ABM Research Vendors

When conducting account based (ABM) research, it is necessary to develop a broad view of your customers and prospects which includes company, contact, and industry research.   Unfortunately, open web research is quite time-consuming and your sales reps are unlikely to consistently engage in general research, so consider Sales Intelligence vendors with editorial research teams. 

Executive research should go beyond the Leadership page and LinkedIn profiles.  One option is Boardroom Insiders which gathers rich executive profiles on CxOs written by business journalists.

For industry research, look at Vertical IQ, IBISWorld, or First Research.  Vertical IQ and First Research are strong offerings for sales teams that sell broadly across many segments but are not verticalized.  They are written in plain English and include Q&A sections. The content in IBISWorld is more formal but better suited for verticalized teams.

At the company level, consider Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers, InsideView, or DiscoverOrg.  All three provide company and contact profiles, list building, and sales triggers.  D&B Hoovers goes deeper on global coverage, family trees, and industry profiles, DiscoverOrg offers the deepest set of technographics and rich bios, and InsideView provides excellent sales triggers and social media intelligence.

Quora: How can you export Linkedin leads/contacts into a database?

LinkedIn does not permit lead/contact downloading. This is part of the privacy agreement they have with their members.

That being said, there are some workarounds. The first is to license Salesforce Navigator which maintains a set of Accounts (companies) and Leads (contacts) within the product. While not downloadable, you receive alerts on those contacts along with messaging tools (InMail, messaging, and PointDrive).

You can also download accounts and contacts (called Leads within Sales Navigator) from Salesforce or MS Dynamics to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. While company and contact data is view only within CRMs, any data entered into LinkedIn (e.g. Notes, InMails) is uploaded to your CRM.

Sales Navigator includes a set of SNAP connectors for CRM, Sales Engagement, and other platforms. This tool provides a subset of Sales Navigator and Functionality within enterprise software. Features include profile viewing, InMail, connections, and icebreakers (talking points).

LinkedIn SNAP Connector within a Salesforce Opportunity Record (View Only).
LinkedIn SNAP Connector within a Salesforce Opportunity Record (View Only).

Option 2 is to license a chrome extension which recognizes domain names and LinkedIn profiles and matches them against their reference database. They then provide contact details and company firmographics within a right-handed side window. These databases usually include email and phone information not available in LinkedIn. Some include other details such as company technographics, news, and Alexa scores. Vendors with Chrome extensions include Zoominfo ReachOut, DiscoverOrg, HG Insights, DataFox, RingLead, Sigstr, PersistIQ, and Pitchbook.

The Zoominfo ReachOut Chrome extension supports contact prospecting at companies along with on-demand company and contact profiles based upon the current LinkedIn page or company domain.

Chrome extensions support send to Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Outreach, and SalesLoft features. Thus, you can be researching a company or contact, click on the extension icon, and kick off a sales engagement cadence within a few seconds (longer if you pause to review the enhanced profiles). A few even include contact prospecting for companies so you can search for specific company roles and

  • Add them to your CRM as contacts or leads individually or in bulk
  • Be notified of contacts already in your CRM (to avoid duplicates)
  • Kick off a Sales Engagement cadence / sequence
  • Research employees

Plunkett Almanacs Now Sold through ReferenceUSA

Plunkett Almanacs Now Sold through ReferenceUSA
Plunkett Auto Industry Statistics
Plunkett Auto Industry Statistics

ReferenceUSA, the library and government sales division of Infogroup, is partnering with Plunkett Research to sell their industry almanacs.  Plunkett offers three dozen almanacs including fast-growing sectors such as Green Technology; Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine; and Nanotechnology.  Plunkett reports are written for the “general reader to readily access and understand the most vital trends, technologies and companies creating change within given industries—even if the reader has no current expertise in that industry.”

