BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs (Part II)

Yesterday, I began my profile of SMB Sales Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard which supports a global company graph of 100 million SMBs. Part II discusses several BuzzBoard reports titled Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

The Competition tab compares a company against three local peers, allowing reps to take a value-added discussion approach to customer and prospect meetings.  This benchmarking can be performed as early as the first call, helping to differentiate the sales rep.  Should the prospect wish to see other competitors, the representative can quickly remove one of the competitors and add a requested company to the analysis.  The competitive benchmark supports three tabs: Digital Marketing, HR & Organization, and Communications.

BuzzBoard recommends that reps not go through the competitive report line-by-line, but focus on two or three categories where the vendor “has solutions.” Going line-by-line is “the digital equivalent to the PowerPoint presentation,” warns BuzzBoard Director of Community & Training Phillip Cortez.

Category Insights include local advertising intelligence from Borrell Associates.  Borrell data includes industry-specific ad budgets for local markets.  Local data is available for both digital advertising, non-digital advertising, and their sub-categories (e.g. General Paid Search, Targeted Display, Listings Paid Search, Newspapers, Local Broadcast TV, Radio).  There is also a section on Audience Targeting Opportunities for the industry, providing fodder for sales conversations.  This intelligence would also be valuable for the marketing communications team in developing blog and social content that targets top segments.  Other sections include technology trends, threats and opportunities, top products and services, and “know their customers.”

The Recommendations tab provides a set of recommendations and talking points based on gaps in a firm’s digital marketing presence.

BuzzBoard is well-positioned for firms that target SMBs, particularly if they provide digital services of some form.  This focus, however, makes them ill-suited for enterprise sales.  The database does not offer company linkages, long business descriptions, tickers (for quickly looking up the HQ of a firm), filings, financials, etc.  However, they are clear in their positioning as a B2SMB database.

BuzzBoard is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and Hyderabad (engineering).  The firm has 85 employees with open positions in sales, customer success, engineering, and product management.

COVID-19 has “not really impacted us substantially,” said CEO Umesh Tibrewal.

BuzzBoard Graph of 100M Global SMBs

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor BuzzBoard has built a graph of global SMB organizations spanning 100 million companies, 20 million in the US.  The seven-year-old firm supports advanced segmentation and prospecting based upon a deep set of technographic and digital marketing variables.  During the pandemic, they added COVID prospecting and recommendation tools to help customers target segments and personas that are doing well during the recession.

It is their focus on SMBs and their digital signals that they describe as their competitive advantage. “Anyone who sells to SMBs should have deep knowledge of the prospect’s digital footprint, their needs, attitudes, triggers, and ability to pay.  These are reflected in the SMB’s operations stack and in their external presence.”

BuzzBoard assigns a Buzz Score to each of the companies in its database.  The Buzz Score is a digital marketing score that grades a company’s digital presence based on a 0 to 100 scale.  Users may drill into the score to see the underlying components.  Thus, a web design company can determine whether a prospect has multi-screen compatibility.  Initially, an estimated score is provided, which is +/- 10 points of the probable score.  When adding a profile, BuzzBoard automatically regenerates the Buzz Score and digital profile, though the process takes 60 to 90 seconds.

Prospecting variables include firmographics, technographics, website, SEO, advertising, social, estimated spend, etc.  A new set of COVID-19 risk filters let users select companies based on location, industry, operational status, ongoing Google Ad spend, and recent technology investments.  For example, restaurants may be filtered operationally by Temporarily Closed, Dine-in, Delivery, and Take-out.

On the user home page, they added two recommendation cards.  The “COVID-19 – Categories to work on now!” card highlights verticals that are growing and “need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The “COVID-19 – Recommendations” card contains personas and segments defined by BuzzBoard’s data scientists “based on target locations that need marketing support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The homepage consists of a customizable set of cards for training videos, COVID recommendations, Knowledge Base, Favorite Signals, etc.

