D&B: Pipeline Health Analysis for Risk Reduction and Targeting Ideal Customers

Dun & Bradstreet, which has been running pipeline health analyses for its clients over the past three weeks, assessed over 35 million accounts across 125 pipelines.  They found that 21% of accounts were subject to high financial risk based on several factors: slow payment, bankruptcy, unpaid debt, and business viability, a statistic which VP of Product Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet Sales & Marketing Solutions Dennis Olcay called “jarring:”

“We continue to keep a close eye on this number, but that is a jarring statistic that demands attention as it relates to go-to-market strategies,” wrote Olcay.

“The dominant theme of our customer conversations today is how to be both sensitive and impactful in the new environment.  We have found the new environment has unleashed entirely new forms of sales and marketing campaigns – far less driven by self-positioning and more characterized by seeking to meet customers where they are.”

Digital Marketing Solutions CRO Michael McCarroll

Dun & Bradstreet offered a high-level risk segmentation based upon SIC codes and each industry’s risk profile (see chart on the right).  Industries were stratified across five categories: Essential businesses (e.g. food supply, hospitals), Supports Remote (i.e. businesses which were able to transition to WFH), requires contact (e.g. hospitality, entertainment), delivery-based retail (e-commerce, e-delivery, logistics), and central production (e.g. manufacturing, natural resource extraction). 

Dun & Bradstreet cautions that simple SIC analysis is only the first pass in performing a risk assessment.  Firms may be in the same industry but have different go-to-market and operational strategies that impact their risk profile.  Another factor is their exposure to supply chain and customer risk.

“Despite the promise of MarTech to enable speed and scale for your go-to-market strategy, this is a time to hit the pause button and rethink your go-to-market approach,” cautioned Olcay.  “Don’t sacrifice tailored messaging for the sake of scale and speed to market – the additional thought you put in now to think about fit, intent, and risk will pay dividends when your audiences notice you’re empathizing with them and offering real value that aligns to the specific challenges they are experiencing.”

And Dun & Bradstreet isn’t the only firm that is promoting pipeline analyses for its clients. Zoominfo is offering a similar service which I will cover in my next blog. If you don’t know where to find revenue in June and Q3, a pipeline analysis is an excellent place to start.

Dun & Bradstreet and DueDil (UK) are offering industry barometers to help refine your targeting. Vertical IQ is offering industry-specific pandemic analysis as part of its industry overviews. Experian is providing a regional and industry analysis by risk level.

And on the marketing side, HubSpot has been publishing weekly marketing metrics for their 70,000 customers. Data includes deal open rates, deal close rates, email prospecting, site visit rates etc. Users can even drill down by segment and country to benchmark their sales and marketing performance against peers. The most recent analysis is for the week of May 18.

Openprise Agile CDP

B2B data hygiene vendor Openprise announced the availability of Openprise Agile CDP, the “first and only B2B Customer Data Platform (CDP) built on a data orchestration platform.”  As a data orchestration platform, Openprise offers a single customer view combined with no-code business rules, third-party data, and business process automation.

Openprise emphasizes the advantage of being a data orchestration platform with a B2B CDP.  “Because it’s built on the Openprise Data Orchestration Platform, Openprise Agile CDP includes all the capabilities Openprise has developed over the years to improve data quality in tools like Salesforce and Marketo—including lead routing, account scoring, and attribution—advanced features not typically found in traditional CDPs.”

Openprise supports data unification, data enrichment, normalization, deduplication, lead-to-account matching, and lead-to-contact conversion.  Analytical tools include advanced segmentation, lead and account scoring, ABM activity analysis, campaign attribution, lead routing, and account assignment.

“One of the biggest challenges marketers face is making sure their systems of record deliver accurate, high-quality data to drive marketing initiatives.   A CDP solution that automates all the critical business processes required to make the data work gives marketers high confidence in the accuracy and quality of the data they manage.”