Jack Plunkett, CEO of Plunkett Research, said, “We’re excited to team up with the terrific people at ReferenceUSA.  Their deep relationships with librarians and understanding of libraries’ unique needs make them the ideal group to spread the word about the Plunkett Research Online industry reference platform.  At the same time, ReferenceUSA and Plunkett Research products are perfectly complementary–libraries that subscribe to both will be able to harness the full power of our deep data analyses.”

Plunkett almanacs cover both US companies and industries. They are available as online subscriptions, eBooks, and printed subscriptions. Plunkett helps close a gap in the ReferenceUSA product line. Infogroup provides a deep set of US and Canadian company and consumer files along with new companies, new households, family trees, and prospect list building. The partnership helps ReferenceUSA compete against Mergent Online which provides a company and industry research service in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet.

Subscription users can download custom industry reports as PDFs. Tables, company lists, and association lists may be downloaded to Excel.

Plunkett Online Subscription Pricing
Plunkett Online Subscription Pricing

View only subscription pricing begins at $1,295 for a single seat with downloading available for $1,995. Printed almanacs and ebooks are priced at $380.

Mattermark Returns

The Mattermark Account I-Frame in the Salesforce AppExchange supports both company news and an account overview with over 80 fields. The service is reasonably priced at $49 / user / month.
The Mattermark Account I-Frame in the Salesforce AppExchange supports both company news and an account overview with over 80 fields. The service is reasonably priced at $49 / user / month.

Mattermark is back as an independent company after being acquired by FullContact in late 2017.  Unfortunately, the acquisition announcement was mishandled with FullContact first saying the product was going away and later saying that it was still available.

The relaunched Mattermark attracted back much of its early staff including its founders Danielle and Kevin Morrill and Product Lead Paul Denya.  The firm has a “renewed focus on private deal intelligence.”  

“This transition has been in the works for the past few months without disruption to services. You have our assurance that will continue to be the case.”


Eric Milliken

To support the relaunch, Mattermark is adding headcount to their customer service, engineering, and data teams “to redouble our commitment to customer satisfaction and data excellence.”

Mattermark data coverage spans 4 million companies, company news, and funding data.  Users can leverage public lists or build shared lists.  Mattermark also supports an API, Salesforce integration, Chrome extension, Google Sheets, and lead and account enrichment.

Quora: How do I find a company’s top competitors?

The following is a post I wrote on Quora.


There are a couple of ways.

  • If a US public company, look at its 10-K (annual report). Firms generally discuss their competitors. You can locate the 10-K on a company’s investor site, through sales intelligence vendors, or free Edgar sites.
  • If a private company, look at Owler, a free site (See below). This is crowdsourced so may include firms that aren’t true competitors.
Owler competitor lists are gathered through social voting.
  • Look at sales intelligence services such as D&B Hoovers or InsideView. Hoover’s competitors are editorially generated and include top three flags (see below)
D&B Hoover’s competitor lists are gathered by a team of researchers.
  • Within IT, look at Forrester Wave reports. Another option is technology category searches in PE/VC databases such as DataFox, Crunchbase, Pitchbook, or CB Insights. Keep in mind that companies within the same segment may not be competitors, but partners, customers, etc.
  • Many industries have industry specific market research that includes competitors. A few general market research firms also provide competitors (e.g. MarketLine, Euromonitor, Global Data, and Freedonia). Top Competitors are also available in IBISWorld, Vertical IQ, and First Research.
  • Zoominfo and a few other vendors identify similar companies based upon proximity in articles. This finds competitors, but also customers and partners so should be carefully reviewed.
  • For new technologies or industries, D&B Hoovers offers Conceptual Search which identify companies associated with key phrases (e.g. Marcellus Shale, Obamacare). This is more of an associated companies list and will identify firms in a topical ecosystem. For example, “Harry Potter” identifies studios, publishers, toy makers, theme parks, and thematic tours. (See example below of conceptual search on Marcellus Shale). Conceptual Search lists may be refined by standard prospecting filters such as industry, geography, and size.
D&B Hoover’s Conceptual Search looks for companies associated with specific phrases.
  • If none of these work, use peer list searches (industry code lists) or keyword searches in sales intelligence vendors. If cost is a concern, go to your public library and see if they have ReferenceUSA, AtoZDatabases, or Mergent Online. Each of these allows you to build peer lists based on industry codes, company size, and geography. If you need help, ask for the business or reference librarian to assist.

