2020 Sales & Marketing Trends

With the pandemic and recession, the sales intelligence and B2B data space held up well.  Most of the vendors I speak with indicate an increasing demand for sales and marketing intelligence and B2B DaaS offerings.  In January and February, I’ll be reporting on those numbers.

As part of my annual trends analysis, I put together a list of the top events and trends in our space this year:

  1. COVID: Sales & Marketing Intelligence continued to grow during the pandemic as sales and marketing needed to pivot to new verticals, reach the buying team working from home, and double down on segments that benefited from or had limited impact from the pandemic.
  2. Zoominfo: $ZI had a very successful June IPO and acquired Clickagy (intent) and Everstring (firmographics).
  3. Dun & Bradstreet: $DNB was taken public 18 months after being taken private.  The firm has regained some swagger through acquisitions.  They began the year with Orb Intelligence (firmographics) and closed it with Bisnode (Central European partner).  Dun & Bradstreet also launched several new B2B S&M offerings (D&B Intent, D&B Connect, D&B ABM, D&B Analytics) and expanded its contact acquisition process with the Outlook-based D&B Email IQ.
  4. Intent Data: Intent data has become the hottest content set in the B2B space as firms move to integrate multiple categories of intent within sales and marketing workflows.  Zoominfo, Dun & Bradstreet, and TechTarget all enhanced or announced integrated intent data offerings with custom models.  TechTarget’s acquisition of BrightTALK and Spiceworks Ziff Davis of Aberdeen are also partially motivated by intent datasets.
  5. European Vendors: The European market is growing rapidly, with UK vendors extending their services across the EU (e.g., Global Database, Rhetorik) and Continental vendors entering the UK (e.g., Echobot, Vainu).
  6. Consolidation: Market consolidation stalled in H1, but by Q4, there were weekly M&A announcements with several other deals rumored to be in the works in Q1.
  7. Data Privacy: CCPA was implemented in California, and the EU Court of Justice struck down the EU-US Safe Harbor (Privacy Shield) agreement, forcing companies to restrict EU data flows into the US.
  8. Spiceworks Ziff Davis: SWZD acquired Aberdeen, positioning it as a competitor in both intent data and technographics.  Spiceworks Ziff Davis has the potential to copy TechTarget’s model.

My Trends Analysis runs over 100 slides. It includes a 90-minute phone consult and is available for purchase.

Zoominfo IPO

Zoominfo had a successful IPO on Thursday after raising its initial price from $16 – $18 to $21.  Shares opened at $40 and closed the day at $34, an increase of 62% over the IPO price.  Friday, goosed by the market rise following positive unemployment figures, Zoominfo rose to $38.89.  

Zoominfo raised nearly $935 million on the IPO and has a market capitalization of $14.8 billion.  It is trading on the NASDAQ under ticker ZI.

Zoominfo (FKA DiscoverOrg) has been a rocket ship, growing revenue both organically and inorganically.  DiscoverOrg made the Inc 5000 list for the past nine years (and would easily qualify for the 2020 list), and Zoominfo was on the list for seven years before being acquired by DiscoverOrg.

The firm began as a hand-crafted profiler of top companies.  When I first met CEO Henry Schuck over a dozen years ago, DiscoverOrg covered 1,300 companies and 20,000 contacts.  While the coverage was limited, the profiles contained rich information for named account reps, including emails, direct-dial phones, org charts, technographics, and biographies.  All of this intelligence was hand-researched and reverified every 90 days.  Users could download the profiles as PDFs and build exportable prospecting lists.  Over the next few years, they grew the data set, added Inside Scoops, and a wide set of enterprise software connectors.

DiscoverOrg grew organically until three years ago when it began acquiring competitors.  The first acquisition was iProfile, a firm where Schuck worked in college, followed by RainKing a year later.  The iProfile deal was small, but RainKing was their top competitor in the technology sales intelligence space.  The RainKing and iProfile datasets were quickly reverified by the editorial team and merged into the DiscoverOrg database.  RainKing provided DiscoverOrg with additional sales reps, around $35 million in additional revenue, and an expanded editorial team.

In February 2019, DiscoverOrg acquired Zoominfo, a contact-centric vendor with a deep set of emails and direct-dial phones.  The acquisition greatly increased DiscoverOrg’s coverage of companies and contacts and provided additional data collection tools (signature-block mining, NLP data gathering, and Datanyze technographics) to supplement the editorial team.

