What is Fit Data?

A Subset of the D&B Hoovers location selects with regional filters for the US and UK.
A subset of the D&B Hoovers location selects with regional filters for the US and UK.

Last month, I discussed intent data, one of a trio of datasets that assist with lead scoring.  This month I’m touching upon Fit data and next month I’ll be discussing Opportunity data.

Fitness data consists of firmographics, technographics, and verticalized datasets that help define whether a company is a good prospect.  Biographic values such as Job Function, Level, Skills, and Responsibilities should also be employed when evaluating contacts or leads.

Firmographics are the basic variables that have long been used to define a good prospect.  Firmographics include location, size (e.g. revenue, employees, assets, PE/VC funding, and market cap), industry, and year founded.  Other commonly used dimensions include Ownership Flags (Minority Owned, Woman Owned, Veterans Owned, SOHO, Franchise), Ownership Type (Public, Private, Nonprofit, Government), and Parent/Sub/Branch.

Ownership flags are used for both inclusion and exclusion with SOHO and Franchise flags generally used to exclude small businesses and those with limited purchasing authority.  Subsidiaries and Branches are often excluded as they also have more limited purchasing authority, but are included when looking for locations to sell into after an MSA is signed or when evaluating entry into overseas markets.  In these cases, knowing all of the locations of current accounts and top prospects is quite valuable.  Likewise, logistics companies look for companies with many locations.

Several vendors support radius searching around a ZIP code.  This select is valuable for both event planning (e.g. 50 miles from a tradeshow) or for sales reps when traveling and looking to include additional accounts and prospects on a trip.

A recent study by Dun & Bradstreet found that three of the top five dimensions used when targeting B2B accounts are firmographic (Location, Industry, and Company Size).

Firmographic variables such as geography, industry, and company size are commonly used for specifying target accounts (Source:
Firmographic variables such as geography, industry, and company size are commonly used for specifying target accounts (Source: “The 6th Annual B2B Marketing Data Report,” Dun & Bradstreet, Sept 2018).

Furthermore, Account specific lists for ABM generally employ firmographic criteria when building or extending ABM lists.  (Online activity is an intent variable which was discussed in my last What Is.)

Technographics are an example of a verticalized dataset.  Generally they consist of vendors, products, and product categories.  Originally, such data was only available from technology sales intelligence vendors such as DiscoverOrg and HHMI (now Aberdeen Services), but HG Data built and licensed a technographics dataset which is now widely available in data marketplaces, predictive analytics, and sales intelligence platforms.  Aberdeen followed suite in licensing their dataset as well.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique selects for targeting departments, department headcount growth, and employment growth.  Unfortunately, this data is not downloadable or available for lead scoring.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique variables for building lists. Unfortunately, the variables are not exportable.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique variables for building lists.

Biographic variables are also important when determining fit.  Job function and level help determine whether a lead is likely to be a decision maker, influencer, or noise.  Most vendors map job titles to taxonomies of between 8 and 60 job functions and 4 to 8 levels.  Other biographic variables include education, years at company, former companies, and interests.

Data availability and currency may also play into Fit both directly and indirectly.  If a select is weakly populated (e.g. Education, Skills), then many potential targets will be omitted from lists or given low scores.  In some cases, lowering the lead score due to a missing field makes sense.  Lead scores should incorporate the availability of emails, direct dials, and LinkedIn handles because this information increases the likelihood of successfully communicating with a prospect.

TIP: When evaluating vendors, ask about the fill rates on key fields you anticipate using in your lead scoring or prospecting.

In a similar vein, last update dates should also be used as a filter.  Data from SHRM indicates a 2016 average contact decay rate of 27% when accounting for job departures, lateral moves, and title changes.  And this is only at the contact level.  The rate is even higher when including company name changes, relocations, and bankruptcies / facility closures.  Thus, the last update field is a relevant fitness variable for prospecting but not inbound lead scoring.

In short, lead fitness can be defined by a broad set of who, what, and where variables related to companies and contacts.

