One of the most avidly anticipated presentations is Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends presentation. This year she had deep dives into India, China, and Healthcare. The two slides that caught my attention, though, were the importance of immigrants to technology companies. Specifically, she evaluated the percent of top companies with first or second-generation American founders.
Amongst the top 25 US technology publics by market cap, 60% were founded by a first or second-generation American such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Sergey Brin. These fifteen firms employ 1 1/2 million.
Even more impressive, the top five global publics by market cap are all US technology firms, of which four of the five have at least one first or second generation founder.
When looking at private technology firms, around 50% of the top firms by valuation were founded by first-generation Americans.
US technology firms have benefited from immigrant founders and employees along with access to global markets. Calls to restrict immigration will result in restricted access to foreign markets combined with a greater outsourcing of development jobs overseas. While H1-B visas need to be re-calibrated to ensure that the visas are awarded to high-demand, highly skilled positions, immigration is vital to US economic vitality.
I answered the above question on Quora, but I thought it was worth posting the answer on my blog as well.
B2B is a broad category, so I will be providing a high-level process:
Start with the open web — the company website, corporate blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.
Jump to the LinkedIn and Twitter pages of key executives.
Continue with third-party review sites such as TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Glass Door, and Quora. Also compare web (Alexa, SimilarWeb) and social media activity (Owler) of the company vs. its top competitors.
If a US public company, obtain their 10-K, 10-Q, Annual Report, Proxy, and 8-Ks. Also, review all material on their investor page and look for Fair Disclosure Earnings Transcripts (Seeking Alpha, NASDAQ), investor presentations, financial models, etc.
If a US or global public, analyst reports are often available subject to a one week embargo. Vendors with analyst reports include D&B Hoovers, Factiva, Zacks, FactSet, Capital IQ, and Investext. Reports with fewer than five pages tend to only look at the stock, and provide little in the way of detail. Particularly good are the Initiating Coverage reports as they often entail an overview of the business.
If a US or global public, review the synopsis of material events going back over a decade. Significant Developments are available from Reuters, Factiva (Reuters), D&B Hoovers (Reuters), Capital IQ, and FactSet.
If a European private, they are likely to have filed financials, directors, and shareholdings with a local registry. You can obtain these through D&B Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk Orbis, or local registries.
Major companies are profiled by MarketLine and Global Data. Check to see if they or key competitors are profiled. Industry vendors also profile companies and products within their target segments. These profiles include SWOTs, company histories, market shares, and overviews of key products and segments.
Determine the firm’s list of competitors. If it is a public company they will list this in a proxy. If it is a private company, refer to Hoovers, Global Data, or Marketline.
If you are looking for technology employed, refer to Datanyze, HG Data, BuiltWith, DiscoverOrg, or RainKing.
Review all news for the company. The open web thins out quickly, so you are best off using an archival service such as Factiva or LexisNexis
For Intellectual Property and Legal, use LexisNexis or Westlaw. You can also search the USPTO site for trademarks and patents.
Check research from industry vendors. Most focus on only one or a few sectors (e.g. Gartner, Forrester, and IDC for Hardware and Software). A few provide higher level market overviews at the country or global level which include national or regional market shares, forecasts, and mini-profiles of the top 3-4 competitors in the market:
MarketLine (country and global)
Euromonitor (country or global)
BMI (Emerging Markets)
IBISWorld (US, China, Australia, Global)
A few US industries are required to file with state or federal agencies. These include banks (FDIC), insurance (states), and nonprofits (990 forms with the IRS).
Larger companies file ERISA forms (5500s) annually with the Department of Labor. This filing covers benefit plans so is useful for direct research on a company and plan advisors. Judy Diamond offers a freemium service (FreeErisa) for ERISA filings.
If the firm has PE or VC funding, refer to Crunchbase, DataFox, Mattermark, PrivCo, or other vendors that collect this detail. Crunchbase and Owler provide this information for free.
Setup news alerts on the company and competitor you are evaluating. This can be done via Owler, Contify, InsideView, D&B Hoovers, Factiva, and LexisNexis.
