D&B Hoovers Enhancements

D&B Prescreen Scores are available in company and contact Build a List.
D&B Prescreen Scores are available in company and contact Build a List.

Dun & Bradstreet continues to quickly enhance the D&B Hoovers service (FKA Avention OneSource) as it integrates the WorldBase and Hoovers files into its newly acquired sales intelligence service.  In June, Dun & Bradstreet added the D&B Prescreen score, Parent and D-U-N-S Number, the Ultimate Parent D-U-N-S Numbers, Franchise Status, Owns/Rents, and eight-digit SICs.  D&B Hoovers also added the Hoover’s editorial profiles of 41,000 global companies.  Finally, Dun & Bradstreet added on demand enrichment of files with up to 10,000 D-U-N-S Numbers.

With the D&B Prescreen Score, users can screen US and Canadian companies for delinquency risk.  Companies are rated on a High / Medium / Low risk score allowing sales and marketing to quickly filter out prospects with a high likelihood of late payment.  According to Director of Product Management Phil McWade, “D&B Prescreen Scores predict the likelihood of a firm paying in a severely delinquent manner (90+ days past terms) over the next 12 months.”

The Prescreen score is available when prospecting for companies and contacts.  Users will find it alongside other Dun & Bradstreet variables including Owns/Rents, Franchise Status, and Minority Ownership flags in the Corporate Overview report.

The Parent and Ultimate Parent D-U-N-S Numbers provide family tree linkage via Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary company identifiers.  These values are displayed in custom grids, exports, and as data points on the Corporate Overview report.

Eight-digit SICs expand the standard 4-digit SIC to provide 18,000 distinct industries.  The expanded codes are displayed within company profiles, contact records, industry summary reports, custom grids, and prospecting selects.  8-digit SICs provide “the most specific and granular industry classification available in D&B Hoovers,” said McWade.

The Hoovers company profiles provide additional company insights including multi-paragraph business descriptions, company histories, and products and operations.  The additional content is displayed across three new reports.  Roughly three-quarters of the profiles are for American firms with the remainder spanning major multi-nationals.  Both public and private companies are profiled.

The new Products and Operations report is gathered by Dun & Bradstreet's editorial team.  Other new reports include Company Description and Company History.
The new Products and Operations report is gathered by Dun & Bradstreet’s editorial team. Other new reports include Company Description and Company History.

D&B Hoovers now supports file uploads of up to ten thousand D-U-N-S Numbers with immediate enrichment.  D&B Hoover’s allows users to maintain and monitor multiple lists including suppression lists.  D-U-N-S Numbered lists support multiple use cases:

  • Lists can be downloaded to Excel, winnowed, and re-uploaded for ABM targeting.
  • D-U-N-S numbered lists can be cross-referenced with other platforms (e.g. MAP, ERP, CRM)
  • Following a territory split, Sales Operations can provide reps with an updated list of ABM candidates
  • Sales Operations can provide a list of named accounts which are excluded from sales territories.

Dun & Bradstreet continues to add companies and contacts to D&B Hoovers, iSell, and Business Browser.  The company and contact counts are both approaching 100 million.

Last month, Dun & Bradstreet rolled out a set of migration courses and materials to assist with migration from Hoovers Classic.  I previously blogged about D&B Hoover’s enhancements in March when Avention was rebranded D&B Hoovers.

Avention Rebranded D&B Hoovers

D&B Hoovers LogoDun & Bradstreet has begun the process of monetizing its new Avention acquisition by rebranding it as D&B Hoovers.  The OneSource platform had an identity crisis  — first launched as Avention and then rebranded Avention OneSource.  Bringing the service under the Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers branding umbrella should stabilize the brand as both are better known than Avention and OneSource.  Dun & Bradstreet has been associated with company information and credit research since the 1840s while the Hoovers brand has a thirty-seven year lineage that goes back to reference books.  Hoover’s was an early company research portal via the web and America Online and still offers a freemium site.