ISI Emerging Markets

EMIS Professional Dashboard
EMIS Professional Dashboard

EMIS, a research service for emerging markets, was sold by Euromonitor Institutional Investor to CITIC Capital and Chinese media company Caixin Global back in April. CITIC is an alternative investment management and advisory company.  Also included in the sale was CEIC data, a provider of global time series data.  The two businesses, jointly named ISI Emerging Markets, have been run in parallel and will continue to do so, but sales operations have been merged.  Sales continues to be organized regionally, and some product specialization will be retained.

ISI is headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in eighteen countries.  The firm has over 500 employees located in both emerging and developed countries.  The two firms reported an operating profit of £11.9 million ($15.1 million), as disclosed in the notes to Euromoney’s 2017 annual accounts.  The firms reported 2016 revenue of about $52.7 million and EBITDA of $14.5 million.  Based on 2016 turnover and the $180.5 million purchase price, the deal had a 3.4 multiple.

EMIS delivers news, research, analytical data, and peer comparisons for over 125 emerging markets.  The content is multi-lingual and serves researchers, industry analysts, corporate strategists, credit analysts, and business development professionals.  Customers are found in corporate and investment banking, consultancies, private equity, government, and academia.

EMIS displays news and research from 7,000 publications and 3.6 million emerging market company profiles, two million of which include financials.  Industry sources include BMI Research, Technavio, MarketLine, Mintel, and Euromonitor.  Sixteen languages are supported for content and UI along with cross-translations between the languages.

The products have regional strengths. CEIC began with a Chinese focus twenty-five years ago and is strongest in Asia.  EMIS began in Eastern Europe, but now generates half of its revenue in the Americas.  Asia now represents 25% of its revenue with India its fastest growing market.

Chief Product Officer Diego Obere said that “the majority of our employees are based in emerging markets, allowing us to establish an unrivalled level of expertise on these often opaque countries.” The firm’s “focus [is] on providing our clients with information on countries that are classed as emerging markets. Over 90% of our 5,000+ content sources are from emerging markets”.

The product roadmap includes an improved EMIS UX, upgraded industry pages, and investments in improved mobile and API access.

Channel-wise, EMIS partnered with EBSCO and ProQuest for university distribution.  The firm supports both subscription access and on-demand research purchases.

Redefining the D-U-N-S Number

Dun & Bradstreet is looking to modernize its D-U-N-S Numbering system to support digital businesses which may not have a phone number or physical location.  D-U-N-S Numbers, which are the de facto global company numbering system, were developed by Dun & Bradstreet in 1963 and have long captured business locations including headquarters, subsidiaries, and branches along with firmographics and corporate linkage.  Currently, there are over 300 million D-U-N-S numbered active and inactive global businesses.  But this model fails to capture the emerging nature of digital businesses and the gig economy.  The expanded definition will shift from location to “point of commerce.”

“You can be a digital business.  You can be a business that is a two-person startup right out of a coffee shop and you’re accepting PayPal as your form of payment.  That doesn’t require a physical address anymore.  You could be part of the gig economy.  You can be an Uber driver.  You can have an Airbnb property.  Those don’t necessarily fit under the mold of traditional businesses,” said Saleem Khan, Digital Leader of Data Innovation at Dun & Bradstreet.

“That idea of point of commerce subsumes everything.  It subsumes the digital location.  It includes things like the Internet of Things and the gig economy as well.


Saleem Khan, Dun & Bradstreet, Leader of Data Innovation

The rise of the Internet of Things also calls for a broader definition of businesses to assist with master data management and business linkage.

