Hybrid Engagement Platforms

Cognism Intelligence within Salesforce. Hybrid Engagement Platforms Continuously update CRMs and MAPs.

The market is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad set of sales and marketing services.  The boundary between sales and marketing is quickly crumbling.  Hybrid engagement services manage both data and workflows.  Features include

Future functionality will include Next Best Actions, Embedded 1:1 Video, SNAP (Sales Navigator) Integrations, and Programmatic Advertising.

No vendor provides all of these services and some provide them as separate offerings, but firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, Infogroup (Salesgenie), Lead411, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Cognism have all taken steps over the past two years to meet the emerging requirements of the CRO.

For the moment, I’m calling these emerging offerings Hybrid Engage Platforms, but that is a placeholder name as the market evolves.

DealSignal CRM Data Health for Salesforce

B2B DaaS and contacts vendor DealSignal announced the availability of CRM Data Health, a Salesforce module that continuously refreshes, enriches, and reverifies lead, contact, and account records.  DealSignal data is GDPR-compliant and based upon AI validation and human verification.

“Rather than comparing dirty CRM data against other static data sources that may themselves be outdated, DealSignal CRM Data Health takes a dynamic, on-demand enrichment and verification approach that uses both AI and human intelligence to ensure near-perfect accuracy,” stated the firm.  “DealSignal CRM Data Health delivers a reliable alternative for companies looking to replace Data.com.”

Like other CRM hygiene apps, CRM Data Health includes a free data health audit.  The CRM data enrichment includes detailed contact profiles, Bombora buyer intent, and firmographics.  Along with CRM hygiene, customers can enrich inbound leads, events lists, and third-party lists.

“Bad CRM data is a pervasive issue that has a negative ripple effect on B2B marketing and sales performance: from inaccurate ABM targeting, to bounced emails that can damage sender reputation, to outdated or irrelevant contacts that clog marketing automation systems at a great cost,” said DealSignal founder & CEO, Rob Weedn. “Industry studies find that up to 50 percent of CRM data is incomplete, out-of-date, or inaccurate. Compounding the issue, data decays at a rate of over two percent per month, so maintaining data health is a constant challenge that requires an on-going solution—much like you can’t get in shape by going to the gym once.  We’ve introduced DealSignal CRM Data Health to help Salesforce customers continuously maintain rich, accurate and verified target audience data, and keep it fresh on a regular schedule.”

With the decommissioning of Data.com, vendors like Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Zoominfo, and DealSignal are jumping into the fray. If you are looking to make your sales reps more effective, your segmentation more accurate, or your Einstein predictions more precise, then you should be evaluating a Lightning Data or general data quality solution for your CRM.

Vainu Rebrands

Finnish sales intelligence vendor Vainu rebranded earlier this week. The goal was to provide a unified view of the company.  Vainu is focused on company intelligence but includes registered contact/director details and mined data. The firm also offers CRM and MAP data enrichment and hygiene services.

Unlike most sales intelligence databases, Vainu is available in English, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and French.  Country datasets include Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and The Netherlands with detailed financial data available for Norway, Sweden, and Finland.  Beta datasets are available for France, the UK, and the US with additional countries being developed.

Core UK data is gathered from Companies House.  US data is aggregated from state filings.

I’ve been planning on covering Vainu for the past six months but was waiting for an event.  Rebranding is as good a reason any.

Vainu was launched in 2014 and crowdsourced its initial dog nose logo (Vainu is a Finnish word for the scent picked up by an animal).  The website design and other branding aspects were inconsistent.

“Everything else was pretty much put together ad hoc after that: color schemes and supporting visuals for our first website layout, stock photos for our first slide decks, different messages to cater to the situations at hand.  The end result has been just as fragmented or ad hoc as our strategy: we’ve looked and felt different and sounded different in any situation.”

Mikko Luhtava, Vainu Head of Communications

Now that the firm has 2,000 customers and 180 employees, they felt it was time to formalize their brand with a new logo, tagline, and website with real images and black, white, and yellow text.

Vainu argues that B2B Sales is still stuck in the era of spam emails and cold calling lists.  “While buyers are looking for a real conversation, one where they’re engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity targets and sales quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” blogged Luhtava.

Thus, the firm offers “real-time B2B sales.”  It is akin to SalesLoft’s call for authenticity in sales.  “While buyers are looking for a real conversation, one where they’re engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity targets and sales quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” stated Luhtava.  “At Vainu, we believe there’s a right way of doing B2B sales—a way that is personalized, a way that uses data, a way that focuses on the buyer.  And we’ve made it our mission to make salespeople better at their jobs, by bringing real-time company data to every customer interaction.  We call this real-time sales.

