Vainu Industry Taxonomy

European Sales Intelligence vendor Vainu implemented a proprietary AI-based industry taxonomy.  The 700+ segments are derived from company website content and “extensive training data sets to determine unique industries for each company.”  Custom industry labels may be combined when list building.  Thus, sales and marketing can target companies, such as “Nordic SaaS providers building marketing automation platforms” or “Medical device manufactures developing machine learning applications.”

The industry codes are clustered into 46 custom industry groups.  For example, there are over 80 software codes and 19 sustainability codes (e.g., Biofuel, Biomass Energy, Clean Energy).  Vainu has focused the initial set of codes around emerging technologies and fast-changing markets.  Traditional industries such as agriculture, food and beverage, and manufacturing are supported by broad codes as these industries are well defined by traditional industry taxonomies.

Custom Industry codes may be combined to build lists such as Medical Devices that employ Machine Learning.

“Traditional industry classifications for B2B segmentation don’t do the trick anymore—they are too generic, broad, or even incorrect,” blogged Vainu Customer Marketer Ella Tyrväinen.

Custom Industries are available on the Vainu platform and via its API.  Industry-based target lists may be exported as a CSV file or JSON.

Vainu also recently added three fields to its list exports: Countries of Operation, Website Languages, and Technographics.  In February, Vainu released a webCRM integration.

Vainu Workflow Triggers

Sales Intelligence vendor Vainu has added a set of Workflow Triggers that take automated actions based upon CRM data updates.  As Vainu enriches CRMs with financial data mined from European registered data filings, it has raw, current data for triggering activities.  Admins set up the trigger rules, and Vainu creates “smart actions” such as creating CRM Tasks, adding a row in Google Sheets, or sending a Slack notice.

For example, a Workflow Trigger may be set up to look for SaaS companies that meet the “Rule of 40” condition (revenue growth plus profitability margin).

Vainu CEO Mikko Honkanen notes that trigger rules and ratios will vary by industry and may include custom rules specific to each of Vainu’s customers.  Thus, the Rule of 40 “is typical of the software industry but isn’t that critical for other businesses.  For being truly data-driven, each company has its own magic numbers based on the data points of their interest.”

Vainu claims that it supports thousands of data points for triggered workflows, kicking off both sales notifications and custom marketing messages associated with each trigger.

“Some people might want to know when a company starts using lead capture forms on its website.  Someone else might want to be alerted as soon as a company adds a new environmental standard to their corporate social responsibility web page.  Or when a company appoints a new CEO. Or when it adds an auxiliary name that includes the word ‘restaurant’ in it.  The most valuable trigger event is often a change in that specific event.”

Vainu CEO Mikko Honkanen

Along with data changes, actions may be based upon any of seventy event triggers or new accounts meeting ICP criteria.

Vainu, headquartered in Helsinki, emphasizes the value of dynamic data fed into enterprise platforms.  Dynamic data ensures that decision-making is based upon timely and accurate data.  It also allows salespeople to be customer-centric.

“By having access to data that informs them of the current situation of an organization, as well as what recent changes the organization has undergone, salespeople are able to tailor their messaging and offer a personalized experience,” blogged Vainu marketer Nikolai Bang. Vainu covers nearly thirty million companies across Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom.  Triggers are based upon the licensed countries.

Vainu Sales Triggers support automated Workflows.

Echobot Company Profile Now Available

Echobot Company Profile Report Cover Page

I am pleased to announce that my latest Sales Intelligence company profile is available for those looking to purchase a solution for the UK or D-A-CH region. I used the same methodology for Echobot that I employed when I wrote my book “2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.”  The idea was to write an objective analysis (hence sections on weaknesses and competitors), not simply a puff piece.  I work closely with the vendor to describe content, functionality, connectors, roadmap, strengths, and weaknesses.

As Echobot is based in Germany, I also wrote about their GDPR compliance steps.

While vendors have input, I retain editorial control. I believe that retaining objectivity makes these reports more valuable for vendors as it both provides a roadmap for their future product evolution and provides prospects with a realistic view of a product’s strengths and weaknesses.

