This was one of the two weeks a year that I take off from writing my Market Insights Newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that I’m splitting the newsletter into two newsletters. When I started writing the Market Insights Newsletter back in 2012, it focused on Sales Intelligence, Social Selling, and B2B DaaS. Since then, B2B DaaS has increased greatly in importance, and I’ve added adjacent topics including Sales Engagement Platforms, data privacy / compliance, ABM, and Customer Data Platforms. The result was a doubling in the length of the newsletter and an increase in the frequency that articles were bumped. Some features are often bumped for a month or longer due to length.
In August, I
took my summer vacation, but there was no August news break. It took me a
few months to catch up on announcements from that week. This led me to
the realization that I needed to split my newsletter in half to improve both
topical focus and story currency. The split will also allow me to profile
Most of my readers will continue to receive a Sales Intelligence (SI) newsletter which covers
B2B Data (Companies, Contacts, Intent, Technographics, and Triggers)
Customer Data Platforms
Compliance (GDPR, CCPD, KYC, AML, PEP)
edition of Market Insights will continue to publish on Sundays.
The day before Thanksgiving, Zoominfo began the process of filing an IPO in accordance with Rule 135 of the Securities Act. According to the firm, “The initial public offering is expected to commence after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
Zoominfo is profitable and has a valuation in excess of $1 billion. The number of shares and offering price have yet to be determined. 2019 revenue is estimated to be around $350 million up approximately $100 million thisyear.
“The paperwork is a draft registration for a common stock offering. The confidential draft filing is a mechanism built into the 2012 Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups, or JOBS, Act, and was designed to make the IPO process for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue easier. Companies must file information publicly 15 days prior to starting an investor roadshow or the effective date of the registration.”
Zoominfo released the Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September. The new platform combines the DiscoverOrg technographics, Inside Scoops (sales triggers), editorially verified bios, and top global company profiles with the Zoominfo deep contact data with emails and direct dials. New features include WebSights visitor intelligence and FormComplete web forms.
Last week, Zoominfo released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.” I will be covering Workflows tomorrow.
is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad
set of sales and marketing services. The boundary between sales and
marketing is quickly crumbling. Hybrid engagement services manage both
data and workflows. Features include
Finnish sales intelligence vendor Vainu rebranded earlier this week. The goal was to provide a unified view of the company. Vainu is focused on company intelligence but includes registered contact/director details and mined data. The firm also offers CRM and MAP data enrichment and hygiene services.
sales intelligence databases, Vainu is available in English, Swedish,
Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and French. Country datasets include
Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and The Netherlands with detailed financial
data available for Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Beta datasets are
available for France, the UK, and the US with additional countries being
Core UK data
is gathered from Companies House. US data is aggregated from state
I’ve been planning on covering Vainu for the past six months but was waiting for an event. Rebranding is as good a reason any.
launched in 2014 and crowdsourced its initial dog nose logo (Vainu is a Finnish
word for the scent picked up by an animal). The website design and other
branding aspects were inconsistent.
“Everything else was pretty much put together ad hoc after that: color schemes and supporting visuals for our first website layout, stock photos for our first slide decks, different messages to cater to the situations at hand. The end result has been just as fragmented or ad hoc as our strategy: we’ve looked and felt different and sounded different in any situation.”
Mikko Luhtava, Vainu Head of Communications
Now that the
firm has 2,000 customers and 180 employees, they felt it was time to formalize
their brand with a new logo, tagline, and website with real images and black,
white, and yellow text.
that B2B Sales is still stuck in the era of spam emails and cold calling lists.
“While buyers are looking for a real conversation, one where they’re
engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity targets and sales
quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” blogged Luhtava.
firm offers “real-time B2B sales.” It is akin to SalesLoft’s call for
authenticity in sales. “While buyers are looking for a real conversation,
one where they’re engaged and understood, salespeople are looking at activity
targets and sales quota, merely treating buyers as numbers,” stated Luhtava. “At
Vainu, we believe there’s a right way of doing B2B sales—a way that is
personalized, a way that uses data, a way that focuses on the buyer. And
we’ve made it our mission to make salespeople better at their jobs, by bringing
real-time company data to every customer interaction. We call this
supports company list building. Selects include firmographics,
technographics, buying signals (sales triggers), and account intelligence from
the company’s CRM. Trigger alerts cover company announcements, personnel
changes, technology updates, and new additions to a prospect list.
