E-Mail Guessing Strategies Work Poorly

I’ve long suspected that email guessing strategies based upon corporate email templates are risky.  If the hit rate is low, you can quickly undermine your sender score and hurt your firm’s ability to communicate with customers and prospects.

Almost every sales rep does it as a quick workaround.  Hell, I’ve done it.  But, as a strategy for building marketing datasets, it is a dead end.  When sales reps do it, there is a high probability that their well drafted email will bounce.  When marketing does it, they will kill their email deliverability.

Two companies provide evidence to the failure of this strategy — DiscoverOrg and SalesLoft.

SalesLoft offered the Prospector service in 2014. It was a gerry-rigged Google search of LinkedIn that employed an email guessing strategy. The service was discontinued when CEO Kyle Porter decided to focus on Sales Engagement.
SalesLoft offered the Prospector service in 2014. It was a jerry-rigged Google search of LinkedIn that employed an email guessing strategy. The service was discontinued when CEO Kyle Porter decided to focus on Sales Engagement.

SalesLoft began as a LinkedIn scraping service that employed Google to build lists and then utilized email guessing to enrich the lists with dubious quality emails.  SalesLoft Prospector grew into a multi-million dollar business, but CEO Kyle Porter saw the business as unsustainable.   Instead, Porter used revenues from Prospector as a financial bridge for building out a sales engagement Cadence service which has grown rapidly.  Porter describes their service as “sincerity at scale.”

Yesterday, they announced the acquisition of partner SalesNinja which provides integrated meeting analytics for their sales engagement platform.   The tool transcribes and tags meetings for sales coaching, new hire training, and meeting note searching.  The goal is to improve sales efficiency and efficacy while identifying best practices.  Instead of dubious lists, the firm is looking to build quality conversations between sales and prospects.

SalesLoft’s mission is to “enable salespeople to sell with true intent and sincerity,” said Porter several years ago.  “The concept of getting a good prospect list and pounding it to death is old, trite and has become a terrible strategy and drag on our customer’s brands. We have never intended to participate in that process. SalesLoft Cadence is a different process, creates a different relationship, much different results and is executed by professionals with professional solutions.”

DiscoverOrg was never tempted by such strategies and employs a large editorial team to research and maintain executive profiles.  In a recent test of 2,700 editorially gathered emails that were also SMTP verified, DiscoverOrg found that basic template guessing was only 62.4% accurate.  When nickname substitution was employed, the rate only rose to 66%.  When they analyzed the incorrect guesses, they came up with multiple reasons for failure:

  • Large companies have multiple email formulas
  • Brands and subsidiaries create complications
  • Subdomains are becoming more popular in email addresses
  • Some companies use multiple email domains for different roles
  • Nicknames are very common
  • Middle initials and middle names
  • Duplicate names
  • Foreign names
  • Secretive email formulas

“A lot of data providers offer ‘confidence levels’ or likelihoods that a specific email is good,” blogged DiscoverOrg SVP of Data and Research Derek Smith.  “They’re just peddling their own guesses. Anybody can pass along their best guess at an email. Real sales intelligence gives you accurate, actionable data that won’t result in a bounce of your carefully crafted prospecting message.”

In the end, prospecting shortcuts are problematic.  The best sales and marketing professionals employ accurate data and insights for their messaging.  Furthermore, in the era of GDPR (three days from now), you can’t have explicit consent to communicate with an EU citizen when you are guessing at how to contact her.


DiscoverOrg Study

 

 

OrgChartCity: New Source of Top Company Intelligence

OrgChartCity provides family trees by function and division.
OrgChartCity provides family trees by function and division.

Five years ago, there were several options for editorially researched org charts. These included DiscoverOrg, RainKing, SalesQuest Crush reports, and iProfile. But DiscoverOrg acquired both RainKing and iProfile and SalesQuest was acquired by OneSource which was later acquired by Dun & Bradstreet and bundled into the D&B Hoovers technology premium. Thus, the options for org chart intelligence narrowed significantly. However, Bowman Marketing Services (BMS), a company profile research firm based in Austin, TX, now offers OrgChartCity as both single profiles and a subscription service.

