HG Connect for Salesforce and HG Audience

HG Data Vendor and Product Intelligence
HG Data Vendor and Product Intelligence

Last month, technographics vendor HG Data rolled out two new services: HG Connect, a Salesforce Data Exchange connector, and HG Audience for digital targeting.  HG Connect supports competitive and complementary targeting of prospects based upon installed hardware and software.  HG Connect use cases include sales intelligence, lead qualification, and demand generation.  Account records are enriched in near-real time via the Data Exchange and updated on a monthly basis.  Matching is done via corporate URLs.

“It is our mission to help companies achieve extraordinary results in their marketing and sales outreach through the use of accurate and comprehensive technographic data,” said Barbara Winters, VP of marketing at HG Data. “With HG Connect, customers don’t even have to think about how to integrate technographic data into their workflows, it’s already there, ready for them to use, so that they can begin creating targeted segments for their campaigns immediately without needing to work with an IT or operations person to integrate the data.”

The HG connector is Lightning enabled, delivering HG Data’s technographics to mobile devices, reports, and dashboards.  The data is also available for triggers and workflow.  Along with Vendor and Product data, HG Data publishes Confidence and Intensity Scores (accuracy and frequency of uniquely dated documents).

Sample HG Data Connect Lightning-enabled dashboard
Sample HG Data Connect Lightning-enabled dashboard

Data enrichment is limited to Account records with plans to enrich Lead records in the future.

Customers license access to HG Data segments which is enabled via a Salesforce Data Integration rule (formerly called a Clean rule).  HG Data tracks 13 million global companies and 88 million technology installations. Their taxonomy spans 3,800 vendors and 7,500 products.

The Data Exchange is a Salesforce enrichment service associated with Data.com.  The Data Exchange does not yet support prospecting.

HG Data also launched HG Audience for programmatic advertising on platforms including Krux, Lotame, Adobe Marketing  Cloud, DataXu, MediaMath, and TheTradeDesk.  Marketers will be able to target audiences based upon technographic variables, firmographics (e.g. sector, revenue, employees), job function, and job level.

HG Data Audience Solutions
HG Data Audience Solutions

“HG Audience allows companies to modernize their digital advertising targeting strategy in a profound way,” said John Connell, Vice President of Digital for HG Data. “Instead of deploying digital ads based on just traditional firmographics or Internet content consumption, companies can now use our precise custom segments to apply ABM-style focus to traditionally broader-reach display media tactics.  With HG Audience, we’re giving our customers access to the influencers and decision makers at the companies that matter to them, leading to better engagement, greater efficiency and much better ROI on their advertising dollars.”

Over the past few years, a number of content vendors have released programmatic products.  These include Infogroup (B2B and B2C selects), Dun & Bradstreet (B2B), HG Data, Bombora (B2B Intent), and LinkedIn (Member targeting).

“In the last year to 18 months, there’s been a shift with B2B companies doing more programmatic media buying,” says Ashu Garg, general partner at Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm that has invested in the ad tech space. “What’s behind the change is the greater ability to connect anonymous data with PII (personally identifiable information) data. Secondly is the ability to get much more precise targeting from niche segments and audiences across platforms, whether that be social, display or video platforms.”

An AdWeek BrandShare study commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet in September 2016 found that 65% of B2B marketers were deploying programmatic campaigns, a ten percent jump from 2015.

RelPro: Adding Tech Search to Relationship Intelligence

RelPro's new Technology Search combines firmographic searching with Product and Vendor fields from HG Data.
RelPro’s new technology search combines firmographic searching with product and vendor fields from HG Data.

RelPro has licensed the HG Data company technology dataset for inclusion in their relationship intelligence database.  The new content will assist sales and marketing teams in prospecting for companies and executives based upon the corporate technology stack.  The dataset covers 100 million contacts across ten million companies.

“RelPro’s mission has always been to leverage data and analytics to help companies generate higher revenue through smarter prospecting and lead generation” said Martin Wise, RelPro CEO, “We are frequently asked by our customers if we can help them shorten their sales cycle. One key contributor to an accelerated sales process is accurate firmographic data which enables the right prospects to be targeted. By partnering with HG Data, we enable our technology customers to access valuable intelligence on installed technologies which connects with RelPro’s sales and marketing intelligence analytics for efficient lead generation and increased conversion rates.”

