Vertical IQ – RelPro Partnership for Industry Intelligence

Vertical IQ Call Prep Questions in RelPro

RelPro and Vertical IQ partnered to deliver company and industry intelligence in each other’s products.  Both companies serve financial services firms and the Relationship Management (RM) function at banks, with many customers requesting an integrated solution.  Joint customers have access to both programs via bi-directional authorization and accreditation at the user level.

“This is a partnership both companies’ customers have been clamoring for. So we listened to what the market was telling us and worked to bring the concept to fruition.  It was a natural fit.”

RelPro CEO Martin Wise

Vertical IQ provides a set of over 500 plain-English industry overviews designed for financial services firms that are broadly applicable to RMs, business development, and sales reps, particularly professionals that support many industries.  The profiles provide a high-level understanding of industries, including industry norms, structure, trends, pain points, call prep questions, forecasts, and news.

RelPro is a traditional sales intelligence service with company and executive content sourced from sixteen partners.  Data partners include Zoominfo, Dun & Bradstreet, BoardEx, GuideStar, Crunchbase, and HG Insights.  Rel Pro users build prospecting lists, perform account planning, identify additional contacts at key accounts, and, with the Vertical IQ partnership, research industries based upon each company’s industry codes.  A new Industry tab displays Vertical IQ’s Industry Overview, Trends & Industry News, Competition, and Call Preparation content.  

Instead of providing the full Vertical IQ report, RelPro chose to publish the most valuable sections from Vertical IQ and combine them with industry-specific intelligence from its database, including Competitors and Top Companies.  Should a user wish to dive deeper into an industry, the RM simply clicks a button and is taken to the full industry profile in Vertical IQ.

The Vertical IQ integration is a bit simpler.  Users can click on a “find companies in RelPro” button located in the industry dashboard.  The user is taken seamlessly to RelPro to perform a peer search.  The industry codes are pre-populated, and the user can include additional sizing and geographic variables for defining a territory.  Users may also plot company lists on a map, a useful tool for field sales rep planning.

Users do not need to log into both offerings.  A handshake between the firms ensures that jointly registered users receive access to both platforms.

There is a clear logic to this partnership.  RelPro and Vertical IQ allow Relationship Managers to rapidly context switch, perform client due diligence, ask intelligent questions, and conduct business development.  The combined services deliver customer and industry insights within the RM’s workflow, helping them better serve customers and their banking objectives.

The partners initially focused on their set of joint customers with contracts written on separate paper.  There is no surcharge for the cross-product authorization and functionality.

RelPro offers four industry subjects to the combined RelPro / Vertical IQ industry tab.

Vertical IQ has also stepped up during the pandemic to assist business decision making. Their editors are publishing a set of free coronavirus related profiles at the industry-level, allowing RMs, sales reps, and risk decision makers (supply, credit) to properly evaluate industry-specific risks.

“Rather than learning about industries in bits and pieces or from unreliable sources, we knew it was important for people to get information from an experienced industry intelligence partner written for those that advise small  and medium-sized businesses. That was the impetus for delivering this intelligence and making it free of charge.”

Bill Walker, Vertical IQ EVP of Research

A freemium approach during the current health and economic crisis makes a great deal of sense. It provides free resources to small businesses and distressed sectors that can assist with decision making, while providing a free taste of their content to professional and financial services firms. The content set should result in both future sales and brand equity.

Working at Home — Ideas from Tech Companies

Over the past few days, I’ve suggested ideas for maintaining pipeline and maintaining a positive and constructive outlook. This is now looking like it will last through the spring and potentially into the summer, so let’s be open to new ideas, practices, and routines.

I collected some ideas from those in the tech industry that I follow.

SalesLoft

In this morning’s team meeting the EMEA SalesLoft team discussed how we can keep the culture and mental wellbeing at the forefront while we work remotely…

We are having a daily stand up for 15 minutes, virtual team lunch on a Wednesday and virtual Friday drinks. We are making sure we put time aside for exercise and doing the things we love. We are being mindful of continuing to share ‘glass half full’ stories. We are also looking into what we can do to help with the bigger issue that people are facing in regards to the Corona Virus – local charities, food banks, the elderly.

Ollie Sharpe, SalesLoft VP of Revenue, EMEA

TOPO

A TOPO study of 350+ marketers indicated that only 16% of firms see a significant impact to their pipeline, 64% see a moderate impact due to coronavirus.  The biggest impacts are due to canceled events (87%), corporate travel bans (64%), buyers working from home (53%), and prohibitions against face-to-face meetings.  Only 27% cited buyers not booking meetings and frozen buyer budgets (22%).

TOPO survey (N=350)

ClickZ

Research conducted in 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research  indicated that B2B marketers who participate in industry events allocated nearly 40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows, almost five times more than the 8% spent on online marketing.

Even if only a small fraction of the events’ budgets is shifted to online marketing, it would translate into a massive growth in web marketing.

The major advantage of digital marketing, besides the fact that it does not require face-to-face interaction, is that it is measurable. Marketers can quite easily obtain a good picture of their spending return on investment (ROI), and of which activities generate the highest number of quality leads and at what expense.

Assuming that many marketers will have some extra free time, especially those who will have to go into home isolation, they are advised to use it to review their online marketing strategy and redefine their marketing messages.

