CrunchBase Launches Marketplace Partner Ecosystem

SimilarWeb Web Traffic Analysis within Crunchbase Pro.
SimilarWeb Web Traffic Analysis within Crunchbase Pro.

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.

Sales Navigator Q1 18: Revised Account Profiles

LinkedIn redesigned its Account Page display as part of their Q1 2018 release.
LinkedIn redesigned its Account Profile display as part of their Q1 2018 release.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator formally announced their Q1 release last week. The new functionality, which is rolling out to admins and trainers first, will be unveiled to sales reps over the next few weeks. The release focuses on a redesigned Account page, but also includes self-service seat transfers, new sales email alerts, seniority preferences, and additional SNAP partners.

LinkedIn describes the refreshed Account page as “the most efficient way to get the information you need about your accounts.”

The new company profile page is laid out in a series of sections:

  • Company Summary – a company overview with employee count, industry, revenue, short description, URL, location, and contact information. The section also supports Add Tags, Add Notes, and Save Account functionality.
  • People Tab – three categories of people intelligence: saved leads, recommended leads, and connections into the account. The saved leads section is displayed in a list format with headshot, title, connections, geography, and recent activity. Recommended leads may be filtered by spotlights such as job changes, mentioned in the news, recent LinkedIn posts, shared experiences, and company followers. Recommended leads highlights job changes, news mentions, recent LinkedIn posts, shared experiences, and company followers. Connections are broken into three strata: first degree connections, TeamLink (co-workers) connections, and alumni connections based on the user’s college or university.
  • News & Insights Tab – company insights related to news mentions, LinkedIn posts, and executive hires. The section also includes recent headcount growth by department.
  • Head Count Growth – the headcount growth data has been available to premium users in core LinkedIn for over a year, but finally made it into Sales Navigator (see image on right). Employee estimates found in sales intelligence vendors are often difficult to obtain or out of date. LinkedIn has access to probably the most reliable employee analytics on the market. Not only can they provide current headcount data, but they also include this data by eight job functions (Art & Design, Business Development, Engineering, HR, IT, Operations, Program & Project Management, an Sales) and the change at the departmental and corporate level over the past six months, year, and two years. This data is invaluable to sales reps as they can determine the mix of employees by function at the firm, whether hiring has accelerated or decelerated over the past few months, and even which departments are hiring. Not only does this data provide talking points, but an acceleration or deceleration in hiring is a valuable signal in assessing whether a pipeline deal is likely to move forward or stall.Sales reps should be careful about taking LinkedIn employee counts as gospel. While the data is more accurate than other sources, it is likely to lag M&A activity and layoffs as members update their profiles. Thus, hiring (except for embargoed executive changes awaiting press release) will be more quickly reflected than layoffs. Employees of acquired firms may be slow to update their profiles, particularly if their subsidiary retains its brand. As such, the trend data is probably more important than the displayed employee count.For private investors and competitive intelligence professionals, the head count data can be invaluable for comparing peers and evaluating growth and hiring patterns across a segment.

    Unfortunately, Sales Navigator does not yet display all of the employment analytics found in the LinkedIn service so sales reps may still wish to toggle between the core LinkedIn service and Sales Navigator to review New Hires data, Notable Company Alumni, and the Total Job Openings analysis.

  • Recent Senior Management Hires – The Recent Hires section lists Directors and higher that recently joined the firm. Both current and previous roles are displayed along with tenure in the current position. New hires may be saved as Leads without leaving the page.
  • People Also Viewed – This section lists similar companies which were viewed after the current account. While the firms may be in the same industry, this section could include partners, companies from which the firm has hired key execs, vendors, etc. Each company includes a logo, employee range, industry, and location. The companies may be saved as Accounts without leaving the page.

New content includes an expanded set of revenue estimates, headcount growth data, the Saved Leads module, Spotlights and Insights in the Recommended Leads module, alumni in the Connections module, and recent senior management hires. Previously, only public companies had revenue data, but LinkedIn is beginning to build out revenue estimates for private companies with at least $1 billion in revenue. LinkedIn plans on building down these estimates to smaller companies.

“Our redesigned account page experience streamlines the process of landing new accounts or building relationships within existing accounts, by giving you the information you need, when you need it.  Now you can better understand whether the account is a good match, who you should be targeting, and how you can get a warm introduction.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

This is the first in a series of blogs discussing the Q1 2018 Sales Navigator release.  Part two discusses additional enhancements.

