Recently we began using a tool called BroadLook to research prospective customers. For example, our targets tend to be Marketing VP's or Directors. So, when we find that a company is using Microsoft CRM and want to make a connection BroadLook will find a list of contacts for that company. The way it works is particularly interesting; it goes to the web in real time and gathers information from a number of sources. When it presents this information it also provides a confidence score to give you an idea of how accurate data on the contacts might be.
Here's how it works; with only an account name and URL you tell BroadLook to 'profile' the company using a Microsoft CRM workflow that the BroadLook solution adds to your CRM.
The workflow sends the company name and URL to the BroadLook servers (in the cloud) that then scour the web for information on the company. BroadLook is not keeping a database of this information and giving you a copy of that information; it is literally going to the web at that moment and finding up to date information. This point has been particularly relevant for our usage. A lot of our prospects are smaller companies whose data may not have made it into private databases. However, BroadLook will look at the company web site, blog, domain registration, social networks, even your own CRM (obvious yes, but so easy to miss) and more. It always finds data and it always tells you how confident it is in the data.
For my record BroadLook found data in four places; our CRM, whois, LinkedIn and our blog.
For many records BroadLook will even bring in extra, descriptive information.
Yesterday I had the perfect use case for why this technology is so powerful. I had a prospect come to our site and initiate a web chat with some questions. Unfortunately, the chat dropped or the chatter got busy with other things. From the chat I only had first name and IP address from where the chat initiated. Using the IP address I was able to get the company name from the ClickDimensions solution so I was able to run the BroadLook profiler. BroadLook found 81 individuals from the prospect including the full name and contact information of the person who had chatted with me. As suspected, the individual is in the marketing department. BroadLook provided the LinkedIn URL of the individual so I reached out and made a connection via LinkedIn. Unbelievable!
BroadLook has a number of other features that I haven't detailed here including the ability to help standardize your data (i.e. data cleanliness) and to take free form data such as email signatures and import them into CRM Leads/Contacts. All in all, a pretty amazing real-time research tool. You can check it out at http://broadlook.com/crmsuite/microsoftdynamics/