TechTarget Acquires BrightTALK

Technology purchase intent data vendor TechTarget added another arrow to its intent quiver with the acquisition of BrightTALK, a leader in the marketing and virtual events space.  BrightTALK said virtual event attendance has “high predictive value because IT buyers are making a material investment of their time to engage with vendor-produced content.”

The acquisition increases TechTarget’s universe of opted-in professionals.  TechTarget already has over twenty million opted-in business contact records (mostly in technology positions from its 140 enterprise technology sites), and BrightTALK has eight million registered attendees on its media platform.  There is likely to be some overlap in names, but having a second source of opted-in professionals increases the scope of measured intent across TechTarget, BrightTALK, and corporate websites (a KickFire OEM deal).

The acquisition offers substantial cross-selling opportunities in 2021 as vendors continue to focus on virtual events in lieu of face-to-face trade shows and conferences.  Furthermore, “BrightTALK generates a large volume of valuable content in webinar and video format that is incremental to TechTarget’s current offerings.  This content improves TechTarget’s potential ability to attract new users and diversifies the content available via TechTarget’s portfolio of web sites.”

And because both platforms are opted-in, the intent data does not need to be anonymized.  TechTarget can deliver person-level intent data that includes contact information, articles read, webinar sessions viewed, potential competitors, and their stage in the buyer’s journey.  What’s more, these rich intent datasets are GDPR-compliant across both platforms.

“TechTarget’s leadership position in the market is further strengthened by the acquisition of BrightTALK. This acquisition checks all the boxes. It allows us to increase our original content, grow our opt-in audience of registered members, and add a material amount of proprietary first-party purchase intent data. It’s a very powerful combination that will enhance our customers’ abilities to use our purchase intent data to grow their revenues and increase their market share.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

“We are excited to join forces with TechTarget. They are the leading provider of original expert content and distributor of vendor decision-support content in the B2B tech market, which has allowed them to develop the preeminent first-party purchase intent offering,” said BrightTALK CEO Paul Heald. “Combining our leading platform for online IT events is a winning combination.”

BrightTALK has over 1,000 customers who created 25,000 webinars and videos over the past year.  The platform generates over 200,000 unique monthly viewers and six million annual content engagements.

BrightTALK also fits with TechTarget’s financial objectives.  It is on track for $50 million in 2020 revenue, with approximately half this revenue under long-term contracts.  TechTarget hit 35% in subscription revenue last quarter but has stated a 50% subscription revenue goal.  With Priority Engine on track for approximately $50 million in 2020 subscription revenue and BrightTALK posting roughly $25 million, the combined pro forma company would generate $75 million in subscription revenues on $195 million in 2020 revenue (Q3 YTD + mid-point Q4 guidance + $50M BrightTALK estimate), or approximately 38 – 39% in contract-based revenue.

BrightTALK has also done well during the pandemic, with revenue on track to grow 30% this year.  It added one million additional opted-in professionals over the past year.

The deal is priced at $150 million, a 3X multiple over projected 2020 earnings.  The cash transaction will close before the end of the year.

BrightTALK has four offices in the US, two in the UK, and two in APAC (Sydney and Singapore).  LinkedIn lists them with 275 employees, a headcount growth of 15% over the past year.

Intent data is the hottest category in B2B data. There have been a series of acquisitions in the space over the past month as vendors look to acquire and integrate data sources. Recent transactions include Zoominfo’s acquisition of Clickagy and Spiceworks Ziff Davis’ purchase of Aberdeen. We have also seen the launch of next generation intent solutions such as D&B Intent and Zoominfo Streaming Intent. Bombora has been working with its partners to launch integrated workflow solutions.

D&B Connect Data Management Platform

Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Connect, a self-service data management platform that “intuitively connects, manages and visualizes critical data across an organization using the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud.”  D&B Connect helps users benchmark, access, clean, enrich, and monitor their customer and contact data.