Echobot is making the profile available from their website.


Here is my summary from the report:

UK vendors have been launching sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions for the European market over the past several years. It is a welcome sign that European vendors now have the confidence to compete in the UK market. One of these vendors is Germany-based Echobot. Echobot is a promising new sales intelligence and B2B DaaS entrant to the UK market. It is the leading sales and marketing intelligence service in the D-A-CH region and enters the UK with a broad set of sales and marketing services. Echobot offers deep coverage of UK and D-A-CH companies, GDPR-compliant contacts, and signals (event triggers), delivered via web browser applications and extensions, mobile apps, Salesforce, and Zapier webhooks.

Along with company profiles, Echobot offers contacts, emails, news, social media mentions, and signals.

CONNECT (sales intelligence) and TARGET (list building) were recently launched in the UK market, but have been available as German-language solutions for the D-A-CH market for several years. As such, the company should move quickly to address any V1.0 bugs and fill content gaps. Since launching in September 2020, Echobot has integrated Google Translate into its platform for free-form text translation and refined its sales trigger precision.

DATACARE provides B2B DaaS hygiene services that verify, enrich, and append company and contact data. DATACARE flags duplicates, verifies emails, updates company names and addresses, and appends missing fields. DATACARE was launched in December.

Michael Levy, GZ Consulting Principal, “Echobot Company Profile,” 2021.

BNZSA Intent Activation Engine

B2B IT Marketing Agency BNZSA (pronounced BEN-zah) entered the intent data space with the BNZSA Intent Activation Engine product launch.  The new service identifies, tracks, and activates buyer intent.  BNZSA combines technographic, firmographic, intent, NLP, and B2B telemarketing data to deliver a set of intent-activated leads.

The new service “connects all the disparate tools available to deliver the most accurate buyer Intent data, with the highest possible lead qualification and industry-standard GDPR compliance.”

Madrid-based BNZSA supports buying committee identification; intent, firmographic and technographic insight; and prospect engagement.

“At the heart of the BNZSA Intent Activation Engine is a combination of data and digital capabilities with inter-personal engagement,” stated CEO Brahim Samhoud.  “No one else offers this. There are intent vendors, technographic vendors, firmographic vendors, contact vendors, digital agencies, and tele-agencies.  Some provide pieces of the puzzle, but none does everything – until now.  No other offering provides B2B sales and marketing leaders with so many different execution options.”

BNZSA describes itself as a customizable, full lifecycle intent data solution for B2B sales and marketing teams.  

“The BNZSA Intent Activation Engine realises an end-to-end value journey through information enrichment via broad-based Intent, firmographics, and technographics, to digital warming through social media, content syndication, email, display, and PR, to local language phone-based BANT qualification,” wrote the firm.

The BNZSA Intent Activation Engine supports the following processes:

  • BNZSA Intent Data Pool: An aggregated database of billions of global, weekly intent records.
  • BNZSA Tech-Lab: An AI, NLP platform that analyzes intent potential and selects relevant records.  The NLP supports twelve European languages and combines it with machine learning and knowledge graphs.  High-intent records are matched with “client TALs [tele-prospecting accepted leads] for advanced re-targeting and adapted nurture tracks” while “the remaining selected data is further filtered by criteria specific to clients’ needs.”
  • BNZSA OmniDatabase: A reference database holding millions of company records for firmographic and technographic enrichment.  The OmniDatabase gathers data from half a dozen third-party data sources and is enriched by BNZSA’s data research team.
  • BNZSA Pipeline: Local-language demand-generation teams engage with prospects to generate a “predetermined number of highly qualified, information-rich leads” that are delivered to client sales and marketing teams.  The demand-generation teams support fifteen languages and places 15,000 calls per day.

BNZSA does not publicly disclose its data partners, but they are all respected firmographic, technographic, and intent data sources.

Leads are fed to Marketo, Salesforce, PipeDrive, and Microsoft Dynamics.  They also support warm handovers to clients where the demand generation rep schedules the call and joins the first meeting.  Because leads are BANT qualified, 70% of leads convert to opportunities with a 35% faster lead-to-close window.         