The fixed search bar at the top of each screen lets users search by location combined with business name, URL, category, or keywords.  A left-handed filter bar lets users revise the prospecting list.  For example, a user can quickly search for roofers within 40 miles of Los Angeles with websites and Google ad spend, but a poor mobile experience (e.g. slow loading, not responsive).  Lists are displayed via a card-view or plotted map.  List parameters may be saved for future re-use.

Prospects may be added as profiles.  When added, BuzzBoard goes out and re-evaluates the Buzz Score based upon its current digital footprint.  Profiles contain a summary view along with tabs for Detailed view, Competition, Category Insights, and Recommendations.

Beyond prospecting lists, users may also quickly research a company from a BuzzBoard Connect Chrome extension or via a file upload.  When visiting a web page in Chrome, users click on the BuzzBoard icon in the right corner of the Chrome bar, and BuzzBoard opens a window with company details including firmographics, Buzz Score, Website and SEO details, technographics, social media, competition, communications, and recommendations.

Up to 300 records may be uploaded at a time.  The file must contain either name and URL or name and address for matching.


Part II continues tomorrow with a discussion of their Competition, Category, and Recommendation tabs.

D&B Hoover’s Enhancements

D&B Hoovers released a set of enhancements to its sales intelligence service.  New content and features include expanded company identifiers, company identifier searching, additional URLs, and a COVID-19 Impact Index.

D&B Hoovers has improved the scope and display of global registration numbers (AKA Regnos) within their service, with identifiers available for more than 129 million companies spanning more than 500 different National Identification Numbering Schema.  Regnos are now more prominent in Company Profiles and searchable in the “Company Identifiers” section of “Search & Build a List.”

Identifiers include US Federal Tax IDs (EINs), VATs, and French Siret Numbers.  Up to four identifiers are displayed in company profiles.  While the service has long supported Dun & Bradstreet’s D-U-N-S Numbers, stock tickers, and registration numbers, the expanded scope assists with company lookup and research.

Dun & Bradstreet cautioned that not all registration numbers are unique, and multiple family members may share a Regno.

Users may search for a single identifier or upload a list of up to 1,000 ids.

“This new presentation of global registration numbers with Company Profiles and the Search & Build a List Form better aligns with the display of this information across Dun & Bradstreet products, providing a more consistent data experience for users who have multiple offerings.”

Senior Product Director Phil McWade

D&B Hoovers added 3.5 million additional URLs to their service, bringing the global count to 24 million.

D&B Hoovers continues to expand its company and executive coverage, with nearly 180 million active companies and 160 million active contacts.

Another new feature is a Coronavirus trigger for reps looking to monitor prospects and accounts along with a set of COVID-19 Impact Indices.  The new Impact Index is available as an optional add-on, priced per seat.

The new COVID-19 Impact Index will be covered in tomorrow’s blog.

GrowFlare V2.0 (Part II)

Continuing my profile of GrowFlare (Part I)…

While many companies offer keyword searching, it is usually against a mined business description.  Only a few products, such as D&B Hoover’s Conceptual Searching, provide broader topical searching to build company lists.

GrowFlare includes a free Chrome extension that “overlays the power of prospector right over the website,” HubSpot, or Salesforce.  “This is invaluable for anyone from an SDR to an executive that wants a quick ten-second snapshot of a company before engaging,” said Belkin.  The Chrome connector detects the account, displays firmographics, trending topics, psychographics, and Next Best Prospect.

Prospector Bulk and GoldMiner support HubSpot append and enrichment, including Fit Scores.  Salesforce support is a roadmap item.  Belkin said that HubSpot support was a “strategic decision because HubSpot is more readily accessible, cheaper to develop for, more startup-focused, and we can build adoption faster.”

The user interface is clean and well laid out, with the ability to quickly sort prospecting tables and view additional details.  The company universe is limited to 130,000 US companies with ten or more employees “that have meaningful purchasing power.” Thus, GrowFlare is best suited for US account based marketers and strategic teams.  However, the service is still in its early stages of development.  It does not offer any contacts, and the firmographic intelligence, beyond the psychographics and trends, is limited.  There are some novel ideas and tools in this service, many of which are not found in more mature ICP offerings from the established players (e.g. DiscoverOrg AccountView, InsideView Apex, D&B DataVision).  These ICP / TAM tools were built for the marketing department, while GrowFlare is looking to serve both the sales and marketing departments with some competitive intelligence functionality as well.

