TechTarget, which offers both IT media sites and technology sales and marketing intelligence, posted $31.5 million in Q2 earnings, up 18% year-over-year. Growth was driven by their Priority Engine Technology Sales Intelligence service which grew revenues 60% year-over-year. The firm noted that “revenue growth continues to be driven by our leadership position in purchase intent data and our customers’ transition to becoming data driven sales and marketing organizations.”
IT Deal Alerts revenue was up 21% to $14 million as the customer base grew from 500 to 600 clients. The firm also signed more than 40 new Priority Engine clients in the quarter (to approximately 250).
The new Priority Engine enhancements, which were released in early May, have been “well received in the market place.” New features included improvements to the user experience, a new Salesforce widget, persistent URLs, list assignments, user roles, and improved topic filtering.
Furthermore, Priority Engine is shifting the firm to a recurring revenue model with 34% of revenue now attributable to longer-term contracts. Approximately 80% of subscription revenue comes from medium and large firms and 20% from smaller firms, “typically VC-backed start-ups.” The revenue renewal rate for medium and large customers is “well over 100%,” said the firm in its earnings press release. “Those customers are finding great value in our purchase intent data and are renewing and buying more from us at high rates.”
However, TechTarget has a higher churn rate on smaller customers due to common issues inherent to smaller firms such as “changing go-to-market priorities, budget or funding reductions, personnel turnover, etc.” The issue of small customer churn exists for both their core services and longer-term contracts. To reduce churn, the firm is taking three steps: improving the ease of use of products; expanding their Customer Success team which owns customer on-boarding, training and monitoring; and building a dedicated sales team responsible for renewing and upselling. Splitting sales into hunters and farmers will allow the “existing sales team to hunt for new opportunities.”
Tucked 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.
I am beginning a monthly series entitled What Is where I provide an overview of one of the underlying sales and marketing intelligence technologies or processes being deployed at B2B firms. I will begin with Intent Data.
Intent Data is one of the three informational elements of B2B Lead scoring (the other two are Fit and Opportunity). Intent data consists of both first and third-party elements and identifies when companies are actively researching specific product categories. First-party data is captured in your marketing automation systems and web logs. Typical first-party intent data includes
Trade Show Booth Visits
In short, if somebody is viewing your website, reading your collateral, meeting with you at a tradeshow booth, or attending your webinars, then he or she is displaying purchase intent. Of course, not everybody doing so is a potential purchaser, but a high percentage of individuals digitally interacting with your firm are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for your products and services.
Unfortunately, intent data is often anonymous. Unless the individual submits a webform, you are most likely limited to an IP address. As B2B visitors are usually accessing your platform from a corporate IP address, it is possible to tie the IP address to the company and at least associate the activity with a company. Companies such as DemandBase, Bombora, and Dun & Bradstreet offer Visitor Intelligence services to map IP addresses to companies. Along with the company name, they enrich the visitor intelligence with firmographics such as location, size, and industry.
External intent data is provided by vendors such as Bombora, The Big Willow, True Influence, and TechTarget. External intent data is gathered from B2B Media websites that evaluate topics of interest across their network and determine which topics are of interest to companies. Interest is gauged by articles viewed, white papers downloaded, searches performed, case studies read, etc. Generally, each company is baselined by topic with interest determined with respect to the baseline. A surge of interest takes place when short-term interest in a topic is well above the baseline for the company. Intent data is generally delivered as a numeric score by topic with companies licensing the topics of interest. As intent is determined at the corporate level, it works best in lead scoring. With the exception of TechTarget, you don’t know which individuals are researching specific topics.
TechTarget Priority Engine provides technology specific intent at the individual level along with contact information, buying stage (early or late based upon content viewed and downloaded), and key influencers (companies of interest). TechTarget is focused on Technology topics across its 140 media sites.
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.
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.”
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
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.
Technology media company TechTarget announced strong Q4 growth for their Sales Intelligence Priority Engine service. The firm added over 40 new Priority Engine and Deal Data customers in Q4 with revenues more than doubling year-over-year. Priority Engine benefited from the addition of DiscoverOrg technographic and contact intelligence during the quarter. The service combines intent, predictive, and contacts intelligence into a single solution. Intent data is sourced from their 140 B2B media tech web sites containing 550,000 indexed content pages, many of which make the first page of Google technology searches. Each day, the firm has one million buyer interactions tied to its 17 million members which it then tags to 10,000 technology topics. The majority of members have technology titles, but TechTarget also supports five million non-IT members.
Content is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese.
TechTarget claims that its hand-indexed, technology-focused editorial content results in a better indication of technology intent than machine-indexed intent files built across a broader set of B2B media sites. Furthermore, because TechTarget has member ids associated with site activity, they know who at each company is researching specific topics, providing surge data tied to specific individuals. Other intent vendors provide anonymous intent.
“Real purchase intent insight is actually made, not scraped from general-purpose websites. It begins with relevant, useful content that provides critical value to professionals as they look to solve business challenges and make buying decisions. By observing and learning from their content consumption patterns as they happen, marketers can market and sellers can sell at the right time with greater relevance. Our ability to deliver real purchase intent starts with our extensive content footprint and the hyper-relevant audiences that we’ve built.”
