Spiceworks Ziff Davis Acquires Aberdeen

Spiceworks Ziff Davis (SWZD) acquired intent and technology intelligence vendor Aberdeen.  The acquisition brings together intent data from Spiceworks and The Big Willow, Aberdeen and SWZD market research, Aberdeen’s technology profiles (the old HHMI / Access CI datasets), and Ziff Davis B2B media sites.  

SWZD describes itself as “the trusted global marketplace for connecting technology buyers and sellers across all marketing channels and the leader in demand generation and integrated intelligence-driven marketing, connecting technology buyers and sellers across IT, marketing, HR, and finance.  SWZD has a massive reach into the entire buyer’s collective with a monthly audience of 71.5M across powerhouse IT brands.”

Aberdeen will be managed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWZD, but initially operate independently.  Along with third-party intent, Aberdeen adds a library of industry intelligence, technographic and firmographic data, and a demand generation call center.  

The union positions SWZD as a credible competitor to Zoominfo and TechTarget in the B2B technology intent space, helping customers identify “businesses that are truly in-market for their product.”  Unlike the two larger technology sales intelligence vendors, SWZD does not offer a sales intelligence platform.

“We give our clients actionable visibility into the businesses that are truly in-market for their products and unparalleled access to quality, scale, and diversity of B2B tech intent data to make meaningful connections with those buyers.  With the union of businesses, we immediately married our data and boosted our intelligence, resulting in a 15% increase in businesses, 70% increase in segment scale, 30% richer intent data, and expansion into fifteen new verticals.”

Richard Jalichandra, EVP and Global GM of SWZD

Continued Jalichandra, “We’re just starting to explore opportunities to further enhance our business-level data and invest in our combined product roadmap.”  

Jalichandra also identified “synergies around research,” a core function at both firms.  Aberdeen offers a “rich library of data-backed reports,” while SWZD offers custom market research.

The combined resources deliver account-level insights across 14 million companies and 24 million contacts.  Over 11 billion intent signals are collected monthly from over 10,000 B2B websites.  Intent data is available for over fifty technology segments.

The merger improves the depth of B2B intent data, expands the scope of account and contact intelligence, and grows their market research capabilities.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to expand the reach and identity of Aberdeen as a subsidiary of SWZD to put customers in even closer contact with the very buyers and influencers they’re targeting,” said Aberdeen CTO Mark DePalma.  “Through the power of our combined data sets, vertically integrated demand generation capabilities, and continued innovation in our technology and services, we help customers with unparalleled targeting and marketing outcomes.”

SWZD’s Intelligent ABM delivers “actionable intent signals,” target account list prioritization, data appends, look-a-like expansion, built-in campaign activation, purchase intent scores, campaign analytics, and “seamless integration with marketing automation platforms.”

“With the combination of SWZD’s first-party intent data and Aberdeen’s third-party intent data, you get greater visibility into the entire buying collective. Not just that, our intent signals captured on the basis of the actions our audience takes; whether it is troubleshooting tech issues, comparing product reviews, connecting with an expert or accessing strategic content, provides an incredible quality and diversity of data right from the boardroom to the server room.”

Spiceworks Ziff Davis Website

SWZD offers a set of technology marketing services, including

  • Direct and programmatic advertising
  • Email marketing and newsletter sponsorships
  • Content marketing (e.g., whitepapers, e-books, infographics, case studies, interactive content, custom video, and market research)
  • Lead generation (e.g., content syndication, BANT qualified leads, intent-based leads)
  • Market research (e.g., online surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews)
  • Virtual events (e.g., webinars, video meetups, panel discussions)

Financial details were not disclosed.

TechTarget Q3 2020 Earnings

After a weak second quarter, TechTarget’s revenue rebounded in Q3, rising 7% to $36.2 million (it was 1% in Q2).  Year-to-date revenue hit $102.5 million, up 4.5%.  Long-term revenues, which are primarily subscription contracts to Priority Engine, represented 35% of revenue, the same percentage as Q3 2019.  International sales are up 30%, with strength in both lead-gen services and Priority Engine.

