HubSpot Sales & Marketing COVID Activity Metrics

HubSpot has measured aggregated sales and marketing platform activity across its 70,000 customers since the pandemic began and benchmarking this activity against the pre-COVID level (January through early March).  Looking back at Q2, CMO Kipp Bodnar noted that “the data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and that businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.”

Marketing teams have risen to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in a messy, chaotic crisis and met an audience of buyers who suddenly spend all day at their computer,” commented Bodnar.  “While email volume has risen significantly — typically a no-no for teams hoping to keep their open rates up — open rates have risen faster than volume has grown, demonstrating that teams have been successful at providing relevant and helpful content.”

Marketing email open rates are up ten to twenty percent above pre-COVID levels, with the last week of June running 18% above the baseline.

Sales teams have been less successful in their outbound communications.  While sales emails have risen 60% since mid-March, “response rates have been dismal. Marketing teams have been able to connect, but sales teams haven’t. This is a huge area of opportunity for businesses as they enter the next quarter of COVID-19.”

Sales email open rates are down 25 to 30%.  “As sales teams increased email sends, customers began to tune these messages out or even mark them as spam in their inboxes,” warned Bodnar.  “So far, it seems if email send rates remain this high, we can expect response rates to trend in the opposite direction.”

“Volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn’t personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data. At this point, sales teams should be working closely with marketing to understand how they can improve their email engagement rates, and sending far less email.”

HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar

Website traffic increased during the pandemic as decisionmakers and influencers began working from home.  Global site traffic is up 16% in Q2 vs. Q1 with it peaking at 24% above the benchmark on April 20th.  Software industry site traffic is running at 40% above pre-pandemic levels.

Customer-initiated chat levels have also risen sharply during the pandemic.  Total volume is up 31% over the pre-pandemic baseline, with every measured industry seeing increased volume.  “Sales teams have pivoted to chat to grow their pipelines, while customer service teams are leveraging this medium to manage the increased demand for support,” observed Bodnar.

Call prospecting has dropped significantly during the pandemic as it has become more difficult to reach individuals who are now working at home.  Call prospecting fell as much as 27% below baseline the week of April 6th and now is down around 9%.  Before COVID, there was a rough balance between phone and email prospecting, but in Q2, email activity doubled that of phone calls.  “Sales teams will need to return to their pre-COVID balance in order to see improvements in response rates,” argued Bodnar.

Deal Creation has improved in eight of the eleven weeks since April 6th, with deal creation up the past four weeks.  APAC deal creation was down 5% in Q2, North America down 6%, EMEA down 12%, and LATAM down 12%.  Large companies have recovered deal creation activity faster than small firms.  Computer Software deal creation was down 3% in Q2.

Deal Won has improved ten of the last eleven weeks, after dropping to 36% below baseline the week of April 6th.  For the full quarter, deals won were down 11%.  Smaller firms did best at closing deals, with larger firms posting the weakest performance, likely due to large firms selling a greater percentage of high-dollar, strategic deals that would have stalled in their pipeline.  Computer software Q2 was 14% above baseline, but this probably overstates industry performance due to Q1 often being the slowest month of the year and the loss of many “hockey stick” end of quarter deals at the end of Q1 as the pandemic struck.  Some of these likely slipped into Q2.

Bodnar provided three suggestions for Q3: invest in chat, shift from quantity to quality in sales prospecting and communications, and invest in online discoverability.

Global Database V2 Launched (Part II)

Yesterday I began my discussion of Global Database’s v2 sales and marketing intelligence solution.


Global Database supports a proprietary industry taxonomy along with country-specific SIC codes.  European NACE codes are on the roadmap.

Screening is straightforward with a broad set of selection criteria:

  • Companies: Employees, Trading Activity (Import/Export Flags), Activity Type (Distributor, Producer, Service Provider), Active Status, Incorporation Date Range, Legal Form
  • Executives: Seniority (7 levels), Department (29), Job Title
  • Industry: The Global Database industry taxonomy and 11 European industry codes, but no US SIC, NAICS, or NACE  
  • Location: Country, Region, City or State, ZIP
  • Financials: Turnover, Net Profit, Total Liabilities, Directors Remuneration, Profit per Employee, Exports, Currency
  • Digital Insights: Website Monthly Visits, Used Technologies (web-mined), Alexa Ranking
  • Advanced: Have Email Address, Have Telephone, Have Fax, Have URL, Have VAT, Have a Company Registration Number, Have Business Address, Have Lat/Long, Have Direct Email Address, Have Direct Dial, Contacts Recently Updated (this month, three months, six months)

The report list shows 50 companies at a time.  Users may download the list as a custom CSV file.  They also can quickly add, remove, or sort displayed columns.