Obtain a credit report (D&B, Experian, or local credit company if overseas)
Research the company family tree and review major subsidiaries and recent acquisitions. Global Family Trees are available from D&B Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk, and InsideView (parents and subs only). Public companies also list their subsidiaries in their 10-K (Note 21).
M&A research can be performed with Zephyr (Bureau van Dijk), Mattermark, FactSet, Capital IQ, and other vendors.
This is a quick overview for secondary research. For primary research, reach out to customers, partners, and former employees. They can be identified via Case Studies (generally fans so don’t be overly reliant on them), customer references on site, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd. Former employees can be determined via LinkedIn. Partners are generally listed on the company website.
One area that is particularly difficult to obtain is pricing data. Some B2Bs are transparent while others publish virtually no details, particularly if they have complex product lines and pricing. Don’t be surprised if you find little in this area beyond “Pricing begins in the five digits” for many vendors. Pricing details may require primary research and this will provide data points, but not full price lists.
If you are performing regular competitive analysis work, consider joining SCIP (Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals).
A 52.5 GB NetProspex file of nearly 34 million US business contacts was recently stolen. Dun & Bradstreet did not indicate how the MongoDB database was purloined, but indicated it suffered no data breaches and the file was likely stolen from a customer. “We’ve carefully evaluated the information that was shared with us and it is of a type and in a format that we deliver to customers every day. Based on our analysis, it was not accessed or exposed through a Dun & Bradstreet system,” the firm said in a statement to ZD Net.
The file was believed to be six months old. While it was built and sold for legitimate sales and marketing purposes and complies with US law, it could be used for spamming and spear phishing. “It’s an absolute goldmine for phishing because here you have a huge amount of useful information from which to craft attacks,” said Internet security advocate Troy Hunt who publicized the breach. “From this data, you can piece together organizational structures and tailor messaging to create an air of authenticity and that’s something that’s attractive to crooks and nation-state actors alike.”
Content includes business contact information; job titles, functions, and levels; current employer; and employer firmographics including size, industry, location, and D-U-N-S Number. Their file does not contain personal emails, phones, biographics, or any kind of consumer credit data as Dun & Bradstreet strictly collects B2B company and contact intelligence. However, the file does contain extensive business and government employee data such as 100,000 Department of Defense and a combined 75,000 Army, Air Force, and VA contacts.
Dun & Bradstreet should evaluate whether retaining titles for military and security agencies is in their best interest (and the country’s). For example, being able to identify 715 military Intelligence Analysts makes it easy for nefarious parties to spearphish them. This may be a case where losing the actual job title and simply mapping the title to a job function (e.g. procurement, security, medical, R&D) would make sense. Another option might be to track only government officials whose name appear in official sites and publications. As the government publishes bid data through FedBizOpps, procurement contacts would still be available for commercial purposes.
“Whilst you could piece together parts of the data from information already in the public domain, having it aggregated and so easily searchable in this fashion is enormously valuable,” said Hunt. “It also serves as a reminder that we’ve lost control of our privacy; the vast majority of people in the data set would have no idea their information is being sold in this fashion and they certainly don’t have any control over it.”
If you would like to check on whether your personal or business email information have been stolen, Hunt has setup a free site which tracks over 200 stolen databases. Registration takes about 3 minutes (you need to validate that you are researching your own contact information). The site will also advise you if your email appears in future breaches.
LeadGnome’s email reply service mines emails for intelligence such as left the company, out of office, change of position, change of name/email, and unsubscribe requests. “LeadGnome is unique in its ability to mine the unstructured body of reply emails for account based intelligence. It was, therefore, important to acquire EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certification to assure our customers of our commitment to the privacy of their data,” said Matt Benati, CEO of LeadGnome.
Because the firm collects emails, titles, and business phones, they did not have to go through the more stringent approval level for firms that store credit, payment, or personal data. This helped expedite the approval process with the Department of Commerce. As LeadGnome was already Safe Harbour compliant, the approval process was focused on conforming to changes between the Safe Harbour and Privacy Shield. LeadGnome worked with the Better Business Bureau as a compliance partner and completed the process in about two months. Benati believes the process will speed up as the certification backlog clears, but noted that his firm benefited from having Safe Harbour certification.
The LeadGnome platform is integrated with major CRMs and MAPs including Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo and Oracle Cloud.
“LeadGnome is committed to data privacy and business transparency. We had already employed many of the required best practices, so the certification process was completed significantly ahead of schedule,” said Benati.
Other vendors that are Privacy Shield compliant include Dun & Bradstreet, Avention, Zoominfo, Infogroup, Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SalesLoft, ReachForce, and Outreach. The US International Trade Administration publishes a list of Privacy Shield compliant firms.
A joint study by DiscoverOrg and Smart Selling Tools of 200 sales and marketing organizations found that high growth companies with at least 40% growth over the past three years are 2.5 times more likely to have adopted an Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy. Furthermore high growth companies are twice as likely to have successful cold calling programs and are more likely to have a dedicated outbound prospecting team. High growth firms are also more likely to hire sales reps based upon their “tech-savvy” than experience and have adopted twice as many sales technologies than their slower growth brethren. With respect to MarTech, high-growth companies have adopted 24% more marketing solutions.
The study also found that fast growth companies provide at least three hours of coaching or training per week to their sales teams. At slower growth companies, training appeared to have less of an effect. According to the report, “While an increase in training hours correlated with a rise in growth rates for the high growth group, it did not with low growth companies. This suggests that training may not in of itself cause growth, but it is critical in sustaining it. Fast growing organizations need to train constantly to maintain momentum and enable teams to perform at a high level. Companies that err on the side of less training and coaching do not appear to set their teams up for the same level of success.”
“The findings clearly demonstrate that achieving fast growth is not as simple as having a great product and hiring experienced sales reps. Sales and marketing teams that are true revenue-generating engines take risks and do the hard things – like cold calling, focusing on data quality, and heavily aligning sales and marketing teams across account-based strategies.”
– DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck
“Technology proliferation in the sales and marketing industry is both a challenge and an opportunity,” added Nancy Nardin, CEO of Smart Selling Tools. “The fastest growing companies are investing in technologies that make their sales and marketing teams more productive and more insightful, while recognizing it is equally as important to have highly trained team members who know how to leverage that technology to its fullest power.”
The primary inhibitor of even faster growth at high growth companies was data quality issues concerning accounts and contacts.
The top technology available to sales reps were CRM (52%) and LinkedIn (free LinkedIn was deployed at 45% , premium LinkedIn at 33%, and Sales Navigator at 27% of sales teams). Pipeline and Opportunity Management software was third at 42%. Rounding out the top five were compensation/commission software and sales intelligence, both with a 38% deployment rate. Surprisingly, 37% of sales teams still employ account and contact data providers / list providers. As sales intelligence vendors support list building along with sales intelligence (and some also data hygiene), there are likely ongoing opportunities to move sales teams up the value chain from list purchases.
Predictive analytics / predictive intelligence placed 36th out of 37 technologies with only a 5% deployment rate. As Gartner estimated the total global market for predictive analytics technology to be between $100 and $150 million, this low penetration rate should not be overly surprising.
The study, conducted in November, used 40% growth between 2013 and 2016 (estimated) as the high growth cutoff as it is represents the recent growth floor for Inc. 5000 membership. Of the 200 firms studied, 17% fell into the high-growth category, 69% fell into the low-growth category (1-39%), 13% had flat revenue, and 1% had declining revenues. The survey was over weighted to technology companies with software, IT Services and Telco as the top three industries surveyed. 82% of the firms were B2B and 85% were headquartered in the US.
LinkedIn continues the build out of its Economic Graph with the launch of LinkedIn Salary. The new tool provides salary data alongside other elements of the Economic Graph including jobs, employees, organizations, skills, and educational institutions.
“This includes salary, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level — all of which becomes critical knowledge as you navigate your career,” LinkedIn wrote. “Also, rest assured that when you enter your salary, it’s immediately encrypted and remains private.”