DiscoverOrg quickly moved to merge the two companies and launched a new platform only seven months later.  Not only did it support much of the key content and functionality of the legacy platforms, but it also served as the basis of new capabilities such as Workflows (trigger-based campaign deployment) and WebSights (visitor intelligence).  

Bringing that much functionality to the market on a new platform in under a year was quite impressive.  Based upon new product launches and re-platforming at competitors, I would have anticipated over a year for just the initial consolidated platform launch and another year of “fit-and-finish” work where missing features are supported but few new capabilities are addressed.  The firm even completed two tuck-ins in 2019 (NeverBounce email verification and Komiko Inbox AI).

Zoominfo now covers 14 million global businesses and 120 million business professionals.  “We’ve built a robust engine of millions of unique sources that come into a machine learning and artificial intelligence engine that’s making decisions every day about what to publish or not publish in our platform,” Schuck explained to Jim Cramer before the market opening.  The data is “constantly changing” as companies grow and shrink, hire new employees, upgrade their technology, open new locations, and launch new products.  

“That machine learning engine that we’ve built, that artificial intelligence, is keeping track of all of those changes across billions of data points in real-time and at scale.  And that is how we’re able to bring those insights to our 15,000 customers.”

CEO Henry Schuck on CNBC

When the new platform was rolled out in September, DiscoverOrg chose to rebrand as Zoominfo after the firm determined that it was easier to build brand perception than brand presence.

“I feel really good about the IPO,” said co-founder and CEO Henry Schuck.  “I feel even better about the company we built.  If we can continue on the foundation we’ve built, we can be a successful foundation stock for our shareholders.”

Due to the pandemic, the traditional stock market bell-ringing event was not held.  Instead, a virtual livestream bell ringing was displayed in Times Square.

“You expect to be in New York City at the Nasdaq building with the 60 people who helped you build the company,” said Schuck.  “We took an event that 60 people would be part of and made it an event that all 1,300 employees could be a part of.”

The Times Square screen also displayed, “Together, We Stand.  Divided, We Fall.  Stop the Hate.  Zoominfo.”

NASDAQ Building on June 4, 2020 marking the Zoominfo IPO.

The successful IPO “gives our company a bigger brand name and voice,” said Schuck.

According to the Oregonian, Zoominfo is now the second-highest valued firm in the Portland, Oregon area, trailing only Nike.

Manoj Ramnani, CEO of competitor SalesIntel, called the successful IPO both a market and product validation, noting that Zoominfo owns only 2% of its $24 billion TAM.  It also demonstrates the power of persistence.

“ZoomInfo has been in the market for a while.  They have gone through numerous acquisitions and have painstakingly scaled their business.  I know firsthand what it takes to build and scale a B2B data company, kudos to them.  The point is, success doesn’t come overnight. They have worked hard, and it has paid off,” complimented Ramnani.

Zoominfo Reaffirms IPO Plans

I have put together a detailed analysis of Zoominfo as it prepares for its IPO. The analysis is based upon twenty years of experience in the Sales & Marketing Intelligence Space, the past eight as an independent analyst.

Topics include an Overview, COVID Impact, Risks, Market Overview, Key Industry Trends, Content & Functionality, Growth Strategy Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Key Events. The 100+ slide presentation is bundled with a phone consult. If you are interested in licensing the analysis, please contact me.

I also publish a weekly subscription newsletter which covers Sales & Marketing, B2B DaaS, and B2B Data. Here is my article on the planned IPO:


Zoominfo reaffirmed its plans to IPO, possibly launching a virtual roadshow next month.  In Q1 2020, revenue nearly doubled to $102 million year-over-year.  The firm also significantly reduced its losses to $5.9 million in Q1 compared to $40.2 million in Q1 2019.  

Losses were driven by debt, much of it associated with the Zoom Information acquisition in February 2019.  EBITDA rose 55%, year-over-year, to $51 million in Q1.  At the end of Q1, long-term debt stood at $1,238.8 million.

Zoominfo included Annualized Contract Value (ACV) data in its amended prospectus.  They likely wanted to emphasize that they are doing well during the recession, and revenue figures, which are a trailing indicator of sales success at subscription services, were not going to make that case as strongly as the ACV data.

ACV grew 87% year-over-year in April, with the customer base now above 15,000.  As revenue is recognized over the life of a subscription contract, ACV increases precede revenue growth.  Prepaid subscription revenue is displayed as a Balance Sheet liability that is reversed over the lifetime of each deal.  

