ZenIQ, a company that applies AI to help companies with their account-based marketing practices, just raised $4.6 million in seed funding in a round led by Costanoa Ventures. Salesforce Ventures also participated in the round — which is interesting, considering that the company just started offering a similar service.
The company’s product is designed to help marketers by taking in signals about potential customers and suggesting the best next action in order to land business from a particular account. ZenIQ uses machine learning to help figure out what that action is by integrating data from multiple systems.
“Marketers [are in] dashboard hell right now,” ZenIQ CEO Srihari Kumar said. “They have to interpret the data from so many different [services] and try to figure out what to do next.”
Overall, the product aims to help businesses get the most out of account-based marketing, which involves targeting marketing efforts to particular people with the goal of landing a whole account. That’s in contrast to past practices that didn’t consider how a particular piece of advertising or outreach would impact the acquisition of a business as a whole.
Machine intelligence also helps with other key parts of the account-based marketing process, like suggesting how to sequence outreach for closing deals. While it may seem to a novice that it’s best to start working on the highest-ranking decision maker, other approaches can actually lead to more success.
One of the key problems that ZenIQ aims to solve is that marketing organizations often have a bunch of disparate systems that don’t talk with one another. ZenIQ’s capabilities in that regard were a boon to its customer Tipalti, according to Rob Israch, the company’s chief marketing officer.
“Prior to ZenIQ, our target account program and coordination across market, sales, and [sales development representatives] was limited and ad hoc,” he said.
Tipalti’s target account list sat in a spreadsheet, its database was not well-organized, and it was difficult to run account-based marketing programs.
The marketing technology space is incredibly crowded, and ZenIQ faces a host of competitors. But Costanoa Ventures partner Neill Occhiogrosso said that while the firm was initially concerned about investing in another marketing company, ZenIQ won him over.
“We have seen a lot in marketing and sales technology, so I went into the first conversation apprehensive, because most of those ideas don’t appear to have potential to be big, standalone companies,” he said. “The ZenIQ founders spent months with marketers and came up with a vision for the product that they can live in.”