As each variable is selected, Global Database automatically updates the company and contact counts.  Users may save both companies and search criteria.

Company lookups may be performed by company name, registration number, VAT Number, URL, and Phone Number.  Unfortunately, Tickers are not available, and companies are not sorted by size, making it challenging to locate the headquarters of large multi-nationals or global publics (quoted companies).  

Contacts may be looked up by name.

As a V1 UI release, there are some bugs.  For example, the Company Structure for multi-nationals with many subsidiaries appears without any viewable details unless the user realizes she can pinch and expand the display for a partial view of the tree.  The user can click on a node to view the name and ownership type, but other details are only visible by clicking through to the profile.  This display makes the ownership research process cumbersome and random.  Likewise, the officers’ view displays both active and resigned directors and corporate secretaries but does not display all active directors at the top of the report.

While it is easy to quibble with V1 UI issues, there are also some well-designed features.  The design has a mobile-ready layout with icons along the left-sidebar.  It also retains the most recent search criteria when the user clicks on the magnifying glass, search icon.  This feature allows the user to drill down to research specific companies without losing the search criteria or being forced to open multiple browser tabs.  Below the selection criteria are the most recently viewed companies.  

A tenders database search is a feature not generally available in sales intelligence services.

The option to request editorial research for accounts by function and role, with rapid turnaround, is a differentiator.

The new UI does not yet support Salesforce, but it is available on its legacy platform.  Salesforce integration is planned for Q3.  Other planned enhancements include credit reports for 40 countries and a News and Activity tab scheduled for Q4.

The service begins at £5,000 for a single-country, single-user license with the global edition priced at £30,000 for five users.  Additional seats are priced at £500.

Clients include Amazon, Uber, Getty Images, Leadfeeder, Telepass Italia, and The Economist. Buldumac indicated that business has increased during the pandemic as firms look for more clients, require tools for assessing business risk, and source digital sales and marketing solutions in the absence of event marketing.

Global Database V2 Launched

Global Database refreshed its sales and marketing intelligence platform with a new user interface, list upload enrichment, and financial-change triggers.  The mobile-ready design supports list building and export, peer lists, group structure (linkage) display, European registry data, and Companies House filings.

Other new features include the ability to

  • Export only certain data types
  • Pay directly online for users that have reached their download limits
  • Add multiple applications, such as sales and marketing, credit risk, and funding modules.

Global Database supports sales, marketing, credit risk, and onboarding use cases.  Data is gathered through licensing, mining, and editorial research.  An enrichment feature lets firms identify companies for which they require additional contacts by role and level.  The twenty-person research team then identifies the contacts.  Global Database has a one-hour turnaround on individual contact requests and a 24-hour turnaround for larger volume requests.

Global Database covers 70 million companies, 47 million of which are active.  Inactive companies are supported for compliance and data hygiene use cases.  44 million contacts are available, of which 10 million have emails, and 25 million have switchboard phones.  In the UK, both trading and registered addresses are provided.

All contacts are GDPR compliant based upon a “Legitimate Interest” basis for data collection.  Emails are verified every six months.  Global Database did not disclose their company data sources for publication, but the core European vendors are long-standing, well-respected sources of registry and credit data.

“Unlike other data providers, Global Database is focused on listing only official government data, that have a registration number and a company status (active or inactive).  This will give a complete overview of the addressable market that a company can target.  Very often, companies rely on LinkedIn and other data providers and, in return, they missed many opportunities.”

Global Database CEO Nicolae Buldumac

The database is weighted towards Europe, with 39 million active companies and 34 million employees.  Regional coverage is as follows:

RegionCompaniesContacts
Europe39 million34 million
North America (US/CAN)1.1 million4.8 million
Latin America3.2 million1.3 million
Caribbean19,00030,000
Asia (includes ANZ)1.5 million2.1 million
Middle East270,000640,000
Africa900,000900,000
Grand Totals47 million44 million
Global Database Counts by Region

Company profile depth varies by country, with European firms enjoying the most detail.  The overview page contains firmographics, contact information, a Google Map for the Registered Address, a multi-paragraph, mined business description, Turnover and Net Asset graphs (up to 20 years), five employees, summary web traffic and technologies, and the most recent company updates.

The Financials tab displays key values and ratios values, including mini-five year bar graphs for quickly assessing the data.  Reports include the P&L, Balance Sheet, Cashflow, Capital & Reserves, Miscellaneous Indicators, and KPIs and Ratios.  UK Registered filings are available as PDFs for the UK with image data for forty other countries in development.

The Credit tab provides risk analysts with overall credit risk, a recommended credit limit, mortgages, and county court judgments.

The Employees tab displays executives lists and directors’ profiles.  Users may export the executives list as a CSV file and perform social searches for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Ownership tab provides shareholders, a graphical group structure, and the latest ownership activity.

