Think Data First, Platform Second – Why Data Fuels MDM

Fuel

 

As the volume of data coming into organizations – from both internal and external sources – continues to grow and makes its way across departmental systems in many different formats, there is a critical need to create a single, holistic view of the key data entities in common use across the enterprise. Master Data Management (MDM) aims to accomplish this goal. Not surprisingly, MDM has become a significant priority for global enterprises, with the market expected to triple from $9.4B to $26.8B by 2020 according to analysts.

But while everyone is investing serious cash into the tools to manage the data, few are putting any thought into the data itself. This is akin to purchasing a luxury sports car and fueling it with water. Sure it looks great, but it won’t get you very far.

 

The underlying concept of MDM is surprisingly simple: get everyone “on the same page” looking at the same data and ensure it is accurate. Yet, master data and its management continue to be a universal challenge across many industries.  Organizations of all shapes and sizes share similar problems related to master data and can all reap benefits from solving them. That means concentrating on the quality of the data before going shopping for the sexiest MDM platform. In essence, you must master data before you can manage it. Ensuring the quality, structure, and integrability is your responsibility; your MDM platform won’t do that for you. It’s like purchasing a top-of-the-line oven and expecting it to produce a delectable meal. You are responsible for what goes into it.

Master Data Defined

Master Data is the foundational information on customers, vendors and prospect that must be shared across all internal systems, applications, and processes in order for your commercial data, transactional reporting, and business activity to be optimized and accurate. Because individual businesses and departments have a need to plan, execute, monitor and analyze these common entities, multiple versions of the same data can reside in separate departmental systems. This results in disparate data, which is difficult to integrate across functions and quite costly to manage in terms of resources and IT development. Cross-channel initiatives, buying and planning, merger and acquisition activity, and content management all create new data silos. Major strategic endeavors, part of any business intelligence strategy, can be hampered or derailed if fundamental master data is not in place. In reality, master data is the only way to connect multiple systems and processes both internally and externally.

Master data is the most important data you have.  It’s about the products you make and services you provide, the customers you sell to and the the vendors you buy from. It is the basis of your business and commercial relationship. A primary focus area should be your ability to define your foundational master data elements, (entities, hierarchies and types) and then the data that is needed (both to be mastered and to be accessible) to meet your business objective. If you focus on this before worrying about the solution, you’ll be on the right course for driving success with MDM. Always remember, think data first and platform second.

Data Dialogue: CareerBuilder Consolidates CRMs, Identifies Hierarchies and Provides Actionable Insight for Sales Enablement

Data Dialogue Logo Header

 

A Q&A with CareerBuilder’s Director of Sales Productivity  

CareerBuilder, the global leader in human capital solutions, has evolved over recent years to better meet marketplace demands. “We’ve moved from transactional advertising sales to a software solution, which is much more complex with a longer sales process and a longer sales cycle,” says Maggie Palumbo, Director of Sales Productivity for CareerBuilder.

With that, it is critical that the sales teams Palumbo works with must be armed not only with information on which accounts to target, but also with intelligence they can use to approach – and engage – the potential customer.

More, as they continue to expand globally, their need for consistent data and CRM consolidation has become a priority. Establishing one system whereby employees all see the same information better positions the company for continued global expansion through more informed decision-making.

We talked with Palumbo about how she has been leading this effort.

What are you focused on now as you look to your priorities moving forward?

In the past, we did not have much in the way of governance. We had loose rules and accounts ended up not being fully optimized. We’re focused now on better segmentation to figure out where we can get the best return.

We use tools from Dun & Bradstreet to help us accomplish this goal. Specifically, we rely on geographical information, SIC codes for industry, employee total and other predictive elements. Then we bring it all together to get a score that tells us which accounts to target and where it belongs within our business.

How do you make the information actionable?

We are unique in that we take the full D&B marketable file, companies with more than 11 employees, and pass it along to a sales representative. Some reps, those with accounts with fewer than 500 employees, have thousands of accounts. What they need to know is where to focus within that account base. Scoring and intelligence allows us to highlight the gems within the pile that may have otherwise been neglected. The reps at the higher end of the business have fewer accounts and require more intelligence on each account to enable more informed sales calls.

Because we’ve moved from a transactional advertising sales model to one based on software solutions, our sales process is now more complex. The reps need intelligent information that they can rely on as they adjust their sales efforts to this new approach.

