Dun & Bradstreet, which has long relied on global partnerships to address the sales, marketing, and risk evaluation needs of its multi-national customers, is expanding its presence in Europe with the acquisition of Bisnode Business Information Group. Bisnode is 70% owned by private equity firm Ratos and 30% by Bonnier.
The $818 million acquisition, which is 75% cash and 25% common stock, expands Dun & Bradstreet’s presence in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). The acquisition provides direct ownership in eighteen “strategic territories in Europe” and “provides opportunities for scale by leveraging existing Dun & Bradstreet product portfolio, data supply chain, and technology infrastructure.”
Upon close, Ratos will hold a 1% stake in Dun & Bradstreet.
Bisnode’s Belgian operations were not included in the deal.
The deal adds 110,000 Bisnode customers to Dun & Bradstreet’s customer base and provides direct access to an additional fifty Global 500 companies headquartered in the Bisnode countries. The deal provides direct ownership of 33 million business records (around nine percent of the WorldBase file). It also allows for the direct sale of Dun & Bradstreet products into major European markets.
Bisnode currently has an annual revenue of around $400 million, net income of $28 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $70 million.
Bisnode has been a Dun & Bradstreet reseller since 2003. Dun & Bradstreet’s solutions account for 33% of Bisnode revenue, and revenue has been “growing in a solid manner for the past few years” in the Bisnode territories. The remaining Bisnode revenue consists of proprietary in-market solutions.
“We are pleased to bring Bisnode into the Dun & Bradstreet family following a nearly two-decade strategic alliance. The powerful combination of our data, analytics, and innovative solutions, paired with Bisnode’s deep client relationships and expertise in European markets, will provide our existing and future clients with vital business intelligence to support their own growth ambitions. We look forward to welcoming the Bisnode team to Dun & Bradstreet and to working together to grow the global business.”
Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour
When the deal closes, Dun & Bradstreet will create an International Strategic Advisory Board headed by Neeraj Sahai, President of Dun & Bradstreet International. Ratos AB CEO Jonas Wiström will be joining the Advisory Board.
“Integrating our two leading organizations provides significant opportunity to deliver a broader product set to a substantially larger global client base. As the international business community becomes increasingly data-driven, we look forward to combining our teams to unlock further potential, drive innovation, and deliver solutions that are tuned to client and market needs,” said Sahai.
At its INBOUND conference earlier this month, HubSpot released a new app Marketplace. “One of the things we’ve really tried to do with the next iteration of the marketplace is just to help SMBs (small to medium businesses) get deeper information on these integrations,” said HubSpot VP of platform ecosystem Scott Brinker. “So you’re not just like, ‘Oh, here’s another company, go off and figure it out.’ It’s like, ‘OK, here’s exactly how this interfaces into HubSpot. Here’s a video of how it works.”
HubSpot partners are obligated to post pricing information, data flow structure, and demo videos. The new market supports improved filtering and searching. Over 300 apps are available with 93% of HubSpot’s 64,000 customers having installed at least one app. The average customer has installed five apps.
Amongst the top apps are Gmail, Outlook Calendar, Zapier (connectors), Facebook Ads, Google Calendar, Twitter, MailChimp, WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack, Vidyard, Google Ads, and SurveyMonkey. “We’re really excited about trying to make this whole platform ecosystem world accessible to the SMB markets,” said Brinker.
“It’s not enough to have the wondrous capabilities all these different apps offer, especially if each is locked in their own silo. To run your business effectively and to give customers a coherent and compelling experience across all the different touchpoints they have with you, all these different apps need to work together. This is why HubSpot is committed to building an open platform that can serve as a “hub” for the myriad apps across your business that all contribute to improving the customer experience. We want to make it easy for you to orchestrate these apps, to better serve your customers, and to help you grow better.”
Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools published her 2018 SalesTech Landscape with more than 500 companies, a 25% increase over 2017. While the scope of the industry is impressive, it is one-tenth of the MarTech Landscape list put together by Scott Brinker and Chief MarTech. Many of the SalesTech companies appear in both lists.
“The SalesTech space is certainly a crowded market. It’s complex and confusing and it will become more, not less, confusing for the foreseeable future. I don’t see a major consolidation happening any time soon despite recent acquisitions,” said Nardin. “At this point, there is unquestionable pressure due to sales tool fatigue, for solution providers to broaden their offerings either by acquisition or added functionality. Fewer companies are willing to manage the implementation and adoption of 10 or more individual sales tools – many of which have over-lapping capabilities.”
Nardin recently launched a second company called Vendor Neutral which assists sales departments with identifying “the right mix of solutions based on your organizations capability gaps.”
