Avention Rebranded D&B Hoovers

D&B Hoovers LogoDun & Bradstreet has begun the process of monetizing its new Avention acquisition by rebranding it as D&B Hoovers.  The OneSource platform had an identity crisis  — first launched as Avention and then rebranded Avention OneSource.  Bringing the service under the Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers branding umbrella should stabilize the brand as both are better known than Avention and OneSource.  Dun & Bradstreet has been associated with company information and credit research since the 1840s while the Hoovers brand has a thirty-seven year lineage that goes back to reference books.  Hoover’s was an early company research portal via the web and America Online and still offers a freemium site.

That Avention and Dun & Bradstreet could quickly match their large databases and begin the integration of the WorldBase file into the new Hoovers platform does not surprise me.  Both companies have strong data matching capabilities for companies and contacts.  Furthermore, the new Hoovers platform is designed to manage the integration of additional datasets into its global coverage.

Sales Acceleration Positioning

In a press release, Dun & Bradstreet described their new offering as “an innovative new Sales Acceleration solution” which helps “sales and marketing teams shorten sales cycles, increase win rates, and accelerate revenue growth.”  The new offering combines “Dun & Bradstreet’s largest commercial database with best-in-class prospect intelligence and an intuitive user experience” which goes ”beyond traditional prospecting to more quickly and efficiently engage with customers.”

Sales Acceleration vs Traditional Prospecting Chart (Source: Dun & Bradstreet)
Sales Acceleration vs Traditional Prospecting Chart (Source: Dun & Bradstreet)

Since acquiring Avention in early January, Dun & Bradstreet Sales and Marketing Solutions has focused its messaging around Sales Acceleration.  Barry Parr, Lead Analyst at information advisory service Outsell, described Sales Acceleration as follows:

B2B sales and marketing’s job is to turn information into relationships. Sales Acceleration refines information to increase the yield and improve productivity, by making the information more current, connecting it with buying signals, and providing relevant context. This market is evolving quickly from static company and contact data into information enhanced by software and technology.

On his Q4 earnings call last month, Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan picked up on the theme of Sales Acceleration which had not been used on the previous earnings call.

“Now, when we talk about sales acceleration, we mean helping companies advance relationships from prospects to paying customers by using data to give them insights into who to talk to, when to talk to them, and what to talk to them about,” said Carrigan in February.  “The market for sales acceleration is substantial. Outsell, the preeminent research firm covering the information industry, pegs the market size at about $10 billion worldwide, and it is fragmented and underserved. Given our data advantage, we are the best positioned to capture market share and grow faster than the overall market. So our aspiration is much bigger than creating a better prospecting tool by rebuilding Hoover’s. We are the market leader in sales acceleration now, and we have all the capabilities to substantially expand that lead.”

D&B Hoover’s Capabilities

Along with rich company profiles, the new Hoovers provides access to more than seventy million global contacts.  The press release highlighted the following key capabilities:

  • Target intelligently: SmartLists® dynamically update sellers on top opportunities, business intelligence and analytics, and enable account scoring; and more than 175 search filters create precise targeting while supporting natural-language and conceptual search.
  • Enhance sales productivity: CRM QuickView provides seamless access to account intelligence; desktop dashboards and automated workflow features include triggers, alerts, Ideal Profiles®, and Conceptual Search®; and mobile-ready features support sales and marketing teams on the go.
  • Enable informed conversations: Business Signals® deliver predictive insights based on the deepest and broadest global data coverage; intelligent data is integrated into strategic technology platforms like CRM and marketing automation systems; and real-time triggers keep sellers posted on key business events.
The D&B Hoovers Company Profile for Xerox
The D&B Hoovers Company Profile for Xerox

Legacy Avention OneSource customers will continue to receive their currently licensed content and feature bundles.  However, they will immediately benefit from the company and contact data quality and coverage improvements.

“Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to grow by better leveraging today’s enhanced software and technology to more quickly drive pipeline, and garner marketing ROI,” said Dun & Bradstreet CMO Rishi Dave. “D&B Hoovers is the best solution for enabling sales and marketing teams to align around the same connected, dynamic data and analytics to make their efforts more impactful, and help them go to market and close deals at a faster rate.”

Pricing & Packaging

The packaging model appears to be a hybrid of previous Hoovers and Avention packaging.  The service is being split into three product tiers with all having access to the global database:

  • D&B Hoovers offers companies and contacts along with sophisticated prospecting against 175 variables, Conceptual Search, SmartLists, competitors, peers, news, and trigger events.
  • D&B Hoovers – Advantage adds additional features to the base edition by including global family trees, CRM/MAP integrations, SWOT reports, quoted and European private company financials, SEC filings, and administrative dashboards.  The Technology Crush reports (FKA SalesQuest Crush) are available as a premium.
  • D&B Hoovers – Premium adds additional features to Advantage edition including Ideal Profiles and Business Signals.