How do you make sure you’re actually uncovering new and unique opportunities?

We’ve gone more in-depth with our scoring and now pull in more elements. We also work with third party partners who do much of the manual digging. With that, we’re confident that we’re uncovering opportunities others may not necessarily see.

How do you marry together the data with the technology?

When the economy went south, our business could have been in big trouble. We are CareerBuilder. For a business whose focus is on hiring, and you’re in an economy when far fewer companies are hiring, where do you go with that?

Our CEO is forward-thinking and already started to expand our business to include human capital data solutions. With that, it became clear that we needed to have standardized data, which we do via our data warehouse. Once the data is normalized and set up properly, it can be pushed into the systems. Pulling the information from different sources together into one record is the challenge. We use Integration manager for that; the D-U-N-S Number serves as a framework for how we segment our data and we rely heavily on that insight.

How does Dun & Bradstreet data help within your sales force?

Data we get from Dun & Bradstreet provides us with excellent insight. While the reps may not care about the D-U-N-S Number, per se, they do care about the hierarchical information it may reveal—particularly with the growth of mergers and acquisitions over the past few years.

What other aspects of your work with Dun and Bradstreet have evolved?

We are a global company, but we are segmented. As we move everyone across the globe onto one CRM platform, we are creating more transparency. That is our goal. In order for people within the organization to effectively partner with each other, they must see the same information, including hierarchical structure. D&B has helped us bring that information together and identify those global hierarchies.

Tell me more about how linkage has helped you.

We used to be all over the place, with multiple CRMs across the organization globally. Some were even homegrown. We also wanted to get a better view on hierarchies. We lacked insight of what was going on with a company across multiple companies and therefore couldn’t leverage that information. We had to bring it all together through linkage. We’ve made great progress in terms of the global hierarchy and global organizational structure, and we couldn’t have done it without D&B.

Parting Words

As CareerBuilder continues to grow globally and evolve as a company to meet customer needs and demands of the marketplace, aligning the sales process with actionable intelligence is critical to its forward-moving trajectory. “It’s all about fully optimizing the data that’s available to us so that we can focus our efforts on where we can get the most return for the company,” said Palumbo.

Breaking Down the Business Relationships in Breaking Bad

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How Saul Goodman Can Teach Businesses About the Value of Understanding Relationships

This week, TV viewers witnessed the return of Jimmy McGill, a scrappy and indefatigable attorney struggling for respect and reward. Spoiler alert: If you watched Breaking Bad, you know the upstart Albuquerque lawyer goes on to become Saul Goodman, the lawyer and adviser for eventual meth kingpin Walter White, or as he’s known on the street, Heisenberg.

Now in its second season, AMC’s hit show Better Call Saul shows the transformation of the naïve McGill into what would become one of the city’s most notorious criminal defense attorneys. But it doesn’t happen by chance. His ability to understand and manipulate relationships plays a huge role, something many businesses can learn a thing or two about. But before I proceed, if you have not not watched Breaking Bad, I implore you do so immediately. Go on, watch it now, and then come back and read this article, otherwise you’re going to be a bit lost.

In Breaking Bad we learn that Saul Goodman is a key player in Walter White’s evolution from everyday chemistry teacher to criminal mastermind, constantly getting him out of several sticky situations over the course of his drug business operations. Goodman is effective in helping Walt stay one step ahead of the police and competing drug czars because of his extensive connections within the criminal underworld, as well as serving as a go-between connecting drug distributors, evidence removers, impersonators, and other criminals-for-hire.

What makes Goodman so successful is his network of relationships. He knows all the players and how they are connected to others and uses that knowledge to his advantage. Ultimately, it’s what probably keeps him and his clients alive for so long. Other entities in the Breaking Bad world are not so lucky. Shotgun blasts and burning faces aside, I’m talking about the businesses that were ultimately crippled by the chain of events that were set off by Walter White’s maniacal obsession for power.

The Breaking Bad series finale shows us the fate of all the major characters, but what about everyone else that has some underlying connection to what went down?

We learned that Walt’s meth empire was funded by a multifaceted conglomerate headquartered in Germany called Madrigal Electromotive. According to Wikia, Madrigal is highly diversified in industrial equipment, manufacturing, global shipping, construction and fast food; the most notorious being the American fried chicken chain, Los Pollos Hermanos.

