HG Data: CEO Interviews (Part III)

 

HG Data Technographics may be used for building AppExchange Workflows. For example, separate workflows can be employed for prospects using competitor or complementary platforms.
HG Data Technographics may be used for building AppExchange Workflows. For example, separate workflows can be employed for prospects using competitor or complementary platforms.

I sat down with Craig Harris and Elizabeth Cholawsky of HG Data last month. Elizabeth had joined HG Data as their new CEO eight days earlier with Craig shifting from CEO to R&D Leader and Chairman. We discussed the transition, partner management, product planning, and the entry into other information verticals. The interview has been edited for length and will be published over the next few days.  [Part 1; Part II]


Michael: As you continue to build out the IT vertical, do you see yourself beginning to compete against your partners, and how do you anticipate that playing out in the coming years?

Craig: I don’t see that being an issue. If you actually map out our partner ecosystem, what you’re going to find is there are about 12 to 15 different applications of data that these partners deliver. There are some companies that try to be a Swiss Army knife – shallow amongst lots of different applications. Most of our partners are really domain experts in a focus area.

Look at where we are anchored currently, HG Data for Salesforce.  Many of our partners are also inside the Salesforce ecosystem. We don’t compete with our partners that have managed applications, even our partners that have Lightning Data apps.  We are still solving different types of problems with our Salesforce applications.

Our focus right now is really on the systems of record. There are a few other CRM systems that we have our eyes on as well as marketing automation. We are looking for a way where we can be embedded in the systems of record and be synergistic with partners as opposed to competing with them.

Michael: When you look at some of your key partners like DiscoverOrg or TechTarget, they built out other content functionality that you don’t have. It seems like you will not be looking to build those in the next two to five years. When you have those shallower applications, they are just licensing technographics and putting it in with your basic prospecting. I could see those less inventive platforms becoming more competitive with you as you build out some of your functionality there.

Elizabeth: There is a complementary strategy consisting of a really strong partnership and channel strategy, combined with still going the route of allowing our data to be productized through leading systems that people use. There will be conflict with some. That’s just the competitive situation that’s been endemic to the technology industry broadly, forever.

The issues are solvable when you have a good strategy laid down. You go into the partner relationships explaining that strategy and where you want to play and why you want to do that. To me, that comes back to the customers, their use case and how they want to consume the data that we’ve got.

It’s a big expanding market out there. I think there is a lot of room for really high growth, with both vital channel partners, as well as doing what we’ve embarked on with the systems of record.

Michael: What size and growth metrics are you comfortable disclosing?

Craig: Not much. We’re 57 employees. As I alluded to earlier, we have an eight-figure run rate, so that leads to a pretty big range. We’re not disclosing [revenue] publicly. I will say, anecdotally, we had a great year of revenue growth.

Michael: What is your split today between content licensing and direct sales? Do you see that shifting much going forward?

Craig: Probably close to the 50-50 mark.

Michael: Probably wasn’t 50-50 two years ago.  That’s a significant gain on the direct sales side then?

Craig: Yes. HG Data for Salesforce has been a very nice contribution to that as has our display advertising and HG Data Audience product line. The end user, they don’t necessarily want to go log in to ten more systems when they’re trying to solve a very specific problem. Who are my best prospects? Who should I talk to? What types of conversations should I have and what types of key strategic insights can I use and when? For us, this is all about having our data at the right place at the right time for the right person – to help them solve the thing that they care about which is: Who’s my next customer?

We are not going to do this alone. We are going to need partners for that journey.

SalesLoft Rainmaker Announcements

SalesLoft's announced a new partner app directory at its Rainmaker 2018 user conference. The partnership apps span eight categories and include LinkedIn, Salesforce, Zoominfo, Twitter, Owler, Outlook, and Gmail.
SalesLoft’s announced a new partner app directory at its Rainmaker 2018 user conference. The partnership apps span eight categories and include LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Salesforce, Slack, Zoominfo, Twitter, Owler, Outlook, and Gmail.

