team.blue Acquires Leadinfo

team.blue, a European cloud services provider, announced that it acquired a majority stake in European visitor intelligence vendor Leadinfo.  team.blue was formed in 2019 when three hosting groups were merged into a European provider of web hosting and cloud computing services.  The firm supports 2.5 million customers across fifteen European offices, aiming to “supercharge the business performance of small and medium-sized businesses.  It describes itself as a “one-stop partner for web hosting, domains, e-commerce and application solutions, with more than 1,800 experts to support.” 

team.blue’s twenty-five offices provide local-language and market “expertise, knowledge, and insight, serving “a rich European landscape of businesses” in fifteen European countries and Turkey.

Team.blue CEO Jonas Dhaenens is looking to augment the firm’s hosting services with B2B cloud applications.  Along with Leadinfo, its value-added services include domain registries, website building (webnode), privacy and compliance tools (iubenda), and WordPress hosting (raidboxes).

Leadinfo supports over 3,000 European customers, claiming to be the market leader in Benelux and the largest international provider in the D-A-CH region.  CEO Han Kleppe and the rest of the management team will continue running Leadinfo as an independent subsidiary.

Leadinfo represents team.blue’s entry into the visitor intelligence and lead intelligence spaces.  It provides lead management services, including visitor intelligence and enrichment, personalization, lead generation forms, triggered workflows, screen recordings (mouse movements and clicks), and over fifty sales and marketing platform integrations.  Leadinfo also supports retargeting services for Google ads and LinkedIn.

team.blue visitor information displayed in the Leadinfo service.

Leads are enriched by IP address matching against a reference database of 220 million global businesses.  Firmographics are gathered from global registry filings and web crawling.  Firmographics include address, phone, year founded, industry codes (US SIC 87 and local codes), sizing data, company logos, social media links, business descriptions, etc.  Legal information includes the registration number, entity type, ultimate parent, group size, and employees in group.  Business descriptions are generally available in the local language.  Other information includes a pinned Google map, page view information, Leadinfo’s lead score, and Leadinfo tags.

Leadinfo does not disclose the name of its registered data aggregator. 

Leadinfo company profiles include a proprietary lead score based on visitor behavior.  However, lead scores do not yet adjust for firmographic fit; thus, a company may score high based on behavior but may not be a qualified lead.

Contact data is limited to board members and publicly listed employees from LinkedIn and Xing (a D-A-CH competitor of LinkedIn).  Contacts are searchable by name and title, with users able to link to LinkedIn and Xing profiles.

Leadinfo’s visitor intelligence tracks visitors across the website, providing detailed viewing histories.  The company matches IP addresses against its global company database and enriches the leads with firmographics.  Visitors are viewable from a web application that supports filtering by firmographics, visitor activity, lead score, and Leadinfo tags.  Screened lists may be exported as CSV files or programmatic uploads (LinkedIn and Google Ads).

Leadinfo also offers a set of dashboard widgets for tracking and analyzing website activity:

  • Live Widget – Tracks current visitors and site activity over the past 24 hours.
  • Map View – Displays visitor locations on Google Map
  • Companies per Province – Displays a national heat map with activity by geographic region.
  • Most Active Companies – Top 10 or 25 visitors
  • Company Size – Bar Graph by employment band
  • Branches – The top industries visiting the website
  • Most Visited – The top pages

Liquid Content, its name for site personalization, adjusts the website based on firmographics.  As a result, marketers can customize the text, video, content, and images presented to the visitor, allowing them to segment their website presentation.

Leadinfo supports a set of triggers and can segment them based on how each visitor reached the website: Directly, Referral, Email Link, Paid Search (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft), Organic Search, or Social Link (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Xing, YouTube).  Trigger rules support multiple custom selects; thus, lead scores may be coupled with firmographics to ensure actions are based on both visitor behaviors and firmographic fit.  Based on the trigger rules, users can add or delete tags, send emails, enroll companies, and send to CRM.