That Avention and Dun & Bradstreet could quickly match their large databases and begin the integration of the WorldBase file into the new Hoovers platform does not surprise me.  Both companies have strong data matching capabilities for companies and contacts.  Furthermore, the new Hoovers platform is designed to manage the integration of additional datasets into its global coverage.

Sales Acceleration Positioning

In a press release, Dun & Bradstreet described their new offering as “an innovative new Sales Acceleration solution” which helps “sales and marketing teams shorten sales cycles, increase win rates, and accelerate revenue growth.”  The new offering combines “Dun & Bradstreet’s largest commercial database with best-in-class prospect intelligence and an intuitive user experience” which goes ”beyond traditional prospecting to more quickly and efficiently engage with customers.”

Sales Acceleration vs Traditional Prospecting Chart (Source: Dun & Bradstreet)
Sales Acceleration vs Traditional Prospecting Chart (Source: Dun & Bradstreet)

Since acquiring Avention in early January, Dun & Bradstreet Sales and Marketing Solutions has focused its messaging around Sales Acceleration.  Barry Parr, Lead Analyst at information advisory service Outsell, described Sales Acceleration as follows:

B2B sales and marketing’s job is to turn information into relationships. Sales Acceleration refines information to increase the yield and improve productivity, by making the information more current, connecting it with buying signals, and providing relevant context. This market is evolving quickly from static company and contact data into information enhanced by software and technology.

On his Q4 earnings call last month, Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan picked up on the theme of Sales Acceleration which had not been used on the previous earnings call.

“Now, when we talk about sales acceleration, we mean helping companies advance relationships from prospects to paying customers by using data to give them insights into who to talk to, when to talk to them, and what to talk to them about,” said Carrigan in February.  “The market for sales acceleration is substantial. Outsell, the preeminent research firm covering the information industry, pegs the market size at about $10 billion worldwide, and it is fragmented and underserved. Given our data advantage, we are the best positioned to capture market share and grow faster than the overall market. So our aspiration is much bigger than creating a better prospecting tool by rebuilding Hoover’s. We are the market leader in sales acceleration now, and we have all the capabilities to substantially expand that lead.”

D&B Hoover’s Capabilities

Along with rich company profiles, the new Hoovers provides access to more than seventy million global contacts.  The press release highlighted the following key capabilities:

  • Target intelligently: SmartLists® dynamically update sellers on top opportunities, business intelligence and analytics, and enable account scoring; and more than 175 search filters create precise targeting while supporting natural-language and conceptual search.
  • Enhance sales productivity: CRM QuickView provides seamless access to account intelligence; desktop dashboards and automated workflow features include triggers, alerts, Ideal Profiles®, and Conceptual Search®; and mobile-ready features support sales and marketing teams on the go.
  • Enable informed conversations: Business Signals® deliver predictive insights based on the deepest and broadest global data coverage; intelligent data is integrated into strategic technology platforms like CRM and marketing automation systems; and real-time triggers keep sellers posted on key business events.
The D&B Hoovers Company Profile for Xerox
The D&B Hoovers Company Profile for Xerox

Legacy Avention OneSource customers will continue to receive their currently licensed content and feature bundles.  However, they will immediately benefit from the company and contact data quality and coverage improvements.

“Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to grow by better leveraging today’s enhanced software and technology to more quickly drive pipeline, and garner marketing ROI,” said Dun & Bradstreet CMO Rishi Dave. “D&B Hoovers is the best solution for enabling sales and marketing teams to align around the same connected, dynamic data and analytics to make their efforts more impactful, and help them go to market and close deals at a faster rate.”

Pricing & Packaging

The packaging model appears to be a hybrid of previous Hoovers and Avention packaging.  The service is being split into three product tiers with all having access to the global database:

  • D&B Hoovers offers companies and contacts along with sophisticated prospecting against 175 variables, Conceptual Search, SmartLists, competitors, peers, news, and trigger events.
  • D&B Hoovers – Advantage adds additional features to the base edition by including global family trees, CRM/MAP integrations, SWOT reports, quoted and European private company financials, SEC filings, and administrative dashboards.  The Technology Crush reports (FKA SalesQuest Crush) are available as a premium.
  • D&B Hoovers – Premium adds additional features to Advantage edition including Ideal Profiles and Business Signals.

All users will have access to the full Global Contact Authority file of executive names, titles, and bios.  However, there is a premium “Business Contacts” dataset containing emails and direct dial phones.

Pricing is on a named-user basis dependent upon the purchased edition.  Volume based discounts are provided as the number of seats increase. For example, a mid-sized company with forty sales reps can expect to pay approximately $62 per seat/month to $114 per seat/month depending on the package purchased (and before any annual or multi-year discounts are applied).

Whereas legacy Hoover’s strength was in meeting the sales intelligence and research needs of small and midsized companies, D&B Hoover’s pricing and packaging is intended to support companies of all sizes.  “The flexibility of the new packaging model is designed to support both the growth needs of emerging businesses as well as the requirements desired by enterprise organizations while providing the pricing flexibility to meet their various budgets,” said Director of Product Marketing Sean Crowley.

The new Hoover’s benefits from access to the Dun & Bradstreet datasets, some of which has already been integrated into the new platform.  The WorldBase file provides D-U-N-S Numbers, global company linkages, Tradestyles, and additional firmographics.  The Global Contact Authority provides additional global contacts, emails, and direct dial phones.

With this first release, the new Hoovers platform contains an additional six million marketable company records, expanded global linkage, D-U-N-S Numbering, and Dun & Bradstreet firmographics (e.g. addresses, sizing data, contact information, industry coding, bank names, Tradestyles, and geocoding).

For the first time, D-U-N-S Numbers and D-U-N-S Number company lookups are available to the Avention customer base.  D-U-N-S Numbers are the de facto global numbering system.  They are often required by banks and US government agencies.  Firms also employ D-U-N-S Numbers as part of their master data management strategies.  Having D-U-N-S Numbers tied to the D&B Hoovers service allows developers to build custom calls to the D&B Direct API to obtain non-Hoover’s content such as credit and supplier risk reports.

Other Dun & Bradstreet content such as Hoovers top company profiles, competitors lists, and First Research industry overviews will be available in the future.  The firm is also planning on expanded WorldBase coverage, additional WorldBase fields, and supplementary Dun & Bradstreet business signals.

Although D&B Hoovers is being initially pitched for the US, UK, and Ireland, the service is available globally.  The emphasis on those three markets was simply one of sales enablement.  The UK and Ireland are an important opportunity for Dun & Bradstreet as the legacy Hoovers service had little traction in those markets due to the lack of registered data from Companies House (UK) and Companies Registration Office (UK).  The new D&B Hoovers provides full financials for companies across a dozen European countries including the UK and Ireland (available in Hoover’s Advantage and Premium editions).  The platform also supports company details matched to UK registered data including trading addresses, additional contacts and emails, and corporate phone numbers.

D&B Hoovers is planning a financial add-on service which includes analyst reports (Investext brokerage house reports), the industry research module (MarketLine, Freedonia, RMA), and UK registered company intelligence including Directors and Shareholders reports; Mortgages, Charges, & County Court Judgments; and Companies House Images.

Dun & Bradstreet is offering a thirty-day free trial.

Note: Avention OneSource is one of the products covered in my new book “2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors

2016 in Review: New Sales Intelligence Products

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Artesian opened an office in Boston and launched a US / Canadian edition of their Social Selling service.

Over the past week, I’ve been discussing how the fourteen vendors in my new 2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors have improved their products.  I broke this discussion into four categories:

  • Content: What are the inputs to these offerings?
  • Functionality: How are the sales and marketing functions able to leverage the content within these offerings?
  • User Interface: What have the firms done to improve the presentation and workflow of their products?
  • Connectors: Which integrations were updated? Which ones were launched?  These spanned CRMs, MAPs, Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) platforms, APIs, and Google Chrome.

