Sales Acceleration: What D&B’s Acquisition of Avention Means for B2B Marketers

By Lora Kratchounova, Scratch Marketing + Media

Dun & Bradstreet announced this week it has purchased Avention. This is big news for B2B marketing, and specifically for the growing sales acceleration market. Knowing Avention first hand, it makes perfect sense for D&B  —  B2B marketing is being completely redefined yet again. Account-based marketing and selling are the new black, and to make ABM and ABS work you need the data.

And not just any data. Marketers need to have the most up-to-date company and contact info  —  and if you have been around the block, you know D&B’s got that covered. But then there is the signal data  —  the data that helps us identify, prioritize and inform our outreach strategies and approaches. Avention captures monitors more than 1,200 signals, which they call triggers. These signals equip both sales and marketing to determine their best next action, like whether to call a prospect or email them, and with what message. Not only can sales and marketing be better aligned through such rich data, they can now focus their resources on the opportunities that matter most: On the acquisition and the retention side.

D&B’s acquisition of Avention is a no-brainer also because Avention assembled a killer marketing team (no doubt their sales team is great, too, but I can only speak to the marketing talent). So from one marketing group to another, congrats and great job CMO Vicky Godfrey, VP of Marketing Alice Bartman, and Cari Zoch, their brand communications and PR rockstar.

The impetus behind the $150 million acquisition, D&B CMO Rashi Dave told MarTechToday, is to allow the company to find the best way to “surface [its] data in real time so it’s usable” for specific actions that meet predefined needs. This also pushes D&B further into the sales acceleration arena; it has previously bought Hoover’s, NetProspex, and Alliance. It also brings D&B into direct contention in the sales generation space with Salesforce, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, and Deluxe Corp, all of which also made acquisitions or partnership deals in the sales gen space last year.

The smart money says there will be more such acquisitions in 2017. It only takes a brief glance at Scott Brinker’s martech landscape to see why  —  there are more than 5,000 tools that marketers can currently choose from. That’s not sustainable in any shape or fashion, and as the best ones start winning more users they will become tempting targets for other companies to bring in-house  —  such as the Demandbase acquisition of Spiderbook last year.

As that consolidation continues, another MarTech war is looming in the background  —  that of marketing clouds. Incumbents Salesforce, IBM and Adobe have more to fear from data-powered newcomers such as B&D. Which begs these questions: Investors aside, is the growing marketing cloud war a good development for marketers? What are the implications? Would access to data and information become less accessible as it becomes more expensive? Who will champion the startup B2B marketers’ cause in 2017? Join the discussion by commenting below or visiting us at

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