UK Country Manager Paul Stacey argues that personalizing messaging through digital campaigns alone is difficult and that ABM campaigns should never be purely digital.  The need for a human touch is even more important during the pandemic when face-to-face meetings are no longer possible.

“If you read the ABM technology vendor’s marketing claims, you would be led to think that automation can overcome marketing and sales teams’ current challenge for intimacy with clients and do it all instead – identify, reach, and engage with your highest-value prospects – at the touch of a button.  But can these off-the-shelf solutions truly automate at scale while retaining key customer insights and preserving intimacy?  I think not.

There is a place for automation of course, but it’s worthless without high-quality data, and essentially, the intervention of people. 

I would argue that the human touch is necessary in at least one, if not multiple, touchpoints in any company’s ABM campaigns.  Demand generation must ultimately be powered by people.”

BNZSA UK Country Manager Paul Stacey

BNZSA is based in Europe, so it is well-positioned to conform to GDPR and country-specific data privacy regulations.  It was founded seven years ago as a marketing agency focused on tele-based demand generation.  It has steadily grown at 30% per annum since launch and employs 200 in Spain, the UK, France, and Morocco.  Last year, it grew revenue by 38%.

BNZSA has over 100 clients and a 95% client retention rate.

Rhetorik UK Expansion Pack

Rhetorik announced a UK expansion pack to its NetFinder+ technology sales intelligence service.   The expansion pack adds 90,000 companies and 200,000 contacts and emails to Rhetorik’s UK coverage.  NetFinder+ data includes firmographics, contacts, and technographics.  

The Rhetorik Technology Classification (RTC), a proprietary taxonomy, spans 7,000 vendors across ten million installs. Rhetorik’s technographics cover

  • Installed IT assets such as telecoms equipment, networking devices, and server and desktop hardware
  • Software products from traditional enterprise applications and operating systems to new cloud platforms and vertical industry applications
  • Services and consumables suppliers

“We have invested heavily in our international coverage, now offering sales and marketing intelligence across 30+ countries, but the UK remains the largest and fastest-growing IT market in Europe for a range of enterprise software and cloud services. This fully GDPR-compliant SMB expansion enables marketers to reach deeper into that market than ever before.”

Rhetorik CEO Meredith Amdur

The expanded coverage profiles UK companies with five to 100 employees.  Rhetorik expects to “significantly” grow their coverage this year.  They have a “stand-by database” of companies and contacts “awaiting final cleaning and compliance.  “Existing clients will gain free access for three months to all the new accounts and contacts that meet their existing data criteria,” wrote CRO Kevin Savage.

Rhetorik covers Western European along with

  • Former Soviet Union: The Ukraine, Estonia, and Latvia
  • Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, and Greece
  • Eastern Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania

Additional EMEA countries include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and South Africa, with ten more countries in development.

In January, Rhetorik released its DataCliniq DaaS enrichment service for maintaining data hygiene.  DataCliniq diagnoses, cleanses, and enriches account, contact, and lead records.  It supports both batch file uploads and channel partner integrations with data marketplaces.  The service also directly integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, and Marketo.

Rhetorik’s year-to-date revenue is up 50%.

Cognism Growth

UK Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism continues its rapid growth with $11.5 million in 2020 revenue.  CEO James Isilay anticipates 2021 revenue of $20 million.  ACV is around $14,000 with over 1,000 customers.

Cognism had an initial one-month hiccup due to COVID as customers in the recruitment and events space were hit hard, and the firm needed to transition to a WFH sales environment.  However, the firm is back to growing “and hitting its targets every month.”

“COVID helped us get way more efficient.  We didn’t need an office anymore, it slowed our headcount growth,” said Isilay.” We really have an engine now where we can just put more money into headcount in terms of SDRs or into marketing and then get more growth.  So it’s really just a question of how much we want to put the foot down on the pedal.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

By the end of October, employment hit 179 with sixty headcount in Croatia and Macedonia.

