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.

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.”

Flash: Cognism Acquires Mailtastic

Hybrid Engagement vendor Cognism acquired email signature marketing firm Mailtastic in a seven-figure cash and stock deal.  The acquisition provides Cognism with an additional marketing channel – professional email signatures that reflect the latest corporate messaging and branding.  Mailtastic centralizes corporate signature blocks, with adjustments by market, outbound language, and job function.  Employees can select between multiple signature options based upon the recipient.

Mailtastic supports G Suite, Office 365, Outlook, Exchange, Apple Mail, and Gmail, with signatures optimized by the device.  Mailtastic is GDPR compliant with European server locations.  Mailtastic features include centralized campaign management, campaign analytics, event planning, and click notifications.

“The acquisition will enable Cognism to empower go-to-market teams with a whole new channel for their outreach and lead generation efforts,” posted Mailtastic Marketing Manager Verena Vogt.  “For Mailtastic, the acquisition represents an exciting opportunity to offer accelerated internationalisation, extensive product expansion, and the creation of joint products and services that will define the next era of B2B revenue growth solutions.”

The full Mailtastic team of ten is joining Cognism, including its founders Tao Bauer, Peer Wierzbitzki, and Andreas Schröder.

Mailtastic was founded in 2015 and grew its customer base to 350 enterprises, mostly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH).  The acquisition provides an additional go-to-market channel, an EU office in Mainz, and a set of Central European enterprise clients into which Cognism services may be cross-sold.  Cognism will open a second UK office in Manchester that will focus on Mailtastic sales, with plans to open a second North American office towards the end of the year, possibly in Canada.

Mailtastic is profitable and has a 67% annual growth rate.  The firm has no sales team, with selling conducted by one of its founders; thus, applying Cognism’s successful go-to-market approach should support rapid revenue expansion.  Cognism’s sales approach is to hire recent University grads as SDRs and then train them in Cognism’s sales tools for prospecting, ICP/TAM analysis, and outbound sales engagement.  Reps also leverage global company and contact profiles that include over 20 million direct dial and mobile numbers.

Mailtastic has a negative churn rate.  CEO James Isilay indicated that the DACH market is slower to purchase technology, but also less likely to switch vendors than the UK or US markets.  Once licensed to the enterprise, seat growth takes place organically as firms look to control email block branding and messaging.  Furthermore, the DACH market provides a stable base for cross-selling Cognism services.  Beyond GDPR, Mailtastic signature management is a compliance requirement in regulated UK and German industries.

Cognism has been a Mailtastic client for the past year, enjoying a 10% rise in click-through rates and a 25% increase in webinar conversions.

The initial post-acquisition focus will be on cross-training the companies and deploying a Mailtastic sales team trained in Cognism sales tools and processes.  In Q3, Mailtastic will be integrated with several MAPs and SEPs.

“These are uncertain times and we want to ensure our clients have every tool at their disposal to develop new ways to prospect when budgets are being cut and certain channels, like outdoor advertising and live events, just aren’t an option.  Email signature marketing is massively underused and it will play a key role as more people work from home and engage others through their screens.

Cognism is focused on expanding in Europe and bolstering our position as a global go-to-market champion.  To achieve this, our fantastic team has worked tirelessly to help clients build strong, repeatable lead generation strategies that can benefit from both inbound and outbound methodologies and, by integrating Mailtastic, we’re strengthening this offering further.  Cognism provides clients with the data they need to send emails, the tools required to automate and action them, and now it will be providing a way for customers to expand their reach with every email their employees send.  By continuing to expand the Cognism offering, customers are able to build powerful go-to-market strategies that will enable their go-to-market teams to find and deliver new revenue, faster.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

Cognism combines B2B DaaS services, ICP / TAM tools, prospecting, email templates, and outbound cadences.  Mailtastic provides them with additional email customization tools.

