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.

Bombora in D&B Hoovers

Search Results include Bombora Intent Badges.

D&B Hoover’s customers can now view and build lists of in-market accounts using the Bombora intent file.  Users can set up SmartLists (dynamic lists) with a combination of account and intent data to identify in-market ICP accounts.  The list is then displayed on the sales rep’s desktop and daily email digest.

Target lists can be assembled from over 175 selects that span company, contact, intent, and technographics.  Bombora intent data is gathered from over 4,000 B2B media website and span 7,000 pre-defined topics.  70% of the websites are exclusive to Bombora.

Dun & Bradstreet provides a sophisticated approach to selecting intent topics that tie to business strategy.  Instead of simply choosing the obvious topics, the firms recommend that customers employ topic clusters, “a group of like-minded Intent topics [that are] representative of all facets of a product or service.”  Clusters would include

  • Brand/Products (core): Brands, products, key functions
  • Competitors/Partners: Brands and products of competitors and partners
  • Industry/Vertical: Strongly associated categories, use cases, and product/service capabilities
  • Pain Points/Challenges: Pain points, issues, expected outcomes
Multiple intent topics may be monitored in a SmartList.

Dun & Bradstreet has removed intent scores, which are often confusing.  By creating clusters, topics are either surging or not, with no interpretation required.  Instead, the number of clustered topics serves as the indicator of surge strength.

The firms recommend that content be adjusted based on the number of intent topics identified for a prospect.  Sales and Marketing should “serve higher-level or awareness-based content to those showing interest in one or two topics, and lower-funnel content to those showing interest on many topics.”  Furthermore, prospects with many surging topics are probably closer to making a purchase.

D&B Hoovers also added 4 million direct dial numbers to their database, bringing the product total to 6.2 million.  Direct dials contain a set of standard and mobile numbers, so users should hover over the direct dial number to determine the phone type.

“As more business contacts work from home, direct dials are essential to engage customers in real-time, from anywhere,” wrote Product Management VP Phil McWade.  “Access these numbers in the lists you’ve already created, when viewing a Contact Profile, or within Contacts Search & Build a List results.”

D&B Hoover’s coverage has grown to 209 million global companies and 235 million contacts

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.


Part III publishes tomorrow.

D&B Hoover’s Enhancements: COVID-19 Impact Index

Soon after the pandemic began, Dun & Bradstreet developed a COVID-19 index which allowed companies to assess the pandemic risk to their loan portfolio, suppliers, and customer base. The firm moved to further enable analysis by implementing the scores within their D&B Hoovers sales and marketing intelligence platform.

“The COVID-19 Impact Index provides insight into how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting a company’s location, industry, and financial strength,” wrote VP of Product Management McWade.  “This data can help you actively monitor the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on accounts and prospects and refine targeting strategies accordingly.”

“The Index assesses impacts to a business based on the proximity of corporate locations to the pandemic, as well as the level of disruption to the company’s network due to site suppliers and business customers impacted by the pandemic.  Each week, the company and network situation are assessed, and a score ranging from highest to low is assigned to five key impact areas to provide visibility into the level of disruption that may be impacting the account.”

D&B VP of Product Management Phil McWade

The new index is displayed in the Company Summary with simple Green / Yellow / Red indexing.  The five variables have also been added to the Advanced Insights section of Search & Build a List.

The COVID-19 Impact Index Variables are

  1. Financial Impact – Leverages Dun & Bradstreet’s trade credit and risk data to understand financial health by assessing a company’s ability to meet payment obligations, as well as the probability of declaring bankruptcy, experiencing significant financial distress, engaging in M&A activity, and other high-risk activities.
  2. Location Impact – Reviews business site and corporate family locations subject to lockdown, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place orders and weighs this information by the number of confirmed cases and growth in cases by location.  Country, state, county, and city-level location restrictions are assessed.  Local hospitalization rates are also factored into the variables.
  3. Industry Impact – Looks at industry impact signals to understand industry-associated risk by identifying essential businesses, which can operate remotely, require the physical presence of customers, and need employees to be at a central location.
  4. Overall Impact without Network Effects – Combines the financial, location, and industry impact indicators to determine the overall risk of the business.
  5. Overall Impacts with Network Effects – Reviews business connections with other organizations, such as customers, suppliers, or other third parties, to understand impacts on the company’s network.  This score provides the most comprehensive view of the current situation by adding network impacts to the company’s financial, location, and industry elements.