OrgChartCity intelligence includes both organizational structures and notes concerning budget data and responsibilities. Licensees receive both a PDF org chart and an Excel CSV containing first and last name, department, email, phone, and title.

CEO David Bowman, describes the OrgChartCity value proposition as “contacts in context” which provides org charts “handcrafted by business experts, not some nested database of contacts that a computer nerd put together.”

Information is collected through both primary and secondary research along with automated checks. Each data source is assessed by recency, context, and source type with records included only if they meet a 90% confidence threshold. If a company has not been updated in the prior 90 days, the licensee is provided with the current profile and a refreshed profile within a couple of days.

The firm focuses on the Fortune 500 and Global 2000. Coverage currently spans 500 companies with the firm adding dozens of org charts each quarter. Overall, the firm has around 35,000 active, profiled executives.

Individual profiles may be purchased by credit card on the OrgChartCity website for $125. An annual subscription to the full database is priced at $10,000 and includes alerts and full access to updates.

While Bowman Marketing Services is initially focusing on org charts, the firm performs detailed custom research for its clients and plans to market additional datasets in the future.

Custom research topics include company overviews, competition, segments, budgets and departments, social media presence, sustainability, news (specific to the client), technology platforms (specific to the clients), awards and recognition, financial outlook (summarized for sales reps), and 2018 initiatives. Custom report pricing runs between $1,000 and $5,000 per company based upon the number of topics covered and the size of the company.

BMS has been providing custom research since 2005. The custom business is profitable and OrgChartCity is nearing breakeven. The firm maintains a staff of 20 to 25 researchers.

 

DiscoverOrg Outreach Connector

Sales reps can upload individual records, selected records in batch, or all records to Outreach. A similar process supports uploads to CRM or Marketing Automation Platforms. Leads may be uploaded as new accounts or matched to current accounts within Outreach.
Sales reps can upload individual records, selected records in batch, or all records to Outreach. A similar process supports uploads to CRM or Marketing Automation Platforms. Leads may be uploaded as new accounts or matched to current accounts within Outreach.

Sales and marketing intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg announced a “refreshed” connector with sales engagement platform Outreach.  The update provides improved “synchronicity” between the two services, making it “faster and easier for reps to sequence DiscoverOrg contacts,” said Russell Van Leuven, DiscoverOrg Senior Director of Sales.

According to Van Leuven, the updated “solution will remove barriers and help people sell more by addressing three mission critical sales problems: (1) a disjointed sales tech stack, (2) inconsistent or untrustworthy data, and (3) maintaining governance practices to preserve data quality.”

“The value of great data lies in what our customers DO with it.  The integration of Outreach with DiscoverOrg means sales teams can get the best data and insights on their target accounts, engage them with the right message at the right time, and never worry about that data going stale again.”

  • DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck

The solution addresses both the dearth of quality data for small teams that perform open-web Google research and “tech overload” at enterprises that are balancing email, CRM, and “a huge stack of tech tools to find, cross-reference, and confirm the information they need,” said Van Leuven.

Van Leuven highlighted the difficulties of maintaining data quality in CRMs:

It’s hard to trust the murky origins of the data in your CRM. It’s usually old (Did you know: data decays at a rate of 30% per year). A lot of distrust comes from the fact that most people have had a traumatizing experience with bad data or bad data providers that’s landed them in spam filters, blacklists, or worse. And when your sales team doesn’t feel like they can trust the data, they stop trying to keep records updated. Bad data perpetuates a burdensome cycle of bad data.

The connector feeds editorially researched prospect data into Outreach and Salesforce.  Both individual records and bulk prospects are pushed to Outreach and assigned to Outreach sequences.  There is “no downloading, uploading, copying or pasting required,” said Van Leuven.

