Sales intelligence service Salesgenie released enhanced UI and platform upgrades which increase “system speeds and overall productivity.” Other enhancements include a streamlined details / profile page for reviewing prospecting lists and a file library for organizing sales and marketing content within Salesgenie and InfoUSA products.
The new File Library provides a centralized content store for sales and marketing professionals which can be quickly accessed within email campaigns. Content is available within both personal and shared team folders. Shareable content includes logos, images, HTML, PDF, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets. Content is shared as hyperlinks.
“This is great for keeping sales quotes, pricing templates, and marketing efforts organized in Salesgenie,” said VP of Product Neil MacLeod.
The customizable details / profile page, which will be available in early Q2, allows reps to review lists more efficiently. The new view “will give you access to the same in-depth data you have today, but it will allow you to stay on the same page as your results list,” Macleod told Salesgenie users. “That means no more going back and forth between pages while working on your leads. You can easily pop out new tabs for records that you want to return to later or keep open while you move through your list.”
Salesgenie, an Infogroup offering, is designed for both SMBs and enterprise sales teams. The service offers both business and consumer files along with New Businesses, New Homeowners, and New Movers. While the service was designed as a sales prospecting database, the service has broadened its functionality over the past few years:
Marketing Tools: suppression files, lead enrichment, SEO, marketing design services, best prospect identification, direct mail marketing, display advertising
Mobile App: search near me, research and manage leads, map leads
Team Tools: lead assignments, activity tracking
Connectivity: Salesforce and MS Dynamics integrations, API
Separately, Infogroup announced that its business and consumer files now integrate with the Adobe Audience Marketplace. Marketers will be able to access Infogroup data within Adobe and perform data hygiene and enrichment on customer profiles.
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.
Bureau van Dijk announced a series of enhancements to their Orbis company research and financial analysis platform. New or enhanced features include financial transparency, customization, batch search, improved navigation, expanded searching, and the addition of Moody’s research.
As ever, we’re creating, incorporating and rolling out features and functionality on the new Orbis interface all the time. Each enhancement is intended to help make sure that you can take full advantage of our rich, structured data in order to carry out your research processes as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Bureau van Dijk CMO Louise Green
Bureau van Dijk added custom variables that are available in books (reports), chapters, an searches. Users may also create custom books and chapters.
UI enhancements include improved book navigation so that users can move between chapters more easily; batch searching of company names by pasting a list of company names into the name search; expanded searching of ownership structures; free-text searching of notes; and enhanced viewing and filtering of corporate directors and advisors. Directors are now sorted by department and filterable by role, seniority, and data source.
Users can now click on financial values to see the underlying calculations.
New premium content includes research from Moody’s Analytics spanning 9,000 company and 7,500 industry reports. Both public and private companies and banks are covered. The reports may be purchased using BvD credits on a pay-per-view basis. In September, Moody’s rating announcements will be added to the service. Other company research sources include MarketLine, Morningstar, and GlobalData. MarketLine also provides industry market research to Bureau van Dijk products.
Finally, Bureau van Dijk added a new tax explorer premium service which flags “entities in low-tax jurisdictions.”
Moody’s is in the midst of acquiring Bureau van Dijk. The transaction is expected to close this month. Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel said he “looks forward to further extending Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.” The firm has already received EU Merger Regulation approval from the European Commission.
LinkedIn has been rolling out a new desktop design to its 467 million members over the past few weeks. The new user experience provides a streamlined navigation, “smarter messaging,” improved feeds, “more intuitive searches,” and assistance with member profile design and assessing who has viewed your profile.
“Our goal is to ensure you can seamlessly access the most relevant professional conversations, content and opportunities whether you’re on our mobile app or on our desktop experience,” blogged LinkedIn Director of Engineering Chris Pruett. “Most importantly, this desktop redesign brings conversations and content to the heart of the platform, so you can more easily share ideas, join a discussion, and discover news and topics you care about.”
One of the focal areas for improvement is their feed. Although the company acquired Newsle and Pulse a few years ago, the feed has remained stubbornly off-message (I last complained about it in my December Five Hopes article). LinkedIn is promising that “with a combination of algorithms and human editors working together, we’ve fine tuned your Feed to surface the most relevant content from people and publishers you care most about. We’ll also be adding new ways for you to dive deep into specific topics relevant to you and follow trending stories.”
“The algorithm is the one taking the signals and the editorial team can highlight a specific story,” said Tomer Cohen head of content, search and discovery products at LinkedIn. “This is what I see as one of our strongest assets on LinkedIn, the collaboration between algorithm and editorial working together.”
The desktop will offer a universal search box for finding people, jobs, companies, groups, and schools. There is a set of filters which allow users to refine their search by content category. The user can then filter further by location, degree of connection, company affiliations, etc.
Post searching is coming soon. They don’t indicate whether they have solved their long-tail content search issue, but hopefully they are addressing that issue as well. If individuals and companies are to use LinkedIn posts to burnish their brands, the content needs to be accessible. It seems pointless to use LinkedIn as a blogging platform if your ideas fall below the surface after a few days and aren’t easily retrievable. They also need to surface postings and updates for individuals and companies within profiles. This content is some of the best material for understanding the interests, biases, and concerns of customers and prospects. It needs to be leveraged for job seekers, recruiters, sales reps, and researchers.
