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Do You Really Know D&B?

Published
  • March 01 2005, 1:00am EST
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Most people recognize the name Dun and Bradstreet. After all, the company traces its beginnings to the early 1840s as the first business credit information provider. Today that same company is known as D&B, the global leader in providing business information and insight that allows customers to make confident business decisions based on facts - not guesses.

People often associate D&B with credit and risk management. The truth is, the company does that and much more, including helping companies increase revenues from new and existing customers through its Sales & Marketing Solutions (S&MS) division. How? According to Christopher Lucas, Vice President of D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions, it is important for companies to stay connected with their customers to understand their goals and strategies. S&MS helps companies increase revenues by improving sales and marketing initiatives.


"D&B is more than a data provider," Lucas explains. "S&MS enables companies to maximize growth and revenue opportunities at each stage of the customer life cycle. We help companies acquire new customers, effectively service and retain customers, and ultimately grow revenue streams from their most important clients," he says. "If a company's goal is to increase revenues, we can help them meet that goal by optimizing sales and marketing campaigns."

Growing Revenue Streams Through Global Data Collection

"A recent survey indicates that creating sustainable revenue growth is the number one challenge for CEOs today," says Lucas. "We can help companies successfully addre ss that challenge."

D&B's database contains information on more than 92 million businesses throughout the world and is updated close to one million times each day. That wealth of information is collected and managed through a process known as DUNSRight.

"DUNSRight is why our customers can be confident in making critical business decisions," explains Lucas. "This process is what powers D&B's quality information and is what sets us apart from data providers."

According to Lucas, D&B helps customers meet their revenue goals by leveraging the five drivers of the DUNSRight process, which are:

  1. Global Data Collection - Gathering data from a variety of sources worldwide;
  2. Entity Matching - Integrating the data into the database to produce a single, accurate picture of each business;
  3. D-U-N-S Number - A unique means of identifying and tracking a business globally through every step in the life and activity of the business;
  4. Corporate Linkage - Enabling customers to view their total risk or opportunity across related businesses; and
  5. Predictive Indicators - Statistical analysis to rate a business' past performance and to indicate how likely the business is to perform that same way in the future.

"This process manifests itself in scores and demand estimators that help our customers perform custom analytics, including cross-sell, up-sell models or retention models," says Lucas. "Very few companies have the capability to help their customers size opportunities at both the industry/market level and enable successful execution against that market."

Making Good Decisions

Exactly how can D&B help companies grow revenue? D&B provides value by helping companies determine where to allocate their resources. "A company's average attrition is 15 percent per year, while their growth objectives are 10 percent above the previous year. To truly achieve a 10 percent increase year over year, companies need to increase revenues by an average of 25 percent to accommodate attrition," says Lucas. "Effective decision making requires the right data and information, the ability to integrate that information to create a complete customer picture on which to base decisions and the analytic capabilities to come to the right conclusions."

D&B has built all of its products around the five DUNSRight drivers to help its customers answer important business questions such as the best prospects to target. "We don't just sell data, and we don't just sell customer data integration. We partner with our customers at every stage of the customer life cycle to provide them with a combination of capabilities," says Lucas.

Right now, more than 90 percent of the Fortune 1000 rely on D&B to make profitable business decisions. D&B has found, through internal research and analysis that customers of D&B grow revenue 40-50 percent faster than non-customers. "Companies partner with D&B because we help them distance themselves from the competition," says Lucas.

Leveraging Capabilities

Increased revenue is the goal that often eludes companies that do not have a carefully articulated plan. "For example," explains Lucas, "we regularly hear from companies who implemented multi-million-dollar CRM applications that do not provide the insight they need to drive their business. Too many companies start with a technology solution before they have clearly defined what they are trying to achieve. Before implementing technology and crunching data, companies need to develop a process that will meet their needs and achieve the specific results they require."

"We help companies identify what they are trying to do, what the barriers are to reaching that goal, and how we can leverage DUNSRight to mitigate, if not eliminate, these problems so they can start seeing value. We like to think of our insight as the fuel for our customers' sales and marketing efforts. We are putting the information into information technology," adds Lucas.

The competitive differentiator between D&B and other data providers relates to their business-to-business capabilities. "We know data is available from many sources, but buying data does not solve business problems. You need to integrate the right data and the analytics to get the right answer to achieve your sales and marketing objectives. We put those things together for our customers," says Lucas. "With the power of DUNSRight, companies can effectively organize a strategy to reach their goals. Our competitive advantage is in business to business - we're the best in the world at that." 

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