D&B Connect provides an “easy-to-use portal for managing sales and marketing data.”  The service enriches and unifies data for a “complete view of the customer.”  Along with Dun & Bradstreet firmographics, linkages, and contacts, D&B Connect enriches customer files with over 2,500 insights and supports custom data layouts.

D&B Connect builds on Dun & Bradstreet’s data management solutions for sales and marketing platforms and leverages Dun & Bradstreet’s global WorldBase file, D-U-N-S Numbers, and DUNSMatch capabilities.  These assets support identity resolution, including corporate linkages, to tie together account hierarchies, providing a unified customer view that spans regions, product lines, multiple company names, and enterprise software platforms.

D&B Connect acts as a centralized hub to manage and report on data quality in enterprise platforms, including CRMs, MAPs, ERPs, data lakes, and CDPs.  A machine learning engine normalizes input records, removing manual file preparation steps.

Users can set match quality rules and thresholds based on D&B Confidence Code, Match Grade String, and the number of match candidates to be returned.

Other features include embedded intelligence, “simplified workflows,” and “team-based controls and dashboards to improve collaboration across departments.”

D&B Connect can process millions of records “in a SOC 2 certified, CCPA, and GDPR-ready environment.”

“With D&B Connect, we put the power to manage data quality in the user’s hands, enabling our clients to reduce time spent on data management from weeks to hours,” said Michael Bird, President of Sales and Marketing Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet.  “We will continue to innovate across our sales and marketing portfolio to reduce MarTech complexity by integrating directly into the workflows of our clients so they can focus on growing their businesses.”

D&B Connect is supported by a team of 28 data advisors, each with at least ten years of experience.

In 2021, D&B Connect will be extended into finance and risk use cases.

Dun & Bradstreet has had a strong 2020 that included an IPO, the acquisitions of European partner Bisnode and firmographics vendor Orb Intelligence, and the launch of several products and services (COVID-19 Risk Data, Pipeline Risk Analysis, D&B ABM Platform, and D&B Analytics Studio).

ZoomInfo Acquires Clickagy

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor ZoomInfo acquired real-time intent vendor Clickagy, “a leading provider of artificial intelligence-powered buyer intent data.”

Along with the acquisition, ZoomInfo announced the launch of Streaming Intent, which alerts customers when companies display above-average B2B topic search activity.

The acquisition is DiscoverOrg/ZoomInfo’s fourth over the past two years but the first since ZoomInfo went public in June.  In 2019, DiscoverOrg acquired rival sales and marketing intelligence vendor ZoomInfo before rebranding itself as ZoomInfo Technologies.  It also had two tuck-ins last year: NeverBounce, an email verification vendor that it was already using for data verification, and Komiko, the underpinnings of its Inbox AI service.

There are six major categories of B2B intelligence, and ZoomInfo is a significant player in four of them: Contacts, Technographics, Sales Triggers, and Intent Data.  They also provide firmographics, but this remains an area for future growth and development.  The category where they do not offer datasets is financial services intelligence, including company financials, filings (e.g. SEC EDGAR, UCC, UK Companies House), and risk reports (credit and supplier).

Deal Rationale

“In the last year alone, we’ve had literally hundreds of thousands of conversations with customers and prospects and one thing is clear—they want intent data to live at the core of how they go to market,” blogged CEO Henry Schuck about the rationale for acquiring Clickagy.  “And over the course of those calls it’s easy to see intent data taking a seat right alongside the two most important pieces of business information—account and contact data.  The three together, driving account identification, targeting, and segmentation will soon be table stakes for how sellers and marketers identify their next best customers.”

Schuck emphasized that product design at ZoomInfo is iterative with plans for improving a product in place before each release goes to production.  Shuck called their previous intent offerings good, but not good enough.  This drive to improve their intent services led them to investigate best-of-breed intent data solutions to enhance their offering.  Their research led them to Clickagy.