RelPro provides access to Zoominfo executives, Dun & Bradstreet companies, BoardEx linkage, and the HG technology stack.  Contact profiles include work histories, education, awards, industry associations, memberships, and “relationship intelligence” from news, social media, and the open web.

RelPro supports exporting to CSV and Salesforce, but does not discuss an AppExchange service.

RelPro is at the upper end of the sales intelligence product pricing range.  RelPro begins at $1,200 per user but is limited to 800 profile views and 10 weekly alerts.  The Team edition is priced at $6,000 for five users and provides 30 alerts per user but only 4,500 profile views.   If companies are looking for additional email alerts, they are available in packages of 50 profiles for $125 per month.  Tech searching is extra.

RelPro also offers data enrichment services.

Evolution of Sales Intelligence

Darwin's_finchesThe Sales Intelligence (SI) space has been undergoing some rapid change over the past year.  This evolution in functional scope and content sets has resulted in an expansion in the number of companies I cover as well as the categories (ABSD services, PE/VC funding databases).  There is also a movement of sales intelligence vendors into marketing intelligence as the traditional SIs look for additional revenue opportunities and a broader value proposition.

A year ago, Account Based Marketing (ABM) was discussed mostly by DemandBase, a top of the funnel programmatic marketing vendor, but the predictive analytics vendors and Zoominfo began discussing the methodology.  Thus, a year ago, ABM meant anti-ballistic missile or activity based management to all but the most well-versed marketers.  Now the term is commonly found in corporate blogs and collateral and has spawned ABSD (Account Based Software Development) which follows ABM down to the middle of the funnel in the sales development function.  There are now several ABSD vendors which I have begun to include in my newsletter including SalesLoft and QuotaFactory.  ABSD shifts the sales development focus away from “smile and dial” calling towards targeted messaging into a set of top prospects.  Since the prospecting activities are targeting higher value opportunities, there is a benefit to personalizing calls and emails.  SalesLoft refers to this activity as “sincerity at scale.”

What is even more impressive about SalesLoft and QuotaFactory is that they are both less than two years old and yet they have already grown in commercial stature to the point where they are building out partner ecosystems with traditional SIs and other vendors.  SalesLoft rolled out their Sales Development Cloud at their customer conference last month with nine partners including DiscoverOrg, InsideView, Datanyze, and Owler.  At the same time, QuotaFactory announced partnerships with Bedrock Data, Ambition, HG Data, and InsideView.

A second area of rapid growth is the technology sales intelligence vendors.  DiscoverOrg and RainKing have grown revenue and capabilities, transforming what was historically a sleepy niche into a significant sub-category.  Both vendors have posted high multi-year growth rates, internationalized their datasets, expanded their technology trigger events, and developed CRM and marketing automation connectors.  While they continue to gather rich profiles of IT execs, they are broadening their functional coverage to include non-IT functions that are significantly investing in IT cloud solutions such as marketing and finance.  DiscoverOrg is continuing this functional expansion with product management (the recently released TEDD dataset), HR, and Sales.  Furthermore, their databases, which once focused on the Fortune 1000, now cover nearly 50,000 top global companies and 700,000 executives.  Both firms announced significant funding events in the past six months.

Aberdeen Group, which was spun off of Harte-Hanks last year, has begun to invest in the AccessCI database.  Once the leading source of technology profiles and leads, the AccessCI (aka CiTDB and CITDS) dataset had received little investment from Harte-Hanks over the prior decade.  Under new ownership, the product is once again receiving management attention.

The SIs have also increased their coverage of technographicsAvention acquired SalesQuest two years ago and integrated their Crush profiles into their products while other vendors have licensed vendor/product data from HG Data or mined technographic intelligence.  HG Data has become so adept at collecting vendor/product data that DiscoverOrg and Aberdeen Group have begun licensing content from them.

Several firms that began as fundings databases found that Business Development was a logical extension of their value proposition and have since repositioned themselves as sales intelligence solutions.  Firms such as DataFox and Mattermark are focusing more on sales intelligence functionality while CB Insights has launched a sales intelligence solution (with technographics) while retaining its focus on the PE/VC space.