The Location tab displays registered and trading addresses with Google maps.

The Competitors tab provides a peer list based upon the largest three peers by SIC code.  The list is exportable to CSV, and users may change the competitors.

The Digital Insights tab helps users research the company’s web presence and deployed web technologies.  Up to five years of website traffic are graphed.  Other content includes a six-month visitor count, Alexa Rank, SimilarWeb score, traffic sources (direct, organic, referral), top organic keywords, top referral partners, traffic by countries, web technologies in use, WHOIS website owner, and WHOIS server details.

Users may set up alerts for financial data changes (i.e. when a company reports a threshold percentage increase or decrease in revenue, number of employees, or EBITDA) as well as new filings and address, director, ownership, and group structure change.

The database supports a broad set of prospecting variables spanning firmographics, biographics, technographics, and financials.  Selects are displayed on the left, and results are dynamically updated as each variable is submitted.  Users can quickly update the results list layout by adding and removing, sorting, and filtering columns.  Results may be downloaded as a CSV file.  Salesforce uploads are targeted for the Q3 release.

Global Database supports a proprietary industry taxonomy along with country-specific SIC codes.  European NACE codes are on the roadmap.


Continue to Part II.

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part IV)

The is the fourth, and final, blog on Dun & Bradstreet’s upcoming IPO. Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE Ticker: DNB) will be offering 65.75 million shares at an IPO price between $19 and $21.  The offering would raise just over $1.3 billion and value the firm at $8 billion. [Top of Coverage]

North American revenue increased by $12.1 million or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) in Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2019.  North American Finance and Risk rose $10.7 million (6%) year-over-year.  Finance Solutions were up $13 roughly million, while Compliance fell approximately $2 million.

North American Sales & Marketing grew revenue by $1.4 million (up 1%) in Q1.  However, $4.9 million of S&MS revenue was attributed to Lattice, which was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in July 2019.  North American Advanced Marketing Solutions revenue rose $4 million due to increased demand, but D&B Hoovers and the Data.com legacy partnership with Salesforce posted declining revenue.  The Data.com service is being phased out, so the $4 million in quarterly revenue drop was anticipated.  However, the drop of $3 million in quarterly revenue at D&B Hoovers, attributed to lower sales, was surprising.

International revenue fell by $0.2 million in Q1.  International Finance & Risk revenue increased $2.3 million, or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) for the three months ended March 31, 2020.  International Sales & Marketing revenue declined $2.3 million, primarily driven by lower product royalties from their WWN alliance.

Annual revenue dropped $139.8 million (8%), but the drop was due to purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustments (9%) due to the take-private transaction and Lattice acquisition.  There also was a one month lag in international revenue reporting due to the take-private transaction resulting in an additional 1.5% drop in revenue.

2019 North American revenue rose by $44.1 million (3%) with increases in both product lines.  The Finance & Risk division increased revenue by $16 million, or 2%.  The Risk & Compliance products grew revenue by $11 million, and the D&B Credibility products contributed an additional $4 million.

2019 North American Sales & Marketing revenue grew $28.1 million (4%), with $17 million in increased revenue from Master Data solutions and $12 million from Lattice, which was acquired at the beginning of Q3.

2019 International revenue fell $3.1 million after the impact of foreign currency but was up 2% before foreign currency impacts of $9.5 million.  “Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, growth of $6.4 million was primarily due to increased revenue in our U.K. market driven by higher demand and usage related to our Finance & Risk solutions, including Risk & Compliance products.”

2019 International revenue was negatively impacted by $1.8 million, mostly in the UK, “as a result of transferring legacy Avention contracts to our WWN alliances pursuant to preexisting agreements governing partner exclusivity in certain territories.”

The filing also provided some color into their 2018 performance vs. 2017 as a private company:

“The increase in Sales & Marketing Solutions reflects increased revenue from new business in our Master Data offerings of approximately $7 million as well as our Audience Solutions products (Visitor Intelligence and Programmatic) of approximately $5 million and Analytics products of approximately $5 million.  The aforementioned increases were partially offset by lower royalty revenue from our Data.com legacy partnership of approximately $7 million and decreased revenue in D&B Hoovers of approximately $5 million.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1 Filing

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part III)

Continuing my discussion of Dun & Bradstreet’s planned IPO. The firm was taken private by a group of private equity companies in January 2019 and restructured.

