The sales intelligence space has always been ripe with consolidation. Perhaps it all started in 1933 when R.G. Dun and Company merged with The Bradstreet Organization to form Dun and Bradstreet. In recent years, D&B has gobbled up Hoovers, NetProspex, and Avention to round out their portfolio. We have seen innovative crowd-sourcing businesses like Jigsaw become data.com when they were purchased by Salesforce.com only to be discontinued in favor of social media giants like LinkedIn – who was bought by Microsoft.
But DiscoverOrg buying ZoomInfo is different in two aspects. One, ZoomInfo just finished its acquisition of DataNyze – a technographic company backed by Mark Cuban. ZoomInfo was making great strides with its international and SMB coverage. Two, DiscoverOrg recently bought RainKing – a contact data company focusing on the IT space. DiscoverOrg’s claim to fame was the accuracy of their data because they had so few companies to cover (just the global 200.) ZoomInfo is proud of their coverage with direct dials but never provided the org-charting that made DiscoverOrg so popular.
Now the two companies will become one and there is good news and bad news for the consumer. In the short-term, customers will most likely have access to both data sources until they figure out next steps. That is a win in some respects but in others it is a loss.
DiscoverOrg is not going to spend the money to keep both data sets updated so giving customers access to an aging ZoomInfo really isn’t an incentive at all. Zoom will produce aging records until the data sets are merged and inevitability the bad data will find its way into your systems until that happens. Also, sourcing two databases will add time your campaigns, duplicates in your datasets, and manual manipulations errors to standardize the data. If you have every tried to blend data from two different sources you will realize how risky this is to data integrity
However, that will only last so long as the company wants to quickly realize economy of scale. Meaning the business will need to figure out the people, processes, and places that are its best fit going forward. DiscoverOrg just did this with RainKing and almost all of the personnel were let go.
There will also need to be a conversation about sourcing techniques. ZoomInfo uses an email signature scraping technology that is exchanged for contact data. This technology is uploaded by the user and is rarely approved for usage by the user’s employer. And why would they ever approve it? There most precious commodity – their customer data – is quite literally being given away without their knowledge and possibly sold to their competition.
Lastly, the acquisition will have to be paid for and that will come at the expense of the customer. ZoomInfo was a great counterweight to DiscoverOrg’s rising prices but that of course will no longer be available. Companies looking for direct dial data contact data will be forced look elsewhere. There are alternatives that provide human-validated direct-dial contact data yet don’t have to fund the purchase of three separate businesses.
In the short-term, there will be a lot to like about the merger. Call it the honeymoon period. Longer term, as the company decides who it wants to keep and how they want to handle the business, there will be new processes for customers. The sourcing story will need to become transparent as no business willingly gives away its customer data. Lastly, expect to see rising prices as all these acquisitions need to be paid for by the consumer.