2017 North American Market Size

 

 

North American Sales Intelligence Market Sizing Model (Excel)

The 2017 Market Size of North American Sales Intelligence Vendors. Includes vendor product features, market share, and notes. GZ Consulting Copyright 2018.

$750.00

For the past few years, I have been sizing the North American Sales Intelligence Market.  This is the largest of the markets as Europe and AsiaPac are more fragmented (the UK is the only other mature market).

In 2017, I estimated the market at $950 million with LinkedIn Sales Navigator as the top vendor.  While new firms continue to enter, the top four vendors earn two of every three dollars in the industry.  The top four  concentration increased 7% last year, mostly due to the acquisitions of Avention and RainKing.

LI SN Market Share
The LinkedIn Market Share Section of the 2017 North American Sales Intelligence Market Sizing

The industry grew 17% over the past year with the majority of this growth being captured by LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, and ZoominfoTechTarget, which was off my radar in 2016, has also seen rapid growth in 2017 and 2018.

DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing at the end of August 2017 so two-thirds of its revenue was recognized as RainKing and one-third as part of DiscoverOrg.  Combined, the two firms earned around $118 million least year with DiscoverOrg ending the year with a $130 million plus ARR.  DiscoverOrg raked in two of every three dollars within the technology sales intelligence sub-segment.

LinkedIn holds a nearly 30% market share.  It has grown rapidly while remaining under the radar of its peers as it is often used as a complementary service to other sales and marketing intelligence services.

Data.com’s 2017 revenue was stable but Dun & Bradstreet forecasted a 30% drop in 2018 (D&B is a revenue share partner on the service).  I anticipate that much of this revenue will shift to other vendors in 2018 and 2019.  Dun & Bradstreet is in a strong position to take much of this share, but other vendors are pushing hard to acquire Data.com clients.

Zoominfo was ahead of the other sales intelligence vendors in recognizing the value of adding marketing functionality alongside their sales tools.  This has put them in a strong position for data services.  They also built the deepest set of global contacts with emails and direct dials and were early to build out connectors (CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, and Chrome).

I am making my market model available for license (See PayPal button at top) as an Excel spreadsheet.  It includes revenue numbers by company along with market share, key features, and notes.

DiscoverOrg: 8 Years on the Inc. 5000

DiscoverOrg Revenue.png
DiscoverOrg continued its blistering growth.  It acquired RainKing at the end of August 2017 so only four months ($13 million est.) of RainKing revenue was included in DiscoverOrg’s 2017 revenue.  Another $26 million (est.) will show up in DiscoverOrg’s 2018 revenue.  The CAGR and revenue data was sourced from the 2014 through 2018 Inc. 5000 lists.

DiscoverOrg made the Inc 5000 list for the eighth straight year with three-year revenue growth of 184%.  The revenue was boosted by the acquisition of RainKing last August, but the firm would have made the list even without the acquisition.  Over the past six years, DiscoverOrg posted a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 60%, growing revenue from $5.5 million in 2011 to $91.9 million in 2017.

“For 10 years, our singular focus has been on how to fuel our customers’ pipeline and revenue growth with the best B2B data available anywhere,” said Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO. “Being named to the Inc. 5000 list for the eighth consecutive year–and especially at the size and scale we are now–demonstrates our continued unwillingness to settle for anything less than excellence.”

Last year, DiscoverOrg more than doubled its database and increased its headcount by 50%.  DiscoverOrg’s Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR) was over $130 million at the end of the year, indicating the firm was in a strong position to make the list again in 2019.  DiscoverOrg only recognized around $13 million in 2017 RainKing revenue over the final four months, so approximately $26 million in additional subscription revenue will hit their books in 2018.

2017 organic revenue growth was around $19 million.

“Out of the nearly seven million private companies moving the economy forward every day, only a tiny fraction have demonstrated such remarkably consistent high growth.  DiscoverOrg’s eighth Inc. 5000 honor truly puts the organization in rarefied company.”

  • James Ledbetter, Inc. Editor-in-chief

What is even more impressive is that DiscoverOrg passed InsideView and Avention (now D&B Hoovers) in revenue with a service that focused on the technology space while the broader sales and marketing intelligence services target the technology space, business services, professional services, and financial services.

