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.

Sparklane Predictive Account Scoring

French Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor Sparklane released its Predictive Account Scoring Solution for B2B sales.  Sparklane Predict now supports dynamic account scoring based upon Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP), sales feedback, and CRM win/loss data.  The service is currently available in the UK and France with additional European markets in development.

According to the firm, Predict supports a “human-in-the-loop” lead review process which “feeds lead decisions back into the ICP model, providing additional intelligence towards distinguishing between good and bad prospects.”  Predict also collects CRM intelligence on opportunity outcomes, providing an additional basis for model refinement.  

Predict supports bi-directional syncing with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Marketo, and Eloqua.  Sparklane uploads suggested accounts and leads to CRMs and gathers historical outcomes for ICP modeling and dynamic scoring.

Sales Reps are shown list segmentation while reviewing individual leads.  Along with business descriptions and firmographics, reps see fit and need scores.  When reps flag a lead as interesting or not interesting, the decision is fed back into the ICP model.

Sparklane claims that it shortens sales cycles by 28%, increases contract volume by 25%, and improves the business conversion rate by 70%.

Sparklane Predict leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as machine learning and natural language processing to dramatically improve sales productivity and customer insights.  Sales rep attention is directed towards accounts and leads most likely to close based on both fit (company attributes) and need (sales triggers such as international expansion, employee growth, or product launches).  Furthermore, automated data enrichment ensures that reps are working with accurate, complete, and current data.

Sparklane Press Release

When building Sparklane models, both win and loss scenarios are employed, providing a more robust model than current customer lists. Along with win/loss scenarios, Sparklane supports other binary outcome scenarios:

  • Account Renew vs. Account Drop
  • Account Upgrade vs. Account Downgrade
  • High Margin Profitable Accounts vs. Low Margin Unprofitable Accounts

Sparklane also supports multi-product line upsell and cross-sell models.

“Unfortunately, many of the vendors now marketing ideal customer profile solutions (ICP) are offering little more than basic prospecting or look-a-like lists under the ICP banner,” said Sparklane CEO Frédéric Pichard.  “A true ICP service begins with both positive and negative accounts so the platform can distinguish between accounts that closed and those that failed to close.  A true model also contains feedback loops from sales reps and the CRM.  It is the addition of feedback that refines the model over time, improving the predictive precision of account scores.”

Sparklane supports nearly 250 customers out of offices in Paris, Nantes, and London.  Last year, Sparklane grew its recurring revenue by 60%.

GDPR First Anniversary (Is Your Data More Secure?)

EU Flag

As GDPR hit its first anniversary on Saturday, Microsoft once again called for a US privacy law which shifts the onus of data privacy from the individual to corporations.  Today, Americans operate in an opt-out regime which requires them to find and manage their privacy settings.

“This places an unreasonable — and unworkable — burden on individuals,” wrote Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel Julie Brill.  “Strong federal privacy should not only empower consumers to control their data, it also should place accountability obligations on the companies that collect and use sensitive personal information.”

Microsoft prefers a single federal standard to piecemeal state-level laws such as California’s CCPA.  Brill said the legislation should be interoperable with the GDPR to help reduce the “cost and complexity of compliance.”  This framework should reflect ”the changing understanding of the right to privacy in the United States and around the world.”  The proposed legislation should “uphold the fundamental right to privacy through rules that give people control over their data and require greater accountability and transparency in how companies use the personal information they collect.”

“For American businesses, interoperability between U.S. law and GDPR will reduce the cost and complexity of compliance by ensuring that companies don’t have to build separate systems to meet differing—and even conflicting requirements—for privacy protection in the countries where they do business,” said Brill.

According to eMarketer analyst Ross Benes, the US ad industry has shifted from a call for self-regulation to supporting national privacy regulations, fearing ”a patchwork of different rules” as “legislation looks increasingly inevitable.”

A TrustArc/Ipsos survey of UK adults (16 – 75) found a 36% improvement in trust concerning personal data since GDPR went into effect.

Source: TrustArc / Ipsos GDPR Survey of 2,230 UK adults (May 2019)

A Snow study found that 39% of global business professionals believe their data is better protected since GDPR passed, with the biggest increase in the APAC region (48%).  40% of Europeans also believed their personally identifiable information is more secure, but only 30% in the US held the same belief.

74% of surveyed professionals believe that the technology industry needs more regulation with 83% of APAC and 72% of US respondents wanting additional tech regulation.

The EU has yet to strictly enforce the law with only one large fine ($56M) versus Google in France. However, Google and the social media and advertising companies are all subject to ongoing suits:

The latest investigation — the first by the Irish watchdog into Google — brings to 19 the number of open cases by the regulator targeting big U.S. tech companies. They include probes into Apple Inc., Twitter Inc., eight probes into Facebook Inc., plus one into Instagram and two into WhatsApp.