In Build a List, sales reps can filter for companies that are less impacted by COVID-19.  For territory reps located in hotspots, the location filter should be removed so they can identify companies that are better sheltered from the pandemic.  For example, both Carnival Cruises and Univision are headquartered in Miami, but Carnival would be a weak prospect due to COVID (all five indicators are highest) while Univision would be a good target (Location is highest, but the remaining variables are low).  Conversely, verticalized reps that sell into one or a few industries would omit the industry risk variable but include the location variable.  This strategy would identify firms that are otherwise low risk.

Lists can be saved as SmartLists of low-risk prospects that are updated weekly.

COVID-19 Index variables should not be employed as ABM variables for determining which companies to target strategically.  The variables are ephemeral and are unlikely to align with strategic fit.  However, they provide a valuable overlay to ABM lists for focusing on companies that are better sheltered from the economic and operational impacts of the pandemic.  They also provide a warning flag to Customer Success Managers and Account Executives around which firms may be looking to downgrade or churn, allowing sales to plan for one-time discounts, additional services, or alternative financing terms.

Variables are view-only in the desktop and CRM editions, but not downloadable to the desktop or synced with CRMs.  

The index variables are global.


Other recent enhancements to D&B Hoovers were discussed yesterday.

D&B Hoover’s Enhancements

D&B Hoovers released a set of enhancements to its sales intelligence service.  New content and features include expanded company identifiers, company identifier searching, additional URLs, and a COVID-19 Impact Index.

D&B Hoovers has improved the scope and display of global registration numbers (AKA Regnos) within their service, with identifiers available for more than 129 million companies spanning more than 500 different National Identification Numbering Schema.  Regnos are now more prominent in Company Profiles and searchable in the “Company Identifiers” section of “Search & Build a List.”

Identifiers include US Federal Tax IDs (EINs), VATs, and French Siret Numbers.  Up to four identifiers are displayed in company profiles.  While the service has long supported Dun & Bradstreet’s D-U-N-S Numbers, stock tickers, and registration numbers, the expanded scope assists with company lookup and research.

Dun & Bradstreet cautioned that not all registration numbers are unique, and multiple family members may share a Regno.

Users may search for a single identifier or upload a list of up to 1,000 ids.

“This new presentation of global registration numbers with Company Profiles and the Search & Build a List Form better aligns with the display of this information across Dun & Bradstreet products, providing a more consistent data experience for users who have multiple offerings.”

Senior Product Director Phil McWade

D&B Hoovers added 3.5 million additional URLs to their service, bringing the global count to 24 million.

D&B Hoovers continues to expand its company and executive coverage, with nearly 180 million active companies and 160 million active contacts.

Another new feature is a Coronavirus trigger for reps looking to monitor prospects and accounts along with a set of COVID-19 Impact Indices.  The new Impact Index is available as an optional add-on, priced per seat.

The new COVID-19 Impact Index will be covered in tomorrow’s blog.

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO (Part IV)

The is the fourth, and final, blog on Dun & Bradstreet’s upcoming IPO. Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE Ticker: DNB) will be offering 65.75 million shares at an IPO price between $19 and $21.  The offering would raise just over $1.3 billion and value the firm at $8 billion. [Top of Coverage]

North American revenue increased by $12.1 million or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) in Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2019.  North American Finance and Risk rose $10.7 million (6%) year-over-year.  Finance Solutions were up $13 roughly million, while Compliance fell approximately $2 million.

North American Sales & Marketing grew revenue by $1.4 million (up 1%) in Q1.  However, $4.9 million of S&MS revenue was attributed to Lattice, which was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in July 2019.  North American Advanced Marketing Solutions revenue rose $4 million due to increased demand, but D&B Hoovers and the Data.com legacy partnership with Salesforce posted declining revenue.  The Data.com service is being phased out, so the $4 million in quarterly revenue drop was anticipated.  However, the drop of $3 million in quarterly revenue at D&B Hoovers, attributed to lower sales, was surprising.