“Clickagy had built a robust data processing engine that looks at billions of key data points across millions of websites and then uses robust natural language processing and artificial intelligence to categorize and make sense of those data points.  Their technology, approach to data collection, privacy-first perspective, and focus on intent data made it clear that we not only wanted Clickagy to be a part of our intent product, but we needed Clickagy to be a part of ZoomInfo.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck

ZoomInfo Intent will continue to provide “good keywords, quality-focused data science, [and] industry-leading account data,” but now “casts a wider net” and delivers actionable intent throughout the day.  Combining the companies will “dramatically shorten the path from data, to decision, to action,” blogged Shuck.

“B2B intent data is becoming core to the way modern go-to-market organizations prioritize their outreach to prospects and customers,” wrote Schuck.  “Our acquisition of Clickagy enables us to scale intent to provide what will soon be the market’s most predictive and complete B2B intent data set for sellers and marketers.  We believe this acquisition both exemplifies our mission to continuously innovate and cements our position as the pacesetter for data-driven sales and marketing outreach.”


Tomorrow I will wrap up my discussion of the acquisition with an overview of Streaming Intent and Clickagy’s approach to data privacy.

6Sense Doubling Revenue

ABM Platform vendor 6Sense announced that it is on target for its third consecutive year of at least 100% growth.  The firm has also rapidly grown its customer base with a 204% growth in customers since January 2019, and 54% growth since January.  Its net customer retention rate is 109%, indicating a strong ability to renew and upsell its platform.

LinkedIn employment figures also indicate strong growth, but at a rate slower than customers and revenue, an indication of increased revenue per employee. LinkedIn employment grew 72% over the past year and 192% over the past two.

“6Sense was founded upon the vision of transforming B2B sales and marketing with a next-generation platform that engages target buyers at exactly the right time,” said 6Sense CTO Viral Bajaria. “Our patented AI-powered capabilities, including 6sense’s time-based predictions and industry-leading account identification capabilities, continue to be differentiators in the market — and deliver real business value to our customers.”

6Sense continues to invest in platform development with the rollout of new ABM capabilities in 2020:

  • Native Retargeting, which programmatically serves display ads to all website visitors or visitors from target accounts
  • A LinkedIn advertising integration for account targeting across all ad types
  • AI-based Next Best Actions, a set of prioritized actions recommendations for BDRs across the buying committee.
  • Model Metrics, which provide customers with self-service analytics which assess the impact of 6sense’s predictions on pipeline and revenue

CMO Latané Conant cited a series of benefits enjoyed by 6Sense clients, including a 75% higher conversion rate, 40% higher win rates, and a 50% increase in contract values.

Inc. recently named 6Sense the 5th Best Place to Work in the small and medium business category.  

“6sense believes that culture is based on trust, open communication, dedicated leadership, and a fun space where employees can take risks. We take everyone’s opinion into account, from the very top to the bottom.  Employees take chances, put more responsibility on their shoulders, and work hard for one another.  We are a team-first, people-centric organization that prioritizes teamwork above all else.  Our weekly all-hands meetings give everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

6Sense Inc. Submission

6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round in January led by growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.

Insent Integrates with MS Teams

Conversation Marketing platform Insent.AI integrated its service with Microsoft Teams, notifying users when customers and prospects are ready to chat.  The conversation is conducted within Teams via an MS Teams AppSource app.

“With the Insent app for Teams, your team can get notifications for the incoming chats from your buyers, view detailed visitor insights to understand the context and strike up more personalized conversations, and make the necessary hand-offs inside your chosen MS channels,” blogged Insent Digital Marketer Aatharsha Jey.

Insent describes itself as an “integration first platform.”  According to Jey ”integrations should be planned and carried out in a way that does not ask people to change their behaviors in order to adopt a new tool.”

Insent offers “Advanced Enterprise-grade routing,” which directs conversations to the CRM account owners.  If the account owner is not available, calls are routed via a set of fallback rules based on time of day and location to other reps or the chatbot.

Insent emphasizes the value of “human-first conversations” with bots serving as a backup channel:

“Chatbots were meant to be your second line of defense, built to support marketing and sales when your team isn’t available – not pretend to be human.”

