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.
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)
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.
If none of these work, use peer list searches (industry code lists) or keyword searches in sales intelligence vendors.
Microsoft announced that InsideView Insights, it’s OEM integration for Microsoft Dynamics, will no longer be available as a free service. Current users will continue to receive the integrated sales solution through August 15th at no charge. Customers may continue to use Insights, without disruption, simply by signing a license agreement directly with InsideView. To expedite the contracting process, InsideView is offering early bird pricing as low as $16 per user per month through the end of March. Licensors would then begin paying for the service after the August deadline. New user bundles are initially available for $399 per month for up to ten seats. After March 31, the new user bundle price rises to $499 per month for up to ten seats.
c“Our goal is
to make it easy to switch,” said VP of Global Alliances, Heidi Tucker.
“All they [customers] have to do is make a decision, there’s no need to
reinstall the software.”
Insights is a fully featured sales intelligence service delivered as a native application within Dynamics 365. It is equivalent to InsideView for Sales and available on AppSource. Key features include
Build-a-list Account and Contact
Integrated viewing of Account,
Contact, and Lead records
“Stare and compare” record updates
and “add contact” to CRM
Account profiles with family tree
hierarchies, competitors, SEC filings, and income statements
Alerting and watchlists (daily
Connections (six degrees tool)
VP of Product and Solution Marketing Joe Andrews described the six-year
Microsoft relationship as a “long, fruitful OEM partnership” which resulted in
more than 2,000 joint customers and more than 100,000 users.
actively transitioning customers to a direct relationship and making sure they
have no disruption for their sellers,” said InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler.
“The product experience is the same; this is a licensing change where now
they will contract directly with InsideView. We’re set up to help them with
on-boarding new users and continuing to make current users successful.”
Once customers transition to an InsideView license, they will be assigned a Customer Success Manager and have improved access to training programs. A direct license also improves InsideView’s ability to cross-sell its DaaS and Marketing Services including Apex (ICP/TAM), Refresh (Automated Data Hygiene), Enrich (Real-Time Match & Append), and Target (Prospecting).
InsideView, continuing to license Insights is seamless, with customers simply
needing to sign a contract directly with InsideView “InsideView Insights
looks and acts like the Insights you’re familiar with and comes with
InsideView’s excellent customer support,” wrote the firm in an FAQ. “When
you switch to a direct license, you will not notice any change and all your
data, watchlists, and previous preferences will remain the same.“
deals provide a set of new customers and income, they often leave the OEM partner
disintermediated. The platform maintains the relationship with the end
users and it is more difficult to conduct user research, provide training,
support users, or improve the workflow and user experience.
Insights no longer holding a preferred position within Dynamics, customers must
choose whether to license Insights or transition to competitive offerings from
LinkedIn (a Microsoft subsidiary), Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg,
or other partners.
InsideView described LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a complementary service. Sales Navigator is part of the Relationship Sales bundle for Microsoft Dynamics. InsideView listed the following reasons to license Insights alongside Relationship Sales:
Deeper account research and has broader account coverage
Find and research executives who are not on LinkedIn
Access a broader connections network that includes LinkedIn, email
contacts, partners, alumni, work colleagues, and other social networks all in
Find direct email addresses
Add company and contact data to Dynamics 365
Update your CRM accounts and contacts for higher data quality
Keeps users in CRM to boost usage
Minimizes extra training – fully integrated into Dynamics with an
intuitive user experience
InsideView did not provide a reason for the end of the OEM deal, but it is likely due to Microsoft looking to expand the number of partner solutions it offers including its own LinkedIn SNAP integration. When the OEM deal was originally signed, Dynamics CRM had a smaller market share and fewer partners. Since then, Microsoft has been the second fastest growing CRM behind Salesforce and has added most of the key sales intelligence and B2B DaaS vendors as partners.
InsideView rolled out a pair of enhancements to its CRM Refresh product. Along with Accounts, Refresh now cleanses and enriches Contact records, matching both record types against its reference database of 13 million companies and 33 million contacts.
Refresh also supports email validation, an important function for maintaining data quality. Both matched and unmatched records are processed on a semi-annual basis. Email validation is performed by StrikeIron, an Informatica company.
The Refresh dashboard (on right) provides match and field-level fill rates for both account and contact records.
“Valid email addresses lower bounce rates and increase deliverability of marketing campaigns, resulting in greater response rates and higher ABM program success,” wrote the Customer Success Team to its customers. “Successful sales outreach also depends on accurate contact information, including whether anexisting contact has moved on to another job.”