The Mailtastic acquisition is similar to the Terminus purchase of Sigstr late last year.  Both firms offer a strong feature – management of email signatures – that would likely be difficult to justify as a standalone MarTech license in the current economic environment.  However, both add significant value alongside the ABM capabilities of their new parents.

Isilay indicated that the firm successfully transitioned to WFH.  Sales and renewals in the exhibition and recruitment markets declined, but the firm used its ICP tools to adjust its targeting and its new business generation is back to pre-pandemic levels.  COVID-related churn has died down, and revenue is growing strongly again, with $8.5 million in projected ARR by the end of May.

Terminus Acquires Ramble (Part II)

Last Friday, I began my coverage of Terminus’ acquisition of Ramble. The deal adds in-house ABM chat capabilities to Terminus’ ABM platform. It is a logical platform extension as Ramble’s ABM Chat Anywhere capabilities support both inbound web chat and chat links for social, email, digital advertising, etc. Ramble has also launched ABM chat capabilities within SalesLoft and Salesforce.

“By now, no one needs convincing that chat is more powerful than forms,” said Terminus Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown.  “Data shows websites with sales chat enjoy an 82% increase in conversations over those without it and a 256% increase in outbound email response rate.  There are a lot of terrific chat solutions offered by companies and today, officially, Terminus is one of them.”

“We live in an on-demand society where instant conversation is a new standard for the B2B sales process,” said Ramble CEO Justin McDonald.  “Conversational Marketing and ABM-chat are at the core of what we do, but our vision has taken it further.  We instantly connect buyers with the right sales rep, from the right territory, and the right product line from any online touchpoint.”

Darryl Praill, CMO of Sales Engagement Platform VanillaSoft, is excited about the announcement and opportunity to integrate chat into his campaigns:

“All of these platforms [Terminus, Sigstr, and Ramble] are about three things specifically:

  – Targeting your audience
  – Knowing your target contact and accounts digital ID so that you can recognize them across multiple channels
  – Engaging with them in a live conversation so that you can qualify them

Yes.  You can absolutely do this today by cobbling together different vendors, but you’re limited by their APIs and their roadmap.  By having a single vision and a master platform under the guidance of one development team, ABM is maturing into a beast and Terminus has clearly taken the lead on this, moving much faster and more aggressively and more confidently than the other players in the space.”

Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft CMO

The full Ramble team is joining Terminus with McDonald being named General Manager of Chat.  Both Ramble and Terminus are headquartered in Atlanta.

Terminus has assembled an impressive executive team with deep executive experience in the MarTech space.  CEO and Chairman Tim Kopp was the CMO at ExactTarget which was acquired by Salesforce.  He also is a General Partner and Managing Director at Hyde Park Venture Partners and serves on G2.com’s Board.  Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown was the VP of Product Strategy at SilverPop and the Product Strategy Executive for Commerce Marketing and Analytics at IBM.  Chief Customer Officer Bryan Wade was CEO at Sigstr and SVP and Chief Product Officer for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.  CMO Derek Slayton held the GM & Global Leader position in Dun & Bradstreet’s Sales & Marketing division, joining them from NetProspex where he was the CMO.  Chief Evangelist Sangram Vajre co-founded Terminus and heads up the FlipMyFunnel Movement.  He also served as the Head of Marketing at Pardot.

Many of these execs held leadership positions at marketing automation and omni-channel marketing platforms (e.g. ExactTarget, SilverPop, and Pardot).  They well understand the strengths and weaknesses of MAPs.  For example, MAPs are lead-based, not account-centric like Terminus and Ramble.  As ABM continues to ascend and a greater focus is placed on orchestrated communications and attribution across the account, platforms such as Terminus, Demandbase, 6Sense, and Engagio are better situated to meet the requirements of B2B CMOs.

Ramble Chat Anywhere Features (Source: Ramble)

Terminus Acquires Ramble

Yesterday, ABM Platform vendor Terminus announced the acquisition of ABM chat vendor Ramble.  Terminus has acquired three companies in three years: Brightfunnel ABM analytics, Sigstr relationship intelligence, and Ramble account-based chat for sales, marketing, and customer success.