International revenue fell by $0.2 million in Q1.  International Finance & Risk revenue increased $2.3 million, or 4% (both after and before the effect of foreign exchange) for the three months ended March 31, 2020.  International Sales & Marketing revenue declined $2.3 million, primarily driven by lower product royalties from their WWN alliance.

Annual revenue dropped $139.8 million (8%), but the drop was due to purchase accounting deferred revenue adjustments (9%) due to the take-private transaction and Lattice acquisition.  There also was a one month lag in international revenue reporting due to the take-private transaction resulting in an additional 1.5% drop in revenue.

2019 North American revenue rose by $44.1 million (3%) with increases in both product lines.  The Finance & Risk division increased revenue by $16 million, or 2%.  The Risk & Compliance products grew revenue by $11 million, and the D&B Credibility products contributed an additional $4 million.

2019 North American Sales & Marketing revenue grew $28.1 million (4%), with $17 million in increased revenue from Master Data solutions and $12 million from Lattice, which was acquired at the beginning of Q3.

2019 International revenue fell $3.1 million after the impact of foreign currency but was up 2% before foreign currency impacts of $9.5 million.  “Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, growth of $6.4 million was primarily due to increased revenue in our U.K. market driven by higher demand and usage related to our Finance & Risk solutions, including Risk & Compliance products.”

2019 International revenue was negatively impacted by $1.8 million, mostly in the UK, “as a result of transferring legacy Avention contracts to our WWN alliances pursuant to preexisting agreements governing partner exclusivity in certain territories.”

The filing also provided some color into their 2018 performance vs. 2017 as a private company:

“The increase in Sales & Marketing Solutions reflects increased revenue from new business in our Master Data offerings of approximately $7 million as well as our Audience Solutions products (Visitor Intelligence and Programmatic) of approximately $5 million and Analytics products of approximately $5 million.  The aforementioned increases were partially offset by lower royalty revenue from our Data.com legacy partnership of approximately $7 million and decreased revenue in D&B Hoovers of approximately $5 million.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1 Filing

Dun & Bradstreet Files for IPO

Dun & Bradstreet filed an S-1 to return to the public markets after being taken private by Black Knight (BKI), Thomas H. Lee Partners, Cannae, and CC Capital eighteen months ago.  Dun & Bradstreet was reorganized and recapitalized with additional debt ($2.5 billion in increased liabilities).  The bookrunners include Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, J.P. Morgan, and Barclays.

Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) will be offering 65.75 million shares at a price between $19 and $21.

The firm will once again be listed under the DNB ticker and will net at least $1.3 billion from the IPO.  The IPO proceeds will be used to “redeem all or a portion of our Series A Preferred Stock that we issued in connection with the Take-Private Transaction.”

Dun & Bradstreet has 135,000 global customers, including 90% of the Fortune 500 and 60% of the Global 500.  Its primary services support risk analysis (credit and supplier risk), marketing, and sales.  Over the past five years, the firm has focused on analytics, Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), Master Data Management, and Audience Solutions (e.g. programmatic, visitor intelligence).  The product line has been built both organically and via acquisition.  Earlier this year, they acquired Orb Intelligence and its AI/ML tools for collecting firmographics and digital business identities.  Last year, they acquired Lattice Engines, a leading Customer Data Platform.

This year, Dun & Bradstreet launched two new services: an ABM platform and an Analytics Studio that combines Dun & Bradstreet company intelligence with customer-owned and alternative data sources.

Dun & Bradstreet offers global services for risk analysis (credit, supplier), Master Data Management, Compliance, B2B DaaS, Prospecting, and Sales Intelligence.  Key products include DNBi, D&B Direct, D&B Credibility, D&B Hoovers, D&B Optimizer, D&B Master Data, D&B Lattice, D&B Audience Targeting, D&B Visitor Intelligence, and First Research.

The firm now focuses on “business decisioning data and analytics,” which “enables companies around the world to improve their business performance.” Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud “fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk, and transform their businesses.”  Key data assets include the D&B WorldBase file with global company linkage; various analytical risk scores; credit and supplier risk reports; the global D-U-N-S numbering system for companies; country risk reports; industry overviews; and Hoovers company profiles.