All users will have access to the full Global Contact Authority file of executive names, titles, and bios.  However, there is a premium “Business Contacts” dataset containing emails and direct dial phones.

Pricing is on a named-user basis dependent upon the purchased edition.  Volume based discounts are provided as the number of seats increase. For example, a mid-sized company with forty sales reps can expect to pay approximately $62 per seat/month to $114 per seat/month depending on the package purchased (and before any annual or multi-year discounts are applied).

Whereas legacy Hoover’s strength was in meeting the sales intelligence and research needs of small and midsized companies, D&B Hoover’s pricing and packaging is intended to support companies of all sizes.  “The flexibility of the new packaging model is designed to support both the growth needs of emerging businesses as well as the requirements desired by enterprise organizations while providing the pricing flexibility to meet their various budgets,” said Director of Product Marketing Sean Crowley.

The new Hoover’s benefits from access to the Dun & Bradstreet datasets, some of which has already been integrated into the new platform.  The WorldBase file provides D-U-N-S Numbers, global company linkages, Tradestyles, and additional firmographics.  The Global Contact Authority provides additional global contacts, emails, and direct dial phones.

With this first release, the new Hoovers platform contains an additional six million marketable company records, expanded global linkage, D-U-N-S Numbering, and Dun & Bradstreet firmographics (e.g. addresses, sizing data, contact information, industry coding, bank names, Tradestyles, and geocoding).

For the first time, D-U-N-S Numbers and D-U-N-S Number company lookups are available to the Avention customer base.  D-U-N-S Numbers are the de facto global numbering system.  They are often required by banks and US government agencies.  Firms also employ D-U-N-S Numbers as part of their master data management strategies.  Having D-U-N-S Numbers tied to the D&B Hoovers service allows developers to build custom calls to the D&B Direct API to obtain non-Hoover’s content such as credit and supplier risk reports.

Other Dun & Bradstreet content such as Hoovers top company profiles, competitors lists, and First Research industry overviews will be available in the future.  The firm is also planning on expanded WorldBase coverage, additional WorldBase fields, and supplementary Dun & Bradstreet business signals.

Although D&B Hoovers is being initially pitched for the US, UK, and Ireland, the service is available globally.  The emphasis on those three markets was simply one of sales enablement.  The UK and Ireland are an important opportunity for Dun & Bradstreet as the legacy Hoovers service had little traction in those markets due to the lack of registered data from Companies House (UK) and Companies Registration Office (UK).  The new D&B Hoovers provides full financials for companies across a dozen European countries including the UK and Ireland (available in Hoover’s Advantage and Premium editions).  The platform also supports company details matched to UK registered data including trading addresses, additional contacts and emails, and corporate phone numbers.

D&B Hoovers is planning a financial add-on service which includes analyst reports (Investext brokerage house reports), the industry research module (MarketLine, Freedonia, RMA), and UK registered company intelligence including Directors and Shareholders reports; Mortgages, Charges, & County Court Judgments; and Companies House Images.

Dun & Bradstreet is offering a thirty-day free trial.

Note: Avention OneSource is one of the products covered in my new book “2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors

Sales & Marketing Tech Glossary


DiscoverOrg Sales Tech Glossary


For those of you trying to get a handle on all of the new terms in Sales Tech and Marketing Tech, DiscoverOrg just published a short glossary on their website.

While Martech has been receiving significant investment over the past half decade, the past year or two has seen a growth in sales tech investment.  A few years ago, this sector was labeled Sales 2.0 and basically consisted of sales intelligence products, lead prospecting datasets, and presentation tools for sales reps.  But now,

  • The Sales Intelligence vendors are moving into marketing hygiene with MAP connectors, data enrichment, segmentation analysis, look-a-like prospecting, and TAM analysis.
  • Predictive Analytics, which originally focused on marketing, is equally focused on the sales function.
  • New social selling and trigger selling tools continue to appear on the market.
  • Account Based Marketing has become the rage with vendors now repositioning their offering under the ABM banner and adding features to assist ABM programs across the funnel.
  • The Account Based Sales Development function has been professionalized with the introduction of a series of ABSD tools providing a “tip of the spear” toolset for ABM.

In short, it is a dynamic time for the sales tech industry even as the distinction between SalesTech and MarTech continue to blur.