Priority Engine revenue grew 4% during the quarter, with growth slowed by weakness at “smaller customers hesitant to commit to yearlong subscriptions to new products and services.”

TechTarget continues to invest in Priority Engine, releasing a significant upgrade in September that supported prospect-level intent and an improved Salesforce.com integration.  With the release, they initiated a “double-digit price increase” that has been accepted by the market. “We have not had pushback on the pricing so far,” said CEO Mike Cotoia. “So we see that as a positive sign going into 2021.”

Priority Engine’s “early usage is encouraging,” with page views up 80% since January; furthermore, “portal interactions by users that self-identify as salespeople are up over 40% since we released the new sales-friendly version.”

Cotoia called the release the most significant since Priority Engine’s launch.  Unlike previous releases that focused on the marketing function, the latest enhancements were centered around UI enhancements and the sales use case.  Combining account-level intent with prospect-level intent is “really enabling and empowering” sales teams, helping them “rank and prioritize within their own territories.”  Reps now have access to two views: a territory account report and an active prospects report.

Sales reps can now discover intent data and insights for active accounts and prospects within a Visualforce tab in Salesforce.  If a contact isn’t in Salesforce, they can quickly add the contact.

“Building a cohesive and easy-to-use workflow for both marketing and sales has always been in our roadmap,” summed up Cotoia. “The September release has been really, really impactful.”

TechTarget will focus on “leveraging our customer’s first-party data along with our data.  We have other key engagement opt-ins that we are going to be integrating into this as well.”

TechTarget also saw weakness in the large legacy IT vendors, though it was above Q2 numbers, and they anticipate growth in their Global 10 in Q4.  TechTarget has been diversifying its customer base, with the Global 10 accounting for 20% of its customer base, down from 40% a decade ago.

TechTarget anticipates that the shift from event sponsorships to online lead generation will persist after the pandemic.  

“We believe that much of this shift will become permanent as we do not believe the face-to-face business will return to its previous spend levels pre-COVID,” said Cotoia. “This is showing up mostly in our International numbers as those markets had significantly more events as part of their budget mix than in North America.  Today, most of those deals are short term, mirroring the event buy.  The opportunity that we are focused on here is to migrate those budgets from face-to-face to intent-based lead generation and then graduate those customers to annual Priority Engine subscriptions. We believe this is achievable as the vast majority of our customers have a strategic initiative to use data to make their sales and marketing organizations more intelligent, efficient, and effective.”

Customers are focusing on their digital strategy, and TechTarget offers content syndication, content marketing, lead generation, and Priority Engine.  All of these digital offerings help tech firms “get in front of their prospects and their existing customers.”

“Even if it starts with lead-generation and content marketing offerings integrated with some of the brand solutions, at the end of the day, our customers are really focused on leveraging the right intent throughout their marketing and sales cycles when they’re in market,” said Cotoia.  

These lead-gen campaigns provide a beachhead for upgrading to subscription services. “Priority Engine plays a really good place in that as we start transitioning folks from events to content syndication from content syndication to integrated online solution from integrated online intent-driven solutions to Priority Engine integrated campaigns,” said Cotoia. “I think this plays well for us in the long-term.”

“Let’s unpack what we are seeing and what we’ve learned from the pandemic.  First, IT spending is no longer a discretionary item for most companies. They see digital transformation as a necessary investment to remain competitive. This dynamic has benefitted our customers. Second, the migration of IT spending to a subscription model has built in significant resilience and predictability to most of our customer’s business models, which in turn has kept their spending levels on sales and marketing fairly stable as compared to more volatility in past downturns.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

Cotoia credited the shift to subscription revenue as a significant contributor to its success during the pandemic. “We are very pleased at how our business has performed during the pandemic. It reinforces that the changes we made to transition our business to a data subscription business is paying off in terms of building a stronger company with a more sticky and predictable revenue stream.”

TechTarget announced Q4 guidance between $42 and $43 million, almost 20% growth year-over-year.  Some of this growth is the transition from events to online, but some is “pent-up budget” from event marketing that has been held in reserve.

