CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 23 September 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Salesforce, Optimizely, SugarCRM, Act-on Software, Zendesk, Oracle, Progress, Yotpo and Sendinblue.

Fresh Salesforce and Slack integrations unveiled  

Salesforce has unveiled new integrations of Slack across its range of products and industry solutions, along with fresh Slack innovations for lifting collaboration across teams.  

A month after debuting Slack integrations across Sales, Service, Marketing, and Analytics (Tableau) platforms, Salesforce has now extended integrations across to Commerce, Experience, Platform, Trailhead, MuleSoft and Quip. It’s done the same across industry clouds and products, creating specific Slack-based workflow solutions for industries, covering sustainability, banking, healthcare and life sciences, not-for-profit, philanthropy and education. Salesforce acquired Slack for US$27.7 billion last November.

Slack-First Sales, for example, aims to lift real-time collaboration through digital deal rooms, allowing sales reps to access, update and share Salesforce records directly on Slack as well as gain new alerts for important account updates. Slack-First Service includes new swarming and expert finder capabilities to help cross-functional teams collaborate on priority incidents, while Slack-First Marketing provides a shared digital workspace for marketing teams along with Einstein recommendations and Pardot automation.  

In addition to these, Slack-First Commerce has fresh alert capabilities specific to commerce opportunities, Slack-First Digital Experiences brings new CMS integrations such as alerts for internal and external teams when new content is published, and Slack-First Trailhead powers personalised learning directly in Slack. A Slack-First Analytics offering brings in new Einstein capabilities for AI-powered predictions and notifications, while Slack-First Integration with Mulesoft integrates multiple business apps directly into Slack via clicks, rather than code. Slack-First Quip aims to help sales teams work together in one digital workspace and with one view of the customer by embedding Quip documents directly into the collaboration platform.  

Fresh Slack functionality, meanwhile, includes Clips, a new asynchronous way to create and share audio, video and screen recordings within any channel or DM in Slack. There’s also the ability to connect to Zoom directly from Slack or Salesforce, plus access new Einstein Conversation Insights based on Zoom meeting recordings. Coming soon are plans to offer Slack directly within the Zoom App in order to share information about the meeting in Slack channels once it’s finished.  

Finally, the vendor debuted GovSlack a version of Slack that meets stringent US Government security and compliance needs agencies. Slack Connect improvements are designed to make it easier to create and manage connections, even for customers and partners who don’t already use Slack.  

Oracle brings Fusion to marketing platform  

Oracle has taken the wrappers off its new Fusion Marketing offering, part of Oracle Advertising and CX.  

The vendor claims Fusion Marketing is the first solution to fully automate lead generation and qualification from campaigns spanning both traditional marketing as well as advertising channels. It does this by using artificial intelligence to automatically scores leads at an account level, then predict when customers are ready to talk to a salesperson and generate a qualified sales opportunity within a company’s CRM system.  

Users can build a target audience of known contacts from a CRM system, then select a product or service to focus on in campaigns. Using that audience, Fusion Marketing automatically generates an audience profile for online advertising to target prospects relevant to that campaign. It also recommends the best reference stories to promote as part of the campaign and offers a single user interface to assign campaign assets across various channels. Each campaign then takes prospects to an automatically generated microsite including customer references personalised to match the industry and interests of that customer. There’s also a pre-built dashboard for real-time visibility into campaign performance.

Progress unveils latest digital experience platform updates  

Progress has announced its new Sitefinity DX 14.0 digital experience platform, promising more intuitive and comprehensive digital experience management capabilities to its customers.  

Among new features are support for composable experiences, which enable customers to create their own DXP solution by choosing specific functionalities. There are also significant enhancements to multichannel content, integration and analytics capabilities such as touchpoint attribution modelling for campaigns.  

In addition, Sitefinity DX 14.0 includes low-code integration, plus enhanced headless content delivery based on a content-as-a-service API framework to enable integrated, tailored experiences delivered and managed at scale. There’s also chat-driven engagement, with Progress’ chatbot platform, NativeChat, now integrated with the DXP offering.  

Another new inclusion is enhanced content synchronisation capabilities that can help with improving content governance for multisite experiences across several business departments, units, locations and brands with comprehensive multisite user group management. Finally, dedicated, out-of-the-box support for the newest Google Page Experience requirements is included.  

Optimizely debuts data core service  

Also enhancing its DXP offering this week is Optimizely, which has debuted a new data core service.  

The service is being described as a ‘connective tissue’ and way of providing a common context that improves access to deeper analytics and unifies data insights around customers across Optimizely’s suite of products.  

The data core service has been made possible thanks to unification of Optimizely and Episerver brands and the vendor’s acquisition of Zaius in March 2021. Its product portfolio now includes Content Cloud, Commerce Cloud, B2B Commerce Cloud and Experimentation.   

