Lattice Engines: Leader in B2B Predictive Analytics

Lattice Scores and Enriched Data are available within the Eloqua Canvas campaign builder.
Lattice Scores and Enriched Data are available within the Eloqua Canvas campaign builder.

In a 2016 survey of predictive analytics companies, Gartner sized the global market at between $100 and $150 million. Although Gartner remains bullish on the sector, the size must be disappointing to both the firms in the space and their investors. One of the early companies in the space, Lattice Engines, continues as a market leader with over 200 global deployments.

Lattice Engines supports both enterprise clients and high-growth companies with deployments beginning around $75,000. Pricing is based upon the number of managed leads or contacts in the instance along with the number of users. With revenue between $25 and $50 million (GZ Consulting estimate), the firm has a strong position in the nascent market.

Lattice Engines combines first and third-party data to build predictive models. External content includes firmographics, intent data, technographics, social data, and web crawled business signals. Content is licensed from leading vendors such as Dun & Bradstreet (WorldBase global company file), Bombora (intent captured from over 3,000 B2B media sites), and HG Data (technographics). The Lattice Data Cloud covers over 200 million global companies, 21,000 buying signals, 100 million tracked domains, and over one billion daily interactions. Internal content spans transactions, CRM, marketing behavioral data, usage data, and support services.

“Predictive analytics is one of the few types of marketing technology that has the ability to solve issues at every step of the funnel, because it aligns sales and marketing against the right targets, and provides them with the right data to create targeted campaigns.  By infusing fit and intent data into our models we enable teams to have a complete understanding of their ideal customer profile, which enhances the programs teams orchestrate against their targets.”

  • Director of Corporate Marketing Caitlin Ridge.

Firms can build multiple models to support various geographies, product lines, and scenarios (e.g. win/loss, upsell/cross-sell, renew/churn). Lattice scores and modeled data are integrated with many of the key SalesTech and MarTech platforms:

  • Ads/Web: DemandBase, Oracle Data Cloud, doubleclick (Google), AdRoll, Facebook
  • MAP: Marketo, Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua), Pardot (Salesforce)
  • CRM: Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Oracle Sales Cloud, SAP

This platform coverage enables Omni-channel ABM campaigns across programmatic platforms, email, direct mail, and field marketing.  Scores, insights, and recommendations are provided to sales reps within CRM i-frames.

“Lattice remains the most visible “face” of the market,” said Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz in September 2016. “With its focus on security, level of integrations and ETL tools, the company is a fit for enterprise clients (both in high-tech and other industries) and/or companies planning to deploy in multiple regions. Gartner clients report that the company’s go-to-market approach is unique in the way it addresses complex problems and help customers operationalize the insights from the models. Lattice is one of the few vendors that can recommend key plays at both the lead and account level across the entire funnel.”

According to Lattice, customers enjoy a broad set of improved metrics:

  • 2X Higher Conversion
  • 3X Greater Pipeline
  • 35% Higher Deal Sizes
  • 6% Increase in Quota Attainment
  • 85% Rise in Revenue per Customer
  • 20% Reduction in Customer Churn

The firm sells broadly across B2B sectors.  Customers include Amazon, Dell, PayPal, Staples, and SunTrust Bank.


Tomorrow’s blog will cover core Lattice Engines model building and recommendations.

Nimble Prospector

The Nimble Smart Contacts App captures the Name, Email, Mobile Phone, Work Phone, Job Title, Company, Website URL, Physical Address, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, and LinkedIn URL contained within an email signature.
The Nimble Smart Contacts App captures the Name, Email, Mobile Phone, Work Phone, Job Title, Company, Website URL, Physical Address, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, and LinkedIn URL contained within an email signature.

Nimble partnered with CircleBack to add two contact maintenance features into its social sales and marketing CRM for individuals and teams.  Users can capture email signatures or take a photo of business cards to populate Nimble.  Email signatures are gathered from Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook / Exchange, and Office 365.  Furthermore, CircleBack appends missing fields such as social links, corporate addresses, and URLs which may not always be available.  It then updates the records to ensure they remain accurate.

