Industry Profiler Vertical IQ released a credit underwriting solution to assist lenders’ credit decisioning. Vertical IQ has long served financial institutions with a set of plain-English industry overviews for relationship managers. The new service expands its Industry Risks tab and renames it “Credit Underwriting and Risks.” A new industry brief is also available.
The new Credit Underwriting and Risks content includes a proprietary Industry Risk Rating based on account financial risk, exit rates, industry performance during downturns, barriers to entry, and the industry outlook. Other new content includes key industry and economic performance metrics, a Financial Comparison Toolkit that performs custom benchmarking against key financial metrics, and industry-specific credit decisioning considerations. The Financial Comparison metrics are downloadable for sharing with clients and prospects.
“In today’s volatile market, loan credit underwriters are understandably cautious about their lending decisions. The Credit Underwriting and Risks Chapter and Industry Brief are quick ways for bankers and credit professionals to get up to speed on the lending environment for a client’s or prospect’s particular industry.”
Vertical IQ CEO Bobby Martin
The new industry brief contains an industry summary, industry risk rating, key performance metrics, financial ratios, important credit underwriting-related considerations, common industry-related risks, and the Financial Comparison Toolkit.
The new Credit Underwriting content is delivered through the desktop application with an API upgrade before the end of the month. The original content will be extended to additional apps and partners in the coming months.
“Great decisions are made by taking something that is complicated and simplifying it to its primary moving parts. When a banker can do that, he or she offers a more clear understanding and a more fluid and productive conversation. Vertical IQ has simplified the process of analyzing industry risks for the commercial banking world. It is long overdue.”
David Nicholson, Founder of Credit Training, Inc.
Industry-specific financing topics that were already available in the service include discussions of working capital, capital financing, business valuation, and financial benchmarks.
The new content is available within the core service at no additional charge. However, by extending the value for credit underwriting at banking and commercial finance, Vertical IQ will be improving its seat penetration within those segments.
Seismic announced a partnership with Vertical IQ to deliver industry-specific insights within its Sales Enablement Platform. Vertical IQ industry overviews will be delivered through Seismic’s dynamic content automation tool, LiveDocs, allowing bankers to quickly assemble client-facing content tailored to the client. Vertical IQ covers over 325 industries with coverage of industry risks, quarterly insights, key financial benchmarks, and industry growth data. Coverage of niche industries and regional economic data are also available from within Seismic but are not part of the LiveDocs integration.
Insights can be presented in-person, in print, or via digital devices and are packaged into Seismic templates.
The integration “helps bankers develop hyper-personalized communications with clients and prospects,” stated Vertical IQ CMO David Buffaloe. “Our industry content is available directly through their platform, allowing bankers to develop customized presentation slides based on the prospects specific industry.”
Vertical IQ content is available to customers outside of the banking space, but the initial implementation was developed with Fulton Bank. “We started with the joint focus on banking/financial services organizations; however, anyone that uses Seismic and sells to multiple industries would see value,” said Buffaloe.
Buffaloe called the integration a “big win for users” as bank leaders are looking to reduce the number of logins for conducting account research and support.
A Gartner survey found that bankers that deliver insights to their customers generate 94% higher fees.
Relationship Managers (RMs) at banks and credit unions support a broad set of customers and industries, making it difficult to develop deep expertise in individual industries. Deploying on-demand, industry-specific intelligence helps RMs quickly come up to speed on an industry, ask intelligent questions of owners and financial professionals, and assemble custom presentations for winning business. Industry-specific content also assists customers in their decision making and supports more valuable meetings between RMs and customers.
“Conversations between a banker and client should go both ways. Vertical IQ and Seismic’s solution ensures conversations are backed by real-time, tailored insights so bankers can engage in better discussions and act as a trusted advisor. This helps them bring unique value and expertise to the table to win, grow and retain more business.”
Vertical IQ CEO Bobby Martin
A recent JD Power survey of small businesses found that most were dissatisfied with their bankers’ ability to meet their needs and expectations. Only 37% of small business customers felt that banks appreciated their business, and only 32% felt that banks understood their business.
