ZoomInfo. Zooming all over the place

ZoomInfo is a search engine for finding business people and company information.  I’ve used it quite a lot over the past 12 months and met up with some of the team at the AESC conference in September.  Keen to know more about the site I chatted with Russell Glass, ZoomInfo’s VP Products and Marketing.  Russell talked me through the PowerSearch functionality and gave me some updated stats.

So how does ZoomInfo work?

They “crawl” the web in the same way that Google or Yahoo do when they build their search engine databases.  The difference is that ZoomInfo take the next step and consolidate the information they find into summaries of people.  ZoomInfo is basically a people search tool.

There is a free search engine where you can type the name of a specific person and search their database of 32 million people. As long as you aren’t searching for someone will a common name you should find the person you want and can see all the pages that have been collected for that person.  For some people you can also view a photo (I’d direct you to my profile but I look like I’m ready for Halloween in the picture!).

The way in which ZoomInfo makes money is by selling a PowerSearch functionality. Their client base for this is primarily recruiters.  You can use PowerSearch to find people by various criteria including job title, industry and location.  You can also search for companies (either by name or criteria) and from this can create a competitor list.  This functionality is similar to that offered by Hoovers (which I know is used by a lot of recruiters already).  However, their database is far far larger than the Hoovers database – covering up to 3 million companies.

It has to be said that (along with all online search technology) if the information they pull off webpages isn’t accurate then the information in their database won’t be.  For this reason, in terms of understanding a client business or creating a list of competitors, the data you pull should only form part of the picture you create.  The same is also the case for “candidate” profiles.  Whilst the information may come back in CV format you shouldn’t believe it to be a comprehensive overview of your passive jobseeker.

You can’t contact individuals via the ZoomInfo site (unlike the principle behind LinkedIn)  However, 35% to 40% of people have email information their profiles.  Most companies listed on the site have telephone details so this can be used as a means to track the person down.   They also have a built in email campaign capability called JobCast that allows a user to create a target list and then send them an email with the job details. Because the campaign is created within PowerSearch you have the ability to track the response rate.

Recruiters pay £5,000 per annum for the service. Having spoken to a few UK recruiters (one who claimed to have fallen off her chair when I told her the cost!) the consensus is that the price quite high.  However, this isn’t stopping a high percentage of US recruitment firms signing up.  In the UK the audience is still quite small.  Of the 32 million individuals on the database only 1.4 million are from the UK.  However, this is growing as ZoomInfo focus on developing the UK market by specific “crawling” of .co.uk domains.

The uses of ZoomInfo isn’t just limited to actual candidate sourcing for a recruitment consultancy.  Sales people can use it to locate potential customers with an industry focus and to research them before making a pitch.   I’ve had a good play around on the site and have used it to source some very powerful information.  I’m sure the estimated 2800 recruiters using the PowerSearch service can’t be wrong.

As I say you can use the basic search functionality of ZoomInfo for free.  You can also set up a demo of the PowerSearch offering.

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