HG Data: CEO Interviews (Part III)

 

HG Data Technographics may be used for building AppExchange Workflows. For example, separate workflows can be employed for prospects using competitor or complementary platforms.
HG Data Technographics may be used for building AppExchange Workflows. For example, separate workflows can be employed for prospects using competitor or complementary platforms.

I sat down with Craig Harris and Elizabeth Cholawsky of HG Data last month. Elizabeth had joined HG Data as their new CEO eight days earlier with Craig shifting from CEO to R&D Leader and Chairman. We discussed the transition, partner management, product planning, and the entry into other information verticals. The interview has been edited for length and will be published over the next few days.  [Part 1; Part II]


Michael: As you continue to build out the IT vertical, do you see yourself beginning to compete against your partners, and how do you anticipate that playing out in the coming years?

Craig: I don’t see that being an issue. If you actually map out our partner ecosystem, what you’re going to find is there are about 12 to 15 different applications of data that these partners deliver. There are some companies that try to be a Swiss Army knife – shallow amongst lots of different applications. Most of our partners are really domain experts in a focus area.

Look at where we are anchored currently, HG Data for Salesforce.  Many of our partners are also inside the Salesforce ecosystem. We don’t compete with our partners that have managed applications, even our partners that have Lightning Data apps.  We are still solving different types of problems with our Salesforce applications.

Our focus right now is really on the systems of record. There are a few other CRM systems that we have our eyes on as well as marketing automation. We are looking for a way where we can be embedded in the systems of record and be synergistic with partners as opposed to competing with them.

Michael: When you look at some of your key partners like DiscoverOrg or TechTarget, they built out other content functionality that you don’t have. It seems like you will not be looking to build those in the next two to five years. When you have those shallower applications, they are just licensing technographics and putting it in with your basic prospecting. I could see those less inventive platforms becoming more competitive with you as you build out some of your functionality there.

Elizabeth: There is a complementary strategy consisting of a really strong partnership and channel strategy, combined with still going the route of allowing our data to be productized through leading systems that people use. There will be conflict with some. That’s just the competitive situation that’s been endemic to the technology industry broadly, forever.

The issues are solvable when you have a good strategy laid down. You go into the partner relationships explaining that strategy and where you want to play and why you want to do that. To me, that comes back to the customers, their use case and how they want to consume the data that we’ve got.

It’s a big expanding market out there. I think there is a lot of room for really high growth, with both vital channel partners, as well as doing what we’ve embarked on with the systems of record.

Michael: What size and growth metrics are you comfortable disclosing?

Craig: Not much. We’re 57 employees. As I alluded to earlier, we have an eight-figure run rate, so that leads to a pretty big range. We’re not disclosing [revenue] publicly. I will say, anecdotally, we had a great year of revenue growth.

Michael: What is your split today between content licensing and direct sales? Do you see that shifting much going forward?

Craig: Probably close to the 50-50 mark.

Michael: Probably wasn’t 50-50 two years ago.  That’s a significant gain on the direct sales side then?

Craig: Yes. HG Data for Salesforce has been a very nice contribution to that as has our display advertising and HG Data Audience product line. The end user, they don’t necessarily want to go log in to ten more systems when they’re trying to solve a very specific problem. Who are my best prospects? Who should I talk to? What types of conversations should I have and what types of key strategic insights can I use and when? For us, this is all about having our data at the right place at the right time for the right person – to help them solve the thing that they care about which is: Who’s my next customer?

We are not going to do this alone. We are going to need partners for that journey.

HG Data: CEO Interviews (Part II)

HG DAta Harris

I sat down with Craig Harris and Elizabeth Cholawsky of HG Data last month. Elizabeth had joined HG Data as their new CEO eight days earlier with Craig shifting from CEO to R&D Leader and Chairman. We discussed the transition, partner management, product planning, and the entry into other information verticals. The interview has been edited for length and will be published over the next few days.  [Part 1]


Michael: Craig, let’s talk about your new role and the future of HG Data.

Craig: Over time we’ve ingested and continue to ingest billions of company documents. These documents don’t just cover IT or technographics. They span every geography, every vertical, every category.  Technographics is really just scratching at the surface. There are so many more insights within our corpus, and we’ve already built the tools and have the machinery to extract them. That’s where I want to spend my time. That’s where I want to focus.