GrowFlare is a freemium offering, with three free prospects provided with each search.  The Basic offering is priced at $2,950 per annum and includes ten prospects per list.  Growth offers 25 prospects per list for $4,950, and Unlimited offers the maximum number of relevant prospects per list for $9,950.  The paid offerings all include all of the features discussed in this profile along with 24/7 support.

The 2.0 release has helped the firm gain traction in the marketplace with revenue up 600% monthly (on a small base).  The average deal size is greater than $10,000. Upcoming GrowFlare development is focused on expanded partnerships.  GrowFlare is looking to add contacts from vendors such as InsideView and deepen its integrations with HubSpot and Salesforce.

Echobot Growing Quietly

Echobot, the German sales and marketing intelligence vendor, continues to do well during the pandemic.  It has over 1,000 clients and a growing ACV.  They added 15 employees this year, bringing their staff count to 65.  The firm was founded in 2011 and has posted a consistent 40% compound average growth rate.  It is internally funded.

Echobot offers multiple products: The Target prospect database of European B2B firms (UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) and the Connect intelligence database with 11 million companies.  Content includes registered data, technographics, contacts, and news.  The firm also provides online and social print monitoring and DataCare DaaS Hygiene for CRMs and ERPs.

The Karlsruhe-headquartered firm is readying a new 18,000 square foot office, which it plans to move into in 2021.

“COVID-19 did not slow us down,” said CEO Bastiaan Karweg.  “In some cases it actually helped to put our agenda of digital sales intelligence front and center – mostly to compensate for missed trade shows and grounded field sales operations.”

Echobot Target supports firmographic and sales trigger (event) prospecting

I’ve followed the sales and marketing intelligence space for nearly two decades. The market developed in the United States with few European vendors (Bureau van Dijk being the exception). Often, it was US vendors such as OneSource, Factiva, and InsideView covering Europe as part of their global coverage . But over the past half decade, there has been a blossoming of European based sales and marketing intelligence solutions from

Not only are these vendors based in Europe, but they have a better understanding of the local datasets, regulatory requirements, and market nuances. Several are multi-lingual and carry local filings to serve financial services and compliance use cases.

D&B Hoovers Gooses Its Content for Current Users

Spend Capacity is one of three new risk metrics available through D&B Hoovers.

D&B Hoover’s customers are enjoying additional risk scores and industry content through the end of May.  This benefit is perfect timing for adding value to their offering on a short-term basis as it allows customers to test out additional content and functionality for two months at no charge. Sales reps are under great pressure to build and maintain their pipeline through improved targeting and messaging.

Likewise, Relationship Managers at banks are under immense pressure to process CARES PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) across a broad set of pandemic-impacted industries.

Supplementary material includes

  • First Research industry overviews
  • DecisionHQ flags (does the location have purchasing authority?)
  • Spend Capacity (A spend ranking score versus other companies)
  • Growth Trajectory (Will the company grow, shrink, or remain stable over the next 12 to 18 months?)

In Family Trees, a star icon flags locations with purchasing authority.  All three predictive scores are available as search filters in Build a List.

First Research reports [sample] are a set of plain-English industry overviews which help sales reps, Customer Success Managers, and relationship managers who sell and service across a broad set of industries quickly understand industry basics and trends. Core content includes

  • Industry Description: Competitive Landscape; Products, Operations, & Technology; Sales & Marketing; Finance & Regulation; Regional & International Issues; and Human Resources.
  • Top Companies
  • Financials: Industry statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US International Trade Commission. Also includes valuation multiples.
  • Industry Forecast: Inforum Forecast
  • Industry Growth Rating
  • Trends & Opportunities
  • Executive Insight: Key Topics by C-level job Function
  • Business Challenges
  • Call Prep Questions: Conversation Starters; Operations, Products, & Facilities; Customers, Marketing, Pricing, & Competition; Regulations, R&D, Imports, & Exports; Organization & Management; Financial Analysis; and Business & Technology Strategies.
  • Industry Indicators
  • Industry Websites
  • Fast Facts

