Sales prospecting used to involve tedious sifting through news stories, annual reports, and such, but new technologies have thankfully come to the rescue. Business information provider OneSource, an Infogroup company, has just announced a new sales intelligence solution called OneSource iSell that it says takes sales prospecting to the next level by finding, prioritizing, and delivering the hottest prospects directly to sales professionals. The new tool not only taps a broad range of relevant content but is also designed to deliver context, a personalized experience, and an automated feed of hot prospects.
"We developed iSell so that sales professionals can spend more time selling to the best prospects, rather than sifting through static information from multiple websites," said Phil Garlick, president of OneSource. "We put our major focus on making iSell easy-to-use, with personalization capabilities, as well as providing the best possible content."
OneSource iSell is powered by OneSource's LiveContent Platform, which combines information from more than 50 premium content suppliers, including Thomson Reuters, Experian, NetProspex, and thousands of information feeds including social media sources. OneSource launched its LiveContent platform earlier this year. It combines data from traditional compiled data (directories), editorial content, web mining (corporate websites, blogs, etc.), and social media (user contributions) into a unified information service for sales intelligence, marketing, and research. LiveContent fuses data from multiple sources, removes duplicates, and synthesizes the information down to the data-element level. For example, it can pull a bio from one data source, a job title from another, and an email address from a third source, combining these into one consolidated contact.
iSell provides a completely new interface to this content, one that Sham Sao, OneSource chief marketing officer says is designed to help professionals spend more time selling, not researching. New users are asked a few questions about how they sell (geographies, industries, company type or size, named accounts, etc.) and then iSell is configured for their needs. Prospects are prioritized continuously for each salesperson based on relevance to their territory or focus area, depth of information available to quickly reach the right decision maker, and changes or events called "sales triggers," such as new funding or executive changes.
"The sales triggers delivered by OneSource iSell are invaluable for helping sales teams identify and prioritize new prospecting opportunities as well as staying on top of target accounts," said Tibor Shanto, principal at Renbor Sales Solutions. "iSell also provides compelling talking points sales professionals can use to gain the interest of potential prospects during those crucial first few moments of a prospecting call."
Ken Palma, vice president of database marketing for Budco, a fulfillment and direct marketing company, has been beta testing iSell for the past month, evaluating its potential use for Budco and for its clients. Budco has been a customer of Infogroup's idEXEC, a database of company executives. That subscription will now be replaced by iSell. The company also purchases leads from Iridium and Wendover and has database content licensed from other sources. He's used Jigsaw, resources from D&B, Hoover's, and other tools. iSell will bring content and tools together in one package and will allow Budco to reduce its purchase of expensive leads. He says iSell can be used by an average salesperson-it doesn't require a data analyst. "It's a great support tool for data mining and direct marketing programs."
Sao stresses the integrity of the OneSource data as a key differentiator in the marketplace. For example, OneSource editors do a lot of cleansing of the Jigsaw data, which is user contributed. "We're in the business of adding value to data," he says.
Industry observer Geoffrey James wrote in a recent Selling Power e-newsletter:
"Essentially, such tools as iSell allow the sales and marketing professions to constantly adapt to real-time opportunities. Ultimately, these prospecting tools look less like a convenient way to find hot leads and more like a vehicle for understanding where sales reps should invest their time to win more business."
Analyst John Blossom points out that OneSource was under pressure to take its sales offerings to a new level. He says the company offered valuable high-level views of people and organizations but it wasn't necessarily the best match for sales executives. In addition, "emerging services such as InsideView and Dow Jones' Generate acquisition in 2008 have enabled competitors to build analysis of news and information from news and social media sources that alert sales professionals to events that may trigger specific types of sales activities." With iSell, Blossom says the company "is definitely putting its game on to deliver a new level of relevance and personalization for sales and marketing professionals."
The one question for an organization considering iSell will likely be cost. As Blossom says, "This is all great stuff, but it comes at a price. Since iSell rides on top of OneSource's collection of curated databases, it should be no surprise that premium pricing and price packaging is needed to experience iSell." Sao says the baseline price for iSell will include a set number of email and direct phone numbers-at this time it's 100 per person per month, though this could change. There will be a small incremental cost for additional contacts.
CORRECTION: OneSource has clarified the information on pricing in the final paragraph. The figure of email and phone numbers per month is not accurate. This number actually varies depending on the size license the users buy. Sao says, "We've really taken a close look at competitor pricing with iSell, and it's very much in line with the competition. "