HG Data: CEO Interviews

HG Data Cholawsky

I sat down with Craig Harris and Elizabeth Cholawsky of HG Data last month. Elizabeth had joined HG Data as their new CEO eight days earlier with Craig shifting from CEO to R&D Leader and Chairman. We discussed the transition, partner management, product planning, and the entry into other information verticals. The interview has been edited for length and will be published over the next few days.


Michael: Elizabeth, can you provide a quick overview of your history and experience and why you are the best person to be running HG Data?

Elizabeth: I’ve been working with subscription-based products, SaaS products, and products in the cloud since they were first invented almost 20 years ago.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked as VP of marketing at a couple of companies which you may not remember. Commission Junction was acquired by ValueClick, and I was VP of marketing there.

In 2007, I moved on to Citrix and the GoTo products, as GM.  It was a great experience because we were at the early stages of getting GoToMeeting out to market. When we got Citrix big enough, we divided into lines of business to streamline the decision making.

That was about a $200 million business when I left it in 2014.

I took those executive learnings and was recruited to lead Support.com. I went there in mid-2014 and by the beginning of the following year, we had a product to market. By the end of that year, we were at about $1.2 million ARR. Pretty quick ramp for that product in the SaaS market.

Michael: What else will help HG Data grow rapidly in the coming years?

Elizabeth: I have always been attuned to the discipline of product and product development. The core of all good technology companies is its product. My affinity is for that as well as the details, and I have been immersed in both – really having a sharp eye for the product / market fit.

Michael: Craig, you made a decision to step back from running the company day-to-day, but it sounds like you’re taking a more technical role with the organization as well as continuing as the Chairman.

Craig: We closed our Series B round about two years ago and, after we closed, I had a great chat with our new investors.  I dropped a bomb on them and said, “Hey, when would be a great time for me to go and really have my dream job?” The same thing from which HG Data was founded which is R&D. That’s always been my love, that’s always been my passion. That was what got me to start my first company NOZA and, when NOZA was acquired, it was the R&D and the pursuit of solving very challenging data problems that led me and my co-founders to start HG [in 2010]. It just what I love and that’s what I find myself doing on the weekends.

I asked our new investors, “Hey, thanks so much for wiring us $12 million. At what point do you think will be a good time to talk about hiring a CEO to get it to really scale?” Jon Seeber of Updata Partners said, “Hey, once you get to an eight-figure run rate, we’ll talk about it.” Well, it didn’t take that long until we were at an eight-figure run rate so this has been in the works for some time now. We just wanted to find the perfect fit. Product management has never been the thing that HG Data has led with. We’ve always led with the Holy Grail [HG] of data.

We put together a group of advisory product people a year and a half ago. We were brainstorming, trying to take that data and put it to work inside of our customers’ workflows. That was the next step for us and that’s not something that I have a lot of experience with. For me, it also wasn’t something where I’d just go hire a VP of Product and then, voila, we’re going to be able to become that type of organization. For us, it was something that the board and I wanted to have just in the DNA of our leadership and so that’s why literally after seeing a couple of hundred candidates, Elizabeth was the perfect choice for us and really a no-brainer

Elizabeth: I feel like I’m in the most fortunate situation. I just feel like that’s a hugely fortunate thing for a new CEO to have [the founder] as a partner.  [When] the founder walks away, you lose a true guiding light of the company. That’s not going to be us.


Continue to Part II

Lightning Data Partners

HG Data Opportunity Record in SFDC provides technographic intelligence.
HG Data Opportunity record in SFDC provides technographic intelligence.

Salesforce has yet to provide a roadmap for Data.com, so we will likely have to wait until Dreamforce for details.  While legacy customers continue to receive Dun & Bradstreet content, new customers are limited to the Salesforce / Jigsaw company and contact file.  However, the firm announced a set of Lightning Data partners that will support ongoing account enrichment as native Salesforce Apps.

InsideView was an original partner on the AppExchange but was disinvited after Data.com rolled out. While hidden from AppExchange searches, the InsideView for Sales solution continued to be available to joint customers as a private solution. Furthermore, the firm built additional AppExchange marketing products to supplement InsideView for Sales. These services included Target, a company and contact prospecting platform, and Refresh, a data hygiene service that matched and enriched account records with InsideView intelligence. The two companies share over one thousand joint clients.

As an initial partner in Lightning Data, InsideView is offering two services: Append account record maintenance toward the end of Q4 and Discovery account prospecting in Q1 2018. Both are native Salesforce applications. Unfortunately, Lightning Data only supports Account record enrichment and prospecting. Thus, InsideView clients looking for prospecting against InsideView’s 13 million global companies and 33 million contacts may wish to evaluate InsideView Target instead of InsideView Discovery.

