D&B Hoovers Internationalizes

The Siemens Company Profile as it would display in German.

D&B Hoovers, a global sales intelligence solution that has long been English-only, began a multi-phase process towards becoming a truly global, multi-lingual solution.  Most sales intelligence vendors support only a single language, but European vendors Vainu and Echobot support multiple languages for their regional coverage.  Last year, when Dun & Bradstreet bought Bisnode, a firm that serves Central Europe and the Nordics, it declared that it would be sunsetting Bisnode solutions.  Internationalizing D&B Hoover’s then became a priority.

The D&B Hoovers’ UX already supports 17 languages:

  • European: Croatian, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish
  • Asian: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese

Adding international languages transforms D&B Hoovers from an Anglo-centric solution for multinationals and companies based in Anglophone countries to a localized version.

“In terms of personalization, we’re trying to switch this from being a US product that is sold globally to a fully local version of a global product,” explained International Product Development & Strategy VP Adam Leslie to GZ Consulting.  D&B Hoovers needs to be a “local product” that supports sales reps selling to local customers, regardless of language.  “Historically, it’s been a US product sold in the local market only where the local market user sells to the US and internationally.  If the local market user only sells domestically, they haven’t bought Hoovers.”

D&B Hoovers greatly expanded its industry code standards, allowing users to filter companies by global taxonomies (e.g., ISIC), regional (e.g., NAICS, NACE 2.0, ANZ SIC), or national standards:

D&B Hoover’s also supports two proprietary taxonomies: Hoover’s industry codes and eight-digit SICs.

Country-specific industry code descriptions will be displayed in either English or the local language.

D&B Hoover’s Localization Options

Along with expanded taxonomies, D&B Hoovers recently added website searching to identify companies based on their self-descriptions across one hundred languages.  Website search has gathered 247 million rows of structured data across 30 million websites and 300 million web pages.

This feature helps identify companies with emerging technologies or positioning (i.e., the evolving three-letter acronyms that firms use for classifying themselves).  The feature echoes its Conceptual Search, but instead of identifying companies based on topical references in news articles, it searches global corporate websites.

D&B Hoovers and its predecessor service, OneSource Global Business Browser (GBB), have supported English-speaking multinational teams for two decades.  Their content and functionality have always been the deepest for the US, UK, and Canada.  Yet, they also provided a robust set of international content:

  • Global Public (Quoted) Company Financials, Segment Reports, Executive Bios, and Long Business Descriptions.
  • Financial statements for 15 European countries and global publics.  The reports may be viewed in USD, EUR, GBP, and the As Reported currency, with currency conversion rates based upon the period or statement date.  Thus, revenue from a 2020 income statement (a flow statement) would be based upon the average conversion rate for the year, while assets from the balance sheet would be based upon the applicable rate for the statement date.
  • Global family trees
  • Industry Codes, including US SIC, NAICS, EU NACE, UK SIC, ANZ SIC, and UN ISIC.
  • Regional screening, including city, postal code, and sub-regions (e.g., state, province, county)
  • Regional customization for distances (KM vs. miles) and numeric formats

D&B Hoovers expanded its company coverage to 180 million active firms and 216 million active contacts as part of its internationalization.  Most of the new firms have between one and five employees.  It also increased the number of countries with sub-divisional regions (e.g., counties, provinces), having recently added sub-divisional filtering for the Nordic countries, Denmark, Hungary, etc.  Additional countries are planned.

Several enhancements came from local customer research.  In many European countries, departmental emails are employed in sales and marketing outreach.  These emails lack any personally identifiable information, so they are GDPR compliant.  Dun & Bradstreet is adding over seven million “entity-level emails” for European countries, including over three million entity-level emails for the D-A-CH region, 1½ million for the Nordics, and 2½ million for Eastern Europe.

Text searching was enhanced to recognize accents and diacritical marks (e.g., when performing location searches).  Leslie called synonymous search with or without special characters a “major ticket to the game.”  While it “sounds like a simple fix,” it was “extremely complex.”

As Dun & Bradstreet began its localization research, it realized the importance of small companies and informational depth in the context of national sales vs. international sales.

“We speak to local markets and say, ‘Well, what is it that will help you sell your products and use our products?’” explained Leslie.  Dun & Bradstreet’s research found that many customers and prospects sell locally to organizations with five or fewer employees.  “That becomes really important now that you can reach them.”

