2019 has barely begun and we are already witnessing the contact data space change significantly. ZoomInfo and Data.com, two of the largest providers of sales and marketing intelligence won’t be around much longer. Join RampedUp Founder Scott Miller as we discuss alternatives for their customers.
The sales intelligence space has always been ripe with consolidation. Perhaps it all started in 1933 when R.G. Dun and Company merged with The Bradstreet Organization to form Dun and Bradstreet. In recent years, D&B has gobbled up Hoovers, NetProspex, and Avention to round out their portfolio. We have seen innovative crowd-sourcing businesses like Jigsaw become data.com when they were purchased by Salesforce.com only to be discontinued in favor of social media giants like LinkedIn – who was bought by Microsoft.
But DiscoverOrg buying ZoomInfo is different in two aspects. One, ZoomInfo just finished its acquisition of DataNyze – a technographic company backed by Mark Cuban. ZoomInfo was making great strides with its international and SMB coverage. Two, DiscoverOrg recently bought RainKing – a contact data company focusing on the IT space. DiscoverOrg’s claim to fame was the accuracy of their data because they had so few companies to cover (just the global 200.) ZoomInfo is proud of their coverage with direct dials but never provided the org-charting that made DiscoverOrg so popular.
Now the two companies will become one and there is good news and bad news for the consumer. In the short-term, customers will most likely have access to both data sources until they figure out next steps. That is a win in some respects but in others it is a loss.
DiscoverOrg is not going to spend the money to keep both data sets updated so giving customers access to an aging ZoomInfo really isn’t an incentive at all. Zoom will produce aging records until the data sets are merged and inevitability the bad data will find its way into your systems until that happens. Also, sourcing two databases will add time your campaigns, duplicates in your datasets, and manual manipulations errors to standardize the data. If you have every tried to blend data from two different sources you will realize how risky this is to data integrity
However, that will only last so long as the company wants to quickly realize economy of scale. Meaning the business will need to figure out the people, processes, and places that are its best fit going forward. DiscoverOrg just did this with RainKing and almost all of the personnel were let go.
There will also need to be a conversation about sourcing techniques. ZoomInfo uses an email signature scraping technology that is exchanged for contact data. This technology is uploaded by the user and is rarely approved for usage by the user’s employer. And why would they ever approve it? There most precious commodity – their customer data – is quite literally being given away without their knowledge and possibly sold to their competition.
Lastly, the acquisition will have to be paid for and that will come at the expense of the customer. ZoomInfo was a great counterweight to DiscoverOrg’s rising prices but that of course will no longer be available. Companies looking for direct dial data contact data will be forced look elsewhere. There are alternatives that provide human-validated direct-dial contact data yet don’t have to fund the purchase of three separate businesses.
In the short-term, there will be a lot to like about the merger. Call it the honeymoon period. Longer term, as the company decides who it wants to keep and how they want to handle the business, there will be new processes for customers. The sourcing story will need to become transparent as no business willingly gives away its customer data. Lastly, expect to see rising prices as all these acquisitions need to be paid for by the consumer.
Keeping contact records updated and accurate is the key to healthy demand generation. Hubspot reports that B2B data expires at a 2-3% rate per month. So if you haven’t cleaned your sales and marketing tools in two years then the odds are pretty good over half your contacts have moved on. Most people are taken aback by that stat but just look at your own office – what did it look like two years ago?
Bad data manifests itself in various ways without you even seeing it first hand. As example, marketers watch their open rates drop and sellers spend more time on research instead of selling. In other words – your revenue generating productivity begins to fall off as your contact data decays. All is not lost however – there are three ways to update your contact data.
Email Validation – this is the age old technique of removing contact record when they bounce. This is a very effective method for companies that supply bounce data to email senders – but more and more companies are not doing this. As email has become a favorite for malicious actors – sophisticated companies are using Accepts All email servers. These servers will inspect emails for quality, quantity, SPAM, or malware and then decide to either send the email internally.