Founded by Gustavo Fring, the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant chain had fourteen locations throughout the southwest and was a subsidiary of Madrigal. As we learned during the course of the show, the restaurant provided money-laundering and logistics for illegal activities. It’s safe to assume that following the death of its founder and his reported connection to engineering a billion-dollar drug empire, business suffered. Every enterprise that was directly doing business with the fried chicken chain likely cut ties with them as soon as the news broke. From the factory providing the meat to the manufacturer supplying the utensils, these businesses were aware that Los Pollos Hermanos would suffer and were able to plan in advance for a revenue downfall.

But what about the other suppliers that did not realize they were working with entities that had connections to Los Pollos Hermanos’ parent company? Madrigal is spread across 14 divisions, including a massive investment in fast food. The fast-food division, formerly run by Herr Peter Schuler, encompasses a stable of 7 fast-food eateries, including Whiskerstay’s, Haau Chuen Wok, Burger Matic, and Polmieri Pizza. Following the breaking news of the drug ring, the resulting investigation likely sent shockwaves throughout the entire Madrigal enterprise and subsequently hurt all of its businesses in some shape or form. But let’s look at the supplier of dough for Polmieri Pizza for example. Do you think they knew the pizza shop they do business with was a subsidiary of Madrigal and would be a casualty of the meth trade? Very unlikely.

Because Polmieri Pizza is a subsidiary of Madrigal, they will be at least indirectly effected. While its parent company will be in damage control – a change of management, a freeze on funds, etc. – the innocuous pizza shop will be impacted, even if it is only short term. During this time, the dough supplier has no clue to the grievous relationship the pizza shop has to Madrigal and that it should expect some change in how they work with the pizza eatery. If they had known there was any connection, they may have been able to plan ahead and cut down on production and accounted for less orders. Instead, they are caught by surprise and left overstocked and under water.

This could have been avoided if the dough manufacturer leveraged its relationship data. Every company has relationship data; they just need to know where to look for it, or who to partner with to obtain the right information.

Relationship data is information about two or more entities that are brought together along with their business activities to inform an implied business impact or outcome. Through a combination of interpreting the right signal data and implementing advanced analytics uncovered in this data, unmet needs arise, hidden dangers surface and new opportunities can be identified.

Of course, this is just an example of the importance of being able to recognize business relationships based on a fictional show. But not being able to do so could prove to be a grave reality for businesses of all shapes and form. If the companies with business connections to Madrigal’s vast enterprise had had a sense of relationship data, what would they have seen?

If you can take anything away from the Saul Goodman’s of the world, it is this: know how all your relationships are connected and you will know how to solve problems, manage revenue – and stay out of trouble.

Better Matching, Better Analytics

SICtableYou’ve heard a lot from us about “Growing relationships through data,” and we’re not done talking about it yet. As a company, Dun & Bradstreet is investing heavily in ways to improve prospecting and targeting for sales and marketing teams. We want to put the right information into enterprise workflows – CRM systems, ERP suites and MDM hubs – so that data can help customer-facing teams build strong, vibrant relationships with  customers.

Analytics is a big part of that. How can a sales team find new customers and identify cross-sell opportunities with existing ones? How can marketing track and measure the success of campaigns across different market segments? The Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number can help.

D-U-N-S It

In any enterprise, information comes from all different sources — from spreadsheets, social media and internal data warehouses. Dun & Bradstreet offers a way to unify all those data types around the identity of each business it relates to. It’s as simple as unequivocally locating a business at a certain address. Then seeing what other companies are related to it legally, by ownership. Then grouping those related companies together and cross-referencing data points like industry codes, annual revenue and geographic location, anywhere in the world.

The D-U-N-S Number is the glue that holds those pieces together. The unique identifier works like a social security number for businesses, so companies can track their business customers across their own internal silos and also out onto the public Internet. The goal here is to get a more complete view of customers throughout the buying lifecycle, from prospect to contract to service and cross-sell and upsell – and be able to track relevant news, market movements and social media sentiment about a business and by its employees.

Relationships Matter

Dun & Bradstreet tracks over 240 million companies globally as well as over 4 million corporate family trees. Knowing how companies are related helps sales reps understand the scope of a business opportunity. Maybe it’s a deep discount to extend a service from parent company to its subsidiaries. Data-enriched CRM systems put business insight in the hands of sales teams, so they can start conversations about new opportunities with the right context and framework.