Boardroom Insiders Adds List Building

Boardroom Insiders can now build lists of C-level Executives.
Boardroom Insiders can now build lists of C-level Executives.

Boardroom Insiders, an editorially driven executive profile company, added build a list prospecting to its subscription service. The new feature supports firmographic and biographic selections against their 15,000 executive profiles. Users can download one or multiple executives from the list as a PDF.

“After a decade of researching C-Level executives, we have built an extremely robust repository of executive insight—both personal and business-related.  Our new search tool unlocks the power of that insight in a very significant way.  Subscribers can now easily execute these very specific searches in seconds. You simply will not find this capability anywhere else—and to replicate this type of research from scratch on your own would be both cost- and time-prohibitive.”

  • Boardroom Insiders CEO Sharon Gillenwater

Boardroom Insiders provides very rich executive profiles that go beyond those found in other executive sources such as LinkedIn. “Our forte is in providing deep insight on a relatively small group of C-level executives to support very important opportunities, CXO meetings, events, and large account ABM efforts,” said Gillenwater. Profiles may run a few thousand words and include an Executive Summary, Personal Attributes and Interests, Current Focus, Biographical Highlights, Other Boards and Organizations. Users also have access to a headshot, social media links, and contact information.

All of the bios are maintained by editors with a minimum of ten years of business journalism or management consulting experience. If a bio has not been updated in the past six months, a user can request a refresh. Boardroom Insiders also maintains bios for executives in transition and then updates them when executives land at new organizations.

While LinkedIn is often seen as the go to source of biographies, a DiscoverOrg survey found that 25% of top-level executives do not maintain LinkedIn bios. “LinkedIn is an essential tool, but the profiles are unpredictable, limited in strategic insight, and biased,” said Gillenwater. “Boardroom Insiders is rich with strategic insight, unbiased, and provides the full professional story of the key decision maker you are calling on.”

DueDil: Interactive Lists, Ownership Selects, Webforms, & Compliance Checks

DueDil Interactive List Segmentation Analysis
DueDil Interactive List Segmentation Analysis

European company research firm DueDil rolled out a set of enhancements spanning list building, list analytics, compliance validation, and their API. DueDil’s products are used for sales intelligence, company research, and onboarding Know Your Client (KYC) / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance checks.

DueDil added four Ownership search filters to assist with targeting firms with concentrated shareholdings “ripe for takeover.”  The new screens include Total Shareholding Count, Individuals Count, Companies Count, and Shareholder Name.

The firm rolled out interactive lists which build upon their list capabilities.  “Interactive List Reports offer a unique way of mapping whitespace and identifying new prospects, based on high-performing segments identified in a List Report,” said Product Marketing Manager Sam Hockley.  “By accessing a customer list in Report view, common traits and trends are visualised, and the characteristics of quality customers can be easily identified.”

Users can now view any List Report segment in Advanced Search, surfacing the companies and related criteria.  Users can drill down on segments to research anomalies or focus on size brackets within the list. The functionality can also be used to display similar companies while suppressing the original list, providing a tool for expanding the pool of ABM candidates.

Both the browser and API now support compliance checks including Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), sanctions, fraud warnings, and adverse media.  These checks are part of standard KYC / AML onboarding steps.  The Adverse Media Check includes Gazette Status (receivership, shuttering a business) and County Court Judgments.  Politically Exposed Persons lists identify government officials and close family members to flag funds which could be related to bribes, kickbacks, and money laundering.  Sanctions lists flag individuals associated with terrorism, trafficking, and money laundering.

“Conducting these checks with DueDil allows businesses to identify any and all linkages of corporate ownership and associated individuals. As a result, when a check is run against a specific entity, that check can be extended to all of these related parties, returning any flags or sanctions across the entire group. Advanced datasets reveal the ultimate beneficial owner of a business and enable checks for PEPs and any sanctions levied against a business,” said Hockley.

DueDil performs KYC/AML checks against both businesses and individuals.  People checks are performed in conjunction with Callcredit.

DueDil also recently launched API support for webform auto-population and enrichment.

Your Biggest Competitor is No Decision

Back when I was a product manager, I used to conduct sales training classes.  I often opened up the session by asking the question, “Who is your biggest competitor?”  The reps invariably listed a company or two they had heard over the prior day and a half of training.  Even seasoned reps would answer the question incorrectly.

Unless you are in a duopoly or there is a competitor that controls half the market, your biggest competitor is probably NO DECISION.  Either the purchasing decision is kicked down the road or no funding is found.  It may also be that the opportunity was poorly qualified to begin with.