“CircleBack’s collaboration with Nimble brings tremendous opportunity to leverage and enhance our open API ecosystem, and to enable Nimble to enrich contact information from social data in new and increasingly effective ways.” said Manoj Ramnani, CEO, CircleBack. “What makes Nimble such an incredible Social CRM is its ability to provide instant context to its users, and now through the power of our APIs, we want to empower Nimble to do it with greater precision.”

Nimble browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge allow sales reps to capture and enrich contacts while browsing the web.  Thus, a sales rep could be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or a corporate website and add the contact record with a single click.  CircleBack then enriches the record with missing details.  What’s more, the sales rep doesn’t need to key information into Nimble or guess at email structures.

Nimble plans include 25 free lookups per user per month.  Additional contacts are priced in bundles between 20 cents (50 credits per month) and 10 cents (1,000 credits per month).  While credits are shared across the team and reasonably priced, they do not rollover.  Thus, the true per record cost is higher.

Nimble Prospector Pricing
Nimble Prospector Pricing

Your Biggest Competitor is No Decision

Back when I was a product manager, I used to conduct sales training classes.  I often opened up the session by asking the question, “Who is your biggest competitor?”  The reps invariably listed a company or two they had heard over the prior day and a half of training.  Even seasoned reps would answer the question incorrectly.

Unless you are in a duopoly or there is a competitor that controls half the market, your biggest competitor is probably NO DECISION.  Either the purchasing decision is kicked down the road or no funding is found.  It may also be that the opportunity was poorly qualified to begin with.

Sales reps no longer control the conversation due to the informed buyer who leverages the Internet and social media in order to research vendors prior to contacting them.  This is one of the reasons that marketing is looking at digitally influencing anonymous individual on the web via Visitor ID, SEO, SEM, and Programmatic.  Sales reps are also confounded in their sales efforts by a second change in purchasing patterns.  B2B budgetary decision making processes have become more complex.

Budgetary centralization and committee-based buying decisions have increased the number of decision makers in the purchasing process, resulting in a greater likelihood of no decision.  According to a Forrester survey of IT sales reps, 43% of lost deals weren’t to competitors but to a category titled “lost funding or lost to no decision: customer stopped the procurement process.”

Furthermore, the rise of cloud computing has shifted budgetary decision making authority away from the CIO to the heads of various functional departments.  Purchasing decisions are being compared to a broader set of non-related purchases from across the organization.  It is therefore critical that sales reps “understand and navigate complex agreement networks and processes within the buying organization that span different altitudes and functional roles,” blogged Forrester Sales Enablement Analyst Mark Lindwall.  “Because decisions are more cross-functional, every dollar is compared against how it could add value in potentially completely non-related areas of investment.”

Thus, sales reps need better tools for identifying who to engage and when best to engage.  They also need to be better informed about companies, individuals, and the industries into which they sell.  In short, they need to know who to call, when to call, and what to say.  They need to quickly navigate what Forrester calls agreement networks to establish relationships across multiple levels and job functions at the organization.

Fortunately, Sales 2.1 tools provide rich biographies and full family trees for navigating these networks.  Users can target specific job functions and levels across the corporate hierarchy, research the appropriate individuals, and reach out to them via social media, email, or phone.

Newer ABM tools help identify the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), score leads based on the ICP, and call out similar accounts and contacts that are not on the company’s radar.  Thus, it’s not just about selling more intelligently based on insights, but targeting and prioritizing one’s sales efforts more effectively.

Sales triggers assist with identifying executive changes, M&A events, product launches, and other reasons for reaching out to individuals.  Triggers can also indicate an expanding opportunity or that a proposal is potentially at risk due to company or market dynamics.

And yes, sales reps should research both the company and the executive.  They need to understand the key trends in the prospect’s industry, why their last quarter was soft, and what does the executive muse about on social media.  While such facts may not be immediate hooks, they provide context and potential talking points down the road.  It also shows that the rep is willing to invest time in understanding the exec, her company, and the environment in which she is making decisions.