So far, this framework has only looked at existing products and services.  This blog addresses the final question: What new Sales Intelligence products and services were launched in 2016?

Sales Focused Products

Artesian launched the US edition of their sales intelligence offering in 2016.  The firm also opened an office in Boston.

DiscoverOrg launched the TiLT certification program for sales development reps and marketers.  The program is available at no charge to current clients and provides “microburst” learning with videos, curated content, and challenge tasks.

In early 2016 they announced their Technology, Engineering, Development, and Design (TEDD) offering which focuses on product management and engineering.  In H2 2016, DiscoverOrg rolled out datasets for Sales (50,000 new contacts), Fortune 1000 CxOs (30,000 new contacts), and HR (80,000 new contacts) bringing the overall database coverage to one million executives at the end of Q3.

RainKing rolled out a global enterprises dataset with coverage of AsiaPac, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

InsideView launched Tech Profiler in 2016.  This add-on dataset provides technology profiles within InsideView Sales and can be used as a filter when building lists with Target.  The technology information is also available via API and InsideView’s Professional Services.  The API offers two new calls: retrieve technology implemented at a company and retrieve companies that have deployed specific technologies.

The dataset provides information about technologies used by InsideView’s top 525,000 global companies.  It covers more than 2,600 front-end and back-end technologies in more than 100 categories.  InsideView did not disclose whether they collected the technology file themselves or licensed it from another vendor.

Salesgenie Team provides a set of team tools to Salesgenie.  New features include lead assignment rules, add messages to leads, customer cloning, and tracking and reporting tools.  A new My Leads list displays assigned leads while a Sales Pipeline report provides team member analytics.

Infofree introduced a lower priced version of its service called SalesFlower which removes several features including background checks, business credit reports, CustomerCloner, and the CRM101 SFA platform.

Owler introduced an enterprise API service for calling corporate firmographics, competitors, and news.

Marketing Focused Products

Hoover’s added a trio of Concierge Services to its Hoover’s product line which target SMBs with revenue up to $250 million.  Hoover’s is providing three related services:

  • Targeted List Building – Identifies prospects similar to a client’s best customers.
  • Effective Email Marketing – Delivers email services including messaging, design, email coding, blasting, and testing.  Dun & Bradstreet also supports email verification, analytics, and unsubscribe / bounce management.  Landing site hosting is provided via an undisclosed partner.
  • Optimized Customer Data – Supports data cleansing, standardization, and data enrichment for customer company and contact files.

Avention’s OneSource DataVision is a hosted platform which consolidates and cleanses multiple customer data sources, integrating internal and external customer intelligence.  By matching Avention company and contact data against customer and prospect files, Avention improves the accuracy and firmographic fill rates of marketing databases.  The result is a unified view of customer data for accurate customer segmentation and targeting based upon enriched data from Avention’s Global Content Live database.

OneSource DataVision also provides analytics and visualization tools for marketers.  “As a result, you will be able to identify and leverage key customer and prospect segments to make more informed decisions, identify cross-sell opportunities, key industries, verticals and much more,” states Avention.

OneSource DataVision includes a gap analysis tool which assesses the total addressable market in order to identify underserved markets and growth potential.  After enriching and segmenting the data, OneSource DataVision users can prospect for similar companies.

OneSource DataVision, along with the flagship OneSource platform, form the OneSource ABM Solution, also launched in 2016.    This solution ensures sales and marketing teams are aligned around the right accounts to target, then provides the deep insights needed to create account plans, and targeted sales messages and content.

Zoominfo repackaged its service as the Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform for sales and marketing effectiveness.  The new platform helps sales and marketing teams “identify, connect, and engage with qualified prospects and replicate success.” The Growth Acceleration Platform is a cross-product branding that supports company and executive searching, list building, file enrichment, and data Insights (segmentation analysis and persona identification).  Other tools include a Salesforce.com connector, web form enrichment (FormComplete), and a new Google Chrome Extension called ReachOut which provides quick access to contact information from Zoominfo and LinkedIn contact profiles.