“They have end-of-the-year budget, [and] they want to use it,” said Cotoia.  “TechTarget is viewed as a trusted resource.”

Cotoia was asked about ZoomInfo’s acquisition of Clickagy but wasn’t overly concerned about the real-time intent solution, saying that Zoominfo simply acquired its supplier.  Cotoia called it a “smart move,” but not one that significantly changes its offering.  He also applauded Zoominfo’s contact quality, then pivoted to the differences between their services with opted-in reader intent derived from their media sites.

“What we have is what we call real and observed first-party purchase intent.  You have to start with investing in content.  We are 100% focused on the enterprise IT market.  We have the right engagements coming in.  What we know [is] which people are looking at which vendor content or which editorial content or peer-to-peer content, or were doing a search on a very specific technology segment within a very specific region.  That’s real.  It’s very difficult to leverage things like third-party cookies or bidstream data…[with] a lot of questions about that.  It’s only at the account-level.”

Cotoia said that TechTarget’s approach is “very transparent” in its practices, focusing on the “right” engagement and intent signals. “We’re the largest place on the web where enterprise IT vendors publish their content through their marketing efforts.”  TechTarget generates this content across 146 enterprise IT community websites and can tell its Priority Engine customers which articles were read, which white papers were downloaded, which webcasts were viewed, which terms were searched, which competitors are being evaluated, and by whom.  Owned media sites with opted-in readers deliver “real and observed intent and engagement signals that will help power and transition our customers’ sales and marketing efforts” that are data-driven. What’s more, TechTarget’s intent surfaces opportunities at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

D&B Connect Data Management Platform

Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Connect, a self-service data management platform that “intuitively connects, manages and visualizes critical data across an organization using the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud.”  D&B Connect helps users benchmark, access, clean, enrich, and monitor their customer and contact data.

D&B Connect provides an “easy-to-use portal for managing sales and marketing data.”  The service enriches and unifies data for a “complete view of the customer.”  Along with Dun & Bradstreet firmographics, linkages, and contacts, D&B Connect enriches customer files with over 2,500 insights and supports custom data layouts.

D&B Connect builds on Dun & Bradstreet’s data management solutions for sales and marketing platforms and leverages Dun & Bradstreet’s global WorldBase file, D-U-N-S Numbers, and DUNSMatch capabilities.  These assets support identity resolution, including corporate linkages, to tie together account hierarchies, providing a unified customer view that spans regions, product lines, multiple company names, and enterprise software platforms.

D&B Connect acts as a centralized hub to manage and report on data quality in enterprise platforms, including CRMs, MAPs, ERPs, data lakes, and CDPs.  A machine learning engine normalizes input records, removing manual file preparation steps.

Users can set match quality rules and thresholds based on D&B Confidence Code, Match Grade String, and the number of match candidates to be returned.

Other features include embedded intelligence, “simplified workflows,” and “team-based controls and dashboards to improve collaboration across departments.”

D&B Connect can process millions of records “in a SOC 2 certified, CCPA, and GDPR-ready environment.”

“With D&B Connect, we put the power to manage data quality in the user’s hands, enabling our clients to reduce time spent on data management from weeks to hours,” said Michael Bird, President of Sales and Marketing Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet.  “We will continue to innovate across our sales and marketing portfolio to reduce MarTech complexity by integrating directly into the workflows of our clients so they can focus on growing their businesses.”

D&B Connect is supported by a team of 28 data advisors, each with at least ten years of experience.

In 2021, D&B Connect will be extended into finance and risk use cases.

Dun & Bradstreet has had a strong 2020 that included an IPO, the acquisitions of European partner Bisnode and firmographics vendor Orb Intelligence, and the launch of several products and services (COVID-19 Risk Data, Pipeline Risk Analysis, D&B ABM Platform, and D&B Analytics Studio).

MSD 365 Customer Insights Enhancements

Microsoft has begun beta testing a set of enhancements to its Dynamics 365 Customer Insights CDP.  The upgrades focus on extending CDP capabilities into deeper insights and AI capabilities.  The new functionality will GA during the first half of 2021.