Paid users rose to 202,000.

Net ACV growth remains strong, with ACV increasing $9.9 million in March and $10.4 million in April.  The April growth was their best first month of any quarter, surpassing October 2019 by ten percent.

The number of customers with ACV greater than or equal to $100,000 grew from 580 on December 31, 2019, to 630 on March 31, 2020.  Over 25% of ACV is tied to multi-year contracts.

The size and date of the IPO were not disclosed.  In February, a placeholder value of $500 million was provided.  The Zoominfo NASDAQ ticker will be ZI.

“Because of our largely subscription-based business model, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be fully reflected in our results of operations and overall financial condition until future periods, if at all.”

Zoominfo Amended S-1, May 11, 2020

As the original S-1 was released before COVID-19 hit the US, this week’s amended prospectus contained the first mention of COVID as a business risk.  The pandemic has disrupted global business and could negatively impact Zoominfo’s stock price.  Zoominfo listed retail, restaurants, hospitality, airlines, oil, and gas as affected industries.  While none of these segments are part of their ICP (except for possibly their NeverBounce email verification subsidiary), they will be negatively impacted in recruitment (roughly ten percent of revenue) and event management.  Zoominfo lists recruitment as a targeted job function for ongoing development.

Furthermore, Zoominfo’s strategy is to expand beyond its moat of technology firms into broader sales intelligence and marketing services.  The recession reduces the number of favorable segments for executing this expansion strategy.

Zoominfo lists its Total Addressable Market (TAM) at $24 billion with a 2% penetration rate.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect we will experience slowed growth or decline in new customer demand for our platform and lower demand from our existing customers for upgrades within our platform, as well as existing and potential customers reducing or delaying purchasing decisions.”

Zoominfo Amended S-1, May 11, 2020

A secondary impact of the pandemic and subsequent recession is increased buyer negotiating power.  Customers are expecting more significant discounts and more favorable contract terms.  They are also asking for early contract terminations and waivers of payment obligations.

However, Zoominfo’s core business is reasonably well protected from the recession.  In 2019, 39% of their ACV was generated in the software industry and 29% in business services.  These segments are less exposed than retail, travel, hospitality, and energy.  Software has heavily shifted to subscription models over the past few years, making revenue less volatile.  While their core industries are subject to layoffs in revenue operations, Zoominfo offers multiple features that make sales and marketing more efficient and effective in reaching WFH buying committee members.  Features and content sets that support WFH outreach include direct-dial and mobile numbers, org charts, deep contacts across the organization, data as a service for enriching and updating enterprise software platforms, the ReachOut Chrome plug-in, ICP/TAM tools, technographics, Scoops (sales triggers), Bombora intent data, and executive change alerts.  

New services such as Form Complete (web forms), WebSights (visitor intelligence), Komiko InboxAI (email insights), and Workflows (triggered sequences) help with collecting and enriching activity data.

Zoominfo, which has significant operations in Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Israel, has fully transitioned to remote employment.  They have also implemented travel restrictions and shifted to virtual event marketing.


Continue on to a post-IPO follow-up article.

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.

Market Insights Newsletter Splits in Half

This was one of the two weeks a year that I take off from writing my Market Insights Newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that I’m splitting the newsletter into two newsletters.  When I started writing the Market Insights Newsletter back in 2012, it focused on Sales Intelligence, Social Selling, and B2B DaaS.  Since then, B2B DaaS has increased greatly in importance, and I’ve added adjacent topics including Sales Engagement Platforms, data privacy / compliance, ABM, and Customer Data Platforms.  The result was a doubling in the length of the newsletter and an increase in the frequency that articles were bumped.  Some features are often bumped for a month or longer due to length.

In August, I took my summer vacation, but there was no August news break.  It took me a few months to catch up on announcements from that week.  This led me to the realization that I needed to split my newsletter in half to improve both topical focus and story currency.  The split will also allow me to profile more startups.

Most of my readers will continue to receive a Sales Intelligence (SI) newsletter which covers

  • Sales Intelligence
  • B2B DaaS
  • Data Hygiene
  • ABM
  • B2B Data (Companies, Contacts, Intent, Technographics, and Triggers)
  • Customer Data Platforms
  • Compliance (GDPR, CCPD, KYC, AML, PEP)

The SI edition of Market Insights will continue to publish on Sundays.