InsideView Refresh was launched as a new product in 2016. Refresh provides automated account cleansing within CRM. It’s currently available for Salesforce CRM.

InsideView also launched an ABM solution in partnership with Marketo. It’s a bundle that includes products and data services to enable targeted account and contact selection, campaign execution, and measurement.

In H2 2016, DiscoverOrg launched an Enhanced ABM Toolkit which builds an ideal customer profile and then identifies similar companies.  Users upload a file of their best customers which is matched against the DiscoverOrg database.  The system then performs firmographic and technographic segmentation analysis and then suggests similar companies.

Net

In 2016, the focus of the established sales intelligence companies was on extending their services into the marketing department and aligning their positioning around Account Based Marketing.  On the sales side, their were fewer new products or major functional enhancements.  Instead, they focused on expanded content and workflow improvements.  This strategy was best exemplified by Avention and InsideView.  Both firms doubled their company and contact universes, improved their user interfaces, and launched additional marketing products and connectors.  However, they added little new functionality to their sales products.

Five years ago, the sales intelligence services were firmly planted in the sales department with some also providing services for analysts.  Now, however, the marketing department is receiving equal or greater capital investment as firms look to support “sales and marketing alignment” with CRM and MAP connectors which leverage a common reference data set.

In 2017 I anticipate additional product announcements with ABM positioning across the revenue lifecycle.  The Sales Intelligence companies realize that if they establish themselves in the marketing department with a broad set of services, then their position within the sales department will be less subject to churn.

News Alert: Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Avention

DNB acquires Avention.PNG

Dun & Bradstreet ($DNB) announced the acquisition of Avention after the markets closed today.  The acquisition came almost on the two year anniversary of Dun & Bradstreet’s successful acquisition of NetProspex.

Avention was acquired for $150 million net of cash assumed.  Avention generated $60 million in 2016 revenue.

“We are excited to combine our world-class company and contact data with Avention’s best-in-class technology that is fully integrated with the leading software platforms utilized by B2B sales professionals and marketers,” said Dun & Bradstreet COO Josh Peirez. “Avention is a natural fit that will allow us to deliver tremendous value to customers, and the synergies we can capture put the value of this deal well above the purchase price of the acquisition.”

Dun & Bradstreet combined with Avention functionality offers the potential for a powerful sales intelligence service with strong marketing capabilities.  Both Dun & Bradstreet and Avention have been expanding their marketing capabilities and ABM messaging.

Dun and Bradstreet content assets include

  • 265 million active and inactive global companies
  • D-U-N-S Numbers
  • Global Linkage
  • NetProspex executive file with emails and direct dials
  • Hoover’s editorially-written profiles
  • First Research industry overviews

Dun & Bradstreet emphasized the following Avention capabilities:

  • An intuitive, dynamic user interface to deliver intelligence that can be customized to meet each user’s needs.
  • Powerful alerts, triggers, and profiling capabilities that leverage both structured data (e.g. industry codes, address, and employee information) and unstructured data (e.g. social content, news feeds, and analyst reports).
  • Simple integration with the mission-critical systems that your teams use every day, including SFDC, Dynamics, Marketo, and Eloqua, as well as homegrown systems used by many companies.

