Owler rolled out a new Insights feature which highlights data changes such as significant increases in press coverage, blogging volume, and CEO approval. CEO approval ratings are based upon community feedback. Additional insights are in development.
Account Based Intelligence vendor LeadGnome completed the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certification process with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The new process ensures that privacy is protected when personal data is transferred from the EU to the US. The Privacy Shield process was implemented last summer after the previous Safe Harbour regime was invalidated by the European Court of Justice.
LeadGnome’s email reply service mines emails for intelligence such as left the company, out of office, change of position, change of name/email, and unsubscribe requests. “LeadGnome is unique in its ability to mine the unstructured body of reply emails for account based intelligence. It was, therefore, important to acquire EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certification to assure our customers of our commitment to the privacy of their data,” said Matt Benati, CEO of LeadGnome.
Because the firm collects emails, titles, and business phones, they did not have to go through the more stringent approval level for firms that store credit, payment, or personal data. This helped expedite the approval process with the Department of Commerce. As LeadGnome was already Safe Harbour compliant, the approval process was focused on conforming to changes between the Safe Harbour and Privacy Shield. LeadGnome worked with the Better Business Bureau as a compliance partner and completed the process in about two months. Benati believes the process will speed up as the certification backlog clears, but noted that his firm benefited from having Safe Harbour certification.
The LeadGnome platform is integrated with major CRMs and MAPs including Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo and Oracle Cloud.
“LeadGnome is committed to data privacy and business transparency. We had already employed many of the required best practices, so the certification process was completed significantly ahead of schedule,” said Benati.
Other vendors that are Privacy Shield compliant include Dun & Bradstreet, Avention, Zoominfo, Infogroup, Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SalesLoft, ReachForce, and Outreach. The US International Trade Administration publishes a list of Privacy Shield compliant firms.
ABSD vendor Owler officially announced their SalesLoft connector which feeds Owler News and Alerts into the SalesLoft Sales Engagement platform. Owler is one of several content partners that participate in SalesLoft’s partner ecosystem. Owler intelligence is delivered via a combination of mined content (news, blogs, press releases), editorial work (funding and M&A announcements), and crowdsourced intelligence concerning competitors, company size, CEO approval, and future expectations.
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter posed the problem of engaging prospects as one of quickly understanding them.
How do you portray that feeling? How do you portray that understanding that you know what they’re up to? That you know who they are? That you think you can help and you’ve got hypotheses about their needs? And I think the answer to that is sales intelligence and so for the last few year of my career I’ve been looking for amazing products that help our customers learn more about the prospects they are reaching out to whether it’s the account or whether it’s the individual themselves.
Owler provides integrated news, press releases, funding histories, videos (YouTube and Vimeo), and corporate blogs from within SalesLoft company and contact records. The partnerships allows sales reps to plan their account messaging without toggling to another platform. Users can even filter headlines by content type and copy links directly into emails.
SalesLoft noted a “dramatic increase” in reply rates and meaningful conversations due to Owler insights. The integration has helped “increase the level and efficiency of personalization that the modern sales rep can add when they’re communicating with their buyers,” said SalesLoft VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester. “So they can better connect, quality, and convert their target accounts into customer accounts.”
SalesLoft trains SDRs on a 10-80-10 strategy for creating “sincerity at scale.” SalesLoft suggests that the first ten percent of the email should have a custom hook from LinkedIn, Twitter, or Owler. The goal is to “find something relevant and connect with them on that level,” said SalesLoft SDR Brad Ansley. The 80% message core should focus on how your product relates to their pains. It should not be a feature dump, but must “give them a reason to respond.” The final ten percent is a “PS line” to connect on a more personal level (e.g. Congrats on the Pats).
Other SalesLoft content partners include InsideView, Datanyze, HG Data, DiscoverOrg, RingLead, and Prospectify. SalesLoft also provides messaging assistance and coaching tools such as Crystal prospect personality analysis, Sigstr email signature management, Chili Piper calendaring, and call transcription and analytics from TalkIQ, ExecVision, and Gong.io.
LeadGnome, which extracts account based intelligence from reply emails, announced availability of a HubSpot connectors for the Marketing, Sales, and CRM platforms. “We consider this a strategic partnership with HubSpot, helping users increase productivity within their sales and marketing departments. The fact that LeadGnome integrates across all three HubSpot platforms changes the game, providing a new level of account intelligence from the moment an email campaign is executed. This integration delivers new opportunities and increases sales velocity by identifying trigger events, decision makers and influencers,” said LeadGnome CEO Matt Benati.