database covers nearly 60 million active companies and includes company
profiles, technology stacks, corporate financials, and recent company news.
can setup data syncing and enrichment with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot,
Pipedrive, Upsales, and SuperOffice. Zapier is available for other
platforms. The firm also supports an API.
enriches leads before they are loaded into MAPs assisting with lead scoring and
offers bulk data for data modeling including business registry data, website
information, and open and web-crawled intelligence. Applications include
churn prediction, account scoring, and financial services risk calculations.
begins at €6,600 (£6,000 or $7,250) per year for five
reps plus a one-time onboarding fee of €600 for a single country database. Each
additional country dataset is priced at €3,000. At 25 seats, the service
is priced at €30,600 (£28,000 or $33,650) with a one-time
onboarding fee of €2,100. Each additional country dataset is priced at
€3,000. Nordic financial data adds €2,400.
After DiscoverOrg acquired Zoominfo in February, the firm maintained both brands and announced that a new platform which supported both services would be available this summer. At the time, the assumption was that the Zoominfo brand would be retired and the firm would move forward as DiscoverOrg. After all, DiscoverOrg was the larger of the two firms and the brand was highly associated with data quality, technographics, and rich executive profiles while Zoominfo was known for having the largest set of B2B emails and direct dials spanning companies of all sizes and positions.
commissioned research into both brands and found that Zoominfo had broader
brand awareness. The research also indicated that it would be less
expensive to increase brand equity than brand awareness. Both brands had
their strengths, but, according to Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard, it was
easier to buy brand perception than brand awareness. Furthermore, research
indicated that the Zoominfo brand perception had improved since acquisition.
was significantly more — three times — the market awareness around the ZoomInfo
brand than the DiscoverOrg brand,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “I’ve tried to
pride myself on making the decision that is right for the business and not
necessarily easy for me or convenient for me. This was obvious.
This was the right decision for the business, and I wasn’t going to let
the nostalgia for the DiscoverOrg brand overshadow that.”
on this research, the firm decided to retain the Zoominfo brand and deploy the
DiscoverOrg brand as a “powered by” brand booster. Thus, the new platform
will be labeled Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg for the next year or two.
“The new platform will be known as ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg and combines the strengths and benefits of the DiscoverOrg platform with those of the ZoomInfo platform, which it acquired in February 2019. Designed to be the single source of B2B data truth for sales and marketing professionals, the new platform offers a suite of software tools coupled with unrivaled data coverage, accuracy and depth. As a result, customers gain a highly actionable 360-degree view of contacts, companies, and opportunities to target and convert. Deeply integrated into both workflows and technology stacks, ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg works seamlessly with all the leading sales, marketing and CRM platforms…”
With this launch, ZoomInfo Powered by DiscoverOrg features an unparalleled combination of proprietary AI and machine learning tools, a vast contributory network, deep two-way business application integrations, and human verification from over 300 researchers. The result is the most unique [sic] and effective SaaS platform designed to empower companies to deliver more predictable and sustainable growth.”
Zoominfo Press Release (September 10, 2019)
firm’s mission is “To create a world where every company has a clear view of
their ideal customers and how to connect with them.”
new Zoominfo logo is black with a standalone Z and a rising arrow.
site is simplified from DiscoverOrg’s last design with white, gray, lavender,
and black as the primary background colors. Red and lavender are employed
for buttons and hyperlinks. Most text is black with white employed for
text in buttons and black backgrounds. The site is much less frenetic
than the last DiscoverOrg design. A splash of lavender and light use of
pastels, which are not often used in B2B websites, provide a calming effect.
new website tagline is “Your business deserves more.” The firm continues,
“ZoomInfo gives you more. We combine the leading business contact
database with best-in-class technology to pinpoint, process, and deliver the
marketing and sales intelligence you need— exactly when and how you need it, to
always hit your number.”
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) reached $350 million across 13,500 customers. ARR has grown significantly since the Zoominfo acquisition. According to Inc., combined 2018 revenue was $222 million. As ARR is higher than revenue when a subscription service is growing, the likely 2019 revenue is around $300 million+.