Engagement Insights, currently in preview, provides cross-channel analytics that assess customer behavior and intent across the web, mobile, connected devices, and other touchpoints.  Engagement Insights combines behavioral analytics with transactional, demographic, survey, and other data sets “to create interactive and rich insights that help drive the next best actions and personalized experiences.”

Engagement Insights begins with standard analytics around web site visitors, pages viewed, and visit duration.  A custom report builder lets marketers “curate the exact views to answer the business questions at hand.”  Funnel reports track customer journeys, identify gaps and opportunities, and inform next best actions.

“Engagement Insights is about directly funneling web, mobile and connected product data back into Customer Insights to help continue to enrich that understanding of the customer in order to better serve them.

James Phillips, President of Microsoft Business Applications.

Insights are deployed across the customer lifecycle and assist with personalizing offers, including presenting new product or services that better match customer needs.

“As everything’s gone digital, the need to deeply understand your customer and to increase the efficacy of those engagements has really been heightened through this pandemic,” said Phillips.

AI enhancements focus on better customer predictions.  The AI functionality employs Azure Synapse Analytics and includes a set of pre-built templates for predicting customer churn, automating product recommendations, and evaluating customer lifetime value.  The templates help marketers gather customer insights without requiring data science or IT professional support.

A new integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Voice captures customer sentiment and feedback.

According to Phillips, Customer Insights is the “fastest-growing application in the Dynamics 365 portfolio.”


Part II covers Customer Insights partnerships.

ZoomInfo Launches Streaming Intent Based on Clickagy Acquisition

Last week, ZoomInfo picked up its most recent tuck-in, Clickagy, to expand its intent data capabilities. The real-time intent vendor is the basis for ZoomInfo’s new Streaming Intent offering.

Streaming Intent improves the timing and messaging around sales and marketing workflows such as

  • Prioritizing sales outreach to companies that are ready to buy
  • Interacting with prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey to build trust that won’t be present with later stage vendors
  • Triggering automated campaigns that warm-up prospects for your Sales team to call

Streaming Intent delivers real-time behavioral intent data that is “expansive and customizable.”  The Clickagy platform employs an NLP engine that identifies behavioral context in real-time.  Intent data is gathered from over 300,000 publisher domains and includes six trillion-plus new keyword-to-device pairings each month.  Intent data is sourced from over 91 percent of accessible devices in the United States.

Clickagy supports thousands of B2B topics and sub-topics spanning marketing, natural resources, entertainment, business services, government, healthcare, retail goods, and science and technology.

“Innovation in the B2B intent landscape has lagged behind the business-to-consumer landscape for much of the past decade.  Most B2B intent solutions today rely on the same set of underlying data generated by limited media cooperators and third-party cookie tracking.  Existing offerings only provide weekly batches of buyer intent on a finite number of topics because of heavy data processing that takes days to complete, negating opportunities to reach buyers at the opportune moment.  Other solutions offer late-stage intent, where vendors have already been identified, and it is too late for the addition of competing solutions.”

“ZoomInfo: Acquires Clickagy to Deliver Streaming Intent Data,” ZoomInfo Press Release, October 15, 2020.

Clickagy was founded in 2013 and based in Atlanta.  Clickagy CEO Harry Maugans has been named a VP of Product Management.

“Robust business data has always been the biggest hurdle keeping us from offering a transformative B2B product,” said Maugans.  “But now with ZoomInfo, we’re giving sellers and marketers the ability to further propel their go-to-market motions more effectively and efficiently.”