For the most part, the SIs have avoided the predictive analytics space.  The exceptions are Avention, which supports business signals and ideal profiles, and Radius which morphed  from an SMB SI into a predictive analytics company.  Meanwhile, the predictive analytics companies are beginning to offer a subset of SI features such as net-new leads.

Instead, the SIs have focused more on marketing analytics, data enrichment, and data hygiene which allows them to leverage their databases without investing in data scientists.  Dun & Bradstreet acquired NetProspex last year for its contact database and the Workbench cloud data hygiene platform.  They have also begun to offer Hoover’s concierge services including enrichment, segmentation reporting, and email delivery.  Avention launched its DataVision customer data platform earlier this year while Zoominfo, Data.com, and InsideView have placed equal weight upon marketing services and sales intelligence services.

Social Selling continues to be a core element of positioning for InsideView and LinkedIn Sales NavigatorArtesian Solutions, a UK vendor that is launching a US product later this year, also focuses on social selling.  A significant product gap across the SIs is the lack of social tools built into their offering.  I can understand why SIs have shied away from Who Knows Who tools (the exceptions are InsideView and DueDil), but it is perplexing why most SI vendors have only limited sets of social media links and little social media content displayed in their services.  Only InsideView, Artesian, and Owler have put much emphasis upon social media content.

Europe is also becoming a home of new services.  DueDil has evolved into a UK challenger to Avention and BvD Mint while IKO System and Sparklane (formerly Zebaz) have an established presence in France.

When I started my newsletter four years ago, many of the companies and products either had not been launched or weren’t on my radar.  I mostly focused on Avention, Hoover’s, InsideView, DiscoverOrg, BvD, Sales Genie, Data.com, and RainKing.  While these companies continue to innovate, much of the energy is coming from new entrants.  The rapid growth and diversity of sales intelligence functionality has been exciting to observe.

Credit: Darwin’s Finches are in the public domain.  Charles Darwin, 1845.

Quota Factory: Sales Development Hub

QF0

Two weeks ago, Quota Factory announced a series of content and platform partnerships to their Prospect Relationship Management (PRM) service.  The new Sales Development Hub partnerships address connectivity, analytics, gamification, prospecting, and data enrichment.

Quota Factory, which was incubated by Salesworks AG, launched its PRM service last September.  Quota Factory is based upon fifteen years of experience refining account based prospecting for Sales Development Reps (SDRs).  “After years of successful sales development operations, we productized our internal know-how into the most user-friendly and impactful B2B prospecting platform available today,” said Quota Factory CEO Peter Gracey. “With one platform for data, outbound messaging, call planning, reporting and automation, SDRs can now ditch the eight different logins for all the solutions they’re currently using and free up their time to do what they were hired to do – speak live with prospects.”

Quota Factory helps firms define an ideal customer profile and develops a phone and email database of targeted prospects.  Tools include automated dialing, messaging templates, pre-built call planning, and daily objectives.  The service also supports “rigorous rules around qualification criteria, ensuring that each rep fully qualifies and passes as many targeted prospects as possible through meaningful conversations.”

Gracey emphasized that the firm is self-financed.  “We aren’t a venture backed firm and we are proud of that.  We built our product with the profits made from our outsourcing business. Basically, we earned the right to build the best Prospect Relationship Management (PRM) platform by being phenomenal at…wait for it…sales development! No smoke and mirrors here. If it finds it’s way into QuotaFactory, you can bet the family dog it’s been vetted by actual SDRs first.”

Quota Factory announced new or expanded partnerships with

  • Bedrock Data: Data management and API connectivity
  • Ambition: Sales analytics and gamification tools
  • InsideView: Account and contact prospecting, data enrichment, and account intelligence (expanded)
  • HG Data: Technology vendors and products

Quota Factory worked with Bedrock Data to build its Sales Development Hub.  Bedrock offers a data management platform which provides broad API connections.  Bedrock Data helps firms “synchronize and manage” data across multiple data APIs.  Quota Factory chose to work with a partner instead of building their own data store because “integrations are a tricky business. Companies can either choose to build each one individually on their own, or they can seek out an expert to do it for them. We fall into the latter category,” said Gracey. “Why learn on the job (and run the risk of hurting your customers as a result) when you can partner with a firm that does what you need for a living?”