The service provides a set of salary analytics related to job, experience, industry, and location. The user begins by specifying the position and location. They can then quickly filter by industry and experience. Both median salary and median compensation are immediately displayed along with a compensation histogram. Other details include annual bonus, commission, restricted stock units, and stock options. Other salary analytics include base salaries by company size, industry, education level, field of study, and top locations.
Another valuable tool is compensation data by position for key employers in a metro area.
The service is currently available in the US, UK, and Canada with plans to expand globally in 2017. To obtain full salary details, users must provide their salary details or have a LinkedIn Premium subscription.
Other vendors providing similar data include Glassdoor and Salary.com.
Other recent LinkedIn developments in the news:
LinkedIn anticipates that the Microsoft acquisition will close by the end of 2016. They are awaiting approval from the European authorities and then should be ready to complete the $26.2 billion transaction.
LinkedIn was blocked in Russia last week after they failed to comply with Russian rules concerning the housing of data related to Russian citizens. The service has six million Russian members. The block goes back to a 2014 law which was enacted after social media-fueled protests against the Putin regime.
Note: The link to the Glassdoor salary site was added on December 1st.
Forrester released a study titled “The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs” which argued that companies need to quickly transform themselves into digital businesses. The study broke businesses into three digital categories: Predator, Transformer, and Dinosaur and evaluated the percent of business that are either digital services or sold online.
Predators are already generating over 80% of their business digitally and will grow their business to 90% by 2020. For them, digital is a foundational element of their operations.
Likewise, transformers are quickly evolving into digital businesses while dinosaurs are plodding along. In 2014, only one in six dollars was generated digitally at transformers, but by 2020, two of every three dollars will be digitally mediated at transformed businesses.
At the dinosaurs, only one in three dollars will be digitally generated in 2020.
Forrester found that transformers are customer-centric in their business strategy and processes. Customer obsession is part of their corporate DNA:
While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed.
Nigel Fenwick, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst
Overall, Forrester found that 29% of current total sales are influenced by digital, but that 47% would be digitally influenced by 2020. Thus, any business that wishes to remain competitive must have a digital strategy which encompasses sales, marketing, credit decisioning, contracting, and all of the elements across your sales funnel.
My blog focuses on sales intelligence (with some discussion of marketing intelligence and DaaS), so I’m covering a subset of this transformation. But sales intelligence is a key element of the digital transformation of sales and marketing. Its goal is to make sales reps more efficient and effective at generating revenue through
Improved understanding of customers and prospects. Whether the company is employing ABM, ABSD, social selling, trigger selling, or other techniques, customer-centricity begins with an understanding of the customer at the contact, company, and industry level. Sales intelligence vendors go beyond firmographics and contact data to deliver business descriptions, SWOTs, biographies, social posts, industry research, financials, analyst reports, technology platforms, etc.
Current Awareness. Improved awareness of changes at customers and prospects helps to improve account planning, messaging, and forecasting. Where once this intelligence was delivered as generic company news, the sales intelligence vendors have refined their tagging and now provide high precision sales triggers which are accurate at both the company and business topic level. Some have even begun to integrate sales triggers into their prospecting engines.
Reduced busywork + improved data quality. Sales intelligence vendors cut the time wasted on busywork through the implementation of DaaS enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. Enrichment provides more accurate firmographics, corporate linkage, and contact information which is then propagated to downstream systems. It also reduces the keying done by prospects on web forms and sales reps in CRMs. Furthermore, targeting, segmentation, and messaging are much more accurate when the ongoing maintenance of account intelligence is managed by a third party.
Over the past decade, sales intelligence firms have grown from standalone web information portals to integrated workflow services that deliver a broad set of account intelligence to CRMs, marketing automation platforms, sales acceleration (ABSD) services, Google Chrome, web forms, and mobile devices. Thus, sales intelligence is now becoming available to sales, marketing, and service departments across a broad set of platforms and devices.
If you would like to read more on my thoughts concerning the digital transformation of sales and marketing, I have also discussed the topic on Sparklane and Avention’s blogs.