Bombora partnered with Marketo to natively integrate its intent file into the Marketo Engagement Platform. Bombora collects anonymous company-level activity from B2B media sites and determines intent as a company surge score across 4,100 B2B topics and 2.8 million companies. The surge score indicates an uptick in baseline interest in customer-specific B2B topics.
The intent scores help identify and prioritize sales and marketing activities around prospects with active purchasing research programs. Firms with high surge scores can then be targeted for programmatic marketing, digital messaging, and sales outreach. Surge data also flag dormant accounts which are re-entering the purchasing cycle, assist with messaging around key topics, and inform lead scoring and routing decisions.
According to Bombora, only fifteen to twenty percent of companies in a target list are engaged in an active purchase cycle. Thus, understanding which companies are in market is critical to marketing effectiveness. “It arms you with insight into which of your target companies are more actively researching your products or services compared to historic baselines – indicating intent to take action,” said Bombora.
“With the Marketo Engagement Platform acting as the hub to make this understanding more actionable, there is exponential value to how Bombora’s intent data can be leveraged across an organization,” stated Bombora CEO Erik Matlick.
“As a marketer, the best buyers to engage with are the ones that are already actively researching,” said Marketo SVP of Strategy and Alliances TK Kader. “Providing intent data from Bombora to our customers creates an opportunity for them to engage with buyers who have a high propensity to buy, ultimately delivering better pipeline to sales and increasing the velocity of the sales process.”
Marketo is also offering best practices and campaign setup advice.
I am beginning a monthly series entitled What Is where I provide an overview of one of the underlying sales and marketing intelligence technologies or processes being deployed at B2B firms. I will begin with Intent Data.
Intent Data is one of the three informational elements of B2B Lead scoring (the other two are Fit and Opportunity). Intent data consists of both first and third-party elements and identifies when companies are actively researching specific product categories. First-party data is captured in your marketing automation systems and web logs. Typical first-party intent data includes
Trade Show Booth Visits
In short, if somebody is viewing your website, reading your collateral, meeting with you at a tradeshow booth, or attending your webinars, then he or she is displaying purchase intent. Of course, not everybody doing so is a potential purchaser, but a high percentage of individuals digitally interacting with your firm are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for your products and services.
Unfortunately, intent data is often anonymous. Unless the individual submits a webform, you are most likely limited to an IP address. As B2B visitors are usually accessing your platform from a corporate IP address, it is possible to tie the IP address to the company and at least associate the activity with a company. Companies such as DemandBase, Bombora, and Dun & Bradstreet offer Visitor Intelligence services to map IP addresses to companies. Along with the company name, they enrich the visitor intelligence with firmographics such as location, size, and industry.
External intent data is provided by vendors such as Bombora, The Big Willow, True Influence, and TechTarget. External intent data is gathered from B2B Media websites that evaluate topics of interest across their network and determine which topics are of interest to companies. Interest is gauged by articles viewed, white papers downloaded, searches performed, case studies read, etc. Generally, each company is baselined by topic with interest determined with respect to the baseline. A surge of interest takes place when short-term interest in a topic is well above the baseline for the company. Intent data is generally delivered as a numeric score by topic with companies licensing the topics of interest. As intent is determined at the corporate level, it works best in lead scoring. With the exception of TechTarget, you don’t know which individuals are researching specific topics.
TechTarget Priority Engine provides technology specific intent at the individual level along with contact information, buying stage (early or late based upon content viewed and downloaded), and key influencers (companies of interest). TechTarget is focused on Technology topics across its 140 media sites.
Crunchbase unveiled their long-planned Crunchbase Marketplace partner ecosystem. Crunchbase signaled plans for the ecosystem a year ago when it announced an $18 million funding round. Partner datasets are available via an “app store” connected to their subscription Crunchbase Pro data service.
“We see this as the next step in building the master database for companies online. We don’t feel like a single company can go out and get all the information that there is to get, which is why we have decided to partner.”
Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell
Crunchbase has signed 13 data partners: SimilarWeb, Apptopia, BuiltWith, Siftery, IPqwery, Bombora, Owler, Financial Content, TradingView, Enigma, Wayback Machine, Aberdeen, and Wikipedia. The span of partners is fairly broad and includes technographics, intent data, web traffic, app installs, government filings, and stock quotes.
The following datasets are live:
Crunchbase Pro – Funding data available for $29 / user / month
SimilarWeb – Web traffic and engagement (free)
Siftery – Tech Stack data for $49 / user / month
BuiltWith – Tech Stack data for $49 / user / month
Apptopia – Mobile app analytics for $49 / user / month
“We’re super excited about these partnerships because they are bringing up a ton of new data that we’ve never seen before,” McConnell added. “We think this is the first time that someone has taken all this data and put it all into one place. Looking further out we think that all enterprise software will be built on large data sets, and we think that we can be the trusted source for all that company information on the internet.”
Crunchbase is looking to increase the number of registered and Pro users on its site, so only registered users will have access to the marketplace. Last year, Crunchbase had 40 million unique users, many of whom were anonymous.
Current licensors of third-party datasets do not have free access to the content via the Marketplace. However, Crunchbase is evaluating a voucher system for dual licensors.
Crunchbase said it is unsure whether the current $49 per month fee will be modified. For example, they are open to building solution bundles by function which support multiple datasets. However, such a model has yet to be explored. They are also considering a freemium model with in-app purchases of additional data beyond a limited number of free records.
Crunchbase will continue to focus on its strength: – the collection of funding data. “Logo, name, address, funding, founding and investor data: we’ll always own that node,” McConnell told TechCrunch. “This is the reason why most come to us today and we don’t want to jeopardize this.”
Crunchbase would like to build out to one hundred partners over the next year.
Salesforce has yet to provide a roadmap for Data.com, so we will likely have to wait until Dreamforce for details. While legacy customers continue to receive Dun & Bradstreet content, new customers are limited to the Salesforce / Jigsaw company and contact file. However, the firm announced a set of Lightning Data partners that will support ongoing account enrichment as native Salesforce Apps.
InsideView was an original partner on the AppExchange but was disinvited after Data.com rolled out. While hidden from AppExchange searches, the InsideView for Sales solution continued to be available to joint customers as a private solution. Furthermore, the firm built additional AppExchange marketing products to supplement InsideView for Sales. These services included Target, a company and contact prospecting platform, and Refresh, a data hygiene service that matched and enriched account records with InsideView intelligence. The two companies share over one thousand joint clients.
As an initial partner in Lightning Data, InsideView is offering two services: Append account record maintenance toward the end of Q4 and Discovery account prospecting in Q1 2018. Both are native Salesforce applications. Unfortunately, Lightning Data only supports Account record enrichment and prospecting. Thus, InsideView clients looking for prospecting against InsideView’s 13 million global companies and 33 million contacts may wish to evaluate InsideView Target instead of InsideView Discovery.
InsideView positions itself as a leader in Targeting Intelligence due to their capabilities across three dimensions: company and people intelligence (Who), business triggers sourced from the news and social feeds (Why), and network connections which support warm introductions (How).
With the launch of their new Lightning Data solutions, InsideView will have strategic relationships with the two most important CRMs: Saleforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics.
InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler will be speaking at one of the Lightning Data sessions at this year’s Dreamforce as will other Lightning Data partners.
DataFox is offering twenty-two curated data points and five proprietary fields for DaaS enrichment. Amongst the curated fields are standard firmographics, tech stack, and funding data including investors, total funding raise, and last funding round details. Proprietary data includes signal count over the past year, industry keywords, and similar companies. Datafox’s “AI-sourced, human-audited company data” covers over two million companies. Pricing starts at $3,500 per year.