The Call Prep Questions and Executive Insights offer great value to non-experts. If you are a relationship manager or territory rep, you are likely speaking to individuals across many industries on a daily basis. It would be impossible to develop true expertise in all of those industries. These sections help professionals ask intelligent questions and tailor their conversations at the account and persona level.

First Research reports are available as an integrated service in D&B Hoovers, via the D&B Direct API, as a standalone service, and as individual reports.

First Research reports are written at the eight-digit Dun & Bradstreet SIC-code level and associated with company profiles by these codes. They are also available through the Research and Reports module.


Dun & Bradstreet is also offering risk solutions for business and government during the Covid pandemic:

Emissary Expands Services

Emissary is expanding its set of consultative information services to deliver holistic solutions that accelerate enterprise deals across all stages of the sales cycle.  Their new solutions include propensityto buy surveys, custom industry and account planning reports, and qualified introductions.  These services leverage their private network of Emissaries to help enterprise sales and marketing teams align on their target accounts and create actionable strategies to accelerate deals.  

Emissary hosts a private sales and marketing intelligence network that leverages the insights of former Fortune 1000 executives to drive deals forward.  What differentiates Emissary from traditional sales intelligence firms is their ability to deliver tacit knowledge that is locked up in people’s heads but not available in traditional company profiles or via web searches.  Tacit knowledge is only available through direct conversations and interviews.  Tacit knowledge includes topics such as biases of key decision-makers, roadblocks in the purchasing process, messaging that is likely to resonate, planned initiatives, internal concerns, and hidden influencers.  Emissary sales and marketing services tap this tacit knowledge and deliver it via direct interviews, researched profiles, and recommendations.

Emissary’s primary customer base is comprised of technology firms that are looking to sharpen their ABM strategies, increase their deal size, and improve their close rates.  Their services are sold in annual packages with bespoke pricing.

“The goal of Emissary is to give sellers and marketers the information they need to have inspiring and thought-provoking conversations at the executive level.  This helps elevate the relationship instead of just pitching a value proposition.”

Emissary CRO Eric Rosenthal

Enterprise sales teams leverage Emissary knowledge across all stages of their sales cycle.  Emissary’s sales packages give sellers the insights they need to prioritize their accounts, pitch to the c-level, close deals faster, and hit their annual bookings numbers.  These solutions include propensity to buy surveys and industry reports gathered through analyst interviews with their Emissaries.  These bespoke reports generally run six to ten pages and are customized for each client.  As multiple Emissaries are interviewed for each report, the report is informed by diverse functional perspectives. 

Emissary’s account prioritization service helps sales and marketing teams align on their ABM targets.  ABM accounts are distributed amongst their Emissaries to score propensity to buy.  This prioritization helps sales and marketing teams focus on accounts with the greatest near-term potential. 

Prioritization services also include recommending the best contacts to reach out to at an account.  Once the Emissary has provided one-to-one deal coaching with the sales rep, they may also provide qualified introductions to their contacts inside the target account.

Other marketing services include consultations around product marketing, industry positioning, messaging, case studies, and campaigns.  Emissaries in a targeted segment can evaluate and help create specific industry and account messaging that speaks to C-level buyers and breaks through the noise of traditional product and solution-based selling.


Emissary is offering members of Market Insights free access to their sales podcast, Emissary Live.  New company, industry, and persona-based (e.g. Procurement, CISO) content is added weekly.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Orb Intelligence

Dun & Bradstreet is opening up the year with a bang.  First, they announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and then they acquired Orb Intelligence, business identity and firmographics data provider.  The acquisition follows acquisitions of Customer Data Platform Lattice Engines in July, Sales Intelligence vendor Avention (now D&B Hoovers) in 2017, and B2B DaaS vendor NetProspex (now D&B Optimizer) in 2015.  The acquisitions have helped transition Dun & Bradstreet from an old-line sales and marketing information vendor to a digital analytics and activation provider.

