In an age of ubiquitous social networking tools and near exponential content creation, rapidly rising levels of information that may or may not be relevant to a particular individual inhibit one’s ability to keep track of contacts, key industry news, and business intelligence.
The ideal situation would be for sales and business development professionals to be presented with current and accurate information as it is needed. Prior to a sales meeting, having a summary of a company’s and industry’s recent news automatically delivered would prepare the sales executive and increase the likelihood of successful conclusion. This requires tools that automatically surface relevant information. In addition to the time saved from eliminating manual searching, this type of system solves a fundamental problem that exists with searching for information: one has to know what is being looked for as well as how to use traditional search tools effectively. Often, the most valuable information is that which is unexpected, for instance a surprise executive position change at a company that opens up the possibility for new business.
We wrote about these dynamics in great detail in our report, Searching for a Connection: Leveraging Enterprise Contacts with Social Software. In that report, we discussed the acquisition of Generate, a business intelligence company, by Dow Jones, as well as various issues relating to the value of up-to-date information, the limitations of search technology, and what could be done to improve search in the enterprise.
Dow Jones has since incorporated Generate’s technology into the company’s business to business sales and marketing intelligence offering, Dow Jones Companies and Executives Sales. The latest version of the offering makes some impressive strides towards delivering relevant information in a contextual and timely manner. Users can set up triggers such as executive changes, product announcements, venture funding, and partnerships, which when detected result in an alert that includes company profile information, relevant executives and contacts, current news, and related documents. The information itself comes from unstructured news content, Dow Jones’ owned and licensed content that includes company and executive profiles and records, CRM contact and account information, and personal contact lists imported from Outlook or LinkedIn.
Once a trigger event occurs, the system presents contacts that are weighted for relevancy to enable the user to follow up leads that are exposed by the trigger event. A contact from LinkedIn, for example, is weighed highly because it is presumed to be a personal contact. This enables sales and business development professionals to find the shortest connection path to a prospect or contact via their work history, CRM system, and personal contact lists.
Dow Jones Companies and Executives Sales is a significant step towards presenting useful information as it is needed without requiring extraneous effort, and will help to surface critical information that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. It is great starting platform with great potential for exciting features and functionality, and we are eager to see how it develops
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.