“There are 11.2 billion Internet connected devices out there, half of which are doing B2B commerce,” said Khan.  “It’s a ship coming into a port and being scanned automatically.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know which businesses are tied to that particular Internet connected device?  And so, with respect to the D-U-N-S Number, what we’re doing is moving away from business at a physical location in favor of business at a point of commerce.” An expanded definition also benefits government agencies and financial services companies which often require D-U-N-S Numbers for business verification (e.g. anti-money laundering, know your customer), sub-contracting, and credit and supplier risk analyses.

DiscoverOrg Expands Coverage

DiscoverOrg now offers two classes of segregated companies and contacts.
DiscoverOrg now offers two classes of segregated companies and contacts.

DiscoverOrg, which has historically focused on decisionmakers at top companies, greatly increased its company and contact coverage last week.  The firm now collects data on 500,000 global companies, trebling its coverage.  With respect to contacts, coverage grew five-fold to 20 million decision makers.  All of the new companies are headquartered in the United States, but roughly 27% of the new contacts work outside of the United States.

The expanded company and contact data has long been captured by DiscoverOrg but not presented within their service.  Thus, adding a lower tier of records presented a problem which was solved by segregating the records into two categories: Research Verified and Technology Generated.  Research verified profiles are collected and audited editorially.  They are subject to DiscoverOrg’s 95% data quality SLA with 96% direct dial fill rates and 98% email fill rates.  The research verified dataset spans 4.35 million contacts across 163,000 global companies.  This dataset remains their primary universe.

The technology generated dataset is collected, validated, deduped, and categorized by DiscoverOrg’s platform.  The dataset spans 15.5 million contacts across 319,000 additional US companies.  As the dataset also includes technology generated contacts at research-verified companies, sales and marketing can utilize the technology-verified contacts when there are few eligible contacts with the desired titles within the human-verified dataset.  They can also drill down into a universe of smaller companies not subject to human verification.

“The dramatic growth of our database is due to rapid advancements in technology-enabled processes built on a decade of expertise with human-verified research. This human+technology approach has allowed us to develop unique assets for cleansing, verifying, and maintaining data that gives our customers the best advantage available: deep, accurate and complete data that fuels their growth.”

Derek Smith, DiscoverOrg Senior Vice President of Data

When prospecting, human-verified and technology-verified contacts are displayed as separate lists.  When viewing contacts in a company profile, the human-verified contacts are displayed by default, but the technology-verified contacts are accessible if needed.

DiscoverOrg built its reputation with a human-researched and verified database of top companies which includes org charts, real-time buying signals, sales triggers, and technographics.  The firm is now deploying “proprietary technology and human-in-the-loop automation” to deliver “a significantly broader universe with levels of accuracy not typically seen at these volumes.”

DiscoverOrg President Katie Bullard did not provide details on their technological verification processes, but stated, “We have a variety of proprietary tools and technologies that ensure the highest level of depth and quality available in the market.  Some of these include tools for retrieving and validating direct dial phone numbers, email verification tools, and tools that parse job descriptions to identify technologies used.”

The expansion provides deeper coverage of SMBs.  94% of covered companies have fewer than 1,000 employees and 75% have fewer than 100.

The new contacts have a minimum of a corporate phone, email, title, department, and company.  Approximately 27% of the new contacts include direct dial phones.  DiscoverOrg is confident that email accuracy is above the industry standard.

“With this launch, no other company in the industry offers the data quality and depth that smart go-to-market motions demand, AND the data quantity to reach entire addressable markets,” claimed DiscoverOrg.

While DiscoverOrg covers international companies in its human-verified dataset, they do not have an international office, “but we’re always considering our international strategy,” said Bullard.

Vertical IQ Launches Mobile App

Vertical IQ Summary (Mobile App)
Vertical IQ Summary (Mobile App)

Industry research firm Vertical IQ launched a mobile app which delivers condensed profiles of 300 industries which can be quickly viewed before meetings or while commuting.  The app is available on iPhone and Android devices at no additional charge for current customers.

