No Tradeshows, No Site Visits — Ideas to Maintain & Grow Pipeline

I had four tradeshows canceled this month and next. They were opportunities for me to meet with customers and prospects (and conduct research for my industry newsletters). At this point, I’m assuming that at least two more will fall by the wayside in H1. I’m sure many of you are in a similar boat. Your marketing calendar is in a shambles, your field and inside sales reps are cloistered at home, and you are uncertain about how to manage remote workers.

Here are some ideas about how to retain momentum and deploy technology to mitigate pipeline and operational risks:

Video Meetings

If you haven’t deployed video widely across your workforce, due so ASAP. Vendors such as Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Join.Me, and GoToMeeting provide reliable video conferencing solutions for multi-party meetings, demos, and document sharing. Video Meetings are a do not pass Go, do not collect $200 requirement. Every customer-facing, development, management, and planning employee should be able to join meetings from home or the office.

Setup scheduled video meetings for the next three months so they are blocked out on team calendars. This could be a 15-minute corporate call every few weeks, weekly team calls, and one-on-ones. Standing meetings should all be web-based. Office-based employees are going to feel disconnected socially, so build in some social fun at the team level (e.g. recognizing birthdays and work anniversaries, celebrating wins and releases, etc.)

I would also build training time into video meetings. It shouldn’t be all top-down. Give your staff the opportunity to cross-train peers. A sales rep could discuss her latest victory with lessons learned or provide insights into a target vertical. Marketing can review the latest product positioning and new collateral. Product Management can train on new products, review the product roadmap, and discuss the competitive landscape. The goal is to provide training, communications, coordination, and social interaction.

Record meetings and make them available to those who miss meetings with Slack or Team links. Expect that meetings will be missed due to illness, parenting requirements, and meeting conflicts.

Marketing Work-Arounds

As event marketing is off the table, marketers will need to be flexible in how they deploy their budgets. For those that planned on hosting events, they should at least proceed with their Keynote as a webinar. For H2, a roadshow in September or October can be planned, but mitigate risk in your contracting and through joint shows (shared cost and risk).

Marketers will need to deploy or expand their use of other channels including webinars, press releases, analyst outreach, blogging, social, and video. Direct mail is problematic as prospects are likely to be working from home, but e-gifting is a viable option. Look at e-gifting vendors that are supported by your Sales Engagement platform (e.g. Sendoso, PFL, Alyce)

Here is an opportunity to test additional channels and provide your event marketing team with some cross-channel development.

Canceled shows are also a reason for re-engagement campaigns. You can restart the marketing nurture process with a message around “not being able to talk to you this season.” Keep the message short and serious. You don’t know if your prospect is worried about his or her job, family members, or personal health. Also, don’t appear to be taking advantage of the situation. Be empathetic, not opportunistic.

Also, make sure to reschedule meetings from those cancelled conferences. These are likely to be phone or video calls, but reps and executives should reconfirm calls now.

Conversation Intelligence

Once you have standardized meetings, make sure they are recorded and transcribed. This is particularly true for sales meetings. Conversation Intelligence vendors such as Gong, ExecVision, and Chorus record calls, transcribe them, and perform NLP/AI processing on the conversations. Conversation Intelligence allows sales reps to be more present during calls as they no longer need to focus on note-taking.

Transcriptions and analytics have multiple benefits:

  • Sales Reps can quickly review calls and return to key topics and issues (e.g. pricing, next steps).
  • Sales Managers can review calls related to accounts and opportunities at risk to provide coaching tips to reps.
  • Analytics identify both the strengths and weaknesses of reps versus their peers. They also flag missed actions (e.g. discussing next steps), customer concerns, and competitors. To assist with training and opportunity scoring, Conversation Intelligence vendors identify filler word frequency, monologue length, and conversational engagement.
  • Reps can forward snippets to peers for questions and help. If there is a question about a bug or support issue, the snippet can be forwarded to support personnel for an update. If a sales rep feels that they handled a question or issue poorly, a snippet can be forwarded to sales management or training for advice on how to better handle the issue next time. Snippets allow peers to hear the voice of the customer.
  • Snippets can be stored in a library for training purposes. These would include exemplars for objection handling, competitor parrying, value discussions, etc.
  • Product Managers can perform bulk analysis of sales calls to identify requested features, competitor discussions, and product issues. Vendors allow for keyword customization and analytics.