Combined, Hoover’s, NetProspex, Avention, and D&B alliance products generated over $200 million in revenue.  The acquisition provides Dun & Bradstreet with a leading sales intelligence platform as well as several legacy products:

  • Avention OneSource: Sales Intelligence with advanced company research tools and a light predictive analytics capability.  Distinguishing features include Conceptual Search, Business Signals, Ideal Profile Scores, Sales Triggers, and Smart Lists.  The OneSource platform supports CRM connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle Cloud for Sales as well as marketing automation connectors for Marketo and Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud).
  • Avention DataVision: DataVision, launched in 2016, supports data enrichment, segmentation, look-a-like prospecting, and TAM analysis.
  • iSell: A legacy sales product
  • Global Business Browser: A legacy company research product
  • OneSource Open Connector: API

Dun & Bradstreet offers an overlapping set of products that will need to be rationalized following the acquisition.  Hoover’s is a direct competitor of OneSource and iSell.  While it has a lower price point than these offerings, it has been struggling for several years with declining revenue and limited investment.  As such, Hoover’s is unlikely to see significant investment in the near-term as Dun & Bradstreet moves to integrate the D&B WorldBase company and contact file, NetProspex contacts, and First Research industry overviews into Avention.  Hoover’s also maintains 42,000 editorially written company profiles which would also add value to the Avention Global Content Live Platform.

NetProspex’ Workbench service offers many features similar to DataVision.  Workbench has an advantage in data matching logic and data verification tools (e.g. phone, email, and address verification), but it is likely that the Avention company universe will be quickly D-U-N-S Numbered and that DUNSMatch logic will be incorporated into Avention services.  As such, it is unclear whether Workbench or DataVision would be the long-term hygiene front-end for Dun & Bradstreet.

“Dun & Bradstreet is uniquely positioned to serve this growing market with its foundational company and contact data, which will soon be delivered through Avention’s best-in-class software offerings,” stated Dun & Bradstreet in a press release.  “The combination provides a tremendous opportunity to evolve Dun & Bradstreet’s Traditional Prospecting offerings into a category that serves critical B2B sales and marketing needs.

“The Sales Acceleration space offers a big opportunity for Dun & Bradstreet. We believe as the global leader in commercial information we are well positioned to take market share and accelerate our growth strategy,” said Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan. “Bolstered by the success of our recent M&A activity, which has exceeded its acquisition economics, we will continue to explore smart, tuck-in acquisitions that, combined with disciplined execution, will help us to further expand our leadership in this category as well as other areas of our business.”

One potential area of conflict may be around Data.com.  Dun & Bradstreet provides their WorldBase file to Data.com Prospector and does not offer a D&B360 Salesforce.com connector.  However, Avention has a robust AppExchange connector which competes against both Data.com Prospector and Data.com Clean.

NetProspex: 18 Months Since Acquisition and Thriving

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D&B NetProspex Workbench Data HealthScan report provides a free PDF detailing pre and post enrichment field population rates, data error rates, and segmentation reports.

Oftentimes when a small company is acquired, it is treated as a cash cow (if it is producing cash) or plugged into a larger business to address a capabilities gap or generate cross-selling opportunities.  Less frequently is the new asset treated as a vital, strategic asset to help enter new markets.

Audience Solutions

In the case of Dun & Bradstreet’s acquisition of NetProspex, the acquired division has been a keystone for Dun & Bradstreet’s entry into Audience Solutions (Visitor ID, Audience Targeting).  Dun & Bradstreet is beginning to gain traction in the programmatic advertising space.  On their most recent earnings call, CEO Bob Carrigan noted that their customers have long relied on Dun & Bradstreet for company data, but that this data was difficult to map to online activities because people surf the net, not companies.  When the firm acquired NetProspex early last year, they immediately set out to combine the NetProspex contact data with Dun & Bradstreet firmographics and D-U-N-S Numbers.

“Our contact data, coupled with our company data, on boarded for the digital world and matched to online cookies, helps our customers get their advertising in front of the right target, and the right decision maker at that target, at the right time,” said Carrigan.  “And, by organizing around the D-U-N-S Number, our customers can finally connect their offline customer management data with their online advertising campaigns, creating that vital bridge between ad tech and marketing tech.”