DiscoverOrg has distinguished itself through

  • High quality data collected by its large editorial team
  • High fill rates on emails and direct dials
  • Technology and general sales triggers (Scoops)
  • Org charts at both the C-level and along functional lines
  • Biographies with technical skills and responsibilities
  • AI recommendations around both similar companies and recommended executives (AccountView)
  • OppAlerts Intent data (three-premium)
  • A broad set of CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, and Browser connectors.

“Great data is magic,” tweeted the firm.

Or course, DiscoverOrg wasn’t the only B2B Sales Intelligence, Sales Engagement, or DaaS company to make the list.  I will cover Zoominfo, SalesLoft, and these other firms tomorrow.

TechTarget Scoops up Oceanos Marketing

TechTarget LogoTucked into the tail end of TechTarget’s earnings release last week was notice that they had acquired Oceanos Marketing, a contact data management company.  Both firms are based in the Boston suburbs.  Oceanos brings “data quality and data management expertise that will help us improve our offerings and deliver better results to our customers.”

Oceanos began as a list broker in 2002, but has since evolved into a B2B contact aggregator and data refinery.  The firm aggregates 97 million active US contact records (as of August 2017) and retains millions of inactive names and emails to assist with hygiene.  Data is aggregated from over a dozen 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.

TechTarget manages a smaller set of 18 million subscriber profiles, 16 million of which are technology professionals.  The Oceanos acquisition should allow TechTarget to improve both the quality of their subscriber dataset and expand coverage into non-technology positions.  As technology purchase decision making has expanded beyond tech titles, Oceanos provides significant lift into other job functions.  Oceanos contacts are mapped to 12 Job Functions, 109 Sub-functions, and 7 Job Levels.

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 last summer.  “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.”

“Social data plays a role in our data hygiene process and serves as a ‘signal’ within both our Data Quality Score (DQS) and ABM Usability Score. The social information is sourced from reputable partners,” said Hession.  “Oceanos does not scrape contacts across LinkedIn or, in that vein, any social media site. All of our contact records originate from carefully selected third party data providers.”

The acquisition cost was not announced but was deemed “non-material.”  Oceanos 2017 revenue was around $5 million.

HG Data for Salesforce Upgrade

HG Data for Salesforce now supports Lead record enrichment with firmographics and technographics.
HG Data for Salesforce now supports Lead record enrichment with firmographics and technographics.

HG Data recently unveiled a set of enhancements to its HG Data for Salesforce app.  The Lightning Data app now supports integrated account prospecting and lead enrichment, features heavily requested by their customer base.  HG Data’s firmographic and technographic content is also available for lead routing, scoring, and segmentation.

Lead Enrichment supports both real-time and scheduled batch enrichment with firmographic and technographic intelligence.  Lead records are updated every fourteen days. Webform leads passed through Marketo and Pardot are processed in real-time, enabling immediate lead scoring and routing.

HG Data technographic intelligence is also available for Salesforce reports, dashboards, workflows, and triggers.  For example, Salesforce admins can build reports based upon technology usage scores or trigger Chatter messages informed by which platforms are deployed at leads.

According to CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky, “Our lead enrichment capabilities allow marketing groups to engage with prospects earlier and more meaningfully in the sales cycle for things like contextual outreach programming, more personalized lead nurturing, targeted content marketing, and other top of funnel activities.”

HG Data for Salesforce now supports Lead record enrichment with firmographics and technographics.
HG Data for Salesforce now supports Lead record enrichment with firmographics and technographics.

The new Discover Companies functionality supports both direct account lookup and list building.  Selection facets are displayed in a right-handed window and include firmographics (e.g. HQ country, state, and city; revenue and employee ranges; industry) and technographics (product, product category, and vendor).  The results list flags current accounts to help prevent duplicates but does not contain a suppress current accounts feature. Users may select up to 25 accounts at a time for immediate import to Salesforce.