When it comes to analyzing and using commercial data, we have this saying: The larger the business, the larger the opportunity. The D-U-N-S Number acts as a backbone to unify customer data. Then, companies can layer on additional information, adding third-party data, niche statistics and global market data. The sky is the limit here – and so far we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

The exciting part of this is being able to directly source multiple data points into enterprise applications, with minimal IT resources. Natively embedded data, such as that available through our partnership with Salesforce.com, enables an entirely new and flexible method of automatically enriching and enhancing existing architectures without a significant IT undertaking or a steep learning curve. With help from our global network of partners, it’s now possible to leverage the D&B D-U-N-S, linkage and data fields in entirely new and modern ways.

 

 

Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Territory Alignment

salesterHow well are your clients able to define and manage their sales territories? If you’re talking to a company that operates globally, chances are they could use some help.

Here’s an example. A growing software company was looking to accelerate revenue growth and realign its sales teams to go to market more effectively. Using Dun & Bradstreet industry classification data in its CRM system, the company discovered it had great traction in four distinct industries. With this insight, management changed its enterprise sales strategy, aligning marketing and outside sales resources to focus on the four industries and having the inside sales team handle incubation of other markets. With a clear set of priorities and better team alignment, the company’s revenues began increasing markedly within one quarter.

Better Tools for End Users

Using Dun & Bradstreet data and insight integrated into an enterprise CRM system, sales and marketing teams can get greater visibility into their territories – and find new and better prospects more easily.

Dun & Bradstreet offers more than 80 data elements that companies can integrate natively into their CRM systems through pre-built connectors such as Data.com and D&B360, or a combination of the D&B Direct API and offline files.

A combined partner-led solution enables end users to:

  • Accurately assign accounts to specific territories based on geo-location and industry classification, including SIC and NAICS codes
  • Correctly identify a customer or prospect business using the D-U-N-S Number
  • Group parent companies with their subsidiaries using the Global Ultimate D-U-N-S Number and Corporate Family Linkage to show ownership hierarchy
  • Target the right buying locations for the company’s products and services, using precise data such as Number of Employees in a region and secondary SIC and NAICS codes to identify additional lines of business
  • Find new prospects and prioritize leads based on Annual Revenue and industry
  • Leverage Dun & Bradstreet’s world-class data to target new customers in the most efficient manner possible

Selling Points for Business Managers

Getting the right data in the right workflow really does help with efficiency, making sales-generating employees more effective, reducing overlaps in sales and service, and boosting ROI on a new CRM purchase.

Why invest in a combined solution of data and CRM system? Here are a few of the business benefits for the client company as a whole.

  • Reduce conflict between the internal sales team and the channel by defining territories based on new and existing opportunities.
  • Identify and prioritize high-value accounts, from sales calls to service contracts.
  • Leverage data that maps to an internal sales team structure consistently, so the business can better align sales reps and avoid territory overlap.
  • Improve conversion rates for cross-sell and upsell.
  • Track and deliver commissions appropriately, even across extended corporate families.
  • Find new prospects by profiling existing high-value customers.
  • Operate more efficiently across countries, regions and industries.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how companies can use Dun & Bradstreet content to improve and enhance reporting and analytics, so your clients can have confidence in the resulting business insights.

Got questions or suggestions? Email me at LevinJ@dnb.com.

Three Options for Data Delivery

dnbDirectboxData is the fuel that fires profitability. But what’s the best way to access this energy source? The rise of Data as a Service (DaaS) is transforming data delivery, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every business.

Think about it this way. You’re installing a new heating system in your house. If you opt for an oil heater, a truck will come every so often to fill your tank. That’s like traditional batch data delivery. If you decide on a gas-powered furnace, your energy feed will be piped in directly—automatically, in real time. That’s like DaaS.

Like DaaS, gas has many advantages. When you need more fuel, it flows seamlessly into your furnace. No need to monitor fuel levels, order refills or wait at home for the delivery truck to arrive.

Sounds great, right? But it doesn’t mean gas is right for every home. Maybe it’s not worth spending your hard-earned cash to replace a perfectly good oil furnace — one that keeps everyone warm at night. Or maybe a gas hookup isn’t even an option on where you live.

At D&B, we let you choose the best way for your business to tap into the data fuel you need.