LeadGnome also provides sales alerts based upon important account changes uncovered by LeadGnome. For example, “new contacts can be emailed an introductory message and sales trigger events can be leveraged to ensure opportunities are captured and closed.”
LeadGnome calls its service “an untapped source of lead gold.” By mining reply emails, Lead Gnome is able to add new account-specific leads, schedule follow-up messages to target contacts based upon out of office information, mine additional company and contact details from signature blocks, derive corporate email address formats, and link out of office emails to specific marketing campaigns.
The service also helps redirect sales activity after a lead has left the organization:
A bounced email happens when somebody leaves the company and what’s really popular right now are “left the company” reply emails; hey, Matt’s no longer with the company but don’t worry, Sally is here to help out. And so what you know is that there has been a significant event within that organization. Matt who you have engaged with or maybe Matt is even your customer has left, you find that out immediately and now you have an opportunity to go find out where Matt went and start talking to him again because as salespeople we all know if you’ve got a great relationship with Matt in his current location, he’s probably going to a parallel or better job that has buying power again so you better go and knock on his door.
And we also give you Sally who has taken over for Matt. Sally is now your go to person at that existing account you have. And then we fill in the size of who did Sally… Jobs get replaced and where did the person that Matt replaced go to? So that adds up to four. And we no longer have to wait for a hard bounce right? We are giving you all the time and advantage you absolutely will beat the competition if you have that information.
Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing doesn’t see LeadGnome as a “silver bullet” but as an incremental process improvement based upon captured intelligence. “In sales and marketing part of the game is adjustments, it’s finding those incremental opportunities to get better, it’s finding marginal improvement at various phases of the sales process that when stitched together creates a fairly compelling competitive advantage. And those little increases in productivity, those little increases in response rate and conversion rate across an entire marketing effort, across an entire sales organization can lead to massive change and massive impact on result,” said Heinz. “we are looking for thunderbolts when we really need to be listening for whispers. We are looking for these big definitive answers on how precisely to sell to everybody and I am not seeing that. I continue to believe that there is no silver bullet like that and yet I feel like our customers are whispering to us all the time and they are giving us these subtle clues that are not always directed to us but they are definitely… It’s an opportunity that they were passing by on too significant a basis.”
LeadGnome pricing is based upon the number of reply emails received each month. The service begins at $19 and is subject to volume discounts. A twenty percent discount applies to firms on annual billing plans. The firm also offers a thirty-day free trial.
Technology Sales Intelligence vendor RainKing began the new year by rolling out a set of enhancements to their native Salesforce.com connector. RainKing focused on incorporating their Inside Scoops (Technology Sales Triggers) into the AppExchange service. New functionality includes searching for recent Scoops within SFDC and building a list of contacts at a company. RainKing also incorporated saved searches and Groups into RainKing for Salesforce.
“The more you can work in one platform while leveraging your other sales tools, the more you can focus on your number one priority: selling,” said RainKing Director of Product Management Mark Sapiano. “RainKing’s daily Inside Scoops are invaluable to anyone who wants to beat their competition to the negotiating table.”
When the user finds an actionable Scoop, she clicks on the “Find the Best Contacts” button and receives a list of account contacts ordered by relevance to the Scoop. RainKing’s ranking function is able to determine the most likely contacts to be working on a project based upon responsibilities and the nature of the Scoop. Sales reps can also apply filters to the contacts (e.g. match strength, management level, job title, keyword) in order to hone the list and select contacts for upload as Salesforce Leads or Contacts. The system also generates an SFDC task and populates it with the Scoop information for reference.
Furthermore, RainKing added an Inside Scoops custom object which displays imported Scoops and associated Leads or Contacts.
Inside Scoops (projects and opportunities) are gathered via direct interviews and updated during subsequent calls. Thus, if a project has selected some of the vendors or hit roadblocks, the additional intelligence is gathered and the Scoop is labeled as updated. Over 1,500 Inside Scoops are gathered per day, tagged to over 70 Scoop Topics and nine Scoop Types. Scoop Topics include Contracts, Technology Updates, Marketing, Pain Point, Project, Spending Trend, Management Changes, and Staffing.
RainKing also ported over their Saved Searches and Group functionality so that users do not need to rekey search filters and parameters. These shared parameters are displayed in the RainKing Search Home Page within Salesforce. According to Sapiano, “You can even run saved searches and groups straight from Salesforce and import the results directly into Salesforce – all without having to login to RainKing first.”