Todd Berkowitz, Research Vice President at Gartner, sees Account Based Marketing (ABM) as increasing tensions between sales and marketing in the short-term. While ABM has long been advocated as a facilitator of departmental alignment, he sees ABM as disrupting sales processes and generating friction:
“Between ABM and adoption of various new technologies and data types, there is a lot of disruption that is happening with regards to sales teams. Even if these changes are going to be beneficial to tech companies in the medium-term, and some of the “A sellers” get on board quickly with the changes, there are many sales reps that will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the new world. (This is why I always advise trying an ABM pilot with a select set of reps). So even if there is pretty good alignment and agreement between CMOs and sales leaders, don’t expect all reps to magically do what they are being asked to do. There needs to be an adjustment period, along with good sales enablement, before everyone plays nicely.”
So, while ABM will facilitate agreements in process, messaging, and metrics in the medium-term, it will generate resistance amongst sales reps unwilling to adopt new processes and tools or unconvinced of its value. This friction is probably exacerbated by predictions of sales force reductions due to the implementation of AI and other information and workflow technologies.
Resistance to technological change has long been an issue. Early in the Industrial Revolution, The Luddites sabotaged British plants, particularly cotton and wool mills. While sales reps are unlikely to sabotage initiatives (or their careers), they may hesitate to learn new platforms or adopt new processes. As such, the problem may be more akin to soldiering, the assembly line equivalent of reducing individual productivity to the level of the laggards on the line. Frederick Taylor, the father of time and motion studies, was very concerned about soldiering and recommended piece work rates to create productivity incentives. But sales reps are very attuned to incentives. While they may be hesitant to adopt new technologies, they will do so if they help make them more efficient and effective at selling. So long as sales reps are paid on a commission basis and long-term employment is tied to making quota, the level of soldiering should be minimal.
This isn’t to say that sales reps won’t resist learning new tools. If they believe the time invested in such training is less than the incremental revenue for the lost selling time spent in training, then they will avoid training and learning new tools. However, if they see others on their team benefiting from the new tools, they will not hold out long term. Thus, tool training needs to be visibly supported by management with an emphasis upon the benefits to sales reps (e.g. less time spent on non-sales tasks and more time interacting with customers and prospects, improved account intelligence, improved account targeting and message timing). With the proper incentives and information, resistance should be minimal.
To help ensure adoption, vendors should be looking to integrate solutions into CRMs, email, and mobile devices so that new tools are integrated into current workflows. They should also be providing inline tool tips, initial training focused on their capabilities which provide high levels of efficiency and efficacy improvements, tool-based win stories, and usage tools for tracking training, usage, and ROI. A few gamification elements may also be in order, but they should be organic to the product and not hokey.
Marketing and Sales Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing on Friday and announced it this afternoon. Both firms employ large editorial teams for building and maintaining company and contact datasets and technology platform details (e.g. vendors, products, project plans). This is the second acquisition of a competitor by DiscoverOrg which bought iProfile two summers ago and quickly integrated iProfile’s international coverage into the DiscoverOrg universe.
According to Inc., RainKing posted 2016 revenue of $33.9 million, up $6.9 million. Combined, the two firms had 2016 revenue of $88.3 million and a 160% three-year growth rate. The combined firm has an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in excess of $120 million. DiscoverOrg’s 2016 end-of-year ARR was $71 million.
“The path to rapid revenue growth is paved with highly accurate, actionable, and predictive sales and marketing data, and the combination of RainKing and DiscoverOrg means that our joint customer base has access to an extraordinary portfolio of data, contextual buying insights, and predictive intelligence. We are building a company that is to sales and marketing intelligence what Salesforce is to CRM.”
DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Shuck
The plan is to immediately merge their coverage into a single database delivered via both platforms. RainKing customers will benefit from deeper coverage of non-IT execs (e.g. sales, marketing, HR, product management), the assignment of Customer Success Managers to their accounts, and access to DiscoverOrg’s TiLT training for SDRs. DiscoverOrg users will benefit from deeper company and contact coverage, particularly in Europe, along with a larger editorial team building out and maintaining the combined database. Both groups of customers will benefit from additional datasets in the DiscoverOrg research pipeline including a new one which will be announced in the next sixty days.
RainKing customers will continue on their current platform for at least a year until RainKing functionality is merged with that of DiscoverOrg.
The combined datasets will span over two million contacts and over 100,000 global companies. As both firms maintain high quality data standards, DiscoverOrg’s 95% accuracy guarantee will be maintained.
The deal is a cash transaction, though DiscoverOrg did not reveal the price.