In late 2019, Terminus acquired relationship intelligence vendor Sigstr, which it quickly incorporated into its service.  Sigstr supports signature block advertising within emails, allowing marketing to customize signature block messaging.  Sigstr relationship intelligence analyzes email and calendar patterns across an account to determine a relationship score and relationship strength trends.

Ramble is another logical acquisition as its Chat from Anywhere functionality allows sales and marketing to embed chat links in email, LinkedIn, Twitter, digital ads, QR codes, proposals, and other outbound communications and media.  Chat from anywhere allows chat to move beyond the company website and be contextually enabled through a broad set of communications channels.  Thus, chats are attached to the proper account, routed to the account owner, and attributed to the campaigns and actions which drove the engagement.

Chat from Anywhere is also integrated into SalesLoft and Salesforce with employees responding via web browsers or mobile apps.  Chat-based Leads are mapped to Salesforce.  If the lead is not in Salesforce, then a new contact or lead is created by RambleChat.

“Native chat is a game-changer for our customers as we help them drive full-funnel engagement,” said Terminus CEO Tim Kopp.  “We’re in the middle of a major industry shift – marketers want all-in-one platforms over best-of-breed integrations because, at the end of the day, integrations can only do so much.  Now with Ramble, our customers can personally engage target audiences at any stage of the funnel.  We’re so impressed with this team and couldn’t be more pumped to officially have them as part of Terminus.”

And with 8,000 MarTech vendors populating the ChiefMartec 2020 landscape, vendors that can orchestrate audience selection, multi-channel campaigns, and analytics will have a significant advantage over vendors that serve only one or two channels.

“That’s just too much tech and an endless list of APIs making technologies talk can’t provide elegant and measurable outcomes,” blogged Terminus Chief Product Officer Bryan Brown.

“We will be building the modern marketing cloud, end-to-end with an account based structure, and could not be more excited about it.”

Terminus CEO Tim Kopp

Marketers can personalize the Ramble chat experience via UTM variables.  “This helps marketers personalize the buying experience while also tracking demand generation data, lead flow, conversion metrics, and much more,” said the firm.

As Chat from Anywhere links are tied to Accounts, they automatically route chat conversations to the appropriate sales or customer support rep.

“Bringing Ramble into the Terminus platform makes a ton of sense,” said Ramble CEO Justin McDonald.  “We’re incredibly aligned with Terminus’ vision to build the most robust B2B marketing suite on the market, now including powerful account-based chat capabilities.  Not only is this a strong fit in terms of product, but it’s also a natural fit culturally.  We’re immensely proud to be joining this talented team.”


Continued on Tuesday...

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.

Zoominfo Files for IPO

Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 - 2017) and Debtwire (2018)
Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 – 2017) and Debtwire (2018).

The day before Thanksgiving, Zoominfo began the process of filing an IPO in accordance with Rule 135 of the Securities Act.  According to the firm, “The initial public offering is expected to commence after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

Zoominfo is profitable and has a valuation in excess of $1 billion.  The number of shares and offering price have yet to be determined. 2019 revenue is estimated to be around $350 million up approximately $100 million thisyear.

“The paperwork is a draft registration for a common stock offering.  The confidential draft filing is a mechanism built into the 2012 Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups, or JOBS, Act, and was designed to make the IPO process for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue easier.  Companies must file information publicly 15 days prior to starting an investor roadshow or the effective date of the registration.”

Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal

Zoominfo, formerly named DiscoverOrg, has a long history of organic and inorganic growth.  It is now the number two sales intelligence service, behind only LinkedIn Sales Navigator, with around a 25% market share.  Acquisitions include Zoominfo, RainKing, NeverBounce, Komiko, and iProfile.

