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Building a B2B revenue attribution platform

Building a B2B revenue attribution platform | Lars Grønnegaard - Dreamdata

About Dreamdata

Lars: We help B2B marketers determine what works and don’t. We do that by collecting data about marketing and sales processes and providing analytics of it.

There are a bunch of business problems you can solve once you collect all that data. So, attribution is one of the major problems that people come to. For example, you spend a lot of money on advertising, but what becomes that money? Or, you are successful, you feel, in generating pipeline opportunities, but what’s actually creating those opportunities?

So those are typical problems we help solve, but you can say once you have collected data about the buying journey. You can also solve many other problems across different systems, like good lead scoring or churn prediction and better marketing automation. So you can do a lot of things with that data.

So how do you collect the data?

Lars: We help move data out of your CRM system, your marketing automation system, and the various advertising platforms you use. So it’s data that you already have access to, but it’s stuck in different systems. Typical systems would be Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Google Ads, Facebook ads, and LinkedIn ads.

So most people use Google Analytics, and that’s a great product, except a lot of the data gets locked up inside of Google Analytics. So if you want detailed data about a certain user, you have to be in a fairly expensive subscription to Google Analytics to get it.

And you’re often also lacking a way of linking it to your CRM system, so we also help with the tracking side of things. Sometimes people use nice products for it, like Segment, but there are a bunch of nice products, but most often, they actually don’t. And then we have a solution for that as well.

We focus exclusively on B2B GTM. I think Go-To-Market is a very good way of phrasing it because it’s more than marketing, it’s more than just sales. It’s like that whole process of taking the product to market, getting data around that.

What are your solutions?

Lars: Mainly, our product works really well for marketing. And then you can say it also works well for data people. So sometimes we will help a data person, but what we are helping that data person with is helping some marketers. So you can either, like the typical solution if you’re not buying our product, build this yourself. That could then be a data person or some data people building this yourself, be building this themselves.

Setting up a data warehouse. Setting up a way of moving the data, setting up some tracks, and then working for a very long time to connect all the data. So sometimes, we’ll have data people taking our solutions so that they can build stuff on top of it. I would say that attribution is the fundamental problem that people solve.

Dreamdata integrations

Lars: I would say something like Segment is very important because Segment is a customer data infrastructure. What we care the most about is the tracking part of it. I think that type of product is nice when we can integrate with that because then you have tracking data about what’s going on on your website. If you have relevant product data, we’ll also have that.

Marketo was a very big one. Then different advertising platforms, the biggest ones being Google and LinkedIn. This is very much a sort of B2B. Almost all our customers use Google Ads, and many of them use LinkedIn ads. So those are the major platforms we collect data from.

Dreamdata pricing

Lars: You can say we’re a young company, so we’ve been through a bunch of iterations. We started with a product that was quite handheld. And when a product is very handheld, it’s hard to offer a free version of the product or even free trials because every customer has a lot of work. So now we have a product where people can self-provision, sign up, take the product, and use it. And with that, we’ve been able to offer a free version of Dreamdata.

So right now, we’re transitioning to the free version. It is like a B2B version of Google Analytics. So it’s account-based tracking on your website, being able to count, of course, users, but also companies on your website being able to see how many are returning those things you would typically do and what they are doing on your website.

And then, there’s a trial version of the full product where you connect CRM data and other data sources with that tracking data. So it’s a free trial, and then the paid product.

We had a free product that was very limited in terms of the size of the company that could try it. So now we’re coming out with a version that allows a larger company to use the free product and that they can also try the paid version of the product.

Dreamdata’s successful use cases

Lars: We have lots of happy customers, I would say. Our most successful use cases would be around one – cutting your cost acquisition cost. So that’s a very typical measure. So if you can use it to reduce either the money you spend on ads to acquire leads or increase some leads you get from your ad spend, that’s success for us.

And then you can say, we are super happy when customers use the data directly. So they don’t just take, say, our simple, easy-to-use product, but they go one level deeper and integrate the data directly into some processes that they care really deeply about.

Who are your competitors?

Yeah. In the Go-To-Market technology space, there are a lot of different solutions out there doing a lot of things that sound quite similar. So I would say for us, there is one end of the spectrum. There is building this yourself. And then it’s a real marketing technology we’re competing with. Then it’s more about infrastructure products, like taking a data warehouse like Snowflake, and maybe five trends are like something to move data segment.

So you take a bunch of products, build something yourself, and then need a data team. So that’s one end. We would typically replace Google Analytics plus some spreadsheets and maybe some student workers taking data out of a system. So that’s also why we’re focusing more on seeing if we can deliver a strong product that can solve some of the things people are trying to solve with Google Index, like when they use that.

When did you start the company, and why?

So we were founded in 2018, and we are four years old today. Our founding story is similar to many other SaaS founding stories we had. We were working at another SaaS company, a company called Trustpilot, in Copenhagen, and basically, we had a complicated Go-To-Market. Not an uncommon problem for a B2B company. We were using many different products that Go-To-Market generated data, so we had lots of data.