“Vertical IQ users are busy professionals, and the reality is that they often don’t have the time to research and read an entire industry-related paper to prepare for a client or prospect meeting,” blogged the firm.  “In order to best help our busy customers, we have to design the most efficient, practical way possible to prepare for meetings—writing and organizing industry-specific information that is digestible, quick, and to-the-point.”

Industries are listed alphabetically and searchable by Vertical IQ industry, NAICS / SIC, and Favorites.  Searching is by keyword, so “Pest” returns Pest Control, Agricultural Chemical Manufacturers, Landscape Services, and Pest Control Services.  The results list may be viewed alphabetically or by sector.  The app has a short “Time to Pie,” a term coined by Intuit which means how quickly do users get to useful information.

Content is broken into eleven chapters which are navigated by a three-bar icon across fromthe chapter title:

  • Summary
  • Big Picture Video –  an industry overview which helps reps “quickly visualize the business, gain insight, and be ready to talk about points of [my client’s] industry.”
  • Fast Facts – Average company size, geographic distribution, top firms, business structure, etc.
  • Call Prep Questions – Capital Financing, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Risks to Watch Out for, Working Capital
  • Working Capital – Sell and Invoice, Collect, Manage Cash, Pay, Report, Cash Management Challenges
  • Trends
  • Risks – Industry Risks, Company Risks
  • Numbers – BizMiner industry ratios
  • News
  • Quarterly Insights
  • Bank Product Usage – Industry adoption of standard bank products from Barlow Research

Vertical IQ was co-founded by Bobby Martin, who also started First Research.  Both services provide an extensive set of industry snapshots for relationship managers looking to quickly learn about key industries.

“Vertical IQ helps you save time, increase the likelihood and effectiveness of pre-call planning, deepen relationships with clients, improve banker confidence during calls, and bridge the gap between a banker’s financial knowledge and business knowledge.”

Vertical IQ

Vertical IQ supports nearly 35,000 bankers, accountants and advisors who serve small to medium-sized businesses and professionals.  Along with subscription services, users may purchase individual reports for $99.

DiscoverOrg Expanded Content

DiscoverOrg now displays 22,000 global family trees to the subsidiary level.

DiscoverOrg, which has long emphasized technographics and contacts, expanded its company intelligence with the addition of global corporate hierarchies and private equity / venture capital funding intelligence.  DiscoverOrg also expanded its contact / biographic coverage with detailed work histories, educational profiles, and North American mobile phones and personal emails.

“The traditional playbooks for B2B prospecting and corporate recruiting don’t work anymore.  Today’s buyers and hires expect highly personalized outreach at the right time that cuts through the mass-produced noise we’re all inundated with. The additional data we are now delivering make it even easier for our customers to craft the right message and engage where and when they are most likely to get a response.”


DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck

Family trees are color coded and available for 22,000 global companies along with their divisions and subsidiaries.  Tree nodes may be expanded and collapsed, allowing sales reps to customize their view.  Users may link to major subsidiaries that are also contained within the DiscoverOrg company universe while non-covered subsidiaries are grayed out.  Tree nodes include logo, location, and ownership type.

DiscoverOrg has long offered org charts highlighting contact reporting structures, but family trees have been a gap in their service until now.

Funding data includes total funding and round details such as amounts, dates, and investors.

DiscoverOrg did not disclose the sources of their new data sets beyond saying they were licensed from “leading third-party data providers.”  The new content was verified by their 250 editors and DiscoverOrg’s automated verification processes prior to being presented to clients.

DiscoverOrg continues its rapid content build out with 4.3 million human-verified contacts across 160,000 top global companies.  Additional functionality around the family trees is planned for the next three months.  The firm also expects to add funding data screening to their build-a-list functionality.

“Our biggest differentiator is our ability to bring together proprietary technology,automated tools, and integrations that gather data – plus a layer of human verification to ensure its accuracy.”


Katie Bullard, DiscoverOrg President.

DiscoverOrg confirmed that they are on target for their $160M end of year ARR.