InsideView Expert Services

TAM Analysis Visualization Dashboard
TAM Analysis Visualization Dashboard

InsideView announced the launch of a professional services group to offer Expert Services to its customers.  The new Data Concierge service “helps customers navigate the data complexities involved in strategic go-to-market initiatives.”

The Expert Services group is staffed by a team of consultants and engagement managers.  “B2B sales and marketing leaders have asked for our help with operationalizing ABM and other targeted go-to-market initiatives. To meet this need, our services team has evolved from delivering data projects (like clean, email validation, contact append) to more consultative services like Target Market Analytics.  In the future, we anticipate growth in this part of the business to fulfill market demand,” said VP of Product & Solutions Marketing, Joe Andrews.

The first formal service assists ABM customers with analytics around their target market and helps customers define their Total Addressable Market (TAM).  The concierge service includes a data visualization console which “enables customers to more effectively select the right accounts for their account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives.”

“A picture drives a business conversation in real-time as executives can run “what-if” scenarios and make decisions in real-time,” said Andrews.

The visualization tool provides both existing and whitespace segmentation by state, country, industry, and sizing variables.  Data is displayed as both raw counts and TAM penetration percentages.  The product even loads in current account customer data to detail the distribution of current accounts within and outside of the ideal customer profile (ICP).  Users can also drill down on segments providing a more granular view by state, size, industry, etc.

The dashboard may be downloaded as a PDF for sharing with team members or executives.  Users may also download records from the Dashboard.

“We’ve always strived to be a strategic partner for our customers, and many companies underestimate the data complexities involved in go-to-market planning and execution. Now we have an expert services team dedicated to help guide customers step-by-step through the process of defining their ideal customer profile, identifying their TAM, and making sure the right targets are in their database. Our goal is for InsideView Expert Services to be a trusted partner for customers looking for help with any big, thorny data-driven initiative for marketing or sales.”

  • InsideView CRO John Kelly

InsideView noted that many of their customers had captured less than ten percent of their TAM in their database.

“When it’s time to pick accounts, marketing and sales can have different ideas about which should make the list,” wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Laura  Ramos. “Successful marketers always lead with data to identify the characteristics that distinguish “good” opportunities from those selected through feel, anecdote, or intuition.”

While InsideView continues to offer and enhance its sales intelligence products, its emphasis over the past several years has been in launching marketing products such as InsideView Refresh (automated CRM cleansing), InsideView Enrich (real-time lead enrichment), InsideView Target (Marketing Prospecting), and a broad set of MAP and CRM connectors.

InsideView is not the first sales intelligence vendor to provide such services.  Avention has long provided data and professional services and launched the DataVision platform last year for TAM analysis and white space company and contact identification.  Likewise, Zoominfo shifted its emphasis from sales to marketing and launched their Growth Acceleration Platform to assist with ICP identification and net-new prospecting.  While not the first entry in the space, the Expert Services represents a maturing of vendor capabilities in support of marketing departments and ABM projects.  Over the past several years, the sales intelligence vendors have retrained their focus from sales insights via browsers to sales and marketing intelligence services which deliver consultative and automated data services via enterprise platforms, mobile devices, and broad connectors.  This support goes beyond simply offering sales product Build a List functionality to marketing departments.  It includes a set of tools and services for identifying the ideal customer profile, sizing the total addressable market, identifying white space target accounts and contacts (i.e. net-new leads), supporting web forms, automating batch and ongoing enrichment of MAPs and CRMs, prioritizing leads, and assisting with lead-to-account mapping, segmentation analysis, and campaign targeting.  Other ABM features which sales intelligence vendors have begun rolling out include visitor site identification, programmatic marketing, social enrichment, Chrome connectors, ABSD (account based sales development) vendor integrations, and light predictive analytics.

We’ve helped several customers along their ABM journey, and we’ve realized their needs extend beyond company and contact data,” blogged InsideView Product Marketing Manager Jyothsna Durgadoss.  “In order to be successful, they also require data visualization, technical talent, and expert guidance — all of which are critical for effectively identifying ideal targets, uncovering total addressable market, and selecting the right accounts for ABM.”

