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.”
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.”
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 boasted about “great traction in the market” for Apex.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Oceanos began as a list broker back in 2002, but has since evolved into a B2B contact aggregator and data refinery. The firm aggregates 97 million active US contact records and retains millions of inactive names and emails to assist with hygiene. Data is aggregated from eleven vendors and includes social data from FullContact and Pipl. Oceanos provides data enrichment, TAM analysis, net-new contacts, and a set of data specialists to assist with projects.
Oceanos is self-funded and based in Marshfield, MA. Annual revenue is around $5 million and is derived from data hygiene services, contact matching, and API-based data licensing.
Each record is assigned a data quality score based upon eleven signals including dead email addresses, drops between files, email naming conventions, and social data verification. Thus, customers and partners can employ data quality score cutoffs when licensing data. Data quality scores are also employed as part of a free Data Health Check for customers.
Contacts are mapped to 12 Job Functions, 109 Sub-functions, and 7 Job Levels. Granularity to the sub-function level assists with strategic targeting. For example, marketing is mapped to 18 job functions including brand, corporate communications, events, public relations, search engine, and social media.
The Data Health Check report does not directly validate emails and other fields, but employs the Data Quality Scores to provide an overall Data Quality Score and a data accuracy histogram. The service also provides proposed before and after fill rates across twenty biographic and firmographic variables including address fields, direct and corporate phone, employees, revenue, industry, and major social handles. The final element of the Data Health Check report is a set of segmentation charts by job level, function, specialty, domain extension, industry, sizing variables, and country.
At the end of the report, there is a data health recommendation where they contrast their Account Based Marketing approach to traditional database augmentation services:
With 0ther health checks, this is the section where they tell you that they have a plethora of contacts for you to purchase, all matching your data profile. First, the point of this analysis is not to assume that the accounts and contacts currently in your database represent the optimal mix. In many cases the results demonstrate that there is a percent of bad and misaligned data. Second, it’s important to note that this is not a quantity game. In fact the more-the-merrier mindset is the root of many database problems.
We recommend a three step process to effectively cleanse, complete, and grow your database. This is the ideal approach, but we understand that timing and budget do not always permit the perfect solution. That being the case, we suggest a conversation to review the health check results and to determine the best prescription based on your needs and goals.
The Cleanse and Complete stages purge bad data, standardize and validate data, and enrich the client’s database. Cleansing processes the file against FreshAddress, Clickback, internal tables, Whitepages, Pipl and FullContact. Only once the current data quality issues are addressed does the firm recommend a Contact Gap Analysis for populating accounts with missing strategic contacts. The analysis also identifies the percentage of contacts that match the target audience criteria (Ideal Customer Profile). Oceanos contends that best-in-class firms have at least 70% of contacts within their target audience.
The Contact Gap Analysis also provides a greenfield (net-new contact analysis) by job function and sub-function and an analysis of Total Addressable Market (TAM) coverage between House and Greenfield contacts.
Integration services include a partner API, used by ReachForce, Engagio, and Integrate, and MAP connectors for Marketo and Eloqua Cleanse and Append
Oceanos President Brian P. Hession identified their differentiators as their unique blend of technology, professional services, and data quality. With data quality being critical to ABM sales and marketing initiatives, the inclusion of real world project fulfillment through their program specialists provides Oceanos with data quality insights that are used to continuously inform and enhance the data quality processes. “We apply both technology and real-world insights to ensure the highest quality of data before we are releasing it. We are incorporating a continuous stream of data quality insights into our code to address the many nuances that a program specialist encounters manually on a dataset,” said Hession. “The way that Oceanos is going to be successful in the future is if we can assemble an internal contact database that is of the highest quality in the industry. So there’s been a lot of focus on putting models on top of our contact data.”
InsideView announced the launch of a professional services group to offer Expert Services to its customers. The new Data Concierge service “helps customers navigate the data complexities involved in strategic go-to-market initiatives.”
The Expert Services group is staffed by a team of consultants and engagement managers. “B2B sales and marketing leaders have asked for our help with operationalizing ABM and other targeted go-to-market initiatives. To meet this need, our services team has evolved from delivering data projects (like clean, email validation, contact append) to more consultative services like Target Market Analytics. In the future, we anticipate growth in this part of the business to fulfill market demand,” said VP of Product & Solutions Marketing, Joe Andrews.
The first formal service assists ABM customers with analytics around their target market and helps customers define their Total Addressable Market (TAM). The concierge service includes a data visualization console which “enables customers to more effectively select the right accounts for their account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives.”
“A picture drives a business conversation in real-time as executives can run “what-if” scenarios and make decisions in real-time,” said Andrews.