Leslie listed other findings and subsequent upgrades: “We capped the number of contacts at eleven.  That’s been changed.  We were missing the middle name.  That has been changed.”

When I was a product marketing manager at OneSource (2001 – 2010), I explained that we delivered the top N companies in each European country because “you aren’t selling to Polish abattoirs.”  That logic made sense when selling to multinationals and exporters based in English-speaking countries.  After all, they weren’t selling to Polish slaughterhouses.  But this approach fails to meet the needs of sales reps based in Poland, EU industrial manufacturers, or logistics companies. 

Localization requires local language support, content depth, national standards support (e.g., industry codes, geographic districts, GDPR), in-language news and triggers (coming in phase II), market knowledge, and in-market sales and support. Dun & Bradstreet also simplified the UI and improved its dynamic display for various screen sizes and devices.  The new UI was implemented in September, and 96% of browser users and 98% of CRM users have switched to the updated format.

D&B Hoover’s old and new company profiles.

In-product tutorials also enhance the user experience.  For example, if a user utilizes a feature inefficiently or has not used core functionality, the tutorial will provide on-demand coaching.  This feedback is also provided to account representatives to provide guidance.  The in-product tutorials were launched last summer, and Dun & Bradstreet continues to collect data for honing its training recommendations.

There is also a new onboarding virtual assistant for providing on-demand training.  Tutorial translations should be available to users in Q2.  Expanded in-product training and virtual onboarding are consistent with the emerging Work from Anywhere expectation of business professionals.

Dun & Bradstreet provided its internationalization roadmap through the end of the year.  The firm intends to extend local content, expand time-dependent sales triggers, and support multi-lingual news.  New content includes more digitally sourced data, detailed financials, and country-specific datasets such as country export data for Chinese companies, product codes, and expanded tech data for India.

Ostensibly, Phase I, which completed at the end of March, serves as a minimal viable product for localized products (or what Leslie called a “ticket to the game”), and Phase II continues internationalizing the content and expanding localized content. 

“We are working with each local market to collect these [data requirements], source the data, transfer to D&B, and load into the product,” said Leslie. Finally, D&B Hoovers will continue to expand its email and direct dial coverage.

LinkedIn Q4 Sales Navigator Release (Part II)

LinkedIn also addressed the lack of sharing of Sales Navigator Account Maps in its Q4 release.  The value of maps is much greater if they can be shared across the sales and customer success teams.  Sales reps will skip activities that do not have a clear return on investment (i.e., they expedite the sales process, increase the odds of a win, reduce bureaucratic steps, etc.)  Sharing account maps across the team dramatically increases their value and encourages reps to invest the necessary time mapping out the account.  Sharing also assists with account handoffs between SDRs to Account Reps and later to Customer Success teams.

“Selling is a team sport, and we know that team members need to be in the loop and connected on key accounts, especially as changes to the buying committee may be greater and more frequent right now,” wrote Senior Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Mitali Pattnaik.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Account Maps

Account Maps are available to Team and Enterprise licensors.  However, Account Maps may only be shared with co-workers on the same Sales Navigator contract; thus, partners or co-workers with separate Sales Navigator agreements still lack map sharing. 

When others update a shared Account Map, everybody is notified of the update.

Those with CRM sync turned on (Advanced + CRM in January) will enjoy additional CRM features.  Users will be able to create new leads or contacts “in more places within Sales Navigator to better match up with their workflows” and display additional context.  New features include

  • New CRM Cards within Sales Navigator Lead Pages
  • New CRM Badges that notify reps when an account or lead is matched against the CRM
  • Clicking on the CRM Badge provides additional context on Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from the matched CRM record. For Sales Navigator Leads not found in CRM, a user can create a CRM Contact or Lead.
  • CRM Badges are now displayed in the InMail and Messaging Flow.

LinkedIn will be rolling out Q4 enhancements to customers in the coming weeks, as with other quarterly releases.

LinkedIn also announced updates to LinkedIn Sales Intelligence (LSI), its data service for Sales Operations.  LSI leverages the power of LinkedIn data to “help sales target the right companies and accelerate revenue.”  Launched earlier this year, LSI supports report building, account recommendations, and Account data enrichment.

Sales Operations now has access to industry codes aligned with the NAICS industry taxonomy used in the US, Canada, and Mexico.  Other enhancements include a new welcome flow and access to saved reports on the home page.

LinkedIn Sales Intelligence Report Builder

To assist with report building, a set of LSI Tool-Tips assist with defining Sources, Personas, Market Insights, and Exports.

