Conversation with Demandbase Image credit Pixabay/GeraltEnterprise Times has spoken to Jon Miller several times over the last few years. The first was at Dreamforce, as founder and CEO of Engagio. Each conversation has been fascinating and draws insights across B2B marketing and his company and experience. He also co-founded Marketo.

Miller is currently the CMO of Demandbase, the company that acquired Engagio in 2020. He has helped to re-invent Demandbase over the last two years. I asked Jon to provide an explanation of what Demandbase is today.

Jon Miller, CMO Demandbase
Jon Miller, CMO Demandbase

“We help B2B companies hit their revenue goals with fewer resources. How do we do that? We do it by identifying, engaging and focusing time and money on the accounts that are most likely to buy, using our Demandbase One go-to-market platform, which aligns sales and marketing to create and accelerate opportunities. It’s all powered by a combination of the customer’s data, our data and artificial intelligence. Collectively, that’s what we call account intelligence.”

The company is growing quickly with over 1,300 customers and last raised funding in 2017 in a Series H round that raised $65 million led by Sageview Capital and Silver Lake Waterman, with participation from several other investors, Adobe, Sigma Partners and Split Rock Partners. It has over 750 employees and offices in the US, UK and India.

Since the acquisition

What has happened since the acquisition?

“The story of Demandbase, over the last three years, has been one of the new Demandbase. Demandbase had been around for a very long time. Before I got here, it was an early innovator in Account Based Marketing. But frankly, it wasn’t necessarily seen in 2020 as the hot leading company anymore. What we’ve done with the Engagio acquisition, some of the other subsequent acquisitions, as well as organic innovation, is we reinvented and redefined what Demandbase is.

“First off, we talk about ourselves now as a go-to-market platform, which we think is something that’s beyond just Account Based Marketing. Another major trend behind the evolution to a go-to-market platform is a focus not just on marketing users, but sales users. We have more sales users than we have marketing users. A lot of what we’re doing is we’re helping companies create and accelerate opportunities. That’s ultimately about supporting the sales team.

“The Demandbase One platform was built on Engagio. Then what we did is we integrated the Demandbase technologies into that. Subsequently, when we acquired InsideView and DemandMatrix, we got our hands on significant other B2B data assets, which really built out the guts of that account intelligence platform. That’s a good way to think about it, the tech architecture is the account intelligence platform, and then the Demandbase One application sits on top of it.”

How is it going?

“I think we’ve done a good job of redefining what Demandbase is. In February 2022, we launched a new brand, I kept the name of the company, Demandbase, but we changed everything else in terms of how we talk and how we look. We got rid of the blue background and corporate stock photography. It’s a lot lighter and friendlier, and more approachable now. All that was intended to convey the new Demandbase.”

Is this your biggest challenge?

“Personally, at Demandbase, the biggest thing that I think about is showing the world that we’re the new Demandbase. We’ve been around for so long; almost everybody has heard the name Demandbase. They’ve probably, at one point, used it or at least seen a demo of it. But anything that was done pre-2021 is outdated information.

“So, in that classic proverbial sense, you need to say something over and over and over and over. And only when you’re finally literally disgustingly sick of saying it, and you can’t possibly say it one more time. that’s when the market finally starts to hear you.”

How has the competition evolved?

“In terms of the competitive dynamics, the market has focused and simplified. The core ABM market does feel like it has come down to Demandbase and 6sense. Terminus and the Triblio, and some of the other players have mostly fallen away as far as we can tell. In the data and intelligence sides of our world, we see ZoomInfo, as one of the leading players. Then you have Demandbase moving into the data world that ZoomInfo plays in. Then ZoomInfo is trying to compete and move into the go-to-market stuff that we play in.”

Looking back

What have you achieved this year?

“A couple of the big ones, some pretty significant enhancements to that account intelligence platform. That is the guts that power everything we do. Accounts intelligence, as I talked about, is integrating the customer’s data. In many ways, we act like a CDP.”


“One of the major things we’ve released this year is native integration to Microsoft Dynamics and HubSpot CRM, which is a pretty significant expansion in our ability to bring in customers’ first-party data.”