Insent Website

@ Mentions allow users to include additional staff in the conversation.  It is not necessary to register individual users.  Simply tagging them directs Insent to create a user profile based upon MS Teams data.

Insent also offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack.

Outreach, Cognism, Drift, Alyce, and Sendoso Make LinkedIn’s Top Startups List

Five vendors covered in my newsletters and blog made LinkedIn’s Top 50 US or Top 10 UK startups list, an indicator to the economic vibrancy of SalesTech and MarTech solutions, particularly during the pandemic.

Sales Engagement vendor Outreach placed #6 in the US, its second year making the list.

“We work hard to be a great place to work and to create an environment where [the] top talent of any background feels welcome and can thrive,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “We’re always looking for passionate, tenacious employees who think differently and live and breathe our core value of having each other’s backs. I’m thrilled that we continue to attract the best of the best, and LinkedIn named us one of the top startups in the US.”

Outreach focused on “emerging and resilient startups that are navigating the ever-evolving nature of work in the wake of COVID-19.” The firm also focused on delivering sales management tools during the pandemic, helping “leaders closely monitor their team’s success and keep employees motivated and productive.”

Cognism that was named a top 10 UK Startup to Watch, placing at Number 9.  The firm which, was founded in 2015, has performed well during the pandemic and recently acquired German signature-block messaging firm Mailtastic.  They have already opened a UK Mailtastic office and closed their first UK deals.

According to CEO James Isilay, “We have just made a key hire in the US and will be expanding the offering there from October.”

Following a staff survey, Cognism will be moving to a smaller office presence and emphasize WFH options.

“Despite a challenging year with the pandemic, Cognism has continued its strong growth recently passing the key $10 million ARR mark,” wrote CEO James Isilay. “We see growth accelerating next year as we bring our go-to-market intelligence and engagement platform to new markets across Europe.”

Two tactile marketing companies, Alyce (35) and Sendoso (46), made the list.  Both firms positioned direct mail e-gifting as a method to connect with customers and prospects during the pandemic.

“While many companies and entire industries were dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the need to create personal bonds as the world moved almost fully digital in the age of no major trade shows, events, and public networking became ever more paramount,” wrote Alyce. “Alyce actually thrived as a company, and swiftly pivoted to deliver digital gifts for their enterprise customers looking to create personal experience moments for their audience.  Despite the market shifts, Alyce has experienced a milestone year of growth, with a vast percentage of its Annual Recurring Revenue (AAR) coming from its enterprise customer base and new use-case expansion, more than 5x-ing over last year.”

Conversational Marketing firm Drift, which recently broadened its vision to Revenue Acceleration, landed at #21 on the list.  Drift offers chatbots, email, video, and a new Prospector service for intent monitoring.

Firms were based upon four criteria: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list.  Startups must be no more than seven years old and have at least 50 employees.

Seismic Interactive Content

Sales Enablement vendor Seismic released Interactive Content, a set of microapps and LiveContent presentations that lets remote sales reps “come close to mimicking an in-person environment, in which they are adapting to buyer reactions and feedback in near real-time.”  Interactive Content helps revenue organization deliver “immersive, engaging” digital experiences “with just a few clicks.”

A Tiled integration supports Seismic microapps that delivers “memorable evergreen content like digital brochures, pitch decks, 3D interactive visuals, and more.”

“Microapps unleash creative storytelling.  Organizations that deliver their messages in conversational, self-directed ways will win.  Those that don’t will be left behind,” said Tiled CEO Darrell Swain.  “Linear content will ultimately go the way of print.  We are moving into an experiential era that requires a new interactive content format that allows for the creation of rich, immersive experiences, without the need for code.”

Tiled microapps deliver “immersive experiences” with “evergreen content that captures buyers’ attention.”  The apps are interactive and drive engagement through stories “that resonate in a way buyers will remember.”

Seismic describes microapps as “a new content type that combines the interactivity of a mini-website or an app with the ease of document delivery.  Use cases include event invites, digital product brochures, buyer’s guides, and eBooks.