Zoominfo released the Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September. The new platform combines the DiscoverOrg technographics, Inside Scoops (sales triggers), editorially verified bios, and top global company profiles with the Zoominfo deep contact data with emails and direct dials. New features include WebSights visitor intelligence and FormComplete web forms.

Last week, Zoominfo released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.” I will be covering Workflows tomorrow.

Zoominfo offers pricing and packaging similar to its legacy offerings, helping ensure a smooth transition to their new platform.

Zoominfo Acquires Komiko

Zoominfo (FKA DiscoverOrg), Acquisition History

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor Zoominfo acquired Redmond, WA startup Komiko.  The deal extends Zoominfo’s sales AI capabilities with CRM automation, playbooks, lead scores, and predictive analytics.  

Komiko’s analytical and recommendation tools support sales, account executives, and customer success teams.

Komiko’s AI tools are being rebranded as ZoomInfo InboxAI.

“Organizations are realizing that how they manage and leverage data is a strategic function that can accelerate or inhibit lead, pipeline, and revenue generation. While our offering is a SaaS platform for GTM, we feel ZoomInfo is in the business of helping marketing and salespeople hit their numbers. So, when we see an opportunity to build or buy additional capabilities essential to strengthen that edge — as we did with Komiko — it’s an easy decision.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Komiko employs machine learning and data science “to better automate CRM processes.”  InboxAI gathers contact and activity data from email inboxes and calendars and populates the CRM.  The mined intelligence also triggers alerts and generates “analytics essential to supporting renewals, managing new business pipelines, and more.”

Komiko offers a “data-driven platform” which helps reps understand the likelihood of each opportunity closing.  The platform also captures all customer-facing interactions and contacts.  Komiko claims to “make it easy to see who is interacting with the customer and what activities are taking place.”

Komiko data includes the strength of connection with each account (k-score), the relationship of contacts at accounts, the last communication with the account (outbound or inbound), and key contacts at existing accounts.

Komiko integrates sales playbooks into the CRM and recommends when to deploy them.

Current customers will continue to receive the Komiko service with no changes in support or service.

InboxAI is already deployed at Zoominfo.  The firm discovered 60,000 records that had not been logged into Salesforce.  “We found a number of accounts where we were only talking to one buyer – when we know that we need four buyers engaged to get across the finish line. InboxAI not only completes our CRM, [but] it gives us the visibility we need to push the right opportunities at the right time,” said Zoominfo CRO Chris Hays.

Komiko functionality will be integrated into the recently launched Zoominfo powered by DiscoverOrg platform.

Komiko is GDPR compliant and qualifies as a data processor.  It supports the right to be forgotten through a blacklist of blocked emails.  The system also deletes any historical emails related to blacklisted emails.

Komiko does not monitor internal emails and includes an external blacklist for blocked processing.  Thus, HR, Payroll, Board, and Legal department communications will not be ingested.  Komiko does not add Salesforce accounts but employs Salesforce accounts as a whitelist.

Komiko also positions itself as a “dynamic coaching” service which goes beyond informal or “formal, random” processes:

Dynamic coaching is not just a buzz word. It has been proven that taking this approach makes a big impact on win rates. Since taking the dynamic path means defining a formal process combined with your CRM to monitor, evaluate and support your coaching processes…Komiko builds playbooks based on your definition of success, the accounts segments you identify and the input from email capture and CRM. Your playbooks will outline actions that drove success in the past. Each recommended action will include recommended target and its weight (significance) to the overall success. Komiko will enhance your team’s efficiency by triggering call-to-actions based on the customer profile and playbook in real-time.

Komiko website

Komiko claims that clients can “get up and running” within 24 hours after only 30 minutes of work.  They support “customers of all sizes” across software, healthcare, distribution, professional services, and insurance.  Clients include Adecco, Tata Communications, Pemco Insurance, and Chorus.ai.

Terms of the deal were not released.  