There is an opportunity cost to poor targeting, prioritization, and account planning. It shows up as No Decision in your CRM, slow deal velocity in your pipeline metrics, and disappointing sales growth.

Sparklane Predict 2.0

Predict builds Ideal Customer Profiles based upon Fit (Firmographics), Need (Sales Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation behavioral data) allowing customers to identify both current best-fit accounts and net-new prospects.
Predict builds Ideal Customer Profiles based upon Fit (Firmographics), Need (Sales Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation behavioral data) allowing customers to identify both current best-fit accounts and net-new prospects.

French predictive analytics firm Sparklane unveiled their version 2.0 Predict platform which employs artificial intelligence (AI) and active learning to score millions of companies and determine which prospects are most likely to become net-new customers.  The Predict platform is available for the UK and French markets with localized language and datasets.  A German edition is in development.

Sparklane ingests and enriches company data, matching it against firmographics and trigger events to score millions of companies.  The system then models the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Total Addressable Market (TAM).  Sparklane also identifies “sparks” (hot prospects) based upon sales triggers and delivers real-time alerts, messaging, and contacts.

Models can be deployed for both new and existing business.  New business models can be constructed from historical data (e.g. CRM win / loss flags) or estimated and refined for new market entry.  Existing business data can also be deployed for churn models to help identify companies that are more likely to drop as well as upsell and cross-sell models.

CEO Frédéric Pichard said that employing artificial intelligence to identify your next best customers “is probably the most amazing promise B2B marketing and sales tools can fulfill” as it provides “a new way of working to help our customers be more efficient and successful.”

Sparklane users begin by importing datasets from CRMs or CSV files.  Logic is employed to determine both positive and negative sample records.  For example, a CRM Win / Loss flag could serve as such an indicator.  The file is then enriched and an ICP model is constructed.  The ICP contains three types of variables: Fit (firmographic), Need (Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation prospect activity).  Marketers or Sales Operations are able to view the model and adjust weights.  This model is then employed for constructing a TAM with net-new accounts which can be saved as a fixed account list or dynamic model.

Sparklane onboarded file mapping.
Sparklane onboarded file mapping.

An accuracy score helps define how well the model distinguishes between good and bad prospects.  Thus, an 80% accuracy score indicates that 8 out of 10 companies in the seed file are properly predicted by the model.

An accelerated learning option is available for new market entry.  Thus, if a seed list of good and bad prospects is not available for a new product line or market, an initial set can be manually selected from Sparklane company lists and deployed as a first generation seed list.

An active learning option allows users to perform a qualification pass on a list to help expedite model construction.  While engaged in active learning, the user is shown company profiles which include account overviews, triggers, and family trees.   The marketer can then give a thumbs up or down to each proposed account.

During active learning, sparks can be added, dismissed, or decision postponed, allowing the platform to adjust the model.
During active learning, sparks can be added, dismissed, or decision postponed, allowing the platform to adjust the model.

As output, the platform provides a set of “sparks” which are high probability accounts or contacts.  The user sets the number of sparks displayed in a spark list.  Qualified prospects can be sent to a CRM as accounts or leads.

The French dataset covers three million firms and two million contacts.  The UK universe provides 200,000 companies and 300,000 contacts.  The UK dataset focuses on large companies with sales triggers.

The French file includes 600,000 emails while the UK file supports 100,000 emails.

The firm claims that Predict increases the opportunity conversion rate by 70% and shortens the sales cycle by 30%.

Sparklane employs sixty headcount in Paris, London, and Nantes.  It invests over 20% of its turnover in R&D and has nearly 200 customers in Europe.

Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform 2.0 Unveiled

Zoominfo prospecting now includes technographic screening and dynamic counts which update as variables are selected.
Zoominfo prospecting now includes technographic screening and dynamic counts which update as variables are selected.

ZoomInfo unveiled the 2.0 version of its Growth Acceleration Platform to customers at its Growth Acceleration Summit in Boston this month.  Amongst the new features are a refreshed user interface, email tools, and expanded prospecting variables including Product / Vendor technographic selects.  The upgraded platform is currently in beta with general availability in Q4.