MCH enriches accounts with medical facility details. Institutions include hospitals; medical practices; dental practices; nursing homes; home health and hospice; ambulatory surgery; diagnostic imaging; community health; urgent care; and public health departments. Data is updated via a team of researchers annually who populate over seventy attributes across 636,000 facilities. Pricing starts at $500 per year.
MCH has a broader sales intelligence solution in development which will support prospecting and access to two million medical practitioners and support staff.
Clearbit enriches accounts with over forty fields including firmographics, Alexa Rank, Social Accounts, and Technology. The service also includes company news. Pricing starts at $499 per month.
HG Data populates technology product, vendor, and product category information across account, contact, and opportunity records. Also included is an account ranking score based upon deployed technology and workflows based upon complementary or competitive products. Pricing starts at $5,000 per year.
There are multiple reasons to enrich records with third-party reference data sets. These include shorter web forms with lower abandonment rates, improving segmentation via standardized data with fewer data gaps, ongoing data maintenance, and enhanced targeting.
Sales rep benefits from enrichment include reduced data entry, improved lead scoring and routing, and improved intelligence for account qualification, planning, and messaging. By enriching company information within the CRM workflow, sales reps have accurate, on demand account intelligence.
Salesforce announced the launch of two new AppExchange partnership categories offering native Lighting functionality: Lightning Bolts and Lightning Data. Bolts are Lightning Components which offer customer data and business logic.
Lightning Data provides new Data as a Service (DaaS) partnerships in the wake of the non-renewal of the Dun & Bradstreet – Data.com licensing partnership. Three of the partners were announced as Data.com Exchange partners at last year’s Dreamforce:
Initially, Lightning Data only supports ongoing match and enrichment services for Account records. As many AppExchange partners offer batch and continuous services for Account, Contact, and Lead records, Lightning Data will need to round out its enrichment capabilities for it to become a full hygiene and enrichment solution.
Lightning Data is an indication that Salesforce never really bought into the idea of being a DaaS company. Since August 2011, they have promoted Data.com, but never fully committed to the data ecosystem they promised when they launched Data.com. The original idea was to take the Jigsaw file they purchased in April 2010 for $142 million and integrate it with the D&B WorldBase company file. They were then going to partner with other leading data companies to integrate third-party data matched to either Data.com contact intelligence or D&B Account intelligence. These data sets were to be delivered via Data.com Prospector sales intelligence and the Data.com Clean match and append service.
It was the right idea at the right time. They were playing catch up with OneSource for Salesforce, InsideView for Salesforce, and Access Hoovers, but had the technical and financial resources to quickly leapfrog these offerings (Access Hoovers was phased out as part of the D&B deal). Furthermore, they had a first mover advantage in cross-selling Data.com to their customer base. It could have been a home run, but they rarely hit the ball out of the infield. What’s worse:
The Jigsaw file was never truly internationalized. It remained a U.S. contact file with underwhelming executive coverage for nine other countries.
The Data.com contact counts increased, but only because they were adding contacts at the same rate as they were decaying. Meanwhile, their top two contacts competitors, NetProspex and Zoominfo, continued to expand both their active and inactive coverage in the U.S. and internationally.
They never added biographic details or social links to the contacts file
Prospector features remained underwhelming. They would add small features such as improved industry and geographic screening, but not anything significant until 2016.
They quickly dropped all discussion about an ecosystem.
Then at Dreamforce 2015 and 2016 they seemed to have found their mojo, addressing key weaknesses such as pricing, sales intelligence (Hoovers profiles, First Research industry overviews), and a data ecosystem.
Data.com hit a few doubles and outlined an aggressive 2017 and 2018 roadmap. It looked good. It sounded good. But then Salesforce severed their partnership with Dun & Bradstreet and now only legacy customers have access to Dun & Bradstreet content. For everybody else, there were nine months of deafening silence until yesterday’s announcement of Lightning Data.
