LinkedIn clobbers competitors in sales intelligence, new rankings show

Above: A Linked-pen

When you think sales intelligence solutions — data companies that offer names, organizations, and contact information for leads — you typically think of old graybeard companies like Dunn & Bradstreet, founded in 1841. Or Hoovers, its subsidiary, or perhaps

But LinkedIn?

According to a new ranking of sales intelligence solutions by 350 sales pros, LinkedIn Premium isn’t just a source for lead intelligence — it might even be the source. In crowdsourced software reviews site G2 Crowd’s latest grid, the Sales Intelligence grid, LinkedIn towers above the contenders, including newer companies like CapitalIQ and DiscoverOrg.

Sales Intelligence Grid - Spring 2014

LinkedIn has been more than professional networking for some time, of course, but I still found this somewhat shocking. This reminds me of something a former KISSmetrics manager told me, about a $10,000 data purchase from an old-school business data vendor that turned out to be 80 percent inaccurate, spurring a refund request.

“Buying data is like driving a new car off the lot,” he told me. “The value drops 30 percent right away.”

That’s likely one of the reasons why LinkedIn, while it probably still doesn’t have the broad coverage of the old boys club, is seen as so valuable by sales professionals. Since it is after all a professional networking site, members have an internal incentive to maintain their profiles — and companies have an incentive to maintain and update their profiles — which essentially means we are all keeping our data up-to-date so that LinkedIn can sell access to it.

Crowdsourcing, clearly, is the name of the game.

One type of player that G2 Crowd didn’t include in this new grid, probably because they are so new, are the sales and business intelligence companies that don’t rely on old-school data collection efforts or crowdsourcing. I’m talking about companies like Datanyze, which troll the web for the little code hooks that SaaS companies embed in their clients pages, and provide insightful information based on shifting client bases, or HG Data, which searches the web and the hidden web — PDFs, Word files, Excel documents that are connected to the web — for hints and clues about what software and hardware products companies are using.

Other leaders G2 Crowd identified are DiscoverOrg and CapitalIQ, while Lead411, IKO System, and SalesLoft all earned “high performer” status.

“Satisfaction rankings are generated from the user reviews, and market presence is calculated from vendor size, market share, and social impact,” G2 Crowd says. “Based on a combination of these scores, each software solution is categorized as a Leader, High Performer, Contender, or Niche.”

More information:

D&B is the world's leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, enabling companies to Decide with Confidence for over 165 years. The company is a Fortune 500 public company headquartered in Short Hills, New Je... read more »

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, with more than 259 million members worldwide, including executives from Fortune 500 companies. Founded on May 5, 2003, by Reid Hoffman and founding team members f... read more »

G2 Crowd is the trusted site for enterprise software ratings and reviews. Our mission is to disrupt the traditional technology analysts by aggregating wisdom from real IT and business users along with social data signals. Compare C... read more »

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Stuart Armstrong
Stuart Armstrong

John, thanks. This is a belated response as article just popped up on, where else- LinkedIN. 

As a 30 year year tech sales newbusdev vet these new data tools are incredible compared to the old school methods of going to the library and making "prospect lists" or even going door to door which I did selling MITEL PBXes in 1981. 90% of the prospects were "qualified" and met our "ideal client profile" ie. 10-500 telephones and a whopping BELL bill that they could not haggle about. SO we needed dozens of propects-wnd there were usually 1-3 "economic buyers" who drove the deal- so once we had a "relationship", 20-35% chance you got the deal.

Ditto when I joined Arrow, then Digital- very strong GDP growth and DEMAND for these new tech tools. (ie c, etc.) 

Fast forward to 2008-2014 and we see low growth, tech commoditization so most reps need 500-1000 prospects at the top of the funnel to nurture over 9-12 months to make quota only 50-60% of the time.

(re CSO Insights, TAS Group surveys which are well known).

Many Sales managers, VPs (the closers) who grew up in the eighties still do not understand what many Millennials reps know about "big number" leadgen. ie tools to find, segment and then nurture 1000-5000 PEOPLE in the funnel who will net quota. (ie deals now involve 3-10 people who are risk averse and very frugal now).

Hopefully we will not kill our golden goose- ie the 330MM people on LinkedIN who have provided DATA in their profiles that help us narrow down and match their buyer persons to our solutions.

If we collective bombard these socially open people too much, they will shut down or narrow the profiles and companies will stop putting profiles on LinkedIN.

Consider that there are approx. 1.9MM companies in US with 10-10000+ employees- with 400,000 on LinkedIN- pretty decent. Has it gone up in the last 3-6 months?




Tom Blue - Lead411
Tom Blue - Lead411

By "clobbered" you mean by market presence... not actual customer satisfaction, correct? :)  Discoverorg beats Linkedin on rating and customer satisfaction.  Linkedin is just way more well known.