Many professionals say sales prospecting is the most challenging step in the entire sales process. It requires crazy good research skills to find not only the prospects most likely to convert but also the right angle and time to reach out. Building a healthy pipeline can be tough, so why wouldn't you tap into technology?
Traditionally, sales prospecting meant purchasing and sifting through a static list of prospects. However, the information in those lists was outdated and inaccurate, because companies and organizations, like seasons and the weather, constantly change.
In today’s hyper-competitive sales landscape, static lists based only on basic firmographics don’t cut it for salespeople who aim for strong sales figures (don’t we all?). Top performers rely on technology and use dynamic data provided by a smart sales prospecting platform when looking for new accounts to approach with their offer.
As a result of this, there are now a lot of great software platforms and applications that help salespeople discover potential buyers. With a modern, dynamic B2B sales database—like Vainu— you can use endless criteria to filter out the most promising companies based on both their static data and insights from open data. For example, you could search for IT companies that are located in a chosen city with over X in revenue, that use specific website technologies, that have given a specific buying signal recently or that are expected to go through a certain organizational change soon. This certainly beats spending hours reading company websites and news outlets.
Top performers rely on technology and use dynamic data provided by a smart sales prospecting platform
The 20 Most Relevant Sales Prospecting Tools in 2020:
A number of business-critical signals occur within your prospect accounts on a daily basis. Vainu aggregates thousands of new signals every day, sending users daily and weekly alerts on the signals that are most likely to have an impact on one’s existing sales process. These signals can be, for example, decision-maker changes, new company initiatives, funding rounds, product launches, or relevant new job openings.
An outbound sale platform that combines B2B prospecting data with a sales communications solution. The company is fairly young, founded in late 2015 and is a Y Combinator startups.
Clearbit is a marketing data engine for customer interactions. The software help users understand their customers on a deeper level, identify future prospects, and personalize every single marketing and sales interaction.
ChrystalKnows helps salespeople adapt their communication style based on the buyer’s personality. The solution is based on the DISC assessment that relies on four primary personality types: dominant, influential, steady, and calculating. They mainly gather data from email discussions and public social media profiles.
One of the largest company databases with more than 100 million people and 200 million company profiles. The platform has seen several updates lately after Dun & Bradstreet announced its acquisition of Avention OneSource.
DataFox helps industry-leading businesses take control of customer insights with CRM Orchestration. Users can build and track their pipeline with hard-to-find data from over 40 different data fields on over 2 million companies.
Datanyze is a robust Sales Intelligence and Lead Generation application for web technology companies. The app’s discovery tool continuously evaluates millions of websites to find out what technologies are being used. Datanyze has integrated with third party solutions like CrunchBase, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn to provide information about contacts and leads directly in the web app. Customers can also access Datanyze’s information from their Salesforce.com accounts.
Detective by Charlie
Detective by Charlie hooks up with your calendar app and sends you a one-pager of all the people you’re having meetings with. The app pulls data from hundreds of different online sources, such as major social media platforms.
Discover.org includes organizational charts and information about new projects and initiatives. Their database collects a big portion of its data by interviewing and researching companies systematically a few times each year.
EverString’s AI SaaS solution for B2B sales and marketing professionals aims to help drive pipeline growth, find customers, expand into new markets, prioritize accounts, and provide actionable insights.
Infer develops a predictive sales and marketing platform with a strong focus on predictive lead scoring. They have also released solutions for account-based marketing. Infer was acquired by EWS capital in fall 2017.
InsideView’s aim is to position itself as a modern company database that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, specifically. In addition to basic company and people data, InsideView provides news mentions and social media feeds of companies.
Leadfeeder is a sales intelligence tool that helps companies uncover more about their anonymous website visitors so that they can convert promising visitors into sales leads. Leadfeeder shows who visits your website, how they found you, and what they’re interested in.
Lusha is a browser extension that allows you to find email addresses and phone numbers from anywhere on the web with just one click. They also provide a Salesforce.com app and an API.
Outreach is a platform that helps salespeople build sales sequences. A sales sequence is a multi-step process including several different engagement tactics such as phone calls, voicemails, and emails. A typical sequence includes 5-15 steps that users can also A/B test in real time. The goal is to create a systematic and scalable process to engage with prospects and customers in a more effective manner.
Owler is community-based business information and insights platform. Owler provides salespeople with real-time news, alerts, and insights to help them close more business and stay on top of their competitor’s moves.
Radius has branded their B2B sales and marketing platform as Revenue Platform that is powered by their own “The Network of Record™”. They don’t only rely on public sources when building their prospecting database but they also encourage their customers and community to contribute in the process.
Sales Navigation by LinkedIn
Most salespeople use LinkedIn, but only some utilize LinkedIn’s paid premium offering, Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator makes it easy to build prospect lists based on decision makers’ job titles and responsibilities. Users can also monitor relevant discussions, allowing salespeople to find more meaningful ways to engage with both existing and new contacts.
A comprehensive B2B database with over 9 million companies and over 200 million people from 100 different countries. ZoomInfo gathers contact information mainly by utilizing the email contacts of their free community that currently has more than 500,000 members.
Find the Right Prospecting Tool for Your Sales Role
The number of sales applications each sales professional is using increases steadily. Some companies have established a separate team for inbound prospecting which means searching through all new contacts the marketing department is generating. These teams typically spend lot of time each day using their marketing automation platform such as HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua or something similar.
People who mainly prospect enterprise-level customers often follow an account-based sales playbook. There’s an increasing number of software platforms design for account-based sales. Tools such as Terminus, Engagio and Demandbase all provide not only tools to engage with target accounts but also features to find new major opportunities that can be added to their “most wanted accounts” lists.
Before you sign up for too many applications, it’s smart to define your key performance metrics for your prospecting efforts.
Most of the systematic sales organizations have implemented at least one or a few of these sales prospecting tools. With lot of different alternatives to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all these different options. Before you sign up for too many applications, it’s smart to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) for your prospecting efforts.
In chapter nine in our ebook The Ultimate Guide to Sales Prospecting, we list a number of common KPIs for sales professionals who work with sales prospecting. There, we also share tips on how you can decide on the right KPIs for your business based on how you’ve structured your sales work.
The Future of Sales Prospecting Platforms
Deeper integrations seems to be a major B2B sales trend. Nowadays, most of the sales prospecting tools listed in this article integrate smoothly with common CRM vendors. The harmonious integration of different systems cuts down the time spent on manual data entry, ensures the accuracy of contact data, and allows systematic account scoring models.
New datasets will constantly emerge, which will make prospecting more effective and specialized. Intent data is one new example, as well as industry- specific data sources such as real estate data, credit ratings, or vehicle information. In sales intelligence, local data plays a critical role, which makes the category more fragmented geographically than others. Legislation such as GDPR makes Europe, for example, a more challenging market to have contact information on. At the same time, there is a lot of consolidation in the space, as with Discoverorg’s recent acquisition of another major player, Zoominfo.
Finally, vendors are increasingly focusing on prospects’ intent. Algorithms process huge amounts of public, open and social data to uncover buying intent so that sales teams can reach out to the right companies at the right time.