LinkedIn claims that they have already had some success with improving their feed. Over the past year, engaged sessions in the feed grew by forty percent and referral traffic to some their top posters doubled or trebled.
To assist members’ promotional activities, LinkedIn is honing its profile suggestions and providing “greater insight” into who has viewed your profile.
Messaging improvements include expanding the presence of messaging across LinkedIn pages and surfacing ice breakers such as individuals in your network that work at a firm.
I am still waiting for the rollout to reach my account, so I cannot comment on whether LinkedIn achieved their stated goals. However, there is a very popular Open Letter to CEO Jeff Weiner” excoriating him and LinkedIn on the redesign. Issues included the lack of a before and after comparison to assist with feature changes, slow performance, missing / hidden analytics, and weak precision on trending article display. The letter identified eleven areas of concern and includes a set of updates as he has had ongoing discussions with the firm since his letter was posted on the ninth. Normally, one would expect some blowback on any redesign, but in six days the letter has received nearly 6,000 likes and 1,300 comments.
There are two approaches to UI enhancements: Big Bang and Incremental. With the big bang approach the entire product is refreshed. Such a project is a major endeavor and often involves a completely new look and feel to the service and upgraded workflows and design elements. It may also involve new standards such as responsive design in support of mobile devices.
One example of broad product redesigns are the new interfaces found in Bureau van Dijk’sOrbis and Fame products. These products focus on financial analysis and account research. New design elements included a navigation bar, a contemporary UI, faster list building, new report types, shared information sets (e.g. reports, lists searches), and new analytical tools.
Unfortunately,Bureau van Dijk has not indicated any plans for addressing the old-fashioned Mint sales intelligence user interface.
Another example of redesign is InsideView which refreshed its user interface for its web browser and CRM connectors. The browser changes were relatively minor, but the CRM connectors had a broader set of design and workflow upgrades.
DiscoverOrg also redesigned their user interface at the beginning of 2016 (it was in beta in 2015). In February 2016, DiscoverOrg released a new platform designed with better speed, performance, and scalability. It included a new UI and enhanced features:
Streamlined prospecting against 62 variables across five broad categories: companies, employees, technology products, location, and triggers. The new UI immediately presents an updated result list as variables are selected. The same selects are available across three results views: companies, contacts, and triggers.
Export of contacts as profiles or as VCF
Company and contact notes
Suppression of companies or contacts when prospecting (e.g. suppress named accounts from lists for territory reps).
Admin user management and usage reporting
Ability to toggle between multiple departments on the same page (depending on subscription)
Ability to follow a company or contact with update alerting, including if they leave a company and reappear in the database under another profiled company (a unique DiscoverOrg capability)
Customizable dashboard based on followed lists
Contact profiles include previous job history and education
Company profiles include lists of current employees and recently departed staff.
RainKing went through a rebranding exercise which included a refreshed user interface. The platform has faster response times, improved searching, and an expanded technology taxonomy.
Zoominfo repackaged its service as the Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform for sales and marketing effectiveness. The new platform helps sales and marketing teams “identify, connect, and engage with qualified prospects and replicate success.” The Growth Acceleration Platform is a cross-product branding that supports company and executive searching, list building, file enrichment, and data Insights (segmentation analysis and persona identification).
The second approach is more incremental. Instead of changing the overall look and feel of the platform, workflow and layout improvements are made to a set of contained tools. For example, list building is a contained functional category. Upgrades to prospecting workflows do not impact the whole product, but are focused in a functional subset, allowing the upgrades to be compartmentalized.
Avention took an incremental approach to workflow with redesigns of their active homepage, build a list, and watchlists. The Build a List user interface was redesigned to improve usability while expanding to 150 selects. Lists may now be exported to Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Oracle for Sales, Marketo, and Eloqua. New list management features include rename, pin to desktop, delete, modify criteria, and clone list.
The Avention active home page is now customizable with users able to drag and drop information tiles. There is also an improved SmartList tile display and onboarding tiles containing product tips.
Expanded notification functionality allows Avention reps to manage new company and sales trigger alerts from a centralized location. This Watchlist supports filtering by read/unread notices, priority flag, trigger type, and list. A new flag allows users to flag notifications as important.
Likewise, Data.com originally launched the Dun & Bradstreet family trees in the classic UI, but implemented the Lightning UI for family tree viewing. The family tree information mashes together the Dun & Bradstreet global family tree (e.g. linkages, location type, city, country, revenue, and employees) with Salesforce.com account intelligence including whether the location is already an account and the name of the account owner. Users may expand or collapse nodes and add an account via clicking on a Plus button.
Owler improved the user interface for their advanced search (Build a List). They also added selects for area code and ZIP/Postal Code.
Unlike content and functional upgrades, one would not want to have annual UI upgrades as they require customers to relearn key elements of the service. There is value to both stability and change (a fact which is true of both product design and life in general). If a platform goes too long without a refresh, it becomes stale and fails to leverage new browser and mobile device capabilities. Furthermore, as new content and features are added to a platform, it can become overly busy and illogical. Conversely, a platform which changes its design elements and workflow too often will frustrate users. There are benefits in knowing how to efficiently complete a task or where to find specific information. Change should never be simply for change sake.