Dun & Bradstreet data is then mapped to three hundred online segments.  These segments utilize anonymous data including size variables, industry, job function, propensity to purchase specific products, and likelihood of qualifying for loans or company credit cards.  Segments are then delivered to partners including Oracle, Adobe, Google, Xaxis and Nielsen.  Furthermore, the firm’s global direct sales team offers bespoke segments for custom targeting.

“[The] whole programmatic wave, it’s all moving to B2B right now. And we’re starting to see some really nice uptake because we’re available for all the major buying platforms,” said Carrigan.  “We’re also selling direct licenses to marketers as well and obviously we’ve got a portfolio already of sales and marketing solutions.  This is a really nice complement to that and we’re trying to catch this wave and really deliver scale in a market that’s highly fragmented. So we’re pretty excited about this. It’s a great example of leveraging our core data in a new use case and it’s a great place for us to be.”

Adding Value to Hoover’s

Dun & Bradstreet also moved to quickly integrate NetProspex contacts into its Hoover’s sales intelligence service and used the NetProspex CleneStep contact verification process to validate Hoover’s contacts.  The result was a deeper set of accurate contacts within Hoover’s and other Dun & Bradstreet contact-based offerings.  The swap also saved Dun & Bradstreet several million dollars in contact acquisition costs.

NetProspex is also one of Hoover’s new Concierge Services for SMBs.  Concierge services are turnkey marketing services for SMBs that have limited marketing resources.

Investing in NetProspex

A further sign of the strategic importance of NetProspex is the continuing investment in the NetProspex Workbench service.  Workbench is a cloud-based data hygiene hub which verifies contacts (phone, email, and address), enriches the records with firmographics and technographics, provides segment and data hygiene analytics, and delivers net-new contacts.  Their data health report is a slick PDF analysis of contact file health and segmentation.  It is given away free as it also promotes Workbench enrichment (pre and post enrichment rates) and prospecting services.

The first thing that D&B did after acquiring NetProspex was swap out the weak firmographics attached to NetProspex contacts and replace them with D&B firmographics from their WorldBase file.  This provides NetProspex with both more accurate firmographics and a much deeper set of company linkages.

Why linkage is important: Each new lead should be scored to determine whether to nurture the lead or send it immediately to a sales rep.  Linkage data ensures that contacts associated with subsidiaries or branches of current customers and prospects are immediately forwarded to the appropriate sales rep.  Furthermore, qualification is based upon the parent company, not simply the size information of the subsidiary or branch.  Finally, channel conflict is reduced if leads are properly routed to the appropriate sales rep.  Reliable firmographic and linkage enrichment provides a neutral third-party source for lead routing.

In January, NetProspex released a new dashboard set to its Workbench cloud-based data hygiene products.  According to Dun & Bradstreet, “The dashboards keep track of consumption levels and alert you when you are in need of Targeted Data or a Data HealthScan. Now you can also gain insight into your Eloqua connectors in terms of performance and data enrichment.”

Data Management subscribers now see a Data HealthScore meter which indicates the overall quality of their most recent data HealthScan.  They are also shown data management scores over time.

NetProspex Data Health Optimizer Report (Workbench)
NetProspex Data Health Optimizer Report (Workbench)

Target Data subscribers can view the total number of contacts acquired over time and a Current Consumption meter which shows “the exact percentage of contact data you have consumed.”  NetProspex also added calendars to the service indicating the last time data was managed by the platform and the recommended next action date.

Finally, NetProspex increased the number of US contacts to 42 million.  Each of these contacts includes an email and a significant percentage contain direct dial numbers.

Data Analytics

While the Workbench service has long offered analytics, NetProspex recently added two analytical models to their Targeted Data subscriptions fulfilled by its Workbench platform.  The two scores assist with segmentation, lead scoring, and messaging.  Spend Capacity is based upon “non-traditional predictive segments such as UCC filings, inquiries and SIC revenue %.”  The predictive score ranks the spend capacity of a firm between one and one hundred.

The second modeled score is Growth Trajectory which “anticipates the future growth or decay of a business based on a mix of criteria including revenue, borrow levels, credit inquiries, order frequency and spend levels.”