Sales Engagement Platforms

Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) have come a long way over the past five years. Originally, they focused on the SDR role, but now include tools for all sales roles. Vendors include SalesLoft, Outreach, Xant (FKA InsideSales), VanillaSoft, ConnectLeader, SFDC High Velocity Sales, Groove, and Yesware.

Sales Cadences, also called sequences, are at the core of Sales Engagement. Cadences set up a structured set of multi-channel outbound communications supported by email templates, dialers, social, and SMS text. Cadences improve sales efficiency by eliminating follow up tasks, recording activities to CRMs, and deploying A/B tested content (emails, attachments, cadences, call scripts). While most commonly used for SDR outreach, cadences can also be used for meeting reminders, setting up quarterly account reviews, and training follow up.

SEP vendors understand that authenticity is the key to sales success. Simply blasting mindless emails at prospects is futile. Cadences can be customized by target role, industry, company size, technographics, and stage in the buyer journey. Furthermore, reps are expected to personalize emails before sending them out (SalesLoft says 20% is the optimal level). Most of the vendors now support 1-1 embedded videos from Vidyard, Hippo Video, or Videolicious.

SEP Vendors also provide a deep set of analytics. Initially, these focused on communication efficacy (e.g. open and click-through rates, best time of day to call), but now analytics assess conversations, call out deal risks, prioritize accounts, and suggest next best actions.

SEPs are now commonly deployed amongst SDRs and Inside Sales, but may still be foreign to field sales reps; however, field sales reps will be operating more like inside sales reps for the next quarter, so deploying SEPs to field sales makes sense.

Beyond outbound communications, SEP vendors are beginning to support meeting management (setting up calls), conversational intelligence, and opportunity management. SalesLoft and Outreach are the farthest along in supporting these emerging feature sets. SalesLoft acquired and integrated NoteNinja (meeting management) and Costello (opportunity management) into its platform.

SEP Vendors have taken two approaches to partnering. SalesLoft, Outreach, and Xant have partner App Directories while the other vendors integrate key vendors (e.g. Vidyard, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo) into their offerings without a formal partner ecosystem directory.

LinkedIn

For B2B sales, there is no social platform more trusted than LinkedIn. Sales reps can leverage their networks by sharing marketing content (they should include some comments of their own) as well as writing their own content.

LinkedIn also offers an excellent Sales Intelligence product called Sales Navigator. It is available as both a desktop and mobile solution and provides additional communications channels:

  • InMail: An outbound email alternative, InMail allows you to message prospects for whom you lack emails and direct dial numbers.
  • Chat: A quick short-message way to keep in contact with members of the buying committee. It is also useful for quick reach out after establishing a LinkedIn connection with a prospect or to send a quick, congratulatory note. Chat messages are retained archivally, providing a conversational log. I have had success providing my Calendly link with initial chats, providing a mechanism for new connections to easily schedule a call (my Calendly includes my video meeting details so there is little friction).
  • Smart Links: Forward one or multiple attachments to a prospect via social, InMail, or email. Viewing and forwarding are tracked by LinkedIn, helping reps know which content was viewed and when. Forward tracking helps expand their understanding of the buying committee. Smart Links maintain corporate branding.

Sales Navigator provides several other high-value features:

  • SNAP connectors display LinkedIn content and Navigator functionality (e.g. icebreakers, mini-profiles, InMail) within Sales Engagement Platforms, CRMs, and other enterprise software.
  • TeamLinks allow you to leverage co-worker relationships for reaching out to prospects.
  • Build a List lets reps assemble Lead (contact) and Account lists within Sales Navigator. Lead and Account lists may also be synced from the CRM, allowing reps to track news and updates about key companies and contacts. While LinkedIn does not permit upload of account and contact data, they make exceptions for notes, tags, and messages entered by the rep in Sales Navigator. They also just added a thin record upload of contacts to CRM and the ability to flag execs that have left a company.
  • List Sharing — After building a list, users may share them with co-workers who have Sales Navigator licenses.