The visualization tool provides both existing and whitespace segmentation by state, country, industry, and sizing variables. Data is displayed as both raw counts and TAM penetration percentages. The product even loads in current account customer data to detail the distribution of current accounts within and outside of the ideal customer profile (ICP). Users can also drill down on segments providing a more granular view by state, size, industry, etc.
The dashboard may be downloaded as a PDF for sharing with team members or executives. Users may also download records from the Dashboard.
“We’ve always strived to be a strategic partner for our customers, and many companies underestimate the data complexities involved in go-to-market planning and execution. Now we have an expert services team dedicated to help guide customers step-by-step through the process of defining their ideal customer profile, identifying their TAM, and making sure the right targets are in their database. Our goal is for InsideView Expert Services to be a trusted partner for customers looking for help with any big, thorny data-driven initiative for marketing or sales.”
InsideView CRO John Kelly
InsideView noted that many of their customers had captured less than ten percent of their TAM in their database.
“When it’s time to pick accounts, marketing and sales can have different ideas about which should make the list,” wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Laura Ramos. “Successful marketers always lead with data to identify the characteristics that distinguish “good” opportunities from those selected through feel, anecdote, or intuition.”
While InsideView continues to offer and enhance its sales intelligence products, its emphasis over the past several years has been in launching marketing products such as InsideView Refresh (automated CRM cleansing), InsideView Enrich (real-time lead enrichment), InsideView Target (Marketing Prospecting), and a broad set of MAP and CRM connectors.
InsideView is not the first sales intelligence vendor to provide such services. Avention has long provided data and professional services and launched the DataVision platform last year for TAM analysis and white space company and contact identification. Likewise, Zoominfo shifted its emphasis from sales to marketing and launched their Growth Acceleration Platform to assist with ICP identification and net-new prospecting. While not the first entry in the space, the Expert Services represents a maturing of vendor capabilities in support of marketing departments and ABM projects. Over the past several years, the sales intelligence vendors have retrained their focus from sales insights via browsers to sales and marketing intelligence services which deliver consultative and automated data services via enterprise platforms, mobile devices, and broad connectors. This support goes beyond simply offering sales product Build a List functionality to marketing departments. It includes a set of tools and services for identifying the ideal customer profile, sizing the total addressable market, identifying white space target accounts and contacts (i.e. net-new leads), supporting web forms, automating batch and ongoing enrichment of MAPs and CRMs, prioritizing leads, and assisting with lead-to-account mapping, segmentation analysis, and campaign targeting. Other ABM features which sales intelligence vendors have begun rolling out include visitor site identification, programmatic marketing, social enrichment, Chrome connectors, ABSD (account based sales development) vendor integrations, and light predictive analytics.
We’ve helped several customers along their ABM journey, and we’ve realized their needs extend beyond company and contact data,” blogged InsideView Product Marketing Manager Jyothsna Durgadoss. “In order to be successful, they also require data visualization, technical talent, and expert guidance — all of which are critical for effectively identifying ideal targets, uncovering total addressable market, and selecting the right accounts for ABM.”
InsideView noted that many sales and marketing departments retain an ad-hoc approach to defining their ABM targets and TAM. According to InsideView, “At a recent Sirius Decisions Summit, a poll of the keynote audience revealed that more than 50 percent had an ad hoc or nonexistent approach to measuring total addressable market.” (See bar chart on left)
As with many other technologies and business processes, sales is subject to its set of TLAs (three letter acronyms) such as ICP, TAM, and ABM. As I regularly reference these terms in my blog, I obtained permission from InsideView to republish their slide on these acronyms.
The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is your best customer definition. It is a hybrid of both company and contact variables. While it can be as simple as “the Fortune 500,” a true ICP looks at firmographic, biographic, technical, and signal variables. By technical, I mean industry specific variables such as which platforms are used, how many beds are in the hospital, or whether the company is a direct seller or employs channel sales. By behavioral, I’m talking about business signals such as funding events, partnerships, and M&A activity (what InsideView calls agents and other vendors call triggers).
Defining your ICP is key to strategic targeting. Without an agreed upon ICP, sales and marketing will take an ad hoc approach to customer targeting and prioritization. At best, the lack of an ICP is sub-optimal. At worst, it results in sales ignoring marketing leads and taking a “we’ll do it ourselves” approach.
The Total Addressable Market (TAM) is the full set of customers, prospects, and net-new accounts that match your ICP. Of course, some of your customers and prospects will fall outside of your ICP, but it is the net-new accounts that are the most interesting. Some call these the white-space accounts, but they are basically the companies you should begin nurturing as they represent your best hope of growing revenue. Likewise, prospects within your TAM should be a high priority while those outside should be triaged. Finally, the accounts that fall within your TAM should have high retention rates. They also represent an easy path for cross-selling, upselling, and expanding to other departments, functions, and locations. You want to go from beachheads (land and expand) to strategic partnerships with these firms so deep company intelligence is required (family trees, org charts, additional contacts, sales triggers, SWOTs, industry research, etc.)
