IDG Communications, which acquired four data and MarTech firms over the past 18 months, rebranded as Foundry (Foundryco.com).
‘’We set out to deliver on a strategy that reinvents our business for a new era in technology marketing where data and MarTech are engineered to work seamlessly together, powered by our global ecosystem of editorial brands,” said Kumaran Ramanathan, President of the newly named Foundry. “However, to pivot, to reinvent you sometimes have to turn away from the very things that previously defined you and the long-standing equity in our name, synonymous as one of the world’s biggest media companies ultimately limits our ambition and ability to be identified as a marketing technology powerhouse.’’
Earlier this month, IDG acquired Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform Selling Simplified. The Denver-based vendor provides lead generation products, data services, and analytics. It also maintains a database of 160 million B2B records “specific to tech industry purchase intent.” The acquisition added contact and account-level AI-powered lead generation capabilities to IDG’s expanding suite of intent-based marketing technologies. IDG is moving quickly into the B2B MarTech space, having recently acquired ABM Platform Triblio, visitor intelligence vendor KickFire, and intent platform LeadSift.
“We meet with tech companies, marketers, sellers, and agencies every day and in every market around the world,” said Jason Tenenbown, Chief Strategy Officer of Foundry. “What we’ve found is a growing disconnect between sales pipelines and marketing funnels. Our strategy has been to leverage our proprietary data with proprietary marketing technologies to bridge that gap, creating an outcomes-based set of products and services that satisfy the needs of our clients.”
IDG Communications was founded in 1964. It remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDG which is best known for its 200+ technology publications, including CIO, ChannelWorld, Computerworld, CSO, Network World, PCWorld, and TechHive. Its digital publications provide a stream of second-party intent data “with access to more than 200 million individuals and global behavioral insights that are authenticated, timely and, contextually relevant.”
“No one else has first-party media relationships integrated with marketing technologies to help create an ecosystem that resolves customer pain points,” added Ramanathan. “With the rebrand of IDG as Foundry, we are establishing ourselves as a company that generates and innovates with data. While the new brand marks the completion of a major milestone in our corporate transformation, we will not stop innovating and building upon our recent success.” In a corporate branding video, Foundry emphasized that “those operating at the intersection of media and technology will have the edge.” Furthermore, “MarTech without data simply does not work” and “campaigns without technology are limited in their ability to provide measurable return on investment” and are “hard to scale with real-world impact.”
Clearbit announced the general availability of its Data Activation Platform. The new service helps B2B marketing teams “focus on creating demand, capturing intent, and optimizing their pipeline.”
The Data Activation Platform addresses the “business imperative for companies to have real-time intelligence about their target market, ideal customers, and engaged prospects.” It then applies this intelligence across all stages of the customer’s journey.
The Data Activation Platform offers Clearbit customers a user interface for many of the features that were previously only supported as APIs.
“Data activation is specifically around the next step of how we’re helping companies put data to work,” explained CRO Kevin Tate to GZ Consulting. “We started with the data. How do you collect data and make it available so that companies can be smart as they engage your customers in the market? And then, over the last three years, four years, what we’ve gotten to see is how these very fast-growing companies and their growth engineering teams and go-to-market teams have put our data to work in all these different customer touchpoints. Until this Data Activation Platform, the way they put that data to work was through APIs and integrations that they stitch together.”
“We’ve been fortunate to work with many of the most innovative B2B growth teams in the world, and they’ve taught us that it’s not just about having good data. It’s about activating that data to improve your funnel from top to bottom,” said Ross Moser, CEO of Clearbit. “The ability to apply real-time intelligence to each step of the customer journey – and optimize experiences in real-time – is what’s driving success for Clearbit’s customers.”
The Data Activation Platform leverages Clearbit’s heritage as a data company. Its database spans 44 million companies with over 100 firmographic and demographic attributes. Clearbit also maintains data on 350 million contacts. Marketers can target audiences, enrich their CRMs and MAPs, and personalize their website and customer experience apps. Capabilities include
Clearbit Reveal visitor intelligence for tying anonymous users to firms and detecting website visitor intent
Audience management and segmentation based on data ingested from a company’s CRM, MAP, or CDP. Alerts may be triggered to activate audiences across systems.