As technology continues to plunge sales and marketing professionals further into transformative innovation and new opportunities, we must define the new terms taking us there. Considering the breakneck speed of tech advancement, it’s not uncommon for terms, which were merely a blip on the radar a year ago, to become part of our everyday vernacular.

  • Preston Zeller, Digital Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Quip: Rethinking Productivity Tools at SFDC

A few months ago, Salesforce.com purchased team productivity tool Quip.  This month’s  Dreamforce show was SFDC’s first opportunity to broadly promote Quip and their vision of productivity tools.  Quip’s mission is to “change the way people work together,” according to Quip CEO Bret Taylor.  Unfortunately, “the way that all of our teams work has completely shifted over the past decade, but the tools we use at work just haven’t kept up.”

The “path forward” is away from email attachments, meetings, and continuous monitoring of email inboxes.  Taylor was the CTO at Facebook when it transformed from a browser platform to a mobile first platform.  As this transformation took place, he realized that Facebook users were enjoying cutting edge apps running on a mobile phone while the state of the art inside the company was working with 8 ½ x 11 virtual documents and attaching them to email.  When founding Quip, he threw out the “preconceived notions” around productivity software and asked “what would productivity software look like in a decade if you were to start from scratch” if you designed it around mobility and communication?

One of the problems with building such a tool was that productivity has been defined by Microsoft and its Office Suite and has been framed by this unitary vision for decades.  They concluded that the goal of productivity tools was to “enhance communications.”  Thus, typewriters let anyone set copy and photocopiers let anyone run a printing press.  Likewise, the Office Suite digitized communication tools that already existed (e.g. typed documents to Word, overhead slides to PowerPoint, calculators to Excel).  Email then made it easier to attach virtual documents and transmit them globally in milliseconds.

But with the smartphone, productivity has failed to keep up.  Users have shifted to thumb typing emails on their phone instead of using productivity tools.  “All of us have willingly given up thirty years of R&D in the word processor to thumb type emails for one simple reason: it’s more important that the recipient of what you’re writing can click reply than that you have footnotes or fonts.  Communication is the most important feature of productivity and that’s why communication is the foundation of Quip.”

The goal of Quip was to avoid email entirely, otherwise they would simply be creating another attachment file type.  “Quip combines communication and writing in a single integrated product experience so you can work and communicate with your team without going back to our email inbox.”

Quip allows multiple simultaneous editors on any device with a chat thread attached to each document,” said Taylor.  “In Quip, that forty-email chain in making a decision is a shared document with a state of the decision right there for everyone to see.  And all the conversation that went into that decision is attached to it.”

Quip is based on four key values:

  1. Quip is built for teams with every feature “designed to move teamwork forward faster.”
  2. Quip was designed mobile-first.  While not all documents will be created on phones, they all will work on phones.  “With Quip, you can truly run your company from your phone.”
  3. Quip is deeply integrated with the Salesforce productivity cloud.  A Lightning module allows Quip documents to be embedded within SFDC records so that “all of the spreadsheets, documents, and discussions about an opportunity are attached to the opportunity itself.”  Salesforce fields can be pulled directly into documents and spreadsheets with automatic updating.
  4. Quip is collaborative.

A customer survey found that Quip reduced daily meetings by 28%, cut time to project completion by 28%, lowered email communications by 32%, and raised team communication by 43%.  The net was a 38% increase in team productivity.

A Quip document with text, spreadsheet, chart, and checklist.
A Quip document with text, spreadsheet, chart, and checklist.

Quip does not offer multiple tools, but instead provides a single app for mixing and matching checklists, spreadsheets, text, and images within a single canvas.  An integrated checklist provides a meeting notes canvas with assigned tasks via @mentions.  By tracking actions within the meeting notes, follow-up meetings are reduced.

Spreadsheets are embedded within documents such that “documents don’t need to be a separate file attachment that can live right in the context of the project you are working on.  And the data in spreadsheets isn’t trapped within a spreadsheet.  You can reference the data from spreadsheets inside of your document,” said Taylor.  “And it means that you can have an executive summary that automatically updates when the finance folks update the spreadsheet.  It’s a really connected platform.”

Quip embedded spreadsheet data updates automatically.
Quip embedded spreadsheet data updates automatically.

And because each document includes an integrated conversation, teams can work entirely within the document without returning to their email.

Quip is priced at $30 per month for a team of 5 and $10 per month for each additional person.  The Enterprise edition is priced at $25 per user per month.

Quip customers include Facebook, Electronic Arts, Ultimate Software, Instagram, CNN, Snapchat, Airbnb, and Pinterest.