Finally, RainKing streamlined the record import process “making it more intuitive and flexible.” Workflow improvements include custom tags and an additional duplicate detection step.
I am proud to announce that I released the second edition of my book, 2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors yesterday. It has been a long process of updating and expanding the original eleven profiles, adding three new profiles for the UK (Bureau van Dijk, Artesian Solutions, and DueDil), and adding four profiles for Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendors with ecosystems (KiteDesk, Outreach, Quota Factory, SalesLoft).
I have written blog articles on almost all of the seventeen profiled vendors in the past year. So if you’ve found my blog useful, the book will be invaluable for procurement decisions or staying abreast of the key vendors in the SI space.
As sales teams and procurement departments may have gone through vendor demos or trials back in 2015 or early 2016, I have added sections which detail product changes over the past year. These include new product launches, vendor changes, enhancements, and pricing changes.
I have also added or expanded discussions on Account Based Marketing (ABM), Account Based Sales Development (ABSD), Marketing Automation connectors, and the UK market.
You will even find a new Glossary.
Feel free to contact me at 978-692-0170 or MLevy@GZConsulting.org. I am offering a 20% licensing discount during the month of January.
Dun & Bradstreet ($DNB) announced the acquisition of Avention after the markets closed today. The acquisition came almost on the two year anniversary of Dun & Bradstreet’s successful acquisition of NetProspex.
Avention was acquired for $150 million net of cash assumed. Avention generated $60 million in 2016 revenue.
“We are excited to combine our world-class company and contact data with Avention’s best-in-class technology that is fully integrated with the leading software platforms utilized by B2B sales professionals and marketers,” said Dun & Bradstreet COO Josh Peirez. “Avention is a natural fit that will allow us to deliver tremendous value to customers, and the synergies we can capture put the value of this deal well above the purchase price of the acquisition.”
Dun & Bradstreet combined with Avention functionality offers the potential for a powerful sales intelligence service with strong marketing capabilities. Both Dun & Bradstreet and Avention have been expanding their marketing capabilities and ABM messaging.
Dun and Bradstreet content assets include
- 265 million active and inactive global companies
- D-U-N-S Numbers
- Global Linkage
- NetProspex executive file with emails and direct dials
- Hoover’s editorially-written profiles
- First Research industry overviews
Dun & Bradstreet emphasized the following Avention capabilities:
- An intuitive, dynamic user interface to deliver intelligence that can be customized to meet each user’s needs.
- Powerful alerts, triggers, and profiling capabilities that leverage both structured data (e.g. industry codes, address, and employee information) and unstructured data (e.g. social content, news feeds, and analyst reports).
- Simple integration with the mission-critical systems that your teams use every day, including SFDC, Dynamics, Marketo, and Eloqua, as well as homegrown systems used by many companies.
Combined, Hoover’s, NetProspex, Avention, and D&B alliance products generated over $200 million in revenue. The acquisition provides Dun & Bradstreet with a leading sales intelligence platform as well as several legacy products:
- Avention OneSource: Sales Intelligence with advanced company research tools and a light predictive analytics capability. Distinguishing features include Conceptual Search, Business Signals, Ideal Profile Scores, Sales Triggers, and Smart Lists. The OneSource platform supports CRM connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle Cloud for Sales as well as marketing automation connectors for Marketo and Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud).
- Avention DataVision: DataVision, launched in 2016, supports data enrichment, segmentation, look-a-like prospecting, and TAM analysis.
- iSell: A legacy sales product
- Global Business Browser: A legacy company research product
- OneSource Open Connector: API
Dun & Bradstreet offers an overlapping set of products that will need to be rationalized following the acquisition. Hoover’s is a direct competitor of OneSource and iSell. While it has a lower price point than these offerings, it has been struggling for several years with declining revenue and limited investment. As such, Hoover’s is unlikely to see significant investment in the near-term as Dun & Bradstreet moves to integrate the D&B WorldBase company and contact file, NetProspex contacts, and First Research industry overviews into Avention. Hoover’s also maintains 42,000 editorially written company profiles which would also add value to the Avention Global Content Live Platform.
NetProspex’ Workbench service offers many features similar to DataVision. Workbench has an advantage in data matching logic and data verification tools (e.g. phone, email, and address verification), but it is likely that the Avention company universe will be quickly D-U-N-S Numbered and that DUNSMatch logic will be incorporated into Avention services. As such, it is unclear whether Workbench or DataVision would be the long-term hygiene front-end for Dun & Bradstreet.
