Artesian CEO on Sales Intelligence and being “Customer Curious”

The Artesian Solution Watchlist tags stories by trigger topics and allows users to filter by both triggers and topic cloud keywords.
The Artesian Solution Watchlist tags stories by trigger topics and allows users to filter by both triggers and topic cloud keywords.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including how they fit into the sales intelligence space and being “customer curious.”  Artesian provides a social selling solution for the UK, US, and Canada.  Their sales intelligence is delivered via a web browser, Salesforce.com, and their Ready mobile app.

This is the third interview excerpt.  Earlier this week, I posted blogs concerning Artesian’s 2016 US market entry and how artificial intelligence fits in the Artesian roadmap.


Michael: How do you view yourself versus firms in the sales intelligence space?

Andrew: I had a chat with [CEO] Henry [Schuck] from DiscoverOrg just recently. It took us a while to realize that we didn’t really compete with DiscoverOrg. We might compete for share of wallet.  Certainly, some of the words on the website are saying [similar things]. Fundamentally, we’re two different types of organizations.

I think there are companies that make data, curate data, sell access to curated data. I would include in addition to DiscoverOrg, RainKing and InsideView.

I talked to Henry. I said, “Somebody would buy your service because they would want to get the inside track on when the projects are coming up, on particular types of initiatives. Who’s who in the zoo? What’s their phone number and email address?” The stimulus would be, “I’m contacting you to talk to you about this project on which I can help you.” [That’s] The bit where we take over guiding the conversations which follow over the remainder of the sales cycle, we can do that.

We use natural language processing, machine-based learning and AI to take data from people who already aggregate it. Then we take it through our own process because there isn’t anything out there that has anything like the superior capabilities we’ve got around topic classification, tagging, and all the things that go with our value proposition. As I said to Henry, “We’re never really going to compete directly because we’ve got no intention of hiring a bunch of people to build various specific data.”

I think he’s on fire at the moment…In the States, there’s a real shortage of quality contact insight. Where we take over is where DiscoverOrg leaves off. At the point where you’ve identified an opportunity in a customer and then you want to build that relationship and keep that relationship going over time not just maybe sell them one product or service but sell them multiple products or services and keep going back. That’s the area we’re really, really good at.

Michael: Okay. Right, so basically being aware of what’s going on in that organization and maintaining the relationship.

Andrew: Yes. That’s why we look for organizations, customers that we sell to who have a relationship management model at their heart. This “customer curious” concept came from one of our customers, NetApp. The chap that was running Europe came up with the phrase. He drew me this picture and said, “There’s three ways we can differentiate ourselves in the market. We can differentiate ourselves with products,” he said. “And NetApp’s got the same product that three or four other companies have got. We can do it with price, but that’s a race to the bottom or we can do it with service. We want to do it with service, and we want to be the best. The best company in this space. We can have a product that is good or better than anyone else’s, but we’ll differentiate ourselves by being customer curious.”

There’s nothing like getting inspiration for where your headed from a customer.

Michael: This topic is near and dear to Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff: being customer obsessed.

Andrew: Yes. Being customer obsessed is where we try to complement Mark Benioff’s vision.  The Salesforce platform is an excellent system of record, and I think people buy CRM expecting it to help them sell, and it does. It helps them sell by getting more organized and orchestrated with the customer at the center, but it’s not a system of engagement. That’s really where we feel we come in as a complement and supplement to that system of record.


The interview will wrap up on Monday with a discussion of how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users.

Artesian CEO on US Market Entry

Artesian Solutions provides deep trigger functionality combined with word cloud and filtering, helping sales reps hone in on talking points.
Artesian Solutions provides deep trigger functionality combined with word cloud and filtering, helping sales reps hone in on talking points.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including their 2016 entry into the US market.  Artesian provides a social selling solution for the UK, US, and Canada.  Their sales intelligence is delivered via a web browser, Salesforce.com, and their Ready mobile app.