The S-1 laid out how the firm has been restructured over the past eighteen months:

  • “We immediately reorganized our management and operating infrastructure into vertically aligned business units to increase focus and accountability.
  • As a result of this realignment, 18 of the 19 executives, or 95%, and 30 of the 46, or 65%, members of the broader leadership team are new or in a new role, with nearly half of all employees reporting to a new leader.
  • Our total employee turnover was approximately 1,500 and our leadership was able to identify and eliminate ineffective headcount resulting in a net employee reduction of approximately 850, or 17% of total employees.
  • We will continue to optimize our organizational structure and make targeted hires to build out our team at all levels.”

Other changes include

  • Incentivizing long-term contracts in commission plans
  • A focus on tracking and monitoring service metrics
  • “Modernizing our infrastructure and optimizing our architecture to increase control, create efficiencies, and greatly enhance the ability of our platforms to scale,”
  • Expanding their ability to “seamlessly add and integrate new data sets and analytical capabilities into our simplified and scaled technology infrastructure.”
  • Increasing their coverage of SMBs and “incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients.”
  • Implemented a Data Watch Program which proactively monitors and repairs issues
  • Improved AI capabilities across a broader set of content

According to the S-1, “Enhanced analytics enable us to provide easy to implement end-to-end solutions; by creating configurable, rather than customizable, analytics solutions, we believe that we can increase the adoption of solutions by our clients and expand the size of our client base.”

The reorganization and other changes have resulted in a $206 million annualized run rate savings as of March 31, 2020.

“DNB has been reconstituted into presumably more efficient and responsible operating units,” stated Donovan Jones of IPO Edge.  “The problems with the IPO are that it is too early to tell if the reorganization is delivering better results than the previous structure and the firm is heavier with debt.”


In Part IV, I will be covering their financials.

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part II)

Yesterday, I began my coverage of Dun & Bradstreet’s IPO filing. Today, I am discussing the restructuring section of their S-1. Dun & Bradstreet was taken private 18 months ago by a group of PE firms that quickly moved to reduce costs and replace management.

The S-1 laid out how the firm has been restructured over the past eighteen months:

“- We immediately reorganized our management and operating infrastructure into vertically aligned business units to increase focus and accountability.

– As a result of this realignment, 18 of the 19 executives, or 95%, and 30 of the 46, or 65%, members of the broader leadership team are new or in a new role, with nearly half of all employees reporting to a new leader.

– Our total employee turnover was approximately 1,500 and our leadership was able to identify and eliminate ineffective headcount resulting in a net employee reduction of approximately 850, or 17% of total employees.

– We will continue to optimize our organizational structure and make targeted hires to build out our team at all levels.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1

Other changes include

  • Incentivizing long-term contracts in commission plans
  • A focus on tracking and monitoring service metrics
  • “Modernizing our infrastructure and optimizing our architecture to increase control, create efficiencies, and greatly enhance the ability of our platforms to scale,”
  • Expanding their ability to “seamlessly add and integrate new data sets and analytical capabilities into our simplified and scaled technology infrastructure.”
  • Increasing their coverage of SMBs and “incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients.”
  • Implemented a Data Watch Program which proactively monitors and repairs issues
  • Improved AI capabilities across a broader set of content

According to the S-1, “Enhanced analytics enable us to provide easy to implement end-to-end solutions; by creating configurable, rather than customizable, analytics solutions, we believe that we can increase the adoption of solutions by our clients and expand the size of our client base.”

The reorganization and other changes have resulted in a $206 million annualized run rate savings as of March 31, 2020.

“DNB has been reconstituted into presumably more efficient and responsible operating units,” stated Donovan Jones of IPO Edge.  “The problems with the IPO are that it is too early to tell if the reorganization is delivering better results than the previous structure and the firm is heavier with debt.”


Part III of my coverage publishes on Monday with a discussion of their restructuring.

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO

Dun & Bradstreet filed an S-1 to return to the public markets after being taken private by Black Knight (BKI), Thomas H. Lee Partners, Cannae, and CC Capital eighteen months ago.  Dun & Bradstreet was reorganized and recapitalized with additional debt ($2.5 billion in increased liabilities).  The bookrunners include Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, J.P. Morgan, and Barclays.

Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) will be offering 65.75 million shares at a price between $19 and $21.

The firm will once again be listed under the DNB ticker and will net at least $1.3 billion from the IPO.  The IPO proceeds will be used to “redeem all or a portion of our Series A Preferred Stock that we issued in connection with the Take-Private Transaction.”

Dun & Bradstreet has 135,000 global customers, including 90% of the Fortune 500 and 60% of the Global 500.  Its primary services support risk analysis (credit and supplier risk), marketing, and sales.  Over the past five years, the firm has focused on analytics, Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), Master Data Management, and Audience Solutions (e.g. programmatic, visitor intelligence).  The product line has been built both organically and via acquisition.  Earlier this year, they acquired Orb Intelligence and its AI/ML tools for collecting firmographics and digital business identities.  Last year, they acquired Lattice Engines, a leading Customer Data Platform.