“Dun & Bradstreet is uniquely positioned to serve this growing market with its foundational company and contact data, which will soon be delivered through Avention’s best-in-class software offerings,” stated Dun & Bradstreet in a press release. “The combination provides a tremendous opportunity to evolve Dun & Bradstreet’s Traditional Prospecting offerings into a category that serves critical B2B sales and marketing needs.
“The Sales Acceleration space offers a big opportunity for Dun & Bradstreet. We believe as the global leader in commercial information we are well positioned to take market share and accelerate our growth strategy,” said Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan. “Bolstered by the success of our recent M&A activity, which has exceeded its acquisition economics, we will continue to explore smart, tuck-in acquisitions that, combined with disciplined execution, will help us to further expand our leadership in this category as well as other areas of our business.”
One potential area of conflict may be around Data.com. Dun & Bradstreet provides their WorldBase file to Data.com Prospector and does not offer a D&B360 Salesforce.com connector. However, Avention has a robust AppExchange connector which competes against both Data.com Prospector and Data.com Clean.
Social Selling vendor Trapit released a set of five enhancements to assist with relationship management. The monitoring service tracks over 100,000 curated web sources. Content categories include blogs, professional journals, social media, and news services. For Twitter, the service supports Retweets, Replies, and Favorites. Trapit also supports “robust filtering” by media-type, source quality, tags, and geographic location. The new enhancements span social listening link tracking, social queueing, message recommendations, and the flagging of content for internal use.
Trapit’s social listening enhancements help reps gather customer and prospect insights from the web and Twitter without the assistance of an administrator.
Link tracking allows sales and marketing to determine which content is driving revenue via social sharing. “Link tracking bridges the gap between social selling activity on Trapit and revenue by applying the same metrics to social sales that have long been a key feature of email marketing and online advertising,” said the firm. “Tracking codes, which customers can ‘set and forget’ directly within Trapit, can now be automatically added to all inbound links, providing integration with all of the major marketing automation platforms.”
Social queue scheduling allows reps to schedule social messages throughout the day even when they are out of the office. An unlimited number of messages can be queued. Trapit supports social sharing via email, SMS, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks.
Recommended messaging allows reps to modify messages to comply with the styles (e.g. hashtags) and character limits of various social platforms. Marketing can provide a set of curated messages for various networks which are then posted by sales reps.
Trapit is also a platform for marketers and sales management to distribute internal content flagged as read only. Thus, “Trapit can be used to deliver updates about market developments, competitive intelligence, HR and internal communications, and other information where salespeople will see it.”
“The completeness of Trapit’s platform sets it apart from the standalone tools that salespeople have relied upon in recent years,” said CEO Hank Nothhaft Jr. “As sales teams move from analogue to digital tactics, they need a solution that is not only comprehensive, but also highly efficient and easy to use. We’ve stayed laser focused on empowering salespeople to uncover opportunities and engage buyers across a variety of digital channels, and we’ve coded best practices into the software itself. As a result, sales teams that leverage Trapit consistently outperform their competitors.”
Lead intelligence vendor Lead411 includes the TrackStar contact tracking service as part of their offering. TrackStar helps identify executive changes and promotions, allowing sales reps to keep in touch with their champions and reach out to new hires.
“Our business was built on the belief that our customers need a more comprehensive view of their prospect and his business in order to increase conversion rates, improve targeting, and enhance their existing sales technology platforms,” said Lead411 CEO Tom Blue. “TrackStar is a vital piece of the equation, shortening sales cycles for marketing and sales teams by enabling them to target champions with whom they’ve previously worked and providing them with the right information about their accounts, at the right time, to build the right relationships.”
TrackStar is available as a premium offering to its Small Biz 300 (SB300) package. After adding the $25 premium, SB300 is priced at $150 per user per month. SB300 features include 300 exported contacts, viewable emails, IT Intelligence, sales trigger alerts, CRM and MAP export, a Chrome extension, and Gmail integration. There is a six-month minimum commitment with monthly invoicing. An annual seat costs $1,500.
An enterprise edition supports unlimited downloading or CRM/MAP uploading for their 17 million contacts. Data list enrichments are also supported for company and executive lists. Pricing is not available for this edition.