Social Validation – LinkedIn has become the database of records for most professionals. Chances are your LinkedIn profile will accurately represent your employment history and your current employer. The challenge for most companies however is that LinkedIn doesn’t just allow you to upload your contact records into their system for validation. The process is often very manual and comes with the errors of human hands. The second issue with social validation is that professionals often do not update their until they find a new job. So – if the contact was fired and is “on the market” that won’t be reflected on LinkedIn.
Human Validation – Machines do a great job at validating contact records at scale but they will never be able to match the level of accuracy of a human being. Your sales team already validates their own accounts and leads today because these records are the most important to them. (While this is a good idea – it does slow productivity as outlined above.) Some companies will employ interns or off-shore resources to validate or manually curate data from trade shows.
When building data for your own purposes or buying it from some one else – savvy sales and marketing leaders should employ all three methods. By the way – be careful if you are buying contact data. We recommend you start with social data as a starting point, validate the email records through SMTP negotiation, then finally have humans verify your most important contacts for accuracy. By employing all three methods you will have very little fall through the cracks for data quality.
That’s how we do it at RampedUp and there really is no better way to ensure your getting the best contact records available.
Atlanta, GA, March 9, 2019. RampedUp announced today that the company is matching all existing contact credits of Data.com customers. On May 3rd, 2018, Salesforce.com discontinued selling Data.com Connect. As a result, RampedUp is matching all Data.com credits for existing customers. To claim the credits, customers must be able to show proof of account ownership and existing credits.
Scott Miller, Founder of RampedUp, “Salesforce.com has cultivated a very loyal following of customers that have accumulated hundreds and thousands of credits. These customers will be left out in the cold when Data.com is discontinued on May 4th, 2019. For many people this is the lifeblood of their business. That’s why we created this program – to give these people an alternative.”
RampedUp provides Human Validated Direct Dial data. This is different from the Data.com model of crowd-sourcing but lends itself to better accuracy and less duplication, Data.com users will find a familiar interface for contact data and integration with Salesforce.com. They will also find the quantity to which they are accustomed:
- 100 Million Global Contact records
- 9 Million Companies
- 9000 Daily Trigger Events delivered to the inbox
William Lennon, Chief Sales Officer at GroupBDO, “As GroupBDO had to find an alternative to Data.com we were; quite frankly, a little scared of what the replacement marketplace presented to us. We were used to getting information quickly and without fuss and after looking at several of the vendors we did not feel that we could see a fit until we came across RampedUp! We are glad that we did and have been very happy with our downloads and the ease of use.“
When is bad news good news for sellers? When one of your existing customers moves to another company. New executives are hired to bring in new agendas and are often looking to replace existing relationships in their first 3-6 months. As an example, a new sales executive will make $1,000,000 in their first 90 days in the office.
Identifying the executives that are important to your sales process and “helping them unpack” allows you to earn the right to help them set their new agenda. Even better, by following your OC/NC’s (old contact / new company) to their new place of business shortens sales cycles due to the familiarity with your product. Here are a some ideas to find old customers.
First, take inventory of your customer base including all former users as far back as you find necessary. Second, run a data health check to identify users that have moved to other companies and update that data within your platform. Also consider appending personal email addresses to your database of former users. When you do solicit your old customers – try these approaches for a “Help them Unpack” campaign:
1. Recognize, appreciate, and thank your Past customers for past patronage. Let them know they’re important enough to you.
2. Remind them of why they chose to do business with you in the first place (perhaps this is your unique selling proposition or the largest result they hoped to achieve with you).
3. Give a time-limited offer exclusively for former customers as a token of appreciation for past business with you.
RampedUp can help identify your old customers within your current database or update the old users with their current contact data. We would love to help.
Getting the Attention of the Decision Maker – its a tough business but if you know what you are doing it can be the difference in making or breaking your goals. Getting the Attention of the Decision Maker isn’t like it used to be – where a sales leader or marketing manager hands a list and tells you to make a hundred dials. Today, speaking directly to the decision maker requires three things to be effective – Targeted Buyers, Tactical Approach, and Tailored Messaging.