That means a couple of things. It means going much deeper in this phase that we’re already in. Going beyond just company X is using product Y. There’s so much more context and insight and actionability that we can mine around the technographics that we are already selling to the market. There are other opportunities beyond technographics and we’re already monetizing that in the digital display part of our business, which is growing really fast.

I think this is just a perfect partnership between Elizabeth and myself. I get to go back to what I love the most which is the R&D. We’ve got a real pro here at home that can help us scale to the next revenue milestones and beyond.

Michael: The other industry that you’ve entered is healthcare. You partnered with `.

Craig: Yes, that was a couple of years ago. Our thesis is, we’ve got this massive corpus of information, can we extract information beyond technographics? Doing our deep dive into healthcare, of course, we started with the specialized software and hardware products that are used within healthcare organizations.

Quickly from there it became looking at equipment that you used in the operating room or how many beds are at certain healthcare facilities. That was very much a successful test of our ability to move into other verticals. That quickly became a very meaningful business for us. We’ve already proven that we can replicate what we’ve done in the technographic space.

More importantly, beyond technographics, there’s so much opportunity in the space that we’re currently in. We launched our HG Data for Salesforce product in November, so this is really one of our first forays into going and putting more of an experience around the data. This is an area where having someone with Elizabeth’s experience just puts us in a great position to explore those avenues.

Michael: Lightning Data is just an application – Account data maintenance within the AppExchange. It’s a small subset of the broader scope of applications in the AppExchange.

Elizabeth: Right. Yes. We’re working closely with them and talking about co-marketing opportunities to get a little more visibility around the Lightning Data app.

Michael: You have some other products you also launched around marketing analytics last year?

Craig: Well, so we’ve got the HG Data Platform. I wouldn’t really call it a product but an introductory way to discover the different data sets that we have available. It also has light analytics in terms of growth of those products by geography and other types of firmographics.

But really the main product launched is HG Data for Salesforce. That’s our premium offering inside Salesforce. We also have a demo version called HG Data for Salesforce Lite.  We just launched that.

HG Data Focus [Chrome extension] is a tool used by thousands of sales reps and BDRs and marketing folks. That’s been a wonderful way to experience our data.

The other product launch was HG Data Audience. It’s our digital display advertising offering where we’ve worked with third-parties to get our data put into the systems or the workflows for building both syndicated audiences as well as custom audiences.

That product is growing really fast.  It’s branded and available inside of Oracle Data Cloud, LiveRamp Data Store, DoubleClick Bid Manager and many others

Michael: Craig, going out five years, where do you see the company on the product side?

Craig: With technographics, if you look at some of the partners that we have within the HG ecosystem, we’ve identified at least a couple dozen different use cases and applications for our data. That’s just looking at the sales and marketing ecosystem. The enormity of what could be powered by HG, if we choose to build that ourselves for end users inside of their workflows, is exciting. Or, we may decide in certain scenarios that there are other companies that are just so good at that particular delivery of service to customers that we are more impactful powering that application It just makes a lot more sense to leverage partners in certain circumstances.

What I see happening over the next two to five years starts with technographics. We are going to choose some of those areas of application and we are going to build and power really wonderful experiences with our data directly for end users. And with many other applications for sales and marketing, if not the majority of other applications, we are going to continue working very closely with the wonderful partners that we have been working with for so many years. Over the two to five-year time-frame, I believe that we have the opportunity to go and replicate that same experience in a multitude of other vertical markets.

That’s where I’ll be spending a lot of my time just exploring which other verticals and markets we can go into and build unique data sets. Currently, I believe that we deliver the holy grail of data within the software and hardware space. Part of the holy grail of data is technographics.  As we evaluate moves beyond healthcare and we move into manufacturing or transportation or any number of verticals, the definition of the holy grail of data becomes very different. That’s where I’m going to be spending the better part of the next several years working as Elizabeth helps provide some guidance. We are going to be very deliberate with the next markets that we choose to move into.

Michael: What sort of time-frame do you see yourself entering these additional verticals?

Craig: Right now, I think the focus and the priority is optimizing the areas that we are already in, so there’s a lot more work to do in technographics and healthcare before we start jumping in those multiple other verticals.

My vision for HG Data five years from now is that HG Data has become the de facto leader in the technographic space – not just building the data and surfacing the data, but in putting it to work for our customers.  At the end of the day our customers don’t care about technographics. They care about knowing who their next customer is going to be or how they are going to retain and grow their existing customers. Five years from now I hope that HG Data will be informing this in the IT vertical as well as four or five other vertical markets.


