Nudge.AI Bows Out with Class

Relationship strength analytics company Nudge.ai folded this week.  Nudge identified the corporate relationship strength with contacts and filtered the open web and social media to provide contact insights.  Relationship strength analytics has long been an area of unfulfilled promise going back to early Relationship Capital Management vendors such as VisiblePath.  LinkedIn is the only major firm that has successfully built such tools.  They provide lead recommendations, referrals, and TeamLink networking with colleagues, but relationship strength is not a focus of their offerings, but more of a side feature in Sales Navigator.

Nudge was available on the SalesLoft and Outreach partner ecosystems and the AppExchange.

One of 22 employee bios posted in the Nudge.ai Thank You coda.

Nudge did something classy when it folded.  It thanked its customers, employees, and investors in its coda.  They also turned their website into a thank you page which highlighted the strengths of each employee and provided a link to his or her LinkedIn profile. Because they were a startup, the bios are based upon knowledge of each employee and serve as a reference from management.

“While we can’t say we are “celebrating” failure today, we are thankful that the journey was possible.  Although the failure itself is sad, it’s only because it is the end of a journey that was so challenging and rewarding.  Every product innovation, customer win, market recognition, or challenge overcome was a step towards a goal we all were working towards.   We didn’t reach that goal, but because of everyone around us, we did have a chance to try.   And that – that chance to try – is worth celebrating.

Nudge.AI celebrating the journey

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Orb Intelligence

Dun & Bradstreet is opening up the year with a bang.  First, they announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and then they acquired Orb Intelligence, business identity and firmographics data provider.  The acquisition follows acquisitions of Customer Data Platform Lattice Engines in July, Sales Intelligence vendor Avention (now D&B Hoovers) in 2017, and B2B DaaS vendor NetProspex (now D&B Optimizer) in 2015.  The acquisitions have helped transition Dun & Bradstreet from an old-line sales and marketing information vendor to a digital analytics and activation provider.

“The acquisition of Orb Intelligence cements our strategy to link the digital and physical worlds in the largest global repository of B2B data and to provide enriched firmographic data to customer profiles to help our clients more effectively execute campaigns to improve customer interactions and revenue returns,” said Michael Bird, President of Dun & Bradstreet’s Sales & Marketing Solutions division.  “Clients can rely on Dun & Bradstreet as the one-stop-shop for all of their data-driven, decision-making and customer engagement needs.”

Orb Intelligence employs machine language and natural language processing tools for deriving firmographic and technographic intelligence from the open web and government documents.  Their global database spans 57 million companies.  Content includes web domains, URLs, IP addresses, social networks, government ids, corporate linkage, funding, trademarks, and technographics.  Orb Intelligence has served as the “data backbone to many of today’s most well-known B2B sales, marketing and analytics organizations focused on digital marketing or sales initiatives.”

“This will be something of a shockwave for many in the ABM tech industry as Orb is an unknown ingredient in so many (in fact I would guess most) ABM MarTech platforms,” wrote B2B IQ President Liam Blackwell (Note: Blackwell is also an Orb Intelligence advisor).  “It is often used as the backbone, with the Orb number as the key for connection.  It is going to be interesting to see how D&B controls / monetizes future usage of the Orb data – this will be a major worry for some of those platforms and obviously an opportunity for other data providers.”

Orb is an original data provider and does not compile or resell data from other vendors.  Along with company profiles, the firm maintains databases on US educational facilities, government agencies and offices, and healthcare providers.

If you already use other data providers such as Dun & Bradstreet, you can increase your match rate by 10-25% by matching unmatched records onto the Orb Database.  We collect data from different sources than Dun & Bradstreet, which is why the Orb Database is often used to complement D&B data.

Orb Intelligence website (pre-acquisition marketing text)

Dun & Bradstreet listed several benefits for their customers, beginning with the ability to cross-validate data across online and offline sources.  Upgraded customer profiles will improve the depth and accuracy of business attributes for digital ABM programs and audience targeting.  Enhanced content will flow through to D&B Audience Targeting, D&B Visitor Intelligence, D&B Hoovers, and D&B Lattice for anonymous visitor match, programmatic targeting and sales outreach.

Dun & Bradstreet also sees a “measurable impact” for the combined data cloud which will simplify the connection and segmentation of audiences, the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) models, and activation of channels through the D&B Lattice Customer Data Platform (CDP), to deliver the best sales and marketing campaigns.”

The transaction closed on January 8th.  The parties did not disclose deal terms.

LinkedIn lists 17 Orb Intelligence employees, including CEO Maria Grineva, who is joining Dun & Bradstreet as a Vice President.