Amongst the announcements at their Rainmaker 2018 conference, SalesLoft added an app directory to its service to assist with partner discovery across 28 solutions. Partner applications are split into eight categories with a few listed in multiple categories:

  • CRM: Salesforce
  • Email: Gmail, Outlook, Vidyard (video), Sigstr (signature blocks), and Crystal (AI message coaching)
  • Sales Intelligence: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Twitter, Owler, and 7 other vendors
  • Sales Data: Zoominfo, Datanyze, and LeadIQ (browser lead capture)
  • Sales Content: DocSend (content management & tracking), Sendoso (swag, startup kits), and Highspot (sales enablement)
  • Sales Coaching: ExecVision, Gong.io, NoteNinja, and TalkIQ (all four transcribe calls and analyze them)
  • Sales Productivity: Slack, Engagio, Demo Manager, ChiliPiper (Meeting Scheduling)
  • Security: Four vendors

Sales enablement vendor Highspot was demoed at Rainmaker. The native service assists with content searching for inclusion in cadence campaigns. The service also supports email tracking and analytics.

“Highspot Everywhere is designed to seamlessly tie sales enablement processes into tools your team uses every day–including SalesLoft,” blogged Highspot Senior Content Marketing Manager Kate Kirby. “Sales representatives can leverage the power of Highspot directly within SalesLoft by inserting content into email cadence campaigns, taking full advantage of the Highspot content engagement analytics and user tracking capabilities.”

Sendoso, a direct mail gifting program, was also announced at Rainmaker. The gifting platform supports new SalesLoft steps including rewards for attendance, thanking new customers, and garnering prospect attention.

TalkIQ joins several call coaching services on the platform which create and analyze call transcripts. “More than 70% of customer interactions occur over the phone,” notes SalesLoft in its app directory. “TalkIQ analyzes each of these conversations and surfaces insights about how customer-facing teams operate. TalkIQ’s best-in-class, proprietary AI, reveals hidden trends, recommends actions, and predicts call outcomes in real-time. Successful companies use TalkIQ daily to make smarter decisions, increase revenue, improve customer engagement, and build better products.”

Other Rainmaker announced partnerships include Dark Sky (weather data) and Bombora (intent).


Part II of this blog discusses new SalesLoft functionality and partnerships concerning LinkedIn, Calendaring, website tracking, and email connectors.

Lightning Data from SFDC

The new Lightning Data services on the AppExchange.
The new Lightning Data services on the AppExchange.

Salesforce announced the launch of two new AppExchange partnership categories offering native Lighting functionality: Lightning Bolts and Lightning Data. Bolts are Lightning Components which offer customer data and business logic.

Lightning Data provides new Data as a Service (DaaS) partnerships in the wake of the non-renewal of the Dun & Bradstreet – Data.com licensing partnership. Three of the partners were announced as Data.com Exchange partners at last year’s Dreamforce:

  • Bombora intent data enrichment
  • HG Data technology product / vendor data enrichment
  • MCH Strategic Health Care data

Salesforce did not list the Lightning Data partners, but the following additional vendors are part of the new ecosystem:

  • InsideView Discovery account prospecting and InsideView Append account enrichment
  • DataFox account enrichment
  • Clearbit account enrichment

Initially, Lightning Data only supports ongoing match and enrichment services for Account records. As many AppExchange partners offer batch and continuous services for Account, Contact, and Lead records, Lightning Data will need to round out its enrichment capabilities for it to become a full hygiene and enrichment solution.

OPPORTUNITY LOST

Lightning Data is an indication that Salesforce never really bought into the idea of being a DaaS company. Since August 2011, they have promoted Data.com, but never fully committed to the data ecosystem they promised when they launched Data.com. The original idea was to take the Jigsaw file they purchased in April 2010 for $142 million and integrate it with the D&B WorldBase company file. They were then going to partner with other leading data companies to integrate third-party data matched to either Data.com contact intelligence or D&B Account intelligence. These data sets were to be delivered via Data.com Prospector sales intelligence and the Data.com Clean match and append service.