This year, Dun & Bradstreet launched two new services: an ABM platform and an Analytics Studio that combines Dun & Bradstreet company intelligence with customer-owned and alternative data sources.

Dun & Bradstreet offers global services for risk analysis (credit, supplier), Master Data Management, Compliance, B2B DaaS, Prospecting, and Sales Intelligence.  Key products include DNBi, D&B Direct, D&B Credibility, D&B Hoovers, D&B Optimizer, D&B Master Data, D&B Lattice, D&B Audience Targeting, D&B Visitor Intelligence, and First Research.

The firm now focuses on “business decisioning data and analytics,” which “enables companies around the world to improve their business performance.” Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud “fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk, and transform their businesses.”  Key data assets include the D&B WorldBase file with global company linkage; various analytical risk scores; credit and supplier risk reports; the global D-U-N-S numbering system for companies; country risk reports; industry overviews; and Hoovers company profiles.

The firm continues to invest in its global data.  Dun & Bradstreet listed the following data initiatives:

“- We have significantly increased our investment in the breadth and depth of our data.  We have specifically focused on better utilization of available data, automation of business data research, improvement of identity resolution, expansion of our individual contact database and implementation of tools to monitor and streamline our data supply chain so that we can generate better, more actionable business insights and outcomes for our clients. We are also proactively addressing data quality issues.

– Although we draw from approximately 16,000 proprietary and publicly curated sources, Dun & Bradstreet had historically focused on identifying and collecting a narrow subset of data that was appropriate for specific solutions.  We have since reoriented our approach towards better ingesting all available data to effectively leverage previously disregarded sources of data and thereby improve the consistency, accuracy and predictive power of our solutions.

– We are also expanding the volume of the data we are able to offer.  For example, we have increased D&B Hoover’s premium contact data from approximately five million e-mail contacts to approximately 16 million contacts in our Data Cloud from January 2019 through March 31, 2020, while simultaneously improving the accuracy of those contacts by 250% since the beginning of 2018.  We specifically focused on individuals we consider having significant influence over the buying process at companies that are most important to our clients based on our verified usage analysis.

– We are also expanding our coverage of SMBs and incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients. As part of this initiative we acquired Orb in January 2020, which allows us to better capture the digital footprint of businesses as well as the digital exhaust that businesses generate.  By incorporating additional data sets into our solutions, we can continue to expand and refine the insights we offer to our clients, which we believe will enhance our competitive advantage.

– We have implemented a data watch program (the “Data Watch Program”) to proactively monitor and repair issues before clients experience them.  Since May 2019, both client issues as well as Data Watch Program issues are now being logged in our data quality repository.  We have identified, logged and resolved a number of issues as a direct result of this initiative and are continuously working to address additional issues.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1

Dun & Bradstreet has a set of content differentiators.  These include the global D-U-N-S Numbering system; global linkage; financial and risk data for credit, procurement, and compliance functions; First Research industry profiles; and Audience Solutions for programmatic and visitor intelligence.

“Data is only valuable when it drives action that moves an organization towards its goals,” stated the S-1.  “Underpinned by an integrated technology platform, our solutions derive data-driven insights that help clients target, grow, collect, procure, and comply.  We provide clients with both curated bulk data to incorporate into their internal workflows and end-to-end solutions that generate insights from this data through configurable analytics.”


Continue to Part II.

Rhetorik NetFinder+

Rhetorik launched NetFinder+, its expanded, multi-national platform for technology sales and marketing intelligence.  The new portal provides company, contact, and technographic details for 18 EMEA countries spanning Benelux, Nordics, Iberia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland.  The U.K. and Ireland were already supported, with Greece in development.

CEO Meredith Amdur emphasized the value of having a local, specialist vendor that understands the nuances of European regulations and markets.  “One of the challenges for these vendors is that the country called ‘Europe’ doesn’t exist.  They need a partner like Rhetorik that understands the complexities of Europe, market by market, and language by language, to help them navigate and exploit a region with enormous growth potential.  And they need a service like NetFinder+ that provides current, accurate, and compliant data related to individual IT buyers and influencers across the region to target better prospects, expand into new markets, fill the marketing funnel, and capture the attention of their next best customers.”

In short, said Amdur, Rhetorik offers “accuracy, completeness, and compliance across Europe.”

NetFinder+ sports a new taxonomy with a five-fold expansion in the number of technology categories spanning cloud, enterprise and vertical industry applications, system software, and middleware applications.  The new Rhetorik Technology Classification (RTC) system “refreshes and structures the categorization of business technology assets, services, and products.”