The microapp builder resides within Seismic’s Content Manager and supports drag n’ drop, interactive ‘tiles’ that deliver content as “scrollable image galleries and panes, in-line videos, quizzes, and more.”  The builder is a no-code service that supports adaptive display across mobile, desktop, and tablets.  Microapps may be reviewed and approved before publishing to targeted audiences.

While microapps support one-to-many interactive communications at the top of the funnel, LiveContent supports one-to-one, personalized communications at the bottom of the funnel.  LiveContent is built with familiar authoring tools that “easily transform traditional presentations into personalized, memorable, dynamic stories.”  Content is delivered in an “always-on” mode, as it is “intended to be.”

Seismic LiveContent converts standard presentations with embedded animations, transitions, videos, GIFs, and voiceovers “delivered remotely, exactly how a seller would deliver in person: in presentation mode.”  Seismic stores the original presentation file, allowing content creators to update LiveContent presentations based on page-by-page engagement analytics quickly.  The initial release supports Microsoft PowerPoint, but additional presentation formats will “follow soon.”

“Presentations are not intended to just be scrolled through,” said Seismic CEO Doug Winter.  “LiveContent allows a buyer to engage with a presentation remotely in a similar way that a seller would engage a buyer in person.  With our Summer 2020 release, we are bringing sales content to life.”

According to Seismic, interactive content is preferred to static material, with double the conversion rate of “passive” content.  91% of buyers prefer interactive/visual content and are twice as likely to share interactive content.  81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention, and 45% believe that its effective for educating prospects (vs. 6% for static content).  88% contend that it is effective at differentiating the brand.

The CSO Insights 2019 Sales Enablement report found that 57.7% of buyers saw little difference between sellers with vendors blending together.  Only 31.9% of buyers felt that at least one vendor succeeded in differentiating itself.

Interactive content supports flexible navigation allowing reps to quickly transition to relevant use cases, products, or services during sales conversations.  “You can get a broad set of content—as large as any slide deck—and deep content that drills down into the details of your business solutions,” blogged Seismic Senior Content Manager Neicole Crepeau.  “But it doesn’t have to feel burdensome, and it can be easy to navigate in the middle of a meeting.”

Users can embed questionnaires, videos, assessments, and calculators.  They can let clients drive the discussion, “asking them to enter information or answer questions and choose what they want to know more about,” continued Crepeau.  “By flipping the conversation and putting the customer in the driver’s seat during a meeting, you ensure engagement and that you’re truly talking about topics that resonate with the prospect.”

“Buyer expectations are high, and if the content brands are serving them is not relevant or engaging, they will disregard it.  Today it’s not just about what you say; it’s also how you say it.  Content fatigue and information overload have become particularly pronounced in our new all-digital work environment.  Sellers and marketers are in need of content types that captivate their audiences and move them through the buyer journey faster.”

Seismic CEO Doug Winter

Interactive Content will be available as an add-on service.  Seismic does not disclose its pricing.

LeadSift Growing Despite Pandemic

Just before the pandemic hit, Canadian behavioral intent vendor LeadSift hit $1 million in revenue with a 6% per month growth rate.  As the firm began to absorb the recession, CEO Tukan Das adopted a policy of radical transparency with his team, providing them with daily updates on the company’s status and letting them know they had cash in the bank to avoid layoffs.

“I would say we have navigated COVID pretty well. Fortunately, we were in a position where there’s more of a tailwind in our industry, with more data needed, and data specifically for helping other B2B companies identify their buyers.”

LeadSift CEO Tukan Das

The firm did take an initial 8% revenue hit, but it is now growing at a 5% a month, bringing their run rate above pre-pandemic levels.

“When COVID hit…a lot of companies just went into a little bit of a freeze,” said Das.  “Some of our customers were B2B companies in the travel and event management space, and some of them, their whole marketing teams were fired.  So they obviously had to pause any other spend.”