Sales reps no longer control the conversation due to the informed buyer who leverages the Internet and social media in order to research vendors prior to contacting them.  This is one of the reasons that marketing is looking at digitally influencing anonymous individual on the web via Visitor ID, SEO, SEM, and Programmatic.  Sales reps are also confounded in their sales efforts by a second change in purchasing patterns.  B2B budgetary decision making processes have become more complex.

Budgetary centralization and committee-based buying decisions have increased the number of decision makers in the purchasing process, resulting in a greater likelihood of no decision.  According to a Forrester survey of IT sales reps, 43% of lost deals weren’t to competitors but to a category titled “lost funding or lost to no decision: customer stopped the procurement process.”

Furthermore, the rise of cloud computing has shifted budgetary decision making authority away from the CIO to the heads of various functional departments.  Purchasing decisions are being compared to a broader set of non-related purchases from across the organization.  It is therefore critical that sales reps “understand and navigate complex agreement networks and processes within the buying organization that span different altitudes and functional roles,” blogged Forrester Sales Enablement Analyst Mark Lindwall.  “Because decisions are more cross-functional, every dollar is compared against how it could add value in potentially completely non-related areas of investment.”

Thus, sales reps need better tools for identifying who to engage and when best to engage.  They also need to be better informed about companies, individuals, and the industries into which they sell.  In short, they need to know who to call, when to call, and what to say.  They need to quickly navigate what Forrester calls agreement networks to establish relationships across multiple levels and job functions at the organization.

Fortunately, Sales 2.1 tools provide rich biographies and full family trees for navigating these networks.  Users can target specific job functions and levels across the corporate hierarchy, research the appropriate individuals, and reach out to them via social media, email, or phone.

Newer ABM tools help identify the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), score leads based on the ICP, and call out similar accounts and contacts that are not on the company’s radar.  Thus, it’s not just about selling more intelligently based on insights, but targeting and prioritizing one’s sales efforts more effectively.

Sales triggers assist with identifying executive changes, M&A events, product launches, and other reasons for reaching out to individuals.  Triggers can also indicate an expanding opportunity or that a proposal is potentially at risk due to company or market dynamics.

And yes, sales reps should research both the company and the executive.  They need to understand the key trends in the prospect’s industry, why their last quarter was soft, and what does the executive muse about on social media.  While such facts may not be immediate hooks, they provide context and potential talking points down the road.  It also shows that the rep is willing to invest time in understanding the exec, her company, and the environment in which she is making decisions.

There is an opportunity cost to poor targeting, prioritization, and account planning. It shows up as No Decision in your CRM, slow deal velocity in your pipeline metrics, and disappointing sales growth.

Creditsafe Expanded Country Coverage

CreditSafe Global Coverage Map
Creditsafe Global Coverage Map

Commercial credit and business profile vendor Creditsafe expanded its coverage footprint to over 100 countries with the addition of sixteen Middle Eastern and North African countries.  Creditsafe is now able to provide real-time reports for 240 million companies.  Key new countries include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.  In 2016, the firm added Southeast Asian coverage along with 40 million Chinese company profiles.

“This mark’s the single largest and most significant database expansion we have done to date.  And, it completes our global offering.  No one in the marketplace offers such a comprehensive solution supported by an incredible portfolio of analytics,” said Matthew Debbage, CEO of Creditsafe USA and Asia.  “Not only have we added critical financial data on thousands of public and private companies to our platform, but we are providing insight on many located in Middle East and Africa which have proven to be complex economies in the past. We can now provide International Database Reports on millions of companies instantly online. No one else in the market offers the level of data that we do.”

Based on its coverage map, the most significant gaps are in Latin America (e.g. Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica) and Africa (e.g. South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia).

Creditsafe processes over one million daily updates collected from over 200 sources.  Furthermore, the firm claims that 99.9% of report requests are delivered in real-time.

Last year, Creditsafe launched US and UK sales intelligence services under the Sales Joe brand.  The product provides prospecting, look-a-like customers, light SFA tools (e.g. notes, dialer support, meeting scheduling), task tracking, and deal opportunity forecasting.

Sales Joe Deal Opportunities assist with pipeline tracking.
Sales Joe Deal Opportunities assist with pipeline tracking.

“The big development during the year was launching our new lead management tool, Sales Joe, which enables businesses to build effective sales campaigns using company information gathered from Creditsafe’s extensive database,” said Chris Robertson, global sales director at Creditsafe Group.  “Our positive results have been fueled by strong customer retention, an increase in new business, and a further expansion and strengthening in our international offering to UK customers.”

