Lately, I've been reaching out to some startup CEO's to give you guys more dynamic content. I'll admit over the past few days, I've gotten to speak with some very interesting people, however I must say that 6Sense CEO, Amanda Kahlow was amongst my favorite. This was primarily due to the fact that she has made huge waves in the Big Data Realm (she was the former CEO of CI Insights, a Big Data Analytics Company responsible for helping enterprise companies receive hundreds of millions of dollars in Net-New Business ), whereas most people in the tech industry think of Big Data as a cute buzzword to make themselves sound cool.
Her most recent endeavor is 6Sense, a company geared around helping organizations target customers at each level of the sales process (by rating the likeliness that they will buy). If you know anything about business, this will be a tool that will be most helpful in not only keeping up cash flow, but saving an absorbatant amount of time. Just yesterday 6Sense won the DataBeat Innovation Showdown, Early Stage Companies… it's very clear that 6Sense will soon be a MUST HAVE for all company's reliant on sales (basically everyone.) Don't believe us? Then ask some of their customers, they include Cisco, NetApp, and CBS Interactive (Not too shabby!)
Rather than give away more information about the product, here is my interview with Amanda Kahlow:
Right now, the market is over-flooded with tools that promise to aid the sales process… why is 6sense a must have? What do you do that other tools don't?
There are many B2B companies today using predictive analytics for lead scoring (scoring the known contacts at the bottom of the sales cycle). But 60-90% of B2B purchasing decisions happen before a customer makes it into a company’s sales and marketing systems—that is, before that customer raises their hand and asks to be called. The challenge for B2B marketers is to find those buyers early in the sales cycle instead of waiting for those buyers to be scored at the bottom of the funnel. 6Sense is able to predict new companies and contacts which are ready to buy at every stage of the sales funnel.
Other Predictive Lead scoring tools simply tell you if a lead has the “right” profile of a buyer. They rely on first and third party static attributes of a buyer and the company the buyer works for (ex: job role, decision maker, size of company, growth stage of company, etc). While this is a necessary first step, it’s not enough. Descriptive data alone does not indicate whether a buyer is in market to buy now. For example, if “Jane” is going to buy routers today (because she is moving offices), she is not going to be ready to buy 6 months from now. 6Sense detects those subtle but critical influencers of propensity to buy and makes them central to our predictions. Instead of providing a flat static ranked score, 6Sense provides actionable information, including: where the buyer is in the sales cycle, what they will buy (in terms of products), how much they will buy, and what channels to reach them. We make predictions with an 80+ % accuracy rate by relying on tremendous volumes of unknown activity data across the web to detect buying signals. We see activity on thousands of B2B publisher sites, directories, communities and more. We combine this data with our customers’ activity data and descriptive attribute data to make our predictions.
To recap, 6Sense’s key differentiators are:
1. We predict customers at every stage of the sales cycle (aka the “buyer’s journey”)—all the way from awareness through to purchase. We do not just score at the bottom of the sales cycle, which only represents about 10% of any market sales opportunity.
2. We find net-new customers ready to buy and prioritize known prospects.
3. We combine time-based behavioral data and descriptive attribute data to find buyers when they are in market to buy.
Prior to funding, what was 6sense's "defining moment"? Who are some of your top customers?
I (Amanda Kahlow) was delivering results to Cisco to a table to Marketing executives. Suddenly one of them dramatically stopped the conversation, looked at me and said, "Amanda do you know what you are doing here?” I responded, ”No, what?" and he said, "You know our customers are going to buy before they even know they are going to buy." The room moved to a discussion about sending customers a PO before the rep calls the customer. This was the moment I knew we had something game-changing. I knew I no longer could be a modest services business and that I needed to build a scaleable repeatable product. I knew there was a door open in front of me and I was going to walk through it.
With this new addition of funding, what are some features/implementations that customers can look forward to?
The highest priority for us is to expose the indicators that go into our models. We pride ourselves on not being a black box. In order for our solution to be as valuable as possible to our customers they need to know what activities drive buying behavior. Imagine clicking on a high scoring company and knowing exactly what they did that lead us to the prediction. This gives sales additional relevant talking points when engaging with the buyer.
We are going to continue making ‘data’ a strong focus. We will acquire as much data as possible so our predictions can be the best they can possibly be.
At this stage do you just serve Enterprise Accounts or are you open to people at the "Mom and Pop" level?
At this stage 6Sense is focused on B2B enterprise and mid-market companies. However, our technology can be used across any number of verticals and industries. For 6Sense, the threshold for what we consider a customer where we can effect strong results is that they have a high considered purchase.
How did you guys come up with 6sense's brilliant product?
6Sense grew out of a major big-data consulting project for Cisco that started 4 years ago, when I was running a well-established enterprise-services company. I was introduced to Viral Bajaria and my three other engineer co-founders how had formed a Y Combinator company called Grep Data focused on big-data predictive analytics. Together we formed 6Sense in 2013.
What is the ultimate problem that 6sense solves?
Today there is an enormous expectation to use big data to inform business strategy, but the tools are just not there yet. For example, “dumb” workflow software (like CRM, marketing automation) isn’t built to deliver actionable data. Meanwhile, massive amounts of data are out there, but it’s messy and un-siloed, making it difficult to organize and derive actionable insights from.
As a result, there is a lot of guesswork being done by B2B marketers—including spray-and-pray marketing tactics and misallocation of budgets. In addition, sales are missing opportunities to contact customers when they are ready to buy, instead focusing their resources on contacts who may not be ready. 6Sense enables companies to predict with 80+% certainty where their prospects are in the buying cycle, which products they will buy and when they are going to buy, allowing them to fundamentally refine marketing and optimize sales.
6Sense appears to not only have a valiant/difficult mission ahead of them, but (fortunately for them) they appear to have the right leadership to take this product where it needs to go. As of May 19th, 6sense has a $12m VC Round of funding sitting in the bank, which was invested in them by Battery Ventures, Venrock, and Silicon Valley Bank.