Targeted Buyers: Account-Based Selling is white hot right now with sellers seeing an average contract value of 171% greater than their peers. Why, because the people and companies that are the ideal fit for your solution will pay a premium for your products or solutions! We highly recommend taking a census of your customer base to find look alike companies for prospecting. These customers could be geographic, revenue-based, competitive technologies, or in the same industry – but the key is to narrow the list down something manageable. From there, you want to identify all the people who are involved in the decision making process of your solution. If you don’t know who those people are, take a deductive process starting from kick-off to evaluation and name all the titles that are involved in your product. Once you have this process completed – find the titles of your buying committee at the companies that look like your customers. This is your call list!
Tactical Approach: When calling a decision makers, it is vitally important to call directly. Sellers are 147% more likely to get the C-suite on the phone if they call directly – which stands to reason if you think about gatekeepers and phone trees designed to prevent access. By committing to calling decision makers directly you will net results quickly. A study from TOPO found the the average Time to Dial is 80 seconds for a switchboard vs. 45 seconds to dial direct. So the math here is quite simple – having direct dial phone numbers save the average seller 15 minutes per hour.
Tailored Messaging: If you are looking to translate your conversation with a decision maker into a real appointment – you need to be capture their attention within the first 10 seconds – then keep it with asking informed questions. The challenge however is how to prep for a quality call but not slow down on the volume of calls needed for successful campaigning. We recommend taking 3 minutes before you call a decision maker and prepare with the account, buyers, and use cases.
Minute One – The Account. Companies make purchases because they are either dissatisfied with what they currently have or they have a pain they have yet to remedy. Its the seller’s responsibility to understand which one to make the right sales play. First, ascertain if the prospect is using a competitive solution to see if they have already addressed the issue your company can solve. It they have not, look for triggering events to link your solution to solve stated pains or goals. Use the News!
Minute Two – The Buyers. CEB has stated that the average B2B purchase has 5.4 decision makers and most sellers are talking to the lowest one on the org chart. Successful sellers uncover the entire buying committee by name and position. Then they have these individuals ready to reference as fellow decision makers in the sales process. By letting the decision maker know – you know the other players it shows you are prepared.
Minute Three – Use Cases. Buyers want to understand how their peers have used your solution to solve similar problems. Having specific use cases available by industry, size, location, competitor, title, and product before the call will show the prospect you are knowledgeable and prepared.
If you do not get the decision maker on the phone then always leave a voicemail – this is a chance at a 30 second commercial. On the voicemail, tell the decision maker when you are going to call back and ensure you do so! If you get the decision maker on the phone and cannot secure the appointment, then ask them to refer you to the other members of the buying committee you have researched. Call them out by name. Lastly, ask if there is anyone outside of their company whom they would recommend. Never miss an chance for a referral.
If all else fails the main point to consider is that your buyers are very busy and you are one of many unsolicited interruptions they receive during their day. There is no perfect pitch – but there is a perfect campaign. Today might not be good but tomorrow is better. This message might not work but the next one might. This might not be the right person but the next person could be. Keep at it but the one thing you have to be is – tailored. The form emails and voicemails will never get the attention of the decision maker.
For all intents and purposes – mass communication in demand generation is dead. Tools like SalesLoft and Outreach have made it too easy for sellers to send bulk solicitation to their buyers. As a result – these buyers tune out and unsubscribe. And that’s even if you make it into their inbox.
Savvy sellers understand that their solicitations not only need to be personalized – they need to be impactful. Introducing Trigger Event Selling.
Trigger Event Selling is very simple concept; companies share their achievements or goals in the form of press releases and we as sales people align our products and services to help reinforce those achievements or goals. If a company takes the time, energy, and effort to create a press release then that company obviously thinks the topic is very important. The opposite is also the case. If a company is receiving bad press then that company wants to be able to tell the media, stock holders, and customers that that company is doing everything within its power to rectify the situation. And more importantly, has the process in place to ensure it won’t happen again.