Los Angeles Times, “Google could face hefty EU fine over possible privacy violations,” May 22, 2019

“What is important to recognize is that the EU is taking GDPR very seriously, with fines being established for any breach,” said Ben Feldman, SVP of strategy and innovation at NYIAX.  “I would expect that the first six-to-nine months of any new regulation action would be spent working out the kinks and processes of implementation.  It is quite likely that we will see more fines in the coming months.”

Rhetorik: What Does GDPR Mean for B2B Marketing? (Part III)

One of the concerns raised by GDPR is fear of draconian fines, but that should not be a concern in the UK, at least for those who act in good faith.  “I have no intention of changing our proportionate and pragmatic approach, said ICO Information Commissioner Liz Denham.  “Hefty fines will be reserved for those organisations that persistently, deliberately, or negligently flout the law.”

And while many have complained that GDPR is a major hindrance to traditional marketing, it redirects efforts towards better targeted accounts and prospects.  “B2B direct marketing is alive and well, and is explicitly envisaged in the GDPR legislation,” said Kevin Savage, Rhetorik’s Chief Revenue Officer.  “You can do B2B marketing, and you should because compliance requirements are really a blessing in disguise. Relying  on Legitimate Interest requires you to be more mindful and selective about the personal data you keep and use. This selectivity enables you to be more targeted in your messaging, to cut through the noise and engage prospects more effectively.”

Please find the underlying statutes for major European countries, courtesy of Rhetorik:

Country Legislation
Belgium The Code of Economic Law, and the Royal Decree of 4 April 2003 (advertising by email)
France Article L. 34-5 of the Code of Post and Telecommunication and  Article L.121-20-5 of the Consumption Code
Germany The German Act Against Unfair Practices 2004 (UWG) and the revised German Telecommunications Act
Ireland The European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) Regulations 2011 (the “2011 Regulations”)
Italy Protection of Personal Data Consolidation Act (Data Protection Code – Legislative Decree No. 196 of 30 June 2003) & Legislative Decree nr. 69/2012
Netherlands Telecommunicatiewet
Spain Law 34/2002 on information society services and electronic commerce (LSSI)
UK The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

This is part III of a discussion of GDPR. Part I begins here.

Rhetorik Extends its UK/Irish NetFinder Service

Job Function Searching in Rhetorik NetFinder
Job Function Searching in Rhetorik NetFinder

UK Technology Sales Intelligence vendor Rhetorik released an enhanced version of its UK and Irish NetFinder service. The revised edition covers over 40,000 corporate and public-sector sites. The service doubled its technology buyers to 215,000 and increased its technology coverage five-fold including enhanced install data on cloud, enterprise and vertical industry applications, system software and middleware applications.

The Rhetorik database tags over 10,000 products from 6,000 vendors and maintains over 150 technology categories. Data coverage spans 164 biographic, firmographic, and technographic variables including email, phone, revenue, employees, line of business, and site-level technographics. All contacts are GDPR compliant and 92% contain emails.

“Rhetorik has adapted its policies and procedures to upgrade DPA regulatory standards to meet GDPR requirements,” said the firm. “While monitoring closely progress on the e-Privacy legislation, Rhetorik follows best-practice processes as set by PECR – Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulation. We have implemented clear and easy to follow procedures for individuals to be informed and manage their own Business Card Data. We keep access to all B2B information secure and protected.”

Data is gathered through a combination of automated means and editorial research.

Over the past year, Rhetorik has partnered with the European Market Intelligence Group (EMIG) and CNCData to provide European and AsiaPac coverage. The EMIG coverage spans 14 countries, 180,000 companies, and one million contacts. The CNCData partnership delivers over two million contacts and 1.2 million companies across 23 AsiaPac countries.

Rhetorik, which has provided technology intelligence for over two decades, underwent a management buy-out last summer. At the time, CEO Meredith Amdur, set a goal of expanding their “data gathering and analytics capabilities to create new products for technology sales and marketing professionals worldwide.”

GDPR Sales Tips

I came across some excellent tips from Johnty Mongan, Managing Director of The Mongan Group concerning the new European sales environment post-GDPR.  Selling in Europe will be trickier in May as reps need to obtain opt-in approval

Mongan provided the following advice:

GDPR is about protecting our interests from unlawful behaviour. GDPR removes the unwanted cold calls, email campaigns and any other processing that we haven’t agreed to. A transparent and fair existence for all. I really like it, it fits with my karmic views of the world.