Triggers are also controlled by enrollment so that additional research from a recent visitor does not trigger additional activities or notifications.  Administrators set a period between activities to prevent notification spam.  Firmographic variables may be used for assigning leads.

Slack notifications may be sent to a channel or person, with the user selecting the notification language.  Thus, Slack triggers can be routed by firmographics for industry or territory reps and sent in the recipient’s language.

Lead forms are available and leverage Leadinfo’s visitor intelligence.  While lead forms do not support triggers, the inputted lead data can be routed via Zapier to various applications.

CRM integrations include Salesforce, HubSpot, MS Dynamics 365, Sugar, and Pipedrive.  Other partners include Salesloft, Zapier, and Slack.  Furthermore, Leadinfo has developed an extensive partner network that spans 1,200 agencies.

CRM integrations are bi-directional, with Leadinfo performing duplicate checking against lead and account records.  When sending to CRM, companies may be added as Lead or Account record types.  Additionally, company profiles include deal and task information gathered from CRMs, and users can create new deals and tasks from Leadinfo.

Leadinfo displays HubSpot Deal and Task information. Sales reps can also create new tasks and deals from Leadinfo.

“As a leading digital enabler for companies and entrepreneurs across Europe, we want to offer business value to our customers and partners,” said team.blue CEO Claudio Corbetta.  “Leadinfo is converting visitors into leads which makes the return on investment of the software extremely tangible.  Furthermore, their agency model is a perfect fit with team.blue since this customer segment is dear to us.  We were impressed with the track record of Han in scaling Leadinfo to where it stands today.  We’re eager to help to roll out Leadinfo into new territories.”

The 25-employee firm is based in Rotterdam and just opened its first international office in Dusseldorf.  It will remain an independent company but benefit from team.blue’s operational and financial management.

Pricing is volume-based, with no charge for the core functionality (e.g., triggers, connectors, lead forms).  Prices are based on the number of unique matched companies per month:

The only premium services are screen reporting and liquid content.

Leadinfo grew revenue between 2 and 3X last year.  However, it did not disclose its acquisition price or revenue specifics.

Flash: Echobot & Leadfeeder Acquired & Merged

Growth equity firm Great Hill Partners invested €180 million in Echobot and Leadfeeder, merging the firms into a Sales Intelligence and Go-to-market platform.  Both firms are based in Europe (Germany and Finland) and will benefit from the roadmap set out by North American RevTech firms.

The merged firm will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg continuing as CEO.  Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskinen will become the CPO.  The combined company has a headcount of 250 across six offices in Europe and the US.  The new firm’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds €20 million. 

Leadfeeder serves around 7,000 customers and Echobot 1,500.

Echobot’s European data coverage

Echobot offers a Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS platform for the D-A-CH region, UK, and France.  Late last year, it added a broader European data pack.  It supports a database of 20 million European companies and over 60 million GDPR-compliant contacts.  Company and contact data is derived from both registered filings and open web sources and includes directors, shareholders, and financials. 

Echobot takes a “True Compliance” approach which gathers data only from publicly accessible sources.  Furthermore, it provides verification links to the source URLs that allow reps to answer the question, “where did my data come from?”  All data is hosted in Germany.

Echobot’s products include TARGET (prospecting), CONNECT (Sales Intelligence), DATACARE (B2B DaaS), and an API.  In addition, Echobot offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.

“It is our goal to be the leading sales intelligence and go-to-market platform to our core European and North American markets,” said Karweg.  “Thanks to Great Hill, we have now assembled the best data, AI / ML, talent, and operating experience to achieve just that.  We are increasingly seeing organizations looking to take advantage of their own data and third-party data, and then to augment this intelligence with better, more personalized outreach.  The combination of Echobot and Leadfeeder is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a massive market opportunity at the early stages of adoption.”