The firm continues to invest in its global data.  Dun & Bradstreet listed the following data initiatives:

“- We have significantly increased our investment in the breadth and depth of our data.  We have specifically focused on better utilization of available data, automation of business data research, improvement of identity resolution, expansion of our individual contact database and implementation of tools to monitor and streamline our data supply chain so that we can generate better, more actionable business insights and outcomes for our clients. We are also proactively addressing data quality issues.

– Although we draw from approximately 16,000 proprietary and publicly curated sources, Dun & Bradstreet had historically focused on identifying and collecting a narrow subset of data that was appropriate for specific solutions.  We have since reoriented our approach towards better ingesting all available data to effectively leverage previously disregarded sources of data and thereby improve the consistency, accuracy and predictive power of our solutions.

– We are also expanding the volume of the data we are able to offer.  For example, we have increased D&B Hoover’s premium contact data from approximately five million e-mail contacts to approximately 16 million contacts in our Data Cloud from January 2019 through March 31, 2020, while simultaneously improving the accuracy of those contacts by 250% since the beginning of 2018.  We specifically focused on individuals we consider having significant influence over the buying process at companies that are most important to our clients based on our verified usage analysis.

– We are also expanding our coverage of SMBs and incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients. As part of this initiative we acquired Orb in January 2020, which allows us to better capture the digital footprint of businesses as well as the digital exhaust that businesses generate.  By incorporating additional data sets into our solutions, we can continue to expand and refine the insights we offer to our clients, which we believe will enhance our competitive advantage.

– We have implemented a data watch program (the “Data Watch Program”) to proactively monitor and repair issues before clients experience them.  Since May 2019, both client issues as well as Data Watch Program issues are now being logged in our data quality repository.  We have identified, logged and resolved a number of issues as a direct result of this initiative and are continuously working to address additional issues.”

Dun & Bradstreet S-1

Dun & Bradstreet has a set of content differentiators.  These include the global D-U-N-S Numbering system; global linkage; financial and risk data for credit, procurement, and compliance functions; First Research industry profiles; and Audience Solutions for programmatic and visitor intelligence.

“Data is only valuable when it drives action that moves an organization towards its goals,” stated the S-1.  “Underpinned by an integrated technology platform, our solutions derive data-driven insights that help clients target, grow, collect, procure, and comply.  We provide clients with both curated bulk data to incorporate into their internal workflows and end-to-end solutions that generate insights from this data through configurable analytics.”


Continue to Part II.

D&B Hoovers Gooses Its Content for Current Users

Spend Capacity is one of three new risk metrics available through D&B Hoovers.

D&B Hoover’s customers are enjoying additional risk scores and industry content through the end of May.  This benefit is perfect timing for adding value to their offering on a short-term basis as it allows customers to test out additional content and functionality for two months at no charge. Sales reps are under great pressure to build and maintain their pipeline through improved targeting and messaging.

Likewise, Relationship Managers at banks are under immense pressure to process CARES PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) across a broad set of pandemic-impacted industries.

Supplementary material includes

  • First Research industry overviews
  • DecisionHQ flags (does the location have purchasing authority?)
  • Spend Capacity (A spend ranking score versus other companies)
  • Growth Trajectory (Will the company grow, shrink, or remain stable over the next 12 to 18 months?)

In Family Trees, a star icon flags locations with purchasing authority.  All three predictive scores are available as search filters in Build a List.

First Research reports [sample] are a set of plain-English industry overviews which help sales reps, Customer Success Managers, and relationship managers who sell and service across a broad set of industries quickly understand industry basics and trends. Core content includes

  • Industry Description: Competitive Landscape; Products, Operations, & Technology; Sales & Marketing; Finance & Regulation; Regional & International Issues; and Human Resources.
  • Top Companies
  • Financials: Industry statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US International Trade Commission. Also includes valuation multiples.
  • Industry Forecast: Inforum Forecast
  • Industry Growth Rating
  • Trends & Opportunities
  • Executive Insight: Key Topics by C-level job Function
  • Business Challenges
  • Call Prep Questions: Conversation Starters; Operations, Products, & Facilities; Customers, Marketing, Pricing, & Competition; Regulations, R&D, Imports, & Exports; Organization & Management; Financial Analysis; and Business & Technology Strategies.
  • Industry Indicators
  • Industry Websites
  • Fast Facts

The Call Prep Questions and Executive Insights offer great value to non-experts. If you are a relationship manager or territory rep, you are likely speaking to individuals across many industries on a daily basis. It would be impossible to develop true expertise in all of those industries. These sections help professionals ask intelligent questions and tailor their conversations at the account and persona level.

