Prospecting used to mean purchasing a static lists of prospects from one of the many vendors out there offering these.
In today’s hyper-competitive sales landscape static lists based only on basic firmographics don’t cut it for salespeople who aim for strong sales figures (don’t we all?). High-performers within sales use dynamic data and more data-points provided in a smart sales prospecting platform when looking for new accounts to approach with their offer.
As a result of this, there are now a lot of great software platforms and applications that help salespeople to discover potential buyers. With a modern, dynamic B2B sales database - like Vainu - you can use endless criteria to filter out the most promising companies based on both their static data and insights from open data. For example, you could search for IT companies that are located in a chosen city with over X in revenue that use specific website technologies, that have given a specific buying signal recently or that’s expected to go through a certain organizational change soon.
Static Prospecting Lists vs. A Dynamic Company Database
The company data that static lists are based on usually comes from companies’ annual reports and therefore is only updated once a year. Using web indexing technology, B2B sales lead platforms collect a myriad of data about millions of companies every day. Some prospecting tools focus on company-level information, some provide mainly contact details for decision makers and some tools are mainly used to facilitate the outreach process when trying to get hold of a potential prospect.
There are a lot of great softwares and applications that help salespeople to discover potential buyers.
Sales prospecting tools are built on data, which means that there are more strong local vendors than in most other software categories. A great prospecting solution for the Swedish market requires excellent data on Swedish companies and a great prospecting solution for the German market similarly requires excellent data on German companies. At the moment, there are only a handful of global providers but their offering is often typically strong only in markets where they focus the most. One exception is LinkedIn, which is widely used in many parts of the world, which makes it appealing for companies searching for global solutions for finding the right decision makers.
The 20 Most Relevant Sales Prospecting Tools 2018:
A number of business-critical signals occur within your prospect accounts on a daily basis. Vainu aggregates thousands of new signals every day, sending users daily and weekly alerts on the signals that are most likely to have an impact on one’s existing sales process. These signals can be, for example, decision-maker changes, new company initiatives, funding rounds, product launches, or relevant new job openings.
ChrystalKnows helps salespeople adapt their communication style based on the buyer’s personality. The solution is based on the DISC assessment that relies on four primary personality types: dominant, influential, steady, and calculating. They mainly gather data from email discussions and public social media profiles.
One of the largest company databases with more than 100 million people and 200 million company profiles. The platform has seen several updates lately after Dun & Bradstreet announced its acquisition of Avention OneSource.
A company and contact database developed by Jigsaw that was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2010. Data.com works seamlessly within Salesforce.com platform. What’s unique in their data gathering process is the crowdsourcing. All the users can use and earn data credit by updating the contact information of their colleagues and business connections.
DataFox helps industry-leading businesses take control of customer insights with CRM Orchestration. Users can build and track their pipeline with hard-to-find data from over 40 different data fields on over 2 million companies.
Datanyze is a robust Sales Intelligence and Lead Generation application for web technology companies. The app’s discovery tool continuously evaluates millions of websites to find out what technologies are being used. Datanyze has integrated with third party solutions like CrunchBase, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn to provide information about contacts and leads directly in the web app. Customers can also access Datanyze’s information from their Salesforce.com accounts.
Detective by Charlie
Detective by Charlie hooks up with your calendar app and sends you a one-pager of all the people you’re having meetings with. The app pulls data from hundreds of different online sources, such as major social media platforms.
Discover.org includes organizational charts and information about new projects and initiatives. Their database collects a big portion of its data by interviewing and researching companies systematically a few times each year.
EverString’s AI SaaS solution for B2B sales and marketing professionals aims to help drive pipeline growth, find customers, expand into new markets, prioritize accounts, and provide actionable insights.
Infer develops a predictive sales and marketing platform with a strong focus on predictive lead scoring. They have also released solutions for account-based marketing. Infer was acquired by EWS capital in fall 2017.
InsideView’s aim is to position itself as a modern company database that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, specifically. In addition to basic company and people data, InsideView provides news mentions and social media feeds of companies.
Lattice Engines is another predictive lead scoring vendor. Established in 2006, they provide an application that predicts who will buy, what they are likely to buy and when.
Lusha is a browser extension that allows you to find email addresses and phone numbers from anywhere on the web with just one click. They also provide a Salesforce.com app and an API.
Outreach is a platform that helps salespeople build sales sequences. A sales sequence is a multi-step process including several different engagement tactics such as phone calls, voicemails, and emails. A typical sequence includes 5-15 steps that users can also A/B test in real time. The goal is to create a systematic and scalable process to engage with prospects and customers in a more effective manner.
Radius has branded their B2B sales and marketing platform as Revenue Platform that is powered by their own “The Network of Record™”. They don’t only rely on public sources when building their prospecting database but they also encourage their customers and community to contribute in the process.
A tool similar to Discover.org. RainKing also employs several researchers, who interview companies and collect insights into companies’ future projects and investments they are planning.
Sales Navigation by LinkedIn
Most salespeople use LinkedIn, but only some utilize LinkedIn’s paid premium offering, Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator makes it easy to build prospect lists based on decision makers’ job titles and responsibilities. Users can also monitor relevant discussions, allowing salespeople to find more meaningful ways to engage with both existing and new contacts.
Salesloft was originally a prospecting platform, but this Atlanta-based tech company pivoted to make it an engagement platform instead. The platform works in a similar function to Outreach, mentioned above.
An outbound sale platform that combines B2B prospecting data with a sales communications solution. The company is fairly young, founded in late 2015 and is a Y Combinator startups.
A comprehensive B2B database with over 9 million companies and over 200 million people from 100 different countries. ZoomInfo gathers contact information mainly by utilizing the email contacts of their free community that currently has more than 500,000 members.
Find the Right Prospecting Tool for Your Sales Role
The number of sales applications each sales professional is using increases steadily. Some companies have established a separate team for inbound prospecting which means searching through all new contacts the marketing department is generating. These teams typically spend lot of time each day using their marketing automation platform such as Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua or something similar.
People who mainly prospect enterprise-level customers often follow an account-based sales playbook. There’s an increasing number of software platforms design for account-based sales. Tools such as Terminus, Engagio and Demandbase all provide not only tools to engage with target accounts but also features to find new major opportunities that can be added to their “most wanted accounts” lists.
Before you sign up for too many applications, it’s smart to define your key performance metrics for your prospecting efforts.
Most of the systematic sales organizations have implemented at least one or a few of these sales prospecting tools. With lot of different alternatives to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all these different options. Before you sign up for too many applications, it’s smart to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) for your prospecting efforts.
In chapter nine in our ebook The Ultimate Guide to Sales Prospecting, we list a number of common KPIs for sales professionals who work with sales prospecting. There, we also share tips on how you can decide on the right KPIs for your business based on how you’ve structured your sales work. The chapter will be released as a blog post on November 1st. However, you can read it already now by downloading the whole ebook as a PDF here.
The Future of Sales Prospecting Platforms
Most of the sales prospecting tools listed in this article integrate smoothly with common CRM vendors. One of the trends in 2018 among these vendors seems to be an understanding of prospects’ intent. Algorithms process huge amounts of public, open and social data to uncover buying intent so that sales teams can reach out to the right companies at the right time.