ZoomInfo is one of the best sales intelligence and prospecting databases available on the market. G2 describes ZoomInfo as “the biggest, most accurate, and most frequently refreshed database of insights, intelligence, and purchasing intent data about companies and contacts” on the market. As Figure 1, the 2022 G2 Grid for Sales Intelligence products below demonstrates, ZoomInfo ranks slightly ahead of LinkedIn Sales Navigator as an industry leader according to user reviews, and with good reason. Companies that effectively use ZoomInfo often boast as high as a 10x return on investment (ROI), while increasing appointments booked and inbound leads between 60-100%. Take ZoomInfo-provided reports and customer testimonials with a grain of salt, but in our experience, these claims do line up with the hype.

Figure 1: G2 Grid For Sales Intelligence 

G2 grid for sales intelligence

However, it is also true that many companies that invest in ZoomInfo struggle to realize the full value of their investment after implementation. After an initial honeymoon period where targeted cold leads were exported to a CRM and blasted with emails and phone calls, we often hear that clients are frustrated with the platform. Despite having access to this extensive database, they receive seemingly little reward for their efforts in terms of new opportunities and business. This circumstance isn’t surprising – ZoomInfo is just a tool like any other and is only effective if it is used the right way and in the right hands. 

The Top 3 ZoomInfo Mistakes New Users Make and How to Avoid Them

To help companies get the most out of their subscription, we address the top three ZoomInfo mistakes that new users make. Through working with our clients to set up, configure, and execute sales campaigns using ZoomInfo, we have found that there are three ways new adopters are struggling: 

  1. ZoomInfo integration requires additional customization between CRM and sales outreach tools. 
  2. New users lack resourcing, monitoring, or training on the effective use of the tool.
  3. The sales team does not set up effective lead scoring, sales processes, or reporting practices to ensure that sales goals are achieved via ZoomInfo leads. 

After addressing these areas, ZoomInfo will become an invaluable asset within your organization. 

Mistake 1: ZoomInfo integration requires additional customization between CRM and sales outreach tools.

Using the Right Tools

The first thing you need to get the most out of ZoomInfo in terms of integration is a CRM or an outbound sales tool that easily integrates with ZoomInfo or is able to create automatic cold email sequences. The importance of having a CRM that integrates with ZoomInfo becomes increasingly apparent once you begin using the platform. At the time of writing, ZoomInfo currently integrates with:

  • CRM: Salesforce, HubSpot, Dynamics, Zoho, SugarCRM, Pipedrive, Bullhorn, and RingLead
  • Collaboration Tools: Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • Marketing / Sales Management: Outreach, Salesloft, Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Engage, and Zoom
  • Ad Channels: Facebook and LinkedIn

If you work with any of the CRMs or sales tools mentioned above, then setting up the basic integration is relatively straightforward. It should be mentioned that using a CRM that does not integrate with ZoomInfo is highly unadvisable and will negate all the labour savings you would otherwise achieve. Using a CRM that doesn’t integrate with ZoomInfo will force your team to engage in time-consuming manual data migrations. 

Note: Salesforce alone won’t be sufficient to integrate and execute with ZoomInfo due to a lack of an email outreach tool. You will also require a platform like Marketo or Pardot.

Custom Field Mapping

Despite the easy out-of-box integration setup with the CRMs mentioned above, our clients are often unaware that ZoomInfo’s out-of-box integration mapping lacks the custom fields required to get all the actionable data from your search queries and lead exports into your CRM. Extra setup is required to make all the important data points you’re seeing on ZoomInfo records actually arrive in your CRM. To do this you will create extra custom fields in your CRM to house the incoming ZoomInfo data.

Example

Consider a California-based software company focused on selling to start-ups who have recently completed series-A funding. Your Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) may be using ZoomInfo to tag prospects based on these criteria within the platform. However, despite all the effort spent categorizing these leads within ZoomInfo, there’s no out-of-box tag mapping solution for passing this critical information to your corresponding CRM records.

Without passing the ZoomInfo tags through to your CRM, it is easy to lose sight of the targeting criteria initially selected for the prospects, ultimately leaving your CRM cluttered with large groups of stale leads that have no reference to their intended campaign. You can resolve the cluttering problem by adding ZoomInfo contact tags and mapping a custom field in your CRM to house that specific data. See the custom dimensions list in our article on the ZoomInfo Google Analytics integration and Figure 2 below for a sample of the additional data you can map into your CRM to better segment and personalize your outreach campaigns. 

Figure 2: ZoomInfo Custom Mapping Interface

ZoomInfo Field Mapping

With that said, all clients are different in function and pursuit. Our team does custom assessments and assists with the creation of custom mapping and CRM housing for ZoomInfo data to get just the right fit.

ZoomInfo AMB

Mistake 2: New ZoomInfo users lack resourcing, monitoring, or training on the effective use of the tool.

One important philosophy to keep in mind is that ZoomInfo is a tool like any other, and will only be as effective as the people using it. That’s why we recommend extra attention to resourcing and training users on the platform. When set up correctly, ZoomInfo can operate in a near-automated fashion to help your team source the right leads. However, once identifying the right leads, there is no substitute for resourcing dedicated SDRs for ZoomInfo outreach and training them to execute an effective sales outreach process. In short, those ZoomInfo leads aren’t going to close themselves. 

A common question from our clients is what the weekly task load should look like for their ZoomInfo SDR users. On a standard license, ZoomInfo grants 1000 leads worth of credits to a single user in a given month. Coincidentally (or not), this is a manageable amount of leads for one SDR to handle in a month. We recommend that a full-time SDR should be importing 250 leads a week and enrolling them in sequences on Monday to be sent out on a Tuesday morning – earlier in the day is generally better. The best days for email sends are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, as Monday and Friday fall too close to the weekend and are likely to get lost in the mix. 