Sales Navigator can be a bit pricey, so running a test amongst your inside sales and field sales reps makes sense, particularly if you are concerned about H1 pipeline delays. Given the difficulty of reaching anybody by phone (made worse by prospects working at home) or email, adding additional sales communications channels is well worth testing out.

There are other LinkedIn services worth investigating or trialing. LinkedIn Marketing supports highly targeted B2B campaigns. Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn can target by company, job function, level, industry, geography, and education. LinkedIn provides campaign metrics and allows marketers to set daily budgets. Both CPM and CPC pricing are available. Pricing is based upon second-best auctions (you pay 1 cent above the second best bid price).

For larger companies, LinkedIn Elevate should also be considered, particularly with remote workers. Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). Elevate amplifies corporate messaging and reduces the level of effort for sales reps and other employees to share content through social networks.

LinkedIn Learning is offering sixteen courses at no charge covering topics related to working from home, remote management, tools, and mindset.

“In the coming days, we will make 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free including tips on how to: stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.”

Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn SVP of Product

Sales Intelligence

Sales Intelligence services help sales reps build prospecting lists, quality leads, refine account messaging, expand into new departments and locations, track accounts, and target additional buying committee members.

Many sales intelligence services also offer B2B DaaS services for updating CRMs and MAPs. Salesforce data hygiene is maintained through Lightning Data connectors, a sub-category on the AppExchange. Because data is synced with CRMs and MAPs, it is continuously updated, ensuring that firmographic data is accurate and that departed contacts are removed from sales and marketing activity (BTW — contacts decay at 30% per annum, so maintaining your enterprise software contact data is a valuable investment)

Sales Intelligence vendors also provide full workflow integrations into CRMs which allow reps to build lists; view and update accounts, contacts, and leads; and perform account qualification and account planning within CRM I-frames.

Sales Intelligence vendors include

  • Zoominfo: Deep contacts, emails, org charts, and technographic content. They are the leader in technology sales intelligence and recently added visitor intelligence, trigger-based workflows, and webforms. Zoominfo (FKA DiscoverOrg) also supports Ideal Customer Profiling (ICP), email verification, and B2B DaaS.
  • D&B Hoovers: The deepest set of global company intelligence for strategic sales reps. Includes full family trees, public company financials and filings, analyst reports, industry market research, SWOTs, European private company financials, and sales triggers. Dun & Bradstreet also supports ICP, B2B DaaS, Visitor Intelligence, Programmatic Marketing, and Customer Data Platforms.
  • InsideView: A global database with greater depth in North America and Europe, InsideView offers strong sales triggers and integrated social media viewing. InsideView also supports B2B DaaS and ICP.
  • Sales Genie: The best solution for reps that sell to both companies and individuals (e.g. insurance agencies, mobile, office supplies, landscaping). Features include light sales force automation for firms that have yet to implement a CRM, new businesses, new homeowners, email templates, integrated dialer, and marketing services (SEO, site design, direct mail).
  • RelPro: A specialist vendor targeting financial services companies.
  • Artesian Solutions: A UK-based social selling vendor with deep sales triggers and mobile-based meeting prep. They also offer a US solution.
  • Cognism: A UK-based sales intelligence vendor with sales engagement functionality, B2B DaaS services, and ICP tools.
  • Vainu: A Nordic-based sales intelligence vendor that also covers the Netherlands (France, US, and the UK are in beta). They also support B2B DaaS and trigger-based workflows.

Ongoing Investment

Research has shown that firms that continue to invest during recessions come out of the downturns much better prepared to grow market share and revenue than those that stop investing. Marketing is an investment in your pipeline and brand. B2B Data-as-a-Service is an investment in your data quality and ability to target prospects effectively. It also reduces sales and marketing waste in efforts directed at weak prospects and departed contacts. SalesTech and MarTech purchases are investments in your revenue generation capabilities.