Leadfeeder IP-to-Account Visitor Intelligence

Leadfeeder offers website visitor intelligence that maps IP addresses to company intelligence.  During the pandemic, it worked to identify remote workers and map them to their employers, helping refine which companies are in-market.  It also supports connectors for Google Analytics, chatbots, audience retargeting, major CRMs, Zapier, and Slack.

“Integrating Leadfeeder’s web visitor identification system with Echobot’s data and prospecting solutions creates a unique platform upon which we can both enable organizations to identify and engage high-intent prospects as well as introduce incremental applications that enhance B2B sales and marketing operations,” said Koskinen.

Karweg envisions an ABM workflow that begins with an ICP analysis that identifies net-new accounts.  The ICP is then mapped against Leadfeeder’s visitor intelligence and Echobot’s firmographics and event triggers to identify high-value, in-market accounts for programmatic marketing.  While programmatic campaigns are not yet supported, they are in development.

Great Hill Partners has also committed an additional €50 million toward future acquisitions.  In an interview with GZ Consulting, Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg indicated that the €50M in dry powder would be used towards acquiring talent, RevTech functionality, or expanded content.

The equity acquisition is a combination of primary and secondary funding, with Great Hill Partners buying out many of the original investors.  It named Growth Partner Derek Schoettle Chairman of the Board and placed Great Hill Partners Managing Director Chris Gaffney and Vice President Greg Stewart on the board of the merged organization.

Schoettle is also on the board of ABX Platform Terminus, another Great Hill investment.  He was the CEO of ZoomInfo when DiscoverOrg acquired it in 2019 (DiscoverOrg subsequently assumed the name ZoomInfo), so he and the new board members offer deep Go-to-Market domain expertise.

“Go-to-market is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B software.  Sales and marketing organizations need timely, accurate information and intelligent systems to identify and engage their prospects in an increasingly personalized, automated fashion.  By bringing together Echobot and Leadfeeder, we can create the next-generation sales intelligence and go-to-market platform,” stated Derek Schoettle.

The transaction is a merger of equals bringing together two firms of roughly the same revenue and employee base.  Both firms have over €10M in ARR and are growing rapidly.  Echobot grew 70% last year, while Leadfeeder had a 50% growth figure.  Echobot has long been profitable, and Leadfeeder is nearing profitability. 

The firms will initially run as independent brands as they merge their operations and platforms.  The deal closed a few weeks ago but was announced this morning.  Thus, they have already begun combining finance and HR.  The two brands will be maintained in the near term with rebranding under consideration for 2023 as Echobot is also the name of a Mirai malware variant.

Valuation figures were not disclosed, but the final price was determined before the recent valuation declines and did not change.  The firms were both being advised by GP Bullhound, which suggested that packaging the two firms together would result in a more effective growth equity round.  Furthermore, the two companies offered features on each other’s roadmap so were logical complements.

Europe has been tracking behind the US in the Sales Intelligence space, with several national champions now looking to offer European datasets and local UIs.  European sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions must meet higher data compliance and privacy standards, incorporate registered data from national registers, support multiple currencies, and many languages.

Echobot covers the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK, and France, with a general European data package added late last year.  A Nordic data package has been accelerated due to the merger, which would increase its competitiveness against Dun & Bradstreet and Vainu.

“One of the most requested developments for 2021 was to access data from the entire European market.  That was not only requested from German customers with a strong export to European countries, but also from new, international users that want to expand into Europe,” explained Karweg last November when Echobot added coverage of over twenty European countries.

“Europe is not one country but many, and there are differences between them, whether it’s to do with culture or data compliance,” remarked Schoettle.  “Having a platform that is unique and linguistic-specific, and serving its markets with high-quality data, is a differentiator.”

“It’s a dream match,” argued Koskinen.  While previously the firm purchased contact data from multiple sources, “it has been difficult to get sufficiently up-to-date and accurate data.”  With the merger, Leadfeeder will offer better data quality and “have all the expertise in-house” to expand its coverage.

Along with higher quality data, Leedfeeder will benefit from a broader set of firmographics, financials, and sales triggers for data enrichment and lead scoring.  Leadfeeder will also be able to cross-sell Echobot’s sales intelligence, prospecting, and data enrichment services to its 7,000 customers.

