IDG Acquires LeadSift

Technology media company IDG Communications acquired Halifax-based intent data vendor LeadSift.  LeadSift identifies a daily digest of in-market leads, “allowing B2B marketers to craft the appropriate messaging for outreach and sales follow-up resulting in robust new business opportunities.”

Over the past eighteen months, IDG has been assembling elements of a MarTech solution, having acquired

  • Triblio – Acquired in 2020, The Triblio ABM platform supports account-based advertising, website personalization, sales activation, orchestration, and intent-based audiences.  Triblio is integrated with Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Salesloft.  In addition, Triblio recently added a Smart Score that employs AI for account prioritization.  The Smart Score uses first and third-party intent, website activity, and CRM data “to identify what accounts should be prioritized for sales outreach.”
  • KickFire – Acquired in September, KickFire provides a cookieless, privacy-compliant visitor id service (first-party intent) that de-anonymizes website traffic at the account level and enriches it with firmographics.
  • LeadSift – LeadSift captures third-party, cookieless intent data at the account and contact level.  Each week it captures 80 million intent signals.  The LeadSift database spans 20 million companies and 30 million contacts.  Customers can create custom triggers based on keywords, job postings, and competitor names.

KickFire and LeadSift are complementary intent services. KickFire identifies in-market buyers on a company website, and LeadSift determines which companies are in-market based on B2B media search activities.

IDG also recently launched a second-party intent data service called IDG Neon that leverages B2B Media interactions with “verified data from personal interactions with technology audiences across events, conversations, and surveys.”  Intent data is gathered from the nearly 45 million global B2B technology purchasers and influencers registered across its proprietary network of digital tech publications.

Neon captures branded conversations, event attendance, roundtable participation, conversations with event sponsors, and individuals posing questions at event sessions.  This level of “deeper engagement” indicates “stronger intent.”

IDG brands include CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld, and Tech Hive.

“Expectations of tech marketers have never been higher as the technology landscape continues to become more competitive.  By positioning IDG at the intersection of media and MarTech, we help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets.  LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

IDG Communications President Kumaran Ramanathan

“The buying journey for B2B technology purchases are extremely complex and involve multiple decision-makers,” said LeadSift co-founder Sreejata Chatterjee.  “Having a view into those intent signals at the contact level provides a massive competitive advantage and directs your sales team to engage with the right buyers at the right time.”

LeadSift was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2012, focusing on “mining information from public web sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.”   They were an early proponent of intent data, recognizing its value before it became a core element of ABM programs.

“It is obvious the company that has the most depth and breadth of data wins the B2B demand generation space,” wrote Das and Chatterjee to their customers.  “IDG.com being the #1 Tech Media company with troves of proprietary first-party intent-data across event attendance, engagement with editorial articles, branded conversations, and human-verified insights has a massive head start.  Imagine how scalable and actionable our intent signals will be once we integrate our 3rd-party real-time web-based intent signals with this proprietary first-party intent data stream.”

IDG, based in Boston, provides LeadSift with global reach and access to enterprise customers.  It also offers complementary intent data sets and the Triblio marketing platform for activating the intent datasets.

“3rd-party intent data is one piece (albeit a very important one) of the overall B2B marketing and demand generation puzzle,” continued Das and Chatterjee.  “But what if you could know all the information about your first-party web visitors (IDG | KickFire), cross-reference and prioritize them with 3rd-party intent signals (LeadSift + IDG proprietary first-party data), activate them seamlessly across digital channels (IDG | Triblio), and run highly targeted lead generation programs, all from one single dashboard!”

IDG sees itself at the intersection of media and MarTech.  However, it is not the only tech media vendor playing this angle. For example, TechTarget and Ziff Davis also combine B2B media assets, events (TechTarget’s are digital), multiple categories of intent data, and activation platforms.

“IDG’s goal of moving to the intersection of media and MarTech is to help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets,” stated Ramanathan.  “LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

Account-level intent starts at $12,000 per year. 

Last week, they launched LeadSift 360, a contact-level intent service that supports both keyword and research-based intent signals gathered from over five data sources.  LeadSift360 starts at $30,000 per year. IDG did not disclose deal terms.  LeadSift’s management and staff of fifteen will continue to operate in Halifax.

LeadSift Growing Despite Pandemic

Just before the pandemic hit, Canadian behavioral intent vendor LeadSift hit $1 million in revenue with a 6% per month growth rate.  As the firm began to absorb the recession, CEO Tukan Das adopted a policy of radical transparency with his team, providing them with daily updates on the company’s status and letting them know they had cash in the bank to avoid layoffs.

“I would say we have navigated COVID pretty well. Fortunately, we were in a position where there’s more of a tailwind in our industry, with more data needed, and data specifically for helping other B2B companies identify their buyers.”

LeadSift CEO Tukan Das

The firm did take an initial 8% revenue hit, but it is now growing at a 5% a month, bringing their run rate above pre-pandemic levels.

“When COVID hit…a lot of companies just went into a little bit of a freeze,” said Das.  “Some of our customers were B2B companies in the travel and event management space, and some of them, their whole marketing teams were fired.  So they obviously had to pause any other spend.”

The end of trade shows meant the loss of some customers, but they went on the offensive and added technographics as an alternative source of technology-specific leads.  LeadSift also added a full-time marketing manager and part-time social media manager, bringing their headcount to 14 (two part-time).  The firm is profitable.

LeadSift also worked a deal with Halifax-based Innovacorp to deliver six months of intent data to Nova Scotian firms at no charge, with Innovacorp picking up half the foregone revenue.

LeadSift is developing a new control panel for delivering intent data and technographics to its customers.  The new platform will support additional analytics and customization.  The Q4 platform release will be more scalable and will provide administrators with greater control over which companies and topics are to be tracked.

LeadSift generates intent data via web scraping across company websites, blogs, job boards, social channels, SEC filings, etc.  LeadSift looks for public actions such as likes, comments, job postings, executive hires, and technology implementations.  It then associates these events with contacts.

The LeadSift company universe spans 40 million contacts associated with 8 million companies and domains.  Contacts include emails with twenty percent also providing direct-dial phones.  LeadSift contacts are GDPR compliant.  The company universe focuses on English-speaking countries.

LeadSift Head of Growth Alex Field views their event intent data as complementary to other intent data sources, with LeadSift helping verify other intent signals such as visitor intelligence or third-party media site visits.  LeadSift scores accounts based on persona (who is active), event type, event recency, and size of the company.  These scores can be combined with other intent scores to provide greater confidence around buyer intent.

Leads are fed daily to CRMs and MAPs, including Salesforce, Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua.  Pricing begins at $1,000 per month for company-level intent and $1,500 per month for contact-level intent. Das is not looking for his next funding round but isn’t ruling it out.  “We are going to be opportunistic.  If we continue to grow at the rate we are, even during COVID, if we see an opportunity and the terms are right, we would certainly consider raising capital. But it’s not something where I’m saying, ‘We need to raise capital or we are going to run out of money.’”