A Tale of Two Teams

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to observe two different teams while replacing the flooring on my first floor. The first team laid tiles, and it was an uncomfortable experience watching the master tiler berate his apprentice. The second team demoed the wood floor and carpet as a team.

The tile experience was awkward. While the end work product was excellent, the apprentice was treated more like a dog than an employee. The tiler incessantly berated his employee making it difficult to work from home. Several times an hour I heard the boss yell “Charlie!” and then proceed to tell him he was lazy or incompetent. The tiler did all of the artisan work with the apprentice grabbing tools, hauling tile, mixing grout, and waiting for his next instruction.

When I discussed it with the flooring company that was managing the project, they confessed that they usually have him work new construction instead of renovations. The master tiler will have work so long as the economy is strong, but I imagine he will be quickly dropped once the economy cools.

The second team arrived this morning and attacked phase I (demo). All four knew their roles and worked without much direction required. The house was noisy with electrical saws and wood being pulled up with crowbars. It buzzed with Spanish as the guys enjoyed working together. Nobody needed direction beyond simple coordination. The men moved between tasks as the project proceeded. I don’t think I heard a single raised voice. They were a team that I’d welcome back in my home.

So what was the key difference? Respect. If you respect your teammates and subordinates, the team is more efficient, the work is more enjoyable, and each member is confident in their role.

Lattice Engines Campaigns

The Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Product Stack
The Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Product Stack

Dun & Bradstreet, which acquired Lattice Engines at the beginning of Q3, launched a Lattice Campaigns App for LinkedIn.  The new app “improves campaign performance by creating and activating always-on AI-based audiences for LinkedIn Ads.”

“When Dun & Bradstreet acquired Lattice Engines, we were building on an existing partnership of the world’s most comprehensive B2B data and the world’s leading B2B Customer Data Platform,” said Dun & Bradstreet’s President of Sales & Marketing Solutions Michael Bird.  “This is the first in a series of innovations we’re quickly bringing to market to power more effective and efficient digital marketing, demand generation and sales acceleration programs for our customers through the intelligent use of data.”

The Lattice Customer Data Platform supports “hyper-targeted” LinkedIn advertising as part of a broader omnichannel engagement strategy.  Lattice combines first and third-party customer data, displays account and contact insights, and uses “AI to segment their buyers and deliver hyper-targeted engagement in an automated fashion across display, web, email, CRM and now social channels.”

“Let’s say a buyer at a cold account starts visiting certain product pages on your website anonymously.  Rather than just showing this buyer a generic ad about your brand, you could show them an ad with more specific copy and CTA [call to action] related to the product pages that they visited on your website.”

Dun & Bradstreet President of Sales & Marketing Solutions Michael Bird

The app creates matched audiences for LinkedIn ads and then lets marketers adjust media spend to target high-performing audiences.  The app then updates LinkedIn audiences based on “changes in buyer engagement, interest and company data.  As a result, marketers can ensure that buyers are engaged with the most relevant campaigns based on not only persona but on profile, propensity, interest and buyer stage.”

Dun & Bradstreet is claiming a 42% increase in click-through rates and triple the post-click conversion rates resulting in a 54% reduction in qualified lead expenditures.

According to Gartner, CMOs are spending 23% of their marketing budget on paid media.

“In an environment where B2B marketers are overwhelmed with data and technology options, our goal is to make their jobs easier by connecting interactions across customer journeys,” says Bird.  “This allows marketers to target the right audiences with the right message and make the best use of their ad dollars.”

Connectors for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are in the works.

Signs of a Market Slowdown

There are a number of indicators signaling a slowdown in both the general economy and technology products and services:

  • The Gartner CMO Spend Survey showed a drop in marketing spend as a percentage of overall spend from 11.2% in 2018 to 10.5% this year.  The peak in marketing spend was in 2016 (12.1%).  The data is based upon a survey of 340 North American and UK marketing leaders.  However, 61% of marketers anticipate a rebound in 2020.  “While we’re not yet witnessing a precipitous drop in budgets, this year’s downtick presents a counterintuitive scenario,” commented Gartner’s VP of the Marketing practice, Ewan McIntyre.  “You could call this confidence in the face of adversity.  Or you could call it hubris.”