Rhetorik captures up to 164 data fields per site spanning contacts, firmographics, and technographics.  Contact data, which is “compliant with all relevant data privacy and security regulations,” includes name, title, email, and phone number.  When screening, titles are mapped to a broad set of functions and sub-functions, allowing for prospecting by keyword, business role, or technology role.

Coverage spans 277,000 contacts, 275,000 emails, 98,000 sites, and 77,000 companies.  Technographic data covers nearly 2.3 million installations.

Rhetorik emphasizes that contact data is collected subject to the location-level data privacy rules of each jurisdiction and subject to the “Robinson lists” of various jurisdictions (e.g. The CTPS phone opt-out list in the U.K., DNC in Ireland).

“As the total addressable market gets bigger – as illustrated spectacularly by Zoominfo’s IPO declarations – we’re seeing a growing demand for specialized solutions that the biggest U.S.-based players can’t distract themselves to address.  A typical pain point for our customers is they need a multi-territory solution that isn’t easily addressed by “one-size-fits-all” products.  A customer might want a parallel opt-in and opt-out campaign in Europe, plus data discovery in South America, plus cleansing and enriching for an outdated house list encrusted with proprietary taxonomy, and a single point of contact for all of it.”

Rhetorik CEO Meredith Amdur

The service includes a Compliance Centre that contains details on GDPR compliance processes supported by Rhetorik along with customer compliance process recommendations.

Technographic coverage details installed IT assets such as telecoms equipment, networking devices, and server and desktop hardware; software products from traditional enterprise applications; operating systems; cloud platforms; vertical industry applications; services; and consumables suppliers.

Firmographic data is licensed from Dun & Bradstreet and local registries.

As a V1 service, there are a few limitations.  The service is English only and does not yet support any CRMs or MAPs.  Enterprise software connectors are in the works.

The layout follows a traditional sales intelligence user experience; however, the service is mobile adaptive.

NetFinder+ includes a market analytics module that helps product management and competitive intelligence groups evaluate their market position by category and country.  It can also be used to assess complementary partner market share (by installation).

As Rhetorik has historically served the marketing department, the price is determined primarily by the volume of licensed data with “a modest increase” based upon the number of seats.  Firms may license the full Rhetorik+ database or a subset segmented by technology, country, industry, etc.  Full database access begins at £80,000 and includes five seats.  There are no downloading limits.  

Demandbase Acquires Engagio

Demandbase announced that they acquired Engagio yesterday.  The two ABM Orchestration companies have complementary assets that will help position them in the nascent, but growing, ABM platform segment.  According to Demandbase, “The acquisition reinforces Demandbase’s leadership in the ABM space and positions it to become the dominant B2B marketing platform company.  Furthermore, the acquisition will help accelerate Demandbase’s revenue growth from $100 million to reach its next immediate milestone of $250 million.”

Deal terms were not disclosed.  Engagio CEO and co-founder Jon Miller, who also was a founder of Marketo, said that Engagio was not a distressed asset, but a complementary acquisition based upon a shared vision of ABM.

“Engagio didn’t need to do this deal,” said Miller.  “We had plenty of runway and had taken prudent moves to break even.  This deal didn’t happen because the company was struggling or needed an exit.  We shared the same vision, and that is why the deal happened.”

The firms are long-term partners and have done co-marketing in the past.  A deal has been in discussion since late 2019 when Gabe Rogol became the CEO of Demandbase.

“We had half our road map done but needed this other piece, and Engagio had half their road map done and needed this other piece, and we found each had the piece that the other needed,” said Rogol.

But COVID made the investors nervous as it increased the level of market uncertainty.  “We had a lot of push back from our investors,” Rogol recalled.  “The reaction we got was, do you want to do an acquisition at a time when you don’t know what’s going to happen in a week from now?  We told them this would fulfill each other’s roadmap more than anything else we could do.  This says a lot about our investors and the support that we had.”

Demandbase was an early pioneer in the ABM space, positioning Account Based Marketing as a critical strategy for B2B sales and marketing teams.  While other companies were still focused on demand generation, Demandbase was calling for a strategic focus on key accounts.

Just last week, Demandbase was named a leader in the “The Forrester New Wave: ABM Platforms, Q2 2020” report.  Demandbase was given high scores for its account-based advertising, personalization, product roadmap, and market approach along with its marketing automation connectors.

“We are honored to be recognized by Forrester as a leader among ABM platforms.  ABM is now an established technology category and a proven business growth strategy.  That’s why we continue to see so many B2B companies investing in ABM, even in these uncertain economic times,” said Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson.  “As Forrester noted in their report, customers recognize our commitment to deliver best-in-class functionalities like site optimization and hands-on customer support to help them become successful.  We believe that this evaluation simply confirms our leadership position, and the power of our platform to help support B2B companies through data, insights, and action.”