“Employees just don’t stay in one job at one company any more, and keeping up with all that job shifting is a nightmare of CRM management. Today we’re giving sales and marketing ops one more weapon in the battle against stale CRM data. Other cleansing solutions only clean the contacts that exist in their systems, but email validation allows InsideView Refresh to add value to any contact with an email address.”
Adam Perry, InsideView director of product management
Pricing is available both on an à la carte volume basis and a seat-basedmodel similar to Data.com. The idea is to provide an “easy switch” fromData.com Clean and Prospector to InsideView. “We match allcapabilities and price to make it very easy for customers to switch,” said VPof Product and Solution Marketing Joe Andrews. “We’ve seen a significant growth in demand for this since it’s become more generally known that Data.comis being sunset.”
Few firms have integrated email validation into their cloud or CRM hygiene offerings, leaving firms with bad contact records which cannot be matched against reference datasets. Products such as D&B Optimizer, InsideView Refresh, and ReachForce SmartSuite are the exception, helping improve delivery rates and email sender scores by verifying emails, even for unmatched records.
Refresh is available for both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
InsideView announced a set of enhancements to its recently launched Apex Go to Market ABM platform. Apex provides ICP, TAM, and segmentation analysis along with similar company prospecting. New features include Lead Analytics and Enhanced Text Editing.
“Lead Analytics helps executives analyze leads coming into your CRM and Marketing Automation systems that are within your desired market segment(s). Gain insights into how market segments are performing in relation to each other so you know where to focus your energy.”
Lead Analytics provides a dashboard for tracking the performance of published market segments and leads over time or across market segments. “With the Lead Analytics Dashboard, a CMO, VP of Sales or C-Level executives can analyse leads coming into your CRM or MA system based on the market segment and visualize performance against their target segments in real time to optimize for success and focus resources on the targets with highest potential.”
Customers must license both InsideView Enrich and InsideView Apex services to access the Leads Analytics dashboard.
Enhanced Text editing allows sales or marketing managers to publish rich text notes about customer segments which appear in other modules. The notes both identify the account as belonging to a key segment and provide advice on messaging to the account.
InsideView boasted about “great traction in the market” for Apex.
Sales and marketing intelligence vendor InsideView launched their Apex “go-to-market decision engine.” The new product combines InsideView and CRM data to assist with analyzing new market entry, identifying a firm’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and assessing its Total Addressable Market (TAM).
“Smart B2B companies today are asking these questions: ‘Who are my best customers?’, ‘What are the new geographies and industries where I can expand?’, and ‘Are we going after the right customers and the right revenue?’,” said InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti. “We realized we had the technology, expertise, and data to help companies answer these questions quickly and with confidence so they never miss an opportunity. Business strategy shouldn’t be based on gut and guessing. And it shouldn’t require cumbersome data analysis. InsideView Apex uses cutting-edge technology and the best possible data so you can make the right decisions for your business.”
Go to market planning features include an ICP wizard, new/adjacent visualization tools with “what if” targeting analysis, TAM and market penetration analysis, new account and lead identification, and exporting of new ABM prospects to CRMs and MAPs.
“Revenue teams can use InsideView Apex to visualize performance against target segments in real time to optimize for success and focus resources on the targets with highest potential,” said Joe Andrews, VP of Product and Solution Marketing. “Marketing can see performance indicators at each stage of the funnel as leads convert to opportunities and won deals. Sales ops can identify where leads or opportunities may be getting stuck to course correct in real time.”
The Apex account score is based on an AI algorithm which correlates attributes from deep company profiles that are proprietary to the InsideView Platform. The account score is maintained and updated dynamically within Apex as customer ICP lists change. However, the account score is not currently pushed to CRM or InsideView for Sales.
If customers have also licensed InsideView Sales and Enrich products, ABM accounts are tagged.
Other visualization tools include a five-quarter historical view; market segmentation of leads, opportunities, and wins; and account whitespace (market penetration) analytics.
Apex integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing), and Marketo.
Apex is licensed as an annual subscription and is priced in tiers based on company size which serves as a proxy for the number of market segments being targeted.
Apex is not the first tool in this category (e.g. D&B DataVision and DiscoverOrg AccountView), but it is emblematic of the expansion of sales intelligence vendors into market intelligence and strategic planning. When I started GZ Consulting six years ago, the sales intelligence firms were wary of entering the marketing realm, but the top sales intelligence firms are now offering ICP/TAM tools, marketing automation connectors, segmentation analysis, look-a-like prospecting, and data enrichment tools. This shift goes hand-in-hand with the blurring of the lines between sales and marketing. For example, sales engagement platforms provide cadence, analytics, and email marketing tools for sales reps alongside dialers and sales coaching. We are also seeing visitor intelligence and intent data being displayed within CRMs.