Part III covers partnership strategy and company performance metrics.

HG Data: CEO Interviews

HG Data Cholawsky

I sat down with Craig Harris and Elizabeth Cholawsky of HG Data last month. Elizabeth had joined HG Data as their new CEO eight days earlier with Craig shifting from CEO to R&D Leader and Chairman. We discussed the transition, partner management, product planning, and the entry into other information verticals. The interview has been edited for length and will be published over the next few days.


Michael: Elizabeth, can you provide a quick overview of your history and experience and why you are the best person to be running HG Data?

Elizabeth: I’ve been working with subscription-based products, SaaS products, and products in the cloud since they were first invented almost 20 years ago.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked as VP of marketing at a couple of companies which you may not remember. Commission Junction was acquired by ValueClick, and I was VP of marketing there.

In 2007, I moved on to Citrix and the GoTo products, as GM.  It was a great experience because we were at the early stages of getting GoToMeeting out to market. When we got Citrix big enough, we divided into lines of business to streamline the decision making.

That was about a $200 million business when I left it in 2014.

I took those executive learnings and was recruited to lead Support.com. I went there in mid-2014 and by the beginning of the following year, we had a product to market. By the end of that year, we were at about $1.2 million ARR. Pretty quick ramp for that product in the SaaS market.

Michael: What else will help HG Data grow rapidly in the coming years?

Elizabeth: I have always been attuned to the discipline of product and product development. The core of all good technology companies is its product. My affinity is for that as well as the details, and I have been immersed in both – really having a sharp eye for the product / market fit.

Michael: Craig, you made a decision to step back from running the company day-to-day, but it sounds like you’re taking a more technical role with the organization as well as continuing as the Chairman.

Craig: We closed our Series B round about two years ago and, after we closed, I had a great chat with our new investors.  I dropped a bomb on them and said, “Hey, when would be a great time for me to go and really have my dream job?” The same thing from which HG Data was founded which is R&D. That’s always been my love, that’s always been my passion. That was what got me to start my first company NOZA and, when NOZA was acquired, it was the R&D and the pursuit of solving very challenging data problems that led me and my co-founders to start HG [in 2010]. It just what I love and that’s what I find myself doing on the weekends.

I asked our new investors, “Hey, thanks so much for wiring us $12 million. At what point do you think will be a good time to talk about hiring a CEO to get it to really scale?” Jon Seeber of Updata Partners said, “Hey, once you get to an eight-figure run rate, we’ll talk about it.” Well, it didn’t take that long until we were at an eight-figure run rate so this has been in the works for some time now. We just wanted to find the perfect fit. Product management has never been the thing that HG Data has led with. We’ve always led with the Holy Grail [HG] of data.

We put together a group of advisory product people a year and a half ago. We were brainstorming, trying to take that data and put it to work inside of our customers’ workflows. That was the next step for us and that’s not something that I have a lot of experience with. For me, it also wasn’t something where I’d just go hire a VP of Product and then, voila, we’re going to be able to become that type of organization. For us, it was something that the board and I wanted to have just in the DNA of our leadership and so that’s why literally after seeing a couple of hundred candidates, Elizabeth was the perfect choice for us and really a no-brainer

Elizabeth: I feel like I’m in the most fortunate situation. I just feel like that’s a hugely fortunate thing for a new CEO to have [the founder] as a partner.  [When] the founder walks away, you lose a true guiding light of the company. That’s not going to be us.


Continue to Part II

Rhetorik Extends its UK/Irish NetFinder Service

Job Function Searching in Rhetorik NetFinder
Job Function Searching in Rhetorik NetFinder

UK Technology Sales Intelligence vendor Rhetorik released an enhanced version of its UK and Irish NetFinder service. The revised edition covers over 40,000 corporate and public-sector sites. The service doubled its technology buyers to 215,000 and increased its technology coverage five-fold including enhanced install data on cloud, enterprise and vertical industry applications, system software and middleware applications.

The Rhetorik database tags over 10,000 products from 6,000 vendors and maintains over 150 technology categories. Data coverage spans 164 biographic, firmographic, and technographic variables including email, phone, revenue, employees, line of business, and site-level technographics. All contacts are GDPR compliant and 92% contain emails.

“Rhetorik has adapted its policies and procedures to upgrade DPA regulatory standards to meet GDPR requirements,” said the firm. “While monitoring closely progress on the e-Privacy legislation, Rhetorik follows best-practice processes as set by PECR – Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulation. We have implemented clear and easy to follow procedures for individuals to be informed and manage their own Business Card Data. We keep access to all B2B information secure and protected.”