The end of trade shows meant the loss of some customers, but they went on the offensive and added technographics as an alternative source of technology-specific leads.  LeadSift also added a full-time marketing manager and part-time social media manager, bringing their headcount to 14 (two part-time).  The firm is profitable.

LeadSift also worked a deal with Halifax-based Innovacorp to deliver six months of intent data to Nova Scotian firms at no charge, with Innovacorp picking up half the foregone revenue.

LeadSift is developing a new control panel for delivering intent data and technographics to its customers.  The new platform will support additional analytics and customization.  The Q4 platform release will be more scalable and will provide administrators with greater control over which companies and topics are to be tracked.

LeadSift generates intent data via web scraping across company websites, blogs, job boards, social channels, SEC filings, etc.  LeadSift looks for public actions such as likes, comments, job postings, executive hires, and technology implementations.  It then associates these events with contacts.

The LeadSift company universe spans 40 million contacts associated with 8 million companies and domains.  Contacts include emails with twenty percent also providing direct-dial phones.  LeadSift contacts are GDPR compliant.  The company universe focuses on English-speaking countries.

LeadSift Head of Growth Alex Field views their event intent data as complementary to other intent data sources, with LeadSift helping verify other intent signals such as visitor intelligence or third-party media site visits.  LeadSift scores accounts based on persona (who is active), event type, event recency, and size of the company.  These scores can be combined with other intent scores to provide greater confidence around buyer intent.

Leads are fed daily to CRMs and MAPs, including Salesforce, Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua.  Pricing begins at $1,000 per month for company-level intent and $1,500 per month for contact-level intent. Das is not looking for his next funding round but isn’t ruling it out.  “We are going to be opportunistic.  If we continue to grow at the rate we are, even during COVID, if we see an opportunity and the terms are right, we would certainly consider raising capital. But it’s not something where I’m saying, ‘We need to raise capital or we are going to run out of money.’”

HubSpot Sales & Marketing COVID Activity Metrics

HubSpot has measured aggregated sales and marketing platform activity across its 70,000 customers since the pandemic began and benchmarking this activity against the pre-COVID level (January through early March).  Looking back at Q2, CMO Kipp Bodnar noted that “the data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and that businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.”

Marketing teams have risen to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in a messy, chaotic crisis and met an audience of buyers who suddenly spend all day at their computer,” commented Bodnar.  “While email volume has risen significantly — typically a no-no for teams hoping to keep their open rates up — open rates have risen faster than volume has grown, demonstrating that teams have been successful at providing relevant and helpful content.”

Marketing email open rates are up ten to twenty percent above pre-COVID levels, with the last week of June running 18% above the baseline.

Sales teams have been less successful in their outbound communications.  While sales emails have risen 60% since mid-March, “response rates have been dismal. Marketing teams have been able to connect, but sales teams haven’t. This is a huge area of opportunity for businesses as they enter the next quarter of COVID-19.”

Sales email open rates are down 25 to 30%.  “As sales teams increased email sends, customers began to tune these messages out or even mark them as spam in their inboxes,” warned Bodnar.  “So far, it seems if email send rates remain this high, we can expect response rates to trend in the opposite direction.”

“Volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn’t personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data. At this point, sales teams should be working closely with marketing to understand how they can improve their email engagement rates, and sending far less email.”

HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar

Website traffic increased during the pandemic as decisionmakers and influencers began working from home.  Global site traffic is up 16% in Q2 vs. Q1 with it peaking at 24% above the benchmark on April 20th.  Software industry site traffic is running at 40% above pre-pandemic levels.

Customer-initiated chat levels have also risen sharply during the pandemic.  Total volume is up 31% over the pre-pandemic baseline, with every measured industry seeing increased volume.  “Sales teams have pivoted to chat to grow their pipelines, while customer service teams are leveraging this medium to manage the increased demand for support,” observed Bodnar.