Real-time enrichment for short webforms.
Real-time integrations and APIs
Audiences can be targeted in multiple ways. For example, marketers can deploy audiences on Facebook and Google:
Prospect Audiences target employees across the complete ICP, including account expansion to new prospects outside the CRM. Targeting may be filtered by role and seniority, providing persona-level targeting across the ICP.
Contact Audiences that sync all matches to a contacts audience for retargeting on Facebook and Google
Site Visitor Audiences that retarget web visitors when they match on Facebook and Google.
Data syncing includes “Audience inclusion attributes” or “smart attributes” that are calculated, such as a Boolean ICP or current customer flags that can be pushed downstream to Salesforce and other platforms. The refreshed value is automatically pushed to downstream systems if the calculation is modified. Smart attributes are updated every fifteen minutes.
Clearbit partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Segment, Drift, Intercom, Chili Piper, Slack, Zapier, Qualified, and Clari. Personalization partners that leverage Clearbit Reveal include Uberflip, Optimizely, and Mutiny.
Clearbit is coming off a “big, big growth year” but does not disclose any sizing or growth details. LinkedIn lists it with 177 employees, up 90% over the past year. Business Development and Sales grew at a 150% pace. While Clearbit originally targeted B2B Internet service companies, it is gaining traction in financial services, retail services, and investments, businesses that are “looking for data, to power their intelligence, their go-to-market motions,” said Tate.
ZoomInfo continued its rapid growth, posting GAAP revenue of $222.3 million, up 59% year-over-year. Growth was both organic (52%) and via acquisitions (7%), with a net retention rate of 116%, up from 108% in 2020. Revenue grew 13% on a sequential basis.
Roughly half the increase in net retention was due to new functionality, and half was due to improvements in gross retention and lower down-sell rates associated with the initial shock of COVID in 2020.
CEO Henry Schuck is bullish about their new MarketingOS offering as part of RevOS. Since acquiring Clickagy 16 months ago, the firm has been building out ABM expertise in its engineering, product, strategy, and customer success teams to bring the new marketing suite to market.
“In all of our prelaunch diligence, we heard over and over again that the applications that marketers were leveraging to do account-based marketing were falling short for one main reason,” detailed Schuck. “The data being leveraged in those platforms was both inaccurate and incomplete. And that’s no surprise. Today’s ABM platforms were all designed to leverage a company’s own first-party data that exists in their CRM or marketing automation system.”
“And in 15 years of running ZoomInfo, I’ve never heard a rep manager or revenue leader describe that type of data as either complete or accurate. Yet without accurate and complete data, marketers aim advertising dollars at the wrong company and target the wrong people at those companies. They deliver fruitless leads to sales, which erodes confidence and fails to build alignment between sales and marketing. So, we built MarketingOS the same way we build every application with our best-in-class data at the foundation of the application layer…
For today’s B2B revenue teams, data, insights, technology, and orchestration are core to the motion they use to market and sell their products. But these capabilities are siloed. Some can be found in marketing tech or revenue operations, while others are in the sales tech stack.”
ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck
MarketingOS also benefits from ZoomInfo’s longstanding presence among sales teams, improving the credibility of marketing data and removing channel conflict induced by sales and marketing standardizing on different third-party reference databases.
According to Schuck, the RevOS positioning helps reps better explain ZoomInfo’s broad value proposition:
“What RevOS does for us, and what the different platform and product pillars do for us, is it gives us a cohesive story that we can tell all across our business from our enterprise business to our mid-market business to our SMB business. And we believe that the products that we’ve put together have applicability across customers of all sizes…What it does from an enablement perspective is it gives our sellers the ability to go into those conversations in a way that allows them to articulate the broad spectrum of the platform in a way that our customers are understanding much more clearly.”
ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck
It test-marketed the RevOS positioning in December and January and found that the updated messaging raised both the win rate and average sales price. RevOS messaging helps reps position Chorus, RingLead, and Engage at the beginning of conversations.