“We want to be the biggest in Europe,” stated Koskinen.  “It’s going to take a few years, but I think we’re succeeding…We have long had customers all over the world.  After the merger, we will be able to offer something that no one else can.”

Echobot offers German and English-language Sales Triggers.

D&B Hoovers Internationalizes

The Siemens Company Profile as it would display in German.

D&B Hoovers, a global sales intelligence solution that has long been English-only, began a multi-phase process towards becoming a truly global, multi-lingual solution.  Most sales intelligence vendors support only a single language, but European vendors Vainu and Echobot support multiple languages for their regional coverage.  Last year, when Dun & Bradstreet bought Bisnode, a firm that serves Central Europe and the Nordics, it declared that it would be sunsetting Bisnode solutions.  Internationalizing D&B Hoover’s then became a priority.

The D&B Hoovers’ UX already supports 17 languages:

  • European: Croatian, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish
  • Asian: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese

Adding international languages transforms D&B Hoovers from an Anglo-centric solution for multinationals and companies based in Anglophone countries to a localized version.

“In terms of personalization, we’re trying to switch this from being a US product that is sold globally to a fully local version of a global product,” explained International Product Development & Strategy VP Adam Leslie to GZ Consulting.  D&B Hoovers needs to be a “local product” that supports sales reps selling to local customers, regardless of language.  “Historically, it’s been a US product sold in the local market only where the local market user sells to the US and internationally.  If the local market user only sells domestically, they haven’t bought Hoovers.”

D&B Hoovers greatly expanded its industry code standards, allowing users to filter companies by global taxonomies (e.g., ISIC), regional (e.g., NAICS, NACE 2.0, ANZ SIC), or national standards:

D&B Hoover’s also supports two proprietary taxonomies: Hoover’s industry codes and eight-digit SICs.

Country-specific industry code descriptions will be displayed in either English or the local language.

D&B Hoover’s Localization Options

Along with expanded taxonomies, D&B Hoovers recently added website searching to identify companies based on their self-descriptions across one hundred languages.  Website search has gathered 247 million rows of structured data across 30 million websites and 300 million web pages.

This feature helps identify companies with emerging technologies or positioning (i.e., the evolving three-letter acronyms that firms use for classifying themselves).  The feature echoes its Conceptual Search, but instead of identifying companies based on topical references in news articles, it searches global corporate websites.

D&B Hoovers and its predecessor service, OneSource Global Business Browser (GBB), have supported English-speaking multinational teams for two decades.  Their content and functionality have always been the deepest for the US, UK, and Canada.  Yet, they also provided a robust set of international content:

  • Global Public (Quoted) Company Financials, Segment Reports, Executive Bios, and Long Business Descriptions.
  • Financial statements for 15 European countries and global publics.  The reports may be viewed in USD, EUR, GBP, and the As Reported currency, with currency conversion rates based upon the period or statement date.  Thus, revenue from a 2020 income statement (a flow statement) would be based upon the average conversion rate for the year, while assets from the balance sheet would be based upon the applicable rate for the statement date.
  • Global family trees
  • Industry Codes, including US SIC, NAICS, EU NACE, UK SIC, ANZ SIC, and UN ISIC.
  • Regional screening, including city, postal code, and sub-regions (e.g., state, province, county)
  • Regional customization for distances (KM vs. miles) and numeric formats

D&B Hoovers expanded its company coverage to 180 million active firms and 216 million active contacts as part of its internationalization.  Most of the new firms have between one and five employees.  It also increased the number of countries with sub-divisional regions (e.g., counties, provinces), having recently added sub-divisional filtering for the Nordic countries, Denmark, Hungary, etc.  Additional countries are planned.