It was the right idea at the right time. They were playing catch up with OneSource for Salesforce, InsideView for Salesforce, and Access Hoovers, but had the technical and financial resources to quickly leapfrog these offerings (Access Hoovers was phased out as part of the D&B deal). Furthermore, they had a first mover advantage in cross-selling Data.com to their customer base. It could have been a home run, but they rarely hit the ball out of the infield. What’s worse:

  • The Jigsaw file was never truly internationalized. It remained a U.S. contact file with underwhelming executive coverage for nine other countries.
  • The Data.com contact counts increased, but only because they were adding contacts at the same rate as they were decaying. Meanwhile, their top two contacts competitors, NetProspex and Zoominfo, continued to expand both their active and inactive coverage in the U.S. and internationally.
  • They never added biographic details or social links to the contacts file
  • Prospector features remained underwhelming. They would add small features such as improved industry and geographic screening, but not anything significant until 2016.
  • They quickly dropped all discussion about an ecosystem.

Then at Dreamforce 2015 and 2016 they seemed to have found their mojo, addressing key weaknesses such as pricing, sales intelligence (Hoovers profiles, First Research industry overviews), and a data ecosystem.

Data.com hit a few doubles and outlined an aggressive 2017 and 2018 roadmap. It looked good. It sounded good. But then Salesforce severed their partnership with Dun & Bradstreet and now only legacy customers have access to Dun & Bradstreet content. For everybody else, there were nine months of deafening silence until yesterday’s announcement of Lightning Data.

The devolution of Data.com will not have a significant effect on Salesforce’s bottom line as it represents perhaps one percent of company revenue (hence, the lack of urgency in replacing Dun & Bradstreet content). Furthermore, the legacy offering will continue to be supported for several more years so the revenue decline will have little material impact. Perhaps we’ll hear about replacement content at Dreamforce, but Lightning Data suggests they are leaving B2B DaaS to partner companies.

Tomorrow I will be covering changes to the AppExchange along with additional details on the Lightning Data solution.

DocSend Partners with SalesLoft & Outreach

DocSend Analytics are now available to Outreach and SalesLoft users.
DocSend Analytics are now available to Outreach and SalesLoft users.

Both Outreach and SalesLoft rolled out integrations with sales asset manager DocSend in the past few weeks.  DocSend provides sales reps with a managed content library from which reps send trackable collateral links instead of e-mailing large files to customers and prospects.  DocSend then tracks the links and provides read alerts and viewing analytics.  Conceptually, it is similar to the PointDrive service integrated into LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

“By partnering with two leaders in the space, we’re enabling sales reps to see how accounts and individual contacts engage with the content in their email outreach throughout the sales cycle,” blogged DocSend Senior Product Marketing Manager Sonja Jacob.  “Using DocSend Campaign Links, sellers can create a unique link to share content in their email cadences, without ever leaving workflows in either tool.”

The combined services allow reps to directly insert links into Outreach templates and snippets while providing sales managers with sales rep analytics.  The Outreach partnership helps sales reps “find, share, track, and present the documents that close deals,” said Jordan Greene, Director of Product Marketing at Outreach.  “Even better, you’ll have deeper insights into what content works throughout your sales cycle.”

Inserting a custom DocSend campaign link within an Outreach email template.
Inserting a custom DocSend campaign link within an Outreach email template.

DocSend helps reps find the right sales content and create a “fully trackable campaign link without ever having leaving your workflow,” said Greene.  Campaign links are customized for each sales rep and can be added “in just a few seconds.”

DocSend analytics track where, when, and how prospects and customers engage with sales collateral.  DocSend supports document forward tracking, password setting, and flagging collateral as non-downloadable.  Campaign links are available both within templates and as standard email links.

Both Outreach and SalesLoft users must have DocSend licenses and the DocSend Chrome extension installed.  DocSend Team is priced at $30 per user per month and supports a white label document viewer, instant notifications, team reporting, and mail merge links.