This is also an opportunity for your sales and marketing teams to cross-train, develop new skills, and test out new tools and processes.

When we come out of the backside of what, hopefully, is a short-term recession, you want to be better prepared to meet latent demand for your products and services. While cutting back on investment and cash burn may be necessary for survival at some companies, don’t cut back on your ability to serve the market in 2021 unless you have to do so. Let others sacrifice the future of their revenue generation operations out of short-term concerns. Bank your savings in travel expenses and event marketing, but don’t cut back in other areas unless necessary.

Terra Incognita

We are entering a terra incognita for the next three to six months, so steady, empathetic leadership should be your objective. On 9/11, our CEO pulled us into the room and talked to us. I don’t remember his words, but I remember that he was calm and understood that we were all upset and anxious. Business was the least of his concerns that day. He wanted to show a steady hand at the tiller and sent us home to be with family.

Our raison d’être is not to work, and sometimes we are jolted back into that reality. Family, friends, and health are a higher priority. COVID 19 is not the new normal, but simply a bad storm that will pass.

RingLead DataExchange

B2B DaaS vendor RingLead rolled out its DataExchange.  The new data enrichment platform brings together datasets from many of the leading B2B vendors with detailed profiles in a searchable catalog.  RingLead is not selling the data, but passing it through via contracts written on partner paper.  Data is processed through RingLead’s data quality platform.  Along with providing a centralized enrichment hub, RingLead normalizes, segments, dupe checks, enriches, validates, performs lead-to-account linking, and automates routing.

The company stated that the typical user would need to manage eight or nine different vendors to automate Data Exchange processes and data sets.  According to RingLead, ninety percent of their current customers are already licensing DataExchange data sets.

“The introduction of The DataExchange reinforces RingLead’s data-first approach to business and unwavering commitment to empowering businesses, not only with the leading data quality platform but now, the ability to painlessly find, connect, and structure the data they need to scale.  Through transparency, community, and education around data, RingLead continues to strive to be the most trusted data quality platform for every business.”

RingLead Press Release

The DataExchange allows customers to mix and match company and contact intelligence from leading vendors:

  • Company / Contact Data: Zoominfo, Crunchbase, Clearbit, KickFire, DatabaseUSA, People Data Labs, Oceanos, InsideView
  • Behavioral Intent: Bombora, Kwanzoo
  • Buyer Intent: Aberdeen, DemandMatrix, Intentsify
  • Technographic: Zoominfo, Aberdeen, DemandMatrix, Kwanzoo, HG Insights
  • Social: Pipl, Clearbit, StatSocial
  • Nonprofit: DatabaseUSA, Cognism
  • Validation: TowerData, ZeroBounce, Oceanos
  • News Alerts: Crunchbase, Zoominfo
  • Financial: Zoominfo, Crunchbase, DatabaseUSA
  • Person: Oceanos, Zoominfo, Pipl, Spokeo, StatSocial, People Data Labs
  • B2C Demographic: Spokeo

“Each of these new data vendors provides tremendous value not only to the customer but to the entire DataExchange community,” said RingLead Chief Product Officer John Kosturos.  “By continuing to focus on select, best-of-breed data vendors, we ensure The DataExchange remains a competitive marketplace where buyers can remain confident in the vendors they’re assessing.”

While company and contact data from leading B2B vendors are likely to be the primary focus of early adopters, the platform supports additional content sets including funding data, technographics, news alerts, and intent enrichment.  Validation services are also critical as they reduce email bounce rates (Zero Bounce, TowerData, and Oceanos), invalid phone dials (TowerData), and non-deliverable direct mail (TowerData).

“Our vision is a world in which recipients value sales and marketing outreach.  Using the highest-quality, consent-based intent data is only the first step,” said Bombora SVP of Data Sales Mike Burton.  “B2B brands also need data portability, so that intent data informs all of their sales and marketing efforts.  Being part of the RingLead DataExchange brings this vision one step closer to reality.”

Vendor profiles include a company overview, description of capabilities and offerings, an attribute catalog, integration documentation, resources, and crowd-sourced reviews.