Vainu supports company list building.  Selects include firmographics, technographics, buying signals (sales triggers), and account intelligence from the company’s CRM.  Trigger alerts cover company announcements, personnel changes, technology updates, and new additions to a prospect list.

The Vainu database covers nearly 60 million active companies and includes company profiles, technology stacks, corporate financials, and recent company news.

CRM admins can setup data syncing and enrichment with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Upsales, and SuperOffice.  Zapier is available for other platforms.  The firm also supports an API.

Vainu enriches leads before they are loaded into MAPs assisting with lead scoring and routing.

Vainu also offers bulk data for data modeling including business registry data, website information, and open and web-crawled intelligence.  Applications include churn prediction, account scoring, and financial services risk calculations.

Pricing begins at €6,600 (£6,000 or $7,250) per year for five reps plus a one-time onboarding fee of €600 for a single country database.  Each additional country dataset is priced at €3,000.  At 25 seats, the service is priced at €30,600 (£28,000 or $33,650) with a one-time onboarding fee of €2,100.  Each additional country dataset is priced at €3,000.  Nordic financial data adds €2,400.

Zoominfo: New Branding & Packaging

Zoominfo offers pricing and packaging similar to its legacy offerings, helping ensure a smooth transition to their new platform.

Yesterday, DiscoverOrg announced that it is rebranding with the Zoominfo name. The firm determined that it was easier to build brand perception than brand presence. They also rolled out a new combined platform and packaging.

While the firm officially launched their new platform yesterday, the two legacy platforms will continue to be available to clients under current contracts and pricing structures.  The 100 customers who have licensed both products since acquisition will be moved to the joint platform.

The second issue the firm confronted was their pricing structure.  Zoominfo pricing was based on the number of records purchased or maintained under a subscription license with a significantly lower initial price point.  DiscoverOrg provided broad access to their database with an average contract value of around $30,000.  The new product line offers pricing and functionality similar to legacy Zoominfo offerings at the lower end and pricing and packaging similar to DiscoverOrg at the upper end.  Thus, as contracts expire and customers migrate to the new platform, there should not be significant sticker shock.

The Starter package for a single user supports basic company and contact information, direct dials and verified emails, quick search, and prospect list building.  The service is designed to help users “find their next customer.”

The Professional package is akin to the broader Zoominfo service.  Professional helps three users “prospect with ease.”  Additional features include a Contact Accuracy Score, recent and saved searches, list management, customizable tags, and list matching.  Professional also supports CRM, MAP, and Sales Automation solutions.

The Advanced package supports unlimited page-level exports and provides “deep insights” for five users.  The package is similar to DiscoverOrg with technographics, org charts, Scoops (sales triggers), web references, similar companies, personal contact details, investors, funding data, and rich bios with education and work histories.  Other features include data enhancements and alerts.

Finally, the Elite package provides “actionable intelligence” including intent data and alerts (OppAlerts), ideal customer profiling and scoring (AccountView), Company Attributes, NeverBounce email verification, and department-level employee counts.  Elite also begins with five users and supports unlimited page-level exports.

Additional products include

  • FormComplete: a web form enrichment service
  • WebSights: a newly launched visitor id service.  The service is still in beta and based upon their extensive IP addresses tied to company intelligence.
  • Enrich: CRM and MAP data maintenance

DiscoverOrg emphasizes that it has “solutions for businesses of every size” on its pricing page.  While this is generally true and they have done an excellent job of combining two companies with much different pricing models, they do not have a single-seat sales intelligence solution priced to compete against LinkedIn Sales Navigator, InsideView, or D&B Hoovers. However, DiscoverOrg has never offered such a product and it has had high growth rates from the beginning. With the Zoominfo acquisition, they are much more competitive at the lower end of the market save the single-seat sales intelligence scenario.

Zoominfo has historically focused on the sales and marketing function, but Schuck sees a broader user base.  “The thing that ends up happening is they invest in CRM, marketing automation and open the door to any information to go into those systems,” he said.  

New use cases include website visitors, trade show and webinar attendees, and ongoing data hygiene.  

“There’s no mechanism to update that data.  Meanwhile, companies are growing, they’re shrinking, they’re doing a merger or acquisition, an IPO.  They’re hiring a new CEO, a new CMO, a new CIO.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Zoominfo plans on sending their executives to communicate the new brand and capabilities at conferences and tradeshows this fall.  The firm also plans digital advertising and offline advertising (e.g. billboards) in key markets.