Also, we were very good at it. We moved all that data into a data warehouse, but that didn’t magically connect all into a sort of beautiful data model in which we could ask these types of questions. So we looked for products that could do that for us, and we were especially interested in figuring out this attribution problem, like where the revenue came from. And when we couldn’t find a product, then we built an internal solution and at one point decided, okay, this is it.

It’s, you know, we felt that we were like, every company you feel you’re very special. But certain parts of what you do are maybe not that special. And the Trustpilot, the Go-To-Market, wasn’t that special. It was, you know, salespeople, marketing, there was also some product-lead growth. So it wasn’t very easy, but it wasn’t very different from what other companies were doing.

We were using Salesforce, we were using HubSpot, we were using Segment that I talked about. So that’s how we got started. And also, because it was a huge pain to go through that internal project of integrating all the data, it took a long time because you had to put some very smart people to work. So they needed to work on it and focus for a long time to solve it, and we would prefer having those people working on the product. So that’s how we got started.

Were your co-founders working at Trustpilot too?

Lars: So we were two people working at Trustpilot, and then Stephan joined a little later. When we stopped working at Trustpilot, what we did was we had this idea – okay, we’re going to try to build a company around this, so we built a duct tape prototype.

Then we went around pitching that to different people, from Copenhagen to the Copenhagen Ecosystem, people we knew we could get introductions to. And one of them was Stephan, who is a B2B marketer. So he’s very much sort of the, he represents the type of person we are selling a lot to at the moment.

And he was suffering from this. He had built up, that was another startup. So he had been building up sort of marketing spent over time. Initially, when you’re spending maybe 10,000 euros a month, you have a fairly good idea about what’s working and what’s not because you’re only doing a couple of things.

But when you then 10 x that and add in many things, it becomes very opaque. Understanding the impact, what spending now means, and when it actually creates revenue. If you want to sort of, understand the impact on the. He was suffering from this, and instead of becoming a customer, he became a co-founder. So that’s how he joined.

And then, from there on, we started going from a duct tape prototype to more and more of a real product. I also explained that doing the free product is initially impossible because it’s all duct tape and people. But gradually, as you figure out what we actually want the product to be, you’ll start narrowing. Then, you can start offering it, uh, for free or free trials.

Raising money

Lars: So we’ve raised money twice. Soon after founding, we raised a pre-seed round to enable us to have a team to build sort of an initial product. Once we had established sort of, okay, we can actually sell this product, then we raised a bit more money as a seed round in 2020 to start building up a Go-To-Market. And that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. We are 30 people in Copenhagen. Um, and it’s pretty crazy.

The biggest challenge for you as a founder?

Lars: The biggest challenge for us was probably learning how to do sales in B2B because we came from product tech and marketing positions. Learning that, I think, has been a big challenge for us, but I think we’ve done super well. It was definitely challenging to figure out how you actually do that.

How do you go from being the people who designed and built the product to getting somebody else to sell this product and be successful with it? So that process, I think, has been, I wouldn’t say, challenging negatively, but it has been a challenge and something that’s also been extremely satisfying to succeed with.

What is your story, Lars?

Lars: I came originally from the sort of the first internet boom. I was working in internet consulting in the early 2000s. We were doing UX consulting, and then I drifted from UX into product management. So I’d say the difference between them, at least at that time, was pretty close. And then, I started working at Trustpilot. Initially, I was a product manager and ran the whole product team there. So that’s the background.

For my personal background in founding a company and, let’s say, from product person to founder, it’s not that different. But, of course, you have way more skin in the game when you’re a founder. You should have many of the same considerations as a product manager. You should think about the whole business and revenue, and like whatever you’re building, a product manager should work as a business.

So there are a lot of similarities, and you can apply a lot of the same methodologies that if you know if you’re a successful product manager, you’re being close to the customer, you’re concerned about the business side of what you’re doing. The challenge, if you are a founder, is often that you have to do a lot more of the actual work.

What advice would you give to a first-time founder?

Lars: I would have liked somebody to advise me to be more focused. I think if you can take focus to extremes, it is very helpful. And sometimes, especially if you are in this sort of raising money and you’re talking to venture capitalists. Of course, your venture capitalist wants to see a big market, but you must be very focused if you want to be successful with a product and don’t have many people.

So I think sort of not confusing those two things. On one end, being able to know that there is a big market out there, but at the other end, being extremely focused. So you could do a very narrow product. And I remember somebody was talking about another startup, saying their ideal customer profile is a B2B company that doesn’t have a user interface.

It’s like an API for an API only. I mean, that’s very narrow. So, the more you can narrow it down, the better your chances of building a successful product that people love.

What’s your favorite software?

Lars: I use a product called Hightouch, which I like a lot. We have a lot of data. We use our product that generates a lot of data, and sometimes you want to move that data back to other systems. It doesn’t really help you if it’s not in the CRM system. So Hightouch is a product that helps you move data back to other systems. I think that’s a super helpful product, and that’s the product I really like and use a lot of time.

On the CRM side, we are using HubSpot. We’re quite happy with that. For our size, it’s definitely a good choice. So we’re using that for our CRM system. We are also using Intercom. Segment is another one, as I mentioned. We are quite happy with that as a tracking infrastructure, it’s a nice product.

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