According to the firm, “ZoomInfo’s Growth Acceleration platform combines the most comprehensive and actionable B2B market intelligence with tools that help optimize sales and marketing effectiveness, jumpstart growth, and maximize profitability.”

The new user interface is cleaner and supports dynamic display which adjusts by form factor.  All of the pages, including company and contact profiles, employ a common look and feel.  Prospecting was simplified with complex stacked queries being less prominent.  However, they are still available to ZoomInfo’s data services team and power users.

Prospecting added product / vendor selects licensed from HG Data.  Multiple products may be entered for screening with the system defaulting to a Boolean OR (AND is supported, but the user needs to enter a multi-product Boolean string with AND logic).

Prospect lists may be maintained as dynamic lists (saved searches) or as fixed saved lists.  The system displays updated counts as each variable is selected. Zoominfo also allows users to suppress contacts purchased in lists in the past six months from search results and when building other lists.

Records may be uploaded from Outlook, Office 365, and Salesforce for enhancement and targeting.  Enhanced list analytics include pre and post data quality scores along with segmentation analysis. The Enhance Preview provides an analysis of the input data quality file, as well as a detailed report on what information was added, corrected, or confirmed using ZoomInfo’s data. The Data Profile tool shows users a breakdown of information about the user’s list, including top industries, job titles, revenues, and employee count.

The Zoominfo Enhance module provides before and after data quality statistics along with segmentation analysis on the Data Profile tab.
The Zoominfo Enhance module provides before and after data quality statistics along with segmentation analysis on the Data Profile tab.

Users can also upload an ABM account list for key contact targeting.

Company profiles include an expanded set of social media links (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), related companies (licensed from Owler), and technology data.  Tech data is displayed as summary product counts by category.  The rep clicks on the product category to expand it by product.  Unfortunately, the service does not support customized filtering of products or categories by key competitors or complementary platforms.  As HG Data supports thousands of products, it would be a nice enhancement to support pre-configured product categories and products.  Otherwise, valuable account planning insights may be obscured.

Contact profiles now display more information about the company associated with the profile without the need to navigate to a separate profile.

The ReachOut Chrome connector, which provides on-demand company and executive intelligence from websites and LinkedIn, exports to Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Outreach, and SalesLoft.  Users can also send emails from within LinkedIn.

A new Outlook connector provides contact profiles from within Outlook along with one-click add to Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Outreach, and SalesLoft.  Salesforce duplicate checking is employed if it is turned on.  Users can upload records from Zoominfo’s ReachOut Chrome connector or Outlook as either Leads or Contacts / Accounts (previously this was only available from the Growth Acceleration Platform).  ZoomInfo will create Account records for Contacts if one does not exist in SFDC.

The new Zoominfo Connector for Outlook displays inline company and contact intelligence for each of the parties on an email. This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.
The new Zoominfo Connector for Outlook displays inline company and contact intelligence for each of the parties on an email. This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.

This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.

While ZoomInfo partners with Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendors Outreach and SalesLoft, ZoomInfo has added light ABSD email features such as email templates and live email tracking. Templates include dynamic tags for information such as contact name and company name which fill in automatically with ZoomInfo data.  Emails are sent from the user’s default email program.

The ZoomInfo global database has grown to 220 million professional profiles (both active and inactive) and 13 million companies.  The dataset is updated continuously based upon web crawlers and a 300,000 user community that shares email signature data.  Zoominfo offers one of the deepest sets of contacts with emails and direct dial numbers.

News Alert: DiscoverOrg Acquires RainKing

DO plus RK

Marketing and Sales Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing on Friday and announced it this afternoon.  Both firms employ large editorial teams for building and maintaining company and contact datasets and technology platform details (e.g. vendors, products, project plans).  This is the second acquisition of a competitor by DiscoverOrg which bought iProfile two summers ago and quickly integrated iProfile’s international coverage into the DiscoverOrg universe.

According to Inc., RainKing posted 2016 revenue of $33.9 million, up $6.9 million.  Combined, the two firms had 2016 revenue of $88.3 million and a 160% three-year growth rate.  The combined firm has an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in excess of $120 million.  DiscoverOrg’s 2016 end-of-year ARR was $71 million.