Vidyard Closes $15M Financing Facility

Vidyard Logo

Before Christmas, video platform Vidyard closed on a $15 million financing facility with the BMO Technology & Innovation Banking Group.  Vidyard has raised $75.7 million in debt and equity financing to date (see Crunchbase Pro chart on the bottom) and was recently ranked number 39 on Deloitte’s Canada Fast 50.  

The funds will “help Vidyard remain focused on innovation and product development while financing strategic M&A & Global Expansion activities so that the company can continue growing, scaling, and providing customers with the most robust user experience possible.”

Vidyard has partnered with a wide set of sales engagement platforms, including Outreach, SalesLoft, ConnectLeader, Groove, Xant, and VanillaSoft.  Other partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, Drift, Outlook, and MailChimp.  Partners have cited a 2 to 3X improvement in open and click-through rates due to personalized videos embedded in emails.  Reps can quickly record a one-to-one video or embed a marketing video.

“Vidyard continues to make a global impact and is currently serving more than 50 million videos per day.  With the accelerating trend of the world’s most innovative businesses turning to video to power their marketing, sales, and internal communications strategies–tomorrow, that number is on a trajectory to exceed 1 billion,” said CEO Michael Litt.  “We’re excited to be working with BMO’s Technology & Innovation Banking Group to help finance strategies intended to support our journey in becoming the dominant video platform provider that the world’s most successful businesses rely on.”

Vidyard customers include Honeywell, LinkedIn, Citibank, and Sharp. A recent study of 218 B2B sales and marketing professionals found the top five uses of video within an organization are brand awareness (67%), lead generation (63%), customer education (63%), buyer education (58%), and sales enablement (54%).  Website distribution was the most common channel (79%), followed by email (67%), LinkedIn (63%), YouTube (60%), and landing pages (59%).  40% of respondents indicated that sales reps were deploying one-to-one videos.  Heinz Marketing and Vidyard conducted the survey.

Vidyard closed a debt financing round on December 20, 2019 (Source: Crunchbase)

Quora: How Accurate are Zoominfo Direct Dials?

My answer to the question: How Accurate are Zoominfo Direct Dials?

There are two sets of contact information from Zoominfo: Tier 1 validated contacts for around 5 million global executives and decisionmakers. This data is re-validated every 90 days and has a 96% direct dial population rate and 98% email. These records are subject to a 95% data accuracy SLA (100% is impossible as there is a 2 – 2 1/2% decay rate of contact records per month). Tier 1 data also includes org charts, researched biographies, and company projects.

Tier 2 data is obtained through machine learning and natural language processing. Zoominfo obtains this data through web crawling and the mining of signature blocks amongst its Community Members (small businesses that provide access to this data in exchange for limited platform access). Because this data is being gathered constantly, Zoominfo has a heads up if somebody’s signature block changes. It also provides a deeper set of direct dials than available from other companies. Zoominfo offers an update date for Tier 2 data which I would recommend using. Data verified within the past six months should be around 90% accurate. At a year, the accuracy is likely around 75% and could be lower. Anything beyond a year is likely to be of low quality and should not be purchased except in special circumstances such as the lack of new contacts at a key function of an account or high-value prospect.

Zoominfo provides a deep set of sales and marketing tools including ICP/TAM, visitor intelligence, intent-based alerts, enterprise software connectors, and trigger-based workflows.

I have not conducted a recent study of Tier 2 data vs. other contact data sources, so cannot speak to its quality.

Two other vendors directly collect and verify contact direct phones and emails. If direct-dial accuracy is a key concern, also evaluate DealSignal and SalesIntel.io. DealSignal performs overnight reverification so is better for marketing than sales. SalesIntel performs 90-day reverification cycles and claims to be significantly less expensive than Zoominfo. Both companies offer contact enrichment, contact prospecting, and enterprise software connectors (CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, Chrome).

ReachOut 2.0 identifies LinkedIn pages and URLs and maps them to ZoomInfo Intelligence. Profiles, which include firmographics, emails, and direct dials, may then be quickly uploaded to CRMs or sales engagement platforms..
ReachOut 2.0 identifies LinkedIn pages and URLs and maps them to ZoomInfo Intelligence. Profiles, which include firmographics, emails, and direct dials, may then be quickly uploaded to CRMs or sales engagement platforms.

SalesIntel at 18 Months

Sales Intelligence vendor SalesIntel closed out a successful second year on the market with growth in content, staff, and functionality.  In Q1, SalesIntel will be formally rolling out a new data enrichment service along with Salesforce and Marketo connectors. The firm added over 150 new clients in 2019.

In 2019, SalesIntel increased its verified contact data by 80% to 4.5 million contacts.  Data is hand-verified by a team of over 200 full-time and 1,200 on-demand SalesIntel-trained researchers.  Due to human verification, the company claims a 95% accuracy level for its contacts and is now able to identify the exact locations of executives.

