Sunday, August 19, 2012

Battle of the Contact Information Sources: Jigsaw vs Dunn and Bradstreet vs LinkedIn

Back in January 2011 I railed against the nonsense FUD being put out by our old friend Salesforce. Incidentally, they still have the US version of the FUD page still up but have changed the FUD headers. No direct comments regarding Dynamics CRM, just a bunch of rhetoric nonsense (and the ‘ninja Bill’ Gold partner video, pure champagne comedy). Seriously though, “Born Cloud” as a competitive advantage?

Do not bother with the PDF download either. It is a PDF version of the web page designed to get your details so they can cold call you without actually adding any value (social marketing at its best). I am eagerly awaiting my call tomorrow morning.

But I digress, back in 2011 I called out the ordinary quality of the data available via Jigsaw, Salesforce’s crowd sourced contact information database.

In fact, Salesforce offers two priced services for ‘cloud data’ via their site. One is our old friend Jigsaw ($250 for 350 contacts) and the other is a Dunn and Bradstreet feed for $125 per user per month to get account information (contact information still coming from Jigsaw if I read the site correctly).

For Dynamics CRM we still have Hoovers for accounts AND contacts which appears to be similarly priced to the Salesforce Dunn and Bradstreet solution and, ultimately, both point to the same set of data i.e. the Dunn and Bradstreet datasource.

Given both the Jigsaw and the D&B feeds are paid services, I thought it would be interesting to see how they fare against a free alternative (which also can be easily integrated with most CRMs) i.e. LinkedIn.

Sample Contacts

For the sample contacts, I need people who are reasonably well-known. I have taken the top ten people from Dynamics World Top 100 Most Influential People in Microsoft Dynamics list for 2012. It is fair to say these people are ‘known entities’ in the Dynamics world. I assume that the blurbs on the top 100 site are correct i.e. none of them have changed jobs in the past three months since the list was published.

The Method

For each of the ten contacts, I’ll put them into Jigsaw, Hoovers and LinkedIn (all of which offer free searching with limited information returned) to see if they find the person at the right company.

The Results

Contact Jigsaw D&B LinkedIn
Adam Warby, Avanade Found, position CEO, in Chicago, IL, USA Found, position CEO and Director, aged 51 Found, position CEO, in Reading, UK
Mike Gillis, Hitachi Solutions Not found Found, position Managing VP, Microsoft Global Alliance Not found
Kirill Tatarinov, Microsoft Found, position President, Microsoft Business Solutions, in Redmond, WA, USA Found, position Corporate VP, Microsoft Business Solutions Found, position President, in Greater Seattle, WA, USA
Poul Kjaer, Partner Power Not found Not found Found, position Owner, in Denmark
Fred Studer, Microsoft Not found Found, position Administration Executive; General Manager US Information Worker BMO Found, position GM, Microsoft Dynamics, in Greater Seattle, WA, USA
Jon Roskill, Microsoft Found, position Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Sales, in Redmond, WA, USA Found, position Corporate VP, Worldwide Partner Group Not found
Preben Damgaard, Damgaard Company A/S Not found Found, position Acting Managing Director Found, position CEO
Jesper Balser, Independent Not found Found, position Acting Managing Director at Milestone Systems A/S Found, Independent
Doug Kennedy, Microsoft Found, position Vice President, Dynamics Partners, in Redmond, WA, USA Found, position Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics Partners Not found
Claus Hansen, AlfaPeople Found, position COO, in New York, NY, USA Found, position Direktor Found, position Group COO, in Copenhagen Area, Denmark

So, in terms of getting hits, we have:

  • Jigsaw: 5/10
  • D&B (Hoovers): 9/10
  • LinkedIn: 7/10

In terms of data quality, the major difference was in Claus Hansen and Adam Warby’s location. The Alfapeople website and Adam’s blog suggest LinkedIn got it right.


If you are looking to enrich your existing contact data with an internet service Jigsaw seems to be a poor choice. According to the Jigsaw homepage they have 35 million contacts in their database but for our sample set, 50% of them did not appear. Of the five which did get a hit, two had the wrong location.

LinkedIn did not do too bad but it should be remembered that, unless you are a direct link to the person in question, it is unlikely you will be able to find out details such as their email address. You could get a paid account with LinkedIn though, which allows you to send InMail messages which guarantee a reply. The big advantage of LinkedIn is that you can see how you are connected to the people you are seeking out (and this aspect costs you nothing). In terms of turning ‘unknowns’ into ‘knowns’, your professional network is an excellent option.

For pure data enrichment of contacts, Hoovers is the big winner albeit with a price tag. Their database also dwarfs Jigsaw’s with 100 million people in their database.

My take on it is, for salesforce, forget if it uses D&B for accounts and Jigsaw for contacts. For the $125 per user per month you can get the Hoovers integration to salesforce and eliminate the risk of Jigsaw giving you false data. For Dynamics CRM, Hoovers also provides an excellent option if you need data enrichment.

However, for most businesses, regardless of the CRM product being used, signing up to LinkedIn provides a wealth of information for nothing. Frankly, I struggle to see what value $125 per user per month can bring to make it worthwhile when there is a wealth of information out there for free.

1 comment:

StartupWire said...


There are a lot of providers out there with much higher quality data, but I understand why you picked these in your comparison... they are probably the most well known.

Linkedin has the highest quality data. No doubt. However it is not perfect - see Dan Dumba** - There is much

Jigsaw/ - I think the real value of is that you can buy just one email if you need and you already know the person exists at the company. Their database is so large you are probably going to find that person. Going there to get validated data is a mistake imo though.

DNB - I can't really speak on DNB though... but I imagine that it would be extremely extremely hard to keep their database that is so large accurate.

Also, a better test would be a complete random sample of people. High profile people is not the best way to really sample a database.

Here are some other providers out there...