Hoover’s: Power Marketing and Sales with an Easy, Budget-Friendly Tool

Our web-based Hoover’s solution is the perfect introduction to D&B’s company data. It lets you tap into our vast reservoir of data via a simple, browser-based interface. It’s easy to quickly search for companies, build lists, conduct market research and more.

And you can do it all in just a few clicks—no implementation required. Benefits include:

  • Seamless sign-on to Hoover’s subscriber site
  • Plug-and-play data cleansing, analysis and more
  • Optimization for mobile sales prospecting
  • Customized news alerts, social media content and analytics

D&B360: Use D&B Data to Fuel Your CRM

With D&B360, we integrate your CRM data with our data. You can still search for companies, build lists and conduct market research. But now your data fuel is supercharged before it arrives, so you can safely inject it directly into your CRM engine. Unlike Hoover’s, D&B360 does require modest development resources at your end. But the payoff is big: Once IT has configured their system, future updates flow directly into your system. Benefits include:

  • Turn-key solution for Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and Oracle CRM systems
  • A single, complete view of customers and prospects
  • Targeted list-building tools
  • Relevant news, social media, contacts, financials and more right inside your CRM
  • Constant flow of fresh data with hands-free batch updates

D&B Direct: Real-time Data, Exactly How You Want It

Finally, we come to D&B Direct, a pure DaaS solution that delivers the latest data automatically, in real time. D&B Direct does require more development resources than D&B360. But once you set up the UI and logic, the possibilities are endless.

For instance, you can embed and tailor reliable company, contact and financial data within your company’s sales and marketing solutions. You can link online lead forms to D&B’s database in order to increase completion rates and the accuracy of prospect information. And you can identify corporate linkages to develop better growth, retention and compliance strategies and/or reduce loss rates.

Besides real-time delivery and continuous quality, you can:

  • Make forward-looking decisions by combining your data with D&B intelligence, social, news and more
  • Gain instant access to complete company firmographics, contact information and industry research
  • Illuminate corporate relationships and company activity with D&B D-U-N-S® Number
  • Build custom applications for any device, complete with automatic alerts, triggers and updates

Want to compare the three delivery methods? Check out How Do You Want Your Data Delivered?, and download the Fact Sheet to find out more.

New Partners, New Business

Marina del CastellWith the advent of Data as a Service (DaaS), customers are now looking to connect their enterprise applications – master data management (MDM) hubs, marketing automation, HCM, CRM, ERP, BI and analytics platforms – to high-quality commercial data, insight and professional contacts. That means D&B is expanding its various sales channels, selling through different types of partners and courting distributors who can place the right content with the right kind of client. It’s worth taking a moment to look at who our new partners are, how we work with them, and how our new alliances are helping end customers.

Building on All Fronts

As companies strive toward a 360-degree view of their prospects and customers, our verified company and contact data become central to any CRM or marketing automation platform. Our best-in-class reference data becomes foundational to MDM practice.

Fortunately for D&B, enterprises are hungry for verified data from a reliable source. They want to inject D&B data into their business workflows. For example, giving sales reps accurate contact data in the company CRM system and helping marketing pros calibrate spend with the right audience target.

D&B is focused on recruiting the major ISVs to help us integrate D&B DaaS into their workflow applications and services – among them CRM and ERP platforms. D&B’s Global Alliance and Partners Solutions is partnering with companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM so their apps can consume and present D&B data and insight right within their UIs, so it’s easy for end users to use it in the context of their business.

Our Global AllianceNetwork reseller channel continues to evolve. Here we partner with the reseller already relevant in the partner ecosystem. The value-added resellers (VAR) deliver the packaged goods: ISV software licenses and solutions, D&B content and code. Support and managed services are table-stakes. VARs are increasingly instrumental in recommending and evangelizing DaaS with their customers. We have ongoing business relationships burgeoning in our AllianceNetwork: Symphony, CodeRight, Avanade, and 30+ more.

Integration Is King

Rapidly evolving technology platforms, business processes and policies dictate agility in a complex enterprise context. This is where system integrators (SIs) help. To quote Gartner, “the enterprise is under increasing pressure to drive integration work born of LOB SaaS, APIs and other business initiatives and projects.” D&B partners with SIs to bridge process, technology and usability gaps – and to reduce waste and increase customer value for D&B products and services.