The new Sales Engagement (SE) newsletter covers

  • Sales Engagement Platforms
  • Hybrid Engagement Platforms (Sales Intelligence + ICP / TAM + Sales Engagement)
  • Sales Engagement Platform Ecosystem (e.g. Chat, Video, Attribution, Meeting Management, Analytics)
  • Sales Enablement

The SE edition will publish on Mondays.

Contact me if you’d like to be set up with a trial edition of either newsletter. I offer SMB pricing for startups, so don’t assume that I am unaffordable like other analyst services.

MarTech Industry Grows to 7,040

MarTech Growth Rate chart courtesy of Scott Brinker and Chief Martech
MarTech growth rate chart courtesy of Scott Brinker and Chief Martech

Scott Brinker published his 2019 Chief Martech eye chart and it now spans 7,040 companies, up 211 since last year.  While the industry continues to grow, the rate of growth appears to have moderated.  Between 2014 and 2018, the industry was adding over 1,000 companies each year with the biggest jump for the 2018 chart (1,800).  

The super-graphic is available to the public and may be reprinted at up to 1600 x 900.  Brinker has also made a spreadsheet available.

“That’s not so much a slowing down as a flattening out, a plateau,” said Brinker.  “At face value, it would seem that, indeed, we have achieved ‘peak martech.’ (pause for dramatic effect)”

While industry growth may have plateaued, Brinker admitted that 7,040 significantly underestimates the total number of Martech firms and joked that he may have hit “peak martech landscape.”  Brinker noted five areas where his chart is underweighted:

  • Regionally – When comparing to national MarTech landscapes, Brinker spotted hundreds of companies on the UK, Canadian, Chinese, German, Swedish, and Finnish country charts that were absent on the 2019 Chief Martech chart.
  • Vertical – Likewise, verticalized solutions are also underrepresented.
  • Apps built for specific MarTech platform ecosystems
  • Apps built by services companies (but packaged as products)
  • Apps built with low-code/no-code citizen developer platforms

“Each of these trends — the growth of platform ecosystems, the blending of software and services businesses, and the rise of citizen developer platforms — are birthing whole new galaxies of martech apps.

The major marketing suites have all embraced becoming true marketing platforms, with ever more open APIs and official marketplaces for third-party apps.”

Brinker lists Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft, and G Suite amongst the platform ecosystems, but one would also include browser extensions, mobile apps, and sales engagement platforms (technically, SalesTech, but there is a fair amount of overlap between MarTech and SalesTech these days) to the list.  Brinker noted that WordPress has 54,480 plugins.

Audience / Marketing Data & Data Enhancement (2018 MarTech Landscape)
Audience / Marketing Data & Data Enhancement (2018 MarTech Landscape)

Many of the DaaS and Sales Intelligence vendors covered in this newsletter are amongst the 204 vendors listed in the Audience / Marketing Data & Data Enrichment category and the 457 vendors listed in the Sales Automation Enablement & Intelligence grouping.

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.

Data Quality in 2018

NetProspex WorkBench Value Proposition
D&B Optimizer (FKA Workbench) Value Proposition

 

As we are one month away from the new year, it is a good time to think about budgeting for data quality in 2018.

I know it isn’t glamorous, but that doesn’t mean it is unnecessary.

Data Quality software is markedly improved over the past few years.  No longer is it necessary to download and forward a file to a vendor and wait for them to process your marketing file.  Sales and Marketing Operations can now setup automated cloud cleansing that works within Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and other enterprise applications.  B2B vendors to consider include Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Zoominfo, and ReachForce.

These platforms perform both initial batch match & append and ongoing enrichment, ensuring that your sales and marketing files have both accurate and complete data.  These services also support company and contact prospecting, data health reports, suppression lists, and segmentation reporting.  A few even offer free data quality reports, deduplication, technographic enrichment, nixie files (defunct companies and departed exec files), web form support, sales intelligence services, and contact verification and standardization (e.g. address, phone, and email) for non-matched records.

As these services reside in the cloud and offer cloud connectors for the major MAPs and CRMs, the operational overhead is minimal allowing operations to focus on ABM look-a-likes, segmentation, and improved targeting instead of file management.

What’s more, data quality improvements benefit sales, marketing, and downstream systems.  A record cleansed and verified as it is created costs much less than a bad record passed down to other enterprise platforms.  Beyond direct cost reduction (storing bad data, marketing to departed execs, sales calls to abandoned voicemails, reduced time keying and updating records manually), there are improvements to segmentation, targeting, lead scoring, lead routing, and messaging.

