Oracle Acquires DataFox

Oracle recently acquired DataFox, providing them with access to 2.8 million company profiles, including funding and M&A data.  DataFox “gives customers real-time insight to know when a business exhibits noteworthy behaviors.”

“The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of trusted company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes,” wrote Oracle’s EVP of Applications Development Steve Miranda to customers and partners.

Oracle provides the following deal shorthand:

Oracle Cloud Applications + DataFox = Even Smarter Decisions

DataFox is growing its database at 1.2 million companies annually.  The database will deliver real-time insights into its cloud-based ERP, CX, HCM and SCM platforms.

DataFox Data Engine Overview (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)
DataFox Data Engine Overview (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)

In a bit of extreme puffery, Oracle described DataFox as the “the most current, precise and expansive set of company-level information and insightful data.”  Bureau van Dijk and Dun & Bradstreet have 50X the active company coverage including detailed global linkage, risk models, and multi-year financial data.  Bureau van Dijk also offers the Zephyr database, an M&A and funding dataset with over twenty years of closed, pending, and rumored deals.  Where DataFox may have an advantage is in their focus on mid-size and emerging companies which have been recently funded, but this is a small subset of the company universe.

DataFox will continue to sell and support its products.  However, the DataFox roadmap and product line are fluid:

“Oracle is currently reviewing the existing DataFox product roadmap and will be providing guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle’s standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle’s review of DataFox’s product roadmap are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by DataFox or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.”

Along with AI insights, Oracle called out the needs for quality data to back data maintenance, artificial intelligence, and business signals.

Customer Data Challenges (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)
Customer Data Challenges (Oracle Presentation, October 23, 2018)

DataFox has over 275 customers including Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company, Outreach, Live Ramp, and Twilio.

DataFox raised $19 million in funding.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  In January 2017, DataFox was valued at $33 million by Pitchbook.

Oracle should study Salesforce’s acquisition of Jigsaw (later renamed Data.com) as a cautionary tale.  Software companies struggle in selling data files as company and contact data decays rapidly and it is difficult to push data quality above 90% absent large editorial investments.  Furthermore, Jigsaw never represented more than 1% of Salesforce revenue so quickly fell off of the company’s internal radar.  The firm is now looking to decommission Data.com and asking its AppExchange partners to fill the sales intelligence and data hygiene gap left in its absence.  Coincidentally, DataFox is one of Salesforce’s Lightning Data partners.

On the positive side, LinkedIn hit $1.3 billion last quarter and has thrived under Microsoft’s ownership.  However, LinkedIn was a much more mature company at acquisition than DataFox with multiple revenue streams and a unique user generated content model.  Microsoft has provided LinkedIn with development capital and allowed it to maintain its independence.  It has also looked to leverage LinkedIn and Microsoft strengths when building sales and marketing products, instead of simply copying other vendors.  For example, Sales Navigator continues to respect the privacy of its members while using aggregated data to provide hiring and employment insights that other companies cannot deliver.  Navigator has also added strong messaging tools (chat, InMail, and PointDrive) which work around its lack of company emails.  Other innovations include SNAP workflow connectors, its new Pipeline CRM updating tool, and Buyer’s Circle for identifying the buying committee at large firms.

Sales Lead Best Practices

In their recent Information Industry Outlook 2019, Outsell provided the following “last mile to the sale” recommendations for sales lead best practices:

  1. Be at the top of organic search results
  2. 1-2 sentence company description on Home page
  3. Home page links to Services page
  4. Zero dead links on Home, About, or services pages
  5. 2 clicks max to get to contact pages
  6. Person answers phone in 1-3 rings
  7. Zero routing to right person
  8. 5 seconds or less to reach the right person

“If you are doing all the marketing in the world and you’re not picking up your phone or there’s no phone number on your website, you’re not going to have the results that you want,” said Outsell CEO Anthea Stratigos.

While the above recommendations were made for the information industry, they are broadly applicable to businesses regardless of size or industry.

Stratigos did not discuss conversational marketing bots such as Drift, but rapid response times and appropriate routing should be goals when implementing those tools as well.