InsideView positions itself as a leader in Targeting Intelligence due to their capabilities across three dimensions: company and people intelligence (Who), business triggers sourced from the news and social feeds (Why), and network connections which support warm introductions (How).

With the launch of their new Lightning Data solutions, InsideView will have strategic relationships with the two most important CRMs: Saleforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics.

InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler will be speaking at one of the Lightning Data sessions at this year’s Dreamforce as will other Lightning Data partners.

OTHER PARTNERS

DataFox is offering twenty-two curated data points and five proprietary fields for DaaS enrichment. Amongst the curated fields are standard firmographics, tech stack, and funding data including investors, total funding raise, and last funding round details. Proprietary data includes signal count over the past year, industry keywords, and similar companies. Datafox’s “AI-sourced, human-audited company data” covers over two million companies. Pricing starts at $3,500 per year.

MCH enriches accounts with medical facility details.  Institutions include hospitals; medical practices; dental practices; nursing homes; home health and hospice; ambulatory surgery; diagnostic imaging; community health; urgent care; and public health departments.  Data is updated via a team of researchers annually who populate over seventy attributes across 636,000 facilities.  Pricing starts at $500 per year.

MCH has a broader sales intelligence solution in development which will support prospecting and access to two million medical practitioners and support staff.

Clearbit enriches accounts with over forty fields including firmographics, Alexa Rank, Social Accounts, and Technology. The service also includes company news. Pricing starts at $499 per month.

HG Data populates technology product, vendor, and product category information across account, contact, and opportunity records. Also included is an account ranking score based upon deployed technology and workflows based upon complementary or competitive products. Pricing starts at $5,000 per year.

Bombora enriches account records with intent data gathered from 3,500 B2B media sites.

Additional partner announcements are expected.

Enrichment Benefits

There are multiple reasons to enrich records with third-party reference data sets.  These include shorter web forms with lower abandonment rates, improving segmentation via standardized data with fewer data gaps, ongoing data maintenance, and enhanced targeting.

Sales rep benefits from enrichment include reduced data entry, improved lead scoring and routing, and improved intelligence for account qualification, planning, and messaging.  By enriching company information within the CRM workflow, sales reps have accurate, on demand account intelligence.

Research has shown that short web forms have lower abandonment rates resulting in a higher return on demand gen marketing (Source: DataFox).
Research has shown that short web forms have lower abandonment rates resulting in a higher return on demand gen marketing (Graphic Source: DataFox).

Lightning Data from SFDC

The new Lightning Data services on the AppExchange.
The new Lightning Data services on the AppExchange.

Salesforce announced the launch of two new AppExchange partnership categories offering native Lighting functionality: Lightning Bolts and Lightning Data. Bolts are Lightning Components which offer customer data and business logic.

Lightning Data provides new Data as a Service (DaaS) partnerships in the wake of the non-renewal of the Dun & Bradstreet – Data.com licensing partnership. Three of the partners were announced as Data.com Exchange partners at last year’s Dreamforce:

  • Bombora intent data enrichment
  • HG Data technology product / vendor data enrichment
  • MCH Strategic Health Care data

Salesforce did not list the Lightning Data partners, but the following additional vendors are part of the new ecosystem:

  • InsideView Discovery account prospecting and InsideView Append account enrichment
  • DataFox account enrichment
  • Clearbit account enrichment

Initially, Lightning Data only supports ongoing match and enrichment services for Account records. As many AppExchange partners offer batch and continuous services for Account, Contact, and Lead records, Lightning Data will need to round out its enrichment capabilities for it to become a full hygiene and enrichment solution.

OPPORTUNITY LOST

Lightning Data is an indication that Salesforce never really bought into the idea of being a DaaS company. Since August 2011, they have promoted Data.com, but never fully committed to the data ecosystem they promised when they launched Data.com. The original idea was to take the Jigsaw file they purchased in April 2010 for $142 million and integrate it with the D&B WorldBase company file. They were then going to partner with other leading data companies to integrate third-party data matched to either Data.com contact intelligence or D&B Account intelligence. These data sets were to be delivered via Data.com Prospector sales intelligence and the Data.com Clean match and append service.