ZoomInfo, which announced the RevOS ABM Platform last week, is positioning itself as a best-of-breed platform for revenue teams. ZoomInfo offers a unified platform for sales and marketing, removing the need to stitch together many point solutions that address individual workflows or problems. With over 10,000 MarTech solutions alone (according to Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec), selecting and integrating many services has become increasingly difficult. Conversely, go-to-market platforms such as ZoomInfo ABM Platform manage data, workflow, analytics, forecasting, and communications.
ZoomInfo is not looking to displace systems of record such as CRMs or MAPs but to synchronize with them and enrich their data. For the past few years, it has been growing beyond traditional sales intelligence (companies, contacts, technographics, event triggers) to workflow, data orchestration, and engagement tools (webforms, visitor intelligence, programmatic marketing, chat, triggered workflows, sales cadences, engagement analytics, conversational intelligence, pipeline forecasting, etc.). In 2021 it shifted from content acquisitions (e.g., Zoom Information contacts, Clickagy intent, Everstring business graphs) to orchestration (e.g., RingLead) and Engagement (e.g., Insent chat and Chorus Conversational Intelligence and forecasting) acquisitions.
Likewise, ZoomInfo’s expanded product offerings support Sales Engagement, Recruitment, and ABM.
“We significantly expanded our offering by developing an application layer on top of our best-in-class data assets and acquiring and quickly integrating chat conversation intelligence and orchestration technology into the platform,” explained Schuck. “These innovations enabled us to add more new customers than ever before and drove increasing levels of sales to existing customers and record net revenue retention of 116%, up from 108% in 2020.”
From a GTM perspective, ZoomInfo is not looking to verticalize its platform but focus more on functional specialization. As a result, the new RevOS platform positioning focuses on four functions: Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Recruitment.
“It’s more aligned around personas that we sell to,” explained Schuck. “The new packaging and models that we’re rolling out are aligned around persona, so a sales persona, a marketing persona, an operations persona, and a recruiter and talent acquisition persona. And that’s the way we really think about our offering and the way that we take them to market.”
VanillaSoft announced a trio of new or upgraded integrations for its Sales Engagement Platform. First, VanillaSoft upgraded its integration with Salesforce, providing synchronization of accounts, contacts, leads, activities (e.g., Tasks, Events, History), and opportunities. Custom Object syncing is coming soon. VanillaSoft also announced new technology partnerships with Chorus (ZoomInfo) and Zapier.
The Salesforce integration is bi-directional with instant updates. Prospects from VanillaSoft’s AutoKlose subsidiary are fed to VanillaSoft and uploaded to Salesforce. The integration also supports improved Salesforce reporting and dashboards, providing a unified reporting interface for all sales activities. Salesforce reporting “accurately shows conversion ratios and funnel math from stage-to-stage and team-to-team.”
“In most cases, organizations use SFDC as the primary hub for all their lead and account information,” noted Product Marketing Director Bergen Wilde during a demo to GZ Consulting. “Leads coming in from outside sources, such as marketing automation, would be immediately shared with VanillaSoft.” For example, “marketing may examine old leads or accounts in SFDC and create a new campaign for these, sending them back into VanillaSoft for pursuit by SDRs.”
The upgraded integration “empowers a sales team with immediate information updates across both platforms so agents using either system can take action without delay.”
Updates to Salesforce are always real-time and triggered by VanillaSoft result codes. Updates from Salesforce can be either real-time or performed in batch. For example, Sales Operations can set up real-time synchronization for web form submissions fed into SFDC. Web leads are then synced with VanillaSoft, providing immediate routing of web leads to SDRs, with both platforms tracking submissions and responses.
A novel VanillaSoft use case is multi-client synchronization between VanillaSoft and client Salesforce instances. The VanillaSoft project code acts as a “top-level, self-contained database in VanillaSoft,” which signals the relevant client instance, allowing lead generation companies and agencies to support multiple clients. “Lead generation has always been a consistent market for us because we keep the data segmentation. That’s been since day one – we’ve kept our projects separate,” explained Director of Customer Success Daniel Sims to GZ Consulting. “Tied to that, we have some pretty cool appointment setting functionality that tends to make us attractive to most lead gen companies.”