Julian Archer, VP, Principal Analyst in the Marketing Operations Research Service at SiriusDecisions

Openprise claims it can be up and running within ninety-days, much faster than its competitors.  Firms can build custom apps with automated business processes, package them as an API, and create web-based UIs and Chrome extensions for end-users.  Openprise no-code app use cases include advanced segmentation, attribution, upsell, and cross-sell.

The Openprise data marketplace supports data enrichment from leading B2B and B2C vendors, including Zoominfo, Dun & Bradstreet, InsideView, Sales Genie (Infogroup), Cognism, Bombora, KickFire, Synthio, Oceanos (TechTarget), Acxiom, Bing, and Google Places.  Once enriched, data is normalized based upon customer-defined and Openprise taxonomic rules.  Normalization ensures that key values such as addresses, industry codes, job functions, and job levels follow a standard set of rules and taxonomic codes.

6Sense Round C

Account Based Orchestration platform 6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round with growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.  Previous investors include Salesforce Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures.  The market cap was not disclosed.

6Sense doubled its revenue in both 2018 and 2019.  Last year, it added Box, Cisco, Dell, Zendesk, Sumo Logic, NetApp, Domo, Motorola, Cumulus, Symantec, and Tableau to its list of named customers.

“As a startup, a company can sell via personal relationships and word of mouth.  In the scaleup growth phase, the equivalent is Account-Based Marketing and Sales,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners.  “After an exhaustive review process, we were blown away by the data-focused sophistication of 6sense’s technology and firmly believe it is the best solution for B2B companies who need to scale their go-to-market efficiency and grow revenue.  The company’s account-based solution should be a core part of every scaleup company’s growth strategy.  We’re excited to invest in 6sense as the market-leading solution.”

“An investment is a sign that we’ve done something over the past 2 ½ years,” said 6Sense CEO Jason Zintak.  “Investing is confidence, and it’s just so incredibly humbling that we as a team, as a company, have gotten to the point where people want to trust us and hand over money.”

Zintak attributed the firm’s success to the belief that AI and Big Data are at the core of the MarTech stack:

Our strategy has always been to lead in those areas, specifically 6sense’s ability to

    – Process large amounts of data and deliver actionable insights
   – Segment micro-audiences based on these data insights
   – Uncover anonymous buyer intent and identify accounts
   – Predict which accounts are an Ideal Customer fit, and when they are “in market,” allowing organizations to focus engagement on accounts most likely to buy

6sense has evolved from delivering predictive scores to providing customers with a robust Account-Based platform for the entire revenue operations team.

6Sense CEO Jason Zintak

The investment will be dedicated to accelerating its product roadmap, “both organically and inorganically.”  Zintak listed three roadmap objectives:

  1. Improved orchestration, which moves from rules-based engagement to “true AI-based orchestration of tactics.”
  2. Expanding intent and predictive data use cases beyond email to include website personalization, content experiences, advertising, conversational marketing, etc.
  3. Delivering insights to all revenue operations functions, including marketing and customer success.

The firm lists 37 open positions across customer success, engineering, data science, administrative, marketing, sales, and product.  6Sense has shown steady employment growth over the past two years.  Roughly half of the employees are in revenue generation roles (Sales, Support, Marketing, and Business Development).

“Our mission is to tackle the biggest challenges facing B2B sellers and marketers by helping brands reach the right accounts for their business at the right time, through the right channels, and with truly engaging experiences,” said Zintak.  “Our company growth has been fueled by the success of our customers, and our Series C funding will enable 6sense to further invest in AI-driven orchestration capabilities to help companies of all sizes build and scale account-based programs, uncover new opportunities, and efficiently create pipeline and revenue.”

6Sense competitors include Everstring, Demandbase, LeadSpace, and Lattice Engines (Dun & Bradstreet).

LeadSpace Fall Release

LeadSpace rolled out its Customer Data Platform (CPD) fall release with improved processing of first-party data, enhancements to their Salesforce app, and refinements to their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) modeling.  Automated ingestion of first-party data and custom data sources deliver unified customer profiles “for use across systems.”  Automated data onboarding assists with AI modeling, scoring and analytics, and enterprise software activation.