Technographic prospecting helps expand the scope of target accounts as it helps identify firms using both complementary and competitive platforms.  Users can then refine the list via firmographics.

“One of the biggest discoveries B2B sales and marketing teams make when they start using our technographic data is that their known available market might be 3 to 5 times bigger than they had thought,” said Cholawsky. “The latest version of our app enables users to take fast and precise action by allowing them to import net new accounts directly into their Salesforce CRM instance based on our leading comprehensive tech installation data and supplemental firmographics.”

The new Discover Companies tab supports both account prospecting and account lookup via the search bar.
The new Discover Companies tab supports both account prospecting and account lookup via the search bar.

“Everyone and everything is getting smarter and more connected than ever before, and companies are looking to transform the way they connect with customers, partners and employees,” said Kori O’Brien, SVP, ISV Sales, Salesforce. “By leveraging the power of the Salesforce Platform, HG Data provides customers with an easy way to use and access technographic data to better inform their marketing and sales programs.”

Pricing begins at $5,000 per annum for HG Data for Salesforce.  If the Discover Companies module is included, the minimum price begins at $6,000.  Volume pricing is available with tiers at 50 and 500 employees.

HG Data offers sales and marketing intelligence services to tech titans (e.g. Microsoft, HPE, IBM, Dell, Salesforce), predictive analytics companies (e.g. LeadSpace, Everstring, Lattice Engines), and sales intelligence vendors (e.g. TechTarget, Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo).

HG Data employs 65 and has raised $24 million in funding to date.  Investors include Updata Partners, Rincon Ventures, Epic Ventures and Stepstone Capital.

Data coverage now spans 12.4 million global locations across 8,000 technology products and 4,000 vendors.  HG Data uses advanced data science to parse billions of structured and unstructured documents each month. Technographic insights are derived from over twenty different document types including case studies, white papers, press releases, blogs, job postings, and government documents.

TechTarget Priority Engine Q2 Release (Part II)

Priority Engine i-frame widget for Salesforce
Priority Engine i-frame widget for Salesforce

As I discussed in Part I of this article, technology media and intent purchasing firm TechTarget recently launched a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine service that improved the user experience, added persistent URLs, list assignments, and added user roles.

The release also supported a new Salesforce widget and a repackaged offering.  The Salesforce widget identifies which technology topics are actively being researched by the prospect and whether the prospect is actively evaluating vendors.  Other features include a persistent URL link to the full dashboard and available prospect counts.

TechTarget repackaged its offering with the Q2 release.  While it has premium pricing compared to other technology sales intelligence service, TechTarget’s ability to identify firms which are actively looking for solutions by product segment, recommend the key stakeholders around the buying decision, and flag which competitive or complementary vendors are of interest to each prospect differentiate it from other vendors.  This “Active TAM” approach helps sales reps focus their attention and messaging to the best opportunities currently in the market for solutions.

Priority Engine has market momentum.  TechTarget added 50 new Priority Engine accounts in Q1 after adding 40 new accounts in Q4.  Revenue more than doubled in Q1 versus a year earlier.  The firm is also shifting its sales and marketing focus from media and lead generation to data solutions and insights.  On his recent earnings call, CEO Michael Cotoia remarked that the firm has “the leadership position” in B2B IT purchase insights and that the TechTarget salesforce is now leading with data solutions.

Cotoia described the Priority Engine value proposition as “purchase intent insights happening in our world across our universe of sites and topics” which are integrated into the customer’s workflow.  Furthermore, Priority Engine informs sales and marketing about “what accounts are active and what accounts are active with your competitors, oh, and what accounts are not active with you.”

TechTarget is successfully rolling out the service to firms which target technology companies, nearly doubling its user base over the past six months.

TechTarget Priority Engine Q2 Release

 

 

Priority Engine account profiles combine TechTarget intent signals with HG Data platform insights and DiscoverOrg executives
Priority Engine account profiles combine TechTarget intent signals with HG Data platform insights and DiscoverOrg executives

Technology media and intent purchasing firm TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine service “that vastly improve ABM performance, increase sales productivity and maximize demand generation success for enterprise B2B technology organizations.” Amongst the enhancements are improvements to the user experience, a new Salesforce widget, persistent URLs, list assignments, user roles, and improved topic filtering.