Actionability and usability have been significant issues that slowed the adoption and hampered the ROI of intent data.  Shuck laid out his vision of how Clickagy intent, tied to ZoomInfo company and contact data, will create significant customer value:

“The B2B world has been largely behind the B2C world with respect to using intent to activate go-to-market motions.  The primary reason for this lag is that B2B Intent offerings were never connected to the companies and the professionals at those companies in a way that would allow seamless activation.  By combining Clickagy’s powerful Intent with ZoomInfo’s robust database of companies and professionals, we unlock the power of intent for every B2B Go-to-Market organization…

Soon, go-to-market organizations will be able to build workflows that tell them instantly when Fintech companies in California, who have Snowflake in their tech stack, at least 100 employees, and $50M in funding, begin spiking on research for “cloud data platforms”.  That signal can simultaneously kick-off a workflow that captures the Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers, and other key stakeholders at those Fintech companies, check for open opportunities in CRM, and begin marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM campaigns against those decision makers…

Said another way, our customers will be able to create behavioral filters and overlay them across live web traffic, capture highly-refined intent signals in real time, and make them actionable within seconds.  This lets them engage prospects while they’re still in the research mode with a buying mentality—not weeks later when they’ve moved on to something else, or worse, after they’ve already made their decision.

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Shuck, “Why ZoomInfo is Acquiring Clickagy”

Intent data becomes more valuable when it can cast a wide net, gather and interpret signals with a high level of precision, and promptly deliver these signals.  It is in these dimensions that ZoomInfo has confidence in the breadth and heuristics of its acquisition.

Clickagy opens up the “black box” of intent data rules, offering a “robust and configurable technology that unlocks those algorithms and enables administrators to adjust the logical rules, keywords, inclusions, exclusions, and thresholds used to determine when a company is indeed exhibiting intent for a particular keyword or topic in order to reduce false positives.”  Transparency and configurability provide “unprecedented control” over the quality of intent signals.

Compliance

ZoomInfo Intent complies with privacy rules.  Clickagy does not collect any personally identifiable information.  Information is collected in the aggregate at the account level.  Instead of revealing who is conducting the research, Zoominfo identifies “functional decision-makers” at the account who are likely involved in purchasing decisions related to the intent signal.

Clickagy does not use cookies but instead relies on “privacy clusters” that are “persistent micro-groupings” of approximately 3 to 8 individuals who are “mathematically bound together to act as a single, trackable and targetable entity.”  As no PII is gathered, privacy clusters are consistent with GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and COPPA.  According to Clickagy, “As they’re not privacy invasive on a 1-to-1 level, Privacy Clusters do not require notice or opt-in consent for tracking.  Privacy Clusters allow brands to maintain the advertising efficacy they are used to while maintaining compliance with constantly changing worldwide privacy legislation.”

Clickagy also offers audience targeting and activation across 300 DMPs and DSPs.  ZoomInfo already supports website visitor intelligence.

Deal terms were not disclosed.  ZoomInfo said the deal would have a non-material impact on their fourth-quarter financial results.  

No company size data was provided, but LinkedIn lists 26 employees at Clickagy.

ZoomInfo Acquires Clickagy

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor ZoomInfo acquired real-time intent vendor Clickagy, “a leading provider of artificial intelligence-powered buyer intent data.”

Along with the acquisition, ZoomInfo announced the launch of Streaming Intent, which alerts customers when companies display above-average B2B topic search activity.

The acquisition is DiscoverOrg/ZoomInfo’s fourth over the past two years but the first since ZoomInfo went public in June.  In 2019, DiscoverOrg acquired rival sales and marketing intelligence vendor ZoomInfo before rebranding itself as ZoomInfo Technologies.  It also had two tuck-ins last year: NeverBounce, an email verification vendor that it was already using for data verification, and Komiko, the underpinnings of its Inbox AI service.

There are six major categories of B2B intelligence, and ZoomInfo is a significant player in four of them: Contacts, Technographics, Sales Triggers, and Intent Data.  They also provide firmographics, but this remains an area for future growth and development.  The category where they do not offer datasets is financial services intelligence, including company financials, filings (e.g. SEC EDGAR, UCC, UK Companies House), and risk reports (credit and supplier).

Deal Rationale

“In the last year alone, we’ve had literally hundreds of thousands of conversations with customers and prospects and one thing is clear—they want intent data to live at the core of how they go to market,” blogged CEO Henry Schuck about the rationale for acquiring Clickagy.  “And over the course of those calls it’s easy to see intent data taking a seat right alongside the two most important pieces of business information—account and contact data.  The three together, driving account identification, targeting, and segmentation will soon be table stakes for how sellers and marketers identify their next best customers.”