Prospect lists can be assembled in DiscoverOrg and assigned to specific Outreach sequences and tagged by the owner.  Company and contact information can also be passed to Outreach via DiscoverOrg’s Chrome extension.  Thus, a sales rep can identify a prospect on LinkedIn or a company website, match and enrich the record against the DiscoverOrg reference file spanning 130,000 companies and three million companies, and then upload the enriched record to Outreach.

“Great sales results require an in-depth understanding of who you are targeting, and then reaching those individuals with a message that moves them to take action,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “The partnership between Outreach and DiscoverOrg makes that simple.”

The joint service also offers automated DiscoverOrg enrichment of new leads within Outreach.  The nightly scan appends DiscoverOrg contact information, firmographics, and technographics to Outreach for both new records and records updated within the DiscoverOrg reference library.  The nightly scan also identifies bounced emails and departed employees.

The connector supports field-level configuration allowing admins to set custom field mappings.  Admins are also provided with a weekly summary report which lists all account and contact updates.

DiscoverOrg has a 95% data quality SLA based upon their 90-day editorial review cycle and monthly bounce testing.

Along with Outreach, DiscoverOrg supports sales engagement vendors SalesLoft and Tellwise.  DiscoverOrg plans on enhancing those connectors along with adding additional sales engagement vendors.

DiscoverOrg Backed By The Carlyle Group

DiscoverOrg has rolled out a broad set of partner integrations for CRMs, MAPs, Sales Development (ABSD) platforms, and Applicant Tracking Systems.
DiscoverOrg has rolled out a broad set of partner integrations for CRMs, MAPs, Sales Development (ABSD) platforms, and Applicant Tracking Systems.

The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager, has taken a minority investment stake in DiscoverOrg.  22C also participated in the round.  TA Associates maintains a “significant equity stake” in the sales and marketing intelligence company with TA Associates and executive management retaining majority control.

“The DiscoverOrg team has built the industry-leading intelligence platform for sales and marketing teams across the globe.  Consistent revenue generation requires accurate and actionable data, and that is what DiscoverOrg delivers. We are delighted to partner with the management team to accelerate growth and foster innovation.”

  • Patrick McCarter, Co-Head of U.S. Buyout Technology, Media & Telecom and Managing Director, The Carlyle Group

Randall Winn, 22C Capital Managing Member and former CEO of Capital IQ, noted, “We are exceptionally pleased to have been involved in DiscoverOrg’s success over the last few years as the team has built a truly unique data platform and developed into a world-class company. We are excited to be in a position to continue to work with DiscoverOrg and invest in [CEO] Henry [Schuck]’s vision.”

Funds will be used to accelerate database growth and the pace of product innovation.  The money is non-restricted in its purpose “other than capturing our market opportunity more quickly,” said Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard.

DiscoverOrg is coming off of another strong year of growth in revenue (ARR above $130 million), database coverage (124% increase in contacts), and employment (50% growth and the acquisition of RainKing).  The firm has grown to 470 employees with 35 job postings on their website.  According to Bullard, the firm is on pace to hit $160 million in revenue this year.

While Schuck has previously discussed an IPO, there have been “no specific conversations” concerning going public since, said Bullard.

Terms of the investment and market valuation were not disclosed.

DiscoverOrg Rolls Past $130M ARR

DiscoverOrg closed 2017 with an Annual Recurring Revenue in excess of $130 million. Data Source: Inc. 5000.
DiscoverOrg closed 2017 with an ARR in excess of $130 million. Source: Inc. 5000.

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg crowed about its 2017 performance with growth in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), customers, staff, and data coverage.  The firm, which acquired its top competitor RainKing in August, exceeded $130 million in ARR, above projections at the time of the acquisition.  As subscription revenue is recognized over the life of the contract, 2017 revenue was likely between $110 and $120 million.  DiscoverOrg, which has long stated that it is profitable and cash flow positive, also exceeded its profitability target for 2017, but did not provide details.