In the same report, Engagio was named a strong performer.  Forrester noted that Engagio “offers a channel-agnostic approach to coordinating account-centric engagement across the customer’s existing complementary marketing and sales solutions” but needed to “step up delivery on its product roadmap and vision.”

“This acquisition combines the leader in ABM with Engagio, one of the early pioneers of the category.  It will change how B2B revenue teams operate,” said Rogol.  “Sales and Marketing alignment isn’t enough.  These teams must start moving as one — with a single set of data and insights, orchestrated across the entire buying journey.  Demandbase can now deliver that with the definitive, no-compromise ABM Platform.”

The two firms have been partners for four years and shared “a consistent vision for the category,” along with dozens of common customers, wrote Rogol.  “By bringing together the clear leaders in ABM, we are better positioned than ever to help B2B marketers acquire, grow, and retain customers.”

“Most people who are not ABM experts look at us and think we are competitors.  But in actuality, we have been co-marketing partners.  We jointly founded the ABM Leadership Alliance and we actually have over 30 customers using the product.  So, even though it looks on the surface like there is overlap, in reality, there was very little.

The second thing that we realized is how similar the company’s core values are and how similarly we operate.  Mergers are really hard to get right.  History shows that it is probably more likely than not that mergers do not meet the expectations that people had, but the way you overcome that, the way you make the merger successful, is when the companies have that common values and common operating models.  This was an idea that had to happen because the combination was so compelling, from both a product and a company value perspective.”

Former Engagio CEO / Demandbase Chief Product Officer Jon Miller

Engagio brings a set of complementary content and functional capabilities to Demandbase.  On the data management side, Engagio offers 1st-Party Sales Data, 1st-Party Marketing Data, and Lead-to-Account Matching.  Engagio Orchestration tools include Engagement Analytics, Audience Management, Cross-Channel Automation, Journey Attribution, Customizable Dashboards, and ROI Reporting.  Engagio campaign automation supports LinkedIn Advertising, MAP and CRM integrations, Sales Insights, and 3rd-Party Audience Management.

Just last month, Engagio announced the availability of Scout for Sales, their new email and calendar mining tool that “empowers sellers to understand their target accounts more deeply, prioritize them for maximum results, and take action to close deals faster.”

Demandbase data management tools include 3rd-Party B2B Data, Website Activity Tracking with IP Firmographic Match and Enrich, Ad Campaigns, and Proprietary Intent.  Demandbase orchestration and measurement tools cover Account Selection, Dynamic Audiences, Audience Segmentation, and ABM and Engagement Analytics.  Demandbase offers a set of campaign management tools, which include a Proprietary DSP, Account-based Ads, Intent-based Targeting, Website Personalization, Webforms, and integrations with MAPs, CMS, and analytics platforms.

At its March Innovation Summit, Demandbase rolled out three new capabilities: Site Analytics with improved web engagement metrics; Data Stream, which pushes Demandbase data into BI platforms for expanded account-level reporting; and Self-Service Targeting.

In February, Demandbase released Dynamic Audiences, an ABM feature that helps B2B marketers automate their advertising and marketing campaigns.  Dynamic Audiences automatically adjust campaign audiences with dynamic targeting based upon CRM updates, recent offsite intent activity, website engagement, or other events that support a specific campaign.

“The combination of Demandbase and Engagio accelerates the development of our next generation, account-based B2B marketing platform.  One that spans people and accounts.  One that manages the complete buyer’s journey.  One that is truly omnichannel—from ads to personalization to sales activity.  And one that truly aligns sales and marketing so that you can drive the metrics that matter—pipeline, new business, retention, and upsell.”

Demandbase Acquisition FAQ

Demandbase admitted that the ABM category is still being defined.  In its discussion of the merger, Demandbase offered the following process elements as core to ABM:

  • B2B Customer Data Platform: The CDP supports both first and third-party data sets, multi-platform data ingestion for the creation of a 360-degree customer view, intent signals for both accounts and contacts, and audience segmentation.  “Unifying the data is critical for aligning sales and marketing, as it gives both teams a common understanding of each account, the buying committees within them, and the insights needed to move them through the buyer’s journey,” wrote Rogol.
  • Planning, Orchestration, & Measurement: Analytics and orchestration help sales and marketing teams determine whom to reach out to, a compelling message, and shared metrics for determining success and ROI.  Features include Next Best Action recommendations, dynamic messaging across the buyer’s journey, and “an understanding of accounts and buying teams.”
  • Omnichannel Campaigns: The ABM platform requires a broad set of messaging and marketing tools, including website personalization, advertising, and third-party integrations.
  • An AI/ML-based technology foundation: The ABM platform should deliver real-time insights for personalization, interpreting intent signals, and account-based insights.
  • An Intuitive User Experience: The User Experience needs to hew more closely to B2C product experiences, and “in order to maximize productivity, B2B technologies should be understood without extensive product training,” wrote Rogol.

