COVID-19 Accelerates Momentum For Sales Engagement

B2B sellers face the most challenging selling environment of their lifetimes. Business leaders who already invested in sales digital transformation and technologies are reaping the rewards for their prescient decisions. Sales engagement (SE) solutions — originally designed to help sales development reps manage and automate multichannel touchpoints — now deliver significant productivity gains and more to entire revenue teams. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating existing investment in the category. Institutional investors poured more than $200 million into SE vendors over the last 18 months, and last week, San Franciscobased Groove closed a $12 million Series A round. With sellers grounded for the foreseeable future, companies of all shapes and sizes are scrambling for tools to better support their teams. SalesLoft is seeing a 20% increase in inbound leads in the COVID-19 quarter, and last week, Outreach had over 13,000 registrants for its virtual summit, Unleash 2020. Expect to see momentum for SE vendors increase as sales leaders look to quickly educate themselves on technologies that can increase performance, productivity, and effectiveness of their 100% remote sales teams.

The Retail Slump Continues

Last week, two iconic mall merchants, J.Crew and Neiman Marcus, filed for bankruptcyAnd they are just the first of many retail dominoes that will fall: The regional Stage Stores also announced Chapter 11 on May 11. Nonessential companies will struggle to pay their rents due to low sales volumes, and those already in debt face double whammy of servicing their debt payments. While some retailers, such as Nordstrom, have used the opportunity to reduce their footprints to support their long-term health, the communities, landlords, and creditors dependent on those stores will feel the pain. The ripple effects will reverberate through the economy and lengthen an economic downturn. A new US Census Bureau report on April sales will be released this Friday, May 15 and will reveal how badly social distancing polices across the US affected April sales. For more retail developments and insights, tune into our weekly webinar.

Zoom’s Product Security Spending Spree Continues

A few weeks after becoming a product-security cautionary tale, Zoom is stepping up its efforts to improve its security and privacy. In addition to multiple hires, public partnerships, and successfully fixing several security flawsZoom announced its acquisition of Keybase, a secure messaging and file sharing platform. This apparent acquihire” will help Zoom rapidly build out its vision of a fully end-to-end encrypted video chat service that can support hundreds of users in a single meeting. For Keybase, exiting a crowded market with stiff headwinds for widespread adoption was an attractive choice. Keybase has not yet announced plans for its existing apps and users, though some users are vocal about their opposition to the acquisition. As Zoom continues to secure what it sells, successfully integrating end-to-end encryption capabilities while minimizing overhead to end users will be a crucial win.

Attacker Bribes Insider To Access Private User Data

An attacker used social engineering techniques and bribery to access personally identifiable information (PII) — including the information of high-profile users and minors — on the popular video game platform Roblox. The hacker allegedly paid an insider to do lookups for them and used this information to phish a customer support representative and gain access to back-end systemsThe attacker claims to have done this to “prove a point,” and Roblox has addressed the issues and notified affected customers. Forrester covered the risk of malicious attackers bribing users in “How Insiders Use The Dark Web To Sell Your Data.” Organizations must be vigilant to protect against insider threats and outside attackers attempting to compromise employees, contractors, and partners. As insiders become more nervous about COVID-19, the economy, and job stability, they may be more tempted to succumb to bribery, commit fraud, or lash out at their employers in frustration. Know the signs that a user is likely to take a malicious action, monitor for suspicious behaviors, and follow Forrester’s six best practices for mitigating insider threats.