Leadspace Closes on Reachforce Acquisition

Reachforce Smartforms support thin forms that are less likely to be abandoned, enrich leads with firmographics, and allow the user to select the proper location. Data entry and enrichment is performed in real-time allowing for immediate scoring and routing decisions.
Reachforce Smartforms support thin forms that are less likely to be abandoned, enrich leads with firmographics, and allow the user to select the proper location. Data entry and enrichment is performed in real-time allowing for immediate scoring and routing decisions.

Leadspace formally closed its ReachForce acquisition on July 1st.  Coincidentally, that was the same day that Dun & Bradstreet closed on its Lattice Engines acquisition.  Thus, Forester’s top two B2B CDPs (Q2 2019 Forrester Wave), were strengthened on the same day.

According to Forrester, “Leadspace offers comprehensive data that includes a proprietary second-party data asset with numerous sources of intent data and access to third-party data sources.  It also has strong segmentation capabilities (e.g., ideal customer profile and total addressable market modeling for ABM) and can help sellers decide who to call next and what to offer.”

ReachForce adds two core products to Leadspace: The well-regarded Smartforms web form service and the SmartSuite data hygiene platform.

SmartSuite provides “a one-stop-shop for data management, cleansing, and enriching, with an easy-to-use interface which shows quickly the ‘state of the union on data within CRM and MAP systems,” blogged Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.

Reachforce and Leadspace share over 200 joint customers, so integrating the services and standardizing their content sets will provide direct benefits to those clients.  The firms share seven of the top ten enterprise software companies as clients.

Leadspace provides an additional set of data partners which can be combined with Reachforce data sources.  Leadspace data partners include DiscoverOrg, Dun & Bradstreet, Bombora, KickFire, and others.

“Customers will now be able to leverage all of these data sources seamlessly in real-time, through a single API and interface, offering a genuine single source of truth,” wrote Bewsher.

The Leadspace CDP supports a broad set of CRM, MAP, and digital advertising platforms including Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, and LiveRamp.  Smartforms will be an additional “activation product,” which “seamlessly and simply onboards new customers and customer intelligence into Sales and Marketing engagement platforms.”

Smartforms performs real-time data enrichment to lead records, allowing them to be properly scored and routed.  One of the long-standing benefits of Smartforms is the opportunity to shorten forms and perform real-time firmographic enrichment.  Not only is the enriched data more accurate, but form abandonment rates are significantly lower, resulting in a higher return on digital marketing campaigns.

“What’s more, combining Smartforms with existing Leadspace capabilities like reverse IP information, detailed account- and person-level data, and AI modeling, means we can offer highly-accurate site and ad personalization on both the account (ABM) and persona level.  For our customers, this means even more precise and personalized engagement and targeting, particularly those currently using our ABM solutions.  (We will be announcing more on this offering in Q3 as we integrate the Reachforce and Leadspace platforms.)”

Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher

The merger also allows Leadspace to incorporate its proprietary AI-driven intelligence, automated scoring, and models within Reachforce products.  Leadspace is beginning to move partner platforms from systems of record or systems of engagement to systems of intelligence.  “CDPs combine vast data and data management capabilities with advanced AI to create a system of intelligence that guides Marketing and Sales to their best customers, and delivers razor-sharp insights and recommendations on how and when to effectively engage them,” said Bewsher.  “The CDP is being rapidly adopted by B2B businesses now — including many enterprise companies at the forefront of marketing and sales strategy and innovation — and it’s proving equally as effective for them.”

InsideView Looking to Grab Data.com Licenses

InsideView Append for Salesforce is a Lightning Data Solution for ongoing data enrichment and maintenance.
InsideView Append for Salesforce is a Lightning Data Solution for ongoing data enrichment and maintenance.

InsideView went on the offensive to capture Data.com customers as Prospector and Clean are phased out over the next year.  InsideView is offering their free Data Health report “as many Data.com customers have seen a degradation of data quality since the announcement was first made over a year ago.”

Data.com Prospector and Clean contracts are no longer renewing beginning this month.

“Customers tell us that the switch from Data.com to InsideView was not only easy but gave them more confidence and made their data more useful than ever,” said Umberto Milletti, CEO of InsideView.  “Now we’re adding more data, more technology, and more analytics to make InsideView even better, because it’s not just about the data.  It’s about how it helps drive marketing, sales, and the bottom line.”