    MarTech budgets fell 3% to 26% this year.
  • The Gartner 2Q19 Global Talent Monitor indicated growing concern about the job market with fewer employees looking to change jobs.  53% of US employees are intending to stay put and only 12.5% are actively looking for other positions.  The US actively looking rate dropped in half in Q2 and the percent looking to stay put rose ten points.  “Over the previous several years, the clear story within the U.S. has been a robust economy, tight labor market and plenty of opportunities for growth and improvement from the employee perspective,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice. “With this quarter-over-quarter increase in intent to stay, we are now seeing a shift as employees hunker down, indicating concerns around available job opportunities and potential weakness in the labor market.”

    Gartner also noted a 2.4% decrease in global business confidence amongst employees and an increasing willingness of US employees to go “above and beyond the call of duty at their jobs.”  According to Kropp, “Workers appear to be putting more time and effort into their current positions with the hopes of solidifying their roles in case of a change in the economy.  This situation creates an opportunity for organizations to invest in internal training programs that capture this employee commitment to build a stronger, more productive workforce.”
  • Trump’s Tariff War is proving more difficult to win than he anticipated, resulting in inflationary pressures in the US alongside harm to the industrial and agricultural sectors.  Tariff rates are expected to increase at the end of the year.
  • Brexit remains a big question mark with dates, agreements, and new UK elections changing almost every day.
  • The US and UK governments are both very unpopular with Trump facing Impeachment hearings and Boris Johnson preparing for an election.
  • While the US unemployment rate is at a historical low point (3.6%), the economy only added 128,000 non-farm jobs last month and 130,000 per month this year, well below the 223,000 jobs added each month in 2018.
  • The preliminary US GDP Q3 growth rate came in at 1.9% compared to 2.9% in 2018.
  • US Hiring has slowed to its lowest rate in seven years.  A survey of economists by the National Association of Business Economists found that only one in five of their firms grew their headcount in Q3 down from one in three in Q2.  Capital equipment purchasing is at a five-year low and fewer firms are offering pay raises.  “The U.S. economy appears to be slowing, and respondents expect still slower growth over the next 12 months,” said Constance Hunter, NABE president and chief economist at KPMG.

    The NABE also reported slowing sales with only 39% reporting sales growth in Q3 compared to 61% a year ago.

If the US economy tips into a recession, there is little room for fiscal or monetary policy to slow a recession.  The Federal Funds rate (1.75% following three cuts this year) is historically low for an economy at 3.6% unemployment and the Federal deficit provides little room for expansionary fiscal policy.  Trump lowered personal and corporate tax rates when the economy was strong instead of waiting for a recession.

Hybrid Engagement Platforms

Cognism Intelligence within Salesforce. Hybrid Engagement Platforms Continuously update CRMs and MAPs.

The market is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad set of sales and marketing services.  The boundary between sales and marketing is quickly crumbling.  Hybrid engagement services manage both data and workflows.  Features include

Future functionality will include Next Best Actions, Embedded 1:1 Video, SNAP (Sales Navigator) Integrations, and Programmatic Advertising.

No vendor provides all of these services and some provide them as separate offerings, but firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, Infogroup (Salesgenie), Lead411, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Cognism have all taken steps over the past two years to meet the emerging requirements of the CRO.

For the moment, I’m calling these emerging offerings Hybrid Engage Platforms, but that is a placeholder name as the market evolves.

SalesTech Spend Continues to Increase

SalesTech adoption rates and spend continue to increase according to a recent SalesTech study of 268 B2B sales and marketing managers conducted by Smart Selling Tools.  Only 3% of respondents are planning on reducing their SalesTech spend in 2020 while 6% plan to spend significantly more in 2020 and 41% slightly more.  Expanded spending will be focused on the top and middle of the funnel followed by management and reporting.  Skills Development, Onboarding, and Bottom of the Funnel expenditures have a lower priority.