It won’t how ever stop marketing activities through publicly available information, like a company email or a company number…

It’s time to go old school… here’s what you can do to reach new customers in a lawful and GDPR way:

  • Get consent from current customers to continue marketing to them. Do it in an engaging way. That’s a must.
  • Provide explicit consent of your intentions to all new prospects when luring them in with shiny content. For example, download this form so I can phone you. That’s a must.
  • Go to the events your customers go to, get over yourself and introduce yourself.  That’s a must.
  • Hold your own events.
  • Get more business cards…. they are not as useless as you may think.
  • Offer referral schemes to current customers. You should do that anyway.
  • Market your services within ethical channels. Where you customers go, you go

My list goes on, but it all centres around building clear authentic relationships. This is a good thing because most “sales” are won on the back of authenticity and trust. I see leading the charge with GDPR compliant sales processes a fantastic way to demonstrate your intentions.

So basically, what’s old is new again.  While marketing needs to be particularly attuned to GDPR, sales reps also need obtain permission.

Full Post

Pitchbook Expands European Coverage

Pitchbook CRM tabs cover companies, people, deals, investors, advisors, and news.
Pitchbook CRM tabs cover companies, people, deals, investors, advisors, and news.

Company profile vendor Pitchbook added 171,000 European company profiles along with financial data and M&A transaction details to their public and private company dataset.  The new profiles cover France, UK, Germany, Benelux, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.  Pitchbook also backfilled 35,000 European companies with financial data.

“Our customers require a holistic view into global financial market activity to make informed business decisions, which is the key driver behind PitchBook’s aggressive push to increase coverage of Europe’s financial ecosystem,” said Doug Trafelet, Managing Director at PitchBook. “The new companies and financials included in this dataset expansion provides unmatched visibility into company health and industry fluctuations, which simply cannot be found elsewhere. Continuing to add and refine our coverage of the European market will remain a key priority in 2018 and beyond, especially as PitchBook asserts its presence in region, both in terms of data collection and corporate footprint.”

The Pitchbook Platform is approaching one million global companies with profiles of nearly 900,000 private companies, 80,000 public companies and 800,000 transactions. Pitchbook data is delivered via browsers, mobile, data feeds, Excel, and CRM.  The Excel plug-in supports custom charting and twenty pre-built models for comps, tear sheets, and valuation.

Pitchbook has over 2,000 clients who “use PitchBook regularly to follow and analyze the flow of capital across the entire private and public markets.”  The firm is a subsidiary of Morningstar and has over 600 employees.

The firm did not disclose whether they directly gathered the European private company data or licensed it from a third party.  However, as the expanded country coverage matches CreditSafe’s recent expansion, it is likely that CreditSafe is providing the company financials.

Pitchbook also recently added a Chrome Browser extension which allows subscribers to right-click on a company to view a company profile.

The Pitchbook Chrome Connector provides immediate access to Pitchbook company intelligence.
The Pitchbook Chrome Connector provides immediate access to Pitchbook company intelligence.

 

Openprise GDPR Compliance

Openprise provides fine-grained data filters and permission roles
Openprise provides fine-grained data filters and permission roles

Data automation vendor Openprise announced support for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect on May 25th.  The new Openprise Data Orchestration Platform capabilities provide “visibility, control, and access management inside and outside of a company, without the added complexity of traditional compliance solutions.”

The GDPR specific functionality “controls the flow of EU data out of your company” via “fine-grained data filters and permission roles,” and flags leads and contacts which are subject to the GDPR even if the records lack country flags.  The firm performs checks based upon emails, IP addresses, phone numbers, and non-standardized country fields.  Both standard and custom fields in sales and marketing automation platforms are GDPR validated.  Openprise maintains an audit trail and logs records which have been processed by partners.

The firm noted a Catch-22 in GDPR regulations.  Enriching records that lack country designators may require enrichment from non-compliant datasets, violating the law.  By utilizing data from within the record (e.g. domain, phone numbers), Openprise avoids violating the law in order to support the law.

“The vast majority of US-based companies are woefully unprepared for GDPR, and this new set of regulations has teeth.  We’ve heard from our customers that they want a central control point to help maintain compliance with GDPR.  Openprise’s position in the MarTech stack as the conductor that manages the movement and processing of data across systems puts it in a unique position to serve as this control point.”

  • Openprise CEO Ed King

The GDPR is broadly written to cover data held by non-EU companies, even those without operations or sales staff within the EU.  Penalties can be quite high, reaching up to 4% of revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater.

“What’s so critical about GDPR is that it affects companies everywhere in the world, whether they have a presence in the EU or not, and unlike many other regulations, this one has teeth,” says Allen Pogorzelski, vice president of marketing at Openprise. “If you’ve got EU citizen data in your databases, you’re subject to GDPR regulations. U.S. companies that ignore these regulations do so at their own peril.”