InsideView covers twice as many contacts (35 million) as Data.com including global contacts and emails.  InsideView also emphasized its improved match logic:

  • Comprehensive analysis of customers’ data quality (i.e. malformed company names, transposed data fields, incomplete addresses, etc.)
  • Flexibility in match logic based on business needs and data availability (i.e. company name, website/email domains, street address, city, state, country, etc.)
  • Higher match rates and accuracy using probabilistic intent (e.g. inferring a match result based on geographic or industry clustering, etc.,) within the input file.
  • Clear explanations of why records match and suggestions for those that don’t match. 

Other enhancements include expanded location data with site counts and “fine-grain control for selecting CRM records under management and field level update rules.”

Dun & Bradstreet has an inside track on acquiring Data.com licenses. D&B Optimizer is the most popular Lightning Data solution followed by InsideView, Bombora (intent data), Zoominfo, and HG Insights (Technographics). As a long-standing Data.com partner (account records are sourced from the D&B WorldBase file), Salesforce is working with Dun & Bradstreet to migrate Data.com customers to D&B Optimizer and D&B Hoovers.

The Top Five Lightning Data vendors (August 8, 2019)

In the Sales Intelligence category, the top four B2B sales intelligence AppExchange offerings come from Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg, D&B Hoovers, and InsideView.


InsideView also announced that its Microsoft Dynamics Insights service will be available at no charge through the end of current MS Dynamics 365 contracts.  Current Insights customers simply need to opt-in.  Companies that do not qualify can license Insights directly from InsideView.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering stellar customer experiences and it became clear to them, after announcing changes to their data augmentation strategy in January, that many customers love and value InsideView Insights,” said InsideView Senior Product Marketing Manager Janice Bowen.  “In response to their needs, Microsoft decided to continue providing InsideView’s data and intelligence solution for an extended period of time.”

Synthio Contact Data Management for Salesforce

Synthio announced general availability of their Contact Data Management for Salesforce (CDM-SF) service which provides automated contact record updates from their 160 million record reference data set.  Synthio manages over two million monthly contact record updates to its reference database. These updates flow through the CDM to Salesforce and marketing automation platforms. Synthio both maintains contact records and enriches missing fields.

“Historically, data maintenance has been expensive and burdensome, costing American companies upwards of 3 trillion dollars per year, according to a survey by IBM,” said Synthio CEO Bill Curran.  “And bad contact data affects more than the bottom line.  Synthio’s CDM-SF platform will give B2B companies the satisfaction of knowing that they have complete and correct data as the foundation for their mission-critical programs.”

Synthio notes several benefits to Contact Data Management platforms:

  • CDMs provide a just-in-time view of companies and contacts which counters the 30% per year decay rate of contacts.
  • CDMs offer a deep set of contacts by function, level, and title, providing sales and marketing teams with a rich set of additional targets.
  • CDMs support a broad array of buyer attributes, allowing for precision targeting and messaging.
  • CDMs improve customer segmentation and analytics.

Synthio also offers automated contact maintenance for Marketo (Adobe), Oracle (Eloqua), and HubSpot.

Cognism Series B

Cognism logo

Sales Acceleration Platform Cognism closed on a $10 million Series B from PeakSpan, bringing total funding to $16.5 million.  Previous investors included Oliver Wyman, South Central Ventures, LCIF, and Newable Ventures Limited.  The firm, founded in 2016, grew ARR over 4x last year.  

The funds will be deployed for opening local offices in Singapore and New York City as well as growing its machine learning team.  According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions.

Isilay called Asian expansion “particularly interesting” due to SaaS being relatively young in the market.  Cognism has already leveraged its partnership with investor Oliver Wyman to acquire two “blue-chip financial clients” in Asia.  “Investment here looks to be a promising tonic to the barriers to trade growth that are disrupting business in Europe and America.”

“Having been granted our first machine learning patent in December 2018, Cognism is now building a portfolio of IP which will drive the next evolution of sales and marketing technology,” said Isilay.

“Sales and marketing technology has been a core focus of ours for many years, arming us with a long-term perspective on the segment and a nuanced understanding of market trends and buyer dynamics that drive strategic value.  With such a proliferation of tools and technologies emerging across the marketing and sales landscape over the last decade, it’s no secret that go-to-market leaders today aren’t asking for more software tools – they’re demanding better outcomes.  Cognism’s pragmatic application of AI, which underpins the whole solution suite, is paving the way for a new category focused on turning disparate data points into coordinated insights to drive predictive and prescriptive lead generation and improve conversion across all engagements.”

