I’ve worked in the sales intelligence space for fifteen years and was convinced back in 2002 that LexisNexis Company Dossier had the inside track on the sales intelligence space; but a sales intelligence version (Prospect Portfolio) of the offering wasn’t built until about five years ago. By then, the market had already passed them by. Thus, when I wrote my 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors, LexisNexis didn’t make the cut. I don’t think it will make the 2016 version either.
LexisNexis has an incredible archive of news and company information, but beyond news tagging they do little to add value to the content sets. The user interface is little changed from 2002 and information is presented at the vendor versus field level. Thus, the family tree is single sourced (Directory of Corporate Affiliations AKA DCA) as are the executives.
The FedEx profile shows executives from DCA, NetProspex, and Professional Contacts as separate lists. Users either pick one vendor or download and de-duplicate multiple lists. With DCA, Company Dossier lists only five FedEx executives but only two have titles. No other sales intelligence vendor would provide executive names without titles or job functions.
Company Dossier has fairly standard company prospecting, but lacks peer searching, a feature available in many other offerings.
When Competitors are shown, it is merely a hyperlink list with no details about the companies. Other vendors display mini-profiles of competitors which provides additional insights. Likewise, financials display key reports without visual cues to sub-totals and grand totals. They don’t even bother to label the name of the report, but simply call the section “Annual Figures.”
Company Dossier retains its legal focus even though it would be easy to build a non-legal version. They display the auditor and legal counselor just below the business description and provide a deep set of legal content, much of which has little or no value to sales reps. News searching is Boolean based although everybody else shifted to Google-style keywords over a decade ago. While Boolean searching can be quite powerful, most sales reps have no idea how to build such searches.
Another gap is the lack of overrides to update or correct datasets. Information is presented as is from the vendors so will be weeks or months out of date following key events. Thus, news stories will indicate that the CEO left the company or the firm was acquired, but the company profiles will continue to show outdated information.
This is not to say that Company Dossier lacks value. They have excellent news precision with a multi-year archive, SWOT reports from MarketLine, and M&A profiles. My concern is more that they fail to make the most of what they have.