Targeted Subscriptions help marketers scrub their marketing database of poor or outdated leads.  Records are standardized, verified (phone, email, and address), and enriched with Dun & Bradstreet company and contact data (42 million US B2B contacts with emails and direct dials).  The subscription then maintains the marketing dataset and replaces bad records with good ones.  The service includes Workbench Analytics concerning segmentation, technographics, and data quality.

“Data analytics (based on facts not probabilities) have not been readily available to the average marketer. That’s no longer the case. D&B is leveraging our deep expertise in understanding and analyzing company data and providing analytical insights as a value-added dimension to our Targeted Data Subscribers — no data scientist or fancy software needed,” says the firm.

Optimizer

According to Carrigan, Dun & Bradstreet generated more than ten million dollars in cross-sales revenue in its first year.  This would include both cross-selling contact hygiene and enrichment services from NetProspex into the Dun and Bradstreet customer base and selling Dun & Bradstreet services to NetProspex clients.  A key cross-sale is NetProspex contact enrichment and D&B Optimizer company enrichment sales.  Optimizer lacked contact enrichments so NetProspex closes that gap.

What’s more, Dun & Bradstreet recognizes that the Optimizer platform needs to be modernized and announced plans to build company Optimizer services on the Workbench platform.  Once completed, Workbench will provide a broader utility to marketers that need both lead (contact based) and account (company based) enrichment of their marketing automation platforms and CRMs.

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.

Hoover’s Concierge Services for SMBs

The Data Health Scan Report is one of the Optimized Customer Data Services.
The Data Health Scan Report is one of the Optimized Customer Data Services.

Hoover’s began rolling out a set of concierge services for small businesses after being merged into the Emerging Business unit last summer.  Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan has positioned the new services as important to turning around the Hoover’s product line which has been struggling of late.  In December, Carrigan noted that the new services have had “good success.”

The Concierge services target SMBs with revenue up to $250 million.  Concierge services target the standard Hoover’s B2B verticals including technology companies, business services, financial services, and manufacturing.

Dun & Bradstreet Product Leader (S&MS Solutions) Michael Umbach noted that the company has long received requests for assistance with customer marketing.  Dun & Bradstreet is meeting this need by combining their expertise with their data and solutions to help customers implement targeted list building, marketing file enrichment, and marketing campaigns.  Furthermore, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp, which was acquired last May, has had success offering concierge services to SMBs for credit products.

The services enable customers to perform targeted marketing without requiring them to add marketing headcount.  According to their website, “Our experts can serve as an extension of your marketing team, helping you find—and reach—your best customers.”  The underlying services utilize the Hoover’s, Optimizer, and NetProspex WorkBench (aka Optimizer for Contacts) platforms for fulfilling customer needs.  Dun & Bradstreet has also partnered with an undisclosed email platform to support email services.

Hoover’s is providing three related services for SMBs:

  • Targeted List Building – Identifies prospects similar to a client’s best customers.
  • Effective Email Marketing – Delivers email services including messaging, design, email coding, blasting, and testing.  Dun & Bradstreet also supports email verification, analytics, and unsubscribe / bounce management.  Landing site hosting is provided via an undisclosed partner.
  • Optimized Customer Data – Supports data cleansing, standardization, and data enrichment for customer company and contact files.

As a promotional tool, Hoover’s is offering a free data quality check which assesses email deliverability, phone connectivity, and duplicate records.  This service would be provided by their NetProspex Workbench platform.

Many of the Concierge clients are signing up for a full year of service allowing them to run multiple campaigns, target different audiences, and maintain and enrich their marketing data files.

The acquisition of NetProspex has also directly benefited Hoover’s users.  Following the acquisition, the NetProspex contact file was merged into the Hoover’s contact set.  Furthermore, the professional contacts file was processed through NetProspex CleneProspex validation process.  Umbach noted that the improved contact data quality has raised customer satisfaction around contacts.