“Customers can use data on engagement, product use, relationship, and other information unique to their business to power real-time orchestration of activities and processes,” stated the firm.  “Decisions about how to route leads, assign nurture programs, segment for campaigns, and personalize interactions can now be made with all the intelligence of the CDP and a complete customer view.”

The fall release also supports data hygiene with the sunsetting of Data.com Clean in mid-2020.  Both real-time and on-demand matching and enrichment are supported.  Triggers automatically identify new or updated records and automatically look to match them against the LeadSpace CDP.  At the end of the year, a sync button will be displayed within individual records.

“Getting a complete view of the customer is critical to improving the customer experience for B2B.  Buyers no longer tolerate generic and impersonal content and interactions.  Our Customer Data Platform gives B2B marketers a real path to being able to orchestrate the ideal customer experience at scale.  Improving the ability to ingest 1st party data makes that even more powerful because it is unique to each of our client’s journey with their customers.”

LeadSpace CEO Doug Bewsher

Enhanced ICP Analytics help select the right accounts and personas for ABM targeting.  Interactive, filterable reports display account, contact, and intent data matched against conversion and revenue data to “uncover which categories and segments have performed well historically.”  

LeadSpace On-Demand look-a-like segment building now supports company suppression.

LeadSpace customers include Microsoft, HPE, SAP, Iron Mountain, IBM, and Symantec.

Hybrid Engagement Platforms

Cognism Intelligence within Salesforce. Hybrid Engagement Platforms Continuously update CRMs and MAPs.

The market 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

Future functionality will include Next Best Actions, Embedded 1:1 Video, SNAP (Sales Navigator) Integrations, and Programmatic Advertising.

No vendor provides all of these services and some provide them as separate offerings, but firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, Infogroup (Salesgenie), Lead411, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Cognism have all taken steps over the past two years to meet the emerging requirements of the CRO.

For the moment, I’m calling these emerging offerings Hybrid Engage Platforms, but that is a placeholder name as the market evolves.

InsideView Apex Enhancements

InsideView announced a set of enhancements to its recently launched Apex Go to Market ABM platform.  Apex provides ICP, TAM, and segmentation analysis along with similar company prospecting.  New features include Lead Analytics and Enhanced Text Editing.

“Lead Analytics helps executives analyze leads coming into your CRM and Marketing Automation systems that are within your desired market segment(s). Gain insights into how market segments are performing in relation to each other so you know where to focus your energy.”

  • InsideView

Lead Analytics provides a dashboard for tracking the performance of published market segments and leads over time or across market segments.  “With the Lead Analytics Dashboard, a CMO, VP of Sales or C-Level executives can analyse leads coming into your CRM or MA system based on the market segment and visualize performance against their target segments in real time to optimize for success and focus resources on the targets with highest potential.”

InsideView Apex Lead Analytics
InsideView Apex Lead Analytics

Customers must license both InsideView Enrich and InsideView Apex services to access the Leads Analytics dashboard.

Enhanced Text editing allows sales or marketing managers to publish rich text notes about customer segments which appear in other modules.  The notes both identify the account as belonging to a key segment and provide advice on messaging to the account.

InsideView Apex Segment note pushed to InsideView for Sales
InsideView Apex Segment note pushed to InsideView for Sales

InsideView boasted about “great traction in the market” for Apex.

InsideView Apex: Determine TAM, ICP, and Look-a-Likes

InsideView Apex TAM Visualization
InsideView Apex TAM Visualization

Sales and marketing intelligence vendor InsideView launched their Apex “go-to-market decision engine.”  The new product combines InsideView and CRM data to assist with analyzing new market entry, identifying a firm’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and assessing its Total Addressable Market (TAM).