Schuck emphasized that product design at ZoomInfo is iterative with plans for improving a product in place before each release goes to production.  Shuck called their previous intent offerings good, but not good enough.  This drive to improve their intent services led them to investigate best-of-breed intent data solutions to enhance their offering.  Their research led them to Clickagy.

“Clickagy had built a robust data processing engine that looks at billions of key data points across millions of websites and then uses robust natural language processing and artificial intelligence to categorize and make sense of those data points.  Their technology, approach to data collection, privacy-first perspective, and focus on intent data made it clear that we not only wanted Clickagy to be a part of our intent product, but we needed Clickagy to be a part of ZoomInfo.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

ZoomInfo Intent will continue to provide “good keywords, quality-focused data science, [and] industry-leading account data,” but now “casts a wider net” and delivers actionable intent throughout the day.  Combining the companies will “dramatically shorten the path from data, to decision, to action,” blogged Shuck.

“B2B intent data is becoming core to the way modern go-to-market organizations prioritize their outreach to prospects and customers,” wrote Schuck.  “Our acquisition of Clickagy enables us to scale intent to provide what will soon be the market’s most predictive and complete B2B intent data set for sellers and marketers.  We believe this acquisition both exemplifies our mission to continuously innovate and cements our position as the pacesetter for data-driven sales and marketing outreach.”


Tomorrow I will wrap up my discussion of the acquisition with an overview of Streaming Intent and Clickagy’s approach to data privacy.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Bisnode (Part II)

[Part I] Last week, Dun & Bradstreet announced the acquisition of Bisnode Business Information Group for $818 million. The deal greatly strengthens their European presence across 18 countries, including the Nordics, D-A-CH, and Eastern Europe.


When the deal closes, Dun & Bradstreet will “rapidly introduce” its credit and supplier risk management solutions, along with its sales and marketing services, to clients across Europe, “providing vital business intelligence to help them compete, thrive and grow.”

Ratos AB CEO Jonas Wiström noted that Bisnode’s focus has “improved customer offering, stability, and profitability,” but that ongoing growth “requires that Bisnode participate in the consolidation that is taking place in the increasingly global market for data and analytics.”  

Over the past four years, Bisnode has doubled its operating margin from 7% to 14%.  In H1 2020, eleven to the twelve companies within the Bisnode group improved their earnings.

“We are convinced that Dun & Bradstreet is the best possible partner to lead this consolidation. The combined strengths of our assets and capabilities will greatly serve our respective clients, increase competitiveness and position Dun & Bradstreet/Bisnode for long-term growth. I look forward to joining the Dun & Bradstreet International Strategic Advisory Board.”

Ratos AB CEO Jonas Wiström

Ratos’ strategy is to hold companies that are or can become market leaders, but Bisnode, as a standalone organization, is not in a position to build a market-leading position in data and analytics.

Dun & Bradstreet offers a suite of advanced B2B sales and marketing solutions that can be cross-sold into the Bisnode customer base.  Cross-sale opportunities include D&B Lattice (a customer data platform), D&B Analytics, D&B ABM Platform, D&B Audience Solutions (Visitor Intelligence, webforms, and programmatic advertising), D&B Optimizer (DaaS enrichment and validation), D&B Direct (API), and D&B Hoovers.

Dun & Bradstreet anticipates operational efficiencies from migrating Bisnode customers off legacy platforms onto Dun & Bradstreet solutions, more efficient data sourcing and curation, and leveraging global resources to make all functions more efficient.  

Owning the full revenue stream of Dun & Bradstreet products increases the profitability of localizing services due to the removal of revenue shares and the availability of local sales and support teams.  The D-A-CH region would likely be the initial target for localization.  For example, D&B Hoovers has Nordic, German, and Austrian financials and corporate linkages, but the UI and event triggers are only in English. 