Bombora Intent Data Added to InsideView Apex

InsideView Apex now supports intent segmentation across 3000+ B2B Bombora topics.
InsideView Apex now supports intent segmentation across 3000+ B2B Bombora topics.

InsideView added Bombora intent intelligence to its Apex “go-to-market” ICP/TAM service.  InsideView highlighted two use cases: Refining a list of ideal prospects to focus on those showing intent and expanding a list of buyers to find additional prospects with similar intent and other characteristics.

Refining an ICP list helps marketers target their best prospects based upon open web research currently being performed at their ICP accounts.  Thus, custom campaigns can be targeted to accounts likely in market for specific solutions.  Instead of blanketing ICP accounts with general messages, a more refined approach can be taken with a higher likelihood of the message resonating.

Conversely, Intent data can be used to expand an ABM list.

“InsideView’s Targeting Intelligence platform provides a single point of access for all B2B data and targeting signals, from firmographics, contact details, news events, personal connections, technographics, and now intent data. Adding Bombora intent data makes go-to-market planning in Apex that much more powerful. Now you can discover even more ideal prospects, and home in on the specific accounts in your target market that are not only an ideal fit for what you sell but are also currently in-market.”

  • InsideView VP of Products Marc Perramond

I find the first use case, refining a list for targeted messaging, to be more compelling.  Intent data is ephemeral.  A firm that is researching a topic this month will have moved onto other topics a month or two later.  Using intent data to message to these companies on intent-based topics today is powerful.  It allows vendors to reach out to prospects before they have begun talking to prospective vendors.  It is a powerful method to answer the questions whom to call (account-wise), when to call, and what to say.

InsideView Apex intent filtering allows marketers to target their ABM list with messages that are likely to resonate.
InsideView Apex intent filtering allows marketers to target their ABM list with messages that are likely to resonate.

However, vendors should be careful about using intent to expand their targets.  Identifying the key intent topics is crucial, but building an ABM list based upon ephemeral intent signals risks adding firms that had surging interest over the past few weeks, but have already made purchasing decisions, chosen not to pursue a technology, or were simply performing due diligence.  Surge scores simply mean that there was a recent peak in topical interest above the mean.

Defining who are your best candidates amongst your pool of ABM accounts for specific messages is a clear winner.  Adding accounts to an ABM list based upon a short-term surge in interest is likely to result in wasted marketing dollars.

Until recently, Bombora has had more success selling their intent file to predictive analytics companies than sales intelligence firms.  However, sales intelligence companies are now figuring out how to present intent data to sales reps and marketing professionals without having to provide sales training sessions on the nuances of intent data.  For example, DiscoverOrg recently redesigned its OppAlerts to focus on the few key topics relevant to the client and then limited the intent signals to the top few percent of surging accounts.  This level of refinement gives sales reps confidence that when they see a surging topic at an account, it is truly surging and not simply an anomaly.  And because numeric surge scores have been removed, the rep merely needs to know that there is a high certainty that individuals at the account are actively researching the topic in question.

B2B tech media company TechTarget delivers intent data to sales reps from its Priority Engine service.  While other intent services are at the company level, TechTarget has opted-in readers performing current research on a topic.  Thus, TechTarget can identify company, executive, topic, and buying stage for its intent file.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Data Privacy

Speaking at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), Apple CEO Tim Cook forcefully called for expanded global privacy protections akin to GDPR:

Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold. Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm…

We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance…

We should celebrate the transformative work of the European institutions tasked with the successful implementation of the GDPR. We also celebrate the new steps taken, not only here in Europe but around the world — in Singapore, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand. In many more nations regulators are asking tough questions — and crafting effective reform.

It is time for the rest of the world, including my home country, to follow your lead.

We see vividly, painfully how technology can harm, rather than help. [Some platforms] magnify our worst human tendencies… deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense or what is true or false.

This crisis is real. Those of us who believe in technology’s potential for good must not shrink from this moment…

They may say to you our companies can never achieve technology’s true potential if there were strengthened privacy regulations. But this notion isn’t just wrong it is destructive — technology’s potential is and always must be rooted in the faith people have in it. In the optimism and the creativity that stirs the hearts of individuals. In its promise and capacity to make the world a better place.