“Smart B2B companies today are asking these questions: ‘Who are my best customers?’, ‘What are the new geographies and industries where I can expand?’, and ‘Are we going after the right customers and the right revenue?’,” said InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti. “We realized we had the technology, expertise, and data to help companies answer these questions quickly and with confidence so they never miss an opportunity. Business strategy shouldn’t be based on gut and guessing. And it shouldn’t require cumbersome data analysis. InsideView Apex uses cutting-edge technology and the best possible data so you can make the right decisions for your business.”

Go to market planning features include an ICP wizard, new/adjacent visualization tools with “what if” targeting analysis, TAM and market penetration analysis, new account and lead identification, and exporting of new ABM prospects to CRMs and MAPs.

“Revenue teams can use InsideView Apex to visualize performance against target segments in real time to optimize for success and focus resources on the targets with highest potential,” said Joe Andrews, VP of Product and Solution Marketing.  “Marketing can see performance indicators at each stage of the funnel as leads convert to opportunities and won deals. Sales ops can identify where leads or opportunities may be getting stuck to course correct in real time.”

The Apex account score is based on an AI algorithm which correlates attributes from deep company profiles that are proprietary to the InsideView Platform.  The account score is maintained and updated dynamically within Apex as customer ICP lists change. However, the account score is not currently pushed to CRM or InsideView for Sales.

If customers have also licensed InsideView Sales and Enrich products, ABM accounts are tagged.

Other visualization tools include a five-quarter historical view; market segmentation of leads, opportunities, and wins; and account whitespace (market penetration) analytics.

InsideView Apex Funnel Analysis Dashboard
InsideView Apex Funnel Analysis Dashboard

Apex integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing), and Marketo.

Apex is licensed as an annual subscription and is priced in tiers based on company size which serves as a proxy for the number of market segments being targeted.

Apex is not the first tool in this category (e.g. D&B DataVision and DiscoverOrg AccountView), but it is emblematic of the expansion of sales intelligence vendors into market intelligence and strategic planning. When I started GZ Consulting six years ago, the sales intelligence firms were wary of entering the marketing realm, but the top sales intelligence firms are now offering ICP/TAM tools, marketing automation connectors, segmentation analysis, look-a-like prospecting, and data enrichment tools.  This shift goes hand-in-hand with the blurring of the lines between sales and marketing.  For example, sales engagement platforms provide cadence, analytics, and email marketing tools for sales reps alongside dialers and sales coaching.  We are also seeing visitor intelligence and intent data being displayed within CRMs.

“Most B2B companies perform go-to-market planning and analysis in product silos and often fail to involve sales and marketing teams early in the process – those who must execute the strategy.  Planning is a slow, manual process, based on limited information.  Most firms have few ways to measure market performance reliably against strategy, making it nearly impossible to course correct in real time. It’s time to change this.”

  • Forrester Principal Analyst Laura Ramos

A 2018 InsideView survey of 500 American sales and marketing professionals found that TAM measurement was non-existent (25%) or ad hoc (28%) at surveyed organizations.  Only 23% of respondents work at firms that regularly evaluate Target Demand.  The remaining 24% of firms perform Target Demand analysis annually.

“All of the efficient and creative demand generation in the world will be wasted if the targeting is off,” wrote the firm in their 2018 Sales and Marketing Alignment report.  “The shotgun approach to sales and marketing no longer works. There’s too much noise in the market and in prospects’ inboxes. The only way to stand out is to know who you’re targeting, and why and when they buy, and it can’t be done effectively unless both sales and marketing buy in it. Developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) and using it to determine your total addressable market (TAM) will help sales and marketing know exactly who to target, why they need your products, and when they need them.”

DemandBase ABM Analytics Launched

ABM Analytics provides auto-generated look-a-like control groups for pipeline stage analysis.
ABM Analytics provides auto-generated look-a-like control groups for pipeline stage analysis.

At its annual conference, ABM vendor Demandbase rolled out a new ABM Analytics module for campaign assessment.  ABM Analytics supports full pipeline analysis “to understand the progression of their most valuable accounts across the buying cycle” for account lists and audiences.  The platform also displays vendor comparisons, performs segmentation analysis, and provides recommendations for “next best actions to drive higher conversion rates through the funnel.”