Creditsafe revenue has grown 28% over the past twelve months.  The firm maintains 18 offices and supports 200,000 users each day.  Globally, Creditsafe employs 1,500 headcount.

Creditsafe USA posted $12.8 million in 2016 revenue with a three-year CAGR of 75%.  Creditsafe opened US operations in 2012 and services 14,000 US customers out of its Lehigh, PA office.  “Over the past several years, we have focused incredibly hard on building our business and brand in the US,” said Debbage.

Creditsafe UK also posted strong growth with 2016 revenues up 12% to £35.5 million and pre-tax profits of £8.1 million.

“More growth is expected in 2017, our 20th anniversary year,” added Robertson.  “The growing sales force and the new products and technology being introduced this year will ensure our momentum continues and we further set ourselves apart from our competitors.”

Unique Company Identifiers

Amazon Family Tree (Source: D&B Hoovers)
Amazon Family Tree (Source: D&B Hoovers)

Associating company records with a common identifier is critical for Account Based Marketing as well as other sales and marketing methodologies.  Lacking a common identifier makes it difficult to

  • De-duplicate company records
  • Associate subsidiaries and branches with headquarters
  • Perform both real-time and batch data enrichment of firmographic, technographic, and social links.
  • Associate company news and sales triggers to key accounts.
  • Tie together company records across multiple platforms.
  • Assess the risk (e.g. credit, supplier, reputational) associated with a business.

The importance of a “unique identifier” was discussed by Owler CEO Jim Fowler in the Harvard Business Review:

The best way to keep data clean is to use a globally known, unique identifier, or a “data backbone.” My company prefers to use URLs as identifiers. They’re free, globally recognizable, high-quality data points that enable you to efficiently gather information on a business’s industry, online activities, and functionality. For example, Cisco is a company that also goes by Cisco Systems, Inc. and Cisco Precision Tools. If sales containers required users to type in one unique URL, for all those different branches, it’d be much more difficult to create duplicate accounts, which helps keep data clean. Perhaps more important, URLs facilitate communication between people, systems, and even departments. Whether it’s the customer relationship management platforms used by sales teams, enterprise resource planning software used by purchasing teams, or the account-based marketing technology employed by marketing teams, the business intelligence platform can recognize a unique URL and attach it to clean, usable data. Unique identifiers let you know you’re pulling from the sources and contacts you’ve intended to track.

I agree with 90% of what Fowler states, but disagree with his recommendation that URLs are the best unique identifier for his “data backbone”.  There are a number of reasons that URLs fall short:

  • URLs are not persistent.  If a company is acquired or renames itself, the old identifier (URL) is not retained.  This creates a potential disconnect between the old and new name.
  • URLs have a many-to-one mapping which treats most subsidiary and branch locations the same as the headquarters.  For some companies, mashing together all locations into a single record may be sufficient, but it is a highly flawed approach as it loses much of the nuance concerning companies that operate across multiple sectors and countries (e.g. General Electric).  It also makes it very difficult for sales reps to sell deeper into an organization which lacks linkage data.
  • Conversely, companies with multiple URLs are not tied together.  This could happen due to differing country identifiers (e.g. .UK, .FR), division names, brand names, and subsidiaries.  Each of these scenarios treats companies as a separate business.  Amazon has many distinct businesses including Amazon Web Services (, Zappos (, Alexa Internet ( Audible (, Internet Movie Database (, and soon Whole Foods (  URLs do not provide a consistent data backbone when subsidiaries, acquisitions, and branches have different domains.
  • When a division or facility is divested, there is no way to determine which locations have been spun off.
  • Franchises are treated as part of the parent company when they are separate legal entities.
  • Not all companies have websites.
  • URLs can be sold.  They can also be reused if a company goes out of business or abandons a URL.

Finally, business decisions related to logistics, credit, supplier risk, and financing need to understand the underlying structure of companies.  It is not just marketing and sales that are impacted by standardizing on a non-persistent, quasi-unique identifier.

I would therefore recommend looking at credit data companies as a better source of unique identifiers.  Companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and Infogroup all offer location level detail and linkage associated with unique identifiers that have been developed over multiple decades.  They offer sophisticated entity matching and enrichment tools such as Dun & Bradstreet’s Optimizer service. Furthermore, these firms support multiple functions across the organization helping assist with cross-platform entity linking and on-demand decisioning.