Roughly 50 leads of the 250 weekly imports will show enough interest in the initial email to follow up with after the sequence (assuming a 20% conversion rate to MQL during the B2B outbound sales processes – more on this below). With this benchmark, your SDRs will have their work cut out by the end of their first month, with approximately 200 accounts to follow up with and build buying committees on their behalf. When successfully implemented, these internal practices will maximize the value, labour savings, and ROI for ZoomInfo. 

Following this method, sales leaders and management should establish coaching and monitoring practices for their ZoomInfo SDRs. Set aside time to work with your SDRs to coach them on proper prospecting practice and the appropriate number of touchpoints to hit per lead before giving up (giving up after 1-2 touchpoints is way too early and something we see too often). Finally, monitor the results of CRM email sequences, which should be a weekly practice for Sales leaders. 

Related Read: ZoomInfo Workflows: 5 Tips for Optimizing the B2B Sales Process with Automation

Mistake 3: The sales team does not set up effective lead scoring, sales processes, or reporting practices to ensure that sales goals are achieved via ZoomInfo leads.

Lead Scoring

While providing proper coaching is incredibly important, the other half of the battle for sales leadership is gaining visibility on the activities and effectiveness of their SDRs’ outreach efforts via automated reporting dashboards in their CRM. In the case of ZoomInfo reporting, we recommend ensuring both automated lead scoring and lifecycle tracking are part of your core processes. With respect to automated lead scoring, we’re referring to a common feature of most CRMs that will add weighted points for each positive behaviour that a lead may take in response to outreach (i.e. email opens/clicks, website visits, content downloads, chats, phone calls, etc.). Setting up an automated lead scoring system is integral for both SDRs and sales leaders to have visibility into which leads are worth following up with and which need more time to warm up. One common mistake we see with new users of ZoomInfo is a lack of proper lead scoring and a corresponding hot leads list for SDRs to focus on. This often means leads grow cold before SDRs have a chance to follow up on them, squandering the momentary opportunity created by outreach efforts. 

Lead Status

With respect to automated life cycle tracking, most CRMs have a field titled Lead Status, which describes common outreach stages that a lead may exist in at any given point (e.g. New, Working, Attempted Call, Contacted, Qualified, etc.). Lead status is an important field to track current, short-term statuses of leads. However, it is insufficient for tracking the long-term status of a lead within your CRM. 

Lifecycle Stage

For long-term tracking, another field titled Lifecycle Stage is best practice. The lifecycle stage refers to a one-way customer journey chronology (i.e. lead, MQL, SAL, SQL, Opportunity, and Customer) used to track the longer-term relationship you have with the lead. A common mistake new ZoomInfo users make is that they assume if a lead does not convert within the first month of a campaign, that the prospect will never close, with those now cold leads dying an ignominious death in the CRM, never to be touched again. 

It is important to remember that 95-99% of leads do not close in the first month, quarter, or year of a campaign. However, that does not mean they will never close, supposing you are targeting the right prospects (those that inevitably will need/want/rely on your product or service). The lifecycle stage field is a reliable, long-term tracking tool that will remind your team three, sex, or twelve months down the road how far along the sales path you got with a lead before it went cold. When that lead shows up on your website again six months later, the lifecycle stage field will alert your SDRs to the fact that this company already went SQL, and may now be ready for a deeper sales conversation. 

It’s important to note that most CRMs don’t have lifecycle tracking out-of-box, with the exception of HubSpot. In essence, when automating lifecycle tracking you are providing clear criteria to label the leads your sales team is working on to provide metrics that allow SDRs, Managers, and Executives the ability to understand and predict conversion rates and opportunity volume. Below is Figure 3, an example of a standard HubSpot dashboard featuring the aforementioned lead scoring. Without this, you are leaving your SDRs to manually lead scores one by one. 

Figure 3: HubSpot Dashboard

HubSpot Lifecycle Stages

The next step is combining ZoomInfo with Google Analytics to create powerful dashboards and visualizations. This step will improve the transfer of information to all the stakeholders. Hot leads falling through the cracks is the last thing you want at this stage. Improving visibility and reporting on ZoomInfo will tighten up your sales team.

Related Read: Account-Based Marketing with ZoomInfo: How to Get the Most of Your ZoomInfo Subscription Through Integrations with Google Analytics & HubSpot CRM

How RFDM Solutions Makes ZoomInfo Mistakes a Thing of the Past

If you are just starting your ZoomInfo journey, all of this information should not be overlooked. When used correctly, ZoomInfo has the potential to reimagine your organization’s sales processes. Your first step is to make sure your organization uses a CRM that integrates with ZoomInfo. Your CRM of choice should also have the ability to set up cold email sequences at scale. Also, don’t forget to add custom mapping during the setup process so all of your important ZoomInfo data is imported to the correct places in your CRM. Second, trained users make ZoomInfo truly powerful and resourcing their time is crucial. Keep in mind that your SDRs’ weekly benchmarks for lead exports will establish best practices within your sales teams. Finally, visibility throughout the sales process will enable stakeholders to create predictive performance metrics. Lead scoring in the form of lifecycle tracking is the best way to achieve this goal, so ensuring that your CRM has these capabilities is key to getting the most out of ZoomInfo. 

With all this in mind, all that’s left is execution on your team’s part, which can be the most challenging step with the steepest learning curve. Luckily, RFDM Solutions works with clients in similar situations to ensure there are no mistakes in the ZoomInfo onboarding process so it is as smooth as possible and the team is set up for success. Feel free to reach out with any set-up questions or schedule a completely free, no-commitment ZoomInfo consultation.

ZoomInfo AMB

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