Global Database

Global Database Build a List supports expanded growth, ownership, and industry variables.

UK-based Sales Intelligence vendor Global Database continues to expand its content and functionality.  Recent platform enhancements include expanded prospecting variables, industry coding, and list enrichment.

New screening variables include

  • Annual Growth: Turnover, Headcount, EBITDA, Net Profit, Liabilities, and Exports
  • Ownership: Parents, Number of subsidiaries, Foreign parent, Number of shareholders
  • Industry: European and North American industry codes, Industry Keywords

International SIC and NACE codes are available across the full company universe.  Global Database also implemented an NLP tool that crawls company websites and identifies keywords and business descriptions.  This descriptive content is then mapped to over 100,000 industry keywords.

“The SIC code is outdated when it comes to new industry verticals, such as Big Data or E-commerce, and if you are looking for such companies by SIC Code, they will be classified as: 63990 – Other information service activities n.e.c., explained CEO Nicolae Buldumac to GZ Consulting.

Global Database now supports company and contact list enrichment for Salesforce and MS Dynamics.  Users upload a list that is matched against its reference database and enriched with over 80 variables and match score confidence.  Matching employs registration numbers, corporate names, domains, phone, postal codes, etc. 

Global Database also provides an interactive report with match rates and segmentation.  Enrichment analytics include match rates, list averages, company status distribution, turnover distribution, top five companies, and pie charts for employment, years in business, and industry.  A location map is also displayed.

Other data tools include CRM maintenance, APIs, and web forms with auto-population.

The Global Database universe now spans 130 million companies and 118 million contacts:

Global Database Counts as of October 2021.

Most of its data is from trade registries, publicly available sources, an in-house data research team, and a few data vendor partnerships.  Direct emails are available for 17 million contacts and mobile numbers for 1.6 million.  If a contact does not have an email or phone number, Global Database integrates with two data vendors, where this information is requested via API in real-time.

Global Database continues to expand its universe of credit reports, with instant Business Credit Reports now available for 350 million companies.  If a country does not support instant reports, customers may request a new investigation from on-the-ground resources.  These reports are delivered within five to seven business days.

Credit reports are priced between £19 and £80, with the UK and Irish reports at the low end.  Most continental European credit reports are priced between £35 and £40.  North American reports are also priced at £40.

Global Database Employee tab.

Vainu Industry Taxonomy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords

Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs
Business Categories expand the set of synonyms associated with UK SICs

Artesian Solutions announced the availability of Artesian Business Categories and Company Buzzwords functionality to its Artesian Engage sales intelligence service.  Company Buzzwords are a set of common product and service descriptors not found in standard industry taxonomies.  The buzzwords are mined from company websites.  For example, firms manufacturing or selling craft beer can be targeted within Artesian’s Prospector module.  Likewise, technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things, which span many industries, may also be targeted.

Artesian Business Categories expand the categories and synonyms associated with existing UK SIC codes.  Artesian gives the example of Drink Production as a synonym of Manufacture of Beverages with the word Drink returning industries such as Drink Retail and Drink Wholesale.

“As a business, we constantly aim to exceed customer expectations, so in response to their feedback, we not only improved the way they use SIC codes (with Artesian Business Categories), but also created a whole new way of finding companies in niche or highly specialised industries,” said Richard Clark Artesian’s VP of Product Management.  “These two new features will help our users get hyper-specific when searching for companies using Artesian’s prospecting tools, thereby enabling them to uncover new opportunities that may otherwise have been missed, and keeping them one step ahead of the competition.”

Artesian Business Categories are available for the UK SIC taxonomy, but not other industry code structures (e.g. NACE 2.0, NAICS).  When multiple codes are employed, Boolean AND / OR operators are supported.

“The SIC code system of categorising a company’s primary activities was first introduced in the UK in 1948 and although it has since been revised, the most recent update was back in 2007.  It is widely criticised for excluding categories to cover the latest sectors and for misrepresenting the activities of many businesses.  For example, Google UK Ltd is listed on Companies House as ‘82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified’ (a generic category for companies struggling to identify a suitable alternative).”

Artesian Solutions Press Release

Other new features include a news topic search (previously, users had to navigate menus) and expanded prospecting selects for Export Turnover (Export Revenue), Location Type, TPS (UK Telephony blocking), and roles.  Users can also exclude companies with estimative turnover, employee counts, or net worth values instead of actuals.