Why was adding those integrations important?

“It was important because of customer demand. We had customers who are on those platforms or considering moving to those platforms, and wanted that kind of native integration.”

With Salesforce, that’s three ecosystems you’re targeting. Is that going to stretch you? Because it feels like you’re going in a lot of different directions there.

“That’s fair. I would say the stretch would be more on the go-to-market side than the tech side. What we’ve been able to do with the tech is build an abstraction layer, so we’re not really maintaining three lines of code there. From the go-to-market, Yeah, we have to focus on more segments. I don’t have the budget to sponsor Dreamforce, Inbound, and the Dynamics conference. So we will make some tradeoffs and choices there.”

Unified sales intelligence

“The other significant thing we released this year is what we poorly named unified sales intelligence. Historically, there were two different categories. There was Account Based Marketing or account-based experience. Those companies, including Demandbase and Engagio before that, had a Salesforce module where the sales rep could go in and see what was happening at their accounts. Which web pages are people visiting? What emails are they opening? What events are they attending? Really mining the first-party data.

“Then vendors like ZoomInfo, and InsideView that we had acquired, had separate Salesforce plugins that let them look at things like industry information and account hierarchy information, and contacts at that company that weren’t in the CRM, and they could even buy those contacts. That category was called sales intelligence.”

“Unified Sales Intelligence brings those two solutions into a single integration, simplifying the process for reps. It delivers contact and account information in a single screen or tab, including data from the CRM and external sources,” Jon explained. He added, “That is a significant innovation for the industry to deliver that sales intelligence in one app.”

Data categories Demandbase considers

Jon explained that there are five categories of data it brings to the table.

1. De-anonymisation

Jon started with, “The first is our account identification or De-anonymization. This is the old Demandbase technology that we’ve evolved over the years. Over the course of the year, we’ve added about five percentage points of coverage on our match rates. Being able to identify more competence and more visitors. That’s just a constant effort to keep improving those match rates.”

Demandbase also announced Account ID and Account ID free recently; why does this matter?

“Account Identification Free is the first time in the industry that any company can put our tag on their website. We will do the account identification for them, up to 25,000 visitors a month. This is a win-win. Obviously, we’re giving significant value to the marketplace.

“What I’ll share with you is, the more sites that have our tag, the more signals we get to de-anonymize other accounts also. We get both a freemium entry point into our solution, and we improve our account identification even further.”

2. Contact data

“Number two is just your basic company in contact coverage. In terms of contact data, one of the things that have become really important is mobile phones. Obviously, these people aren’t at the office as much. If you’re going to call them, you need their mobile phone number.

“We increased our mobile phone coverage from 10 million at the beginning of the year to over 30 million phone mobile numbers. How this works is we acquire data from many, many partners, and then our technology triangulates. We won’t put something into our own database until we can see it from more than one signal.

“We have our own data, and we acquire data, we merge data, we sell data to other companies. It’s a whole ecosystem. But ultimately, we’re up to 127 million contacts. 76 million email addresses, and 30 million phone numbers.”

3. Company data

“On the company side, we’ve increased from the beginning of the year from about 35 million companies to now 80 million companies globally. We’ve added 25 million companies outside of North America.”

Any particular countries?

“In terms of total database, it’s 30 million in Europe, 26 million in Asia pack, 6.7 million in South America, 18 million in North America, and 430,000 in MEA, or Middle East Africa.”

4. Technographic data

“The next one is our technographic data. This is the data that’s about knowing what technologies companies have installed. There are vendors out there like BuiltWith that you may have seen that rely on a tag on the website. You can tell if somebody uses Demandbase because you see the JavaScript on their site.

“What we do that these other companies don’t do is we also look for behind-the-firewall technologies, are they using Snowflake or a different cloud data warehouse? Are they on AWS or Google Cloud? We do that with a lot of machine learning that’s mining things like job postings and forum discussions. Where we can find somebody’s resume posted somewhere online.

“We track about 18,000 technologies. One of the innovations in this last year is we’ve applied AI to understand the patterns of how people acquire new technologies. In my category, people tend to buy CRM, then marketing automation, and then ABM.