So budget for data quality in 2018.  It isn’t glamorous, but it is effective.

The ReachForce Contact Enrichment Summary Report.
The ReachForce Contact Enrichment Summary Report.

DueDil: New Chairman, Expanded Coverage

DueDil Group Graph for Spotify
DueDil Group Graph for Spotify

DueDil, which provides financial research and sales intelligence services for the UK and Europe, named Alan Millard as its Chairman.  Millard is a consultant for the Table Group and has worked with CEOs and executives at IBM, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, SABmiller, and GSK.  Previously, Millard was the COO at Hiscox UK and CEO of its subsidiary Hiscox Underwriting.

“Alan is helping us transition from a founder led team to an executive led organization,” said DueDil founder and CEO Damian Kimmelman.  “He brings with him the eye of the customer which is so critical as we scale. I am honoured to have him on board guiding our global ambitions.”

DueDil recently expanded its database beyond the UK and Ireland to provide company coverage of France, Germany, Benelux, and the Nordics.  However, they are already talking about a true global dataset to rival Dun & Bradstreet and Bureau van Dijk.  By the end of the year, they expect to offer pan-European coverage and begin to extend their reach to additional global markets.  Thus, their database will grow from 11 million companies at the beginning of the year to 40 million companies in March and 100 million by the end of the year.  Their goal is to be the “largest source of private company information in the world,” said COO Justin Fitzpatrick.

“A more open business world is essential to global growth and prosperity. DueDil is already the largest and richest source of private company information in the U.K., and one of the largest in Europe. We are on an incredible journey to cover over 200 million companies globally by the end of 2018. I am excited to be part of a company that genuinely improves the business landscape and encourages growth and trade,” said Millard.

“Our mission at DueDil is to create the largest source of private company information to help businesses to find opportunity and mitigate risk,” stated DueDil CRO Pierre Berlin at DueDil’s recent Spotlight user conference.  “We help businesses in the digital transformation.  Leveraging it by transforming the business relationship with the key stakeholder in the organization.  Our value proposition at DueDil is to make your business more agile [and] resilient, by providing access to the richest information on the company that matters to you.”

According to Fitzpatrick, DueDil will accomplish their mission via superior data, new insight, and automation.

Along with expanded geographic coverage, DueDil is extending its Know Your Customer (KYC) checks to include beneficial ownership, UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) registration data, and adverse media coverage.  According to the FCA, it “regulates and supervises the conduct of more than 50,000 firms in the UK that provide financial products and services to both UK and international customers.”

In March, DueDil also announced an upgraded API that supports a host of functions including opportunity identification, risk mitigation, auto-populating sign up forms, data enrichment, and verifying credentials during customer onboarding.

The API also supports a new partnership with consumer information vendor CallCredit.  The partners “will offer an integrated solution for verifying a business and the people who run it,” said DueDil Product Marketing Manager Sam Hockley.  Initially the consumer information will only be available via the DueDil API.

Coincidentally, Dun & Bradstreet announced a Beneficial Ownership product a few weeks ago.

Market Insights News

Market Insights Newsletter (January 22, 2017)
Market Insights Newsletter (January 22, 2017)

One of the services I provide to vendors is a weekly newsletter called Market Insights which covers the Sales Intelligence, Data as a Service (DaaS), Data Hygiene, and Predictive Analytics markets.  I’ve been writing it since mid-2012 and continue to expand my coverage of Sales and Marketing Intelligence.

Year one, I had four clients, all located in the United States.  Three were in the Sales Intelligence space and one was in Data Hygiene so my focus was on those segments plus DaaS, a key delivery channel.  But predictive analytics was beginning to compete with the SI firms so I folded it into my coverage in 2013.

By 2015, Account Based Marketing and Account Based Sales Development were hot topics so they joined my topic list.  I was also covering many more sales intelligence companies outside of the United States.  On the DaaS side, Marketing Automation Platform and Chrome Connectors have become much more prominent in my coverage.  I’ve also added coverage of intent vendors and sales engagement platforms.

And interest in my little newsletter has grown to over two dozen paid clients including firms in the UK, France, Israel, Germany, and India.  This list now includes content vendors that market their databases to the sales intelligence, hygiene, and predictive analytics vendors.

What I’m most proud of is that eight of the top nine sales intelligence vendors in North America are now newsletter clients along with three of the top four UK vendors.

Please contact me If you are interested in a free trial subscription to Market Insights.