“For a company just 18 months old, 2019 was in many ways, a test of our grit, competence, and above all, the value we create for our clients. I can say with 100% confidence that we have passed with flying colors.  We plan to continue making significant investments across the board, the fruition of which you’ll see in the next year.”

SalesIntel CEO Manoj Ramnani

In 2020, SalesIntel intends to grow its coverage by millions of contacts and expand coverage internationally.  The firm also plans to extend its technographic coverage by “tens of millions” of values.  The roadmap includes integrations with Marketo and Bullhorn.

“As we continue to expand our data coverage, strengthen our platform and sign more clients, we’ll also continue to scale our team with more client success, data engineers, and researchers to maintain the highest standard of concierge data services that our clients appreciate and love,” said CEO Manoj Ramnani.

SalesIntel also began offering Account, Contact, and Lead record enrichment.  Technographic data, which is available in the prospecting service from HG Insights, is not included in the match and append service; however, SalesIntel noted that joint clients can obtain technographic data enrichment directly from HG Insights.  

The enrichment report details match rates, updated and enriched record counts, and the number of records that were appended (see Figure 1).

SalesIntel is selling enrichment processing as an add-on to the existing prospecting service.  Pricing starts at $5,000 per annum and is volume-based.

Enrichment is currently available via the SalesIntel portal and will be available as a Salesforce integration later this month.  A Marketo integration is scheduled for later in the quarter.

SalesIntel recently rebranded its Chrome plug-in as RevDriver.  Subscribers can export to CRM, MAP, SalesLoft, or Outreach.  A RevDriver Marketo connector will be available later this month.

SalesIntel’s New Data Enrichment Report

CCPA Now in Effect

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into force this week, but enforcement will be delayed for six months.  “We’re going to help folks understand our interpretation of the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.  “And once we’ve done those things, our job is to make sure there’s compliance, so we’ll enforce.”

Microsoft indicated that CCPA will be used as a national standard. Microsoft has already extended EU GDPR compliance globally and called privacy “a fundamental human right.”

“CCPA marks an important step toward providing people with more robust control over their data in the United States,” wrote Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Officer Julie Brill.  “It also shows that we can make progress to strengthen privacy protections in this country at the state level even when Congress can’t or won’t act.”

CCPA requires firms to be transparent in how they collect and use consumer data.  Individuals also have the option to block sales of personal data.  However, “Exactly what will be required under CCPA to accomplish these goals is still developing,” wrote Brill.

Microsoft supports a national privacy law which cover “more robust accountability requirements” including minimizing data collection, transparency around how data is being used, and “making them more responsible for analyzing and improving data systems to ensure that they use personal data appropriately.”

Facebook is hedging, saying “we do not sell people’s data” without acknowledging that its business is based on monetizing member data and that it has a poor history of controlling partner data collection on its platform.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called Facebook the “new cigarettes for our society,” which undermines societal trust.  On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Benioff called for Facebook to be regulated or split up.  “They’re certainly not exactly about truth in advertising.  Even they have said that.  That’s why we’re really in squarely a crisis of trust, when the core vendor themselves cannot say that trust is our most important value.  Look, we’re at a moment in time where each one of us in every company has to ask a question: What is our highest value?”

“I expect a fundamental reconceptualization of what Facebook’s role is in the world,” continued Benioff.  “When you have an entity that large with that much potential impact, and not fundamentally doing good things to improve the state of the world, well, then I think everyone is going to have it in its crosshairs.”

Market Insights Newsletter Splits in Half

This was one of the two weeks a year that I take off from writing my Market Insights Newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that I’m splitting the newsletter into two newsletters.  When I started writing the Market Insights Newsletter back in 2012, it focused on Sales Intelligence, Social Selling, and B2B DaaS.  Since then, B2B DaaS has increased greatly in importance, and I’ve added adjacent topics including Sales Engagement Platforms, data privacy / compliance, ABM, and Customer Data Platforms.  The result was a doubling in the length of the newsletter and an increase in the frequency that articles were bumped.  Some features are often bumped for a month or longer due to length.

In August, I took my summer vacation, but there was no August news break.  It took me a few months to catch up on announcements from that week.  This led me to the realization that I needed to split my newsletter in half to improve both topical focus and story currency.  The split will also allow me to profile more startups.

Most of my readers will continue to receive a Sales Intelligence (SI) newsletter which covers

  • Sales Intelligence
  • B2B DaaS
  • Data Hygiene
  • ABM
  • B2B Data (Companies, Contacts, Intent, Technographics, and Triggers)
  • Customer Data Platforms
  • Compliance (GDPR, CCPD, KYC, AML, PEP)

The SI edition of Market Insights will continue to publish on Sundays.

The new Sales Engagement (SE) newsletter covers

  • Sales Engagement Platforms
  • Hybrid Engagement Platforms (Sales Intelligence + ICP / TAM + Sales Engagement)
  • Sales Engagement Platform Ecosystem (e.g. Chat, Video, Attribution, Meeting Management, Analytics)
  • Sales Enablement

The SE edition will publish on Mondays.