InsideView noted that many sales and InsideView TAM Surveymarketing departments retain an ad-hoc approach to defining their ABM targets and TAM.  According to InsideView, “At a recent Sirius Decisions Summit, a poll of the keynote audience revealed that more than 50 percent had an ad hoc or nonexistent approach to measuring total addressable market.” (See bar chart on left)

 

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, http://www.cisco.com/ 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 (aws.amazon.com), Zappos (www.zappos.com), Alexa Internet (www.alexa.com) Audible (www.audible.com), Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), and soon Whole Foods (www.wholefoods.com).  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.

ReachForce Unveils 3×360 Lead Hygiene

Data Quality Automation vendor ReachForce unveiled a new technology update it calls “3×360.”  The new release provides improved visibility & control, full-spectrum intelligence, and implementation & integration flexibility.  The MarTech hygiene platform provides real-time data enrichment, cleansing, and updating for Marketo, Eloqua (Oracle), Silverpop (IBM), Hubspot, and Salesforce.  The improved technology enhances both their SmartForms web form enrichment and Continuous Data Management services.

“Marketing technology stack options continue to evolve and change, however, a single fundamental factor remains unchanged in determining the success of any marketing operation – the quality and depth of the marketing lead data that flows through it,” said ReachForce CEO Bob Riazzi. “With our 3X360 update we’ve worked hard to consider multiple aspects of the marketing technologist’s needs and are proud to introduce a full spectrum of new product capabilities that will support them and the way they leverage data through their tech stacks. And why 3X360?…well, we’re a bunch of geeks from Austin.”

A new 360° Console provides a central dashboard for tracking lead enrichment and data quality.  Analytics include

  • The health of web forms that use SmartForms and the enriched leads submitted.
  • Rich drill-down reporting for Submits by form, Abandons by form, Match Rate by Geo and Marketable Submits.
  • [A] “Service Snapshot” provides summaries of enriched leads, match rate & usage enabling timely tracking and management of service contract.
ReachForce Service Snapshot for SmartForms
ReachForce Service Snapshot for SmartForms

Future Console enhancements include “client-driven configuration management and on-demand file uploads for immediate data quality improvements and enrichment.”

While ReachForce has long provided firmographic enrichment combined with contact validation and verification, they are now supporting contact-level data enrichment.  The new matching capability enriches leads with business card details, job role and function, and a social profile.

SmartForms before and after Contact Enrichment.
SmartForms before and after Contact Enrichment.

ReachForce simplified their SmartForms integration via a “simple, one-line implementation” for one or multiple forms.  The new functionality helps marketers rollout SmartForms “via multiple unique configurations without additional implementation steps.”  Their JavaScript API also “allows developers to integrate SmartForms into dynamic lead form workflows and enables decision-making based on individual SmartForms interactions.”

Trillium Software Sold to SyncSort

"Why Good Data Matters" Statistics from Trillium Software
“Why Good Data Matters” Statistics from Trillium Software

Harte-Hanks, which has been looking to sell off its Trillium Software data quality division for several quarters, found an acquirer in SyncSort.  The $112 million transaction will combine the data quality and integration capabilities of the two firms with a focus on extending Trillium services into the Hadoop big data platform.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

“With most large enterprises making significant investments in Big Data for business and operational analytics, core data integration and data quality workloads are moving into Hadoop at a rapid pace,” said SyncSort CEO Josh Rogers. “As a pioneer in bringing high-performance data integration software to the Hadoop ecosystem, Syncsort sees an opportunity to extend our unique value with Trillium’s proven, best-of-breed data quality products. Together, we are a clear leader in the data integration and data quality market, and the logical choice for large enterprises seeking to chart a path to Hadoop. We look forward to working closely with Trillium’s customers and investing in the great products they have come to rely on.”’

Harte-Hanks has been slimming itself down the past few years.  They sold off both their publishing group and Trillium Software and spun off Aberdeen Services (Aberdeen market research and Access CI technology database).

“Our announcement today is the result of a comprehensive process to maximize the value of the Trillium Software business in the growing Data Quality and Data Governance segment,” said Harte-Hanks CEO Karen Puckett. “Now Harte Hanks can wholly focus resources on our core strengths and capitalize on our unique combination of marketing strategy, analytics, and execution capabilities. The sale of Trillium Software, along with the cost reduction program we implemented in 2016, provides Harte Hanks with a stronger balance sheet as we move the Company on its path toward revenue stability and historically strong cash flows and improved profitability.”

In a recent Magic Quadrant on Data Quality Tools, Gartner placed Trillium in the Leaders quadrant and gave them high marks for the “strength and stability” of their core profiling, parsing, standardization, and matching functionality.  Trillium also was noted for its “strong mind share and a very long and solid track record of delivering data quality solutions” and its growth in the cloud-based deployments.

