One-Stop Business Intelligence

By Heather Baldwin

One of your reps goes in to meet with a prospect armed with information he gleaned from scanning the prospect’s Website. “I see your CFO just left the company,” he says to the prospect. “How’s the search for a replacement going?” The prospect and her coworker exchange glances. “He left three months ago and the new CFO has been onboard ever since,” they reply. Whoops! Not a great way to demonstrate your indepth knowledge of the prospect’s company.

Outdated information is just one of the problems reps face when they rely on corporate Websites and other superficial sources of information for business intelligence, says Ed Hutchinson, director of communications for OneSource Information Services, a business information company based in Concorde, MA (www.onesource.com). Yet quick Internet searches are what most reps rely on to gather information about their prospective clients. When they want to dig deeper, they can spend hours and hours trolling for analyst reports, financial data, articles and other information – time that could be spent meeting with clients. What if there were a single Website that could provide almost all the company information reps need to uncover pain points and target their pitches most effectively?

That’s the idea behind OneSource, a one-stop shop for information about a prospect’s company and business challenges. OneSource offers indepth financial data, executive biographies, indepth company profiles, analyst reports, news and other business intelligence. In mid-November, OneSource will add two modules – one that provides data and one that enables users to zero in on the strategic pieces of information they need to do their jobs better and faster. The Executive Insights module will add approximately 400,000 new contact names, mostly at the vice president and director levels. The new data represents about a 20% increase in the number of executives profiled and includes information such as work history, affiliations such as where they went to school and Web sightings, including places they’ve been quoted or mentioned online.

The second new module, Company Insights, will pull key points out of documents, such as analyst reports, saving users from having to read the whole report to find nuggets of information. The module will identify elements such as key initiatives, a company’s strengths and weaknesses and its key relationships. It will also identify the page of the report where the information was gleaned so users can go directly to the source to read more.

OneSource costs about $200 per user per year when a company signs up from several hundred to thousands of users. The additional modules will cost an additional 10% to 20% of that figure. In the first quarter 2005, OneSource will roll out a more basic products with pricing that is competitive with Hoover’s, says Hutchinson, though its primary business will remain its more robust business intelligence product.

“A surprising number of reps use a company’s Website to do research,” says Hutchinson. “But a company’s Website is basically like a personal ad. It is not designed to reveal the big business challenges. For example, if you’re a big manufacturing firm and you’re having trouble outsourcing to China, you’re not going to put that on your Website, but it may be key to a big sale for someone.” OneSource aims to uncover that key piece of information and hand it to its users.