Over the past year, SalesTech spend per user has increased significantly.  In 2017, only one-third of respondents spent in excess of $150 per user, but two years later, 65% spend more than $150 per user.  As the average number of sales tools in use rose only modestly from 4.5 to 4.9 over the past two years, the spend per product has likely increased.  The number of applications that are used by a majority of respondents trebled to six (CRM, Online Meetings, Lead List/Database, Social Selling, Account Targeting, and Skills Training & Reinforcement) with an additional four at 47% or higher.  CRMs are used by 75% of respondents, lead/list databases by 65%, and social selling by 60%.  The one category that dropped in usage was online meetings.

Adoption rates of technologies were fairly even by company size with large firm (500+) employees more likely to have adopted Sales Enablement, Skills Training & Reinforcement, and Sales Performance & Compensation.  Conversely, firms with fewer than 500 employees were more likely to have adopted Prospect Engagement (Sales Engagement) solutions.

Account targeting tools for ideal customer prospecting grew from 4% to 51% over the past year, a clear indication that ABM strategies have been adopted.  Lead Engagement (communicating at scale with early-stage, unqualified leads) grew from 11% to 49%, while social selling grew from 10% to 60%.

“The significant increase in usage of sales tools across the board indicates a trend (likely irreversible).  If your organization is slow to take up the use of sales tools, you could get left behind. Even so, we don’t recommend adding new sales tools without considering what’s required to keep them up to date and who will be responsible, having a plan for measuring success (what does “Good” look like?), and deciding what’s required to establish and grow user adoption.”

Smart Selling Tools founder Nancy Nardin.

The top three industries represented in the study were technology (42%), Financial Services (9.3%), and Manufacturing (8.7%).

Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords

Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs
Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs

Artesian Solutions announced the availability of Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords functionality to its Artesian Engage sales intelligence service.  Company Buzzwords are a set of common product and service descriptors not found in standard industry taxonomies.  The buzzwords are mined from company websites.  For example, firms manufacturing or selling craft beer can be targeted within Artesian’s Prospector module.  Likewise, technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things, which span many industries, may also be targeted.

Artesian Business Categories expand the categories and synonyms associated with existing UK SIC codes.  Artesian gives the example of Drink Production as a synonym of Manufacture of Beverages with the word Drink returning industries such as Drink Retail and Drink Wholesale.

“As a business, we constantly aim to exceed customer expectations, so in response to their feedback, we not only improved the way they use SIC codes (with Artesian Business Categories), but also created a whole new way of finding companies in niche or highly specialised industries,” said Richard Clark Artesian’s VP of Product Management.  “These two new features will help our users get hyper-specific when searching for companies using Artesian’s prospecting tools, thereby enabling them to uncover new opportunities that may otherwise have been missed, and keeping them one step ahead of the competition.”

Artesian Business Categories are available for the UK SIC taxonomy, but not other industry code structures (e.g. NACE 2.0, NAICS).  When multiple codes are employed, Boolean AND / OR operators are supported.

“The SIC code system of categorising a company’s primary activities was first introduced in the UK in 1948 and although it has since been revised, the most recent update was back in 2007.  It is widely criticised for excluding categories to cover the latest sectors and for misrepresenting the activities of many businesses.  For example, Google UK Ltd is listed on Companies House as ‘82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified’ (a generic category for companies struggling to identify a suitable alternative).”

Artesian Solutions Press Release

Other new features include a news topic search (previously, users had to navigate menus) and expanded prospecting selects for Export Turnover (Export Revenue), Location Type, TPS (UK Telephony blocking), and roles.  Users can also exclude companies with estimative turnover, employee counts, or net worth values instead of actuals.

Bombora Workflows & Partnerships

A/B Testing analysis of Company Surge variables in LinkedIn Campaign Manager
A/B Testing analysis of Bombora Company Surge variables in LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Intent data vendor Bombora has enlarged its direct sales team and is looking to shift from data resellers to OEM partnerships.  The OEM partnerships will deliver a “limited but powerful amount of data (or limited supported use case)” to customers and partners that want full, direct access.  Terminus is their first OEM partnership, but Bombora is looking to roll out three or four OEM relationships in Q4.

Shifting to OEM workflow solutions for intent data makes sense.  Unlike firmographics, technographics, or contacts, first and third-party intent data is more difficult to present to end users as it is both ephemeral (i.e. changing weekly) and statistically based (i.e. firms with a score above 70 are in the top 6% of signaled intent).  Thus, filtering the data by topic, company, and surge score provides confidence to end users that the data is meaningful.  OEM deals also place the intent data in the proper workflows for sales and marketing end users.

“Say a 200 person software business has Boeing as an account record in their Salesforce. We will append the topics surging at Boeing that that customer has licensed from Bombora onto the account object in Salesforce.  Once it’s there, it becomes searchable, so they can create tasks for salespeople, or they can use Salesforce as a hub and pipe that data to sales platforms, or marketing automation platforms.  Once the data’s in the system, it can be piped out to a bunch of different workflows.”

Bombora SVP Data Sales Michael Burton

Bombora also recently began providing intent-based audience feeds to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for sponsored content, sponsored InMails, text ads, video ads, and dynamic ads.  Each week, Bombora provides an updated list of domains to LinkedIn based upon ABM lists or firmographic selects.  The domain list is updated dynamically based upon surge data with the first set of matched audiences available within 48 hours.  On the LinkedIn side, LinkedIn member targeting is available (e.g. job function, level, interests) through the Campaign Manager.

Bombora recommends that users perform A/B testing against the standard B2B audience list and the company surge list.

Bombora was spun out of Madison Logic in 2014 and made the Inc 5000 list for the first time in 2019 placing #997.  2018 revenue hit $26.4 million, up 425% over three years.

Bombora – LiveRamp Partnership

LiveRamp - Bombora data flows for audience targeting.
LiveRamp – Bombora data flows for audience targeting.

This is Bombora week in my blog. Yesterday I covered their Bombora for Growth offering and today I’m discussing their August LiveRamp partnership. It is one of many partnerships they’ve formed over the past few years

Bombora’s latest partnership is with LiveRamp, an identity resolution firm that also supports data onboarding.  Bombora identifies audiences based on intent data to develop in-market audiences for both large and small companies.  Large company attribution is fairly straightforward as IP addresses can be employed.  For smaller companies, attribution is performed behaviorally based on thirty attributes with an 86% confidence level.

Bombora then layers in their topical surge data to determine which companies are showing high levels of intent by topic.

“What typically we’d receive from Bombora is a list of IP addresses which map a specific business profile,” said LiveRamp B2B COO Pieter De Temmerman.  “For example, we might be asked, ‘Can you find small businesses that are currently in-market to buy a CRM system, or accounting software, or you name it’.”

“What Bombora has done, and patented, is we’ve looked at IP addresses from a behavioral perspective, and because we see 30 to 40 billion business transactions a month, we’re looking at them through the lens of the behavioral attributes of a business (versus a home, Starbucks, or hotel) IP address.”

Bombora CSO Mark Dye

“What we realized is that a lot of these B2B marketers are wanting to target large companies, which are easy to identify, but are also wanting to have a conversation with the longer tail of customers,” said de Temmerman.  “When you’re dealing with these smaller companies, you might be dealing with a large number of prospects, but you don’t necessarily know who they are,”

The combined offering pulls together a set of third-party cookies and associated devices for anonymous users, expanding the universe of targetable in-market SMBs.  According to Bombora, “This solution, being the first of its kind in the B2B market, produces a high likelihood of the SMB audience to be susceptible to the ads they are seeing.  Thus, producing a higher return on ad spend and a lower customer acquisition cost.”

Bombora targets 7.5 million global SMBs with up to 100 employees based on IP addresses.  Bombora audience targeting is initially available for North America and the UK with plans to expand to additional markets “in the coming months.”

LiveRamp charges $2 per CPM for SMB targeting and $4 per CPM for Bombora surge-based SMB targeting.


Other articles on Bombora Partnerships:

Bombora for Growth

Bombora gathers company website intelligence (1st-party intelligence) through its NetFactor Visitortrack service and combines it with 3rd-party intent data from B2B Media Companies.