Several enhancements came from local customer research.  In many European countries, departmental emails are employed in sales and marketing outreach.  These emails lack any personally identifiable information, so they are GDPR compliant.  Dun & Bradstreet is adding over seven million “entity-level emails” for European countries, including over three million entity-level emails for the D-A-CH region, 1½ million for the Nordics, and 2½ million for Eastern Europe.

Text searching was enhanced to recognize accents and diacritical marks (e.g., when performing location searches).  Leslie called synonymous search with or without special characters a “major ticket to the game.”  While it “sounds like a simple fix,” it was “extremely complex.”

As Dun & Bradstreet began its localization research, it realized the importance of small companies and informational depth in the context of national sales vs. international sales.

“We speak to local markets and say, ‘Well, what is it that will help you sell your products and use our products?’” explained Leslie.  Dun & Bradstreet’s research found that many customers and prospects sell locally to organizations with five or fewer employees.  “That becomes really important now that you can reach them.”

Leslie listed other findings and subsequent upgrades: “We capped the number of contacts at eleven.  That’s been changed.  We were missing the middle name.  That has been changed.”

When I was a product marketing manager at OneSource (2001 – 2010), I explained that we delivered the top N companies in each European country because “you aren’t selling to Polish abattoirs.”  That logic made sense when selling to multinationals and exporters based in English-speaking countries.  After all, they weren’t selling to Polish slaughterhouses.  But this approach fails to meet the needs of sales reps based in Poland, EU industrial manufacturers, or logistics companies. 

Localization requires local language support, content depth, national standards support (e.g., industry codes, geographic districts, GDPR), in-language news and triggers (coming in phase II), market knowledge, and in-market sales and support. Dun & Bradstreet also simplified the UI and improved its dynamic display for various screen sizes and devices.  The new UI was implemented in September, and 96% of browser users and 98% of CRM users have switched to the updated format.

D&B Hoover’s old and new company profiles.

In-product tutorials also enhance the user experience.  For example, if a user utilizes a feature inefficiently or has not used core functionality, the tutorial will provide on-demand coaching.  This feedback is also provided to account representatives to provide guidance.  The in-product tutorials were launched last summer, and Dun & Bradstreet continues to collect data for honing its training recommendations.

There is also a new onboarding virtual assistant for providing on-demand training.  Tutorial translations should be available to users in Q2.  Expanded in-product training and virtual onboarding are consistent with the emerging Work from Anywhere expectation of business professionals.

Dun & Bradstreet provided its internationalization roadmap through the end of the year.  The firm intends to extend local content, expand time-dependent sales triggers, and support multi-lingual news.  New content includes more digitally sourced data, detailed financials, and country-specific datasets such as country export data for Chinese companies, product codes, and expanded tech data for India.

Ostensibly, Phase I, which completed at the end of March, serves as a minimal viable product for localized products (or what Leslie called a “ticket to the game”), and Phase II continues internationalizing the content and expanding localized content. 

“We are working with each local market to collect these [data requirements], source the data, transfer to D&B, and load into the product,” said Leslie. Finally, D&B Hoovers will continue to expand its email and direct dial coverage.

Echobot European Expansion

German Sales Intelligence vendor Echobot closed another successful year of product enhancements and revenue growth.  Echobot offers deep sales intelligence and data hygiene services for Germany, Austria, Switzerland (D-A-CH), and the UK.

In late 2020, Echobot launched its UK database and English language UI, providing a secondary market beyond the DACH region.  The firm grew MRR over 70% this year and hit 1,500 clients.  New business rose 80%, and the firm hired its 100th employee (up 44% this year).  Echobot continues to be EBITDA and Cash Flow positive.  Echobot is self-financed, not having taken any funding since 2013.

The firm also moved into a larger headquarters office in Karlsruhe with 16,000 square feet.

Along with fit-and-finish work on their UK services, the firm rolled out version 2.0 of their TARGET prospecting database.  TARGET offers a refreshed UI, improved data quality, and AI tools for ICP and segmentation analysis.

Users no longer need to build company and contact lists separately.  Instead, build-a-list results are displayed as tabs, allowing users to analyze both company and contact results without requiring them to rekey their query.

