Aberdeen Expands its Installed Tech Coverage

Aberdeen Group, which invested significantly in reviving the technology content of the former Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence database (aka AccessCI), announced the addition of twenty million technology installs across five million companies to their coverage.  Data is available at both the enterprise and site level.

“We’re very excited to provide our customers with a whole new level of targeting information based on the combination of our proprietary analytics, and our new technology installation information,” said Aberdeen CEO Gary Skidmore. “Originating and curating this data, along with our already vast data set, gives us the kind of precision to be able to provide our customers insights that nobody else can.”

Lead Essentials Account Prospecting
Lead Essentials Account Prospecting

Aberdeen offers over one hundred analytic models which benefit from the improved data.  The content is available through its Lead Essentials service which combines account data and content in a single platform.  Thus, sales and marketing professionals can target active buyers and “engage them with relevant content trending within their category.”

The enhanced data is also available via a free Google Chrome browser extension Lead Essentials Lite.  The extension provides technology and footprint intelligence for the current website.  Other content includes contacts, buying centers, and purchasing plans.

“Our enhanced data set creates a whole ecosystem of data and content,” said Chief Data Officer Charlie Allieri. “For example, if our data analysts see a surge in installations of a particular type of technology at a certain company or category, they can create content about the best practices surrounding that technology. This represents a strategic change that lets us leverage all data points and business knowledge to provide more powerful marketing.”

Evolution of Sales Intelligence

Darwin's_finchesThe Sales Intelligence (SI) space has been undergoing some rapid change over the past year.  This evolution in functional scope and content sets has resulted in an expansion in the number of companies I cover as well as the categories (ABSD services, PE/VC funding databases).  There is also a movement of sales intelligence vendors into marketing intelligence as the traditional SIs look for additional revenue opportunities and a broader value proposition.

A year ago, Account Based Marketing (ABM) was discussed mostly by DemandBase, a top of the funnel programmatic marketing vendor, but the predictive analytics vendors and Zoominfo began discussing the methodology.  Thus, a year ago, ABM meant anti-ballistic missile or activity based management to all but the most well-versed marketers.  Now the term is commonly found in corporate blogs and collateral and has spawned ABSD (Account Based Software Development) which follows ABM down to the middle of the funnel in the sales development function.  There are now several ABSD vendors which I have begun to include in my newsletter including SalesLoft and QuotaFactory.  ABSD shifts the sales development focus away from “smile and dial” calling towards targeted messaging into a set of top prospects.  Since the prospecting activities are targeting higher value opportunities, there is a benefit to personalizing calls and emails.  SalesLoft refers to this activity as “sincerity at scale.”

What is even more impressive about SalesLoft and QuotaFactory is that they are both less than two years old and yet they have already grown in commercial stature to the point where they are building out partner ecosystems with traditional SIs and other vendors.  SalesLoft rolled out their Sales Development Cloud at their customer conference last month with nine partners including DiscoverOrg, InsideView, Datanyze, and Owler.  At the same time, QuotaFactory announced partnerships with Bedrock Data, Ambition, HG Data, and InsideView.

A second area of rapid growth is the technology sales intelligence vendors.  DiscoverOrg and RainKing have grown revenue and capabilities, transforming what was historically a sleepy niche into a significant sub-category.  Both vendors have posted high multi-year growth rates, internationalized their datasets, expanded their technology trigger events, and developed CRM and marketing automation connectors.  While they continue to gather rich profiles of IT execs, they are broadening their functional coverage to include non-IT functions that are significantly investing in IT cloud solutions such as marketing and finance.  DiscoverOrg is continuing this functional expansion with product management (the recently released TEDD dataset), HR, and Sales.  Furthermore, their databases, which once focused on the Fortune 1000, now cover nearly 50,000 top global companies and 700,000 executives.  Both firms announced significant funding events in the past six months.

Aberdeen Group, which was spun off of Harte-Hanks last year, has begun to invest in the AccessCI database.  Once the leading source of technology profiles and leads, the AccessCI (aka CiTDB and CITDS) dataset had received little investment from Harte-Hanks over the prior decade.  Under new ownership, the product is once again receiving management attention.

The SIs have also increased their coverage of technographicsAvention acquired SalesQuest two years ago and integrated their Crush profiles into their products while other vendors have licensed vendor/product data from HG Data or mined technographic intelligence.  HG Data has become so adept at collecting vendor/product data that DiscoverOrg and Aberdeen Group have begun licensing content from them.

Several firms that began as fundings databases found that Business Development was a logical extension of their value proposition and have since repositioned themselves as sales intelligence solutions.  Firms such as DataFox and Mattermark are focusing more on sales intelligence functionality while CB Insights has launched a sales intelligence solution (with technographics) while retaining its focus on the PE/VC space.