“When you get into some of those 18 countries within the Bisnode territory, there wasn’t that level of localization” as compared to the UK, said Jabbour.  “So there is a fantastic opportunity to bring our modern platforms [and] modern APIs and make small tweaks from a localization perspective.”

“The products that we have rolled out have been very successful,” continued Jabbour.  Dun & Bradstreet expects continued success and greater market focus on the Bisnode markets.  During the pandemic, Dun & Bradstreet’s product sales by Bisnode grew “nicely.”

“The closer we can get to the headquarters of any business and really share our value proposition [and] ways [that] we can help that business grow their revenues, improve their margins, and remain compliant,” the greater the opportunity.  “We have a lot of confidence in our go-to-market approach, and this simplifies it because now there is one instead of two companies involved in serving that large enterprise on a global basis,” observed Jabbour.

Another advantage of direct ownership is Dun & Bradstreet is no longer looking to influence the sales team but will have direct control over incentive and compensation plans.


Part III publishes tomorrow.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Bisnode

Dun & Bradstreet, which has long relied on global partnerships to address the sales, marketing, and risk evaluation needs of its multi-national customers, is expanding its presence in Europe with the acquisition of Bisnode Business Information Group.  Bisnode is 70% owned by private equity firm Ratos and 30% by Bonnier.

The $818 million acquisition, which is 75% cash and 25% common stock, expands Dun & Bradstreet’s presence in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).  The acquisition provides direct ownership in eighteen “strategic territories in Europe” and “provides opportunities for scale by leveraging existing Dun & Bradstreet product portfolio, data supply chain, and technology infrastructure.”

Upon close, Ratos will hold a 1% stake in Dun & Bradstreet.

Bisnode’s Belgian operations were not included in the deal.

The deal adds 110,000 Bisnode customers to Dun & Bradstreet’s customer base and provides direct access to an additional fifty Global 500 companies headquartered in the Bisnode countries.  The deal provides direct ownership of 33 million business records (around nine percent of the WorldBase file).  It also allows for the direct sale of Dun & Bradstreet products into major European markets.

Bisnode currently has an annual revenue of around $400 million, net income of $28 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $70 million.

Bisnode has been a Dun & Bradstreet reseller since 2003.  Dun & Bradstreet’s solutions account for 33% of Bisnode revenue, and revenue has been “growing in a solid manner for the past few years” in the Bisnode territories.  The remaining Bisnode revenue consists of proprietary in-market solutions.

“We are pleased to bring Bisnode into the Dun & Bradstreet family following a nearly two-decade strategic alliance.  The powerful combination of our data, analytics, and innovative solutions, paired with Bisnode’s deep client relationships and expertise in European markets, will provide our existing and future clients with vital business intelligence to support their own growth ambitions. We look forward to welcoming the Bisnode team to Dun & Bradstreet and to working together to grow the global business.”

Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour

When the deal closes, Dun & Bradstreet will create an International Strategic Advisory Board headed by Neeraj Sahai, President of Dun & Bradstreet International.  Ratos AB CEO Jonas Wiström will be joining the Advisory Board.

“Integrating our two leading organizations provides significant opportunity to deliver a broader product set to a substantially larger global client base. As the international business community becomes increasingly data-driven, we look forward to combining our teams to unlock further potential, drive innovation, and deliver solutions that are tuned to client and market needs,” said Sahai.


Continue to Part II.

Echobot British Data (Part II)

German Sales and Marketing Intelligence firm Echobot is entering the British market with a UK Data Pack for its CONNECT company research and TARGET prospecting services. I covered the CONNECT service yesterday. Today I’ll be delving into the TARGET offering.

Echobot TARGET supports prospect list building for companies and contacts against a broad set of British and firmographic variables, including UK SICs, postal codes, counties, web technologies, and company signals.  Radius searching around postal codes lets reps target prospects near their home, office, or a client they plan to visit.  

TARGET also provides a set of event signals for prospecting and alerting.  German screening supports over 30 event categories, but the UK edition is limited to eight triggers, including M&A, exec changes, and partnerships.  The English-language signals are still being built out and will be released as Echobot individually tunes them.