Michael: You launched in the US exactly a year ago, officially. How’s your product buildup going?

Andrew: It’s going pretty well. I have to say, most of the progress has been in the last three to six months, because it took us a couple of releases to really get the US edition right. We learned quickly that there were some nuances in terms of the way sales teams work together in the US. The US sales focus is a very contact-centric mechanism. We realized pretty quickly because contact data is so sparse and difficult to get a hold of. We doubled down on our efforts to implement. We’ve got three contact data intelligence aggregation partnerships.  We got those into the product pretty quickly which dramatically enhanced not only access to the contact intelligence but also the social profiling capabilities.

Then in the third release, we were able to start to bring in some refinements. In the States, news gets syndicated a lot more than it does in the UK, in Europe. The same story you can get syndicated and copied many, many times. We were getting an unacceptable level of duplication, and, even if the stories were similar, we hadn’t trained the algorithm to discard similar stories. Only stories that were the same.

We rewrote the algorithm and we created the ability to group stories which are similar together. What we do now is we publish one and then underneath it there’s a little icon that says similar stories. Again, these are things you don’t learn until you deploy the software for real [in the US], and customers start beating it up and giving you their feedback.

Michael: Can you provide any growth stats for the US?

Andrew: We’re not publishing the numbers at that kind of level, but in percentage terms it’s huge because we started from virtually nothing. It’s growing steadily. The majority of the growth is still coming in the UK. I don’t think we’re backward in coming forward in terms of explaining that we’re a UK-centric organization with relationships in the US and capabilities in the US. In the last eight weeks. we’ve had a number of pretty decent large corporate opportunities land and I don’t know if that’s as a consequence of one of our competitors unraveling.

Michael: How else do the US and UK markets differ?

Andrew: A big learning for us was how much customers didn’t want to meet face-to-face. We weren’t ready for that. We need to go visit these customers, and we would be flying all over the place.  I think it was four months in and somebody sat me down and said, “You know you’ve got to stop this flying around stuff.” Nobody expects that. People just expect to do things on the phone. From a kind of scaling standpoint, we’re doing a bit of scaling locally, but we’re also doing a bit of scaling remotely because to the customer, as long as the time zones are aligned, it doesn’t matter where you are.

The kind of sales pursuits we’re getting more involved in are the ones that are better suited to our sweet spot. We’ll walk away from opportunities that we think are better suited to others. We might even recommend others.


The interview will be continuing over the next few days with discussions of artificial intelligence, what it means to be a “customer curious” business, and how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users.

D&B Hoovers Enhancements

D&B Prescreen Scores are available in company and contact Build a List.
D&B Prescreen Scores are available in company and contact Build a List.

Dun & Bradstreet continues to quickly enhance the D&B Hoovers service (FKA Avention OneSource) as it integrates the WorldBase and Hoovers files into its newly acquired sales intelligence service.  In June, Dun & Bradstreet added the D&B Prescreen score, Parent and D-U-N-S Number, the Ultimate Parent D-U-N-S Numbers, Franchise Status, Owns/Rents, and eight-digit SICs.  D&B Hoovers also added the Hoover’s editorial profiles of 41,000 global companies.  Finally, Dun & Bradstreet added on demand enrichment of files with up to 10,000 D-U-N-S Numbers.

With the D&B Prescreen Score, users can screen US and Canadian companies for delinquency risk.  Companies are rated on a High / Medium / Low risk score allowing sales and marketing to quickly filter out prospects with a high likelihood of late payment.  According to Director of Product Management Phil McWade, “D&B Prescreen Scores predict the likelihood of a firm paying in a severely delinquent manner (90+ days past terms) over the next 12 months.”

The Prescreen score is available when prospecting for companies and contacts.  Users will find it alongside other Dun & Bradstreet variables including Owns/Rents, Franchise Status, and Minority Ownership flags in the Corporate Overview report.