It’s time to face facts. We will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.

He also warned about the dangers of AI which fails to protect privacy:

Artificial intelligence is one area I think a lot about. At its core this technology promises to learn from people individually to benefit us all. But advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency.

For artificial intelligence to be truly smart it must respect human values — including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound. We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It is not only a possibility — it is a responsibility…

Yesterday, Cook tweeted that privacy is a human right

Tim Cook on GDPR

based upon four principals:

  • Data Minimization – Personal data collection should be minimized or de-identified.
  • Transparency – Individuals have the right to know what is being collected and for what purpose.
  • Right to Access – “data belongs to users” with personal data available to individuals for copying, correcting, and deleting.
  • Right to security – “security is foundational to trust and all other privacy rights”

Cook isn’t the first CEO to call for a global GDPR. Microsoft has built GDPR into its products and CEO Satya Nadella has expressed similar thoughts. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff discussed data privacy and cybersecurity on a May earnings call and SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin has also voiced concerns.

Linkedin Sales Navigator List Building, Mobile Lead Profiles, & SNAP Integration (Q3 2018)

Last month Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q3 release.  Amongst the features are a Pipeline Review and Buyers Circle (discussed last Friday), improved Search, and additional SNAP integrations.

Sales Navigator Account and Lead Search have been redesigned for speed and ease. The Account and Lead Search functions and results (see 1 below) are more prominent, offer streamlined search filters (see 2), and deliver simplified save search and alerting processes. Other enhancements include hover cards (see 3) which display company intelligence when mousing over a company name. Hover cards include a Save as Account button.

Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).
Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).

LinkedIn originally designed their mobile app to complement the desktop service but is working to make mobile a “full-featured Sales Navigator experience.” Last quarter, they focused on Account enhancements and this quarter they brought the mobile Lead experience to parity with the desktop service.

“We will continue to narrow the gap between our mobile and desktop experiences in upcoming releases, and take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile as well.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

LinkedIn continues to invest in its SNAP partner program. This quarter, Adobe Sign was added as a partner and three partners (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and SalesLoft) took advantage of their version two capabilities. SFDC and MSD now broadly embed LinkedIn intelligence in Lead, Account, and Opportunity pages. Users may also send InMails from within the CRM.

SalesLoft has built research, connect, InMail, and messaging features within cadences, providing a robust LinkedIn channel alongside phone and email.

The next generation SNAP integrations are modular, providing greater flexibility around where content is displayed. New modular features include InMail support and the handling of Potential Profile Matches.

New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.
New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.

LinkedIn has taken a “Switzerland approach” to its partnerships, working with both Microsoft and its competitors.

The firm reiterated its commitment to data security and GDPR compliance. “LinkedIn maintains ISO 27001 & ISO 27018 certifications, as well as a SSAE-18 certification, SOC 2 Type I report,” noted the firm in its briefing to Admins.

Finally, LinkedIn added an Ideas site to its Sales Navigator Community portal where admins can “submit, vote on, comment on and track status of ideas for how to improve Sales Navigator.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Pipeline Reviews & Buyers Circle (Q3 2018)

Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.
Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.

Last month, LinkedIn rolled out its Q3 Sales Navigator release to admins and trainers.  Enhancements include a new Deals feature to assist with pipeline reviews, “Buyer Circles,” an updated search user experience, and revised mobile lead pages.  Several partner platforms are also rolling out version 2 of their SNAP integrations.

During pipeline reviews, “managers are really trying to find out what are areas of weakness in the pipeline and how they can help. A lot of times, because the information that’s been put into CRM is incomplete, that can be a challenging conversation,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “The problem Deals is ultimately trying to solve is how do you increase the quality of that data that is ultimately stored in the CRM, and by making it much easier for the rep to quickly see missing points of information as well as to add in what one could argue is the most important information—who are all the people that are involved in that buying decision at the target company.”