Zoominfo also has to reposition its data acquisition model. DiscoverOrg began employing web data acquisition tools last year, so that methodology was already understood by their clients. The firm also has licensed data sets in the past, however sparingly. The new website discusses four methods for data gathering: signature block mining; automated online crawling and machine learning; in-house editorial teams: and third-party data licensing.
block intelligence comes from Zoominfo’s community members that permit access
to signature blocks in exchange for Zoominfo access. It is the most
controversial of their methods as data is being harvested on third-parties
without their consent. While both companies are GDPR compliant,
Zoominfo’s approach was simply to add an EU contact filter. This is an
area that they will likely need to address further, particularly as US states
adopt GDPR-like regulations and Zoominfo expands its “personal contact
learning gathers technographic and firmographic intelligence from job boards,
web sites, news, and SEC filings. It is a standard data gathering method
and broadly employed across the industry.
“We use cutting edge AI/ML technologies to help GTM [go-to-market] teams stay laser-focused on the right markets and best opportunities to hit their number.”
research for gathering and verifying company and contact data has long been at
the core of DiscoverOrg’s brand and value proposition. Zoominfo continues
to maintain the DiscoverOrg editorial team of over 300 researchers. The
editorial process is the basis of their high data quality and rich biographic
and technographic intelligence. As such, it is the justification for
their premium pricing. Hopefully, the firm doesn’t make the mistake that
D&B did after acquiring Hoovers and allowing its editorial capabilities to
atrophy when a high-quality dataset (Hoover’s editorial coverage of 42,000 companies)
was mixed with a much larger universe of companies and contacts (D&B
WorldBase). Given DiscoverOrg’s long-term focus on data quality and
editorial research, it is unlikely that they would make this mistake.
Conversations I’ve had with Schuck and Bullard over the years support
third-party datasets are licensed. Content includes public company data
(long a gap of both services), M&A details (added last year), government
data sources, and social media feeds.
database has grown to 20 million company profiles with 5 million C-level
contacts, 16 million decision maker direct dials, and 20 million decision maker
emails. Globally, Zoominfo provides 66 million emails and 42 million
direct dials. They also maintain departed contact details to assist with
According to the Portland Business Journal, private equity firms TA Associates, The Carlyle Group and 22C Capital have invested at least $790 million in Zoominfo. The PBJ also noted that Zoominfo is profitable.
Congratulations to conversational marketing vendor Drift and sales intelligence vendor Cognism for making LinkedIn’s Top Startups: Hottest Companies to Work for Now lists.
Boston-based Drift was ranked 46 in the US. The firm has grown from 65 employees to 280 over the past year and plans to “double down” on its product and sales teams.
Yesterday, at their Hypergrowth conference, Drift announced the acquisition of Giant Otter, an AI and machine learning company, and the launch of Drift Automation.
Drift Automation understands the specific context of what someone is asking and can engage in conversations that go in a variety of directions. For the first time, this puts the customer is in control of the conversation — not the chatbot.
Lacey Berrien, Drift Senior Manager, Public Relations
Drift co-founder Elias Torres was impressed by Giant Otter which is based on research led by Dr. Jeff Orkin at the MIT Media Lab.
“When I met Jeff Orkin and he showed me what Giant Otter could do, I knew that I had seen the future of marketing automation,” said Torres. “We’ve been working on Drift Automation behind the scenes with early customers who have been seeing incredible results — including improvements in inbound sales velocity, pipeline and revenue growth, time back for the marketing team, and the ability to put the customer in control of the buying experience.”
London-based Cognism was ranked 21 on the UK list with plans to open offices in the US and Singapore and triple its headcount to around 200 over the next year. Cognism products include
Cognism Prospector for lead list building, prospect research, and prospect/account current awareness.
Cognism Refresh for CRM data maintenance and enrichment.
Cognism Wealth list building and TAM analysis for financial services firms and wealth managers.
Cognism closed on its Series B back in July. According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions. Isilay noted that Asia is a particularly compelling market due to SaaS being relatively immature in the region.
Cognism is hosting its first RevenueAI user conference at the Science Museum London on 19 September. I will be speaking on Trends in Sales and Marketing Intelligence at the conference.