The Parent and Ultimate Parent D-U-N-S Numbers provide family tree linkage via Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary company identifiers.  These values are displayed in custom grids, exports, and as data points on the Corporate Overview report.

Eight-digit SICs expand the standard 4-digit SIC to provide 18,000 distinct industries.  The expanded codes are displayed within company profiles, contact records, industry summary reports, custom grids, and prospecting selects.  8-digit SICs provide “the most specific and granular industry classification available in D&B Hoovers,” said McWade.

The Hoovers company profiles provide additional company insights including multi-paragraph business descriptions, company histories, and products and operations.  The additional content is displayed across three new reports.  Roughly three-quarters of the profiles are for American firms with the remainder spanning major multi-nationals.  Both public and private companies are profiled.

The new Products and Operations report is gathered by Dun & Bradstreet's editorial team.  Other new reports include Company Description and Company History.
The new Products and Operations report is gathered by Dun & Bradstreet’s editorial team. Other new reports include Company Description and Company History.

D&B Hoovers now supports file uploads of up to ten thousand D-U-N-S Numbers with immediate enrichment.  D&B Hoover’s allows users to maintain and monitor multiple lists including suppression lists.  D-U-N-S Numbered lists support multiple use cases:

  • Lists can be downloaded to Excel, winnowed, and re-uploaded for ABM targeting.
  • D-U-N-S numbered lists can be cross-referenced with other platforms (e.g. MAP, ERP, CRM)
  • Following a territory split, Sales Operations can provide reps with an updated list of ABM candidates
  • Sales Operations can provide a list of named accounts which are excluded from sales territories.

Dun & Bradstreet continues to add companies and contacts to D&B Hoovers, iSell, and Business Browser.  The company and contact counts are both approaching 100 million.

Last month, Dun & Bradstreet rolled out a set of migration courses and materials to assist with migration from Hoovers Classic.  I previously blogged about D&B Hoover’s enhancements in March when Avention was rebranded D&B Hoovers.

DiscoverOrg Startup & SMB Dataset

"Building a Winning Dataset" from DiscoverOrg Collateral.
“Building a Winning Dataset” from DiscoverOrg Collateral.

Sales and Marketing intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg announced their latest database earlier today.  The new Startup and SMB dataset covers more than 60,000 small and mid-size businesses and 400,000 executives.  The initial North American coverage profiles companies with between 50 and 1,000 employees.

All of the contacts are editorially verified and will be maintained via the same sixty-day review cycles as their other contacts.  Executives cover “all key departments, including IT, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR, and Operations.”

“DiscoverOrg’s data difference is its team of 250+ researchers who constantly augment and verify the data in our platform,” notes Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO. “Unlike other vendors that provide SMB lists with thousands of irrelevant contacts, companies, and incomplete and duplicate records, the DiscoverOrg Startup & SMB dataset is as rich and accurate as our enterprise data.”

CMO Katie Bullard said that DiscoverOrg has “aggressive plans” to invest in SMB dataset development due to customer benefits.

With more companies, our researchers won’t have to skip over Triggers that they find through their research. We’re able to return a greater number of companies that use a certain technology, and our predictive tools like AccountView and DealPredict have larger reach with more matched accounts.

  • DiscoverOrg CMO Katie Bullard

The initial dataset is limited to North America as that is where they have the greatest current demand, but DiscoverOrg plans to internationalize the Startup and SMB dataset in the future.  While the goal is to cover all firms with at least 50 employees, the initial dataset consists of firms requested by their customers.

The press release noted how difficult it is to find reliable, actionable intelligence for SMB sales teams.  Along with company and executive profiles, the database provides 6,000 “research verified buying triggers” per month.