Schuck provides additional details on his vision for DiscoverOrg and the acquisition in this YouTube video:
GZ Consulting Take
I have been tracking DiscoverOrg and its CEO Henry Schuck for over a decade. For a long time, I viewed them as a niche offering in the tech space competing against three other firms of roughly the same size (RainKing, iProfile, and SalesQuest). Due to competition and the cost of editorial resources, I figured they would plateau in their market coverage below that of the Hoover’s editorial dataset of 43,000 companies. With more exacting editorial standards and three direct competitors, it was difficult to see how the marginal cost of adding and maintaining the 40,000th profile was less than the marginal revenue for the 40,000th profile (Microeconomics 101 would contend that the rational firm would keep building additional profiles until MC = MR).
But I made several errors in my assumptions. Most importantly, I built in the additional cost of editorially maintained content without properly understanding the value of the data to clients, particularly as DiscoverOrg and RainKing extended their functionality into the marketing department and added light predictive tools such as ranking and scoring of prospects. Adding marketing and integration tools greatly increased the value of every profile within their databases and allowed clients to distribute the cost of licenses over both sales and marketing departments. The advent of Big Data and Predictive Analytics also increased the value of high quality company and contact data within CRMs and MAPs.
DiscoverOrg and RainKing quickly outgrew their other competitors resulting in the acquisition of SalesQuest by Avention and iProfile by DiscoverOrg. While other firms have entered the IT profiling market, they either focus on technographics (e.g. Datanyze, BuiltWith, HG Data) or remain much smaller (e.g. Corporate360).
Finally, the growth of ABM and a focus on top accounts increases the value of a top company database with rich targeting variables such as tech platforms and projects. “As the market continues to move toward account-based engagement built on a deep understanding of buying centers, investing in high quality data has become even more critical,” opined John Donlon, Sr. Research Director at SiriusDecisions. “Simply relying on information scraped from the web is not enough to succeed, but leveraging human-verified sales and marketing intelligence gives organizations a distinct advantage in all aspects of revenue generation.”
Initially, the merger is a win-win for the 4,000 DiscoverOrg and RainKing clients, immediately providing deeper company, contact, and technology opportunity coverage for their 70,000 clients. It also provides a runway from which DiscoverOrg can quickly grow its coverage including RainKing’s new Federal IT dataset. According to the firm, “Our roadmap is focused on accelerated data collection, deeper practical predictive intelligence, enhanced account-based marketing capabilities, and seamless data optimization and enrichment in CRM, marketing automation, and sales engagement tools.”
While DiscoverOrg could use the merger as an opportunity to raise prices, my guess is that prices will remain stable so that DiscoverOrg can position itself to take on sales and marketing intelligence vendors such as D&B Hoovers, InsideView, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Zoominfo. However, if DiscoverOrg is going to become the Salesforce of sales and marketing intelligence, the firm needs to expand its non-IT content beyond executives to include strategic company and industry intelligence. It is through the marriage of best-in-class executive intelligence (emails, direct dials, responsibilities, bios, social links, and org charts) with financials, filings, news, industry overviews, and SWOTs that DiscoverOrg will be able to go mano a mano with Dun & Bradstreet and LinkedIn in the broader sales intelligence market. Under this scenario, DiscoverOrg can continue to build out its best-in-class content set while licensing non-core content from other vendors.
This has been a year of significant M&A activity which has reduced the number of sales intelligence datasets on the market. Beyond DiscoverOrg/RainKing, Avention was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet to become their new D&B Hoovers platform (Dun & Bradstreet content fueling Avention’s functionality and connectors), Moody’s purchased Bureau van Dijk, Zoominfo was bought by PE firm Great Hill Partners, and Unomy was picked up by co-working company WeWork. The result is the phase out of the old Hoovers platform, uncertainty about Bureau van Dijk’s commitment to its Mint sales platform, and the withdrawal of Unomy and RainKing from the market (they will continue on in the near term, but are no longer being marketed). The future of Data.com is also in question as Salesforce has failed to announce a path forward for their AppExchange solution now that Dun & Bradstreet content is no longer available to new clients.
LinkedIn acquired Redwood City SalesTech vendor Heighten and plans to integrate its technology into Sales Navigator. LinkedIn is looking to leverage feature sets around sales process tracking, pipeline reporting, and note taking. Last summer, LinkedIn acquired sales content sharing vendor PointDrive and recently completed the PointDrive integration into Sales Navigator.
With the announcement, Heighten immediately took down its website, but Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, provided the following feature descriptions:
The sales process tracking feature allows reps and managers to take their sales playbook binder off the shelf and put it into software, making it easier to see actions and content relevant to each pipeline stage.
The sales pipeline reporting feature lets managers and reps see their current opportunities in a more efficient way, and update key opportunity fields like amount, close date, stage and next steps on a single screen, with all changes automatically written back to CRM.