Prospecting supports over fifteen variables. Most are standard company and exec selects such as SIC, NAICS, location, and size ranges; but users will also find ZIP radius, last email verification date, technology, and open job keyword searches (job and tech searches are limited to the SB300 and Enterprise editions). Job Title searches are supported, but the firm does not appear to have developed a job function and level taxonomy to assist with list building. Users may save lists or setup lists with a weekly new contact list email.
Prospecting also supports news searching against sales triggers.
Email trigger alerts are available which provide details mined from the news article. For example, funding triggers show the industry, state, amount, and planned spend. The new hires trigger shows the company, exec name and title, and hiring location.
Technology data spans over 2,000 technologies and is mined from websites and job boards.
The Chrome extension displays company profiles from within the browser. Users may upload profiles to SFDC. The extension even identifies whether a contact is in SFDC as part of the standard display. A Chrome extension icon automatically toggles the user to a new browser tab and opens the contact record within SFDC, a feature which I have yet to see in other sales intelligence vendors.
Within the Chrome extension and Gmail, users can view sizing data, social media links, technology intelligence, jobs, and recent news.
Lead411 discusses their product as
Catalysts + Context = Intelligent Conversations that drive sales.
Catalysts are sales triggers spanning eight categories including technology, ownership change, financials, personnel changes, and regulatory.
“It’s when these events happen that executives are most motivated to buy products and services that prove out the value of the decision,” said Blue.
Blue continued that context is “about knowing as much as you can about your prospect so you can talk to them intelligently and also know what their pain points are. So it demonstrates a real knowledge about the company and it also sets up a strong connection and relationship.”
Lead411 claims to have over 2,000 enterprise customers including ADP, Wells Fargo, Sprint, EY, and Staples.
Forrester released a study titled “The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs” which argued that companies need to quickly transform themselves into digital businesses. The study broke businesses into three digital categories: Predator, Transformer, and Dinosaur and evaluated the percent of business that are either digital services or sold online.
Predators are already generating over 80% of their business digitally and will grow their business to 90% by 2020. For them, digital is a foundational element of their operations.
Likewise, transformers are quickly evolving into digital businesses while dinosaurs are plodding along. In 2014, only one in six dollars was generated digitally at transformers, but by 2020, two of every three dollars will be digitally mediated at transformed businesses.
At the dinosaurs, only one in three dollars will be digitally generated in 2020.
Forrester found that transformers are customer-centric in their business strategy and processes. Customer obsession is part of their corporate DNA:
While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed.
- Nigel Fenwick, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst
Overall, Forrester found that 29% of current total sales are influenced by digital, but that 47% would be digitally influenced by 2020. Thus, any business that wishes to remain competitive must have a digital strategy which encompasses sales, marketing, credit decisioning, contracting, and all of the elements across your sales funnel.
My blog focuses on sales intelligence (with some discussion of marketing intelligence and DaaS), so I’m covering a subset of this transformation. But sales intelligence is a key element of the digital transformation of sales and marketing. Its goal is to make sales reps more efficient and effective at generating revenue through
- Improved understanding of customers and prospects. Whether the company is employing ABM, ABSD, social selling, trigger selling, or other techniques, customer-centricity begins with an understanding of the customer at the contact, company, and industry level. Sales intelligence vendors go beyond firmographics and contact data to deliver business descriptions, SWOTs, biographies, social posts, industry research, financials, analyst reports, technology platforms, etc.
- Current Awareness. Improved awareness of changes at customers and prospects helps to improve account planning, messaging, and forecasting. Where once this intelligence was delivered as generic company news, the sales intelligence vendors have refined their tagging and now provide high precision sales triggers which are accurate at both the company and business topic level. Some have even begun to integrate sales triggers into their prospecting engines.
- Reduced busywork + improved data quality. Sales intelligence vendors cut the time wasted on busywork through the implementation of DaaS enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. Enrichment provides more accurate firmographics, corporate linkage, and contact information which is then propagated to downstream systems. It also reduces the keying done by prospects on web forms and sales reps in CRMs. Furthermore, targeting, segmentation, and messaging are much more accurate when the ongoing maintenance of account intelligence is managed by a third party.
Over the past decade, sales intelligence firms have grown from standalone web information portals to integrated workflow services that deliver a broad set of account intelligence to CRMs, marketing automation platforms, sales acceleration (ABSD) services, Google Chrome, web forms, and mobile devices. Thus, sales intelligence is now becoming available to sales, marketing, and service departments across a broad set of platforms and devices.