Nourished, the SI can become an incubator for further collaboration, innovation and sales. SIs can have great traction with an enterprise client. Working with them more closely, we hope to create even greater value for our shared customers — and tap into more streams of derivative revenue. So ideal partnership framework is around collaboration and implementation rather than a straight-up product resell. This framework can accelerate time-to-implementation for our customers and deliver better value, sooner. Some examples of our fantastic SIs include CTS, Enapsys, SolidQ and A Hundred Answers Inc. – and we’re expanding our alliances to include businesses in non-U.S. countries.

Have no doubt the need for SIs is growing. My next post is going to talk about a fourth category of partner, a highly skilled data expert who both works with our clients and evangelizes our goods to users and user groups around the world. We call this a community of D&B Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). These data gurus have the skills to decrease time-to-market by driving D&B brand awareness, preference and presence — and to sharpen the cutting edge.

Image credit: Marina del Castell

CRM Success Tip: Give Sales Reps Better Data

sfdcScreenTraditionally, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are met with different levels of enthusiasm, depending on the role of the individual within the organization. I’ve seen this over 20 years in sales and business development, from roles in both direct sales and sales management. The response to a proposed CRM usually goes something like this.

CEO: “This is great!”

VP of Sales: “This is great!  I can better manage my team this way.”

Sales Representative: “What a pain in the ass! I have to enter in all this crap so my boss can micro-manage me. I’d rather just go out and sell.”

The breakdown in the third group, the Sales Rep, is pervasive in every company I’ve seen, large and small. The irony is that the CEO and VP of Sales want the same thing as sales reps do: They want them to sell.

To  sales reps, a CRM is a necessary evil. The system forces them to key-in information on every account, so they often fill in as few fields as possible. They find the tricks of entering a space or an X for fields they don’t know, because it’s easier than looking it up. They don’t check to see if the company already exists. And even if it does, it’s sometimes easier for them to just type in COMPANY NAME_B so they can make sure they ‘own’ the account.

These common practices ruin data quality. Duplicates, lost account details and broken reporting capabilities all come to the forefront. How many times have you created a report and said, “Why are those accounts showing? Those aren’t mine!” So then you redo the report and figure out how to exclude accounts…and so on…and so on. Finally frustrated, you export your customer list into Excel. At that point, you’ve lost a key CRM value proposition.

So now you have a CRM system with diminished value, and a sales team that only makes updates when forced to do so. What now?

Finding a Better Way

What every salesperson really wants is to have a single environment where they can report on their sales effort, and get information they need. They want a solution that helps them research, plan, execute and improve their daily sales process. Going to three or four different sites or applications is inefficient and burdensome. It’s quite simple: If you provide more value within the CRM, the sales team will look at the environment completely differently.  It can become their go-to tool, a place they know they can get better prepared for their next call or visit, they can find more prospects and they can better discover potential cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

So, you have a choice: Continue down the path of ‘stick’ motivation (as opposed to ‘carrot’), and watch your CRM adoption falter. If you check usage metrics, they will surely show how monthly user activity within your CRM steadily declines – with bursts of activity the day or hour before a new pipeline report is due.

Isn’t CRM supposed to focus on ‘R’, relationship?  Building a relationship with a client is accomplished through better understanding their needs, learning about their industry, and growing the relationship through new contacts. The CRM environment is prepped and ready to enable this. It just needs information and insight to become an attractive place for your sales team to spend quality time.

D&B and Data.com

I’ve used Salesforce.com for the past 14 years. And I can say that Data.com, part of Salesforce.com, is built to put the ‘R’ back into CRM. Through a partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, Data.com delivers a pre-built cloud-based solution that naturally integrates insight from D&B, as well as contacts from their Connect platform, into the core Salesforce application.

From the first keystroke, sales reps are provided with auto-fill options, configurable and controlled via security settings. So they have to key-in less, and are exposed to more. If they get voicemail when contacting a new prospect, they can quickly find another number or email address to try. If they are contacting a prospect at a new company, they can learn more about them, including minute details like SIC (Standard Industry Classification) code, and even get a list of suggested questions using a new feature coming in Salesforce Prospector 2.0.

And while they are learning in the CRM, they become better stewards of the database. Deeper familiarity with the user interface is a natural outcome, as users seek to learn more about their customer. It’s no longer the painful weekly or monthly process. Rather, a CRM system can become a trusted resource that really does help to improve their sales relationships.