“We’re flipping the historically painful process of buying and connecting data on its head,” said Kosturos.  “Paired with RingLead’s data quality platform, users of The DataExchange can now take the data they need, ingest it into a batch process, a real-time import, web submission, or a manually created record.”

“As the appetite for data continues to grow, it’s necessary for businesses to have flexibility and transparency in how they buy data, and whom they buy it from,” said Zoominfo Senior Director of Partner Marketing Krystan Resch.  “The DataExchange transforms the data buying experience for the consumer while simultaneously empowering ZoomInfo Powered by DiscoverOrg to deliver more relevant, personalized buying experiences through the most accurate and actionable global B2B database.”

Priority Engine Drives TechTarget’s Q3 Earnings

The Priority Engine Summary provides rich buyer intent details.
The Priority Engine Summary provides rich buyer intent details.

TechTarget revenues rose 10% to $33.8 million in Q3 2019 driven by their sales and marketing intelligence Priority Engine service.  Quarterly Priority Engine revenue rose 30% year-over-year and is up 37% year-to-date. The firm added 51 new Priority Engine customers in Q3.  

Long-term contracts now represent 35% of revenue.

TechTarget believes that their initial success selling to firms outside of the top 200 customers “bodes well for our launch of Priority Engine Express in 2020, which is targeted at the next largest 5,000 software vendors and resellers, for whom we don’t currently have attractive offerings in their price range.”

TechTarget collects second-party intent data and opted-in contact data from its 140 B2B technology media sites.  Priority Engine identifies companies actively in-market along with who is conducting purchasing research, the buyers’ journey stage, and other vendors under consideration.

TechTarget said that its new features have been “well-received” by clients as it “increases the value and ROI of Priority Engine for our customers.”  They are also confident in their “robust” 2020 product roadmap.  “Our customers are still in the early stages of their transition to becoming data-driven sales and marketing organizations.  We have many customers that are using our data in sophisticated ways to drive market share gains and revenue growth,” stated their 8-K filing.

The firm plans another ten percent increase in Priority Engine pricing, similar to annual price hikes of the past two years.  CEO Michael Cotoia is confident in their ability to raise prices:

Our customers take a look at our data that we offer, real and observed purchase intent data, and they have a very large initiative around…their sales and marketing organization. So, we haven’t really had a pushback price. They do understand how we get our data in terms of providing the right content and publishing the right content across…thousands of technology segments. Owning and operating those sites and communities across our network throughout TechTarget and really observing and capturing the real intent that we’re getting from buying team members… it’s very clear, it’s very taut, it’s very concise, so we haven’t really seen any pushback on that.

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

“By helping companies see and interpret real buyer needs and preferences, Priority Engine first provides a relevant, permissioned basis for a marketer to intercept a buyer’s journey and then it assists users in taking very specific influencing and engagement actions,” CMO John Steinert recently told ABM Report.  “Because Priority Engine provides the actual permissioned people doing buying research, it saves tons of resource that’s commonly wasted chasing prospects who don’t have a need and leads that are actually dead ends. And because Priority Engine shares the real needs and preferences of the actual buyers with both marketing and sales when they share the platform, it enables far better conversion at every step, from funnel, to pipeline, through to renewal.”

Cotoia is also confident in TechTarget’s market expansion strategy.  “We are seeing [SMB] customers now. We’re taking their input. We’re looking to possibly modify, enhance, position, package, create some other additional spinoffs of this Priority Engine Express for different segments within all those others. So, we’re off to a good start.”

Priority Engine Express will remain in beta until Q1 with several dedicated sales reps during the beta window.  

One identified opportunity is value-added resellers at both the national and regional levels.  “They are looking to really identify the opportunities and the projects and buying teams that are in their regions” and focus on their go-to-market strategy and active prospects said Cotoia.  “We want to make sure that we have the right user interface [and] ease of use for those regional resellers so that their sales teams, inside sales and outside sales, have easy and quick access to the potential projects and buying teams within their market.”

