ZoomInfo – SalesOS and Engage Review
This article reviews both ZoomInfo’s modules, SalesOS and Engage.
Before starting, a few quick notes. I do not work for ZoomInfo and have no affiliation with their company. I use their cloud-based software for my marketing job and have been using both SalesOS and Engage for around 6 months as of this post.
What is ZoomInfo?
ZoomInfo is an online lead generating service. Its main purpose is to search for companies and relevant contacts to find sales prospects. ZoomInfo aggregates a lot of data from many thousands of companies and the employees that work there.
Not all of the data is accurate as people change positions and I’ve discovered some bizarre errors even pertaining to the company I work for. That being said, the software still has a lot of usefullness, which I will get into.
ZoomInfo has al a carte options to access their data. The two main starting points are SalesOS and MarketingOS. This article will only focus on SalesOS, as my company chose to use it as a sales lead generator.
By itself, you could use the data to find sales leads. But when you pair it with their Engage module, you can unleash automated features.
SalesOS is all about building lists which oddly enough they also call “Advanced Search”. Here you are offered some 40+ top level filters, each with many sub-filters. Each of this let you narrow down your search and fine tune to relevant results. I commonly use around ten of these when building out a list.
Top Filters to Use in SalesOS
Location: if you sell only in the US, you can easily filter out companies by choosing United States, or go further into specific states or metro areas. You can even choose a radius around a zip code if your business is more local. Note: filtering only on US shows almost 60 million companies with 71+ million contacts.
Company Industry: This useful filter lets you choose only the industries you focus on. You can select as many as you like, but can not exclude specific industries unless you check them all and then uncheck the ones you want excluded.
Current Role: once you’ve narrowed down your location and industries, choosing the right contact is vital. This can be difficult as a lot of roles are listed differently. But here at least you can use a NOT Name of Role to remove roles that are irrelevant.
Contact Info: you use this filter to select if the user has a business email or listed phone number or both. This is also where the “Accuracy Score” is hiding out. Here you can use a slider scale to choose between 75 and 99, with the higher numbers being of course better. We have never gone below the default low of 85 and I do not really see a reason to. Usually, there are enough contacts that raising up the score helps weed out those that are not valid.
Industry Classification Code: I had previously overlooked this filter but am glad to be using it a lot now. With this filter you can select specific NAICS or SIC codes that are relevant to your target. What I do is find a current customer or prospect and then see what code(s) are listed for them and then expand my search out that way.
Company Description Keywords: if you are targeting a niche industry, this filter works well. The data is drawn from company “about us” pages and so long as it is a specific set of terms, can help with your prospecting.
Company Name: pretty straightforward but useful when you want to find company’s that have industry keywords in their names: i.e. “coffee shop” or “trucking”.
Company Revenue: I mainly use this to filter out the extremes but can be useful if you want to focus on certain sized companies. It works well with…
Employee Count: this filter again helps remove too large or too small of an organization. Or, perhaps you want to specifically target a smaller business.
The overall goal of using these filters is to limit your contact size when building a list. If your list is too big, you will use up your credits really fast or you won’t be able to manage how you engage your prospects. And Engage is up next!
You’ve built a great list of prospects so now what? Time to Engage them! With ZoomInfo’s Engage software, you can set up automated Salesflows. Before setting up a Salesflow you need to create some email templates.
The email templates are extremely basic and mostly text-based. You can add pictures (highly recommended) and you can generically personalize your message with variables. As you create your templates, the software displays hints to improve your message and you can start with pre-built templates as well to get started.
The goal is to make your emails succinct and fairly industry specific. So far I’ve created nearly two dozen salesflows and some 40 templates. There is no reachable limit, but over time you will likely want to make some fairly general templates that you target to hundreds or thousands of contacts. And you will want to make some highly specific templates for niche or highly likely contacts.
Managing your salesflows and templates is easy enough so long as your name them well. The emails do have trackable links, although Google Analytics 4 makes that feature moot.
When you make a Salesflow, you can select various email templates and set them to go X number of days (or hours) apart. Your Salesflow can also have manual email, phone calls, or other steps you want to take. It is recommended that you have at least 8 steps in your Salesflow, as it takes around that many to turn a prospect into a sales.
You can always run the same contact through multiple Salesflows over time.
One glaring quirk of Engage involves when multiple users are using the same Salesflow. In order to see contacts in a step (put in by someone other than yourself), you need to deselect a default filter. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you’ve done it dozens of times.
There are also some limitations with how you run your Salesflows. Especially when starting out, the number of emails you can send is throttled. This is to avoid potential spamming issues and to ensure email domain trust. Unfortunately, ZoomInfo is not an emailing service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Thus, email delivery is not all that great.
You are also limited to how many contacts can reside in a Salesflow at once. This limit is 1,000 for each user. Anything over this threshold is thrown in a “waiting room” where they seem to remain until you manually move them out of there. These contacts do not automatically go to step 1, even when contacts exit the Salesflow and your total number is less than 1,000.
The workaround here is to tag these contacts, boot them out of the Salesflow, search for them by tag, and then restart them in the Salesflow.
Some Cons of SalesOS and Engage
The lack of excluding. This is most annoying when dealing with locations and industries. It would be nice to select all of US, but then say NOT Hawaii due to shipping constraints. This would also be useful with NAICS and SIC codes where you want to exclude companies with multiple codes that are irrelevant to your business.
A decent amount of data is outdated or flat out wrong. The company I work for had several “employees” that had never worked here. Erroneous data is common in any database, but the software is pretty expensive…
Expense! I won’t specify how much we spent, but the service is not cheap. You can decide how many credits you want to buy as well as seats (users) and you can always add more later. We purchased a LOT of credits up front, not knowing how we would end up using them, as a way to save money per credit.
The contract is for a year and you get to keep your contact data at the end of it even if you don’t renew. So you can use these contacts later in other systems.
Email delivery, as stated previously, is a definite problem. With many of our Salesflows we try and run several hundred contacts at a time and end up getting a few dozen undeliverables each and every time. This is often after choosing contacts with an accuracy score above 94.
ZoomInfo, both SalesOS and Engage have a lot of usefulness. The ability to quickly find potential companies and contacts related to your business is pretty impressive. The service is useful for a wide range of businesses and industries. It probably helps if your customer bases is pretty wide both geographically and industry-wise. Smaller, niche organizations would probably not recoup the high cost.
They are constantly making improvements. In the 6 months I’ve used it they have already beefed up their filtering capabilities and added some minor features as well. There are a lot of extras you can add on, but it will cost you!
I plan to update this after our year contract is up to get a final review and discuss our return on investment with ZoomInfo.