WorkBench: Profile Builder, TAM, & Look-a-Like Prospecting

Dun & Bradstreet, which has had a series of major product announcements over the past few weeks (the Avention acquisition, rebranding of its OneSource platform as D&B Hoovers, a Beneficial Ownership product), has quietly added powerful new functionality to their Workbench Data Optimizer platform.  The new Profile capability features an automated profile builder, Total Addressable Market (TAM) analysis, and look-a-like prospecting based upon the Workbench profiles.

The new functionality helps marketers evaluate the size of targetable sub-markets, identify audiences with a high propensity to purchase, discover overlooked whitespace opportunities, and target new accounts and contacts.  According to Alex Schwarm, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics Products, “Profile enables our Workbench customers to begin to use data-driven, ABM-oriented Profiles based on their successful sales.  These automated analytics allow you to quickly and easily identify the best whitespace opportunities and characteristics of your target audiences including those with the highest propensity to buy – no data scientist needed.”

NetProspex WorkBench Value Proposition
NetProspex WorkBench Value Proposition

Profile is a black-box analytics engine which clusters customer files without biases.  Marketers upload a file of their customers’ data for a specific product or product family.  Workbench standardizes, de-duplicates, and verifies the input file; matches and enriches it with Dun & Bradstreet’s WorldBase firmographics; and then provides segmentation and file health analysis.  The Profile module identifies between two and eight distinct segments containing similar companies across multiple dimensions.  The user can define the number of profiles or the system can automatically identify the optimal number of profiles based on the variation of the customer file.  The marketer is not required to define the key segmentation variables.  Instead, the system automatically performs affinity clustering (my term) to build the segments.  Execution time is typically 5 to 10 minutes.

The results are displayed on a downloadable dashboard that provides a side-by-side firmographic analysis of the clusters.  Results include company size, ownership (e.g. parent, branch), primary industries, cluster size, and average deal size (if revenue figures are also shared with Dun & Bradstreet).  Thus, the system may identify segments with a lower average deal size but a larger number of prospects alongside clusters containing top customers with high average deal size but a small number of targetable opportunities.

Portion of Workbench Profile summary report
Portion of Workbench Profile summary report

While Dun & Bradstreet does not use the term “Ideal Customer Profile” (ICP) the system is basically identifying the attributes of a customer’s ICP, determining the average deal size, and sizing the overall market opportunity.

Dun & Bradstreet has two major assets in performing TAM analysis: The WorldBase file of global companies and trust built up over 170 years of credit research.  WorldBase provides them with a consistent, global file of 260 million active and inactive companies for credit and supplier risk research, sales intelligence, and B2B marketing.  The file includes broad global company linkages, corporate and location sizing, industry coding, Tradestyles, and D-U-N-S Numbers (the de facto global company numbering system).  This intelligence provides the core reference file against which market sizing can be performed.  But TAM analysis requires customer level revenue information against which company counts can be converted to market sizes.  And here is where a strong credit analysis brand helps build confidence amongst marketers to share company revenue data.  While they will be reluctant to share revenue details with most vendors, firms have been sharing private financial details with Dun & Bradstreet over the better part of two centuries.

Marketers can then take any of the profiles and immediately identify net-new similar companies as well as net-new contacts.  The system also sizes potential target market audiences that can be reached programmatically through their Audience Solutions group.

While prospect scoring based upon these definitions is not yet supported, that is a likely future offering for the platform.  Profile, along with a set of predictive scores and paired with D&B Hoovers’ business signals, represents a toe in the water of the predictive analytics space.

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.