Oftentimes when a small company is acquired, it is treated as a cash cow (if it is producing cash) or plugged into a larger business to address a capabilities gap or generate cross-selling opportunities. Less frequently is the new asset treated as a vital, strategic asset to help enter new markets.
In the case of Dun & Bradstreet’s acquisition of NetProspex, the acquired division has been a keystone for Dun & Bradstreet’s entry into Audience Solutions (Visitor ID, Audience Targeting). Dun & Bradstreet is beginning to gain traction in the programmatic advertising space. On their most recent earnings call, CEO Bob Carrigan noted that their customers have long relied on Dun & Bradstreet for company data, but that this data was difficult to map to online activities because people surf the net, not companies. When the firm acquired NetProspex early last year, they immediately set out to combine the NetProspex contact data with Dun & Bradstreet firmographics and D-U-N-S Numbers.
“Our contact data, coupled with our company data, on boarded for the digital world and matched to online cookies, helps our customers get their advertising in front of the right target, and the right decision maker at that target, at the right time,” said Carrigan. “And, by organizing around the D-U-N-S Number, our customers can finally connect their offline customer management data with their online advertising campaigns, creating that vital bridge between ad tech and marketing tech.”
Dun & Bradstreet data is then mapped to three hundred online segments. These segments utilize anonymous data including size variables, industry, job function, propensity to purchase specific products, and likelihood of qualifying for loans or company credit cards. Segments are then delivered to partners including Oracle, Adobe, Google, Xaxis and Nielsen. Furthermore, the firm’s global direct sales team offers bespoke segments for custom targeting.
“[The] whole programmatic wave, it’s all moving to B2B right now. And we’re starting to see some really nice uptake because we’re available for all the major buying platforms,” said Carrigan. “We’re also selling direct licenses to marketers as well and obviously we’ve got a portfolio already of sales and marketing solutions. This is a really nice complement to that and we’re trying to catch this wave and really deliver scale in a market that’s highly fragmented. So we’re pretty excited about this. It’s a great example of leveraging our core data in a new use case and it’s a great place for us to be.”
Adding Value to Hoover’s
Dun & Bradstreet also moved to quickly integrate NetProspex contacts into its Hoover’s sales intelligence service and used the NetProspex CleneStep contact verification process to validate Hoover’s contacts. The result was a deeper set of accurate contacts within Hoover’s and other Dun & Bradstreet contact-based offerings. The swap also saved Dun & Bradstreet several million dollars in contact acquisition costs.
NetProspex is also one of Hoover’s new Concierge Services for SMBs. Concierge services are turnkey marketing services for SMBs that have limited marketing resources.
Investing in NetProspex
A further sign of the strategic importance of NetProspex is the continuing investment in the NetProspex Workbench service. Workbench is a cloud-based data hygiene hub which verifies contacts (phone, email, and address), enriches the records with firmographics and technographics, provides segment and data hygiene analytics, and delivers net-new contacts. Their data health report is a slick PDF analysis of contact file health and segmentation. It is given away free as it also promotes Workbench enrichment (pre and post enrichment rates) and prospecting services.
The first thing that D&B did after acquiring NetProspex was swap out the weak firmographics attached to NetProspex contacts and replace them with D&B firmographics from their WorldBase file. This provides NetProspex with both more accurate firmographics and a much deeper set of company linkages.
Why linkage is important: Each new lead should be scored to determine whether to nurture the lead or send it immediately to a sales rep. Linkage data ensures that contacts associated with subsidiaries or branches of current customers and prospects are immediately forwarded to the appropriate sales rep. Furthermore, qualification is based upon the parent company, not simply the size information of the subsidiary or branch. Finally, channel conflict is reduced if leads are properly routed to the appropriate sales rep. Reliable firmographic and linkage enrichment provides a neutral third-party source for lead routing.
In January, NetProspex released a new dashboard set to its Workbench cloud-based data hygiene products. According to Dun & Bradstreet, “The dashboards keep track of consumption levels and alert you when you are in need of Targeted Data or a Data HealthScan. Now you can also gain insight into your Eloqua connectors in terms of performance and data enrichment.”
Data Management subscribers now see a Data HealthScore meter which indicates the overall quality of their most recent data HealthScan. They are also shown data management scores over time.
Target Data subscribers can view the total number of contacts acquired over time and a Current Consumption meter which shows “the exact percentage of contact data you have consumed.” NetProspex also added calendars to the service indicating the last time data was managed by the platform and the recommended next action date.
Finally, NetProspex increased the number of US contacts to 42 million. Each of these contacts includes an email and a significant percentage contain direct dial numbers.
While the Workbench service has long offered analytics, NetProspex recently added two analytical models to their Targeted Data subscriptions fulfilled by its Workbench platform. The two scores assist with segmentation, lead scoring, and messaging. Spend Capacity is based upon “non-traditional predictive segments such as UCC filings, inquiries and SIC revenue %.” The predictive score ranks the spend capacity of a firm between one and one hundred.
The second modeled score is Growth Trajectory which “anticipates the future growth or decay of a business based on a mix of criteria including revenue, borrow levels, credit inquiries, order frequency and spend levels.”
Targeted Subscriptions help marketers scrub their marketing database of poor or outdated leads. Records are standardized, verified (phone, email, and address), and enriched with Dun & Bradstreet company and contact data (42 million US B2B contacts with emails and direct dials). The subscription then maintains the marketing dataset and replaces bad records with good ones. The service includes Workbench Analytics concerning segmentation, technographics, and data quality.
“Data analytics (based on facts not probabilities) have not been readily available to the average marketer. That’s no longer the case. D&B is leveraging our deep expertise in understanding and analyzing company data and providing analytical insights as a value-added dimension to our Targeted Data Subscribers — no data scientist or fancy software needed,” says the firm.
According to Carrigan, Dun & Bradstreet generated more than ten million dollars in cross-sales revenue in its first year. This would include both cross-selling contact hygiene and enrichment services from NetProspex into the Dun and Bradstreet customer base and selling Dun & Bradstreet services to NetProspex clients. A key cross-sale is NetProspex contact enrichment and D&B Optimizer company enrichment sales. Optimizer lacked contact enrichments so NetProspex closes that gap.
What’s more, Dun & Bradstreet recognizes that the Optimizer platform needs to be modernized and announced plans to build company Optimizer services on the Workbench platform. Once completed, Workbench will provide a broader utility to marketers that need both lead (contact based) and account (company based) enrichment of their marketing automation platforms and CRMs.