For the most part, the SIs have avoided the predictive analytics space.  The exceptions are Avention, which supports business signals and ideal profiles, and Radius which morphed  from an SMB SI into a predictive analytics company.  Meanwhile, the predictive analytics companies are beginning to offer a subset of SI features such as net-new leads.

Instead, the SIs have focused more on marketing analytics, data enrichment, and data hygiene which allows them to leverage their databases without investing in data scientists.  Dun & Bradstreet acquired NetProspex last year for its contact database and the Workbench cloud data hygiene platform.  They have also begun to offer Hoover’s concierge services including enrichment, segmentation reporting, and email delivery.  Avention launched its DataVision customer data platform earlier this year while Zoominfo, Data.com, and InsideView have placed equal weight upon marketing services and sales intelligence services.

Social Selling continues to be a core element of positioning for InsideView and LinkedIn Sales NavigatorArtesian Solutions, a UK vendor that is launching a US product later this year, also focuses on social selling.  A significant product gap across the SIs is the lack of social tools built into their offering.  I can understand why SIs have shied away from Who Knows Who tools (the exceptions are InsideView and DueDil), but it is perplexing why most SI vendors have only limited sets of social media links and little social media content displayed in their services.  Only InsideView, Artesian, and Owler have put much emphasis upon social media content.

Europe is also becoming a home of new services.  DueDil has evolved into a UK challenger to Avention and BvD Mint while IKO System and Sparklane (formerly Zebaz) have an established presence in France.

When I started my newsletter four years ago, many of the companies and products either had not been launched or weren’t on my radar.  I mostly focused on Avention, Hoover’s, InsideView, DiscoverOrg, BvD, Sales Genie, Data.com, and RainKing.  While these companies continue to innovate, much of the energy is coming from new entrants.  The rapid growth and diversity of sales intelligence functionality has been exciting to observe.

Credit: Darwin’s Finches are in the public domain.  Charles Darwin, 1845.

Freed from Harte-Hanks, the AccessCI Database May Become Relevant Again

Aberdeen Group CI Technology Database Infographic (Sept 2015)
Aberdeen Group CI Technology Database Infographic (Sept 2015)

Aberdeen Group, which was divested from Harte-Hanks earlier this year, announced a set of enhancements to the CI Technology Data Set (FKA Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence).  Upgrades include broader project and platform information, a trebling of contacts, expanded CI Pipeline alerts, and 300 tech focused “technology interest classifiers.”  The company claims to cover 90% of the global IT spend across 3 million global locations.

Aberdeen Group uses both human and machine verified processes to identify over $2 billion in technology focused IT Spend.  Purchase Plans are tracked at both the company and contact level.

The company added 5,000 new technologies to their tracking bringing the total to 8,878 installed technologies.  According to their press release, “combined with the insight surrounding captured IT spend, Aberdeen Group is now uniquely positioned to be the most accurate source of technology install and spend data in the world.”

Aberdeen has grown their contact coverage to ten million names across “every IT buying center important to technology sales, marketing, and business intelligence professionals.”  Contacts are combined in Elite Profiles along with IT Platform data and 520 additional variables.

Their CI Pipeline purchase monitoring solution delivers 3,000 net new in-market per month across 35 tech categories.

Aberdeen added a new set of 300 digital interest classifiers allowing users to research companies based upon both their digital and online profiles.

“Companies in the technology industry come to Aberdeen Group when they need a definitive answer about companies and contacts buying technology,” said Aberdeen Group CEO Gary Skidmore. “Our vast and growing technology data assets coupled with our unique data science and technology focused content offer technology executives with insight and assets they can’t find in any other industry source. Our goal is to make it easy for the technology industry to know where to go when they require answers and action surrounding the technology buyer.”

Aberdeen Group did not name their partners, but the intent file sounds like Bombora’s.  HG Data lists Aberdeen Group as a partner on their site.

Over the past year, Harte-Hanks has also signed deals with Dun & Bradstreet and Data.com to deliver their file over D&B and Data.com’s Data Exchanges.

Under Harte-Hanks, the CI Technology database fell from market leadership due to limited investment and marketing.  DiscoverOrg and RainKing attacked the market with higher quality, top company databases tied into CRM and Marketing Automation platforms while the HHMI solution remained fairly static.  Fifteen years ago they would have led any technology intelligence list, but they would now struggle to make many vendor shortlists.  These enhancements suggest that the new owners are investing in the database and looking to take DiscoverOrg and RainKing.