In smaller businesses without media coverage or press releases, almost none of the buying intent triggers that DiscoverOrg gathers – including planned investments, key projects, personnel moves, and internal spending budgets – is made available to the public. This is where DiscoverOrg’s team of researchers provides a clear advantage: While there are millions of registered companies in the US, the difficulty is identifying and gathering intelligence on the small percentage of these companies who are 1) legitimate entities and 2) have true spend / budget. By continuously verifying contact info, conducting interviews, and engaging in research activities, DiscoverOrg overcomes the shortcomings of web-scraping for hard-to-find data on the SMB space, ensuring the intelligence customers receive is highly relevant and immediately useful.

  • DiscoverOrg Press Release

“Sales and marketing teams that want to reach the SMB market have had a very difficult go of it,” said Nancy Nardin, President of advisory firm Smart Selling Tools. “There’s been a real dearth of verified, accurate data on SMBs, quite simply because it’s harder for data companies to get. DiscoverOrg is solving for this very real pain point by bringing their best-in-class research verification model to the SMB space. You can expect the same high-quality data you get from DiscoverOrg’s broad datasets. ”

Across all databases, DiscoverOrg now covers 1.5 million executives and 90,000 companies.  Customers may purchase access to the full database or various databases by job function, company size, or region.

 

SalesTech Landscape

Snippet of SalesTech Super Graphic developed by Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools.
Snippet of SalesTech graphic developed by Nancy Nardin (Smart Selling Tools).

Yesterday, I wrote about the recently released MarTech Landscape.  While SalesTech isn’t as large, it is also receiving significant funding.  Nancy Nardin, of Smart Selling Tools, published her SalesTech Landscape spanning more than 400 firms.  As it is a first generation edition, there are a number of errors and omissions.  The most glaring gap I spotted was the Installed Tech Stack category which was missing  RainKing, Datanyze, Aberdeen, D&B Hoovers, and Corporate360, but I’m sure she will receive plenty of feedback to fill gaps.

In fact, she is maintaining the graphic and is already up to 1.2a.

If you want more details on the companies in these sections:

  • Database Cleanse & Append
  • Lead/Lists Building
  • Outreach Email Workflow
  • Installed Tech Stack
  • Sales Personalization/Trigger Events/Social Selling

Feel free to reach out to me for my Market Insights Newsletter and market research.  If you are looking for quick profiles of companies, check out CabinetM which focuses on Martech but also covers a fair number of SalesTech firms.

CabinetM helps modern marketing teams build, manage and optimize their marketing technology suite in a rapidly transforming digital marketing environment. The platform enables full lifecycle support around digital tool discovery, qualification, implementation and management by individual marketers, teams, and throughout enterprise organizations.

  • CabinetM About Us

Emissary and Tacit Knowledge

Emissary Sales Coach Profile
Emissary Sales Coach Profile

I had the recent pleasure of interviewing Emissary CEO David Hammer in Jinfo, an information industry trade publication.  Topics included tacit knowledge, working with their Emissaries, and how they identify Emissaries.  I profiled their offering back in November when they launched the service.

Emissary provides a concierge service for enterprise sales reps.  Emissaries are former employees of companies, generally high-level execs that departed the firm in the past 18 months.  Emissaries provide access to a great deal of tacit knowledge that isn’t available on the open web.  This would include informal reporting structures, executive biases, language, culture, and purchasing processes.  According to Hammer:

Tacit knowledge is what we all acquire in the day-to-day of living our lives. It’s what we know simply from interacting with the world. People don’t know what they know. I worked at Google for six years but it would take me a lifetime to document every useful thing I learned there, even assuming I wanted to. And that’s assuming I know what’s actually useful! There are plenty of things I wouldn’t even think of that would be transformatively powerful to someone else. I just don’t know what, and I don’t know who it’s useful to.

Tacit knowledge can be both big and small items that provide an edge when selling.  Again, Hammer:

It can be an emissary pointing out that the pitch deck for an upcoming meeting uses the word “customers” when the internal culture always refers to customers as “guest”. It can be sharing a past mistake that cost the company $500,000 that your product would have prevented. It can be telling you the CEO has a pet project to address educating millennials and informing you exactly how to tie your product to that messaging, or that the decision-maker actually cares more about ease of implementation than the direct ROI.