According to Bob Neuhaus, VP of Financial Services at JD Power, “Banks need to focus on better integrating high-touch resources with innovative digital tools to meet the demands of small business.”
“Business customers have come to expect hyper-personalized interactions that meet the standards that are now common-place in their personal lives,” said Bill Finnegan, Managing Director, Financial Services Marketing at Seismic. “We’re thrilled about our partnership with Vertical IQ because of the competitive advantage it will offer our banking customers. The ability to generate rich industry insights on-the-fly in a marketing-approved format will help bankers elevate client conversations from just product, to industry-specific trends, advice, and guidance. It allows bankers to be a consultative partner that demonstrates their bank truly understands their business.”
Vertical IQ has launched several integrations over the past year to deliver its industry research within sales and banking workflows. Recent partnerships include Salesforce, RelPro, and Seismic. Vertical IQ profiles are written in plain English for non-experts in financial services industries. Strategic sales reps also leverage Vertical IQ.
The Vertical IQ integration is being sold by Seismic as an add-on to their current sales enablement solution.
D&B Hoover’s customers are enjoying additional risk scores and industry content through the end of May. This benefit is perfect timing for adding value to their offering on a short-term basis as it allows customers to test out additional content and functionality for two months at no charge. Sales reps are under great pressure to build and maintain their pipeline through improved targeting and messaging.
Likewise, Relationship Managers at banks are under immense pressure to process CARES PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) across a broad set of pandemic-impacted industries.
DecisionHQ flags (does the location have purchasing authority?)
Spend Capacity (A spend ranking score versus other companies)
Growth Trajectory (Will the company grow, shrink, or remain stable over the next 12 to 18 months?)
In Family Trees, a star icon flags locations with purchasing authority. All three predictive scores are available as search filters in Build a List.
First Research reports [sample] are a set of plain-English industry overviews which help sales reps, Customer Success Managers, and relationship managers who sell and service across a broad set of industries quickly understand industry basics and trends. Core content includes
Industry Description: Competitive Landscape; Products, Operations, & Technology; Sales & Marketing; Finance & Regulation; Regional & International Issues; and Human Resources.
Financials: Industry statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US International Trade Commission. Also includes valuation multiples.
Industry Forecast: Inforum Forecast
Industry Growth Rating
Trends & Opportunities
Executive Insight: Key Topics by C-level job Function
The Call Prep Questions and Executive Insights offer great value to non-experts. If you are a relationship manager or territory rep, you are likely speaking to individuals across many industries on a daily basis. It would be impossible to develop true expertise in all of those industries. These sections help professionals ask intelligent questions and tailor their conversations at the account and persona level.
First Research reports are available as an integrated service in D&B Hoovers, via the D&B Direct API, as a standalone service, and as individual reports.
First Research reports are written at the eight-digit Dun & Bradstreet SIC-code level and associated with company profiles by these codes. They are also available through the Research and Reports module.
Dun & Bradstreet is also offering risk solutions for business and government during the Covid pandemic:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
do not need to log into both offerings. A handshake between the firms
ensures that jointly registered users receive access to both platforms.
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.
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.
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:
How Firms Operate
Risks to Watch Out for
Call Prep Questions
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
Risks – Industry Risks, Company Risks
Numbers – BizMiner industry ratios
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 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.
Industry market research firm IBISWorld rolled out its new Call Prep Insights Salesforce connector. The service delivers IBISWorld market research and Q&A content to sales and client relations professionals. IBISWorld insights are displayed on the Account record as Market Intelligence with over 1,300 industries and sub-industries covered. Regional versions are available for the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
“IBISWorld Call Prep Insights facilitates consultative selling by enabling value-added outreach to prospects and clients,” states the firm’s User Guide. “IBISWorld Call Prep Insights delivers data, strategic insights and tactical talking points for hundreds of industries that your front-line staff can use for more engaging conversation.”
Market Intelligence, published at the 5-digit NAICS level, includes
Major industry trends
Conversation starters on industry risks and opportunities
Five-years of historical metrics alongside five-year forecasts
Industry and sector metrics include industry revenue and revenue growth, employment growth, average wages, and profit margin. Sparkline graphs provide both historical context to these metrics and industry projections. These details are particularly useful when speaking to C-Level executives as well as finance and operations teams.