“We can see those patterns, and we can use it to start telling our customers which companies we think are likely to be purchasing your tech, like your category next, based on what they already own. That augments the intent data that we have.”

5. Intent data

“Then, last but not least is intent data. Probably the biggest thing we’ve done this year is supported native integrations with both G2 and TrustRadius. To bring in their intent signals to complement our own intent signals.”

What is coming at Demandbase?

What do you hope to achieve in 2023?


“Well, we’re going to grow the business profitably, which is sharing a little bit of information.

You recently expanded your presence in India. What are your plans for international growth? You’ve got an office in London. But what about the rest of Europe and things like that?

“There are no plans in 2023 to localize the product. So at least for this year, we will continue to focus on English-speaking countries and buyers. We do have users in almost every country you can imagine, but they’re using the product in English. We’ll continue to invest in the international go-to-market but primarily out of the UK office to cover the EMEA region. India, for us, is primarily a development center.”

Product Roadmap

Jon continued, “In terms of roadmap, what we’re focusing on is meaningful progress to building out what we would consider the next-generation go-to-market platform. I’ll highlight two themes that are going to make a significant innovation there.

“The first is the concept of a B2B buying group. The Marketo’s of the world were built around the person. And the original ABM platforms brought in the concept of the account. But, if you really think about who buys stuff, it’s not really a person, it’s not really an account, it’s actually a buying group.

“There’s a subset of the account that might have five or 20 people that are collectively responsible for purchasing the product. A given enterprise might have multiple buying groups for different products or even the same product across different departments and divisions. There needs to be this third object, which is the buying committee or the buying group.

“We’re really going to be innovating this year in helping our customers to identify the buying groups that sit in the enterprise and then engage those buying groups. Think about using our ad platform. Today with our ad platform, you say, hey, I want to target Dell, or HP or whatever. What we will allow you to do is target these buying groups within that company.

“The other theme is what we call the self-driving go-to-market platform. Other vendors talk about this, too, admittedly. We think the direction of all of this going is having the machine do more of the grunt work of designing and executing the campaigns.

“An example is our advertising product, which will start allowing outcome-based bidding strategies. So rather than just say, here’s your CPM, we’ll let you optimize your bidding for conversions or optimize the bidding for post-sale engagement. Or, perhaps, if the volumes are high enough, to optimize for pipeline or even close one business. That’s just a first step. But hopefully, what you’ll see is a direction of the marketer telling the system, this is what I want, and then the system doing more of the guts to make it all happen.”

On challenges

In terms of 2023, what are you seeing as your customers’ challenges?

“By far, almost every go-to-market team is looking at 2023 with higher goals and the same or less budget. So the proverbial do more with less. What we are talking to our customers about is when you have to do more with less, you have two options. You can either work harder, which in most cases is not an option because people are already working really hard, or you can work smarter. That’s where our accounts intelligence can really help you.

“There is a trend that’s happening in B2B Buying, which is what most people call the rise of the Self Service buyer. We see more Millennials and Gen Z in the decision-making. They are even more resistant to talking to the salesperson than ever. They want to see the pricing, touch the product, use the product, and do as much as they can on their own.

“In general, marketing and sales teams are needing to adapt their go-to-market to try to accommodate the needs of the self-service buyers. The ones that don’t are going to probably lose share to the companies that do.”

The Book question

What was the latest book you read, and what is your takeout for business from it?

“I read a lot of magazines, like the Economist and the New York Times, more than books. The last book I read for fun was (Project) Hail Mary, which is by Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian (Amazon Aus, UK, US). It’s about encounters with an alien civilization. Anyway, it was really good.

“More recently, I reread parts of Play Bigger (Amazon, Aus, UK, US), which is a business book about category design. That one obviously has super-valid takeaways. Category design is redefining things so that you’re delivering something that’s different from everybody else.

“A simple example they use is it’s not Coke versus Pepsi. It’s Kombucha. Create a whole new thing that forces people to not get out of the regular competitive decision and just go do something else completely different.”


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