It was the right idea at the right time. They were playing catch up with OneSource for Salesforce, InsideView for Salesforce, and Access Hoovers, but had the technical and financial resources to quickly leapfrog these offerings (Access Hoovers was phased out as part of the D&B deal). Furthermore, they had a first mover advantage in cross-selling Data.com to their customer base. It could have been a home run, but they rarely hit the ball out of the infield. What’s worse:

  • The Jigsaw file was never truly internationalized. It remained a U.S. contact file with underwhelming executive coverage for nine other countries.
  • The Data.com contact counts increased, but only because they were adding contacts at the same rate as they were decaying. Meanwhile, their top two contacts competitors, NetProspex and Zoominfo, continued to expand both their active and inactive coverage in the U.S. and internationally.
  • They never added biographic details or social links to the contacts file
  • Prospector features remained underwhelming. They would add small features such as improved industry and geographic screening, but not anything significant until 2016.
  • They quickly dropped all discussion about an ecosystem.

Then at Dreamforce 2015 and 2016 they seemed to have found their mojo, addressing key weaknesses such as pricing, sales intelligence (Hoovers profiles, First Research industry overviews), and a data ecosystem.

Data.com hit a few doubles and outlined an aggressive 2017 and 2018 roadmap. It looked good. It sounded good. But then Salesforce severed their partnership with Dun & Bradstreet and now only legacy customers have access to Dun & Bradstreet content. For everybody else, there were nine months of deafening silence until yesterday’s announcement of Lightning Data.

The devolution of Data.com will not have a significant effect on Salesforce’s bottom line as it represents perhaps one percent of company revenue (hence, the lack of urgency in replacing Dun & Bradstreet content). Furthermore, the legacy offering will continue to be supported for several more years so the revenue decline will have little material impact. Perhaps we’ll hear about replacement content at Dreamforce, but Lightning Data suggests they are leaving B2B DaaS to partner companies.

Tomorrow I will be covering changes to the AppExchange along with additional details on the Lightning Data solution.

TechTarget Priority Engine with DiscoverOrg Contacts

 

TechTarget / DiscoverOrg joint offering (Source: TechTarget)
TechTarget / DiscoverOrg joint offering (Source: TechTarget)

DiscoverOrg is partnering with technology media and marketing company TechTarget to deliver its IT intelligence through TechTarget’s Priority Engine platform. The new offering, which will be available on November 2nd, provides a “unified data feed” of DiscoverOrg executive intelligence alongside TechTarget intent and Active Prospect insights. DiscoverOrg doubles or trebles the contacts available for Priority Engine prospects.

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 joint 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.”

Joint customers will have full access to DiscoverOrg’s editorially verified decision makers alongside TechTarget contacts that are conducting active research. Priority Engine customers that have not licensed DiscoverOrg will be limited to ten names per account. The partnership displays the “Target Buying Team within a single dashboard.”

“Our goal is to help B2B tech providers discover and influence the Target Buying Team at accounts in their market segment,” said TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia. “Our partnership with DiscoverOrg means that our sales and marketing customers have the ability to create, prioritize, influence and convert new pipeline opportunities faster and more cost-efficiently than ever before.”

TechTarget provides both TechTarget active researchers and DiscoverOrg decisionmakers and influencers.
TechTarget provides both TechTarget active researchers and DiscoverOrg decisionmakers and influencers.

TechTarget has embraced ABM and recently published a three-part blog on the topic. According to TechTarget, classic demand generation is based upon generic value-generation arguments:

Classic B2B targeting methods have relied too much on size and seniority. We assume that if a company is huge it must have a need. It’s logical. We assume that the CXO will ‘get’ our value proposition — makes sense, we think, because those people are really smart and our value prop seems super compelling to us. In the end, it’s the very obviousness of this kind of thinking that’s its downfall. Not only is everyone else targeting the same people, but they’re also raising up their message to a CXO level of abstraction to make it very clear. They’re talking “value delivery”, TCO, “next generation” and all those generalities that make everyone sound like everyone else. This can’t possibly work. And it doesn’t. We all know that.

To be effective, you’ve got to think long and hard about who you’re talking to and how what you do can make a substantive difference to them in their business lives. It starts with targeting the right people. Then it’s all about speaking to them at a level that will resonate…

For many of our clients, it’s simply the availability of these new data sources that starts to change everything for them. They now begin with a much better picture of what is actually happening within their target audience so all their campaign activities become more focused in nature. And as they become more adept at using the material, we see them start to refine their approaches to a very granular level. When they start adjusting their messages to address install changes within an account and the concerns of real people within these targets, they achieve another level of performance yet again.

TechTarget argues that firms should micro-target and micro-message to individuals in the enterprise that are dealing with the issues which a vendor’s solution addresses. Furthermore, campaigns should be based upon win research and persona development. ABM programs span renewal and upgrade campaigns, add-on/complementary solution campaigns, and competitive targeting.