Data is gathered through a combination of automated means and editorial research.

Over the past year, Rhetorik has partnered with the European Market Intelligence Group (EMIG) and CNCData to provide European and AsiaPac coverage. The EMIG coverage spans 14 countries, 180,000 companies, and one million contacts. The CNCData partnership delivers over two million contacts and 1.2 million companies across 23 AsiaPac countries.

Rhetorik, which has provided technology intelligence for over two decades, underwent a management buy-out last summer. At the time, CEO Meredith Amdur, set a goal of expanding their “data gathering and analytics capabilities to create new products for technology sales and marketing professionals worldwide.”

Datanyze Account Intelligence & Triggers Released

The Datanyze Account List with Events.
The Datanyze Account List with Events.

Technology Intelligence vendor Datanyze rolled out an Account Intelligence capability which provides a set of buying signals via a dashboard and daily email alerts. Amongst the sales triggers covered are Acquisition Events, Funding Events, Technology Adds/Drops, Job Postings Added, and Recent News Articles.

Datanyze CEO Ilya Semin said that the firm is looking to expand beyond lead generation into Account Based Marketing. “We could do a really good job identifying companies that our customers should go after, but when they already have a list of companies they want to talk to they use the ABM model, meaning there’s already a list of accounts. How can we help? With an ABM approach we didn’t really have a solution. This new feature, Account Intelligence Dashboard, is designed specifically for companies that use an ABM approach.”

ABM lists can be uploaded as CSV files of ABM domains, generated as a targeting report, gathered from Datanyze tags or matched against Salesforce Opportunities, Leads, or Accounts. Users can then select which technology adds and drops are relevant to their campaigns and account plans.

“Traditionally, the approach for salespeople is, ‘Hey, let me go find the accounts that I want to target and let me see if they’re interested in my solution or product.’  The account-based approach is when companies, usually marketing departments, identify a list of companies that will definitely be a good fit, the sales rep is responsible for a territory and will be given a list of 100 accounts that they need to talk to in the next year. Using our Account Intelligence Dashboard, they can upload this list of 100 accounts, and every time there is a good buying signal it will give them context to reach out to this company.”

  • Datanayze CEO Ilya Semin

Along with Account Based Sales, Datanyze positions the service for competitive intelligence (tracking technology and events at your competitors) and customer success monitoring (identifying growth and opportunity events as well as monitoring complementary and competitive technology).

The service is free to Datanyze Small Team ($500 per month for ten users) and Enterprise customers. A limited free version will be available in a few months.

DiscoverOrg Outreach Connector

Sales reps can upload individual records, selected records in batch, or all records to Outreach. A similar process supports uploads to CRM or Marketing Automation Platforms. Leads may be uploaded as new accounts or matched to current accounts within Outreach.
Sales reps can upload individual records, selected records in batch, or all records to Outreach. A similar process supports uploads to CRM or Marketing Automation Platforms. Leads may be uploaded as new accounts or matched to current accounts within Outreach.

Sales and marketing intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg announced a “refreshed” connector with sales engagement platform Outreach.  The update provides improved “synchronicity” between the two services, making it “faster and easier for reps to sequence DiscoverOrg contacts,” said Russell Van Leuven, DiscoverOrg Senior Director of Sales.

According to Van Leuven, the updated “solution will remove barriers and help people sell more by addressing three mission critical sales problems: (1) a disjointed sales tech stack, (2) inconsistent or untrustworthy data, and (3) maintaining governance practices to preserve data quality.”

“The value of great data lies in what our customers DO with it.  The integration of Outreach with DiscoverOrg means sales teams can get the best data and insights on their target accounts, engage them with the right message at the right time, and never worry about that data going stale again.”

  • DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck

The solution addresses both the dearth of quality data for small teams that perform open-web Google research and “tech overload” at enterprises that are balancing email, CRM, and “a huge stack of tech tools to find, cross-reference, and confirm the information they need,” said Van Leuven.

Van Leuven highlighted the difficulties of maintaining data quality in CRMs:

It’s hard to trust the murky origins of the data in your CRM. It’s usually old (Did you know: data decays at a rate of 30% per year). A lot of distrust comes from the fact that most people have had a traumatizing experience with bad data or bad data providers that’s landed them in spam filters, blacklists, or worse. And when your sales team doesn’t feel like they can trust the data, they stop trying to keep records updated. Bad data perpetuates a burdensome cycle of bad data.