What can the sales rep accomplish now within the CRM?  Stay tuned for my next blog, where we highlight some best practices for your sales team.

Who Owns Whom (and Why Should You Care)?

LinkageLordyCorporate linkage, or corporate family trees, can be important sales tools to a growing company. Knowing how a company is related to other companies that you may have a relationship with can often change how you approach them. And not knowing those relationships can land you in the hot seat with your buyer.

Think about your best customer. Most likely they are larger in size with a number of locations, probably spread throughout the globe, and possibly with different names. They also likely have negotiated a corporate rate based on their purchasing spend. Now, imagine what would happen if one of those locations came into you as a new lead and you quoted them your normal new customer rate. Sure you might get a little extra margin now, but when it comes to the attention of the primary buyer, and it will, you’ll give it back with interest. Wouldn’t it be a better experience if, instead, you were able to link that lead to your existing customer and route it to the established relationship owner to upsell the main contract? Not only is your customer going to be happier, but you’ll also likely close the new sale faster and with less effort as an established, preferred vendor.

Getting a global view of your customers isn’t just about lead-routing either. Often times, your best customers can be hiding in plain sight as a number of seemingly disconnected smaller deals. Only when you link them together do you see that five or ten small and mid-sized customers are actually one or two large customers. This realization can lead to change how you handle those customers and even what products and features you prioritize in your roadmaps.

Having a complete view of a company’s corporate linkage is an important sales prospecting tool as well.  If a sales rep had a strong relationship selling into Molex Inc., but didn’t realize that they were a subsidiary of KOCH, they might have no idea that they already have an inside track into Georgia-Pacific.

Integrating family tree data from D&B in your CRM, analytics tool or lead management platform is an important step to gaining a more complete view of your customers and prospects. D&B has over 17m DUNS Numbers linked in over 4m family trees, some with over 50k locations. What are you missing in your 360-degree view?

16 SugarCRM Channel Partners Join D&B’s Global AllianceNetwork

We’re happy to welcome 16 SugarCRM channel partners who have joined the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) AllianceNetwork since the launch of D&B’s native integration with SugarCRM in March 2014. D&B for Sugar provides real-time integration of D&B business content into Sugar, so users can access clean, enriched prospect, customer and opportunity data that’s been verified against our global database of more than 235 million businesses and 100 million contacts.

D&B’s new channel partners for SugarCRM include: (click on logo to learn more)

D&B for Sugar Global AllianceNetwork Partners

In addition to the above, the most recent channel partner to join the AllianceNetwork is Symphony, our first EU-based partner:

symphony-logo 150x34

Why join the D&B AllianceNetwork? Here’s what one of our new partners had to say.

“As a D&B AllianceNetwork partner, Technology Advisors is able to provide customers with continually updated business information about their prospects and customers,” said Sam Biardo, President of Technology Advisors, one of D&B’s AllianceNetwork channel partners. “Our customers view this tightly integrated intelligence as a competitive advantage that empowers them to carry out their sales, marketing and customer support activities more effectively than ever before.”

These channel partners provide a range of services, both in the U.S. and countries around the globe. They offer support, training, and consulting services for businesses looking to deploy a joint solution of SugarCRM and D&B commercial data. Businesses large and small can gain a competitive advantage by helping their sales and marketing teams stay focused on revenue-generating tasks while their CRMs keep customer and prospect data current and accurate.

The growing number of partnerships is a testament to the quality of the shared Sugar and D&B solution.

“The Sugar partner channel is an impressive group of resellers who clearly know their customers well,” said Stan Gorski, Leader of the AllianceNetwork group at D&B. “We at D&B are delighted to see their customers benefiting from the powerful business content that now streams into their Sugar CRMs.”

And SugarCRM has brought D&B data to a vibrant and growing group of innovative businesses that are looking at new ways to leverage their company data.

“SugarCRM and D&B complement each other perfectly, giving our common customers a CRM platform that supports more informed and intelligent decisions, shorter sales cycles, and greater overall customer satisfaction,” said Kevin Dunn, Vice President, Global Channel Sales for SugarCRM. “Our channel partners are always looking at adjacent technologies to help strengthen their value and further add to their differentiation, and I couldn’t be happier about the powerful solution our alliance brings our mutual partner community.”

Want to learn more about D&B for Sugar? You can watch a demo video of the joint solution or a webinar. And you can always fill out the contact form and we’ll respond with more info.