“Empowering companies to get the most out of their business systems has always been our goal, said Bedrock CEO John Marcus.  “By connecting QuotaFactory users to multiple prospecting data sources of their choice – through the Bedrock Data platform – sales professionals will gain an unfair advantage by having real-time access to critical sales and marketing data.”

QF1
Ambition’s Account Dashboard is “baked” into Quota Factory

The second partnership is with gamification and sales analytics platform Ambition which OEM’d its platform to Quota Factory.  The integration provides account and management dashboards, challenge dashboards for contests, benchmarking reports, and custom reporting.

Gamification tools include “both SPIF-style challenges and ‘Fantasy Football’ style team competitions,” said Gracey.  Contests can be built on the fly using “any metric, role, or timeframe.”  Ambition then provides real-time contest tracking and shares the results with the team.

Quota Factory tested Ambition before licensing the service, providing it to their sales development reps and managers for feedback.   “As part of any pre-partnership due diligence, we had to check out the software for ourselves first,” said Gracey.  “Our internal team of SDRs love it, our managers can’t live without it, and as a result, our customers now get to use it.  In fact, we were so impressed with the functionality, versatility, and impact that it had on our business, we gave it some prime real estate in our platform.”

Qf2
InsideView supports company and contact enrichment with duplicate checking within Quota Factory.

InsideView is an existing partner, but Quota Factory expanded their license to support account and contact prospecting, data enrichment, and account research.  Previously, account and contact actions were limited to single records managed by the SDR.

Gracey praised the flexibility of InsideView’s API for prospecting, account research, and data enrichment.  Account and contact records can be enriched en masse or individually.  When managed in bulk, the records can be cleansed (overwritten with InsideView values) or appended (enrich only null fields).

T0 promote the partnership, Quota Factory is including 10,000 free record enrichments to new and existing PRM customers.

Account information includes firmographics, recent news, and contacts.

HG Data is providing technology vendor and product data for companies.  As with their other partners, Quota Factory vetted the partner through their own SDRs.

“Knowing the incumbent landscape you are entering before you even pick up the phone is pure gold for an SDR,” observed Gracey.  “This is especially the case now that account based sales development (ABSD) is rising in prevalence and demanding a more focused and customized approach to prospecting. Focused prospect messaging driven by competitive intel builds confidence, promotes pre-call research, and drives quality conversation rates northward.”

DiscoverOrg: Closing Out Another Year of Growth

DO Chrome

Technology Sales Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg closed out another year of significant growth in customers, product, content, and revenue.  “DiscoverOrg saw significant advancements in its workforce, physical locations, data insight, product development, and market share,” blogged the company.  “In the process, we are creating jobs, establishing a stronger presence, and delivering more product value to customers.  As DiscoverOrg succeeds, we are primed to level the playing field in business-to-business sales and marketing … to help small companies grow into big companies … to create a global revolution in B2B sales.”

Amongst the growth metrics they published on their blog:

  • Customer accounts increased 36 percent.
  • Platform users increased by 17 percent.
  • Search queries increased from 721,862 in 2014 to 733,277 in 2015.

The firm discussed three of their 2015 objectives: strategic hires, physical presence, and greater data insight.

In 2015, the firm added 93 employees, nearly doubling their staff to 203.  Hiring centered around their research team as “data accuracy is a top focus”.  Some of this growth was from the mid-summer acquisition of iProfile, but the majority was organic hiring.

2015 hires included a new SVP of Customer Success and CFO.  The firm also added three new Board Members including the former COO of Forrester Research and the former CEO of Capital IQ.

Along with moving into larger facilities in Vancouver, Washington (20 miles from Portland), they opened satellite facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Philadelphia.

2015 also saw significant database growth and new product offerings.  The iProfile acquisition helped accelerate their global build out.  The database grew by more than 50% with the marketing dataset growing by 85%.  During 2015 they added datasets for finance and Europe along with the OppAlerts intent data service.

