I spent 17 years working at D & B as a business analyst. A D&B analyst is the person who is updating/creating the credit reports that you will be selling. From experience, this is what I found. D&B used to do a lot of field updates, that is sitting down face to face with the business owner to update his/her business credit report. This would instill a lot of owner input into the report. It would be more complete and a more complete and up to date report makes for a better database and a better database makes it easier to sell. Well, over the years, to cut cost (i.e travel expenses etc) the company decided to do away with the "premise visits" and starting conducting all of the interviews over the telephone. Business owners who were used to a yearly visit from the D&B guy started asking "why aren't you coming by to update?". "Well Mr/Mrs Business Owner, we now conduct all of our interviews over the phone". Of course the usual objections arose, "how do I know you are from D&B, maybe you are my competitor?". Once the business owner got used to the telephone interviews D&B starts contracting with overseas call centers to update and gather information leaving the U.S business analysts to telemarket products to the "information customer". The information customer is the business owner who is supplying the information that you will be selling to D&B "revenue customers". Revenue customers are the core 60,000 businesses that buy D&B products on a contractual basis. These are the customers that you will be selling to in the form of renewing a contract or upselling a contract. You of course will have an objective to bring in new business to increase that core base of 60,000 customers. Now, here is the kicker. I cannot count the times that a D&B sales rep would call me personally from the road while they were sitting in the customers office trying to renew or upsell asking me to "fix" or "correct" something that was wrong with that businesses credit report. The business owner would say, "why should I buy information from D&B when they can't even get my own credit report correct?" Of what value to me is information if it is not complete, accurate and up to date. The sales reps of course start scrambling to get the information corrected just to "save" the customer or prevented them from cancelling. Here in lies the problem, until D&B starts refocusing on what D&B used to do right, that is hiring, training and retaining intelligent dedicated business analysts who have the sense of mind to focus on the real customer at hand and not the quick fix D&B will never grow that core customer base of 60,000. The business analysts in order to keep their own jobs have now been turned into telemarketers trying to sell to the information customer nickel & dime products all the while using the guise of updating the information customers credit report. A true conflict of interest. When push comes to shove, it doesn't matter if the business analyst gets the information, that balance sheet, that P&L, those credit references, the real information that your customers need to make a decision. All that matters at the end of the day for the business analyst is "how many sales did you get today".
One of the reasons that DNB is having trouble reaching their sales targets is due to them giving the different sales channels conflicting goals. For instance, one group of sales people is told to focus on contract renewals including increases in dollars, the other is told that it doesn�t matter if you take a cut on the contract. This causes conflict in everyone achieving a common goal. This is going on within all channels of the sales department. DNB needs to realize that the salespeople need to be working towards the same goal.
I just retired from a middle market postion after 25+ at DNB. The job experience in the beginning was challenging and fun. I won many presidential citaions/leadership awards during this time. Over the past several years, I experienced a change in the direction of the company. No longer did we have face to face visits by reporters and analysts to develop a premier data base. With the exception of our Duns Number and linkage capabilites, our information became similar to our competitors. We thought by partnering with Oracle/SAP/Siebel we would experience double digit growth, but instead could barely make the price increase every year. These relationships did not become robust beacuse we had competing products like E-RAM/Optimizer/Analyzer/MSWeb.
The management has become more focused on making the quarterly numbers which has put more stress on the sales force with quaterly reviews to go with it. The fun has gone out of the business. If you are looking for a company that is growing by double digits and packed with excitement you may want to look elsewhere.