Priority Engine combines executive intelligence with purchaser specific demand signals spanning 10,000 IT Topics across its technology research sites.  The service marries HG Data technology intent intelligence with DiscoverOrg contacts, Owler firmographics, and TechTarget intent data and prospects.  Priority Engine assists sales and marketing professionals by “expanding access to total buying teams at active accounts and showcasing rich purchase details such as installed technologies, vendor shortlists and specific, relevant topical interests.”

Priority Engine is GDPR compliant across its 18 million professional profiles who have opted into TechTarget partner marketing programs.  Furthermore, because TechTarget has opted-in user profiles, it is able to provide intent data at the individual level.  This contrasts with other intent networks which gather anonymous intent information at the company level.

User Experience enhancements include a left-side navigation menu and search bar.  The navigation bar provides account list management, export functionality, and export monitoring.  The search bar provides a type-ahead company list to expedite account searching.

Account profiles contain Owler headquarters information along with a business description, logo, sizing data, and social media links.  Also displayed in the business summary are an account interest gauge, Buying Team counts, Vendor Interests based upon downloaded vendor content, and Top Interests.  The account Interest gauge evaluates site readership (number of readers, type of content, scope of vendor interest) to determine whether the prospect is Evaluating Vendors, Ramping Up, or Not Active in the segment.

TechTarget also offers a set of intent signals based upon readership patterns: Widespread, Sustained, Late Stage, Stakeholder, and Cross-Vendor.  According to the firm, “the more blue dots that are lit up, the more focus sales should commit to the account.”

TechTarget Priority Engine Intent Signals
TechTarget Priority Engine Intent Signals

At the top of each Account Profile are the licensed segments.  Sales reps can click on any of the segments and the profile is filtered for the segment across TechTarget Buying Teams, DiscoverOrg Contacts, HG Data products, and the business summary.  TechTarget offers 300 technology market segments with over 200 available for North America.

Priority Engine users are now assigned to one of three roles: Administrators, List Builders, and Read-Only.  Administrators have full system functionality along with account management responsibilities.  Both Administrators and List Builders can build and assign account lists to other users.  Only Administrators can export records.  Priority Engine suggests that Administrators are usually marketers and that List Builders are typically Sales Managers.  View only users would be inside sales reps that would be working account lists but not building them.

Account List Building was redesigned with reorganized and expanded filters displayed on a single page.  Filters have been separated into common and advanced screens with common filters spanning firmographic, technographic, and intent variables.  Advanced filters include Last Touch, Purchase Signals, and HQ location.  Within any filter, users may select Includes Any (OR), Include All (AND), and Exclude (NOT) Boolean logic.

Users can also rank results by market segment.  Most Priority Engine subscribers have between one and five licensed segments.  Except for the largest technology firms that operate in many segments, the firm contends that focusing on key segments provides better results than including adjacent technology segments.

Previously defined lists are available for both suppression or sub-list targeting.

TechTarget Priority Engine List Building
TechTarget Priority Engine List Building

Lists are ranked according to intent signal strength for a market segment.  Clicking on a different segment results in a different set of priorities.

The new Ranked Accounts list view includes the navigation bar along with company logos, the top areas of interest, and the company most influencing the account over the past 90 days (based upon TechTarget content viewing patterns).  Clicking on any account takes the user to the account profile.

The persistent URL provides a direct link between sales and marketing platforms to the Priority Engine Dashboard.  “The sales-to-marketing handoff can be one of the most challenging aspects of implementing modern marketing strategies, especially ABM. To properly inform and empower salespeople, you must be able to pass along valuable account-level insights with each lead — and few systems or workflows support this,” said Michael Cotoia, CEO, TechTarget. “Priority Engine addresses this challenge by providing a persistent and portable account link that can be embedded within any existing sales or marketing systems.”


Please continue to Part II which discusses the Priority Engine Salesforce connector, product repackaging, and market momentum.

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