First Research reports are available as an integrated service in D&B Hoovers, via the D&B Direct API, as a standalone service, and as individual reports.

First Research reports are written at the eight-digit Dun & Bradstreet SIC-code level and associated with company profiles by these codes. They are also available through the Research and Reports module.


Dun & Bradstreet is also offering risk solutions for business and government during the Covid pandemic:

ABM Research Vendors

When conducting account based (ABM) research, it is necessary to develop a broad view of your customers and prospects which includes company, contact, and industry research.   Unfortunately, open web research is quite time-consuming and your sales reps are unlikely to consistently engage in general research, so consider Sales Intelligence vendors with editorial research teams. 

Executive research should go beyond the Leadership page and LinkedIn profiles.  One option is Boardroom Insiders which gathers rich executive profiles on CxOs written by business journalists.

For industry research, look at Vertical IQ, IBISWorld, or First Research.  Vertical IQ and First Research are strong offerings for sales teams that sell broadly across many segments but are not verticalized.  They are written in plain English and include Q&A sections. The content in IBISWorld is more formal but better suited for verticalized teams.

At the company level, consider Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers, InsideView, or DiscoverOrg.  All three provide company and contact profiles, list building, and sales triggers.  D&B Hoovers goes deeper on global coverage, family trees, and industry profiles, DiscoverOrg offers the deepest set of technographics and rich bios, and InsideView provides excellent sales triggers and social media intelligence.

Quora: How do I find a company’s top competitors?

The following is a post I wrote on Quora.


There are a couple of ways.

  • If a US public company, look at its 10-K (annual report). Firms generally discuss their competitors. You can locate the 10-K on a company’s investor site, through sales intelligence vendors, or free Edgar sites.
  • If a private company, look at Owler, a free site (See below). This is crowdsourced so may include firms that aren’t true competitors.
Owler competitor lists are gathered through social voting.
  • Look at sales intelligence services such as D&B Hoovers or InsideView. Hoover’s competitors are editorially generated and include top three flags (see below)
D&B Hoover’s competitor lists are gathered by a team of researchers.
  • Within IT, look at Forrester Wave reports. Another option is technology category searches in PE/VC databases such as DataFox, Crunchbase, Pitchbook, or CB Insights. Keep in mind that companies within the same segment may not be competitors, but partners, customers, etc.
  • Many industries have industry specific market research that includes competitors. A few general market research firms also provide competitors (e.g. MarketLine, Euromonitor, Global Data, and Freedonia). Top Competitors are also available in IBISWorld, Vertical IQ, and First Research.
  • Zoominfo and a few other vendors identify similar companies based upon proximity in articles. This finds competitors, but also customers and partners so should be carefully reviewed.
  • For new technologies or industries, D&B Hoovers offers Conceptual Search which identify companies associated with key phrases (e.g. Marcellus Shale, Obamacare). This is more of an associated companies list and will identify firms in a topical ecosystem. For example, “Harry Potter” identifies studios, publishers, toy makers, theme parks, and thematic tours. (See example below of conceptual search on Marcellus Shale). Conceptual Search lists may be refined by standard prospecting filters such as industry, geography, and size.
D&B Hoover’s Conceptual Search looks for companies associated with specific phrases.
  • If none of these work, use peer list searches (industry code lists) or keyword searches in sales intelligence vendors. If cost is a concern, go to your public library and see if they have ReferenceUSA, AtoZDatabases, or Mergent Online. Each of these allows you to build peer lists based on industry codes, company size, and geography. If you need help, ask for the business or reference librarian to assist.