SalesLoft has a freemium DocSend integration in the works.

SalesLoft offers campaign links that dynamically update within templates allowing admins to build Team Templates with a dynamic campaign link tracked to individual reps.  “This means admins can create a SalesLoft Team Template with a dynamic Campaign Link and the content will be tracked separately for each SalesLoft user specific to the recipient, said SalesLoft VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester.

As a former Product Manager, I can understand how frustrating it is when you have a great new capability and a top competitor launches it at the same time.  You think you have a differentiator and all of a sudden you find out it is a checkbox item.  This scenario is more likely to happen with non-exclusive, API-based partnerships as implementation costs and windows are reduced.

One of the vendors was emphasizing that they were first to market, but whether this was by days or weeks is moot if there is little differentiating the new feature between the competitors.  In the end, customers and prospects are interested in value provided with the current offering, not who beat who to the market by a few days.  When vendors are competing to identify and integrate new partner content and features into their offerings, it is the end users that win.  Over the past 18 months, both SalesLoft and Outreach have rapidly expanded their ecosystems providing significant value to their sales acceleration (ABSD) offerings.

Marketo Account Based Marketing

Marketo is joining the ABM party, having noticed that many of its LaunchPoint partners have been advocating ABM for the past year while their chief rival joined an ABM alliance six months ago.  Oracle and Demandbase launched a joint solution back in April, the ABM Leadership Alliance.  Meanwhile, Terminus has been running Flip My Funnel tradeshows for the past year.  As CMS Critic wrote a bit snidely, “Account Based Marketing (ABM) is the new acronym on the block – Marketo just made sure of it.”

In a companion whitepaper, Marketo wrote, “Today, more B2B organizations than ever are shifting their thinking toward account-centricity. For organizations looking for a high return on investment (ROI), executives need to think in terms of high-value accounts, account penetration, market penetration, and logos. And so a marketing strategy that partners with sales to focus your combined energy on a more targeted approach to finding, engaging, and closing the accounts that really matter naturally aligns to the C-suite and the organization’s strategic goals.”

Marketo ABM supports three sub-processes:

  1. Target and Manage: Account Targeting via account and lead level scoring.
  2. Engage across Channels: Engage Accounts and decision makers across multiple channels including email, web, ads, events, social, and mobile and leverage customer behaviors captured in Marketo Audience Hub to tailor messages.
  3. Measure Your Impact: Refine messaging and channel selection via analytics.  Marketo tools include ABM dashboards, account dashboards (profiles), named account dashboards, and account lists.

For capabilities not supported directly by Marketo, the firms suggests customers look to partner solutions within LaunchPoint for predictive analytics, account enrichment, advanced advertising technology, and account based sales automation.

Marketo's Named Account Dashboard highlights the top individuals at a named account and their recent activity. Other metrics include firmographics, email performance indicators, pipeline value, and web activity.
Marketo’s Named Account Dashboard highlights the top individuals at a named account and their recent activity. Other metrics include firmographics, email performance indicators, pipeline value, and web activity.

“While marketing and sales teams have long been doing account targeting, the technology hasn’t been available to reach and engage accounts – and the decision makers within them – in a coordinated, scalable way from one place,” said Marketo CMO Chandar Pattabhiram.  “Built natively within the Marketo platform, Marketo ABM provides account teams with all of the necessary tools to discover, manage, engage, and analyze the accounts with the most revenue potential, thus driving revenue from their most valuable accounts and delivering higher return on their sales and marketing investments.”

InsideView Infographic
InsideView Infographic

InsideView is one of a dozen launch partners for Marketo ABM.  According to an InsideView press release, “InsideView targeting intelligence for ABM provides a new way for companies to leverage insights that fuel account scoring, lead-to-account mapping, and the high quality and depth of InsideView’s account and contact data. InsideView’s ABM solution helps align both sales and marketing with a consistent view of accounts and contacts across marketing automation and CRM systems and coordinated campaign execution.”