“You’ve been told for years that there is no silver bullet in sales. But there is. It is called timing – getting in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. When you have the right timing, the sale almost closes itself – you have fewer challenges getting to the prospect, understanding their dissatisfaction, presenting a solution, or selling at a much higher price.” Craig Elias – Founder of Shift Selling
In his opinion, the silver bullet in sales is timing and to reach the right person at the right time with the right message is how you find that silver bullet. Sellers looking for silver bullets should focus on the three P’s:
People – New executives are hired to bring in new agendas and are often looking to replace existing relationships in their first 3-6 months. Identifying the executives that are important to your sales process and “helping them unpack” allows you to earn the right to help them set their new agenda.
Product – New products and services receive the lions-share of a company’s attention to help them get off the ground. They are promoted with press releases and social media posts that are easy to spot. What isn’t easy however is connecting your service to the success of the new product unless you have access to a relevant use-cases. Make the connection simple and effective by providing a reference library for your sellers.
Places – When companies expand to new markets, they make for great triggering events for sellers. Companies that are moving into new states or countries also have compliance obligations that are non-negotiable. If your service can help with this compliance, then you are in a great position. New markets like EMEA or APAC require completely new go-to-market strategies that in-country services can uniquely provide.
Here is an example of using the news for Personalization:
As the VP of Sales at Tellio, I am looking to get 15 minutes of your time to discuss improving seller results through Account Based Selling tools. If this doesn’t fall under you directly, perhaps you could forward me to Jane Dixon in Sales Operations.
I recently saw where Tellio has a new product line helping HR professionals, complimenting your already strong presence with Finance. RampedUp has helped similar companies in the Human Resources space such as Ceridian and Workday by improving seller productivity by 27%. How? We provided company, customer, and contact details all inside of the account record in Salesforce.com. Now sellers don’t have to search for time-consuming sales data outside of their CRM.
Again, if you are free for 15 minutes next Tuesday afternoon then I can share in greater detail.
There is nothing more infuriating as a seller than having a No-Show appointment. It is the culmination of prep and hard work only to result in the ultimate let down. We have all been there. The truth is however there are many things that you can do to decrease your No-Show rate. They start with how you set the appointment, making it easy for them to attend, and becoming a priority for the prospect.
Setting the Appointment – When you finally get the prospect to agree to meet with you, remember the hardest objection to overcome is no objection at all. That is why you must ask qualifying questions to build rapport and value with the prospect. Jeremy Donovan, SVP Sales Strategy & GM at SalesLoft recommends the following, “So I can better prepare, what are you looking to get from our meeting?” or, less formally, “Prepping for our meeting… anything specific you’d like to cover?” You also want to ask the prospect who else “would find value” in attending the meeting or recommend additional attendees that you know are part of the buying committee. The simple truth is the more people who attend the better your chances are for avoiding a No-Show.
As you close the appointment – ask for the prospect’s direct dial phone number or confirm the number if you already have it. Ask the customer for permission to call them directly if something comes up or if their day becomes too busy. (They will always concede and you will need this permission later.) If the prospect wants a date more than two weeks in the future then tell them that your company has a policy that doesn’t allow for appointments that far in advance – perhaps we can try something sooner. Another simple truth is the farther out – the less likely to attend.
Make it easy to Attend – Once the appointment is set then your job is to make it is easy as possible to attend. Don’t just send a confirmation email – send a calendar invite. Ensure your calendar invite has a value-centric subject line and not just Demo or Check-In. In the invite, provide a dial in number and link to a web conference. I prefer a dial in because the prospect has a large window to make a call instead of a short window to take a call from you. Depending on your audience, you also should consider a reputable web conference software and avoid Google Hang Outs or Skype. It could give the wrong impression to serious buyers. Lastly, provide a tailored agenda based on the qualification questions when you set the appointment. This way the prospect understands exactly what will be covered during the meeting.