TechTarget is taking a soft launch approach to their new Priority Engine Express service for small software vendors and VARs with an early 2020 launch date. CEO Michael Cotoia said the firm is building a platform which is “simple, streamlined, and scalable.” Cotoia noted how smaller firms differ in sales and marketing requirements and capabilities from TechTarget’s enterprise clients:
Our smaller customers lack a lot of resources. They don’t have a marketing automation [platform] many times. They don’t have an integrated nurture campaign. They need to understand and have a very friendly user interface, and they’re also very focused on identifying and using this solution as a sales use case with their inside sales reps and even their outside sales reps. So what we’re really focused on is doing a very simple user interface, focus very much on a sales use case, and understand that we can help them build different types of lists and customized lists; for example, an ideal customer profile list, which is really going to focus on exactly their sweet spot so we can get them the right updates at the right time. They don’t have the resources; they don’t have the complexity. If they need it simple, they want it towards sales use cases, and we’re learning a lot from that.
TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia
that TechTarget is taking a market feedback approach to Express development.
As they engage with small customers, they are pausing during the sale to
gather feedback to better understand what smaller firms are looking to do.
As they bring on early Express users, they are “tweaking, modifying,
adjusting and getting ready to go into 2020.” Cotoia called the initial
feedback in this new market “very positive.”
began building an SDR team two years ago to provide a team of appointment
setters for their outside sales reps. “We built that with a vision that
we’re going to be looking at additional products that we are going to roll
out,” said Cotoia. “We want to make sure we have the resources on the
bench” who are trained in the TechTarget methodology and ready to support new
opportunities such as Express “so they are ready to make and take action when
we see fit.”
TechTarget has raised the price for Priority Engine since it was launched a few years ago. “We believe we have pricing power,” said Cotoia. “We’ve had a couple of pricing increases year-over-year, and we believe we are in the best position to deliver real and observed purchase intent, make it very clear who’s in-market, by which technology segment, by which region and help our customers rank, prioritize and mobilize their sales and marketing efforts again, and we hope that creates some pricing leverage.”
Yesterday, I discussed TechTarget’s strong Q2. The above discussion was held in their Q2 2019 earnings announcement.
TechTarget posted a strong second quarter with revenues up 9% to $34.3 million. Growth was led by their Priority Engine technology sales intelligence service which added 38 new customers in Q2 and grew revenue by 44%.
Long-term contracts now comprise 33% of revenue.
expanded its Total Addressable Market (TAM) from 1,500 Enterprise IT vendors to
an additional 5,000 IT vendors consisting of small software companies and
regional VARs. The firm has been executing a soft rollout of Priority
Engine Express to this expanded universe.
are still in the learning stage but the early feedback is that this customer
segment is embracing the value proposition,” the firm told shareholders.
“We are increasing the number of salespeople dedicated to this product in
the near-term and remain on track for the full product roll-out in 2020.”
“We added several enhancements to Priority Engine in May including Personalized Account Rankings that reflect organic research with TechTarget and direct engagement with the customer to improve marketing and sales effectiveness. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) creation and filtering directly within Priority Engine to efficiently find, track and convert identified best-fit customers. Enhanced Qualification Intelligence showcases the key attributes that make accounts high priority targets, including buying stage, ICP match and if there is a confirmed project. Improved Engagement Signals show you precisely when accounts visit your website, click on your banners and/or download your content. Indicators of New and Recent Activities give sales users new reasons to call and help them engage the buying team with highly tailored outreach.”
TechTarget Q2 2019 Shareholder Letter
provided Q3 revenue guidance between $33 and $34 million and annual guidance of
$133 and $134 million.
firm is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month and used the
opportunity to credit its employees. “We are incredibly grateful to our
dedicated team of employees who are smart, innovative, motivated, passionate
and hard-working. This team makes us look good and creates a win-win scenario
for customers, investors, partners and the communities where we operate. We are
especially proud of the transition that the Company has been able to make over
the past 5 years from an online media company delivering quarterly marketing
campaigns to a purchase intent data company selling annual subscriptions. We
think most people would agree that is not an easy transition to make. We are
very confident that our best days are ahead of us as we are now a leader in the
fast growing data intelligence market.”
TechTarget added Christina Van Houten to its Board. She currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Mimecast Limited, a public email management company, where she is responsible for driving corporate development, product management, and market strategy. She previously held senior positions at Infor, IBM Netezza, and Oracle. Van Houten has “more than two decades of extensive, focused experience in marketing strategy with some of the world’s largest firms as well as significant corporate and business experience.” She has an MBA from the Booth School (University of Chicago) and a BA from Georgetown.
Continue to Part II on Priority Engine Express and the expansion of their target market to include small software vendors and value-added resellers.