DiscoverOrg employment grew to more than 500 employees in Maryland, Washington, and Pennsylvania.  Headcount increased by 50%.  The additional staff allowed DiscoverOrg to grow the database and “deliver an unparalleled customer experience” through an expanded customer success team, redesigned customer training and certification programs, and user experience improvements to both platforms.

The customer base grew by more that 25% to greater than 4,000.

“After the acquisition of RainKing in August 2017, we made a commitment to our combined customer base that they would be able to access more high-quality data as we brought the businesses together,” said Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO. “In the five months since the acquisition, we more than doubled the datasets our customers access. This phenomenal increase means that our customers are more effective at finding, connecting, and selling to their target buyers.”

In 2017, DiscoverOrg launched SMB and HR datasets which provided a “larger addressable target market for DiscoverOrg and a more diversified customer base.”  A few weeks ago, DiscoverOrg released its Legal and Compliance dataset.

Following the merger, the firm swiftly combined the RainKing and DiscoverOrg company and contact universes.  DiscoverOrg contact coverage expanded 124% while the RainKing universe grew 127%.  With respect to global companies, counts increased 82% to 130,000.

In 2018, DiscoverOrg plans to further grow its database and develop ”new tools and applications that make the data even more easily actionable for sales and marketing teams,” said Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard.  “Our roadmap is focused on enabling our customers to build an end-to-end pipeline engine with DiscoverOrg’s data as the foundation.”

While the coverage continues to increase, they have maintained their data research focus.  “We repeatedly hear from sales and marketing organizations that the overwhelming abundance of data available today— mostly low-quality and unverified—actually makes it harder for them to do their job effectively,” said Bullard. “We have focused on delivering both the right data and the right tools to make sense of that data in a simple and practical package. The result is that our customers get to market faster, build more pipeline, and close deals more often than their competitors.”

TechTarget Priority Engine: Strong Q4 and Product Enhancements

Priority Engine combines Intent data with predictive analytics, technographics, and contacts.
Priority Engine combines Intent data with predictive analytics, technographics, and contacts.

Technology media company TechTarget announced strong Q4 growth for their Sales Intelligence Priority Engine service.  The firm added over 40 new Priority Engine and Deal Data customers in Q4 with revenues more than doubling year-over-year.  Priority Engine benefited from the addition of DiscoverOrg technographic and contact intelligence during the quarter.  The service combines intent, predictive, and contacts intelligence into a single solution.  Intent data is sourced from their 140 B2B media tech web sites containing 550,000 indexed content pages, many of which make the first page of Google technology searches.  Each day, the firm has one million buyer interactions tied to its 17 million members which it then tags to 10,000 technology topics.  The majority of members have technology titles, but TechTarget also supports five million non-IT members.

Content is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese.

TechTarget claims that its hand-indexed, technology-focused editorial content results in a better indication of technology intent than machine-indexed intent files built across a broader set of B2B media sites.  Furthermore, because TechTarget has member ids associated with site activity, they know who at each company is researching specific topics, providing surge data tied to specific individuals.  Other intent vendors provide anonymous intent.

“Real purchase intent insight is actually made, not scraped from general-purpose websites.  It begins with relevant, useful content that provides critical value to professionals as they look to solve business challenges and make buying decisions. By observing and learning from their content consumption patterns as they happen, marketers can market and sellers can sell at the right time with greater relevance. Our ability to deliver real purchase intent starts with our extensive content footprint and the hyper-relevant audiences that we’ve built.”

  • TechTarget CMO John Steinert

Priority Engine identifies “vendors actively influencing this deal,” core and related topics, and products and vendors.  Installed product and vendor data is licensed from HG Data and viewable by category.  Users can also search installed technology at an account by product, vendor, and category.

Accounts are ranked on a weekly basis with the service providing “an early radar on who’s buying from your named account lists.”  TechTarget provides real-time analysis of the “most active accounts and named prospects conducting purchase research” and ranks those accounts by “likelihood to engage.”  Prospects are segmented by geography and hundreds of marketing segments.  The solution “creates a world-class ABM solution that combines breadth of reach, purchase power insights, and the ability to pinpoint and influence key prospects in one place.”