On the negative side, Gartner noted concerns about pricing, “ease of installation, upgrade, and migration,” and the uncertainty that surrounds the Harte-Hanks divestment (the analysis was prior to the announcement).

Digital Transformation and Sales Intelligence

Data Source: “The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs," Forrester Research, May 2016.
Data Source: “The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs,” Forrester Research, May 2016.

Forrester released a study titled “The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs” which argued that companies need to quickly transform themselves into digital businesses.  The study broke businesses into three digital categories: Predator, Transformer, and Dinosaur and evaluated the percent of business that are either digital services or sold online.

Predators are already generating over 80% of their business digitally and will grow their business to 90% by 2020.  For them, digital is a foundational element of their operations.

Likewise, transformers are quickly evolving into digital businesses while dinosaurs are plodding along.  In 2014, only one in six dollars was generated digitally at transformers, but by 2020, two of every three dollars will be digitally mediated at transformed businesses.

At the dinosaurs, only one in three dollars will be digitally generated in 2020.

Forrester found that transformers are customer-centric in their business strategy and processes.  Customer obsession is part of their corporate DNA:

While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed.

  • Nigel Fenwick, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst

Overall, Forrester found that 29% of current total sales are influenced by digital, but that 47% would be digitally influenced by 2020.  Thus, any business that wishes to remain competitive must have a digital strategy which encompasses sales, marketing, credit decisioning, contracting, and all of the elements across your sales funnel.

My blog focuses on sales intelligence (with some discussion of marketing intelligence and DaaS), so I’m covering a subset of this transformation.  But sales intelligence is a key element of the digital transformation of sales and marketing.  Its goal is to make sales reps more efficient and effective at generating revenue through

  • Improved understanding of customers and prospects.  Whether the company is employing ABM, ABSD, social selling, trigger selling, or other techniques, customer-centricity begins with an understanding of the customer at the contact, company, and industry level.  Sales intelligence vendors go beyond firmographics and contact data to deliver business descriptions, SWOTs, biographies, social posts, industry research, financials, analyst reports, technology platforms, etc.
  • Current Awareness. Improved awareness of changes at customers and prospects helps to improve account planning, messaging, and forecasting.  Where once this intelligence was delivered as generic company news, the sales intelligence vendors have refined their tagging and now provide high precision sales triggers which are accurate at both the company and business topic level.  Some have even begun to integrate sales triggers into their prospecting engines.
  • Reduced busywork + improved data quality.  Sales intelligence vendors cut the time wasted on busywork through the implementation of DaaS enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads.  Enrichment provides more accurate firmographics, corporate linkage, and contact information which is then propagated to downstream systems.  It also reduces the keying done by prospects on web forms and sales reps in CRMs.  Furthermore, targeting, segmentation, and messaging are much more accurate when the ongoing maintenance of account intelligence is managed by a third party.

Over the past decade, sales intelligence firms have grown from standalone web information portals to integrated workflow services that deliver a broad set of account intelligence to CRMs, marketing automation platforms, sales acceleration (ABSD) services, Google Chrome, web forms, and mobile devices.  Thus, sales intelligence is now becoming available to sales, marketing, and service departments across a broad set of platforms and devices.

If you would like to read more on my thoughts concerning the digital transformation of sales and marketing, I have also discussed the topic on Sparklane and Avention’s blogs.

Data Enrichment Assists Digital Transformation

Blog on the Sparklane UK website discussing how sales and marketing can prepare for Digital Transformation.
Sparklane Blog

In a blog on Sparklane’s website, I had the opportunity to discuss how sales and marketing can digitally transform their departments by focusing on data enrichment and sales intelligence.

Firms have traditionally taken a haphazard approach to data quality, failing to recognize that data quality is a function of both initial data (keyed data, web forms, trade show scans, purchased lists, etc.) and time.  Data is dynamic.  It can be accurate today and inaccurate tomorrow.  That’s why data quality is often broken down into three dimensions: Accuracy, Completeness, and Timeliness.

So not only are firms failing to enrich data in real-time as data is acquired (or batch if purchased), they are ignoring the simple fact that

  • Companies relocate
  • Offices are shuttered
  • Execs change companies or positions within companies
  • Corporate URLs and email domains are changed when companies are acquired or renamed
  • Companies grow and shrink

The result has been saw-tooth data quality charts with quality spiking at data refresh and then quickly declining.  Both company and contact data are subject to data decay with contact data declining at a rate of 25% per annum (A recent Radius study has it at 27%).