People.AI announced availability of The Wire, their new artificial intelligence service for sales reps which suggests next best actions. According to the firm, “Like a brilliant personal assistant who’s always on top of his game, The Wire uses AI intelligence to remind you when to follow up on key accounts, suggest next-best-actions, warn you when a rep or account is falling behind, let you know when customer champions switch jobs, and ensure you’re always prepped for every meeting.”
suggests emerging opportunities, opportunities requiring attention, and
champions that have departed to other companies.
alerted when sales reps are falling behind targets. A Rep Ramp Alert “helps you
move from data-aware to data-driven, proactively leveraging industry data to
guide and coach your teams.”
The Wire also supports meeting intelligence with meeting prep reminders and post-meeting note capture and CRM sync.
Over the past year, Sales Engagement has become the third pillar of my coverage (alongside Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS). So it is only fair that I write an overview of the space.
Sales Engagement began about four or five years ago as Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) with a focus on automating the SDR function. Its initial functionality consisted of a cadence tool which automated emails and outbound dialing for appointment setting. Cadences, also called sequences, are a set of scheduled steps that usually begin with an email but also include outbound calls, social steps (many vendors have integrated LinkedIn Sales Navigator via SNAP connectors), and direct mail.
Cadences can be paused if the prospect is out of office or halted if the prospect unsubscribes. Outreach just announced out of office functionality which pauses the call and checks whether an alternate contact is listed. Functionality is similar to that of LeadGnome. Outreach noted that 18% of email responses are out of office emails. 25% of out of office emails include an alternate contact name with over half the names being manager titles or above. The Out of Office reply detection extracts the return date and alternate names then pauses sequences until the prospect returns. The sales rep is notified of automated actions.
Email is supported by targeted templates which can be personalized. Thus, reps can call cadences by function, level, industry, etc. and the associated templates are customized by target audience. Reps can view the emails prior to sending and personalize them. This helps bring authenticity to the email. SalesLoft estimates that the peak personalization level is 20%.
Most sales engagement solutions include a digital dialer for outbound calling. The system suggests the best time of day and adjusts for time zones. Other features include local dialing, call recording, and voice mail drops. Upon completion, the rep enters call disposition and sentiment information which is synched with the CRM.
Once calls are recorded, they are transcribed and indexed, allowing sales reps or managers to quickly review calls and quickly locate pain points, objections, pricing, and next steps. Vendors such as Outreach and SalesLoft are going a step further and analyzing the calls, providing a set of team reports. More broadly, machine learning tools are being applied against the calls to determine best sales practices.
Meeting Management is emerging as a key feature set. Some vendors offer simple Calendly-like scheduling while others provide full meeting transcription and analytics.
Video is becoming increasingly important. Vendors support both video meetings (e.g. Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, JoinMe) and video attachments (e.g. Vidyard, Videolicious).
Other information and decisioning tools include leaderboards, dashboards, AI recommendations (e.g. who to call or email next), CRM synchronization, and A/B testing. Some of these tools are directly integrated into the service while others are available through app directories. Similar to the Salesforce AppExchange or Marketo LaunchPoint, functionality may be free, freemium, or premium. Likewise, you may need to separately license the partner solution prior to enabling the integration. Outreach and SalesLoft offer a broad set of app partners.
Sales Engagement platforms are evolving into a system of engagement that sits alongside CRMs (systems of record). There is already a shift taking place from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms. While Sales Engagement platforms are not looking to displace CRMs, sales reps are increasingly shifting screen time from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms with the Sales Engagement platforms syncing with the CRMs. This is one of the reasons that Salesforce.com recently launched its High Velocity Sales service which combines cadences, Salesforce Inbox, the Lightning Dialer, work queues, and Einstein. High Velocity Sales starts at $75 per user per month ($90 with outbound calling).
At the Salesforce World Tour in Boston this week, a sales rep told me that Salesforce is heavily investing in Sales Engagement and hopes to catch up to the market leaders in the next year (I think this is overly optimistic as the leaders are quickly building out functionality and partnerships). While Salesforce could catch up in a few years, I believe it is more likely that SFDC will acquire one of the leaders in the space followed quickly by Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions in the sector (of course, Microsoft or Oracle could be the first movers). Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, may also be interested in expanding its presence in B2B sales and marketing applications.
The top vendors in the space are SalesLoft, Outreach, and InsideSales. Other vendors include ConnectLeader, Yesware, Toutapp (Marketo), Mixmax, and VanillaSoft.