Last week, Dun & Bradstreet acquired long-time partner Bisnode, greatly strengthening its position in Europe. Bisnode provides them with direct access to regional and multi-national customers in the Nordic region, Eastern Europe, and D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).
Dun & Bradstreet described the execution risk as low to medium as they know the company well, have established relationships with Bisnode, and Bisnode is “very familiar” with Dun & Bradstreet’s products and solutions. The deal was also structured as a mix of debt and equity so as not to increase Dun & Bradstreet’s financial leverage.
One the announcement call, Dun & Bradstreet did not discuss Bisnode products, but one asset that Dun & Bradstreet will likely operationalize quickly is Bisnode’s file of 40 million GDPR-compliant business contacts across 21 European countries.
Dun & Bradstreet anticipates the deal will close in January 2021 subject to standard regulatory reviews. The acquisition will add around 2,000 headcount to Dun & Bradstreet.
Bisnode revenue will be included in Dun & Bradstreet’s international division and will be broken out for the first year after acquisition.
Jabbour indicated that Dun & Bradstreet is strategically reviewing its World Wide Network of partners to “look for ways to improve the commercial arrangements that we have or make them more relevant.” Options include purchasing the partner, ending the partnership arrangement and picking a new partner, or renegotiating the relationship.
The market appeared pleased with the transaction as Dun & Bradstreet’s stock price increased 8.53% last Thursday following the announcement and analyst call.
[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.
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.
German Sales Intelligence vendor Echobot announced that it is expanding beyond the D-A-CH (Germany / Austria / Switzerland) region and building a European solution. The first step in this expansion is an English-language UI with five million British companies and 23 million decision-makers.
“The market expansion into the English-speaking area is an important step into the future for us. It has never been more important for companies to set up their sales and marketing processes digitally. We are very pleased about the strong growth and the fact that from now on, we can support our customers beyond national borders,” said Echobot Media Technologies CEO Bastian Karweg.
Echobot users can add the “UK Data Pack” to their D-A-CH coverage with the data available for their TARGET (prospecting) and CONNECT (sales intelligence) services. They may also license the UK offering as a standalone service.
Company profiles include firmographics, contact information, registration numbers, web technologies, social media links, current and former directors, executives, company news, Registration and LEI Numbers, and UK SIC or German WZ (NACE variant) industry codes.
An interlinks graph ties together company and director relationships.
Company news and signals are collected from online publications, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Signals (event triggers) may be filtered by signal type or keyword, and news may be filtered by keyword, source, and whether the article is by or about the company.
There is still some tuning around company news tagging, but the product is just being launched. Echobot has a long history of German-language signal monitoring and tagging, so it will likely address this problem fairly swiftly.
Contact data is GDPR compliant, with 68% of contacts having emails and 5% displaying direct dials. “We strictly comply with GDPR, only using dials that have been made public on the web,” said Karweg. “We do not use privacy-infringing tactics like signature block scanning.” Contact data sourcing is provided so that if a rep is asked about the origination of a prospect’s personal data, the sales rep can provide the source. As part of their compliance, the firm has a data privacy officer (a GDPR requirement) and a privacy page that allows individuals to remove themselves from the database.
Echobot provides LinkedIn and XING (a popular LinkedIn rival in the D-A-CH region) contact hyperlinks, but chose not to provide Twitter or Facebook contact links “since those networks usually are used for private networking.” Directors are cross-referenced with LinkedIn and company websites to enrich their profiles further.
Contact news is gathered, though it is usually only available for top execs.
Up to twenty contacts may be viewed or downloaded from the company profile. Contact data includes email, direct dial phone, title, and source (e.g. LinkedIn, XING, Companies House, company website). Information sources are displayed as icons with hyperlinks.
Users may filter the contacts by department and level. They may also search the list by name or title.
Echobot collects most of its information from Companies House and online crawling. They have a third-party vendor relationship for email verification and social media cross-referencing but do not disclose the partner’s name.
Company data are updated daily and consolidated as soon as there have been relevant changes. Contact data are updated every 30 days or so; however, “due to GDPR, we update all contacts at least once every six months,” said Karweg. “If they aren’t publicly available anymore, they will be deleted from our database.”
Financial data is only available for the D-A-CH region, but it is on the 2021 UK roadmap.
The CONNECT sales intelligence service has a responsive design for mobile and tablet display. The TARGET prospecting tool is currently optimized for desktop use, but a mobile-ready version is on the 2021 roadmap.
CONNECT supports browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Explorer. The extensions take the user from a company URL to the CONNECT company profile.
Echobot CONNECT for Salesforce supports I-Frame viewing within Company, Contact, and Lead records. When new records are created, they are matched against the Echobot reference database for enrichment. Stare-and-compare record updates are also supported.
Echobot, the German sales and marketing intelligence vendor, continues to do well during the pandemic. It has over 1,000 clients and a growing ACV. They added 15 employees this year, bringing their staff count to 65. The firm was founded in 2011 and has posted a consistent 40% compound average growth rate. It is internally funded.
Echobot offers multiple products: The Target prospect database of European B2B firms (UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) and the Connect intelligence database with 11 million companies. Content includes registered data, technographics, contacts, and news. The firm also provides online and social print monitoring and DataCare DaaS Hygiene for CRMs and ERPs.
The Karlsruhe-headquartered firm is readying a new 18,000 square foot office, which it plans to move into in 2021.
“COVID-19 did not slow us down,” said CEO Bastiaan Karweg. “In some cases it actually helped to put our agenda of digital sales intelligence front and center – mostly to compensate for missed trade shows and grounded field sales operations.”
I’ve followed the sales and marketing intelligence space for nearly two decades. The market developed in the United States with few European vendors (Bureau van Dijk being the exception). Often, it was US vendors such as OneSource, Factiva, and InsideView covering Europe as part of their global coverage . But over the past half decade, there has been a blossoming of European based sales and marketing intelligence solutions from
Not only are these vendors based in Europe, but they have a better understanding of the local datasets, regulatory requirements, and market nuances. Several are multi-lingual and carry local filings to serve financial services and compliance use cases.