The marketing landscape has changed: Marketers are focused on product-led strategies, and they need to communicate with all prospects and customers — not just the legacy subsets in traditional automation. With that evolution in mind, former executives from Marketo, Adobe and Bizible came together to introduce the latest piece in marketing automation technology: Inflection.io.
The brains behind Inflection’s operations include Dave Rigotti, former Marketing Leader at Marketo, Bizible and Adobe; Aaron Bird, former SVP of Product at Marketo and CEO at Bizible; and Vic Davis, former VP of Success at Marketo, Bizible, Salesforce and ExactTarget.
Inflection — which already boasts 20 employees and recently closed an oversubscribed funding round — was created to directly compete with Marketo by filling the data holes Marketo can’t, specifically in terms of product activity data. Key capabilities of the platform include features such as:
- A single view of all customers powered by native integrations and Inflection’s unification engine that combines product, people and account data automatically;
- Backend infrastructure capable of supporting 100 million contacts and 1000s of product activity events; and
- Built-in no-code and self-service functionality to reduce marketing’s dependency on other teams.
With a total investment of $6.3 million, Rigotti explained that Inflection plans to use the money to hire more talent, particularly in engineering, and expand its GTM, sales and success functionalities. To uncover more about the new contender stepping up to bat in the B2B martech space, the Demand Gen Report team sat down with Rigotti to dive deeper into product-led marketing and understand how Inflection.io will provide the marketing automation platform of the future.
Demand Gen Report: Tell us everything about Inflection.io — what inspired its creation, and how long has it been in the works?
Dave Rigotti: We started working on Inflection almost a year and a half ago, but the seeds were planted long before that. I ran marketing at Bizible and Aaron was the company’s CEO. Then we both worked at Marketo after it acquired Bizible, where I ran marketing teams and Aaron ran product.
After we left Marketo, we interviewed more than 100 product-led companies to go deeper into their struggles and challenges, and it always came back to the same thing: They couldn’t connect their product activity data and CRM into their marketing automation, and they were stuck. That gave us the encouragement we needed to build this product.
DGR: Can you provide some more context about product-led marketing, and why you believe it’s the future of B2B?
Rigotti: The fastest growing and most valuable SaaS companies are all product-led. It’s a great way to expose people to your brand and your products, and then train and educate them. History’s shown it’s the right sales model for many sales companies, and it’s a nice shift to expand marketing’s horizons from thinking about sales-led pipeline to thinking about user orchestration and self-service revenue to support and understand customers instead of just supporting the sales team.
DGR: With that in mind, how has the product-led model changed the functions and features of marketing automation? And what role will Inflection play in the new landscape?
Rigotti: B2B marketing 1.0 was really just a Salesforce app; if your data wasn’t in Salesforce, it wasn’t in Marketo, HubSpot or any other marketing automation platform. So, with this product-led focus that lets people sign up for your products and enables a more self-service journey, there’s this separate data set that marketing needs to access, analyze and act on — and it’s called product activity data.
Product activity data encompasses insights such as when someone signed up for the product, their last login and the features they did or didn’t use. It’s all of the information about a customer’s account and usage. And that level of insights didn’t exist 16 years ago when Marketo was founded, so the platform isn’t built to handle that kind of data and the volume. That’s where Inflection is filling in the missing piece, because it’s a marketing automation product that has both CRM and product activity data in one view, so marketers can build audiences and maintain high levels of great communications. You can support self-service business, user engagement, your sales-led business and generate pipeline in one product.
DGR: What challenges have you and your team encountered as you work to establish Inflection as a leader in the evolving marketing automation space?
Rigotti: It sounds so basic, but it’s really just getting marketing to access and leverage product activity data, which is a huge challenge on its own. And then combining that data with the technology marketers already have, such as their CRM, is another challenge in itself. To combat those challenges, we built native integrations with analytics providers and data warehouses.
This enables our users to connect us directly into their data sources so we can access their data, and then they have a whole workflow around that information to help marketers build and execute their campaigns right out of the Inflection platform.
DGR: Before we wrap up, can you give us your “elevator pitch” about how Inflection.io will benefit our readers?
Rigotti: We’re really just help marketers accomplish their goals. They’re getting asked to drive onboarding sequences when a new user signs up or email all of the users who haven’t used a particular feature to invite them to an education webinar; marketers are getting asked to send all these types of campaigns, and it’s impossible to do it all. It’s pretty painful and I feel for them.
That’s why we built this product, to help marketers execute those campaign just as easily as if they were operating off of Salesforce data, but with the added benefit of product analytics, as well.