When the firm acquired email signature marketing vendor Mailtastic back in May, they paid roughly $4 million for the company in a stock and cash deal.

Mailtastic’s net retention is around 110%, and the prospecting service is approaching 90%.  However, there is a high percentage of returning customers post-churn.  The company started in the SMB space and has moved up-market, so net retention should improve.

While the firm has a negative cash flow, it burns only $200K per month with six to seven million from the last raise sitting in the bank.  The August funding round valued the firm at a bit under $100 million.

Cognism offers sales intelligence, B2B DaaS, and sales engagement services. It maintains over 55 million European company profiles.

Artesian Data Extensions

Sales and Risk Intelligence vendor Artesian Solutions announced three data extensions to its company and contact universe: two U.K. dataset extensions and an Irish dataset.  On January 14th, they unveiled their new Connect platform and a broader product vision.

“We’re delighted to kick off 2021 on such a high. These new premium data points are fundamental to the KYC and compliance processes for many of our customers, so it was a logical extension to the data they currently rely on to engage with their customers.

Artesian CEO Andrew Yates

The first data extension is U.K. County Court Judgments (CCJs) and legal notices such as receiverships and winding-up petitions.  CCJs are useful for financial services onboarding, due diligence, and risk assessment.

The Adverse Director History dataset assists with KYC/AML processes and highlights whether a Director was previously associated with a firm that ended up in insolvency, administration, or bankruptcy.

Artesian already provides access to other compliance datasets such as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), terrorist lists, and sanctions lists.  Additional details will be released in next week’s platform announcement.

The new Artesian:Connect platform supports custom processing rules and alerting for CCJs and adverse director histories.  Data goes back as far as twenty years.

The Irish dataset provides four years of company financials, director checks, and company news.  Firmographic data includes addresses, trading status, registration numbers, and auditor information.  Company data is available through Artesian Engage, the Artesian Ready app for iOS and Android, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics.  Coverage spans 250,000 companies.  

Artesian did not publicly disclose the Irish data vendor, but it is a highly credible data source.

Artesian Solutions already provides coverage of Britain, the U.S., and Canada.  Customers can license the countries in any combination, including Ireland only, U.K. + Ireland, and all four countries together.

Artesian had a successful 2020 as customers looked for remote vendor solutions for both sales and compliance/onboarding.  Usage was up sharply for both product lines.  According to Chief Customer Officer Mike Blackadder, Artesian’s “training teams have never been so busy.”

Artesian hosted a virtual summit for its Connect platform on January 14th. Coverage continues tomorrow.

SalesIntel Acquires TUDLA; Adds Marketo Enrichment

Sales Intelligence Platform vendor SalesIntel acquired Latin American technology contacts vendor TUDLA.  The acquisition provides SalesIntel with Latin American data and the TUDLA research team. The TUDLA research team, based in Tijuana, supports a research on-demand call center in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

All TUDLA employees, including CEO Gary Gorton and contract research staff, are joining SalesIntel.

TUDLA has over sixty Fortune 500 customers that license human-verified contacts for the Latin American region.  TUDLA CEO, Gary Gorton will be assuming a strategic business development role, helping cross-sell the complementary contact databases and SalesIntel’s B2B DaaS offerings.

“This acquisition gives SalesIntel a fantastic opportunity to offer our customers high-quality B2B data and intelligence, which now includes the LATAM marketplace. We are especially pleased that Gary Gorton (CEO of TUDLA) and many members of the TUDLA team with decades of experience will join SalesIntel as we integrate TUDLA’s LATAM B2B data, customers, and research processes into the SalesIntel platform.”

SalesIntel CEO Manoj Ramnani

TUDLA covers 34 countries across Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  The firm has one million verified Latin American contacts and another six million mined regional contacts.

SalesIntel also expanded its EMEA coverage with contacts for fourteen new countries, including France, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, Israel, and the UAE.  The TUDLA dataset will be available later this month in SalesIntel platforms.  The SalesIntel database has grown to over 6.5 million human-verified and over 80 million machine-processed contacts.