Echobot’s product vision is based on its “first principles of data” delivered through its service.  “For data to be useful, it has to be high quality, connected, and fully compliant,” said CEO Bastiaan Karweg.

Data improvements include an Email Validation Engine (EVA) and a “True Compliance” process for GDPR.  EVA “eliminates stale records” and implements mail server and pattern checking to improve data quality.  The EVA reduces bounce rates by up to thirty percent.

“For your outreach to be truly GDPR compliant, you not only need a Legitimate Interest but also be mindful of the preferences of the people you are trying to contact,” stated Karweg.  “Using Echobot, each contact record comes with a public source URL so you can be 100% confident when a prospect asks you, ‘Hey, where did you get my data from?’” Also new is a subject taxonomy that covers over 100,000 topics and industry keywords.

Echobot offers data for DACH, the UK, and the EU. A French dataset will be available in Q1.

Echobot is launching an EU Data pack that “covers the most important companies from all of Europe,” Karweg informed GZ Consulting.  “It’s not as deep data as with DACH, UK, or France, but it will give clients access to essential brands and contacts in each market.”

All four regions (DACH, UK, France, and EU) will be available in all three products (TARGET prospecting, CONNECT Sales Intelligence, and DATACARE hygiene) and the API in any combination.  However, the EU Data Pack omits company and contact data for the DACH countries, France, and the UK.

A French dataset, spanning six million companies, will be launched in Q1 with a French UI and localization.  French sales will be managed from the Karlsruhe office as it is only three miles from the French border.

Finally, Echobot expanded its sales triggers to 33 English-language event categories spanning the full UK universe.  French triggers are in development.

“We are excited to start 2022 with our new product and data assets,” said Karweg.  “Our goal is to continue on our strong growth trajectory and gain more market share in other EU countries.”

Echobot TARGET 2.0

German Sales Intelligence vendor Echobot released version 2.0 of its TARGET prospecting service with a refreshed UI, improved data quality, and AI tools for ICP and segmentation analysis.

“If you want to digitize your sales processes and save a lot of time, money, and nerves, you can’t ignore Echobot,” said CEO Bastian Karweg.  “TARGET 2.0 inspires the everyday sales life of our customers – the new version is fast, intuitive to use, and simply fun.”

Echobot has set its product vision based on the “first principles of data” delivered through its service.  “For data to be useful, it has to be high quality, connected, and fully compliant,” said Karweg.

The first step was unifying their database across regions and datatype and removing data silos within the platform.  Echobot implemented a “unified, nested data index” that improved query times up to ten-fold and allowed for enhanced switching between company and contact results.

Users no longer need to build company and contact lists separately. Instead, build-a-list results are displayed as tabs, allowing users to analyze both company and contact results without requiring them to rekey their query.

Echobot also implemented a new Email Validation Engine (EVA) that “eliminates stale records” and implements mail server and pattern checking to improve data quality.  The EVA reduces bounce rates by up to thirty percent.

Echobot licensed company records directly from trade registers and implemented a “True Compliance” process.

“For your outreach to be truly GDPR compliant, you not only need a Legitimate Interest but also be mindful of the preferences of the people you are trying to contact,” stated Karweg.  “Using Echobot, each contact record comes with a public source URL so you can be 100% confident when a prospect asks you, ‘Hey, where did you get my data from?’”

Echobot Job Title Suggestions

Echobot implemented AI to assist users, building a subject taxonomy that covers over 100,000 topics and industry keywords.  TARGET 2.0 sports a keyword type-ahead tool that “guides you towards the right queries and also intelligently suggests alternative keywords or job titles you also might want to include in your search.”

The firm’s new segmentation analysis is their “most advanced AI” that builds a company vector model for clustered analysis of highly similar companies from uploaded files.  The clusters identify similar companies for downloading to the desktop or uploading to the CRM.  Thus, users can upload their Ideal Customer Profile and expand it with similar companies.  The ICP is also used to score prospects and sort them by priority.

