The world of sales today is dramatically different from what it was a generation ago. Today there are more technologies and tools at the disposal of sales professionals to help make their jobs a little easier. Some might even say that there are far too many tools out there, making it difficult to identify which ones are the best to use. Of course, what’s best for one organization may not be the best for everyone else. As is with all tools and services, each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore understanding how well these match the needs of your business is key to finding that best fit.
Now when it comes to choosing a tool to help your sales team, there are a lot of options. You can choose to invest in tracking systems, masked dialers, email automation, or a plethora of other technologies out there to help improve sales efficiency. To dig deeper and compare the various players in each of these spaces would result in an overly extensive report that most people probably would not want to read through in its entirety. As such the focus of this article will be on lead database solutions that can help the very early, and possibly most crucial, stages of the sales process, prospecting and engaging. Also, do note that this is not a fully comprehensive list. However, this list is a great way to kickstart your search. The vendors we’ll be looking at today are InsideView, ZoomInfo, DiscoverOrg, and Elucify.
Other than Elucify, which is a free tool, InsideView is the least expensive of all the providers on this list. As of December of 2016, their pricing was at $99/month per user, with a 15% discount if you go with a full year subscription instead of going month-to-month. With that subscription you’ll have access to their database which provides names, titles, emails and phone numbers for prospects at your target accounts. They also have links to some of your prospects social media profiles if they’re able to find them. The only downside is that of the phone numbers, only around 5% of them will be a direct dial. This might not be a huge concern for some, but for others it can definitely be a deal breaker since direct dials can definitely help speed up the sales process by allowing reps to bypass some gatekeepers. The other thing to note about this service is that they do have a 5 seat minimum, so if your team happens to be smaller than that, you may have to consider buying more than you need to start off.
Founded in 2000, ZoomInfo is the oldest vendor on this list. Having been in the space for quite a long time, their database is actually very well fleshed out. From personal experience in using the service, I can attest that they do have plenty of workable contacts across various functions and industries. The way ZoomInfo goes about populating their database by using a proprietary web crawler called NextGenSearchBot to analyze, extract and store information. They also have a free version of the tool available which requires users to download an extension that also provides them with even more data. Though ZoomInfo is a little more expensive than InsideView, being priced at $4,900/year for 2 seats, it has a strong advantage in that their database contains a large amount of direct dials. The accuracy of their direct dials has some room for improvement but overall they do work and is well worth the price difference for those willing to cough up the extra cash to gain access to them. Though they don’t particularly help you find all the social media profiles for your prospects, they do have a button you can click to quickly find your prospects on LinkedIn which is actually a pretty helpful feature that can save reps a bit of time. There is also an integration with Salesforce, so if your company is using Salesforce for its CRM, you can take advantage of that integration to more quickly import contacts and save your reps even more time.
DiscoverOrg is probably the most expensive of the vendors on this list with a price tag of $2,000/month for 3 users. However with that high price tag also comes a lot more data accuracy. They claim to have 95% accuracy as a result of their 90 day refresh cycle wherein their dedicated researchers call to re-verify all of their information in the systems. They also provide you with a report on the technologies that some of these companies have as well, which can be particularly helpful for certain businesses. DiscoverOrg also provides their best guess at an organization chart to help reps more easily navigate an organization and more quickly find decision makers, though they can’t contractually promise for these charts to be as accurate. Their database is also skewed more towards data around the Information Technology and Services sector, so if that happens to be your target market it could be even more reason to give DiscoverOrg some serious consideration.
Elucify is actually a tool that anyone can use. Their product is currently in beta and completely free for users. All you need to do is register with a valid business email and you can gain access to their database of leads. They do have a paid version of their product coming up in the near future but for now it’s still a resource that any sales or marketing professional can lean on if they want an additional source of data, especially one that’s free of charge. The contingency is that like ZoomInfo by signing up, you’re agreeing to sharing the business contacts you interact with from that account. This is actually how they’re building out their database and because the company is still in its early stages the database is not as fleshed out as it could be. There is definitely some data accuracy issues here as well. Additionally, unlike some of the other lead database providers we looked at earlier, Elucify only provides you with names, titles and emails. Direct dials aren’t something the company seems to be focusing on, at least for now, but overall the company is getting some serious groundswell and definitely seems to be headed in the right direction. If you don’t plan on leveraging them immediately, it’s definitely worth just keeping tabs to see how the product might evolve in the years to come.
Just to reiterate, though this list is not comprehensive of all the tools available today it should serve as a great starting point for your research journey in finding the best tool for your team and organization. If you’d like to check out some other providers you can also take a look at Book Your Data, Unomy, Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, DataFox, Datanyze, ProfileHopper, LeadGenius, Ripple, Cliently, or the many other companies working to empower sales and marketing that weren’t included here. Again there is no shortage of help out there so take the time to dig through the pros and cons of each company to see which could make the greatest impact on the success of your own business. You can also reference business software review websites like G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Gartner, Capterra, Crozdesk and even communities like Reddit for further insights to aid in your search.
Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.
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