▪ Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner at PeakSpan

The Cognism database spans 400 million contacts and 10 million businesses.  Cognism’s products support Prospecting, Sales Triggers, and CRM Enrichments.   CRM Connectors are available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, and PipeDrive.  A cadence tool sends templated emails through Gmail and Outlook.  

Marketing Features include A/B testing, Personas, ICP and TAM Analyses, and webform enrichment.

Cognism for Salesforce supports lead prospecting, contact enrichment, and ongoing data maintenance.

DealSignal Enrich

DealSignal CRM Lead Enrichment
DealSignal CRM Lead Enrichment

Human-verified contacts vendor DealSignal released an Enrichment module for maintaining data quality.  Along with company and contact enrichment, DealSignal appends Bombora third-party intent data, helping identify which prospects are actively researching key topics.  The service supports inbound lead enrichment and scheduled data maintenance.

Because inbound leads are enriched, they can be quickly segmented, scored, routed, and prioritized.  ABM companies can immediately determine whether a lead matches a target persona and ideal customer profile, ensuring such leads are immediately sent to sales for action.

Contacts are matched against DealSignal’s universe of human-verified contacts and enriched with direct dials, firmographics, and intent scores.

A wizard helps map DealSignal fields to Salesforce or HubSpot.  Admins set sync and refresh schedules.

“We’re always excited when our partners develop innovative new ways of using intent data to help marketing and sales teams drive revenue.  By extending lead enrichment automation to include Bombora’s Company Surge data, DealSignal will provide revenue teams valuable insight into whether a buying committee is forming or one curious person just happened to download some content.  That added insight will help marketing and sales teams work together more effectively to drive the most value from their inbound leads.”

Charles Crnoevich, Head of Partnerships at Bombora

Inbound Lead Enrichment service is the first B2B DaaS platform to combine human-verified contacts and firmographics with third-party Bombora intent.  The platform takes skinny inbound leads and enriches them with accurate, actionable insights and contact details, helping determine which leads should be immediately routed to sales and which should be retained.  Reps can then prioritize prospects that are currently in-market for products or services like theirs and craft highly personalized messaging, thereby improving their odds of exceeding quota.

Breaking News: Leadspace Acquires ReachForce

Customer Data Platform vendor Leadspace acquired B2B Hygiene vendor ReachForce.  The two firms offer complementary functionality with ReachForce adding webforms (SmartForms) and a continuous data quality platform (SmartSuite) to Leadspace’s CDP.

Leadspace plans to merge SmartSuite into their CDP over the next six months. SmartForms will become an “activation product” for Leadspace.

“ReachForce is a well-respected brand with an experienced team in the B2B marketing tech space,” stated Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.  “We’ve known them, and competed against them, over the years, so we’re excited to be joining forces now to move the B2B CDP space even further.”

ReachForce will maintain its Austin office and staff while LeadSpace will continue to operate in Hod Hasharon, Israel, and San Francisco.

Reachforce SmartSuite Customer Data Management processes.

The Reachforce SmartSuite provides real-time and continuous data quality management.  Features include B2B data match and enrich; data standardization; de-duplication; email, phone, and address verification; data health reports; CRM and MAP connectors; and contact prospecting at target accounts.

ReachForce has its best-in-class SmartForms product, which is a key way that customers build an understanding of their customers, as well as SmartSuite, which provides a real-time data cleansing and management service. Combined with Leadspace’s best-in-class B2B customer data platform, there is a definite complementary and additive effect. SmartForms will become one of the activation products for Leadspace, and we will work over the next [several] months to combine the best of both data management platforms to provide a single end-to-end solution for B2B CDP. 

Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher

The Reachforce acquisition follows shortly after Dun & Bradstreet acquired Lattice Engines.  Both Dun & Bradstreet and Leadspace now offer a CDP alongside a data quality hub, digital advertising, visitor intelligence, and CRM/MAP connectors:

Dun & Bradstreet / Leadspace Product Line Comparison (© GZ Consulting 2019)

Forrester’s Q2 2019 Wave report on B2B Customer Data Platforms placed Lattice Engines and Leadspace in the leader category with both holding the highest scores in strategy and Lattice Engines being ranked slightly higher for their current offering.

Prior to the acquisition, the Dun & Bradstreet CDP (D&B DataVision) was ranked a strong performer. The dual acquisitions help the vendors extend their leadership in the CDP space and increase the likelihood of additional consolidation within the B2B Customer Data Platform segment.

Leadspace did not disclose the acquisition price. Acquisition discussions began earlier this year.