This summer, Openprise launched a Data Marketplace to assist with ingesting and normalizing third-party B2B and B2C data.  Amongst the platforms supported are Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot.  The Data Marketplace, part of the Openprise Data Orchestration platform, includes built-in rules to ensure data are properly onboarded.  B2B Partners include Zoominfo, InsideView, Orb Intelligence, Synthio, Salesgenie, and Dun & Bradstreet.

Are you ready for EU GDPR Compliance?

On May 25, 2018 the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, creating data privacy and security concerns for firms both inside and outside of the EU.  The GDPR covers both companies that provide goods and services to EU residents and those that are part of the value chain.  The regulation covers all individuals domiciled within the EU, regardless of where the company is headquartered.

According to Forrester, the regulation has five key requirements:

  • If a firm has “regular, systemic collection or storage of sensitive data,” they need to hire or designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO).  The function may be filled by individuals with legal, privacy, security, marketing, or customer experience.  The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) estimates that the regulation will require 30,000 privacy officers.  The DPO will need to work with security leaders with respect to identity and access management (IAM) and encryption.  They will also be involved in purchasing decisions around CRM, analytics, and other platforms.
  • Should a data breach occur, firms have a-72 hour window for reporting breach details to the authorities and customers.  The window begins as soon as the breach is detected.
  • Privacy must be built into any new projects with a “Privacy-by-design” philosophy.  Forrester stated that “sustained collaboration between teams will be critical, so firms will have to establish new processes to encourage, enforce, and oversee it.” For example, privacy officers will need to review business requirements and development plans related to new apps.
  • Extraterritoriality places requirements on firms outside of the EU, making it a global requirement.  Forrester notes that “a US-based data aggregator that collects and resells EU customers’ data to other business partners will need to comply fully with GDPR requirements, rather than simply meeting international data transfer rules.”
  • Firms will be responsible not only for securing data but providing evidence that they have implemented appropriate risk mitigation.  Thus, a firm can be held in violation even if they have not had customer complaints or data breaches.

US companies are still obligated to comply with the 2016 Privacy Shield agreement between the US and EU.  Forrester also warned UK firms to comply with the GDPR as lowering British privacy standards would only serve to complicate UK-EU data transfer rules post Brexit.

Forrester suggested that firms take a cost-benefit analysis to data instead of simply storing everything:

“Firms will learn to better assess the costs and benefits of records they process, store, and protect. They will progressively focus on collecting, buying, processing, storing, and protecting only the data that offers them the most value and will kill the rest.”

Forrester also suggested that privacy should be part of a firm’s DNA and some firms will integrate privacy into brand perception and the customer experience, providing a basis for competitive advantage.

Osterman Research conducted a survey of mid to large companies subject to the law to identify technology expenditure increases for GDPR compliance.

GDPR compliance expenditure increases (January 2017)
GDPR compliance expenditure increases (January 2017)

GDPR non-compliance costs are potentially very high with penalties up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year.

Orbis: Analysis of Global Financial Disclosure Rates

Orbis Coverage Table
Orbis Coverage Table

I came across an interesting analysis of financial disclosure rates by regions around the world.  The blog, written by Mark Bodnar, a librarian at Simon Fraser University (British Colombia), observed limited financial disclosure in North America and much of AsiaPac, but broader financial availability in Europe.

Of the 18 million North American companies covered, only about 35,000 have detailed financials.  That’s about 0.19%. Those would be from the relatively rare cohort of publicly traded companies we mentioned earlier.  The other 99.81% of the companies are privately held, and in North America that means that they are under almost no obligation to reveal their financials.

Compare that to Western Europe, where about 10 million of their 30 million companies in the database have detailed financials…

Oceania (incorporating AUS, NZ, and many wonderful island nations) is also down around 0.2%, largely because there are detailed financials for only about 0.15% of the companies based in the biggest country in the region, Australia.

While none of this would be a surprise to people in the business information sector, it was a good way to surface the information for students and non-experts.  European countries have a long history of requiring non-public (aka non-quoted or non-listed) companies to publicly file annual returns.  The depth of filing varies by country and size of company, but Europe has a deep set of financials available to assist with credit and supplier risk analysis, prospecting, company research, KYC/AML, and market analytics.

In the US, disclosure is limited to public companies, non-profits, and financial services companies.  Of these, only public company financials, which are filed via EDGAR (SEC), are fully transparent with few accessing state insurance filings, IRS 990 filings (non-profits), or the FDIC (banks).

I would take the author’s analysis of countries with deepest coverage of financials with a grain of salt.  It is likely that many of the countries with the highest disclosure rates have limited coverage of companies not subject to financial disclosure.  Furthermore, some of the filing regimes do not require financials for smaller companies.