LinkedIn noted that pipeline review sessions are often frustrating due to incomplete and out of date CRM information resulting in a “20 questions” session in search of deal risks.  The new Deal feature pulls deal and contact intelligence from the CRM and streamlines the update process.  Instead of jumping between opportunity records, reps can manage their pipeline updates from a single pane of glass.  The update table allows reps to quickly enter deal intelligence including deal size, stage, close date, and next steps with information immediately written back to the CRM.

Deals requires that the Salesforce Admin enable CRM synch.  Reps will only be able to view and edit fields for which they have been granted permission and only for Opportunities in their name.  Managers will only be able to view Deals for their team members.

Deals includes a Buyer’s Circle feature which helps reps quickly fill gaps in their Buying Committee.  “The real power comes when you want to add missing role contacts,” Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP Products wrote to licensors.  “Buyer’s Circle makes it easy to select anyone on LinkedIn and drag them to a role, which, again, automatically updates your CRM. And if that contact is not already in your CRM, Deals lets you create a new CRM contact associated with that opportunity in just a few clicks.”

As LinkedIn does not deliver member-specific details to third-parties, Buyers Circle only uploads First and Last Name, Title, and Company.  Other buyer details would need to be keyed in by the sales rep or populated by a third-party enrichment vendor.

Deals is available in Salesforce.com with the Q3 release and will be available in Microsoft Dynamics in Q4.

The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.
The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.

Deals is part of the Team and Enterprise editions and is based on a Heighten capability “rebuilt from the ground up.”  Heighten was acquired in 2017.

“B2B selling is more complicated these days where you often have half a dozen people involved, but they’re not all recognized.  A sales rep will put a single contact into the system, and if the deal goes sideways it’s hard to figure out who to contact or how to move forward.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

“I think the Deals module is the most interesting part of this release because it offers the biggest benefit,” said Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz. “If you are in a market like tech or manufacturing or a complicated services deal, the number of people involved keeps going up including those who can influence the deal or an assassin who can kill it. The more information you can provide about all the people involved in the deal, the better. And the way the Buyers Circle surfaces information on people and brings it forward with one click is a real benefit.”


Part II covering additional features such as new SNAP integrations and mobile Lead profiles will publish on Monday.

Radius-Leadspace Merger Aborted

Radius and Leadspace quietly called off their merger back in August, agreeing not to point fingers at each other and continue supporting joint customers.

“At the end of the day, private to private mergers are incredibly hard to pull off. In this case, despite all of the best intentions in the world, we could not get to something that would work for all sides,” Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher told Demand Gen Report. “We are excited to see the evolution and clarity around the whole customer data platform really starting to define itself in B2B.”

Bewsher remains bullish about Leadspace and the Audience Management space:

Leadspace pioneered this space when we launched our Audience Management Platform two years ago. We continue to see great success with customers as they both simplify their data management processes and bring additional data driven insights and recommendations into their activities. Whether driving an ABM strategy, a content marketing / inbound lead driven strategy, or outbound prospecting, the right data and insights deployed into systems of engagement is typically the first step in any company’s success…

We look forward to working with you to develop, build and lead this category as we continue our mission to help B2B sales and marketing teams drive a new level of engagement, targeting and resulting revenue for their organizations.

Leadspace had a strong Q2 with its “best ever revenue growth.”  New customers include SAP and Splunk.  Growth was driven by the increasing recognition that B2B firms require a data-agnostic Customer Data Platform “which brings together many different data sources at the company- and individual-level, drives recommendations, insights and a single source of truth through AI, and then has a single point of integration into multiple executions systems (CRM, MAP, Ads etc),” said Bewsher.

“Radius and Leadspace agreed to continue operating independently and are now partnering to support joint customers,” said Radius.  “Radius’ customer data platform is the first for B2B, and we will focus on offering enterprise companies integrated, unified and trusted data across all go-to-market systems, while Leadspace’s audience management platform will continue to equip companies with audience enrichment and analytics.”

Both firms no longer talk about predictive analytics and emphasize Customer Data Platforms.  The Predictive Analytics space has been squeezed by both DaaS vendors with light scoring tools and integrated AI solutions such as Einstein.