both as a vendor and as a buyer. How should we think of another buying process or buying experience from your perspective?  

Godard: One trend, and it reminds me a little of the ethics change emerging a couple of years ago. Are these cloud marketplaces. AWS amazon web services is the largest. They have a massive cloud space. We, G2 are partnering with them. We also now send our reviews back to the AWS marketplace. I think the amount of volume and there is a change in buying behavior. A lot of CIOs they already used AWS services before also adding on many apps. They are starting to click buy on the AWS marketplace. While we also compete with Forreser they also have some good insights.

They are saying that 17% of 3 trillion in global BDP will go through E-Commerce and through marketplaces in the next couple of years. I do think that is a big shift. One thing we’re also experimenting with on G2 is we’re going to add a buy now button. Powered by AWS so if the app is also on AWS they can buy as a B2B buyer. I think that is going to be a big trend. As a vendor it’s a big opportunity. Because you can list your product on AWS marketplace and other marketplaces. I think this trend of B2B marketers actually transacting will be accelerated by these marketplaces. 

Dave: This is the first time I’ve heard someone be that bold in a prediction. What I’m hearing from you, and I love it. This is the continuation of consumerization of the B2B buying experience. These marketplaces are going to emerge and develop. It sounds like G2 is going to become a marketplace just like this, which is fascinating. I’d love to hear at a later conversation more of your vision. But these marketplaces are really going to drive the consumerization of the B2B buying experience. To where people have already done their research, they largely know what they want. So they don’t want to have to deal with an antiquated sales process. And they want to make a purchase. They expect to have in app onboarding and training and that kind of experience. 

Godard: I think that is going to be a massive trend and it’s already happening. But I think it’s only going to accelerate. And those of us selling products can take advantage of it. We do that to get in front of it. I think if you don’t enable that modern buying experience at checkout, I think vendors will fall behind.  

Dave: I don’t know if you guys realize the import of what he just said. There is an opportunity to arbitrage and get ahead of the market. If you can enable your technology and buying process to support that there is a chance you can sell way ahead of your competitive market. I think we’re out of time. Godard, what an amazing set of insights. That you for doing this.  

Godard: Glad I could chat with you. 

Dave: Let’s make this a thing. Let’s not wait a few years to do this again. As you see new insights let’s make sure we keep you in front of this audience. And just so everyone knows we expect around 2 to 3 thousand people listening to this right now. I think the insights you just shared with this group should help them sell a lot more and be more effective in the way we are engaging with our customers. Thank you again Godard.  

Godard: No problem I look forward to continuing the conversation.