Industry structure covers topics such as capital intensity, regulation change, technology change, competition level, market concentration, and major companies with their market share.
The Engagement section provides “a short discussion of the key Issue and Threat to the industry. These items are associated with SWOT-type research that shows the macro trends that companies should seek to actively manage in order to exploit opportunities and mitigate risks.”
Call Prep Questions are divided into internal issues and external impacts. They include a short discussion of the issue followed by a set of questions the sales rep can ask to engage the prospect.
Having recently engaged in an industry research project which employed both First Research (a set of industry overviews available within Dun & Bradstreet products) and IBISWorld content, I found IBISWorld to be more technical than First Research which is written in plain English for non-experts. Both services offer Q&A content which provides a set of c-level questions that work as discussion openers. Thus, First Research may be a better fit for territory reps and junior relationship managers while IBISWorld would better fit the informational needs of named account reps, verticalized reps, and experienced relationship managers.
Companies are auto-matched against IBISWorld’s universe of 14,000 companies. Otherwise, users can manually search for industries by keyword or NAICS.
Pricing begins at $55 per user per month. Both Salesforce Classic and Lightning editions are supported.
“The sales environment is not only getting more competitive, it’s getting more intelligent. Salespeople need to go beyond being experts in their products. They need to showcase how they will solve business problems. That’s why we’re launching the IBISWorld Call Prep Insights Salesforce app. Professionals will have an industry cheat sheet of talking points at their fingertips to better engage with their clients on the most important issues impacting their businesses,” says Carmen McKinney, VP of Product Development.
One of the key aphorisms in architecture is that form follows function. The quote, attributed to Louis Sullivan, holds that a building’s design should be based upon the underlying purpose of the building, not driven by ornamentation. Twentieth century design took this maxim to heart with similar thinking spreading through industrial and software design.
In the case of information services, a focus on flashy design or “bells and whistles” can be a distraction if the underlying service fails to meet the basic informational and workflow needs of its users. One of the great things about Google is that it returns high precision results from a few words entered into a search box. It was this simplicity that allowed them to grab and hold two-thirds of the search engine market share, leaving Bing and Yahoo! to pick up the scraps.
A well-designed sales intelligence solution supports multiple sales and support workflows. These users span multiple functions and departments (e.g. sales, sales directors, sales operations, sales support, service departments, business development, and marketing). Furthermore, there are multiple types of sales reps within larger organizations so your sales intelligence platform needs to be flexible enough to meet differing information requirements and workflows.
Thus, tactical sales reps need to quickly locate contact information and a few prospect qualification variables. They want to make sure that the contact they are about to call is in their territory and doesn’t work at a subsidiary of a named account.
Conversely, a strategic rep has broad information requirements around companies, company structures, executives, and key events. Strategic reps are focused on who to call, when to call, and what to say. Sales triggers are not only a flashing green light that a prospect is more likely to buy, but conversational material for catching the prospect’s attention and signaling that the rep has prepared for the call. Likewise, SWOT reports, biographies, industry market research reports provide insights into client interests and needs.
Named account reps sell only to a few firms so need a deep understanding of their target accounts. They need to be apprised of key events at an organization that could positively or negatively impact their pipeline. Furthermore, named account reps are looking for additional contacts and locations for extending their corporate footprint. Thus, searching across a company for specific job functions and then reviewing subsidiary profiles and bios is an important task in growing the account. Named account reps also benefit from PDF exportability so they can review the latest information about their client or prospect while traveling. These reports can also be shared with other members of the sales and support team.
Territory reps and financial services relationship managers need to be apprised of sales triggers within their territory, quickly research and qualify companies, and dig deeper on larger opportunities. Furthermore, as they generally sell cross-industry, they also benefit from industry overviews from vendors such as First Research. These primers are written in plain English and provide a set of Q&A sections by topic and job function.