By combining DiscoverOrg contacts with member search data, Priority Engine provides “direct access” to the demand units of named active researchers and key influencers.  Joint customers will have full access to DiscoverOrg’s editorially verified decision makers alongside TechTarget contacts that are conducting active research.  The partnership displays the “Target Buying Team within a single dashboard.”  Priority Engine customers that have not licensed DiscoverOrg will be limited to ten names per account.

TechTarget announced a set of enhancements last month which includes weekly contact updates, Marketo integration, regional subscriptions (North America, EMEA, United Kingdom/Ireland, APAC, ASEAN and India), and integration with internal datasets such as sales territories and web site visitors.

“We’ve moved beyond company-level insights; Priority Engine gives you access to ranked accounts AND the actual buyers researching purchases at those accounts,” said TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney. “The unique purchase intent insight available within Priority Engine helps marketers generate demand more efficiently, accelerate ABM effectiveness, and deliver a more substantive contribution to sales.”

DiscoverOrg Legal & Compliance Dataset

Executive Change Alerts from the Legal and Compliance database.
Executive Change Alerts from the Legal and Compliance database.

DiscoverOrg continues to rollout additional datasets to meet the needs of sales and marketing professionals that target specific corporate departments. The latest dataset focuses on legal and compliance departments, complementing datasets for technology, sales, marketing, HR, finance, and the executive suite. The new dataset meets the same standards of coverage and quality as previous datasets (e.g. 95% accuracy guarantee, 95% email fill rates, 90-day refresh rate). Along with executive bios and contact information, users will enjoy compliance department org charts, installed technology, and buying signals.

“Companies selling into legal and compliance functions have become okay with buying inaccurate, outdated contact data and sales intelligence tools—some in actual book form.  And until now, legal and compliance companies had few other options. DiscoverOrg is changing that and bringing a solution to the market that is robust, high quality, and designed to allow these organizations to build their businesses around.”

  • Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard

“Lack of access to contact data has prevented engagement with in-house legal teams at corporate entities,” said the firm. “Many companies outsource legal services to 3rd party firms, but the largest 20% of corporates manage most legal matters in house. The Legal and Compliance dataset enables legal technology and legal services companies to systematically reach this untapped buyer group – to position a technology solution or be the vendor of choice.”

DiscoverOrg is “already seeing high demand” during their soft launch window and have signed several “high-profile legal technology companies.” The dataset is designed for Legal Services companies, Law Firms, and Staffing and Recruiting firms looking to place Legal and Compliance talent.

Coverage spans 150,000 legal professionals across 25,000 organizations constituting “the largest and most complex legal departments and the largest law firms.” Corporate titles include General Counsel / Chief Legal Officer, Legal Operations, Compliance, Government Affairs & Relations, Litigation, IP, Contracts, eDiscovery, Risk Management, Governance, and General Counsel Executive Assistant. Titles at legal services and law firms include C-Suite / Partners, IT, Finance, and Legal staff. Also included are legal representatives at federal, state, and local government entities. Data Security Officers can be found in the IT dataset.

“Ten years ago, DiscoverOrg completely revolutionized the way IT companies prospected, and we’ve now brought that sales and marketing revolution to the rest of the market,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “Companies outside of IT have become okay with buying inaccurate, outdated contact data and sales intelligence tools—some in actual book form. That is not okay, but until now, legal and compliance companies had few other options. Today we are changing that and bringing a solution to the market that is robust, high quality, and designed to allow legal and compliance companies to build their businesses around.”

In 2017, the DiscoverOrg database roughly doubled its contact coverage to three million biographies with emails, direct dials, organizational position, and responsibilities. DiscoverOrg also expanded its company coverage by 50% to 125,000 global entities. The growth was bolstered by the acquisition of RainKing at the end of August. The firm has a team of over 300 researchers responsible for building and maintaining datasets. DiscoverOrg is used by sales, marketing, and recruitment teams at over 4,000 firms.