TechTarget CMO John Steinert
Priority Engine identifies “vendors actively influencing this deal,” core and related topics, and products and vendors. Installed product and vendor data is licensed from HG Data and viewable by category. Users can also search installed technology at an account by product, vendor, and category.
Accounts are ranked on a weekly basis with the service providing “an early radar on who’s buying from your named account lists.” TechTarget provides real-time analysis of the “most active accounts and named prospects conducting purchase research” and ranks those accounts by “likelihood to engage.” Prospects are segmented by geography and hundreds of marketing segments. The solution “creates a world-class ABM solution that combines breadth of reach, purchase power insights, and the ability to pinpoint and influence key prospects in one place.”
By combining DiscoverOrg contacts with member search data, Priority Engine provides “direct access” to the demand units of named active researchers and key influencers. Joint customers will have full access to DiscoverOrg’s editorially verified decision makers alongside TechTarget contacts that are conducting active research. The partnership displays the “Target Buying Team within a single dashboard.” Priority Engine customers that have not licensed DiscoverOrg will be limited to ten names per account.
TechTarget announced a set of enhancements last month which includes weekly contact updates, Marketo integration, regional subscriptions (North America, EMEA, United Kingdom/Ireland, APAC, ASEAN and India), and integration with internal datasets such as sales territories and web site visitors.
“We’ve moved beyond company-level insights; Priority Engine gives you access to ranked accounts AND the actual buyers researching purchases at those accounts,” said TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney. “The unique purchase intent insight available within Priority Engine helps marketers generate demand more efficiently, accelerate ABM effectiveness, and deliver a more substantive contribution to sales.”
DiscoverOrg is partnering with technology media and marketing company TechTarget to deliver its IT intelligence through TechTarget’s Priority Engine platform. The new offering, which will be available on November 2nd, provides a “unified data feed” of DiscoverOrg executive intelligence alongside TechTarget intent and Active Prospect insights. DiscoverOrg doubles or trebles the contacts available for Priority Engine prospects.
TechTarget provides real-time analysis of the “most active accounts and named prospects conducting purchase research” and ranks those accounts by “likelihood to engage.” Prospects are segmented by geography and hundreds of marketing segments. The joint solution “creates a world-class ABM solution that combines breadth of reach, purchase power insights and the ability to pinpoint and influence key prospects in one place.”
Joint customers will have full access to DiscoverOrg’s editorially verified decision makers alongside TechTarget contacts that are conducting active research. Priority Engine customers that have not licensed DiscoverOrg will be limited to ten names per account. The partnership displays the “Target Buying Team within a single dashboard.”
“Our goal is to help B2B tech providers discover and influence the Target Buying Team at accounts in their market segment,” said TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia. “Our partnership with DiscoverOrg means that our sales and marketing customers have the ability to create, prioritize, influence and convert new pipeline opportunities faster and more cost-efficiently than ever before.”
TechTarget has embraced ABM and recently published a three-part blog on the topic. According to TechTarget, classic demand generation is based upon generic value-generation arguments:
Classic B2B targeting methods have relied too much on size and seniority. We assume that if a company is huge it must have a need. It’s logical. We assume that the CXO will ‘get’ our value proposition — makes sense, we think, because those people are really smart and our value prop seems super compelling to us. In the end, it’s the very obviousness of this kind of thinking that’s its downfall. Not only is everyone else targeting the same people, but they’re also raising up their message to a CXO level of abstraction to make it very clear. They’re talking “value delivery”, TCO, “next generation” and all those generalities that make everyone sound like everyone else. This can’t possibly work. And it doesn’t. We all know that.
To be effective, you’ve got to think long and hard about who you’re talking to and how what you do can make a substantive difference to them in their business lives. It starts with targeting the right people. Then it’s all about speaking to them at a level that will resonate…
For many of our clients, it’s simply the availability of these new data sources that starts to change everything for them. They now begin with a much better picture of what is actually happening within their target audience so all their campaign activities become more focused in nature. And as they become more adept at using the material, we see them start to refine their approaches to a very granular level. When they start adjusting their messages to address install changes within an account and the concerns of real people within these targets, they achieve another level of performance yet again.
TechTarget argues that firms should micro-target and micro-message to individuals in the enterprise that are dealing with the issues which a vendor’s solution addresses. Furthermore, campaigns should be based upon win research and persona development. ABM programs span renewal and upgrade campaigns, add-on/complementary solution campaigns, and competitive targeting.
TechTarget manages a set of 140 technology research sites. “By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.”
TechTarget publishes 275,000 technology articles and claims to have “more 1st page Google results than any other B2B publisher.” Traffic and site activity is then mapped against their taxonomy of over 5,000 technology topics across 300 segments.
Priority Engine offers marketing automation and Salesforce connectors which provide “weekly feeds from Priority Engine to your MarTech stack.” MAP partners include Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot, and Integrate.
Along with DiscoverOrg, TechTarget also partners with HG Data to provide product / vendor insights.
Priority Engine customers include Cisco, McAfee, and White Hat Security.