“Most B2B companies perform go-to-market planning and analysis in product silos and often fail to involve sales and marketing teams early in the process – those who must execute the strategy. Planning is a slow, manual process, based on limited information. Most firms have few ways to measure market performance reliably against strategy, making it nearly impossible to course correct in real time. It’s time to change this.”
Forrester Principal Analyst Laura Ramos
A 2018 InsideView survey of 500 American sales and marketing professionals found that TAM measurement was non-existent (25%) or ad hoc (28%) at surveyed organizations. Only 23% of respondents work at firms that regularly evaluate Target Demand. The remaining 24% of firms perform Target Demand analysis annually.
“All of the efficient and creative demand generation in the world will be wasted if the targeting is off,” wrote the firm in their 2018 Sales and Marketing Alignment report. “The shotgun approach to sales and marketing no longer works. There’s too much noise in the market and in prospects’ inboxes. The only way to stand out is to know who you’re targeting, and why and when they buy, and it can’t be done effectively unless both sales and marketing buy in it. Developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) and using it to determine your total addressable market (TAM) will help sales and marketing know exactly who to target, why they need your products, and when they need them.”
Poor data quality is a disease which slowly destroys the value of your marketing database. Quality is damaged through incomplete information, poor data entry, and data decay. A traditional response is to purchase new records, but this only provides a temporary (and expensive) respite from your data quality issues.
The data I’ve seen indicates that contacts decay at a 25 to 30 percent annual rate. This means that a prospect list that is 90 percent accurate today will be little more than 50% accurate two years later. Thus, a prospect list purchase strategy is like steroids, it makes your marketing database look healthier on the day the list is purchased, but it simply masks the growing disease within your database. Treating one or two symptoms does not address the underlying problem — a lack of a broad, continuous data strategy.
However, if you take a holistic view around data quality which includes continuous DaaS validation, ABM look-a-likes, web form enrichment, lead-to-account mapping, duplicate management, data standardization, and reference database appends, you will have a healthy database that ensures your MAP and CRM platforms contain the richest, most accurate data.
Vendors that support holistic data quality include ReachForce, D&B Optimizer (FKA Workbench), Zoominfo, InsideView, Oceanos, and Openprise. So if you are concerned about your ability to target, segment, pass quality leads to sales, score leads, or build predictive models, then begin with a holistic data strategy. Symptoms of poor data quality include high email bounce rates, declining email sender scores, returned direct mail, duplicate records, incomplete records, accelerating unsubscribe rates, and sales reps that ignore your marketing qualified leads.
Any firm that is adopting ABM, advanced lead scoring, a single view of the customer, or predictive analytics, should begin with a holistic data quality strategy. Otherwise, these advanced marketing strategies are bound to fail.
InsideView recently rolled out a beta user interface which follows a mobile first navigation structure and includes a redesigned News Feed view for followed companies. InsideView describes the new UI as “fresh. Modern. And easier to navigate, with more engaging graphics and a common user experience across platforms – within CRM, mobile, and web.”
The color scheme utilizes a monochrome palate with splashes of red, blue and green for accents (e.g. hyperlinks, highlighted tabs, buttons). Unfortunately, much of the text is gray against a white background which may cause readability issues in brightly lit locations.
Navigation is via a left-handed navigation bar. For companies, the primary tabs are Overview, Company Information, People, and Insights. Sub-headings under Company Information are Firmographics, Industry Profile, Financials, Family Tree, and Competitors. Industry Profile has a third level of horizontal tabs, and really should be presented as a top-level navigation item.
A Search bar provides a type-ahead feature to assist with company and contact searching. The type-ahead feature begins as a Recently Viewed list of companies and contacts.
The Insights Tab is an updated version of the InsideView buzz tab. Users can view company news, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook in a single feed. News can be filtered to a subset of their 17 agents and be shared via email, social media, or Yammer. All four sources are keyword searchable. Twitter is fully integrated with a Twitter handle summary along with reply, retweet, and favorite. Facebook supports an integrated stream of posts with commenting support.
One of the nice features that was carried forward from the old Buzz tab is the ability to switch between company posts and posts from others for Twitter and Facebook.
In place of a static Home Page, the user is taken to the News Page which presents the user with news stories for followed companies in a grid pattern. Users may filter the topics by one or multiple Agents (sales triggers) and Watchlists. Individual articles may be shared with social media, email, or Yammer.
The Company view still lacks an export to PDF feature similar to that found in D&B Hoovers and Hoovers classic.
Users will be able to switch between the classic and beta versions through April 27th.