“The acquisition of Orb Intelligence cements our strategy to link the digital and physical worlds in the largest global repository of B2B data and to provide enriched firmographic data to customer profiles to help our clients more effectively execute campaigns to improve customer interactions and revenue returns,” said Michael Bird, President of Dun & Bradstreet’s Sales & Marketing Solutions division.  “Clients can rely on Dun & Bradstreet as the one-stop-shop for all of their data-driven, decision-making and customer engagement needs.”

Orb Intelligence employs machine language and natural language processing tools for deriving firmographic and technographic intelligence from the open web and government documents.  Their global database spans 57 million companies.  Content includes web domains, URLs, IP addresses, social networks, government ids, corporate linkage, funding, trademarks, and technographics.  Orb Intelligence has served as the “data backbone to many of today’s most well-known B2B sales, marketing and analytics organizations focused on digital marketing or sales initiatives.”

“This will be something of a shockwave for many in the ABM tech industry as Orb is an unknown ingredient in so many (in fact I would guess most) ABM MarTech platforms,” wrote B2B IQ President Liam Blackwell (Note: Blackwell is also an Orb Intelligence advisor).  “It is often used as the backbone, with the Orb number as the key for connection.  It is going to be interesting to see how D&B controls / monetizes future usage of the Orb data – this will be a major worry for some of those platforms and obviously an opportunity for other data providers.”

Orb is an original data provider and does not compile or resell data from other vendors.  Along with company profiles, the firm maintains databases on US educational facilities, government agencies and offices, and healthcare providers.

If you already use other data providers such as Dun & Bradstreet, you can increase your match rate by 10-25% by matching unmatched records onto the Orb Database.  We collect data from different sources than Dun & Bradstreet, which is why the Orb Database is often used to complement D&B data.

Orb Intelligence website (pre-acquisition marketing text)

Dun & Bradstreet listed several benefits for their customers, beginning with the ability to cross-validate data across online and offline sources.  Upgraded customer profiles will improve the depth and accuracy of business attributes for digital ABM programs and audience targeting.  Enhanced content will flow through to D&B Audience Targeting, D&B Visitor Intelligence, D&B Hoovers, and D&B Lattice for anonymous visitor match, programmatic targeting and sales outreach.

Dun & Bradstreet also sees a “measurable impact” for the combined data cloud which will simplify the connection and segmentation of audiences, the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) models, and activation of channels through the D&B Lattice Customer Data Platform (CDP), to deliver the best sales and marketing campaigns.”

The transaction closed on January 8th.  The parties did not disclose deal terms.

LinkedIn lists 17 Orb Intelligence employees, including CEO Maria Grineva, who is joining Dun & Bradstreet as a Vice President.

Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords

Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs
Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs

Artesian Solutions announced the availability of Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords functionality to its Artesian Engage sales intelligence service.  Company Buzzwords are a set of common product and service descriptors not found in standard industry taxonomies.  The buzzwords are mined from company websites.  For example, firms manufacturing or selling craft beer can be targeted within Artesian’s Prospector module.  Likewise, technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things, which span many industries, may also be targeted.

Artesian Business Categories expand the categories and synonyms associated with existing UK SIC codes.  Artesian gives the example of Drink Production as a synonym of Manufacture of Beverages with the word Drink returning industries such as Drink Retail and Drink Wholesale.

“As a business, we constantly aim to exceed customer expectations, so in response to their feedback, we not only improved the way they use SIC codes (with Artesian Business Categories), but also created a whole new way of finding companies in niche or highly specialised industries,” said Richard Clark Artesian’s VP of Product Management.  “These two new features will help our users get hyper-specific when searching for companies using Artesian’s prospecting tools, thereby enabling them to uncover new opportunities that may otherwise have been missed, and keeping them one step ahead of the competition.”

