CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 29 August 2019

All the latest martech and adtech news this week

Pitney Bowes sells Software Solutions for US$700m

Pitney Bowes has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Software Solutions business to Syncsort for US$700 million in cash.

The business encompasses location intelligence, data enrichment, customer information management and customer engagement offerings. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the calendar year, pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It comes after a strategic business evaluation last year which led the vendor's board and senior management commit to plans to unlock more value for shareholders.

Since then, the company has divested its Document Messaging Technologies (DMT) Production Mail and supporting software business; sold its direct operations within the global SMB business in six smaller European countries; paid down debt; and altered the return of cash to shareholders from a dividend to a share buyback. It's also launched Wheeler Financial Services, and continued to invest in its core business with new products in Global SMB and new capabilities in commerce services, including the expansion of its domestic delivery network.

The company plans to use the majority of the net proceeds from the Syncsort sale to pay down near-term debt maturities.

Syncsort CEO, Josh Rogers, said the acquisition is another step in the company's transformation and rapid growth story.

"We could not be more excited for the next phase of the journey with the Pitney Bowes software products and talented team as part of our world-class organisation,” he said. “Together, we will be one of the leading players in the data management software space and positioned to drive even greater value for customers and partners alike, especially in areas like regulatory compliance, security, data science and hybrid cloud.”

Leadspace On-Demand and SmartForms debute

Leadspace, a B2B customer data platform (CDP), has detailed its Summer product release including the general availability of Leadspace On-Demand user application.

Leadspace On-Demand offers users the ability to view details on the segments built with the Leadspace CDP, and see how they’re activated across channels. The app also allows customers to explore visualisations of their data to uncover ideal customer profiles and new segments to target. Data Health Reports show overall data health in real-time, and where the CDP is helping improve the data. There’s also a utility for creating new segments with look-alike modelling that includes companies and personas that resemble best customers.

To help customers activate data from the Leadspace CDP even faster, the company is officially announcing  SmartForms as part of its portfolio. This product came with the ReachForce acquisition, and enables customers to improve inbound lead form conversions, while also improving lead data quality. This, in turn, results in valuable downstream improvements in lead scoring, routing, and sales team prioritisation and productivity.

Other enhancements include Leadspace for Salesforce app to help customers integrate, enrich and manage Leadspace data in the popular CRM platform. The Summer release also includes a new integration to Pardot, the Salesforce-owned B2B marketing automation platform.

Zendesk to hire 70 more Australian workers

Customer management software player, Zendesk, is expanding its Australian footprint with plans to hire 70 more staff in engineering and software development locally.

The Victorian Minister for jobs, innovation and trade, Martin Pakula, announced the expansion by  Zendesk in Melbourne this week. The new jobs will focus on software development in big data, app marketplace design and integration, engineering support and platform design, with employees to work closely with Zendesk’s global team.

The announcement comes on the back of the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment in 2015 to support Zendesk in establishing its Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Centre in Melbourne. The new engineering jobs will push Zendesk’s local workforce above 320.

The company’s Australia and New Zealand headquarters in Melbourne is now Zendesk’s largest artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation engineering workforce after San Francisco.

RollWorks launches machine learning-powered account scoring

RollWorks, a division of AdRoll Group, has taken the wrappers off a new account scoring feature to help account-based sales and marketing teams score and prioritise target account lists (TALs).

The new functionality in the RollWorks Account-Based Platform uses a predictive machine learning model that ranks accounts within a TAL based on firmographic and technographic fit characteristics.

The account scoring feature is an update to RollWorks’ Identification Solution and taps into data insights from over 18 million accounts and over 320 million contacts. The feature aims to help customers focus and prioritise sales and marketing outreach to targets that have a higher likelihood of engaging with their brand.

This update to the Identification Solution also includes additional improvements. The predictive- scoring model can also surface new high-fit account suggestions. An automatic sync of account lists and scores into Salesforce CRM helps align sales and marketing efforts.

Lastly, customers can segment their TAL into account groups based on firmographic attributes and account scores. These account groups can be used to target specific audiences with digital ads using the RollWorks Engagement Solution.

Freshworks reports 61 per cent YoY billings growth 

Freshworks, a customer engagement software company, has reported 61 per cent year-over-year billings growth in Q2 2019, driven by momentum in multiple areas.

In addition to the Q2 growth, Freshworks broadened its corporate footprint in Europe by opening offices in Paris, France, and Utrecht, Netherlands. The vendor also grew its presence in APAC by partnering with OrangeOne Corporation, a software services provider in Japan, and opened its third office in India in the city of Hyderabad. It also opened in Melbourne, its second location in the A/NZ region.

Alongside this, Freshworks acquired Natero in May, a platform offering leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered technology to help put actionable data in the hands of customer success professionals. With Natero, Freshworks said its Customer 360 platform will better help companies engage with their customers from first web visit to latest inquiry.

AdKernel and AdSecure announce new integration

AdKernel, a white-label ad serving provider, and AdSecure, an ad security startup, has debuted a new integration designed to drive a more secure digital advertising ecosystem for clients of both companies. 

The collaboration will see AdSecure’s ad quality solution integrated with AdKernel’s products suite to provide all AdKernel clients protection from ad cloaking and IP blacklisting attacks by putting AdSecure’s global network of residential proxies in their hands. In turn this integration allows AdSecure to provide ad quality support for RTB and PPC campaigns to all joint clients of AdKernel and AdSecure. 

AdSecure will be integrated as a solution within AdKernel’s product suite. AdKernel clients will also have the added bonus of access to all of AdSecure’s detection features including Multi-ad format protection by scanning for and detecting a multitude of digital threats, including malware, ransomware, browser lockers, forced redirects, and more. 

SparkPost launches Recipient Validation

US-based email platform player, SparkPost, has launched Recipient Validation, a data-driven email address validation powered by its email database.

Recipient Validation claims to catch twice as many invalid addresses as before, giving marketers sender reputation protection.

The new data-driven system uses data from thousands of other senders, so marketers can remove more undeliverable and toxic addresses from lists before they bounce and hurt sending reputation.

It has also added typo detection and suggestion, plugging a top source of lead loss for customers.

Automattic acquires WordPress plugin ZBS CRM

Automattic, the company behind website-building platform, WordPress.com, has acquired ZBS CRM, a WordPress-based CRM plugin.

ZBS CRM will get a new name, Jetpack CRM, but will continue to provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with a no-nonsense contact-management system delivered through the WordPress platform. The CRM plugin's next major release, version 3.0, is scheduled for late September. It will feature better performance and extensibility, and introduce Mail Campaigns.

As ZBS CRM becomes part of Automattic, a planned price increase for version 3.0 has been scrapped, and the CRM will remain at its low-entry-point pricing model for the foreseeable future. Service for existing users will continue as is. Financial details were not disclosed.

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