“Echobot uses a new company vector model for the first time in addition to rigid industry codes. The technology is based on machine learning and makes it possible to select companies in a fine-grained manner according to thousands of specialist areas. The assignment takes place automatically on the basis of text content that is associated with the respective company. This means that if you are looking for industries, Echobot now offers an immense wealth of detail and can thus easily find even high-precision target groups. With the help of so-called cross joins, filters of different data areas can be combined with each other in real-time. This completely eliminates the time-consuming storage of interim results.”

Echobot Press Release (Translated from German)

TARGET 2.0 supports a broad set of screening variables:

  • Industry – Industry codes or keywords.
  • Keyword
  • Contacts – Department, Level, Title
  • Trigger Events
  • Location – Region and Radius
  • Company Size
  • Financials
  • Technographics – Software and Systems
  • Firmographics
  • Data Completeness

Their instant access to data allows for complete data visibility without slowing down users with credits to display contact details. In addition, the contract includes a minimum of 10,000 monthly record uploads or downloads with a FLAT-RATE Guarantee that provides an additional 5,000 monthly data records after consuming the EXPORT quota. The guarantee ensures budgeting stability while providing export flexibility should the marketing department consume their entire download quota mid-year.

Echobot pricing starts at €999 per month for up to three users.  This price is introductory and will increase for new customers in 2022.

Echobot supports four countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK – and two languages – German and English.  The Echobot roadmap includes “intelligent” email alerts, “helpful” trigger events, and “smart” campaign management.  Additional languages and countries are also in development.

Echobot Company Profile Now Available

Echobot Company Profile Report Cover Page

I am pleased to announce that my latest Sales Intelligence company profile is available for those looking to purchase a solution for the UK or D-A-CH region. I used the same methodology for Echobot that I employed when I wrote my book “2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.”  The idea was to write an objective analysis (hence sections on weaknesses and competitors), not simply a puff piece.  I work closely with the vendor to describe content, functionality, connectors, roadmap, strengths, and weaknesses.

As Echobot is based in Germany, I also wrote about their GDPR compliance steps.

While vendors have input, I retain editorial control. I believe that retaining objectivity makes these reports more valuable for vendors as it both provides a roadmap for their future product evolution and provides prospects with a realistic view of a product’s strengths and weaknesses.

Echobot is making the profile available from their website.


Here is my summary from the report:

UK vendors have been launching sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions for the European market over the past several years. It is a welcome sign that European vendors now have the confidence to compete in the UK market. One of these vendors is Germany-based Echobot. Echobot is a promising new sales intelligence and B2B DaaS entrant to the UK market. It is the leading sales and marketing intelligence service in the D-A-CH region and enters the UK with a broad set of sales and marketing services. Echobot offers deep coverage of UK and D-A-CH companies, GDPR-compliant contacts, and signals (event triggers), delivered via web browser applications and extensions, mobile apps, Salesforce, and Zapier webhooks.

Along with company profiles, Echobot offers contacts, emails, news, social media mentions, and signals.

CONNECT (sales intelligence) and TARGET (list building) were recently launched in the UK market, but have been available as German-language solutions for the D-A-CH market for several years. As such, the company should move quickly to address any V1.0 bugs and fill content gaps. Since launching in September 2020, Echobot has integrated Google Translate into its platform for free-form text translation and refined its sales trigger precision.

DATACARE provides B2B DaaS hygiene services that verify, enrich, and append company and contact data. DATACARE flags duplicates, verifies emails, updates company names and addresses, and appends missing fields. DATACARE was launched in December.

Michael Levy, GZ Consulting Principal, “Echobot Company Profile,” 2021.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Bisnode (Part III)

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).

Start at Part I


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.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Bisnode (Part II)

[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.


Continue to Part III.

Echobot British Data (Part II)

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.

Echobot British Data

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.


Part II tomorrow covers the TARGET service and product pricing.