In the era of the Internet, finding contact information on a particular lead is easier than ever. However, for the busy executive, taking time to research each customer is often impossible. Small business owners need an easy way to pull targeted information on businesses and individuals, but with so many information databases out there, how can you possibly know which one to choose?
Here are a couple of the most notable information databases, straight from some small business owners who use them.
Obility Consulting’s Nick Herinckx swears by ZoomInfo®, a contact database that allows you to search leads by industry terms, job titles, and more. ZoomInfo provides targeted lists that help sales staff to channel marketing efforts.
“I have relied on marketing databases as a way to reach out to prospects while growing my agency,” Herinckx says. “I’ve been able to find contact information using ZoomInfo® that I haven’t been able to find in other online databases.”
Herinckx’s company specializes in online marketing for B2B companies, having managed campaigns for Trend Micro, TEKsystems, and InfoGroup Interactive, among many others. His choice of ZoomInfo® is no surprise, considering the service’s popularity among savvy business owners. In fact, ZoomInfo® has won several awards, including the 2010 Best Sales Productivity Tool from the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals.
MSP marketing and business consultant Stuart Crawford recommends Jigsaw.com, a directory that provides both phone and e-mail contact information for businesses. Crawford serves as president and chief marketing officer of Ulistic, a firm that specializes in I.T. marketing and business development.
“What we truly admire about Jigsaw versus other services is that the community contributes content, and we have found Jigsaw to be the best tool out there,” Crawford says. “It is a true crowd sourced service.”
Jigsaw boasts a database of more than 30 million business contacts, with 40,000 added daily. Jigsaw’s user base reviews each entry for authenticity, comparing its service to Wikipedia, where content is created and maintained by users. Because Jigsaw’s database is refined by users, the site has a community-like feel, where members help each other.
For your social media marketing growth, Amsterdam Printing’s Slavik Volinsky recommends Follower Wonk, a site that allows you to find and organize Twitter followers. “Just like cold calling, Internet users aren’t welcoming ‘cold’ tweets or e-mails,” Volinsky says. “With a tool like Follower Wonk, marketers can find relevant people by searching within their Twitter bios and location, and then start following and engaging with them. Developing a relationship with a prospect goes a long way.”
Follower Wonk allows you to obtain information on a contact’s followers and the people they follow, along with the user’s real name, location, and level of activity. The level of activity is graded by a “Wonk score,” which credits a user for how active they are on the site.
For users of Salesforce, this is the obvious choice, but it’s interesting that none of our entrepreneurs mentioned it. Salesforce’s Data.com prides itself on its accuracy, with all information verified by other users.
“Companies today work in an environment where there is more information available than ever before,” Salesforce.com writes. “Businesses struggle to identify the right information from the right source in a timely fashion, and to efficiently bring this data together with their business processes. Data.com is showing customers a better way: with clean and accurate business data, customers can grow their business more efficiently by allocating resources effectively, improving campaign ROI, and increasing productivity.”
Overall, it seems verification on many of these sites is left to the users themselves. Understandable, considering that hundreds of thousands of listings would be hard to police. So a powerhouse like Data.com or ZoomInfo® may be more useful based on sheer member numbers. However, keep in mind that information can become out-of-date, literally, overnight. It’s always wise to personally verify as many listings as possible, especially on the more important accounts.