Contact list building supports eighteen departments, five job levels, job title, and field availability (e.g. email, direct dial, XING link, LinkedIn link).

TARGET Lists are displayed as a set of company tiles with a business description, contact information, and the most recent signal.  Tiles may be expanded for additional attribute display of web technologies, social links, and firmographics.  Users may also link to the CONNECT profile and click through older signals.

TARGET Lists include a segmentation report with an industry pie chart at the two-digit SIC level, company size pyramid, and company heat map.  When rolling over the segmentation reports, ALT-text provides additional details about each industry slice or company employment wedge.  Users may click on the industry pie chart to drill down into a segment.  Clicking on the heat map takes the user to a full-screen view for zooming and recentering.

TARGET lists may be downloaded in four formats (Excel, CSV, JSON, and Salesforce), so records may be analyzed by sales or marketing, uploaded into Salesforce, or delivered to developers.  Users may download up to 20,000 records at a time.

TARGET users may also save lists, share lists, or use lists for suppression (exclusion lists).  Search criteria may be saved for re-use and alerting when new companies or contacts meet the search criteria.

A single region starts at €499 / month for both TARGET and CONNECT.  Licensing both the UK and D-A-CH regions raises the price by €299 / month.  Echobot is offering a €100 / month discount to customers that license their solution before the end of the year.  A seven-day free trial of CONNECT is available to prospects.  TARGET users receive a demo and a single-day, capped-download trial.

Echobot, like many sales and marketing intelligence vendors, has continued to grow during the pandemic.  The firm added over twenty staffers this year and posted record revenue this summer.

“The expansion of the market into the English-speaking area is an important step into the future for us.  It has never been more important for companies to digitally set up their sales and marketing processes.  We are very pleased about the strong growth and the fact that we are able to support our customers beyond our borders.”

Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg

We are beginning to see continental sales and marketing intelligence companies build UK or pan-European services.  Along with Echobot, French vendor SparkLane offers a UK service, and Scandinavian vendor Vainu has beta offerings for the UK, France, and the US.  Of course, we are also seeing UK firms build European services with Rhetorik, Cognism, and DueDil offering European datasets.

6Sense Doubling Revenue

ABM Platform vendor 6Sense announced that it is on target for its third consecutive year of at least 100% growth.  The firm has also rapidly grown its customer base with a 204% growth in customers since January 2019, and 54% growth since January.  Its net customer retention rate is 109%, indicating a strong ability to renew and upsell its platform.

LinkedIn employment figures also indicate strong growth, but at a rate slower than customers and revenue, an indication of increased revenue per employee. LinkedIn employment grew 72% over the past year and 192% over the past two.

“6Sense was founded upon the vision of transforming B2B sales and marketing with a next-generation platform that engages target buyers at exactly the right time,” said 6Sense CTO Viral Bajaria. “Our patented AI-powered capabilities, including 6sense’s time-based predictions and industry-leading account identification capabilities, continue to be differentiators in the market — and deliver real business value to our customers.”

6Sense continues to invest in platform development with the rollout of new ABM capabilities in 2020:

  • Native Retargeting, which programmatically serves display ads to all website visitors or visitors from target accounts
  • A LinkedIn advertising integration for account targeting across all ad types
  • AI-based Next Best Actions, a set of prioritized actions recommendations for BDRs across the buying committee.
  • Model Metrics, which provide customers with self-service analytics which assess the impact of 6sense’s predictions on pipeline and revenue

CMO Latané Conant cited a series of benefits enjoyed by 6Sense clients, including a 75% higher conversion rate, 40% higher win rates, and a 50% increase in contract values.

Inc. recently named 6Sense the 5th Best Place to Work in the small and medium business category.  

“6sense believes that culture is based on trust, open communication, dedicated leadership, and a fun space where employees can take risks. We take everyone’s opinion into account, from the very top to the bottom.  Employees take chances, put more responsibility on their shoulders, and work hard for one another.  We are a team-first, people-centric organization that prioritizes teamwork above all else.  Our weekly all-hands meetings give everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

6Sense Inc. Submission

6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round in January led by growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.