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.
Boardroom Insiders, an editorially driven executive profile company, added build a list prospecting to its subscription service. The new feature supports firmographic and biographic selections against their 15,000 executive profiles. Users can download one or multiple executives from the list as a PDF.
“After a decade of researching C-Level executives, we have built an extremely robust repository of executive insight—both personal and business-related. Our new search tool unlocks the power of that insight in a very significant way. Subscribers can now easily execute these very specific searches in seconds. You simply will not find this capability anywhere else—and to replicate this type of research from scratch on your own would be both cost- and time-prohibitive.”
Boardroom Insiders CEO Sharon Gillenwater
Boardroom Insiders provides very rich executive profiles that go beyond those found in other executive sources such as LinkedIn. “Our forte is in providing deep insight on a relatively small group of C-level executives to support very important opportunities, CXO meetings, events, and large account ABM efforts,” said Gillenwater. Profiles may run a few thousand words and include an Executive Summary, Personal Attributes and Interests, Current Focus, Biographical Highlights, Other Boards and Organizations. Users also have access to a headshot, social media links, and contact information.
All of the bios are maintained by editors with a minimum of ten years of business journalism or management consulting experience. If a bio has not been updated in the past six months, a user can request a refresh. Boardroom Insiders also maintains bios for executives in transition and then updates them when executives land at new organizations.
While most sales intelligence vendors focus on broad coverage, there are several that continue to generate value the old-fashioned way through editorial research focused on high value content sets. Firms in this category include technology vendors DiscoverOrg and RainKing and industry overview provider First Research. Another editorially-focused vendor is Boardroom Insiders, founded by Sharon Gillenwater and Lee Demby. Gillenwater, who was a marketing consultant, realized that several of her key accounts were struggling with CIO-level discussions. In 2010, she partnered with Demby, the co-founder of First Research (acquired by Dun & Bradstreet / Hoover’s in 2007), to create a C-level executive information service.
“Most companies spend too much time worrying about getting customer contact info and not enough time thinking about what they are going to say to these customers once they get in touch with them,” said Gillenwater. “While having the right contact info is important, it is useless if you don’t have a strategy for making yourself relevant to the person on the other end of the phone.”
Boardroom Insiders provides deep biographical profiles of C-level executives. They cover the CEO, CIO, CFO, CMO, and COO of the Fortune 500 along with additional top executives requested by their customer base. In total, Boardroom Insiders publishes 13,000 rich biographies for 3,000 US and international companies. A team of fifteen editors (ten full-time) research and update their bios. All of the editors have at least ten years of business journalism or management consulting experience. While all of the material is editorially researched, executive changes and key events are monitored with just-in-time editorial updates performed. Furthermore, if a profile has not been touched in six months, a user can request that it be immediately refreshed. They also retain a pool of in-flux biographies for executives that may be in transition, allowing Boardroom Insiders to quickly revive and update profiles when a high-level executive resurfaces.
Included with subscriptions are credits towards the creation of additional biographies, providing users with on demand professional research. For requests of up to ten executives, the firm turns around new bios in two business days.
Content is derived from the open web with a focus on earnings calls, executive interviews, and industry articles. LinkedIn is also employed as a resource, but depth of content varies greatly and executives are often slow to update profiles after departing firms. What’s more, LinkedIn lacks insights into executive biases, interests, and passions. Finally, LinkedIn does not contain a broader view of the executive’s division and corporate environment.
“LinkedIn is an essential tool, but the profiles are unpredictable, limited in strategic insight, and biased,” said Gillenwater. “Boardroom Insiders is rich with strategic insight, unbiased, and provides the full professional story of the key decision maker you are calling on.”
Executive biographies run two to seven pages and contain
Last Updated Date
Current Company, Title, Location, Phone, and Email. The phone may be either a switchboard or direct dial.
Social Media Links (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)
An Executive Summary
Personal Attributes and Interests – Family status, interests and hobbies, business philosophy, awards, etc.
Current Focus – Job responsibilities, corporate strategy
Other Boards and Organizations
Executives can be looked up directly, by company name, or via prospecting. Prospecting is not as robust as large database competitors, but includes F500, Keyword, Title, CxO Function, Industry (NAICS major and minor categories), Alma Mater, etc. Keyword searching should be particularly effective due to the depth of their profiles.
Search results are downloadable as PDFs.
The Boardroom Insiders service offers email alerts for individuals and companies. Users are notified when an executive profile for a tracked company or executive is updated. Company alerts are also sent when new executive profiles are available at tracked companies.
Users may access the service via browsers or a single-sign-on integration with Salesforce.com. Within SFDC, there is a find button on Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities. Boardroom Insiders displays biographies or biography lists within the Salesforce frame.
Boardroom Insiders offers an API based upon the JSON protocol. Clients can use the API to feed information into their corporate data lakes or create custom solutions.
Users span four job functions targeting the C-Suite: