Terminus claims that its cookie-free, first-party data provides a 16% lift in traffic from its targeted audience activation.
“Marketers can continuously optimize ABM strategies with Terminus Identify, the visitor identification system recently added to the Terminus Platform which features the company’s own first-party data sets,” stated the firm. “Unlike other platforms, this owned data is never static and gets stronger with every interaction and with every channel.”
Terminus leverages both first-party visitor intelligence and partner intent data sets from Bombora and G2, helping marketers identify in-market accounts. Other Terminus intent datasets include psychographics (the wants and interests of a company based upon public messaging), technographics, and hiring insights derived from job postings.
Other account intelligence includes firmographics, event data, relationships, and engagement data captured through interactions between prospects and company employees and automated platforms.
New engagement channels span CTV and audio, including Spotify, Hulu, DirectTV, and other streaming services.
“CTV is considered one of the fastest-growing channels in video advertising,” advised Terminus. “Leveraging CTV from Terminus means customers can diversify their arsenals of creative assets and advertising channels, reach customers while they’re watching Hulu or other ad-supported streaming platforms, and boost brand awareness and revenue.”
Connected Account Experiences supports partner integrations through Salesloft, Outreach, and Slack.
IDG Communications, which acquired four data and MarTech firms over the past 18 months, rebranded as Foundry (Foundryco.com).
‘’We set out to deliver on a strategy that reinvents our business for a new era in technology marketing where data and MarTech are engineered to work seamlessly together, powered by our global ecosystem of editorial brands,” said Kumaran Ramanathan, President of the newly named Foundry. “However, to pivot, to reinvent you sometimes have to turn away from the very things that previously defined you and the long-standing equity in our name, synonymous as one of the world’s biggest media companies ultimately limits our ambition and ability to be identified as a marketing technology powerhouse.’’
Earlier this month, IDG acquired Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform Selling Simplified. The Denver-based vendor provides lead generation products, data services, and analytics. It also maintains a database of 160 million B2B records “specific to tech industry purchase intent.” The acquisition added contact and account-level AI-powered lead generation capabilities to IDG’s expanding suite of intent-based marketing technologies. IDG is moving quickly into the B2B MarTech space, having recently acquired ABM Platform Triblio, visitor intelligence vendor KickFire, and intent platform LeadSift.
“We meet with tech companies, marketers, sellers, and agencies every day and in every market around the world,” said Jason Tenenbown, Chief Strategy Officer of Foundry. “What we’ve found is a growing disconnect between sales pipelines and marketing funnels. Our strategy has been to leverage our proprietary data with proprietary marketing technologies to bridge that gap, creating an outcomes-based set of products and services that satisfy the needs of our clients.”
IDG Communications was founded in 1964. It remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDG which is best known for its 200+ technology publications, including CIO, ChannelWorld, Computerworld, CSO, Network World, PCWorld, and TechHive. Its digital publications provide a stream of second-party intent data “with access to more than 200 million individuals and global behavioral insights that are authenticated, timely and, contextually relevant.”
“No one else has first-party media relationships integrated with marketing technologies to help create an ecosystem that resolves customer pain points,” added Ramanathan. “With the rebrand of IDG as Foundry, we are establishing ourselves as a company that generates and innovates with data. While the new brand marks the completion of a major milestone in our corporate transformation, we will not stop innovating and building upon our recent success.” In a corporate branding video, Foundry emphasized that “those operating at the intersection of media and technology will have the edge.” Furthermore, “MarTech without data simply does not work” and “campaigns without technology are limited in their ability to provide measurable return on investment” and are “hard to scale with real-world impact.”
Clearbit announced the general availability of its Data Activation Platform. The new service helps B2B marketing teams “focus on creating demand, capturing intent, and optimizing their pipeline.”
The Data Activation Platform addresses the “business imperative for companies to have real-time intelligence about their target market, ideal customers, and engaged prospects.” It then applies this intelligence across all stages of the customer’s journey.
The Data Activation Platform offers Clearbit customers a user interface for many of the features that were previously only supported as APIs.
“Data activation is specifically around the next step of how we’re helping companies put data to work,” explained CRO Kevin Tate to GZ Consulting. “We started with the data. How do you collect data and make it available so that companies can be smart as they engage your customers in the market? And then, over the last three years, four years, what we’ve gotten to see is how these very fast-growing companies and their growth engineering teams and go-to-market teams have put our data to work in all these different customer touchpoints. Until this Data Activation Platform, the way they put that data to work was through APIs and integrations that they stitch together.”
“We’ve been fortunate to work with many of the most innovative B2B growth teams in the world, and they’ve taught us that it’s not just about having good data. It’s about activating that data to improve your funnel from top to bottom,” said Ross Moser, CEO of Clearbit. “The ability to apply real-time intelligence to each step of the customer journey – and optimize experiences in real-time – is what’s driving success for Clearbit’s customers.”
The Data Activation Platform leverages Clearbit’s heritage as a data company. Its database spans 44 million companies with over 100 firmographic and demographic attributes. Clearbit also maintains data on 350 million contacts. Marketers can target audiences, enrich their CRMs and MAPs, and personalize their website and customer experience apps. Capabilities include
Clearbit Reveal visitor intelligence for tying anonymous users to firms and detecting website visitor intent
Audience management and segmentation based on data ingested from a company’s CRM, MAP, or CDP. Alerts may be triggered to activate audiences across systems.
Real-time enrichment for short webforms.
Real-time integrations and APIs
Audiences can be targeted in multiple ways. For example, marketers can deploy audiences on Facebook and Google:
Prospect Audiences target employees across the complete ICP, including account expansion to new prospects outside the CRM. Targeting may be filtered by role and seniority, providing persona-level targeting across the ICP.
Contact Audiences that sync all matches to a contacts audience for retargeting on Facebook and Google
Site Visitor Audiences that retarget web visitors when they match on Facebook and Google.
Data syncing includes “Audience inclusion attributes” or “smart attributes” that are calculated, such as a Boolean ICP or current customer flags that can be pushed downstream to Salesforce and other platforms. The refreshed value is automatically pushed to downstream systems if the calculation is modified. Smart attributes are updated every fifteen minutes.
Clearbit partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Segment, Drift, Intercom, Chili Piper, Slack, Zapier, Qualified, and Clari. Personalization partners that leverage Clearbit Reveal include Uberflip, Optimizely, and Mutiny.
Clearbit is coming off a “big, big growth year” but does not disclose any sizing or growth details. LinkedIn lists it with 177 employees, up 90% over the past year. Business Development and Sales grew at a 150% pace. While Clearbit originally targeted B2B Internet service companies, it is gaining traction in financial services, retail services, and investments, businesses that are “looking for data, to power their intelligence, their go-to-market motions,” said Tate.
Intent data vendor Intentsify announced that it received a strategic investment from BV Investment Partners, a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on the tech sector. The new funds will help the firm accelerate growth and product development.
Intentsify, founded in 2018, continued its pace of strong growth in 2021. The firm quadrupled revenue in 2019 and 2020 and expected to treble income in 2021 (as of mid-December). In addition, it has grown its customer base to over 150 customers.
“B2B organizations are increasingly leveraging multiple sources of intent data to focus time, efforts, and resources where and how they’ll have the most impact,” said Intentsify CEO Marc Laplante. “The problem is most B2B companies struggle to quickly gather, analyze, and act on buyer intent signals, which change on a weekly basis. Intentsify is streamlining all of this so our customers can more effectively scale account-based demand and revenue. We are excited to partner with BV who understands our business and has the expertise to help us take Intentsify to the next level.”
Intentsify’s Intent Activation software ingests multiple categories of intent data from several proprietary data sources “to deliver a broader, more accurate view into which targeted accounts are in-market to purchase and the issues they care about.”
Intent data is gathered from over 50 billion intent signals per month from over 5,000 B2B media sites. Intentsify also includes Visitor tracking as part of its offering.
Intentsify offers a pair of Intent Activation Solutions for Demand Generation and Programmatic Marketing. Intent-Activated Demand Generation helps marketers engage target personas at accounts displaying relevant research activity while Intent-Activated Programmatic targets key personas “at the right locations among in-market target accounts.”
“Intentsify uses its proprietary technology backed by a global data science team to power numerous marketing, sales, and customer success use cases,” stated Justin Harrison, Managing Partner of BV Investment Partners. “Intentsify’s co-founders have long experience in this field and are acknowledged thought leaders in the intent data space who have built a strong company with an impressive leadership team, and we look forward to working with them to scale their business.”
Intentsify did not disclose the size of the investment.
Technology media company IDG Communications acquired Halifax-based intent data vendor LeadSift. LeadSift identifies a daily digest of in-market leads, “allowing B2B marketers to craft the appropriate messaging for outreach and sales follow-up resulting in robust new business opportunities.”
Over the past eighteen months, IDG has been assembling elements of a MarTech solution, having acquired
Triblio – Acquired in 2020, The Triblio ABM platform supports account-based advertising, website personalization, sales activation, orchestration, and intent-based audiences. Triblio is integrated with Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Salesloft. In addition, Triblio recently added a Smart Score that employs AI for account prioritization. The Smart Score uses first and third-party intent, website activity, and CRM data “to identify what accounts should be prioritized for sales outreach.”
KickFire – Acquired in September, KickFire provides a cookieless, privacy-compliant visitor id service (first-party intent) that de-anonymizes website traffic at the account level and enriches it with firmographics.
LeadSift – LeadSift captures third-party, cookieless intent data at the account and contact level. Each week it captures 80 million intent signals. The LeadSift database spans 20 million companies and 30 million contacts. Customers can create custom triggers based on keywords, job postings, and competitor names.
KickFire and LeadSift are complementary intent services. KickFire identifies in-market buyers on a company website, and LeadSift determines which companies are in-market based on B2B media search activities.
IDG also recently launched a second-party intent data service called IDG Neon that leverages B2B Media interactions with “verified data from personal interactions with technology audiences across events, conversations, and surveys.” Intent data is gathered from the nearly 45 million global B2B technology purchasers and influencers registered across its proprietary network of digital tech publications.
Neon captures branded conversations, event attendance, roundtable participation, conversations with event sponsors, and individuals posing questions at event sessions. This level of “deeper engagement” indicates “stronger intent.”
IDG brands include CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, NetworkWorld, PCWorld, and Tech Hive.
“Expectations of tech marketers have never been higher as the technology landscape continues to become more competitive. By positioning IDG at the intersection of media and MarTech, we help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets. LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”
IDG Communications President Kumaran Ramanathan
“The buying journey for B2B technology purchases are extremely complex and involve multiple decision-makers,” said LeadSift co-founder Sreejata Chatterjee. “Having a view into those intent signals at the contact level provides a massive competitive advantage and directs your sales team to engage with the right buyers at the right time.”
LeadSift was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2012, focusing on “mining information from public web sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.” They were an early proponent of intent data, recognizing its value before it became a core element of ABM programs.
“It is obvious the company that has the most depth and breadth of data wins the B2B demand generation space,” wrote Das and Chatterjee to their customers. “IDG.com being the #1 Tech Media company with troves of proprietary first-party intent-data across event attendance, engagement with editorial articles, branded conversations, and human-verified insights has a massive head start. Imagine how scalable and actionable our intent signals will be once we integrate our 3rd-party real-time web-based intent signals with this proprietary first-party intent data stream.”
IDG, based in Boston, provides LeadSift with global reach and access to enterprise customers. It also offers complementary intent data sets and the Triblio marketing platform for activating the intent datasets.
“3rd-party intent data is one piece (albeit a very important one) of the overall B2B marketing and demand generation puzzle,” continued Das and Chatterjee. “But what if you could know all the information about your first-party web visitors (IDG | KickFire), cross-reference and prioritize them with 3rd-party intent signals (LeadSift + IDG proprietary first-party data), activate them seamlessly across digital channels (IDG | Triblio), and run highly targeted lead generation programs, all from one single dashboard!”
IDG sees itself at the intersection of media and MarTech. However, it is not the only tech media vendor playing this angle. For example, TechTarget and Ziff Davis also combine B2B media assets, events (TechTarget’s are digital), multiple categories of intent data, and activation platforms.
“IDG’s goal of moving to the intersection of media and MarTech is to help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets,” stated Ramanathan. “LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”
Account-level intent starts at $12,000 per year.
Last week, they launched LeadSift 360, a contact-level intent service that supports both keyword and research-based intent signals gathered from over five data sources. LeadSift360 starts at $30,000 per year. IDG did not disclose deal terms. LeadSift’s management and staff of fifteen will continue to operate in Halifax.
TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine Sales Intelligence platform, including second-party intent data from its BrightTALK digital event platform and a refreshed user experience. As a result, TechTarget now provides intent data for 32 million opted-in technology researchers and purchasers across twice as many accounts.
Millions of BrightTALK contacts are fully integrated into Priority Engine, providing intelligence around individuals actively researching technology purchases at BrightTALK webinars, virtual events, and videos. The expanded content provides richer intent data with additional messaging hooks for sales reps.
Prospect-level insights include content preferences, recently viewed content, and each buying committee member’s top interests.
BrightTALK was acquired twelve months ago. BrightTALK hosts 30,000 new webinars and videos each year, providing multi-media content that complements TechTarget’s text-based research content. Prospect-level BrightTALK intent data and buyer contact intelligence are now being combined with second-party intent data from TechTarget’s 140+ enterprise technology media sites, bringing the combined pool of buyers and influencers to 32 million. As these individuals are opted-in, intent data can be tied to the individual instead of the account, allowing for improved messaging and targeting. Not only is the enterprise software topic collected, but TechTarget gathers competitors under consideration and buying journey stage. Furthermore, opted-in contact data ensures that the shared contact intelligence is GDPR and CCPA compliant.
BrightTALK Prospect Insights include webinar registrations, views, view times, webinar types, and titles.
TechTarget noted that buyers and influencers have distinct digital research styles, with some preferring multi-media content and others opting for white papers and related text-based reports and articles. Thus, bringing in BrightTALK significantly expanded TechTarget’s ability to identify buyer intent based on different learning preferences.
“Despite strong similarities in overall audience makeup (company size, industry, and job title/function are remarkably consistent), there’s only a 10%-20% overlap in members between the databases, depending on geo,” wrote TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney in April.
“Learning preference and behavior is quite different for members of BrightTALK,” continued Briney. “While the content topics, focus, and quality is [SIC] very similar to what’s offered on the TechTarget network, BrightTALK members prefer the immersive, interactive learning experiences delivered by webinars (85%) and videos (61%) over downloadable PDF content like whitepapers (47%) and e-Books (42%). Given this preference, it’s not surprising BrightTALK members average more than 30 minutes in view-time per webinar/video.”
The enhancements also provide insights into “overall buyer content preferences (content type and topic), and interactions with customer content across multiple channels help inform more personalized sales outreach and marketing engagement strategies.”
“Priority Engine delivers the actionable purchase intent data our customers need to drive superior performance. This new release gets exponentially more data into their hands and gives them the ability to deliver customized experiences their marketers and sellers need to thrive.”
TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia
UI enhancements include a new view that calls out “untapped, high potential accounts” for initial engagement in a rep’s territory. There is also a new timeline for viewing account journeys and recent engagement. The new timeline helps reps “easily monitor buying changes to better optimize pipeline, identify cross-sell/upsell opportunities and grow revenue.”
Other UI changes include a set of shortcuts located in the left-side navigation bar. The shortcuts display the following user views:
Top Accounts – The 500 most active accounts and prospects (default view)
Untapped Potential – Accounts or prospects with whom the rep has not yet interacted in Priority Engine
Viewed your Content – Accounts or prospects that have viewed or downloaded company content syndicated through TechTarget’s content syndication program
Visited your Website – Accounts that have visited the company’s website (Inbound Converter)
Confirmed Projects – Any projects that TechTarget has confirmed are active in the rep’s territory based on direct outreach
Favorites – Accounts or prospects that you have selected to favorite in Priority Engine
Finally, the platform now contains separate modules that support sales and marketing use cases.
ABX Platform Demandbase released one of its “largest product launches of the year”: Audience Management Destinations. While the firm has long supported B2B Campaigns via display advertising and LinkedIn channels, Audience Management Destinations extends its reach into consumer platforms and social advertising.
“B2B buyers are people, too, and B2B marketers can and should be advertising on those channels,” said Demandbase CMO Jon Miller.
New advertising channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Bing, and Adobe Audience Manager. Additional services will be rolled out next year.
Demandbase does not store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so its social outreach is GDPR and CCPA compliant. Instead, Demandbase leverages LiveRamp’s identity resolution, an opted-in identifier system that matches individual identifiers across platforms.
Demandbase also expanded its integration with LinkedIn. Previously, it only supported account-level targeting on LinkedIn, but now marketers can target at either the account or person level.
Marketers will build audiences using a set of selectors that include first-party data, third-party data, intent, technographics, and activities. (See the image on the right). They can then activate campaigns to their targeted buyers across the business and social web.
“This will allow a highly consistent customer experience across social networks and other platforms,” explained Miller on LinkedIn. In addition, the new release expands marketing’s outreach and orchestration across a broader set of channels “using the account intelligence and the Demandbase One platform.”
“We’re constantly learning about how the B2B buyer thinks and acts, and this new account-based social targeting functionality plays a role in reaching buyers more holistically,” said Miller. “By viewing the buyer not just as someone within a target account or in a buying committee, we recognize that buyers are individuals, too. This mindset shift — and the corresponding ability to engage with them as such across business and social platforms — gives our customers yet another advantage in today’s B2B go-to-market landscape.”
Demandbase claims that it is the only system that runs both “people and account-based plays from one system.” Marketers can target specific audiences and “then automatically apply the most effective sales and marketing tactics to advance the account in its journey, across every touchpoint, and with the most relevant messages.”
“Demandbase’s solutions are stronger in certain areas and helps drive top of the funnel engagement or audience targeting, while InsideView has been more focused on bottom of the funnel data. We realized the two companies are quite complimentary and we could combine our customers to offer a much more complete solution to all of them. Today we have an integrated top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel marketing and sales data provision to allow customers to look at the full funnel and identify a more appropriate addressable market, including what kind of technologies those companies use.”
The three companies combined to create a four-cloud solution that supports Advertising, ABX Marketing, Sales Intelligence, and Data.
“What’s exciting about this is the ability to provide all of this to customers as one solution,” continued Milletti. “We have done a lot of work since the merger was completed to combine all of our technologies and go to our customers with information on how much more we can do for them.”
Technology Market Intelligence vendor HG Insights announced the global availability of Contextual Intent, a “solution designed for companies seeking to leverage the power of customer buying patterns.” Contextual Intent is available through HG Universe data subscriptions and the Snowflake Data Marketplace. It is currently in “late-stage” beta on the HG Insights Platform, with a scheduled December launch.
Contextual Intent combines firmographics, technographics, contract intelligence (via their 2018 Pivotal IQ acquisition), and bidstream data to deliver “buyer intent data, without all the noise.” It employs web users’ behavior and content consumption to determine which firms are researching, evaluating, or buying technology products or services. In addition, Contextual Intent identifies in-market companies for new technology and potential churn candidates, helping prioritize outreach.
HG Insights ingests two billion intent records each week and matches them against 120 million verified technology installations for 14,000 products, solutions, and services. The HG Insights scoring model measures the frequency of defined topics mined from locations, with observed activity tracked for nine million companies.
“Contextual Intent is the first intent solution to contextualize data with a company’s technographic profile. Our proven, data-driven methodologies now include the use of intent data—providing our customers with what they need to accelerate growth and gain a competitive edge through contextualized buying signals. Our new solution is designed specifically for Go-To-Market teams to remove the noise from intent data and make it actionable. Context matters, and we are able to provide insights that support hyper-targeting for growth and competitive advantage.”
HG Insights CTO Rob Fox
HG Insights cited January 2021 research from Ascend2 that asked sales and marketing professionals about intent data obstacles. Half said that data quality was an issue, and 40% stated that it was challenging to make intent data actionable.
Revenue teams can select twenty to over 100 intent topics from HG Insights’ taxonomy which spans over 4,000 technology-based topics.
HG Insights employs a scoring model based on the frequency of defined topics being researched across the web for each company. It factors in the number of locations demonstrating the activity and baselines intent over time to determine the “increases and trajectories” of research.
Like intent models from other vendors, the Intent Score is measured as the deviation from a company’s baseline and normalized from 1-100. It is updated weekly and incorporates past and present activity. However, interpretation of the scores differs between vendors. Concerning HG Insights, the signal strength is deemed high when the topical intent score exceeds 84 and medium when it falls between 60 and 84.
HG Insights provides intent location, a feature that is available from only a few vendors. Knowing the research location helps identify the potential nexus of the demand unit (or at least the individuals performing initial research).
Contextual Intent supports multiple use cases, including whitespace scenarios (researching a new category of technology for the firm), expansion (current customer is researching additional products), displacement (potential customer take away), and churn. Contextual Insights is tagging Whitespace, Expansion, and Displacement scenarios in its data feed, with Vendor Threat, Upgrade, and Migration tags in development.
“We provide insights surrounding the buyer’s journey about when the buyer is more likely to make a purchase decision. We can provide the context of when a customer indicates moving to an evaluating phase, further into a late stage buying cycle. We provide this context as researching or evaluating. We use NLP to determine when enough activity is detected that indicates a potential buying motion, where specific vendors or products are being considered.
Darcy Moss, HG Insights Product Marketing Director
The current offering employs bidstream data, which is potentially problematic as a long-term source of data gathering. Congress has raised questions about the practice and tying online activity to individuals without consent is a violation of GDPR (Contextual Intent is tied to locations and accounts, not individuals).
“We are always evaluating additive intent supply to diversify our signals,” explained HG Insights Product Marketing Director Darcy Moss to GZ Consulting. “We are sourcing from bid-stream as we develop and refine other techniques and methods. Should any regulatory matters influence existing processes for us and the industry overall, we are confident that we will have a compliant and high-quality source and methodology to continue to provide Contextual Intent to our customers.”
For the direct data subscription product, customers have access to all topics regardless of their signal strength score. Pricing for the data subscription is additive for the Contextual Intent offering.
Mediafly recently released Revenue360, a revenue intelligence service that combines “content engagement, buyer intent, and sales activity data for a 360-degree view of opportunity and account health in one visual dashboard.” The solution helps revenue teams assess opportunity health, improve forecasting, and accelerate revenue.
The dashboard brings together Mediafly’s content analytics with sales activity captured from Salesforce, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics and 6sense intent data. Mediafly argues that a broader view of engagement is required for analyzing deal health.
“Many companies claim to have revenue intelligence capabilities, but their solutions provide users with only partial intelligence. In a digital selling environment, sales organizations can no longer rely solely on what happened in the meeting to accurately gauge opportunity health. They also need to understand how buyers engage with content outside of live sales interactions. With the most robust content engagement analytics in the market, Mediafly is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap, offering revenue teams full visibility into insights derived from engagement – or lack thereof – with the content that is presented, shared, and available online.”
Mediafly CEO Carson Conant
Mediafly argues that content engagement is a missing element in deal health analysis, with the average B2B Buyers consuming thirteen pieces of content across their journey. Mediafly captures content consumption regardless of channel (e.g., in a content hub on the website, presented in a sales meeting, sent as a follow-up). In addition, Mediafly captures the assets viewed, time and duration viewed, and whether it was shared.
“A wealth of data often goes unnoticed in sales pipelines,” said Tom Pisello, chief evangelist at Mediafly. “Unfortunately, many companies rely on partial insights from CRM or qualitative feedback from sales reps following their meetings. While these insights are helpful, revenue teams have an opportunity to secure a holistic view of the entire deal pipeline, breaking down silos and gaining perspective into the overall health of an account. The addition of Revenue360 allows us to consolidate data and provide prescriptive recommendations unlike any platform on the market.”
The service is in limited release, with full availability planned for later this quarter.
Tech review site IT Central Station closed on a $30 million Series A led by Invictus Growth Partners. The site grew ARR 124%, surpassed 500,000 registered members, and was visited by 3.5 million enterprise software buyers over the past year. The firm was bootstrapped in 2012 and has been self-funded until now. It is both profitable and cash-flow positive.
The funds will be employed to rebrand the site as PeerSpot, expand its coverage of new enterprise tech categories, and accelerate sales and marketing. Hiring will be concentrated in the R&D, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success departments.
IT Central Station has focused on core IT sectors such as Cybersecurity, DevOps, and IT management; however, it does not have the profile breadth of some of the major review sites.
“Now we are expanding to categories where IT is not the primary buyer but is still on the buying committee,” explained CEO Russell Rothstein to GZ Consulting. “Following that we will expand our coverage for all enterprise technology categories, including mid-market.”
The new brand and site will be launched in January 2022.
“IT Central Station has succeeded in building a platform that tech buyers trust and enables vendor marketers to achieve strong ROI,” said Rothstein. “We are in the top of the first inning in our plan to build the world’s largest B2B marketplace for enterprise technology, built upon a foundation of verified user-generated content and peer reviews. The Invictus team adds deep operating expertise, including a uniquely valuable approach to data science, and I am thrilled to have Invictus as our partner for the next stage of our growth.”
Rothstein explained that as a bootstrapped company, the firm didn’t have the marketing resources of other sites, so he focused on the depth and value of reviews, high-quality intent data, and building its customer success team. Along with rapid revenue growth, the firm posted a net retention rate of 142% last year.
“People trust their peers more than any industry analysts or so-called experts,” said Rothstein. As a result, younger tech buyers expect to “go online to tap into the knowledge of their peers as part of the buying process. It’s just natural for them.”
Rothstein argues that IT Central Station’s reviews are “the most in-depth,” with an average length of 620 words. In addition, it offers a “Zero Fake Reviews” commitment, with a triple authentication process (LinkedIn profiles, community policing, and human oversight) for validating reviews. First, reviews are checked to ensure the individual does not work for the reviewed company or one of its competitors. The job function is also verified to ensure that a qualified individual wrote it.
“Every review has to have pros and cons. We don’t accept any five-star ‘everything’s perfect’ reviews without any room for improvement,” explained Rothstein. “Reviews have to have both room for improvement as well as value that you get from the product.”
Conversely, IT Central Station also filters out reviews that are purely negative rants.
“If someone’s having such an extreme opinion, then they’re not really presenting a realistic picture,” continued Rothstein. “It’s just losing credibility. People aren’t going to believe the review and it just reflects poorly on the review site itself. So we really aim to get that balance in every review.”
Rothstein explained that IT Central Station has a strong community that both polices the site for biased reviews and supports active Q&A discussions.
Profiles include an overview, filterable reviews, pros and cons, pricing, alternatives, “Many of our customers generate millions of dollars in pipeline and closed business from IT Central Station leads and intent data,” blogged Rothstein. “They’ve given us high marks with an average 70 Net Promoter Score (NPS) over the past four quarters. That’s world-class NPS, putting us at the level of Apple and Starbucks.”
IT Central Station argues that review sites mostly attract “high intent buyers” in the decision phase of the buyer’s journey. Furthermore, Demand Gen’s 2021 Buyers Survey found that most purchasers reached out to peers and existing users before contacting any vendors.
“People don’t read complex product reviews just for kicks – they are looking for help in choosing what product to buy,” added IT Central Station Content Manager Rony Sklar. “B2B buyers who are about to spend a lot of money on an enterprise solution want to know what their peers’ experiences have been with the solutions they’re considering before making a purchase. Because review sites have this highly targeted, homogenous audience whose main logical use case for a review site is researching a purchase, all the site visitors exhibit a degree of intent. Unlike other types of data, this intent data is low funnel and has a high degree of accuracy because there is no guesswork involved. The intent data generated by a review platform shows you exactly which companies are researching you and your competitors.”
Along with CSV files and webhooks, IT Central Station delivers integrated intent data to Salesforce, Demandbase, and LinkedIn. In addition, the firm will be announcing support for 6sense, Marketo, HubSpot, Outreach, and Metadata in the coming months.
“We can provide [intent data] at the contact level, but also aggregate it at the account level, as we can associate multiple people at the same company,” stated Rothstein. “We provide a proprietary Buyer Intent Score for each account that incorporates activity done both at the contact and overall account level for each account. For contact level, we provide email, phone, title, function, job level, and BANT information. We also provide product interests per contact, so you can see which products the contact is researching and comparing, with the level of depth of their research.”
Intent data is updated daily. “Making the right enterprise software purchasing decisions has never been more mission critical for the success of growing businesses and the careers of enterprise software buyers,” said Invictus Managing Partner William Nettles. “IT Central Station’s reviews have proven to be a must have for enterprises to validate the performance of their products, while providing buyers the most trusted and reliable data for their buying decisions. We are thrilled to partner with Russell and his team to help them scale the business to the benefit of enterprise software buyers globally.”