Dan Gerstenfield, Interteam Content Services

David Brock

It’s time to pick up the phone. No texts, no emails, no social platforms. Pick up the phone and talk to someone. You are probably dealing with some of the same issues that come with physical separation.

It’s not the time to pitch people, it’s the time to show that you care–about them. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but ask them how they are doing, ask how they are keeping engaged and productive, share some ideas.

All of us share in this experience. Each of us is figuring things out. We can learn from each other, at the same time feel more connected.

David Brock, Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide”

Sirius Decisions (Forrester)

  • Create a task force. Except in very large companies or those with specific types of risks, most companies do not have a dedicated crisis response team, and many have never created even a bare-bones crisis communications plan. Now is the time to do so. Bring together functional leaders from across your organization to begin identifying and prioritizing issues, with all major functions and regions represented. The senior communications leader is usually at the helm, and in some smaller organizations, the effort may be led by the CEO. Other participants will likely include human resources, legal counsel, operations/facilities, sales and customer service leaders, and various marketing/communications disciplines that are either directly affected or will be involved in delivering information to audiences. Each individual should have a clear understanding of his or her specific responsibilities.
  • Prioritize issues of greatest urgency. Ensuring the safety of employees, customers and other stakeholders is obviously the priority, and external guidance from public health experts will be important to understand what these issues are…
  • Develop a protocol for emergent situations. Obviously the plan should lay out a set of actions the organization will take immediately, based on what is known today. However, the situation is fluid and it’s not possible to know with certainty what the situation will look like in a month or six months. That’s why it’s important to have a protocol for addressing new situations as they emerge… 
  • Prepare the communications engine. Providing transparent and ongoing communication is the hallmark of good crisis communications. The communications team needs to analyze the types of communication that will be needed to support a variety of scenarios. One of the most challenging aspects of crisis management is the need to create a wide range of critical content, have it vetted by legal and pushed out through channels as quickly as possible. Create templates for common types of content and stub content that can be built-out as needed. Set up an expedited legal vetting process and work with digital teams to identify how content will be conveyed through the company’s owned channels (web site, social, communities). Also prepare spokespeople – from the CEO to the receptionist, with concise answers that can be given without additional approvals or escalation paths.
  • Map communications strategies to audiences. SiriusDecisions always recommends starting with an understanding of the audience, and crisis response is no different…
  • Maintain open communications with employees. A large percentage of the workforce will face some kind of disruption to their normal routines or even their income…One of the first priorities should be to plan for how communications will flow internally: the channels and cadence that employees can expect, as well as where to go if the normal channels (which may occur in a face-to-face environment) are not available. Also remember that employees are a channel, and if you enable them with content, they can extend the reach of your information and credibility with audiences. [Full Text]

Resources

Vertical IQ: Freemium Industry Profiles

The new Vertical IQ freemium service provides the first three chapters of Vertical IQ industry profiles at no charge.
The new Vertical IQ freemium service provides the first three chapters of Vertical IQ industry profiles at no charge.

Vertical IQ launched a freemium market research service that provides “foundational information” for over 280 industries.  Vertical IQ writes plain English industry overviews for bank managers, consultants, and accountants.  However, the research has broad value to other functions such as strategic sales, market planning, and procurement.

Previously, professionally sourced industry research was only accessible by purchasing individual reports or subscription licenses, but the business model is evolving.  To fill a market need, Vertical IQ is now offering much of its valuable industry insights for free.  This innovative approach delivers market research on a freemium, just-in-time basis – a first in the marketplace.

“Vertical IQ Freemium was created to fill the void for an easily-accessible, user-friendly industry research product.  This new free version of our popular research platform puts valuable industry insights at the tips of your fingers in a matter of seconds.”

Vertical IQ co-founder, Bobby Martin

The free content covers the first three sections of the Vertical IQ reports: Overview, Industry Structure & Forecast, and Industry Trends.  Full reports are available on a pay per view basis ($99) or via a subscription ($1,099). The Full report spans an additional nine chapters:

  1. How Firms Operate
  2. Risks to Watch Out for
  3. Quarterly Insights
  4. Working Capital
  5. Call Prep Questions
  6. Financial Statistics
  7. Business Valuation
  8. Web Links
  9. Terms

The Full report is downloadable as a PDF file and includes access to report updates over the next year.

The annual subscription covers 400 industries and 325 local US economies.  Updates and industry news alerts are emailed quarterly.  The subscription service also supports mobile access, a Sales Kit which “Integrates industry insight into your contact strategy by sharing deliverables with business owners,” and an industry ranking tool.

Vertical IQ competes against D&B First Research and IBISWorld.  All three provide plain English market research for financial services firms and sales professionals. Vertical IQ has over 35,000 users.  Research is updated monthly.

The Vertical IQ Industry Forecast and Structure report displays historical and projected growth rates, the characteristics of an average firm within the industry, and industry structure (e.g. concentration, female and minority ownership rates) and the top firms.
The Vertical IQ Industry Forecast and Structure chapter displays historical and projected growth rates, the characteristics of an average firm within the industry, and industry structure (e.g. concentration, female and minority ownership rates) and the top firms.

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 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.

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.