The connector feeds editorially researched prospect data into Outreach and Salesforce.  Both individual records and bulk prospects are pushed to Outreach and assigned to Outreach sequences.  There is “no downloading, uploading, copying or pasting required,” said Van Leuven.

Prospect lists can be assembled in DiscoverOrg and assigned to specific Outreach sequences and tagged by the owner.  Company and contact information can also be passed to Outreach via DiscoverOrg’s Chrome extension.  Thus, a sales rep can identify a prospect on LinkedIn or a company website, match and enrich the record against the DiscoverOrg reference file spanning 130,000 companies and three million companies, and then upload the enriched record to Outreach.

“Great sales results require an in-depth understanding of who you are targeting, and then reaching those individuals with a message that moves them to take action,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina.  “The partnership between Outreach and DiscoverOrg makes that simple.”

The joint service also offers automated DiscoverOrg enrichment of new leads within Outreach.  The nightly scan appends DiscoverOrg contact information, firmographics, and technographics to Outreach for both new records and records updated within the DiscoverOrg reference library.  The nightly scan also identifies bounced emails and departed employees.

The connector supports field-level configuration allowing admins to set custom field mappings.  Admins are also provided with a weekly summary report which lists all account and contact updates.

DiscoverOrg has a 95% data quality SLA based upon their 90-day editorial review cycle and monthly bounce testing.

Along with Outreach, DiscoverOrg supports sales engagement vendors SalesLoft and Tellwise.  DiscoverOrg plans on enhancing those connectors along with adding additional sales engagement vendors.

D&B Hoovers Q1 Enhancements

Users can now filter by corporate employee counts or location employee counts. Both numbers appear in the results list.
Users can now filter by corporate employee counts or location employee counts. Both numbers appear in the results list.

Dun & Bradstreet continues to invest in their D&B Hoovers platform with a set of content and functionality enhancements. Since the beginning of the year, Dun & Bradstreet expanded its prospecting selects, added deeper technology and company coverage, tightened its Microsoft Dynamics integration, and increased the number of fields available for export to connectors.

Dun & Bradstreet added a series of new display and screening variables including Employees 1-Year Growth, Area Code Exclusions, and Employee Counts at the company or site level. D&B Hoovers now supports over 175 prospecting variables.

Three additional domestic location filters were also added. The Domestic Ultimate D-U-N-S Number identifies the top location within a country, helping with territory expansion and cross-selling. Related variables include Is Domestic Ultimate (Select for the top national offices) and Domestic Ultimate Company (all children of the Domestic Ultimate Company).

The new selects are generally not available in competitor products.

Avention (now D&B Hoovers) platforms have long supported variables for screening by ultimate parent country and ultimate parent. The new Domestic Ultimate D-U-N-S Number selects expand the options for sales and marketing to target accounts at the country level. Thus, if a company is looking to enter a new market, they can evaluate their ABM account presence within that market and focus sales and marketing campaigns around those prospects.

The Technologies premium offering was also enhanced with coverage expanded to 195 countries, 2.7 million companies, and over 20 million tracked technologies. Technologies are screenable at the vendor and product level and viewable as part of the Technologies in Use report. Dun & Bradstreet did not indicate whether they gathered the data or licensed it from a third-party.

Microsoft Dynamics admins can now set D&B Hoovers to automatically use D-U-N-S Numbers populated by the D&B Optimizer for Microsoft enrichment service.

“This feature eliminates the need for the manual match and selection step that is used to populate records in D&B Hoovers.  Once D-U-N-S Numbers are attached, the records become automatically eligible for de-duplication when sending to CRM.”

  • Phil McWade, Dun & Bradstreet Director of Product Management

D&B Hoovers added 15 additional CRM and MAP export fields including D&B Prescreen score, Franchise Status, Import/Export Status, Manufacturing Status, Owns/Rents, 8 Digit SIC and Description, Latitude and Longitude, Tradestyle, and Square Footage. Most of these variables were added to D&B Hoovers over the past year and are also available for display, screening, and download.

In March, D&B Hoovers added over seven million companies including 6.8 million from Brazil, 360,000 from Argentina, 210,000 from India, and 78,000 from Australia. The Russian Federation and Vietnam also added over 50,000 company profiles. D&B Hoovers now covers 21 million active companies in South America and nearly 129 million global entities.