Call prospecting has dropped significantly during the pandemic as it has become more difficult to reach individuals who are now working at home.  Call prospecting fell as much as 27% below baseline the week of April 6th and now is down around 9%.  Before COVID, there was a rough balance between phone and email prospecting, but in Q2, email activity doubled that of phone calls.  “Sales teams will need to return to their pre-COVID balance in order to see improvements in response rates,” argued Bodnar.

Deal Creation has improved in eight of the eleven weeks since April 6th, with deal creation up the past four weeks.  APAC deal creation was down 5% in Q2, North America down 6%, EMEA down 12%, and LATAM down 12%.  Large companies have recovered deal creation activity faster than small firms.  Computer Software deal creation was down 3% in Q2.

Deal Won has improved ten of the last eleven weeks, after dropping to 36% below baseline the week of April 6th.  For the full quarter, deals won were down 11%.  Smaller firms did best at closing deals, with larger firms posting the weakest performance, likely due to large firms selling a greater percentage of high-dollar, strategic deals that would have stalled in their pipeline.  Computer software Q2 was 14% above baseline, but this probably overstates industry performance due to Q1 often being the slowest month of the year and the loss of many “hockey stick” end of quarter deals at the end of Q1 as the pandemic struck.  Some of these likely slipped into Q2.

Bodnar provided three suggestions for Q3: invest in chat, shift from quantity to quality in sales prospecting and communications, and invest in online discoverability.

D&B: Pipeline Health Analysis for Risk Reduction and Targeting Ideal Customers

Dun & Bradstreet, which has been running pipeline health analyses for its clients over the past three weeks, assessed over 35 million accounts across 125 pipelines.  They found that 21% of accounts were subject to high financial risk based on several factors: slow payment, bankruptcy, unpaid debt, and business viability, a statistic which VP of Product Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Solutions Dennis Olcay called “jarring:”

“We continue to keep a close eye on this number, but that is a jarring statistic that demands attention as it relates to go-to-market strategies,” wrote Olcay.

“The dominant theme of our customer conversations today is how to be both sensitive and impactful in the new environment.  We have found the new environment has unleashed entirely new forms of sales and marketing campaigns – far less driven by self-positioning and more characterized by seeking to meet customers where they are.”

Digital Marketing Solutions CRO Michael McCarroll

Dun & Bradstreet offered a high-level risk segmentation based upon SIC codes and each industry’s risk profile (see chart on the right).  Industries were stratified across five categories: Essential businesses (e.g. food supply, hospitals), Supports Remote (i.e. businesses which were able to transition to WFH), requires contact (e.g. hospitality, entertainment), delivery-based retail (e-commerce, e-delivery, logistics), and central production (e.g. manufacturing, natural resource extraction). 

Dun & Bradstreet cautions that simple SIC analysis is only the first pass in performing a risk assessment.  Firms may be in the same industry but have different go-to-market and operational strategies that impact their risk profile.  Another factor is their exposure to supply chain and customer risk.

“Despite the promise of MarTech to enable speed and scale for your go-to-market strategy, this is a time to hit the pause button and rethink your go-to-market approach,” cautioned Olcay.  “Don’t sacrifice tailored messaging for the sake of scale and speed to market – the additional thought you put in now to think about fit, intent, and risk will pay dividends when your audiences notice you’re empathizing with them and offering real value that aligns to the specific challenges they are experiencing.”

And Dun & Bradstreet isn’t the only firm that is promoting pipeline analyses for its clients. Zoominfo is offering a similar service which I will cover in my next blog. If you don’t know where to find revenue in June and Q3, a pipeline analysis is an excellent place to start.

Dun & Bradstreet and DueDil (UK) are offering industry barometers to help refine your targeting. Vertical IQ is offering industry-specific pandemic analysis as part of its industry overviews. Experian is providing a regional and industry analysis by risk level.

And on the marketing side, HubSpot has been publishing weekly marketing metrics for their 70,000 customers. Data includes deal open rates, deal close rates, email prospecting, site visit rates etc. Users can even drill down by segment and country to benchmark their sales and marketing performance against peers. The most recent analysis is for the week of May 18.