“The path to rapid revenue growth is paved with highly accurate, actionable, and predictive sales and marketing data, and the combination of RainKing and DiscoverOrg means that our joint customer base has access to an extraordinary portfolio of data, contextual buying insights, and predictive intelligence.  We are building a company that is to sales and marketing intelligence what Salesforce is to CRM.”

  • DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Shuck

The plan is to immediately merge their coverage into a single database delivered via both platforms.  RainKing customers will benefit from deeper coverage of non-IT execs (e.g. sales, marketing, HR, product management), the assignment of Customer Success Managers to their accounts, and access to DiscoverOrg’s TiLT training for SDRs.  DiscoverOrg users will benefit from deeper company and contact coverage, particularly in Europe, along with a larger editorial team building out and maintaining the combined database.  Both groups of customers will benefit from additional datasets in the DiscoverOrg research pipeline including a new one which will be announced in the next sixty days.

RainKing customers will continue on their current platform for at least a year until RainKing functionality is merged with that of DiscoverOrg.

The combined datasets will span over two million contacts and over 100,000 global companies.  As both firms maintain high quality data standards, DiscoverOrg’s 95% accuracy guarantee will be maintained.

The deal is a cash transaction, though DiscoverOrg did not reveal the price.

Schuck provides additional details on his vision for DiscoverOrg and the acquisition in this YouTube video:

GZ Consulting Take

I have been tracking DiscoverOrg and its CEO Henry Schuck for over a decade.  For a long time, I viewed them as a niche offering in the tech space competing against three other firms of roughly the same size (RainKing, iProfile, and SalesQuest).  Due to competition and the cost of editorial resources, I figured they would plateau in their market coverage below that of the Hoover’s editorial dataset of 43,000 companies.  With more exacting editorial standards and three direct competitors, it was difficult to see how the marginal cost of adding and maintaining the 40,000th profile was less than the marginal revenue for the 40,000th profile (Microeconomics 101 would contend that the rational firm would keep building additional profiles until MC = MR).

But I made several errors in my assumptions.  Most importantly, I built in the additional cost of editorially maintained content without properly understanding the value of the data to clients, particularly as DiscoverOrg and RainKing extended their functionality into the marketing department and added light predictive tools such as ranking and scoring of prospects.  Adding marketing and integration tools greatly increased the value of every profile within their databases and allowed clients to distribute the cost of licenses over both sales and marketing departments.  The advent of Big Data and Predictive Analytics also increased the value of high quality company and contact data within CRMs and MAPs.

DiscoverOrg and RainKing quickly outgrew their other competitors resulting in the acquisition of SalesQuest by Avention and iProfile by DiscoverOrg.  While other firms have entered the IT profiling market, they either focus on technographics (e.g. Datanyze, BuiltWith, HG Data) or remain much smaller (e.g. Corporate360).

Finally, the growth of ABM and a focus on top accounts increases the value of a top company database with rich targeting variables such as tech platforms and projects.  “As the market continues to move toward account-based engagement built on a deep understanding of buying centers, investing in high quality data has become even more critical,” opined John Donlon, Sr. Research Director at SiriusDecisions.  “Simply relying on information scraped from the web is not enough to succeed, but leveraging human-verified sales and marketing intelligence gives organizations a distinct advantage in all aspects of revenue generation.”

Initially, the merger is a win-win for the 4,000 DiscoverOrg and RainKing clients, immediately providing deeper company, contact, and technology opportunity coverage for their 70,000 clients.  It also provides a runway from which DiscoverOrg can quickly grow its coverage including RainKing’s new Federal IT dataset.  According to the firm, “Our roadmap is focused on accelerated data collection, deeper practical predictive intelligence, enhanced account-based marketing capabilities, and seamless data optimization and enrichment in CRM, marketing automation, and sales engagement tools.”