In support of the partnership, InsideView offers an ABM Acceleration Kit and the InsideView API for maintaining CRM and marketing automation data along with account and contact insights.  The Acceleration Kit helps with ideal account targeting, account alerting, and access to corporate family trees and buying committee member intelligence.

“Targeted data based on rich, contextual insights is the secret sauce for ABM,” said Marc Perramond, VP Product Management, InsideView. “Reorienting your marketing and sales to focus on accounts is a huge undertaking for many companies, so it’s critical to get account selection right. If you don’t, no ABM actions will work. We’re doing everything we can to make our customers’ ABM initiatives successful on whatever level works best for them. A bundled solution for a quick jump-start, APIs for a more do-it-yourself model, and a partnership with Marketo to ensure seamless execution and visibility into ABM efforts.”

Predictive Analytics company Everstring was also named a launch partner.  According to their press release, “EverString helps B2B companies expand, prioritize, and enrich their marketing and sales databases. EverString Audience Platform accomplishes this by combining applied data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence with the broadest set of data signals from more than 27 million companies.”

The other launch partners include AdRoll, Bluewolf, Digital Pi, Dun & Bradstreet, Elixiter, Fathom, LeadMD, Owler, Perkuto, and PFL.

“The combination of Marketo ABM with Dun & Bradstreet’s data, analytics, and insights will enable our customers to precisely identify their highest-potential accounts and effectively engage them across online and offline channels,” said Dun & Bradstreet General Manager Michael Bird.

One key area Marketo doesn’t address in their press release and supporting whitepaper is mapping leads to accounts.  Perhaps this falls into LaunchPoint account enrichment, but the Marketo database and workflows are built around leads (people), not accounts.  Unless leads are immediately mapped to accounts, they will exist in a nether world outside of ABM management.  Last week, I wrote about LeanData which offers inbound lead-to-account matching.  Avention’s Eloqua Connector (next story) is another example of real-time lead matching to accounts.

Campaign Stars Content as a Service + InsideView Targeting

The InsideView - Campaign Stars joint value proposition in three easy steps.
The InsideView – Campaign Stars joint value proposition in three easy steps.

Content as a Service vendor Campaign Stars has partnered with sales and marketing intelligence firm InsideView to deliver InsideView Target within the Campaign Stars platform.  According to Campaign Stars, “Marketers enjoy jumps in conversion rates of 45% or more when combining audience segmentation with content optimization.”

“Campaign Stars’ clients simply share their brand’s vision and insight via their collaboration platform, purchase credits that are redeemable for any number of services, and select what assets they need. Campaign Stars then targets their audience, creates the content, delivers it via the client’s marketing automation software, and then tracks campaign performance across dozens of key performance indicators (KPIs). Marketers can buy more credits whenever they need, and they never have to exhaust their own bandwidth to create engaging content,” said Campaign Stars CEO Henry Bruckstein.

Campaign Stars provides both the digital content platform and editorial staff for creating, targeting, and distributing content.  InsideView Target provides a segmented list of potential prospects for outbound marketing.  Campaign Stars features include analytics, A/B testing, and project management tools.

Campaign Stars assigns two creative teams to projects, allowing them to separately develop and test content against a sample of targeted prospects.  The two campaigns are then compared across a set of key performance indicators.  This process, called Campaign Optimization, results in the more effective campaign being rolled out broadly.

“Our commitment is always to help our customers get the best results possible from their content campaigns,” said Bruckstein. “Our partnership with InsideView gives CampaignStars marketers integrated access to over 25 million B2B contacts across 800 industries. It’s like a turbo charge for your campaign.”

To entice InsideView customers to test out Campaign Stars, the firms are offering Campaign Stars credits to InsideView customers.

“Campaign Stars gives you something to say; InsideView gives you the right contacts to say it to,” said Heidi Tucker, VP Alliances at InsideView. “By partnering, customers now get both the fuel and the engine. Together, we are a total one-stop shop for market intelligence, content creation, and delivery automation – the entire journey, as easy as saying ‘Go.'”