Artesian Business Categories are available for the UK SIC taxonomy, but not other industry code structures (e.g. NACE 2.0, NAICS).  When multiple codes are employed, Boolean AND / OR operators are supported.

“The SIC code system of categorising a company’s primary activities was first introduced in the UK in 1948 and although it has since been revised, the most recent update was back in 2007.  It is widely criticised for excluding categories to cover the latest sectors and for misrepresenting the activities of many businesses.  For example, Google UK Ltd is listed on Companies House as ‘82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified’ (a generic category for companies struggling to identify a suitable alternative).”

Artesian Solutions Press Release

Other new features include a news topic search (previously, users had to navigate menus) and expanded prospecting selects for Export Turnover (Export Revenue), Location Type, TPS (UK Telephony blocking), and roles.  Users can also exclude companies with estimative turnover, employee counts, or net worth values instead of actuals.

Vainu Rebrands

Finnish sales intelligence vendor Vainu rebranded earlier this week. The goal was to provide a unified view of the company.  Vainu is focused on company intelligence but includes registered contact/director details and mined data. The firm also offers CRM and MAP data enrichment and hygiene services.

Unlike most sales intelligence databases, Vainu is available in English, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and French.  Country datasets include Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and The Netherlands with detailed financial data available for Norway, Sweden, and Finland.  Beta datasets are available for France, the UK, and the US with additional countries being developed.

Core UK data is gathered from Companies House.  US data is aggregated from state filings.

I’ve been planning on covering Vainu for the past six months but was waiting for an event.  Rebranding is as good a reason any.

Vainu was launched in 2014 and crowdsourced its initial dog nose logo (Vainu is a Finnish word for the scent picked up by an animal).  The website design and other branding aspects were inconsistent.

“Everything else was pretty much put together ad hoc after that: color schemes and supporting visuals for our first website layout, stock photos for our first slide decks, different messages to cater to the situations at hand.  The end result has been just as fragmented or ad hoc as our strategy: we’ve looked and felt different and sounded different in any situation.”

Mikko Luhtava, Vainu Head of Communications

Now that the firm has 2,000 customers and 180 employees, they felt it was time to formalize their brand with a new logo, tagline, and website with real images and black, white, and yellow text.

Vainu argues that B2B Sales is still stuck in the era of spam emails and cold calling lists.  “While buyers are looking for a real conversation, one where they’re engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity targets and sales quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” blogged Luhtava.

Thus, the firm offers “real-time B2B sales.”  It is akin to SalesLoft’s call for authenticity in sales.  “While buyers are looking for a real conversation, one where they’re engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity targets and sales quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” stated Luhtava.  “At Vainu, we believe there’s a right way of doing B2B sales—a way that is personalized, a way that uses data, a way that focuses on the buyer.  And we’ve made it our mission to make salespeople better at their jobs, by bringing real-time company data to every customer interaction.  We call this real-time sales.

Vainu supports company list building.  Selects include firmographics, technographics, buying signals (sales triggers), and account intelligence from the company’s CRM.  Trigger alerts cover company announcements, personnel changes, technology updates, and new additions to a prospect list.

The Vainu database covers nearly 60 million active companies and includes company profiles, technology stacks, corporate financials, and recent company news.

CRM admins can setup data syncing and enrichment with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Upsales, and SuperOffice.  Zapier is available for other platforms.  The firm also supports an API.

Vainu enriches leads before they are loaded into MAPs assisting with lead scoring and routing.

Vainu also offers bulk data for data modeling including business registry data, website information, and open and web-crawled intelligence.  Applications include churn prediction, account scoring, and financial services risk calculations.

Pricing begins at €6,600 (£6,000 or $7,250) per year for five reps plus a one-time onboarding fee of €600 for a single country database.  Each additional country dataset is priced at €3,000.  At 25 seats, the service is priced at €30,600 (£28,000 or $33,650) with a one-time onboarding fee of €2,100.  Each additional country dataset is priced at €3,000.  Nordic financial data adds €2,400.