Most reps work within a CRM, so review the capabilities of sales intelligence CRM connectors. The tighter the integration the better. If your CRM is your system of record, you want the sales reps working within the CRM on desktops and mobile devices. Services that bounce the user between a web browser and the CRM are less effective than those that provide most or all of their content and functionality within Salesforce.com, MS Dynamics, or other CRMs. Also, look for “stare and compare” updating of records, batch and real-time synchronization of data, custom fields, and duplicate checking.
Many sales intelligence services also support the marketing department. Standardizing the two functions on a common vendor helps reduce cost and channel conflict. It also provides a basis for successful ABM programs which cross the two departments. Several years ago, sales intelligence vendors only offered prospecting to marketing, but now they also support web forms, real-time and batch enrichment of leads, lead-to-account mapping, marketing automation connectors, lead scoring, segmentation analysis, Ideal Customer Profiling, TAM analysis, and net-new leads and contacts. A few also offer standalone services for the marketing department such as programmatic advertising, visitor id, multi-channel marketing, and SEO.
When evaluating sales intelligence solutions, you should understand the workflows and information requirements of each of your sales groups along with other potential beneficiaries of the service. Don’t evaluate simply on counts and features, but on the information needs and workflows of your various sales and marketing teams.
I’ve long respected the First Research industry overviews assembled by Dun & Bradstreet. While most industry research runs from complex to arcane, First Research reports serve as industry primers providing plain English overviews of an industry. If you were to read the report for your own industry, you would probably find it useful only for new hire training.
And that is the beauty of the reports. They are for novices lacking an understanding of an industry which makes them perfect for territory sales reps or relationship managers. In fact, they were originally designed for relationship managers at banks before First Research realized that sales reps were equally in need of their research. If your job requires you to interact with individuals across many industries, then First Research may be the perfect resource for “getting up to speed” on an industry. They can also be valuable for job hunters looking for a basic set of questions to ask about an industry.
Content includes an Industry Overview containing the following sub-sections:
Products & Operations
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Working Capital
along with these additional sections:
News and Social (FirstRain)
Quarterly Industry Update
Industry Growth Rating (High, medium or low)
Executive Insights and Questions
Call Prep Questions Websites & Acronyms
First Research contains several sections of Q&A content including Call Prep Questions and Executive Insights which are questions specific to C-level executives. Sometimes in life, you need to “fake it until you make it” (i.e. develop expertise) and First Research is designed for this purpose.
Through an OEM deal with FirstRain, high-precision industry news is included in the service along with FirstRain topic tagging and visual tools. FirstRain content includes Latest News, Top Business Tweets, Management Changes, Event Timeline, Industry Health Indicators, Analyst Commentary, and Recent Transactions. FirstRain does not archive this content but provides six months of open web news links.
First Research covers over 500 US and 35 Canadian industries spanning 1,000 NAICS codes. While the reports are US-centric, they have recently begun adding international sections to the reports. As a bonus, the product includes regional reports for US states, the District of Colombia, and Canadian provinces. Country briefs are also available.
Other tools include a set of sales and marketing templates providing examples of how to use First Research content in various scenarios and an industry prospector tool for assisting with market development planning.
First Research reports are available as a standalone offering or integrated into the Hoover’s database, D&B360 CRM connectors, and the D&B Direct API. A subset of the content is also being delivered via Data.com. For library patrons, Dun & Bradstreet has partnered with Mergent to deliver the reports as a standalone offering or integrated into some of their products such as Mergent Intellect.
First Research should be viewed as industry insights for non-experts. You won’t find depth on key trends or issues, but the service is easily accessible and walks the user through industry basics. You generally don’t find industry news or Q&A sections in other industry services.
If you are looking for more advanced cross-industry research, you can step up to
MarketLine (global and regional research)
Euromonitor (global and regional research)
IBISWorld (US, Australian, Chinese, and global research)
BMI (emerging markets)
EMD (emerging markets).
These services provide more complex reports while retaining readability. While you won’t find as much handholding (e.g. Q&A sections), you will find broader industry trend and forecast content along with profiles of the top three or four competitors in the market. As many are globally focused, they may be better sources for international market entry decisions.