A Tale of Two Teams

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to observe two different teams while replacing the flooring on my first floor. The first team laid tiles, and it was an uncomfortable experience watching the master tiler berate his apprentice. The second team demoed the wood floor and carpet as a team.

The tile experience was awkward. While the end work product was excellent, the apprentice was treated more like a dog than an employee. The tiler incessantly berated his employee making it difficult to work from home. Several times an hour I heard the boss yell “Charlie!” and then proceed to tell him he was lazy or incompetent. The tiler did all of the artisan work with the apprentice grabbing tools, hauling tile, mixing grout, and waiting for his next instruction.

When I discussed it with the flooring company that was managing the project, they confessed that they usually have him work new construction instead of renovations. The master tiler will have work so long as the economy is strong, but I imagine he will be quickly dropped once the economy cools.

The second team arrived this morning and attacked phase I (demo). All four knew their roles and worked without much direction required. The house was noisy with electrical saws and wood being pulled up with crowbars. It buzzed with Spanish as the guys enjoyed working together. Nobody needed direction beyond simple coordination. The men moved between tasks as the project proceeded. I don’t think I heard a single raised voice. They were a team that I’d welcome back in my home.

So what was the key difference? Respect. If you respect your teammates and subordinates, the team is more efficient, the work is more enjoyable, and each member is confident in their role.

Breaking News: Leadspace Acquires ReachForce

Customer Data Platform vendor Leadspace acquired B2B Hygiene vendor ReachForce.  The two firms offer complementary functionality with ReachForce adding webforms (SmartForms) and a continuous data quality platform (SmartSuite) to Leadspace’s CDP.

Leadspace plans to merge SmartSuite into their CDP over the next six months. SmartForms will become an “activation product” for Leadspace.

“ReachForce is a well-respected brand with an experienced team in the B2B marketing tech space,” stated Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.  “We’ve known them, and competed against them, over the years, so we’re excited to be joining forces now to move the B2B CDP space even further.”

ReachForce will maintain its Austin office and staff while LeadSpace will continue to operate in Hod Hasharon, Israel, and San Francisco.

Reachforce SmartSuite Customer Data Management processes.

The Reachforce SmartSuite provides real-time and continuous data quality management.  Features include B2B data match and enrich; data standardization; de-duplication; email, phone, and address verification; data health reports; CRM and MAP connectors; and contact prospecting at target accounts.

ReachForce has its best-in-class SmartForms product, which is a key way that customers build an understanding of their customers, as well as SmartSuite, which provides a real-time data cleansing and management service. Combined with Leadspace’s best-in-class B2B customer data platform, there is a definite complementary and additive effect. SmartForms will become one of the activation products for Leadspace, and we will work over the next [several] months to combine the best of both data management platforms to provide a single end-to-end solution for B2B CDP. 

Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher

The Reachforce acquisition follows shortly after Dun & Bradstreet acquired Lattice Engines.  Both Dun & Bradstreet and Leadspace now offer a CDP alongside a data quality hub, digital advertising, visitor intelligence, and CRM/MAP connectors:

Dun & Bradstreet / Leadspace Product Line Comparison (© GZ Consulting 2019)

Forrester’s Q2 2019 Wave report on B2B Customer Data Platforms placed Lattice Engines and Leadspace in the leader category with both holding the highest scores in strategy and Lattice Engines being ranked slightly higher for their current offering.

Prior to the acquisition, the Dun & Bradstreet CDP (D&B DataVision) was ranked a strong performer. The dual acquisitions help the vendors extend their leadership in the CDP space and increase the likelihood of additional consolidation within the B2B Customer Data Platform segment.

Leadspace did not disclose the acquisition price. Acquisition discussions began earlier this year.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Lattice Engines (Content + CDP)

Lattice Data Cloud

Dun & Bradstreet announced the acquisition of AI-powered Customer Data Platform (CDP) Lattice Engines yesterday.  Acquisition details were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close within thirty days.

This is the first major deal for Dun & Bradstreet since it was taken private in February. The combined entity brings together world class company datasets (WorldBase, Global Company Authority contacts, credit data, Hoover’s) with the AI-driven Lattice Atlas Customer Data Platform.