Since launching its API a few years ago, InsideView has been very aggressive in identifying emerging opportunities for partnership.  In March, they announced licensing deals with ABSD vendors QuotaFactory and SalesLoft.

Campaign Stars is also a partner of Quota Factory.  “You can harness the power of the ultimate marketing one-two punch. Create engaging content faster than ever before to drive more qualified leads, and convert more of those leads than you ever thought possible with QuotaFactory’s dynamic PRM system,” said Bruckstein about their joint value proposition.  “Identify more prospects, qualify more leads, and convert more sales. Guide your customers along the buying journey every step of the way with an uninterrupted stream of high-octane content, and get them across the finish line with a multi-faceted cascade of targeted, effective follow-up communication.”

Campaign Stars lists partnerships with the major B2B marketing automation platforms.  They also list DiscoverOrg as a partner, but the partnership has yet to be formally announced.

DiscoverOrg Partners with ABSD Vendor Outreach

DiscoverOrg contact lists can now be pushed to the Outreach account based sales communication platform for cadence-structured messaging.  According to DiscoverOrg, “This integration allows for more effective communication with prospects based on persona, combining both comprehensive, verified contact data and personalized, timely interactions.”

“The number one challenge facing salespeople today is not knowing who to call or how to reach them,” said DiscoverOrg VP of Sales  Patrick Purvis.  “What is the actual strategy or sort of plan of attack in reaching out to these people [prospects] to get as many of them to engage with you and respond as possible?”

DiscoverOrg, with 750,000 global contacts in IT, Marketing, Finance, and Product Management, provides emails and direct dial phones to resolve the who to call problem.  Contact records are passed with tags into the Outreach platform and auto-refreshed as DiscoverOrg editors update profiles.  DiscoverOrg supports one-click send to Outreach which begins managing the messaging sequence.  Because the contacts are passed from a technology sales intelligence platform, the messaging can focus on the platforms, industries, job functions, and responsibilities of individual contacts.  This type of one-to-one messaging has only recently become available to the SDR function through products such as Outreach, SalesLoft, and QuotaFactory.

Outreach sequenced messaging
Outreach sequenced messaging

“The foundation of a true account based sales strategy is honing in on your target accounts and carefully choosing your personas within those accounts.  That’s something that DiscoverOrg does really, really well,”  said Outreach Chief Product Officer Andrew Kinzer.  “Then to engage those accounts, you’re going to need account playbooks and well-tuned persona-based messaging for your prospects.”

Outreach Flow schedules manual and automated emails, phone calls, direct mail, and LinkedIn messaging.  Other features include analytics, reply detection, “intelligent follow ups,” out of office detection which pauses the sequence, and open and click tracking.  Outreach also offers connectors for LinkedIn, Gmail, and Salesforce.com.

Furthermore, because DiscoverOrg is passing firmographics and biographical data, Outreach users can assess which messages are fostering engagement.  Broad prospect tagging combined with analytics is important to sales management and operations because “downstream, they can look at what message is resonating” said DiscoverOrg CEO Schuck.  “They have complete information on the records that are moving through their system.”

Outreach Dashboard Analytics
Outreach Dashboard Analytics

“There has been increasing focus on the SDR role as a key growth-accelerator with a lot of investment in the technology to support this function,” said Schuck. “These are the guys on the front lines, pounding the phones every day and teeing up the sale for the closers. Partnering with a robust sales communication platform like Outreach, we aim to set SDRs up for success with high-quality contact data to improve response rates and set more appointments.”

The sales intelligence industry has taken two approaches to ABSD: partnering or developing a subset of ABSD features.  The partnering path has been taken by InsideView (SalesLoft and Quota Factory) and DiscoverOrg (SalesLoft and Outreach).  The build path has been executed by RainKing which added a dialer last year and Sales Genie which offers a dialer, email, marketing creative, and direct mail functionality.