Other use cases include
Managing SDR to AE handoffs: As SDRs book meetings, the information and task are posted in Salesforce for the AE. If the client is a no-show, the lead can be passed back to the SDR for rescheduling.
Upselling: A customer success agent identifies an upsell opportunity and enters it in SFDC. The record then syncs with VanillaSoft, which notifies the SDR to schedule an appointment for the AE.
Triggered Alerts: Salesforce alerts (e.g., overdue payments, deviations from volume commitments, or new opportunities) are routed to SDRs for follow-up.
VanillaSoft noted that it can store raw MQLs until they are sales qualified, at which time the data is synced with Salesforce. This flow reduces storage fees for low-yield prospects. Thus, contact records can be purchased from AutoKlose and enabled in VanillaSoft, only becoming Salesforce records once they are sales qualified.
VanillaSoft supports both the Salesforce Lightning and Classic user experiences. Integration management is performed within SFDC, so admins do not require a VanillaSoft license.
The Chorus partnership is supported for joint customers, providing access to Chorus recordings and transcripts from VanillaSoft. Similar functionality for Gong is planned for the end of this quarter.
Chorus transcription and analytics are triggered by VanillaSoft result codes, with recordings immediately passed from VanillaSoft to Chorus for processing. A Chorus logo is then displayed within VanillaSoft, providing a hyperlink to the recording, transcript, and analysis.
Zapier provides broad integration with other enterprise software platforms. Sales operations can bi-directionally connect VanillaSoft to hundreds of other applications via a “simple, graphical user interface.”
Zapier is often deployed by SMBs for connecting platforms and triggering workflows.
“VanillaSoft helps SMB sales teams in real-world industries to enhance their sales capabilities and productivity – enabling them to increase their outreach and close more deals,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood. “By establishing relationships and enhancing integrations with other key technologies that our customers rely on within their sales organizations, we are working to make their sales processes more seamless, and ultimately are helping them to ensure their sales success.”
ZoomInfo announced the immediate availability of its new MarketingOS ABM Platform. The service is part of a broader RevOS offering that supports marketing, sales, operations, and recruitment. MarketingOS consolidates ZoomInfo’s legacy marketing capabilities, bringing together two recent acquisitions, Insent and RingLead, with new programmatic and audience management functionality.
ZoomInfo also refined its positioning statement from Revenue Acceleration to Revenue Operating System. It stated that RevOS is “the World’s only revenue operating system of its kind.”
“Our comprehensive B2B database is the key differentiator that sets MarketingOS apart from other ABM solutions,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck. “ZoomInfo’s unique data science algorithms allow marketers to connect with the right prospects at precisely the right time. No other solution on the market combines the power of data-driven insights and marketing-optimized workflows like ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS.”
“Marketers typically fail because the data in most ABM platforms is both inaccurate and incomplete. Current ABM solutions are designed to leverage companies’ own first-party data, which exists in their customer relationship management or marketing automation systems. Without quality data, marketers pour advertising dollars at the wrong prospects and companies, and, as a result, deliver fruitless leads to sales and waste time and resources. With ZoomInfo’s best-in-class data and intelligence at its foundation, MarketingOS enables marketers to effectively reach target accounts and drive qualified leads for sales.”
New functionality includes social and display advertising, abandoned from tracking, and audience targeting. Marketing can build audiences and track campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Marketing can also build campaigns and manage them programmatically through Clickagy DSP (ZoomInfo) or TradeDesk.
Marketing OS looks to address the “Funnel Famine” suffered by traditional marketing teams. Several issues cause Funnel Famine: crowded B2B advertising channels, dirty data, leaky black-box marketing campaigns, siloed data, and sales’ longtime distrust of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
“Most marketing programs begin with data, whether it’s for tailoring your communications, whether it’s for sending an email, whether it’s for sending a direct mail. It’s all about those accounts that you’re targeting and the professionals at those accounts,” explained ZoomInfo SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing Justin Withers to GZ Consulting. “And the reality is that a lot of data, especially if it’s pulled from the CRM or other systems, is outdated. It’s inaccurate. It’s incomplete, and that can actually pollute or even inhibit the lead flow at the top of the funnel, and [it] ultimately leads to poor conversion. It leads to leaks in the funnel, and all this hard work that marketers put in at every stage of the funnel ultimately spills out before it can even reach sales.”