Be a Priority – Our prospects are inundated with requests for their time both internally and externally so it is our responsibility to be a priority for them. Showing them you are a real person with genuine business value by connecting with them on LinkedIn. You may want to follow them on other social channels like Twitter as well. You also want to remind them of the appointment via email the day before and the day of. I also recommend starting the appointment 5 minutes early and sending out a calendar reminder. If the prospect isn’t showing up on time, use the No-Show Check list:
- Email after 5 minutes
- Text after 10 minutes
- Call after 15 minutes – leave a voicemail
- InMail after 20 minutes
You want to wait at least 20 minutes because our prospects are busy and they often run late. If they do show up, they will be contrite and open to your pitch. Don’t rush the meeting however, if you can’t fit your demo within the time allotment then ask for more time or reschedule.
If your prospect bags the appointment altogether then you want to save the time and energy you put into setting it in the first place. First research why they might have missed the appointment. There could be time zone confusion, bad weather, a holiday, or a local event. When you send the email to reschedule mentioning this will show empathy and give them an easy out. Let them reschedule using scheduling software but remember to share your call prep and remind them why they set the appointment in the first place.
Post Mortem – We have no shows at RampedUp but almost all of them are rescheduled and executed. That wasn’t always the case however, we had to take a close look at our no-show rate and discover what they had in common. The easiest answer was that the no-shows hadn’t confirmed our calendar appointment so we now cancel the meeting if they haven’t done so 24 hours before the call. We also don’t set appointments outside of our Ideal Customer Profile – they just aren’t worth our time. I recommend you find the commonality in your No-Shows as well to close the gap.
Let’s Kick Off the New Year with 5 Healthy Demand Generation Habits! Register Here!
Referrals are the lifeblood of any successful B2B Marketing program but is perhaps the most under utilized tool for demand generation today. People are 4X more likely to buy a product when it is referred to them by a friend! With traditional marketing techniques taking such a huge hit in effectiveness – businesses are looking for new ways to fill the funnel. Make referrals part of your new year by formalizing the process, making it part of your sale and activating your customer base!
Formalize the process – Let your team know you are setting up a robust referral program complete with KPI’s and ownership. Create a referral portal to log and track referrals or look to companies like Influitive to do it for you. We recommend incentives for referrals such as a 5% referral bonus or a free month of service. You most certainly want to involve your employees and offer the incentives to them as well. Kick the campaign off with a press release and a quote from your executives. Look to traditional sources to promote your new initiative such as your website, social sites, and blog but also look at non-traditional sites such as your app’s log in page or the email signature of your customer success team.
Make it part of your sale – Referrals don’t have to just come from existing customers, they can come from prospects as well.
- First Call: Can you think of anyone else within your organization that would be a good fit?
- Presentation: Can you think of anyone else within your network that would be a good fit?
- Negotiation: Exchange discounts for a promise of referrals
- Customer: Ask for referrals during the honeymoon stage – 30 days after the contract is signed.
Activate your Customer Base – Of course the most likely referral will come from a satisfied customer. 83% of satisfied customers are likely to recommend your company to their peers but how do you know which customers are most satisfied? We use the simple NPS score of asking customers on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest) how likely they are to recommend us to friends or family. NPS is usually used as a success metric but if you receive an 9 or 10 – turn that data around quickly for a referral. But be proactive as well – find the most active users on your site and contact them for a referral and make the referral process as part of the customer success experience. Customers that have had an issue resolved are happy customers and more willing to share their positive experience in the form of a referral.
Let’s Kick Off the New Year with 5 Healthy Demand Generation Habits! Register Here!
Referrals are in places outside of your line of site as well. Look up your company is user forums such as G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, or Capterra. Search your enablement community or complementary technologies for positive recommendations online and turn kind words into referrals as well.
A referred customer has 16% higher lifetime value than customers acquired through other methods so it is definitely worth the time to get a formalized referral plan in place.
Join RampedUp Founder Scott Miller and SleevesUp CEO Aaron Biddar as they share 5 Healthy Demand Generation Habits to Start the New Year. The Webinar was Recorded on – Jan 23, 2019 1:00 PM EST
Let’s Kick Off the New Year with Healthy Habits!