TechTarget manages a set of 140 technology research sites. “By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.”

TechTarget publishes 275,000 technology articles and claims to have “more 1st page Google results than any other B2B publisher.” Traffic and site activity is then mapped against their taxonomy of over 5,000 technology topics across 300 segments.

Priority Engine offers marketing automation and Salesforce connectors which provide “weekly feeds from Priority Engine to your MarTech stack.” MAP partners include Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot, and Integrate.

Along with DiscoverOrg, TechTarget also partners with HG Data to provide product / vendor insights.

Priority Engine customers include Cisco, McAfee, and White Hat Security.

Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform 2.0 Unveiled

Zoominfo prospecting now includes technographic screening and dynamic counts which update as variables are selected.
Zoominfo prospecting now includes technographic screening and dynamic counts which update as variables are selected.

ZoomInfo unveiled the 2.0 version of its Growth Acceleration Platform to customers at its Growth Acceleration Summit in Boston this month.  Amongst the new features are a refreshed user interface, email tools, and expanded prospecting variables including Product / Vendor technographic selects.  The upgraded platform is currently in beta with general availability in Q4.

According to the firm, “ZoomInfo’s Growth Acceleration platform combines the most comprehensive and actionable B2B market intelligence with tools that help optimize sales and marketing effectiveness, jumpstart growth, and maximize profitability.”

The new user interface is cleaner and supports dynamic display which adjusts by form factor.  All of the pages, including company and contact profiles, employ a common look and feel.  Prospecting was simplified with complex stacked queries being less prominent.  However, they are still available to ZoomInfo’s data services team and power users.

Prospecting added product / vendor selects licensed from HG Data.  Multiple products may be entered for screening with the system defaulting to a Boolean OR (AND is supported, but the user needs to enter a multi-product Boolean string with AND logic).

Prospect lists may be maintained as dynamic lists (saved searches) or as fixed saved lists.  The system displays updated counts as each variable is selected. Zoominfo also allows users to suppress contacts purchased in lists in the past six months from search results and when building other lists.

Records may be uploaded from Outlook, Office 365, and Salesforce for enhancement and targeting.  Enhanced list analytics include pre and post data quality scores along with segmentation analysis. The Enhance Preview provides an analysis of the input data quality file, as well as a detailed report on what information was added, corrected, or confirmed using ZoomInfo’s data. The Data Profile tool shows users a breakdown of information about the user’s list, including top industries, job titles, revenues, and employee count.

The Zoominfo Enhance module provides before and after data quality statistics along with segmentation analysis on the Data Profile tab.
The Zoominfo Enhance module provides before and after data quality statistics along with segmentation analysis on the Data Profile tab.

Users can also upload an ABM account list for key contact targeting.

Company profiles include an expanded set of social media links (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), related companies (licensed from Owler), and technology data.  Tech data is displayed as summary product counts by category.  The rep clicks on the product category to expand it by product.  Unfortunately, the service does not support customized filtering of products or categories by key competitors or complementary platforms.  As HG Data supports thousands of products, it would be a nice enhancement to support pre-configured product categories and products.  Otherwise, valuable account planning insights may be obscured.

Contact profiles now display more information about the company associated with the profile without the need to navigate to a separate profile.

The ReachOut Chrome connector, which provides on-demand company and executive intelligence from websites and LinkedIn, exports to Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Outreach, and SalesLoft.  Users can also send emails from within LinkedIn.

A new Outlook connector provides contact profiles from within Outlook along with one-click add to Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Outreach, and SalesLoft.  Salesforce duplicate checking is employed if it is turned on.  Users can upload records from Zoominfo’s ReachOut Chrome connector or Outlook as either Leads or Contacts / Accounts (previously this was only available from the Growth Acceleration Platform).  ZoomInfo will create Account records for Contacts if one does not exist in SFDC.

The new Zoominfo Connector for Outlook displays inline company and contact intelligence for each of the parties on an email. This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.
The new Zoominfo Connector for Outlook displays inline company and contact intelligence for each of the parties on an email. This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.

This feature helps with researching buying committee members and influencers.

While ZoomInfo partners with Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) vendors Outreach and SalesLoft, ZoomInfo has added light ABSD email features such as email templates and live email tracking. Templates include dynamic tags for information such as contact name and company name which fill in automatically with ZoomInfo data.  Emails are sent from the user’s default email program.

The ZoomInfo global database has grown to 220 million professional profiles (both active and inactive) and 13 million companies.  The dataset is updated continuously based upon web crawlers and a 300,000 user community that shares email signature data.  Zoominfo offers one of the deepest sets of contacts with emails and direct dial numbers.

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.”

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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.