Of course, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is the broader strategy that is supported by a focus on your TAM and ICP. ABM is the set of programs, campaigns, and activities by which B2B companies target their best prospects. ABM encompasses sales, marketing, customer support, operations, etc. Once the firm agrees on which accounts are strategic, it can direct its energy towards landing these accounts and ensuring they receive the white glove treatment. While traditional demand generation and content marketing have focused on lead volume, ABM directs sales and marketing resources towards targeting and expanding business within your TAM.
Implementing ABM encompasses a set of tools and services for identifying the ideal customer profile, sizing the total addressable market, identifying white space target accounts and contacts (i.e. net-new leads), supporting web forms, automating batch and ongoing enrichment of MAPs and CRMs, prioritizing leads, embedding sales intelligence within workflows, event alerting, prioritizing leads, and assisting with lead-to-account mapping, segmentation analysis, and campaign targeting. Other ABM technologies include programmatic marketing, dynamic website display based upon real-time firmographics (visitor id), predictive analytics, and proactive sales recommendations. No vendor provides all of these tools today, much less has them integrated into an ABM suite.
Dun & Bradstreet, which has had a series of major product announcements over the past few weeks (the Avention acquisition, rebranding of its OneSource platform as D&B Hoovers, a Beneficial Ownership product), has quietly added powerful new functionality to their Workbench Data Optimizer platform. The new Profile capability features an automated profile builder, Total Addressable Market (TAM) analysis, and look-a-like prospecting based upon the Workbench profiles.
The new functionality helps marketers evaluate the size of targetable sub-markets, identify audiences with a high propensity to purchase, discover overlooked whitespace opportunities, and target new accounts and contacts. According to Alex Schwarm, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics Products, “Profile enables our Workbench customers to begin to use data-driven, ABM-oriented Profiles based on their successful sales. These automated analytics allow you to quickly and easily identify the best whitespace opportunities and characteristics of your target audiences including those with the highest propensity to buy – no data scientist needed.”
Profile is a black-box analytics engine which clusters customer files without biases. Marketers upload a file of their customers’ data for a specific product or product family. Workbench standardizes, de-duplicates, and verifies the input file; matches and enriches it with Dun & Bradstreet’s WorldBase firmographics; and then provides segmentation and file health analysis. The Profile module identifies between two and eight distinct segments containing similar companies across multiple dimensions. The user can define the number of profiles or the system can automatically identify the optimal number of profiles based on the variation of the customer file. The marketer is not required to define the key segmentation variables. Instead, the system automatically performs affinity clustering (my term) to build the segments. Execution time is typically 5 to 10 minutes.
The results are displayed on a downloadable dashboard that provides a side-by-side firmographic analysis of the clusters. Results include company size, ownership (e.g. parent, branch), primary industries, cluster size, and average deal size (if revenue figures are also shared with Dun & Bradstreet). Thus, the system may identify segments with a lower average deal size but a larger number of prospects alongside clusters containing top customers with high average deal size but a small number of targetable opportunities.
While Dun & Bradstreet does not use the term “Ideal Customer Profile” (ICP) the system is basically identifying the attributes of a customer’s ICP, determining the average deal size, and sizing the overall market opportunity.
Dun & Bradstreet has two major assets in performing TAM analysis: The WorldBase file of global companies and trust built up over 170 years of credit research. WorldBase provides them with a consistent, global file of 260 million active and inactive companies for credit and supplier risk research, sales intelligence, and B2B marketing. The file includes broad global company linkages, corporate and location sizing, industry coding, Tradestyles, and D-U-N-S Numbers (the de facto global company numbering system). This intelligence provides the core reference file against which market sizing can be performed. But TAM analysis requires customer level revenue information against which company counts can be converted to market sizes. And here is where a strong credit analysis brand helps build confidence amongst marketers to share company revenue data. While they will be reluctant to share revenue details with most vendors, firms have been sharing private financial details with Dun & Bradstreet over the better part of two centuries.
Marketers can then take any of the profiles and immediately identify net-new similar companies as well as net-new contacts. The system also sizes potential target market audiences that can be reached programmatically through their Audience Solutions group.
While prospect scoring based upon these definitions is not yet supported, that is a likely future offering for the platform. Profile, along with a set of predictive scores and paired with D&B Hoovers’ business signals, represents a toe in the water of the predictive analytics space.