In the near-term, Engagio and Demandbase will operate as standalone platforms.  An Enterprise Edition will offer both platforms “at an aggressive price point.”  The initial plan is to have a combined platform available in November.  “We anticipate there will be different baseline product versions offered with a continued ‘a la carte’ solution offering for additional functionality to our clients (e.g. Targeting, Orchestration, Engagement, Attribution),” stated the firm’s acquisition FAQ.

“Going into next year, there is just so much innovation that can continue to happen.  The process of B2B marketing and selling is undergoing so much change.  That move from the linear baton handoff to the coordinated soccer team, that just creates new opportunities.  New opportunities for a platform that combines accounts and people into a single solution.  That lets people work, not just to generate new business, but to also drive cross sell expansion and retention, which is so important to so many companies these days.  I think the last piece that I think CMOs can expect from this is just a simplification of their technology stack.  There are 8,000 MarTech companies out there.  It’s a really challenging thing for any company to figure out, “What do I need and what are all the pieces and how do I assemble this thing into something coherent?” Having a unified platform like this lets them have fewer pieces of their stack, simplify the model, simplify the equation and ultimately save money, which a lot of people are looking to do in today’s economy.”

Former Engagio CEO / Demandbase Chief Product Officer Jon Miller

“I think this is good news for the ABM category,” opined senior content marketer and marketing technology analyst Barb Mosher Zinck of Diginomica.  “ABM’s rise to popularity (even though the approach has been used for years in Sales) has been somewhat fast and without a clear definition of what the technology should look like.  Most companies that have an ABM strategy use several tools to make it work.  And that makes it more complex and harder to do.  Integrating these two platforms is going to give us a view of ABM that we haven’t seen with any single technology before.  And that might make it easier for companies to adopt the strategy faster.”

Miller will be joining Demandbase as the Chief Product Officer while Brian Babcock has been tapped as the Chief Technology Officer.  Engagio employs a team of 40, while Demandbase has 300 employees.

“The acquisition accelerates everything I wanted to create in an ABM platform.  We will combine Demandbase’s strong go-to-market function and technological expertise with Engagio’s deep marketing automation and CRM expertise,”  said Miller.  “But it’s our shared vision for reimagining both the ABM and B2B martech landscapes that gets me truly excited for the future.”

Clearbit for Clari

B2B Marketing Data vendor Clearbit partnered with Revenue Operations Platform Clari to deliver enriched contacts into CRMs.  Clari identifies external contacts from emails and meeting activity, helping fill out the buying committee.  According to Clari, only 30% of sales-engaged contacts are entered into the CRM.  By automating the contact identification process, sales reps have a clearer view of the full demand unit, allowing them to target messaging by function and recognize potential gaps in their knowledge of the buying committee.

By expanding knowledge of the demand unit, Clari can identify the broader set of decision-makers and reduce deal risk through multi-threaded relationship building.  Relying on one or two contacts has multiple risks:

  • The sales rep may not be messaging to the full demand unit
  • Their point of contact may be sidelined or leave the firm
  • Multiple points of contact may be set up dealing with different vendors, each providing a siloed perspective on the deal.
  • Post-sale, if users and administrators weren’t involved in the decision, adoption rates might be low, leading to higher churn rates.
  • The project champion may depart before renewal, forcing the rep to scramble to re-establish relationships at renewal time.

The expanded knowledge also helps marketing teams identify the key personas involved in deals and customize content and messaging.

“Now all the contacts that showed up for a sales meeting, even the ones that were added to the invite by the prospect, are automatically associated with the opportunity without your rep needing to lift a finger.”

Clari Marketing Programs Manager Maggie Kullman

Clearbit enriches the contacts with title, job function, and level. Firmographic and technographic details are also appended.

“As budgets get tighter and operating plans are reworked, having your prospects’ finance team involved early on is critical to accelerating the deal toward close,” wrote Clari Marketing Programs Manager Maggie Kullman.  “With the combination of Clari, Clearbit, and a little bit of automation, you can trigger an update to an opportunity field any time a CFO gets added to a meeting with the sales rep.  Now you can easily track which of your deals are missing a critical decision-maker and take actions to drive that relationship.”

Demand Units are a term coined by SiriusDecisions a few years ago when they updated their Demand Waterfall model for B2B sales and marketing. Each opportunity is associated with a set of decision-makers (e.g. technical, financial, functional directors) and influencers (e.g. users, admins). Demand Unit discovery is still in the early stages of development, but looking at email headers, out of office messages, and meeting attendees is a promising approach for organically identifying buying committee members.