According to the Dun & Bradstreet press release, Lattice Engines adds a “best-in-class CDP to the depth and breadth of global commercial data in the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud and growing portfolio of complementary sales and marketing solutions.”  The combined capabilities join Dun & Bradstreet’s data capabilities with Lattice Engines AI and analytics.  The merged platform creates “an invaluable single source of sales and marketing truth” which helps companies “simplify their data, operate more productively and activate audiences through personalized, omnichannel campaigns that drive results.”

Dun & Bradstreet content has been a cornerstone of Lattice Engines for the past several years.  Already having standardized on a core set of data should expedite the acquisition.  When Dun & Bradstreet acquired Avention two years ago, the WorldBase and global contact datasets needed to be swapped into the Avention platform.  This time, a data swap will not be required (though some additional Dun & Bradstreet datasets will be included).

“This acquisition supports the strategy we announced when Dun & Bradstreet became a privately held company – to bring new technologies and innovation to our existing solutions, creating deeper customer value. With our investment in Lattice Engines, we will become a leading provider in the fast-growing B2B marketing analytics space, helping our clients accelerate revenue, grow their businesses and become more competitive.”

Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour

Future content includes Dun & Bradstreet financial scores, sales trigger insights, and digital data (e.g. Audience Solutions IP and digital device identifiers).  Lattice Engines will also benefit from Dun & Bradstreet’s identity resolution capabilities.  These upgrades “will further enhance Lattice Engines’ best-in-class analytics models, improve personalization, and drive better results for our clients,” said EVP of Sales and Marketing Solutions, Michael Bird.

Salesforce Restricts E-commerce Gun Sales

Salesforce updated its acceptable-use policy to ban gun retailers who use Salesforce to market, manage, or fulfill semi-automatic weapons orders. The ban also covers parts like “multi-burst trigger devices” and large magazines.  The policy goes into effect for current customers at renewal.

According to Salesforce, only a small number of current customers are impacted.  The firm declined to name retailers, but Camping World, which spends over $1 million per year on Salesforce technology, is likely to be impacted.  The Washington Post estimated Camping World’s migration costs to be over $2 million.

Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation called the policy “corporate-policy virtue signaling.”

“It is a very chilling effect when a company as large as Salesforce puts out a policy like this,” said Oliva. “A policy like this is not surprising from a company based in that part of the country.”

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called for banning the AR-15 last year following the Parkland shooting and donated $1 million to March for Our Lives.  The firm and Benioff have a history of taking political stands including support for a US GDPR (data privacy), corporate taxes in San Francisco to support the homeless, and LGBTQ rights.

Shopify, which provides e-commerce software to 800,000 sites, implemented a similar anti-automatic weapon sales policy last year.

While many firms operate with a profit maximizing philosophy espoused by economist Milton Friedman, Salesforce is managed with a stakeholder’s philosophy that weighs other stakeholders besides shareholders. These parties include employees, partners, customers, the environment, and society in general. CEO Marc Benioff created the 1-1-1 pledge 18 years ago which donates 1% of corporate technology, people, and resources.

While Oliva derides Salesforce’s new policy as “virtue signaling,” such policies, when transparently stated, may be profit maximizing. A firm that is viewed as ethical and socially progressive may attract more customers, partners, investors, and employees than it repels. Simple profit maximization requires that firms take an amoral stand which can result in scandals or embarrassing business practices which undermine brand value and company credibility.


If you’d like to comment on this blog, I have setup a forum on Quora for discussing Salesforce’s policy.

D&B WorldBase Reaches 300M Companies

 

Promotional image posted on LinkedIn.
Promotional image posted on LinkedIn.

It was only a few years ago that Dun & Bradstreet’s WorldBase file reached 200 million records, but this week the file hit 300 million active and inactive company profiles.  The dataset is used for sales, marketing, research, master data management, credit risk, and supplier risk products.  It is also licensed to many other vendors (the majority of which are not allowed to publish the provenance of their data). While sales reps do not use inactive companies, they are important for risk products, master data management, compliance, and database cleansing.