“The ability to measure and articulate the effectiveness and impact of ABM programs is important to long-term ABM success,” said Alisa Groocock, Research Director, SiriusDecisions. “ABM solutions that bring extended measurement visibility can better support critical decision-making, and as a result, enable ABM programs to grow more quickly.”

Demandbase lists the new capabilities:

Marketers can monitor the health of their ABM strategies by examining the progress of their most valued accounts through the buying cycle; create side-by-side comparisons of audiences with different revenue ranges, employee sizes or verticals to understand how their segments perform at every stage of the funnel; understand the performance of individual marketing tactics such as advertising or direct mail; diagnose problems and opportunities along the customer journey and take targeted actions to improve performance; and build credibility throughout the organization by sharing transparent ABM progress reports.

ABM Analytics also matches and assesses data across advertising platforms, MAPs, content management, web analytics, and CRM to provide a unified view into “which accounts are responding to ads, engaging with content, moving into sales cycles and contributing to revenue.”

“For years, B2B marketers have struggled to connect disparate data sitting at agencies, in their web log files and CRM to measure the true impact of their marketing programs,” said CEO Chris Golec. “Our new analytics functionality leverages the best practices from some of the world’s most sophisticated B2B marketers and brings them to life for every company, no matter where they are on their ABM journey.”

Demandbase also announced a Salesforce Pardot connector which will be available in June. The connector will complement Einstein ABM and deliver “a deeper understanding of every customer” to sales and marketing teams.  According to Michael Kostow, SVP and GM of Pardot, “Einstein ABM arms teams with the insights necessary to deliver personalized campaigns and build relationships with their most valuable accounts.”

The Pardot solution evaluates activity at both the contact and company level.  The new solution will flag target account visits to corporate websites, relevant keywords and topics for online search, contact page viewing details on the website, and news and blog mentions.  These insights will be provided within SFDC, email alerts, and Slack.

“ABM has transformed how marketing teams drive new business and retain customers,” said Golec.  “But many B2B companies still struggle to deliver the comprehensive account view that can help sales teams drive pipeline and close business.”  The Salesforce partnership “gives marketers the ability to empower sales teams with a complete picture of their target accounts so they can increase their productivity and win rates.”

DueDil: Interactive Lists, Ownership Selects, Webforms, & Compliance Checks

DueDil Interactive List Segmentation Analysis
DueDil Interactive List Segmentation Analysis

European company research firm DueDil rolled out a set of enhancements spanning list building, list analytics, compliance validation, and their API. DueDil’s products are used for sales intelligence, company research, and onboarding Know Your Client (KYC) / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance checks.

DueDil added four Ownership search filters to assist with targeting firms with concentrated shareholdings “ripe for takeover.”  The new screens include Total Shareholding Count, Individuals Count, Companies Count, and Shareholder Name.

The firm rolled out interactive lists which build upon their list capabilities.  “Interactive List Reports offer a unique way of mapping whitespace and identifying new prospects, based on high-performing segments identified in a List Report,” said Product Marketing Manager Sam Hockley.  “By accessing a customer list in Report view, common traits and trends are visualised, and the characteristics of quality customers can be easily identified.”

Users can now view any List Report segment in Advanced Search, surfacing the companies and related criteria.  Users can drill down on segments to research anomalies or focus on size brackets within the list. The functionality can also be used to display similar companies while suppressing the original list, providing a tool for expanding the pool of ABM candidates.

Both the browser and API now support compliance checks including Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), sanctions, fraud warnings, and adverse media.  These checks are part of standard KYC / AML onboarding steps.  The Adverse Media Check includes Gazette Status (receivership, shuttering a business) and County Court Judgments.  Politically Exposed Persons lists identify government officials and close family members to flag funds which could be related to bribes, kickbacks, and money laundering.  Sanctions lists flag individuals associated with terrorism, trafficking, and money laundering.