”More platform perks, datasets, and integrations are in development for release in 2016, including: a new, responsive platform design; a new product development dataset; an updated Google Chrome Extension; and an updated, ‘Lightening Ready’ Salesforce Native App.”

Their “new and improved platform” is currently in final stage beta rollout. The enhanced platform “offers a complete redesign of the user interface and numerous ‘under the hood’ speed and functionality enhancements.”

Chrome Extension Update

The Google Chrome extension enhancements, which were released just as the year closed, provide context based intelligence from all of their datasets including IT, marketing, and finance.  The Chrome extension will support additional databases in 2016.

The Chrome extension works as a side panel that automatically displays company intelligence, including contacts and company overviews, based upon the current website.  The system stores account credentials so that company overviews are immediately displayed.  From the browser, a user can quickly select a contact or company name and look it up within the Chrome extension.  Thus, the service is bi-directional with users switching between the extension and browser without additional logins and without having to reenter information to conduct company searches.

DiscoverOrg provided the following Chrome Connector data workflow scenario on their blog:

Assume you’re an information security vendor and you are researching Fannie Mae, the Chrome Extension will return the CISO’s full group and contacts to you right in the browser – no need to login to DiscoverOrg and run another search. From there you can easily add contacts to your CRM tool, research the company further in DiscoverOrg, or lookup a similar company or contact.

Because DiscoverOrg also supports CRM platforms including SFDC,  MS Dynamics, NetSuite, Talent Rover, and SugarCRM, users can begin with a company, contact name, or URL for research then upload the company or contact information to their CRM from DiscoverOrg.  Company and contact data is not mined from the web but collected by its team of researchers, ensuring higher quality information.

Other Chrome Extension features include executive lists with filtering; executive headshots with responsibilities, contact information and social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) links; technology details; similar companies; and sales triggers.

The Chrome extension is free to current subscribers.

Chrome Extensions

While Google Chrome has only garnered limited support from sales intelligence vendors, it has seen significant development from vendors providing technology overviews.  Along with DiscoverOrg, there are Google Chrome extensions from HG Data, Datanyze, BuiltWith, SimilarTech, W3Techs, and HIveMind.  Most of these services are limited to an analysis of online technology associated with the corporate website, but DiscoverOrg utilizes researchers and HG Data employs semantic mining of news and websites to obtain behind the firewall platforms and vendors.

HG Data Chrome Extension

HG

HG Data released a Chrome browser extension for their Technology Install dataset.  The new HG Focus service provides tech sales reps with immediate visibility into key technologies used by prospects and customers.  The freemium service assists with lead qualification, account based marketing, and technology related messaging.

While browsing the web, users are shown which technologies are employed by the website owner and how recently the data was verified.  Technology stack information is available for both cloud-based and behind-the-firewall platforms.  A release later this quarter will expand this intelligence to Salesforce.com, Gmail, LinkedIn, and Office 365.

Freemium users have access to one technology category.  Users can also identify favorite technologies with the icon indicating the number of favorite technologies used by the company.  Favorites can be setup for either complementary or competitive companies.

HG Data provides technology intelligence for over 5,000 products spanning 1,700 vendors.  They began collecting North American intelligence in 2012 and currently provide insights into 1.2 million US and 85,000 Canadian locations.  Last year they started international data collection and now deliver tech installation intelligence for 260,000 European and 120,000 AsiaPac locations.

“HG Focus is the first of some very exciting products that HG Data will be releasing to help companies of every size and shape that have not yet discovered the power of installed technology intelligence,” said Chief Revenue Officer Mark Godley. “Our clients have seen how targeting by installed technologies can transform their entire go-to-market strategy. From defining addressable market, to micro-messaging at scale, to better analytics and predictive modeling, to relevant targeting throughout the sales funnel, every step of the sales and marketing process is better with HG Data. Technology installs at scale comprise a whole new firmographic that is making traditional means of defining prospects obsolete. HG Focus is aimed at companies interested in starting down the path of targeting by installed technologies and can now do so in a risk free, yet powerful way.”

A number of firms have recently deployed Chrome extensions to provide a taste of their database.  Other technology vendors with Chrome extensions include DiscoverOrg and Datanyze.