How Komiko works

Komiko was founded in 2015 by former Microsoft engineers Hal Howard and Ami Heitner.  Owler lists Komiko’s revenue at $3 million.  However, marketing activity (blogs, LinkedIn) seems to have slowed around three months ago, indicating a firm that was reserving cash for a managed exit.

Komiko has 60 customers and expects to double the count by the end of the year.

According to Komiko CEO Howard, “We want our product to be seen by millions of people.  Our choices were we could take an additional round of venture funding and build our market, or partner with ZoomInfo and use an already-existing go-to-market.  This was the fastest path to that market and to millions of customers.”

“Combining Komiko’s machine learning chops with ZoomInfo’s data pipeline creates a much stronger value proposition than either company could have offered independently, so the combination makes a ton of sense for both,” said Chris DeVore, managing partner at Founders’ Co-op, Komiko’s Seed Round lead investor.

“Everybody dreams of the unicorn exit. And those are all well and good, but the goal of every technology innovator is to get your technology in the hands of as many people as possible,” Howard told GeekWire.

Zoominfo has over 1,100 employees and more than $300 million in revenues.

SalesLoft Acquires Costello

Costello Dashboard within SalesLoft

Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft acquired Costello earlier this week.  Costello, which describes itself as an opportunity management software company, supports quick deal updates, guided selling playbooks, pipeline collaboration, and real-time CRM sync.  Other features include deal management, dashboards, and dynamic note-taking.

SalesLoft said that the acquisition “furthers SalesLoft’s mission to help account executives not only prospect and build pipeline, but manage their day and their deals, from creation through close.”

“Combining Costello and SalesLoft gives all sellers, whether they’re pipeline builders, closers, or responsible for upsells and renewals, a platform to deliver the ultimate buyer experience and close more revenue.  Sales engagement is now the place all reps can start and end their days,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter.

“Sales Engagement isn’t just about generating pipeline.  It is about all the people who engage with customers and prospects throughout their journey.  We are working with our customers to constantly evolve what sales engagement can do for them.  It now represents the complete workflow application for sellers.  It’s a giant leap towards solving the sales challenges I hear from revenue leaders all the time.”

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

Costello has been available as a SalesLoft application partner since last year.  “The companies will continue to support existing Costello customers, invest and enhance product capabilities, and natively integrate Costello capabilities into the SalesLoft platform,” stated the firm.

Solution matrix posted by SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

SalesLoft listed four sales challenges that are addressed by the merged company: updating opportunities, app switching, new hire account messaging, and simplified pipeline review.  

During calls, Costello acts as a “real-time co-pilot” that ensures sales reps ask key questions, handle objections, and tell relevant customer stories.

Costello displays a Deal Dashboard and Deal View from within SalesLoft for pipeline management.  Deal Status elements include deal stage, days in stage, days active, and deal amount.  Costello also calls out Deal Gaps (missing deal fields, days past due), Stakeholders (buyers’ circle with roles and concerns), Call Summary with notes, and a deal timeline.

Costello is SalesLoft’s second acquisition.  They previously acquired NoteNinja which served as the basis for their meeting scheduling and intelligence functionality.  SalesLoft plans to natively integrate Costello functionality into the SalesLoft platform while investing and enhancing product capabilities.

SalesLoft supports over 2,300 companies and has grown revenue 1,000 percent over the past three years.  The firm has 450 employees.

“Sales Engagement platforms have started to make significant progress with sales organizations.  When we look across our dataset of high-growth early-adopters, 69% are leveraging a Sales Engagement platform today. As the sales engagement platform market looks to expand to the more widespread market of sales reps, we expect the platform’s feature set will also expand beyond traditional prospecting channels to serve all the day-to-day needs of the sales rep including enablement, planning and forecasting and productivity.”

Craig Rosenberg, Co-founder and Chief Analyst of TOPO

Financial details were not disclosed.