SalesIntel also announced that it supports Marketo data enrichment on both a batch and real-time basis.  Marketers may auto-enrich web forms and maintain contact and account records with current firmographic, biographic, and technographic intelligence.

Data enrichment may be performed as

  • Triggered webhooks that execute when new records are added to Marketo
  • Scheduled webhooks that regularly execute to prevent database decay
  • Filtered webhooks that run against a subset of records such as MQLs, event lists, and webinar registrations

SalesIntel supports dynamic forms that hide fields available from their reference database.  The auto-fill feature reduces the time spent entering data, lowering the likelihood of form abandonment, and improving the ROI of marketing campaigns.  Dynamic forms also enhance the user experience as prospects have fewer fields to enter and improve data accuracy and form completeness.

With dynamic forms, you can significantly reduce the number of fields by skipping those that could be automatically filled using third-party data,” blogged Creative Director and Marketing Coordinator, Ariana Shannon. “This smarter type of web form will allow you to capture more leads without having to sacrifice the data your sales and marketing teams require to convert them.  Leads who fill out a form will easily navigate through the form, be prompted with suggestions, and avoid the frustrations and reservations associated with filling out multiple fields.”

SalesIntel already supports lead prospecting for Marketo.

SalesIntel is on track to more than double its revenue in 2020.  Ramnani sees many opportunities for his firm as market consolidation has reduced the number of vendors.  Ramnani positions SalesIntel as a high-quality data competitor to Zoominfo.

Rhetorik Expands European Coverage

Rhetorik expanded its technology sales intelligence coverage of Europe with the addition of ten Eastern and Central European countries to its NetFinder+ service.  The CEE expansion pack provides company profiles, technographics, and contacts for Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

NetFinder+ also supports enhanced install data on cloud, system software, middleware, enterprise, and vertical industry applications.

Earlier this year, Rhetorik rolled out the Rhetorik Technology Map, “a comprehensive new taxonomy for classifying key enterprise technologies” that “structures business technology assets, services, and products” from over 7,000 vendors.  The Rhetorik Technology map contains over 150 tech categories.

Rhetorik contacts are fully-GDPR compliant with name, title, email, and phone numbers that are “compliant with all relevant data privacy and data protection regulations.”

Back in August, Rhetorik opened a US sales hub in California.  The office will be led by John South, who was named the VP North America.

California is a logical location for US market entry (the firm already has a Canadian development office).  Not only is a high percentage of US enterprise software and cloud companies headquartered in California, but the CCPA data privacy regulations are akin to EU GDPR requirements, making marketing departments more sensitive to data privacy and regulatory compliance.


I profiled NetFinder+ when it launched in June.

Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Bisnode (Part III)

Last week, Dun & Bradstreet acquired long-time partner Bisnode, greatly strengthening its position in Europe. Bisnode provides them with direct access to regional and multi-national customers in the Nordic region, Eastern Europe, and D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Start at Part I


Dun & Bradstreet described the execution risk as low to medium as they know the company well, have established relationships with Bisnode, and Bisnode is “very familiar” with Dun & Bradstreet’s products and solutions.  The deal was also structured as a mix of debt and equity so as not to increase Dun & Bradstreet’s financial leverage.

One the announcement call, Dun & Bradstreet did not discuss Bisnode products, but one asset that Dun & Bradstreet will likely operationalize quickly is Bisnode’s file of 40 million GDPR-compliant business contacts across 21 European countries.

Dun & Bradstreet anticipates the deal will close in January 2021 subject to standard regulatory reviews.  The acquisition will add around 2,000 headcount to Dun & Bradstreet.

Bisnode revenue will be included in Dun & Bradstreet’s international division and will be broken out for the first year after acquisition.

Jabbour indicated that Dun & Bradstreet is strategically reviewing its World Wide Network of partners to “look for ways to improve the commercial arrangements that we have or make them more relevant.”  Options include purchasing the partner, ending the partnership arrangement and picking a new partner, or renegotiating the relationship.

The market appeared pleased with the transaction as Dun & Bradstreet’s stock price increased 8.53% last Thursday following the announcement and analyst call.