Think having a great sales process, the best available product/service, and strong adoption of CRM is enough to make your sales team competitive? Think again.
The Internet and tighter budgets have forever changed how prospects are making buying decisions. Research in the book The Challenger Sale tells us that prospects are over 50% of the way through the buying process by the time they initiate contact with a vendor. Their research goes on to say that the most successful sales people know more about the prospect’s business than the prospect does, pointing out business issues that the prospect is unaware of, and presenting them with solutions that the prospect has not thought of themselves.
Sales Intelligence solutions, integrated with CRM, are a part of the answer to this dilemma. In this article, we will take a look at the top sales intelligence solutions on the market today.
Full Disclosure: C5 Insight has worked with all three vendors reviewed in this article. We are certified in (and/or have partner agreements with) Salesforce.com (Data.com), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, InsideView and Broadlook. Our team is currently using InsideView as our sales intelligence tool.
Sales Intelligence tools play an important role in The LUCK Principle(TM) for collaborating to win longer lasting and more profitable customer relationships. They aid the effective sales rep in listening to their prospects by enriching their CRM database with better corporate intelligence (such as business descriptions and recent news) and key contacts (adding these into CRM) and higher quality data (updating contact information in CRM to ensure that high quality information is available). The sales rep can then leverage this information to form a better understanding of the prospect by identifying decision makers, organizational hierarchies, company news, industry trends and other information. When they have done this, they are more prepared to connect with their prospect, identifying hidden business issues that the prospect that may not be aware of and delivering custom solutions that can’t be easily replicated by the competitors. By combining the knowledge that sales intelligence systems make available with CRM dashboards, the effective sales executive knows how their efforts performed and can expand their organization’s proprietary business intelligence thus continuously improving their competitive advantage.
In other words, sales reps that use sales intelligence tools improve their LUCK; those that don’t are simply counting on luck.
We are frequently asked by our clients to aid them in selecting an appropriate Sales Intelligence tools to integrate with their CRM solution (typically Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce.com). The task can be daunting. There are dozens of options on the market for this purpose including: Dun & Bradstreet (Lead Builder), Capital IQ, Hoovers, Infogroup (Salesgenie), InsideView, Broadlook, Data.com, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Twitter – not to mention numerous industry specific options.
But for a sales intelligence solution to be effective and affordable, it must do two things well: (i) multi-source data to improve quality and coverage, and (ii) offer direct integration with most of the leading CRM solutions. Based on that criteria, three champions quickly emerge: InsideView, Data.com (from Salesforce.com) and Broadlook. Yes, there are other options out there, but none seem to have the same combination of marketplace adoption, integration options and data quality that these three do. Let’s take a closer look at each.
InsideView offers integration with more CRM platforms that any other sales intelligence tool that we are aware of including: Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Oracle, Marketo and Sugar CRM. Their data also comes from more sources than any other integrated tool that we’re aware of – over 30,000 data sources including Capital IQ, Equifax, NetProspex, LinkedIn, Twitter, SimplyHired, Rueters, and thousands of news sources. These sources include the standard sources for “data” (such as name, title, phone, email, etc), but also numerous sources of “buzz” about a company (such as press releases, social feeds, etc) – providing a robust source not only of CRM data enrichment, but real time sales intelligence about the happenings inside of a business.
Data.com was formerly known as Jigsaw. They were acquired by Salesforce.com who subsequently re-branded the service to Data.com. Data.com was created with a novel approach to building contacts lists using crowd-sourcing. An individual can sign into Data.com and either buy leads with cash, or trade their own lead list in (aka crowd-sourcing) to earn points that can be used to buy leads. The service quickly grew in popularity and offered a fresh source of sales and marketing lists. Although there are some corporate privacy and competitive intelligence concerns about data.com’s model, the service has remained popular with Salesforce.com users. Data.com is now enhanced with other corporate data from Dun & Bradstreet. Integration is limited to Salesforce.com, but the data can also be accessed by going to the data.com website and manually downloading records and then uploading them into a CRM solution.
Note that InsideView uses NetProspex as a data source, which also uses a crowd-sourcing approach, thus building this approach into their broader set of data sources.
Broadlook has historically focused on crawling websites to gather information. By scraping information from publicly available company websites, Broadlook reduces the amount of time that a sales executive may have otherwise spent combing through a website to gather this information manually. It also includes a predictive engine that can “guess” at some pieces of data (such as email addresses) that may not be directly available via a public website – and it offers a scoring system to aid users in understanding the likely quality of a piece of data. While this approach does not offer some of the depth of data that comes from Data.com or InsideView, it does offer a cost-effective option. In addition to sales intelligence, Broadlook is also unique in offering tools focused on HR recruiting intelligence.
Let’s take a look at how these three tools compare across the various set of features. The table below is a summary only, but includes most important criteria for evaluating a sales intelligence solution.
($) indicates that this feature is an additional module or cost.
* Pricing for these products can vary based on a number of criteria or bundling of other products. As one example: Microsoft recently announced an alliance with InsideView to include Social Insights from InsideView integrated with Dynamics CRM at no additional cost.
Each of these three solutions offers some unique advantages over the other two – and not all of these differences could be highlighted in a single article. However, if your goal is to maximize the ability of your sales and marketing teams to engage with prospects, our recommendation is InsideView. InsideView excels in the areas of: number of data sources, strong integration across multiple platforms, excellent integration with social and news sources, and the ability to create watch lists to give your team an opportunity to engage before the prospect issues an RFP.
For more information on sales intelligence options for your CRM, including InsideView pricing and capabilities, please Contact Us.
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