Finally, the intelligent notepad makes it easy for reps to take free-form notes and rapidly move information back into their CRM system with a single click. It also gives them instant access to key deal content such as person and account profiles, collateral, and competitive battle cards. This feature brings note taking into the context of a specific sales opportunity, reduces the heavy lifting involved in CRM data entry, and gives sales reps insights on-command
It is unclear, however, which of these capabilities will be integrated into Sales Navigator. “Over the next few months, we will be evaluating which of Heighten’s features we’ll be bringing to Sales Navigator,” said Camplejohn. “I’m also excited by the caliber of talent that Heighten brings to LinkedIn.”
Heighten has a staff of ten.
“The Heighten intelligent workspace is truly unique in its ability to bring together all of the key systems salespeople rely on — CRM, calendar, email, social and delivered — in an innovative, intuitive, and user friendly way,” blogged Heighten CEO, Luke Braud. “This approach to sales productivity is a natural extension of LinkedIn’s goal to make Sales Navigator the best version of LinkedIn for Salespeople, the System of Engagement, and ultimately influence every relationship‐based sale for our customers.”
Heighten received $7.36 million in venture funding last September. The acquisition price was not disclosed.
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.
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:
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.
Five years ago, Sales Intelligence vendors avoided selling into the marketing department. While there were a few enrichment projects for CRMs, these were driven by Sales Ops, not marketing departments. Furthermore, SalesTech products are sold on a per seat basis for sales reps while marketing revenue is generally volume based (e.g. number of prospecting records sold or records enriched). This made pricing of services difficult.
But MarTech was receiving heavy investments and several firms shifted their focus from sales to marketing. Zoominfo began discussing Sales and Marketing Alignment and developed a set of marketing tools. The firm, which had been struggling to grow revenue for several years, is again on a growth trajectory and made the two most recent Inc. 5000 lists.
InsideView also began developing marketing functionality and now treats the two departments equally. Most of InsideView’s recent investment has been in building out marketing solutions or expanding their company and contact coverage (which benefits sales and marketing equally).
At the beginning of 2015, Dun & Bradstreet acquired NetProspex for its contact database and Workbench hygiene platform. The firm also used NetProspex as the basis for their Audience Solutions programmatic marketing service which was launched in 2015.
In 2016, the Sales Intelligence vendors continued to move upstream into marketing intelligence and hygiene. InsideView continues to enhance its Target, Enrich, and Refresh marketing tools while Avention launched OneSource DataVision for web form enrichment, continuous enrichment, segmentation, look-a-like prospecting, and TAM analysis. Avention also launched Marketo and Eloqua connectors for their OneSource service.
“OneSource DataVision naturally extends the sales and marketing benefits our customers can gain from OneSource Solutions by being even more targeted with campaigns and programmes – including account-based,” said Avention SVP of Product Lauren Bakewell. “Better qualified leads and more targeted account-based approaches should bring better sales results, which should in turn strengthen sales and marketing alignment; we feel alignment happens best when sales forecasts are being met and exceeded!”
Zoominfo has repositioned itself as a MarTech company with a rebranding of their platform as the Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform. While sales reps are still supported, the emphasis is on data enrichment, segmentation analysis, cluster analysis, and look-a-like prospecting against clusters.
DiscoverOrg and RainKing also placed greater emphasis upon marketing and ABM capabilities. Both services support predictive rankings of accounts and contacts, MAP and CRM enrichment, and new opportunities (Inside Scoops from RainKing and OppAlerts and sales triggers from DiscoverOrg).
In 2017 and 2018, expect the walls between SalesTech and MarTech to crumble. The opportunity to offer a solution for both departments via a shared reference database will continue to drive strategy at these firms. As MarTech begins to consolidate, expect M&A activity within the sector and vertically with SalesTech vendors.
Sales Intelligence vendors have key assets that benefit marketing departments including large company and contact datasets for prospecting and enrichment; firmographic data for lead scoring, targeting, segmentation, and routing; and the growing ability to tie leads to accounts in real-time. They are also well positioned to support ABM functionality with profiling, analytics (segmentation, Total Addressable Market analysis), and look-a-like prospecting.
Of course, MarTech is also beginning to eye SalesTech. Last spring, Demandbase acquired Spiderbook and leveraged its capabilities to launch their DemandGraph relationship dataset. The expanded content set employs semantic mining and machine learning to assemble the “entire business network of a company” which helps “identify which companies and buying committees are in-market for particular solutions.” The DemandGraph helps users target in-market accounts, identify key buyers, uncover meaningful insights, and deliver personalized content. While they have not announced specific predictive tools or capabilities, they are hinting at such tools.
Meanwhile, the predictive analytics companies, which originally focused on lead scoring, are now building sales functionality including net-new contacts at accounts, account prioritization, flagging churn candidates, and providing recommendations for sales reps.
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.