Contact me if you’d like to be set up with a trial edition of either newsletter. I offer SMB pricing for startups, so don’t assume that I am unaffordable like other analyst services.

Terminus Acquires Sigstr

Sigstr Location Intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.
Sigstr location intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.

ABM platform vendor Terminus acquired email analytics vendor Sigstr earlier this week.  The full 60-person Sigstr team will be joining Terminus, including CEO Bryan Wade.  Sigstr has received $11 million in funding across multiple rounds.  Sigstr’s flagship product inserts customized banner advertising in signature blocks.  In 2018, the firm launched Pulse, which tracks relationship strength based upon email opens, response times, messaging velocity, and generated calendar invitations.

“Combining our solution with the Terminus platform activates an untapped channel that changes how businesses engage with target accounts,” wrote Wade.  “We’re long-standing partners from both a technology and go-to-market perspective, making this combination a no-brainer and massive opportunity for our combined customers, and account-centric businesses everywhere looking to sharpen how they engage across the entire customer lifecycle.”

The merged company will be able to “determine their best-fit segments, prioritize accounts, and identify the next-best-action for execution.” Terminus can now align account-based messaging across the full lifecycle, prioritize accounts and assess buying team interactions, and integrate ABM messaging with employee email marketing.

“[Pulse] Relationship data adds a rich 1st-party piece of intelligence to your account-based efforts.  To deliver this information, Sigstr uses its proprietary Relationship Score, which analyzes the email and calendar interactions between employees at your company and those at your customer and prospective customer accounts.  It provides detailed insights into the sentiment and strength of relationships at an account, buying team, and individual level.  Utilizing this data set alongside engagement and intent intelligence already native to the Terminus platform supercharges how your revenue teams prioritize efforts and take action.”

Bryan Brown, Terminus Chief Product Officer

“I couldn’t’ be more excited about bringing two powerhouse teams together to shape the future of B2B marketing,” said High Alpha managing partner Scott Dorsey.  “Category leaders are built around great teams and innovative products.  This team has exactly what it takes.”

Sigstr customers include AT&T, Amazon, and United Way.  Terminus was also a long-time customer.  The firm blogged that the deal was “a reflection of both our confidence in and reliance upon Sigstr as a staple of our marketing strategy.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Earlier this month, Terminus named Tim Kopp their new CEO and Chairman.  Kopp is the former CMO of ExactTarget and is a Partner of Hyde Park Ventures.  Former Terminus CEO Eric Spett continues as a member of the Board.

“Marketing and business are at a crossroads.  We’re shifting to a new frontier of automation that prioritizes more effective account targeting, engagement, and acquisition,” said Kopp.  “The emerging generation of CMOs is transitioning toward hyper-targeted campaigns and intelligent, data-driven digital marketing.  ABM has moved past marketing, and Terminus is the definitive leader powering account-based transformation and helping businesses achieve rapid, long-term growth.”

LeadSpace Fall Release

LeadSpace rolled out its Customer Data Platform (CPD) fall release with improved processing of first-party data, enhancements to their Salesforce app, and refinements to their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) modeling.  Automated ingestion of first-party data and custom data sources deliver unified customer profiles “for use across systems.”  Automated data onboarding assists with AI modeling, scoring and analytics, and enterprise software activation.

“Customers can use data on engagement, product use, relationship, and other information unique to their business to power real-time orchestration of activities and processes,” stated the firm.  “Decisions about how to route leads, assign nurture programs, segment for campaigns, and personalize interactions can now be made with all the intelligence of the CDP and a complete customer view.”

The fall release also supports data hygiene with the sunsetting of Data.com Clean in mid-2020.  Both real-time and on-demand matching and enrichment are supported.  Triggers automatically identify new or updated records and automatically look to match them against the LeadSpace CDP.  At the end of the year, a sync button will be displayed within individual records.

“Getting a complete view of the customer is critical to improving the customer experience for B2B.  Buyers no longer tolerate generic and impersonal content and interactions.  Our Customer Data Platform gives B2B marketers a real path to being able to orchestrate the ideal customer experience at scale.  Improving the ability to ingest 1st party data makes that even more powerful because it is unique to each of our client’s journey with their customers.”

LeadSpace CEO Doug Bewsher

Enhanced ICP Analytics help select the right accounts and personas for ABM targeting.  Interactive, filterable reports display account, contact, and intent data matched against conversion and revenue data to “uncover which categories and segments have performed well historically.”  

LeadSpace On-Demand look-a-like segment building now supports company suppression.

LeadSpace customers include Microsoft, HPE, SAP, Iron Mountain, IBM, and Symantec.