The devolution of Data.com will not have a significant effect on Salesforce’s bottom line as it represents perhaps one percent of company revenue (hence, the lack of urgency in replacing Dun & Bradstreet content). Furthermore, the legacy offering will continue to be supported for several more years so the revenue decline will have little material impact. Perhaps we’ll hear about replacement content at Dreamforce, but Lightning Data suggests they are leaving B2B DaaS to partner companies.
One of the important recent B2B MarTech innovations is the development of intent data from vendors like Bombora. As prospects are now using the Internet to self-educate, they are reaching out to a smaller set of pre-screened vendors later in the sales cycle. But if firms are being stealthy to avoid detection during this initial phase, B2B firms have been looking to uncloak this veil of secrecy and reach out to firms during the initial phase.
One response to anonymity was content marketing which looks to deliver information (and perhaps uncover prospects) during this early phase. But it is difficult to customize messaging to anonymous individuals. Thus sprung up visitor id services such as Demandbase that map IP addresses to company firmographics in real-time. For example, a visitor from a P&C insurance IP address would be shown a website and content that speaks to their industry specific needs.
Firms also engaged in SEO and SEM to drive traffic to vertical content. While these activities were an improvement, they provided no indication concerning whether the prospect was in the market for a firm’s solutions.
Firms like Bombora and The Big Willow work with B2B media sites to map site traffic and actions (e.g. downloading white papers, webinar attendance, site searches), to specific companies. Thus, each IP address has a baseline activity trail which indicates topics of interest. Intent firms then match B2B media site visitor actions to an intent taxonomy covering thousands of topics. Of course, larger firms will leave more distinct trails and firms will display heavy footprints around their own industry and target segments. These patterns are company-specific background noise. To find the intent signals, intent vendor analytics determine which topics are surging at each company. For example, If GE has X searches per week on cloud computing, then this activity rate is general background noise. But if activity spikes to 2X, then there is likely to be some initiative underway at the firm concerning cloud computing. It is these surges that identify firms to be targeted. Intent data provides a mechanism for placing calculated bets on which accounts and prospects deserve additional resources.
Keep in mind, this activity remains anonymous. A cloud computing vendor does not know who at GE is involved in cloud computing initiatives, but they know it is the appropriate time to target GE with stepped up marketing (SEM, email, sales calls, etc.).
Thus, intent data is integrated into predictive marketing platforms such as Lattice Engines, LeadSpace, Mintigo, Everstring, and Radius.
Just this month, Everstring added Bombora’s intent data to their Audience platform. Surge data is also available for programmatic targeting on platforms such as BlueKai (Oracle), Krux, and Lotame. Thus, it is possible to target advertising for firms that have shown a surge of interest in a topic.
Like any technology, intent data has its limits. While it helps identify when to call into an account and topics of interest, it doesn’t identify whom to call and whether there is an actual initiative related to the topic. Furthermore, intent data does not indicate whether a firm is a good fit (e.g. size, industry, technographics) or how far along they are in the discovery process.
There are a large number of scenarios where intent data and models don’t add nearly as much value (if any). It’s not because the intent data is inaccurate. It’s because there is simply not enough data available to use directly or to put in models. They include:
New and emerging technology categories
Certain geographies, industries or other niches
Solutions (especially services) that can’t be easily categorized
Thus, intent data works best for well-established technology segments (versus emerging ones). Just make sure to also look at fitness indicators when building surge-based campaigns.
Within 15 minutes of posting this blog, I saw that Bombora was named a 2017 Cool Vendor by Gartner.
“We believe it’s a true milestone to be recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor in SaaS for 2017,” said Erik Matlick, founder and CEO of Bombora. “Our customers choose Bombora so that they may access the largest source of B2B intent data for use in their account-based marketing strategies. For us, being a ‘Cool Vendor’ serves as a validation of our ‘everybody wins’ approach to the ecosystem and the impact that our dynamic, quality intent data is having across B2B sales and marketing.”