Bombora announced the availability of a Growth package which provides a “concentrated” set of intent data for SMBs.  Both first and third-party intent data are delivered through CRM, MAP, and CDPs including Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, LiveRamp, Oracle, Lattice Engines, Leadspace, and Everstring.

First-party intent data is derived from a firm’s own website. Bombora quietly acquired NetFactor for visitor intelligence and packages it alongside its third-party intent data from dozens of B2B media websites. Combined, first and third-party intelligence help identify which companies are actively in-market for solutions. Firms can opt to run campaigns which target high-intent companies (e.g. programmatic, email), or deem the leads marketing qualified and pass them to sales.

Growth provides an unlimited feed of high-intent companies spanning up to eighteen topics.  Bombora identifies companies with a surge score of at least 70, which approximately represents the top 6% of companies with interest in a topic.  As multiple topics are being measured, the feed covers approximately the top 25% of companies.  Because Bombora compares surge scores against topical baselines, surge scores are normalized such that companies in industries related to a topic and very large companies do not dominate.  Surge scores are updated weekly and available for 2.8 million company domains across 6,100 B2B topics.

The Growth package also includes dedicated support, visitor intelligence, browser access, and integrations.  Pricing begins at $17,500 plus integration fees.

“What’s happened over the last five or ten years is that the way companies buy products and services has changed pretty significantly” as buyers conduct a significant percentage of their research prior to raising their hand.  “In the past, if you were going into a buying cycle, you’d just engage with the companies that you think you might ultimately work with; and those companies would be part of that process from the beginning.  The promise of intent data is to tap into that part of the process which is no longer visible to a vendor during the prospect’s buying cycle.”

Bombora SVP of Data Sales Mike Burton

“Over the last 12 to 18 months, the market has figured out that this data is really important, in terms of getting into sales cycles and driving pipeline,” continued Burton.

Bombora tracks first and third-party intent to the location level.  Thus, there are no issues with GDPR compliance or the collection of personally identifiable information.

Bombora identifies surging topics by location with topics often acting as proxies for personas.  “If Boeing, in Texas, is in a big research surge on accounting software and budgeting software, there’s a really good chance that’s coming out of a finance department, or a finance persona, rather than H.R. or a sales department,” said Burton.


Bombora has had several recent product and partnership announcements. Part two of this blog covers their new LiveRamp partnership and part three discusses intent-based workflows. They also recently licensed their data to Zylotech, a CDP.

Zylotech Incorporates Bombora Intent

Zylotech Account 360

Zylotech added Bombora surge data to its Customer Data Platform (CDP).  Bombora’s third-party intent file is gathered from over 4,000 B2B media sites and helps identify accounts with surging interest in B2B topics.  The partnership helps “find and drive active demand into the funnel, empowering sales teams to prioritize accounts and win more business.”

Zylotech describes itself as a “self-learning B2B customer data platform that ensures customer profile enrichment, predicts purchases, and brings relevancy-based recommendations towards unprecedented lift.”  Features include data health reports, next best actions, lead scoring, propensity predictions, prescriptive micro-segments, dynamic segmentation, GDPR support, ID resolutions, anonymous visitor data resolution, look-a-like audience prospecting, and 360 Customer Views that incorporate hierarchies.

“Self-learning” means that the CDP automatically and continuously detects and creates customer matches across different data sources.

“Bombora’s intent data coupled with Zylotech’s unified view of all customer data means marketing and sales now have a single, seamless way to identify ideal B2B buyers and drive more conversions.  Marketers can personalize their campaigns specifically to the buyer’s intent, allowing sales to focus on buyers with expressed interest, and proactively engage in the decision-making process armed with customer insights.”

Zylotech Chief Revenue Officer Patrick O’Brien

Zylotech supports HubSpot, Eloqua, Marketo, Salesforce, Tableau, MailChimp, and LiveRamp.

Zylotech is based in Cambridge, MA and has 40 employees.  It received a $5.5 million Series A last October and $6 million in total funding.