Two key features of the WorldBase data set are the D-U-N-S Number, their de facto global numbering system, and global linkages which tie together global company family trees.

The WorldBase file is a key asset for Dun & Bradstreet products such as DNBi, D&B Hoovers, D&B DataVision, and D&B Optimizer.

Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Dun & Bradstreet.

DemandBase Revenue Growth

One of Demandbase's core technologies is real-time visitor intelligence for ABM.
One of Demandbase’s core technologies is real-time account-level visitor intelligence for ABM.

Nathan Latka interviewed Demandbase CEO Chris Golec back in Q4. Demandbase is growing rapidly and now employs 300. In November, Golec said the firm was likely to achieve 50% or greater growth in 2017. 2016 revenue was around $75 million and the firm was above a $100 million run rate in November. Average revenue per customer is around $20,000 per month. Small customers may select a single module for $2K to $3K per month but then add multiple solutions as they grow. Net revenue retention is around 110%.

The firm has between 50 and 60 quota carrying reps, 20 to 25 marketers, and 10 to 15 administrative staff, with two thirds of the company focused on data, R&D, engineering, and other functions

The firm has 400 to 600 customers with top customers spending a couple million dollars per annum.

Golec expects the firm to be cash flow break-even during the first half of this year.

Demandbase, founded in 2007, was an early and forceful proponent of Account Based Marketing. For several years, they had a monopoly on the positioning, but ABM caught fire as a B2B sales and marketing process with several enterprise software firms including Marketo and Salesforce now offering ABM solutions.

“ABM as a category – the interest level has reached the investment community and so as investors do their research they discovered that Demandbase is the largest and pioneered the category itself.  So we had a lot of inbound interest.  At the same time, we started developing some new innovations using AI and massive data that we’re sitting on. So it really unfolded into a whole new level of innovation.”

  • DemandBase CEO Chris Golec

DemandBase has already received $156 million in funding, including a $65 million round last May. Both Salesforce and Adobe have taken investment stakes in Demandbase.

While some MarTech firms are struggling with revenue growth and churn, that has not been an issue at Demandbase. “ABM is more of a business process and our position is much more of a platform where we’re helping customers throughout the whole lifecycle of attracting, updating, engaging, converting, and upselling them.”

The firm has ten staff in London helping grow European sales. “ABM adoption in the UK and Western Europe is really starting to pick up.”

Source: Nathan Latka SoundCloud Interview of Chris Golec

Oceanos for Salesforce (Beta)

Oceanos ListOptimizer supports quarterly batch updates to account, contact, and lead records.
Oceanos ListOptimizer supports quarterly batch updates to account, contact, and lead records.

Contact data management vendor Oceanos is working with Datarista to bring an SFDC-based contact service to the market.  The Oceanos ListOptimizer service, currently in in beta, will be generally available in Q1.  Sales Operations can run counts, perform company and contact searches, and ensure ongoing data integrity.

The service supports standard company and contact list building with running counts as variables are selected.  New execs may be added as lead records or accounts and contacts.  Duplicate checking is performed.

Batch Salesforce updates are performed quarterly.  In 2018, the updates will run every other month with contact changes updated weekly.

Oceanos offers best-in-class contact records from over a dozen vendors.  When records are deployed to customers, they are subject to real-time reverification against FreshAddress, FullContact, and Pipl.

Contact management services are purchased on a credit basis with custom pricing plans based upon volume and intended usage.

In other news, Oceanos recently inked a deal to deliver its ContactAPI to The Big Willow intent data platform. “Targeting prospects before the market even knows they exist provides our customers a first mover advantage,” said Big Willow CEO Charlie Tarzian.  “With the Oceanos ContactAPI, we provide our users targeted contacts for intent-qualified opportunities that accelerates engagement.  With 15 years in the space, they’ve earned a stellar reputation and we’re thrilled to take this next step in our partnership.”

Along with connectors and APIs, Oceanos offers free data health checks and a team of data consultants to assist with data hygiene and analytics initiatives.