The reality is that the sales and marketing funnels operate in parallel, not sequentially, as represented in traditional funnel diagrams. MarketingOS lets marketers run account-based programs in parallel with sales running account-based sales programs “so that everyone’s aligned at every step of the funnel.”
Under current processes, sales and marketing operate in parallel to each other with little coordination and a single point of handoff for MQLs, a situation that “really doesn’t set marketing up for success…and it leaves sales in a bind,” continued Withers. Thus, marketing complains that sales teams ignore its leads, and sales reps complain about the quality and quantity of marketing-sourced leads. As a result, there is an “acute misalignment between sales and marketing.”
With MarketingOS, handoffs can occur at different points along the marketing funnel, based on the channel and prospect response.
Sales and Marketing are aligned around a set of target accounts both within and beyond the ICP. Thus, an ICP account with spiking intent will be passed to sales, even if marketing has had limited conversations. Furthermore, the rep will know that multiple individuals from the firm have visited the website or that individuals have clicked through on ads or email campaigns.
Likewise, chatbot conversations with target companies can immediately route a chat to the sales rep or schedule a call.
New functionality for managing abandoned forms can revive a prospect. ZoomInfo claims a 60% increase in lead flow with its abandoned form tracking.
MarketingOS functionality includes
Expanded targeting that leverages the full set of ZoomInfo’s first and third-party intelligence for building and activating audiences. ZoomInfo selects include firmographics, technographics, biographics (e.g., Title, 192 Job Functions, Job Levels), web forms, and uploaded lists (e.g., tradeshow lists). Other selects include business events (e.g., funding data, executive changes, projects) and over 300 company attributes (advanced data-mined firmographics such as fleet size and company benefits). Targeting also ingests account, contact, and lead attributes from Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo.
First and third-party intent data time outreach while buyers are in-market, helping to improve marketing and sales efficacy. Marketers can track up to 500 intent topics, with up to 50 available at a time. In addition, chat-based targeting is coming soon.
An “in-market predictive score” that identifies each prospect’s buying stage, “informing how and when marketers should engage with prospects based on their ranking and helping them to prioritize their outbound efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert.”
Campaign Management and Analytics. Marketers upload their creative, build an audience, set the budget, and select their channels.
Webforms, infused with automated enrichment, support shorter forms with reduced abandonment rates
Abandoned form tracking, with Workflows passing the lead to sales or additional nurture steps
ZoomInfo Chat (FKA Insent), a conversational marketing chatbot that leverages ZoomInfo data to score and route leads. Chat immediately passes high-scoring, live leads to sales reps. The chatbot also automates meeting scheduling.
Visitor Intelligence, with pages scored differently (e.g., Product Pages are scored higher than Career or Investor Pages)
Automated workflows triggered by intent, custom intent, WebSights visitor intelligence, Scoops (e.g., business events, projects), Funding, Technologies, and FormComplete. Workflows can also be built to expand reach across the potential buying committee by persona.
RingLead data orchestration to dedupe, cleanse, enrich, and route leads
ZoomInfo Enrich, a set of DaaS enterprise platform integrations for data enrichment and hygiene.
MarketingOS is powered by ZoomInfo’s database spanning 100 million companies, 150 million executives, technographics, intent and engagement data, and event data.
“Marketing and sales funnels work in parallel, so everyone is aligned at every step of the funnel,” explained Justin Withers, SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing. With MarketingOS, “sales and marketing are working in lockstep at every stage of the journey.”
Tying together intent and engagement data and processing them through ZoomInfo Workflows is the future of ABM. Intent data is employed at the top of the funnel when buyers are in the initial research phase. Once prospects have begun interacting with a vendor, most buyer behavior research falls under the engagement category (e.g., web forms, email responses, chatbots, conversational intelligence, etc.). Finally, intent data helps identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities at the tail end of the customer lifecycle.