Unfortunately, Jinfo is a subscription service and the article is behind their firewall.  Hopefully, you have a subscription.  If not, reach out to me and I’ll send you a copy from their platform.

InsideView: Insights Enterprise for MS Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics Insights Company Prospecting
Microsoft Dynamics Insights Company Prospecting

InsideView is now offering an Insights Enterprise edition for Microsoft Dynamics which adds prospecting and several other enhanced features to Insights, their Dynamics OEM partnership.  Insights Enterprise is available for Dynamics CRM and 365 for $49 per user per month in the US and Canada.

Company and contact prospecting is an InsideView strength.  Along with standard firmographic and biographic variables, InsideView’s list building feature includes selects for agents (sales triggers), connections (who knows who), and the presence of emails as well as social handles.  Users can save searches; upload lists as Accounts, Contacts, and Leads; add companies or contacts to Watchlists, or download lists of up to 500 records to Excel (users are allocated 500 record downloads per month).  Up to twenty records may be uploaded directly to Dynamics at a time with the system preventing duplicate record uploads.

Other new or expanded features include up to five Watchlists for following prospects and obtaining custom news alerts, custom field mapping, social media stream personalization, and family tree display.  Enterprise customers receive direct InsideView training and support.  Finally, Insights Enterprise includes InsideView’s iOS mobile app which previews relevant contact and firmographics in context of calendar appointments.

“For the end user it is not about [a sales tool’s] flashy bells and whistles. They want the right information about companies and contacts they care about,” said Heidi Tucker, VP of Global Alliances.  “They want to make it real time and relevant. That’s what’s valuable for the prospects I’m calling on today.”

Insights is also available through Microsoft partners.

“I’m pleased about the expanded functionality and availability of Insights Enterprise,” said Chris Huntingford, Pre-Sales Consultant, Hitachi Solutions Europe. “In addition to helping us sell more Dynamics CRM Online and 365 installations, our on-prem clients who have not yet converted to an online environment can now take advantage of Insights Enterprise, a comparable — in fact enhanced — alternative to Insights, which is only for online environments.”

InsideView has offered an OEM edition of their service within Microsoft Dynamics for around five years.  Tucker described the shift in sales and marketing since the beginning of the partnership as one of moving from a shotgun approach to precision sales and marketing via ABM:

The biggest change we’ve seen over last 5 years is the focus from more of a one to many approach  in sales and marketing – thinking the more data or prospects the better – to now much more of a targeted approach. We’re all so over-messaged in every aspect of our lives…we now see a return to a much deeper level of engagement, especially in B2B. [A sales professional] wants to see who [his or her] buyer is, who that team is, and bring real business value to them. The only way to do that is if you have the news and intelligence in a more meaningful way than competitors.

Dynamics clients outside of the US and Canada are now eligible for discounted pricing.  A landing page is listing up to 50 seats of Insights Enterprise for $10,000 / €9,500 / £8,000 per annum.  Additional seats are priced at $10 / €9.5 / £8 per month. The limited time offer runs through June 30th and includes onboarding, training, a dedicated customer success manager, and technical support.

When Insights was launched five years ago, the InsideView offering was more US-centric in its content coverage, but the firm has expanded its coverage significantly, particularly in Europe, with 5 million companies and 16 million executives outside of North America.

Tech Profiler, InsideView’s set of technographics for 525,000 companies spanning 2,100 hardware and software products, is available as an Insights Enterprise premium beginning at $5,000.  Tech Profiler is presented as an additional Insights tab.  Users can filter by product category or perform keyword searches.

Tech Profiler Filtered for Project Management and Vertical Markets.
Tech Profiler Filtered for Project Management and Vertical Markets.

However, tech variables are not available in Insights Enterprise Build a List.