“Conducting these checks with DueDil allows businesses to identify any and all linkages of corporate ownership and associated individuals. As a result, when a check is run against a specific entity, that check can be extended to all of these related parties, returning any flags or sanctions across the entire group. Advanced datasets reveal the ultimate beneficial owner of a business and enable checks for PEPs and any sanctions levied against a business,” said Hockley.

DueDil performs KYC/AML checks against both businesses and individuals.  People checks are performed in conjunction with Callcredit.

DueDil also recently launched API support for webform auto-population and enrichment.

Sparklane Predict 2.0

Predict builds Ideal Customer Profiles based upon Fit (Firmographics), Need (Sales Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation behavioral data) allowing customers to identify both current best-fit accounts and net-new prospects.
Predict builds Ideal Customer Profiles based upon Fit (Firmographics), Need (Sales Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation behavioral data) allowing customers to identify both current best-fit accounts and net-new prospects.

French predictive analytics firm Sparklane unveiled their version 2.0 Predict platform which employs artificial intelligence (AI) and active learning to score millions of companies and determine which prospects are most likely to become net-new customers.  The Predict platform is available for the UK and French markets with localized language and datasets.  A German edition is in development.

Sparklane ingests and enriches company data, matching it against firmographics and trigger events to score millions of companies.  The system then models the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Total Addressable Market (TAM).  Sparklane also identifies “sparks” (hot prospects) based upon sales triggers and delivers real-time alerts, messaging, and contacts.

Models can be deployed for both new and existing business.  New business models can be constructed from historical data (e.g. CRM win / loss flags) or estimated and refined for new market entry.  Existing business data can also be deployed for churn models to help identify companies that are more likely to drop as well as upsell and cross-sell models.

CEO Frédéric Pichard said that employing artificial intelligence to identify your next best customers “is probably the most amazing promise B2B marketing and sales tools can fulfill” as it provides “a new way of working to help our customers be more efficient and successful.”

Sparklane users begin by importing datasets from CRMs or CSV files.  Logic is employed to determine both positive and negative sample records.  For example, a CRM Win / Loss flag could serve as such an indicator.  The file is then enriched and an ICP model is constructed.  The ICP contains three types of variables: Fit (firmographic), Need (Triggers), and Behavior (Marketing Automation prospect activity).  Marketers or Sales Operations are able to view the model and adjust weights.  This model is then employed for constructing a TAM with net-new accounts which can be saved as a fixed account list or dynamic model.

Sparklane onboarded file mapping.
Sparklane onboarded file mapping.

An accuracy score helps define how well the model distinguishes between good and bad prospects.  Thus, an 80% accuracy score indicates that 8 out of 10 companies in the seed file are properly predicted by the model.

An accelerated learning option is available for new market entry.  Thus, if a seed list of good and bad prospects is not available for a new product line or market, an initial set can be manually selected from Sparklane company lists and deployed as a first generation seed list.

An active learning option allows users to perform a qualification pass on a list to help expedite model construction.  While engaged in active learning, the user is shown company profiles which include account overviews, triggers, and family trees.   The marketer can then give a thumbs up or down to each proposed account.

During active learning, sparks can be added, dismissed, or decision postponed, allowing the platform to adjust the model.
During active learning, sparks can be added, dismissed, or decision postponed, allowing the platform to adjust the model.

As output, the platform provides a set of “sparks” which are high probability accounts or contacts.  The user sets the number of sparks displayed in a spark list.  Qualified prospects can be sent to a CRM as accounts or leads.

The French dataset covers three million firms and two million contacts.  The UK universe provides 200,000 companies and 300,000 contacts.  The UK dataset focuses on large companies with sales triggers.

The French file includes 600,000 emails while the UK file supports 100,000 emails.

The firm claims that Predict increases the opportunity conversion rate by 70% and shortens the sales cycle by 30%.

Sparklane employs sixty headcount in Paris, London, and Nantes.  It invests over 20% of its turnover in R&D and has nearly 200 customers in Europe.