The new service will be available to Optimizely cloud customers in Q1 2022 and will be included at no charge with some restrictions for customers who are implementing one or more of the vendor’s solutions.  

SugarCRM becomes an full Australian resident  

CRM vendor, SugarCRM, has established full data residency in Australia in order to store all customer data onshore.    

“Sugar’s customers in Australia continue to receive assurance that their data is not being held in a foreign country, as is the case with some of the larger incumbent CRM providers operating in Australia,” SugarCRM senior vice president APAC, Jason du Preez, said. “Sugar has been hosting customer data in Australia since its inception locally. With the introduction of some of our award-winning solutions such as Sugar Market and SugarPredict to customers in Australia, it is important that all of the data, in addition to Sugar Sell and the rest of SugarCRM’s solutions, continue to be retained in-country.”  

The vendor’s platform is built on Amazon Web Services and is System and Organisational Control 2 Type 2-compliant. It provides LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) and OpenID Connect support for single sign-on for both mobile and Web as another option for centralised management of passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication.  

The SugarCloud SSO solution integrates with any third-party Identity Management Services to support federated sign-on, and other client required access control mechanisms. It also maintains an active data retention policy and retains or deletes all data in accordance with applicable laws and compliance requirements. 

The decision to gain full data residency comes as SugarCRM said it’s on track to achieve 50 per cent growth in 2021.  

Yotpo and Shopify partner up  

Ecommerce marketing platform, Yotpo, has joined forces with Shopify in a multi-year platform partnership expected to accelerate growth and product development.  

The partnership sees Shopify injecting a strategic investment into Yotpo and positions the company as an early launch partner for new Shopify development features. The name of the game is to develop first-to-market technologies and to align product development roadmaps.    

Yotpo’s platform integrates loyalty and referrals, SMS marketing and reviews into ecommerce platforms including Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Clou, Adobe Commerce and BigCommerce. Its customers include Steve Madden, Princess Polly and Broklinen. Shopify is used by more than 1.7 million merchants globally.  

“This new platform partnership is a significant milestone in our company journey, in our longstanding relationship with Shopify, and in service to our customers,” said Yotpu CEO, Tomer Tagrin. “With the last year’s addition of SMS marketing to the Yotpo platform, we now have five cutting-edge products available to Shopify merchants.  

“This platform partnership directly responds to the enormous amount of time and energy merchants currently are required to spend competing for customer attention.”  

Act-On Software and ZenDesk get native  

Marketing automation platform, Act-On Software, has undertaken a native CRM integration in order to provide Zendesk Sell users with access to its platform.  

The deal brings Zendesk customers access to behavioural data, an ability to leverage campaign templates and automated outreach tools such as SMS and email and help qualify and nurture leads. By combining the marketing tools with Zendesk’s customer management capabilities, the two companies are hoping to help better connect the dots between acquisition and customer engagement.  

“This integration with Act-On allows Zendesk customers to invigorate their marketing capabilities with automation to accelerate engagement and win more opportunities,” said Zendesk director of product, Antek Piechnik. “It bridges the best of marketing and sales software to enable Zendesk Sell users to gain deep visibility of a buyer's journey, activities, scores and behaviours prior to and during every stage of the sales cycle.”  

Earlier this year, Act-On Software confirmed a US$20 million round of growth financing.  

Sendinblue goes on ecommerce buying spree  

Digital marketing platform vendor, Sendinblue, has acquired three ecommerce marketing companies for more than US$47 million less than a year after securing $160 million in Series B funding.  

The latest purchases include live chat player, Chatra, ecommerce and email analytics firm, Metrilo and Shopify’s top application for push notifications, PushOwl. From next year, Sendinblue said integration into its platform will give customers the ability to monitor and analyse the ROI of marketing performance and improve overall sales performance through Metrilo’s analytics offering, as well as deploy automated chat notifications based on visitor behaviour and respond to questions one-on-one via website or social channels through live messenger app, Chatra. Having website push notifications form PushOwl will also help reduce abandoned shopping carts and drive ecommerce.  

“Pandemic-era restrictions prompted many small and medium-sized businesses to pivot - to digitise their marketing efforts and invest in ecommerce strategies,” said Sendinblue CEO of North America and VP of corporate development, Steffen Schebesta. “Online shopping increased by more than 46 per cent. With the acquisition of Chatra, Metrilo and PushOwl, we’re meeting the needs of these businesses.”   

The acquisitions bring Sendinblue’s headcount to 500 employees globally and add two offices in Sofia and Bangalore. Sendinblue, which is headquartered in Paris, also has offices in Seattle, Berlin, Noida and Toronto.

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