Engagement and intent data are also valuable churn risk indicators, helping customer success and account managers detect potential cancelations or defections well before decisions have been made. In addition, intent data can show a spike in research related to product-associated topics and competitors. Engagement monitoring widens to include customer success interactions, training participation, platform usage, and general account health indicators.
“We can support your new customer acquisition with these signals,” stated Withers. “We can support your opportunity acceleration with these signals. We can also support your renewal, upsell, cross-sell motions based on different types of signals that are happening at those accounts. So, it really is a full customer lifecycle marketing solution.”
MarketingOS will be available as a pair of SKUs:
ABM Elite+: The full ABM Platform package, including RingLead Cleanse, Enrich, and Route
ABM Advanced+: Package includes everything except RingLead
“The purpose behind the two distinct offerings is to simplify our primary offering for those focused on ABM engagement and marketing programs, as opposed to the more operationally focused data orchestration capabilities,” explained ZoomInfo Analyst Relations Director Michael Basilio to GZ Consulting.
MarketingOS includes ten marketing seats and three administrative seats for RingLead routing and ZoomInfo Chat.
The broader RevOS branding consists of MarketingOS, SalesOS, OperationsOS, and RecruitingOS. ZoomInfo calls RevOS the “world’s first integrated go-to-market platform.” All four RevOS services are generally available.
ZoomInfo’s data cloud, orchestration tools (e.g., RingLead, B2B DaaS, Workflows), and engagement tools (advertising, sales engagement, web forms, chat, and conversational intelligence) are at the heart of RevOS.
“There’s nothing more important in business than successfully executing your go-to-market strategy,” states ZoomInfo in its product collateral. “Get it right, and your business flourishes. Get it wrong, and you’re toast. That’s why having one integrated go-to-market platform is so crucial. You can think of it as your revenue operating system.”
SalesOS bundles together a set of new and legacy sales tools:
Chorus, the conversational sales platform the firm acquired in July
Sales and Marketing Alignment has been a stated goal of the two functions for at least a decade, but they have operated with different datasets, metrics, objectives, and platforms. Thus, alignment was more vision than reality. By aligning ABM on a common platform and reference database, alignment is no longer impaired by an organization’s tech stack and data foundation.
“Crucially, MarketingOS lets marketing teams work from a common data foundation. Only 39% of sales and marketing teams share buyer signals, and half say it’s because their sales and marketing systems don’t integrate. The shared data foundation of SalesOS and MarketingOS tightens key handoffs and unlocks true marketing and sales alignment, eliminating conflicting records, wasted effort, and missed opportunities.”
ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, “Introducing RevOS: The future of modern go-to-market software,” (Feb 8, 2022)
OperationsOS contains RingLead data orchestration (i.e., match, unify, dedupe, normalize, cleanse, enrich, score, and route data) and B2B DaaS services (e.g., APIs, webhooks, cloud data warehouse integrations).
Finally, RecruitingOS contains ZoomInfo Recruit, its recently launched prospecting and engagement service for HR departments and recruiters. RecruitingOS also includes a set of Applicant Tracking Service connectors.
“Recruiters can filter and reach more good-fit candidates, use pipeline management tools to collaborate and organize the hiring process, and automate the candidate outreach process,” explains Zoominfo. “This helps you source and connect with candidates faster, reducing the time to find and hire talent.”
Along with new product positioning, RevOS sports new logos, color palettes, styles, and a “unified in-app experience to create a singular, cohesive go-to-market solution that spans the entire suite of ZoomInfo products.” There are also redesigned data dashboards and reports that “offer a faster, more responsive experience that allows your sales, marketing, and recruitment teams to visually demonstrate ROI and how their work aligns with broader organizational objectives.”
In short, RevOS unifies sales, marketing, revenue operations, and recruitment on the same set of data, providing “the same source of truth” and “one integrated platform for every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.” “If data is the lifeblood of the modern sales organization, then go-to-market teams must have the technology to act upon that data. RevOS’ unified data tech stack gives sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting teams a single source of truth from which to launch their campaigns and go-to-market motions, simplifying internal workflows, reducing costs, and maximizing interoperability between teams,” blogged Schuck. “RevOS is the next chapter in ZoomInfo’s journey as the world’s leading go-to-market platform.”