To address this problem, firms should evaluate third-party solutions which provide a reference database matched against their sales and marketing datasets.  By standardizing on a reference dataset, sales and marketing operations can deploy a single source of truth across data acquisition (e.g. list loads, prospecting, web forms) and maintenance (ongoing updates to their CRM and Marketing Automation platforms).

There are many benefits to this approach:

  • Web Form and other keyed data is immediately verified and graded.
  • Lead Scoring is based upon richer and more accurate data.
  • Duplicates are detected before being created, allowing leads to be matched to current customers and prospects.
  • Leads from subsidiaries and branches are tied to ABM accounts, ensuring they are properly scored and routed.
  • Addresses, Phones, and other key firmographic and biographic fields are standardized ensuring they are properly segmented, targeted, and routed.
  • Sales and Marketing no longer waste resources targeting individuals who have left an organization.
  • Sales has more complete data for lead qualification, prioritization, and messaging.
  • Higher quality data is propagated to downstream systems, reducing the long-term cost of maintaining those platforms and helping prevent downstream errors and duplicates created by low quality upstream data.

And those benefits are simply those from cleaner data.  That is before we begin to consider the value of sales intelligence platforms in account planning, messaging, current awareness, identifying additional contacts at current accounts and prospects, and opportunity prioritization.

So if you want to begin to improve enterprise decision making and efficiency, an excellent place to start is in improving the data which is the lifeblood of your digital platforms.

Radius: Data Decay Rates

While there is a commonly cited statistic about contact data decaying at a 2.1% rate per month, the nature of this decay has been less reported.  Predictive Analytics company Radius conducted a study of 10,000 businesses and assessed the rate of decay over three months.  Data quality was assessed by external vendors in May and August 2016.  The Move or Unreachable value of 27% is similar to the often cited annual decay rate of 25% for contacts.

Radius published only three month decay rates, but I annualized the data using a four-period compounding formula.

Radius three-month data decay rates with imputed annual rates calculated by GZ Consulting.
Radius three-month data decay rates with imputed annual rates calculated by GZ Consulting.

One statistic that I did not annualize is the “Emails become Invalid” rate.  If 7.6% of contacts are not reachable after three months, then why are only 2.5% of emails becoming invalid?  There are several reasons:  First, approximately 8% of companies set their mail servers to not send bounce messages (or 0.6% of the three-month spread).  Secondly, most companies do not immediately turn off email messages when a person leaves the firm.  They generally forward the emails for a period of time to an administrative assistant or the individual who has assumed the departed person’s role.  This tends to be a temporary situation, but it explains the 5% gap between the two rates.  As one would expect companies to eventually decommission old emails, the annual rate of emails becoming valid should be closer to 25% than the non-displayed CAGR rate of 9.7%.

Radius is looking to address the decay problem in its database via leveraging their clients’ second-party data to obtain network effects for augmenting and updating their file.  Customers opt into the network with their data immediately anonymized and aggregated, “providing additional points of validation and verification.”  Customer contributions now cover 70% of the businesses in Radius’ Business Graph spanning one billion interactions.

Zoominfo has employed a similar model over the past few years for building out their contact file.  Their Community network has lifted their coverage of active US B2B contacts to 80 million.

Radius claims that the network improves the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and freshness of their data.  For example, phone connect rates improve from 84% to 93% when there are at least five data validation points.  Likewise, physical address accuracy improves from 85% to 96% when there are at least five validation points.

The comprehensiveness of firmographic data also improves with additional members.  Without the customer network, only 64% of records had full firmographic or contact attributes.  The population of comprehensive records rises to 81% with fifty network members.

Finally, Radius claims it’s network is “up to 20 times faster” at updating the Business Graph “than with traditional, manual methods of data collection and validation.”

“Network effects have long been a driver of business value and innovation across many industries, particularly for B2C companies,” said Radius CEO Darian Shirazi. “At Radius we are pushing the envelope on what B2B companies can come to expect from data. Now, leveraging customer network effects opens the door to further transform B2B data and develop new marketing innovations. By tapping into our predictive expertise and already robust data set, customer network effects can help marketers make smarter, faster decisions that drive revenue and growth.”