While DiscoverOrg could use the merger as an opportunity to raise prices, my guess is that prices will remain stable so that DiscoverOrg can position itself to take on sales and marketing intelligence vendors such as D&B Hoovers, InsideView, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Zoominfo.  However, if DiscoverOrg is going to become the Salesforce of sales and marketing intelligence, the firm needs to expand its non-IT content beyond executives to include strategic company and industry intelligence.  It is through the marriage of best-in-class executive intelligence (emails, direct dials, responsibilities, bios, social links, and org charts) with financials, filings, news, industry overviews, and SWOTs that DiscoverOrg will be able to go mano a mano with Dun & Bradstreet and LinkedIn in the broader sales intelligence market.  Under this scenario, DiscoverOrg can continue to build out its best-in-class content set while licensing non-core content from other vendors.

This has been a year of significant M&A activity which has reduced the number of sales intelligence datasets on the market.  Beyond DiscoverOrg/RainKing, Avention was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet to become their new D&B Hoovers platform (Dun & Bradstreet content fueling Avention’s functionality and connectors), Moody’s purchased Bureau van Dijk, Zoominfo was bought by PE firm Great Hill Partners, and Unomy was picked up by co-working company WeWork.  The result is the phase out of the old Hoovers platform, uncertainty about Bureau van Dijk’s commitment to its Mint sales platform, and the withdrawal of Unomy and RainKing from the market (they will continue on in the near term, but are no longer being marketed).  The future of Data.com is also in question as Salesforce has failed to announce a path forward for their AppExchange solution now that Dun & Bradstreet content is no longer available to new clients.

Quora: How do I do marketing using LinkedIn?

Here is how I answered the following question on Quora: “How do I do marketing using LinkedIn?”

I would use LinkedIn in the following ways to promote my company:

  • LinkedIn has a set of marketing services which allow you to build targeted campaigns by both firmographic (size, industry, location) and biographic variables. This is probably the most granular B2B advertising tool out there. The Campaign Manager also provides a set of analytics around viewing and impressions. Pricing is either CPC or CPM (impressions or clicks). Here is a quick description of their advertising formats: 
LinkedIn Marketing Formats
LinkedIn Marketing Formats
  • LinkedIn can be used to promote your own content as posts, whether it be white papers, product descriptions, case studies, blogs, or articles. If you mention a partner or customer, make sure to link to them and have their marketing departments like the content. Where possible, include some copy from the content or description of the content along with a visual (LinkedIn will grab a visual from the source if there is one available).

    Do not overly self-promote. Your content should lean towards thought leadership not corporate promotion. Of course, if you launch a new product, write about it. But LinkedIn is not the place for deep feature dives or long discussions of your value proposition. And please, not another What does [this character from Game of Thrones] teach us about [some aspect of business]. This type of coattail riding is generally full of clichés and stretched analogies. Originality, Professionalism, and Readability are key on LinkedIn (a good graphic and headline don’t hurt).

  • LinkedIn supports its own set of articles, but I’ve had more luck blogging on my site and then writing posts that link to my blog. You should test both approaches to determine whether LinkedIn articles work for your company.

  • Have your employees like content so that it is seen by your prospects and customers in their feed. 
  • Fill out your company profile. Many vendors rehash their website and Facebook profiles, but I would try to differentiate the copy between these three sites. For B2B companies, the website should be corporate, Facebook a bit cheeky, and LinkedIn professional, but lighter than your website. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is used by both prospective employees and customers so you want to be speaking to multiple readers. 
  • Evaluate Sales Navigator for your sales reps. This service does not allow you to download lists of companies and contacts, but it allows you to build and maintain lists of accounts and leads which are stored in Navigator (these lists can be built individually, via prospecting, or via CRM downloads). Sales Navigator also supports CRM viewing of company and contact profiles, InMails (direct messages with prospects outside of your current connections) and PointDrive, a custom website link that allows sales reps to forward attachments (collateral, price documents, videos, PowerPoints) as embedded content with descriptions. PointDrive provides analytics on what content has been consumed and tracks whether the document has been forwarded to others. 

Keep in mind that LinkedIn’s audience skews older and more professional than Twitter and Facebook.