News Alert: DiscoverOrg Acquires NeverBounce

DiscoverOrg announced another acquisition this morning, its third in the past eighteen months.  NeverBounce, an email verification and list cleansing service, is being folded into DiscoverOrg.  NeverBounce offers real-time email verification, a verification API, a JavaScript widget for webforms, and free email list analytics.  Connectors are available for a broad set of MAPs and Email Services including Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Pardot, MailChimp, and Constant Contact.

NeverBounce claims a 99.9% email delivery rate and a 97% SLA.  Emails are classified into five categories: Valid, Invalid, Accept All, Unknown and Disposable.  The service confirms that domains are live, flags duplicates, and repairs syntax prior to processing.

“A big part of our value proposition to customers is we provide the highest quality data in the marketplace. A big part of that is ensuring the email addresses are deliverable and high accuracy.”

DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck

Integration will be a significant operational issue for DiscoverOrg.  While they previously acquired iProfile and RainKing, those were similar companies, so the integration was focused on quickly reprocessing their datasets through DiscoverOrg editorial validation and migrating customers to the DiscoverOrg platform.  The recent acquisitions – NeverBounce, Zoominfo, and Datanyze, which was acquired by Zoominfo in September – are complementary assets so merging applications present a greater level of technical risk than their previous acquisitions.  However, email validation is already part of ongoing data quality processes at Zoominfo and DiscoverOrg, so the execution risk associated with NeverBounce is lower than Zoominfo and Datanyze.

NeverBounce is a logical acquisition following Zoominfo as it allows them to build email hygiene services into Zoominfo and DiscoverOrg while reducing the cost of email validation across Zoominfo and DiscoverOrg’s set of contact profiles with emails.  Over the past few years, the sales intelligence vendors have been building out B2B marketing services including email verification, data enrichment, and ICP / TAM analysis.  As DiscoverOrg has long positioned itself as the highest quality source of executive contacts, NeverBounce helps burnish that positioning as they expand their contact coverage twenty-fold.

“While finding net new buyers is always going to be vital to sales and marketing efforts, it has become equally as important to manage, update and cleanse existing data that is going stale sitting in CRM and marketing automation systems.  Our partnership with NeverBounce makes solving both of these challenges easier for our customers.”

DiscoverOrg President Katie Bullard

“When we announced the combination of DiscoverOrg and ZoomInfo, we promised to deliver on the B2B data trifecta: the best, bar-none, quality, quantity, and depth, and this announcement only reinforces our quality differentiator in the market,” said DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck.  “We are now embedding NeverBounce’s email verification tools directly into our data and research team’s processes to lower the email bounce rates in both platforms AND over the next few months, we will integrate it into several of our customer-facing tools, including our data enrichment platform, Enrich.”

NeverBounce Volume Pricing

NeverBounce will continue as a standalone data hygiene offering.  DiscoverOrg and Zoominfo may purchase NeverBounce services at a discounted rate.  NeverBounce list pricing begins at 0.8 cents on 10,000 processed emails and drops to 0.3 cents on one million records.  Marketers can pay for each list or purchase credits in bulk.  There is no charge for de-duplication services.  There is also no charge for manual list reviews kicked out by the platform to their deliverability team.

A 10,000-record file is processed in two to ten minutes with 100,000 records processed in 45.  NeverBounce claims bank-level security and European privacy support (GDPR and the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S Privacy Shield Frameworks).

“I’m thrilled to partner with DiscoverOrg to extend our mission to improve the success of go-to-market efforts,” says Brad Owen, NeverBounce CEO.  “Every bad email address can cost an organization up to $11 per record, which equates to millions of wasted dollars for many companies.  Together, DiscoverOrg and NeverBounce are committed to ending the curse of bad sales and marketing data.”

NeverBounce has 100,000 clients and was established in 2014.  The acquisition price was not disclosed.  NeverBounce has fifteen employees and will retain its office in Cleveland with Salt Lake City employees being relocated.


Update (3/5/19 5:30 PM EST) Amended the last sentence about employees.