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Ep13: Henry Schuck, CEO & Co-Founder at ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo’s Henry Schuck on Data as Infrastructure

Episode Summary

In episode 13 of Ringlead’s Datavana Podcast, Jaime Muirhead interviews a man who really shook—or should we say Schuck—up the data world when he started DiscoverOrg back in 2007. Twelve years later, DiscoverOrg would become a go-to-market data resource we all know and love: Zoominfo.

That’s right folks, this week’s guest is none other than Henry Schuck, CEO & Co-Founder of Zoominfo. In addition to recounting his start in the data world, Henry discusses the impactfulness of (high-quality) data, the trajectory of Zoominfo, and why he’s so excited to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ep13: Henry Schuck, CEO & Co-Founder at ZoomInfo
Name: Henry Schuck
What he does: CEO & Co-Founder of ZoomInfo
Company: ZoomInfo
Noteworthy: Henry Schuck is the founder and CEO of ZoomInfo, the leading sources of business information driving the go-to-market initiative of over 15,000 companies worldwide. ZoomInfo is publicly traded on the Nasdaq underticker symbol ZI.
Where to find Henry: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Henry’s Start in the Data Space

“We started collecting the contact information and the organizational charts of the people who worked at those companies, because we wanted to enable our customers to take that next step with the data. And what we learned there was not only did it empower the largest companies in the world, but it also really democratized the way sales happened.”

Data As Foundational Infrastructure

“I still think that fundamentally, [growth] begins with the foundational investment in data that drives your systems of record, but turns those systems of record into systems of insight. And I think that's where we're missing today is we have these systems of record, but they don't really provide us any insight. And they're not really being adopted by our frontline sellers because they're just filled with a bunch of garbage.”

“All this stuff that we're trying to do, that we have big grand visions for, needs a foundational layer of infrastructure. And I believe that in the go-to-market world it’s data.”

The Value of Web Forms

“The best source of intent is when someone fills out a form on your website, it's great. It's giving you the best leads possible.”

The Importance of Timely Follow-Ups

“48% of people of the companies responded at all. So 54% of the companies are not responding to any lead that gets filled out on their website. And there are all sorts of issues that can be causing that marketing, spending all this money to drive people to the website, to get them to fill out the form. Then that's getting sent to sales and for whatever reason, or it's not getting sent to sales, they fill out this form and there is no system or process to get that form immediately in the hands of a sales rep to call that person back right away and move it down the funnel.”

Is Zoominfo at an Inflection Point?

“I think in our business, I don't, I really don't think we're at an inflection point yet. I still think in our respective businesses, we're still like in super early adopter mode.”

Conversational Intelligence and Chatbots

“I think a lot about conversational intelligence....So it doesn't matter what kind of sales manager you are and what industry of what size being able to listen to your reps calls on your time, in your timeframe and do coaching. That's important for companies of any size in any industry. If you've got an account executive and a manager, you need that technology at your fingertips. I think about chat on our website. Is an important one. You know, it's not really gonna go away. I'm always gonna want to be in front of my potential buyers when they're on my website. And if I can do that in an effective way using a chat bot, I think that's still going to be here. So I think those are still both very early, but also it would be hard to imagine a world in a future where that's not being used.”

Usage/Value-Based Pricing

“I think usage based pricing is usage based or value based pricing is going to be here to stay. The buyer matters in those kinds of models.”

What Henry’s Looking Forward To

“I am most excited about getting a vaccine and getting back to some sense of normalcy. I'd like to travel. We hired half of our staff in the midst of the pandemic. We opened two new offices. I'd like to see some of them again. I'd like to meet with my executive team in a room again, I'd like to whiteboard, you know, strategic motions. I have a new Chief Marketing Officer I've never met in person. I have a board member I've never met in person. I have an entire company that we acquired that I've never met in person. And so I would like the opportunity to get the vaccine and get back out there to meet some of our team members.”

Key Insights

  • The birth of the CRM allowed many companies to start flourishing in new ways—but the evolution didn’t stop there. Henry has been one of several who helped supplement companies’ data with contact information and organizational charts. “We wanted to enable our customers to take that next step with the data,” he says. “And what we learned there was not only did it empower the largest companies in the world, but it also really democratized the way sales happened.” Now, data quality is becoming increasingly important. What comes next, for data and for Zoominfo? “That,” as Schuck says, “ is the multi-billion dollar question.”
  • The increasing automation of marketing and sales processes has been in the works for decades. What’s holding things up? Henry says it has to do with the difference between a system of record and a system of insight. And what, exactly, is that difference? Good data. “We have these systems of record,” says Schuck, “but they don't really provide us any insight. And they're not really being adopted by our frontline sellers because they're just filled with a bunch of garbage.” So the question remains, how does one clean up a system of record that’s filled with garbage? That’s, of course, where tools like Ringlead and Zoominfo come in.
  • A preliminary investment in data creates the infrastructure needed for a company to flourish. Any visions of grandeur need to rest squarely on a truthful and insightful foundation. “All this stuff that we're trying to do, that we have big grand visions for needs a foundational layer of infrastructure,” says Henry. “And I believe that in the go-to-market world is data.”
  • Beyond good data, quickly routing and responding to leads is of utmost importance. When Datavana host Jaime Muirhead mentions a business that currently takes 2-3 days to route leads, Henry responds, “Might as well just light money on fire.” Schuck goes on to talk about web forms being a good source of leads. In fact, Henry has tracked the web form response time of various companies that have attended conferences where he was a speaker. The results? “48% of people of the companies responded at all. So 54% of the companies are not responding to any lead that gets filled out on their website.” That Schuks.

Top Quotes

[04:34] "We started collecting the contact information and the organizational charts of the people who worked at those companies, because we wanted to enable our customers to take that next step with the data. And what we learned there was not only did it empower the largest companies in the world, but it also really democratized the way sales happened."

[06:06] "This data has...globalized or nationalized your ability to sell across state lines [and] has made companies able to compete with companies that were much larger than them, just by having a level playing field when it came to data on their potential targets. And that's super powerful."

[14:40] "I still think that fundamentally, [growth] begins with the foundational investment in data that drives your systems of record, but turns those systems of record into systems of insight. And I think that's where we're missing today is we have these systems of record, but they don't really provide us any insight. And they're not really being adopted by our front line sellers because they're just filled with a bunch of garbage."

[16:51] "All this stuff that we're trying to do, that we have big grand visions for, needs a foundational layer of infrastructure. And I believe that in the go-to-market world it’s data."

[17:13] [Jeff Bezos says], "I don't really think that much about what's going to change, but I do spend a good amount of time thinking about things that I believe are going to be the same. And he goes, when you start thinking about things that are going to be the same 10 years from now, it gives you the opportunity to invest a lot in those things today, because you know, they're not going to change."

[21:36] "The best source of intent is when someone fills out a form on your website, it's great. It's giving you the best leads possible."

[25:41] "I think in our business, I don't, I really don't think we're at an inflection point yet. I still think in our respective businesses, we're still like in super early adopter mode."

[27:13] "The people who are kind of running the show at most of the enterprises out there are either my age or older, which means like they didn't particularly come up in a world that taught you how to tie systems together and how to take like human processes and automate them with a systems design and how to get multiple things working together and how to leverage APIs to normalize data and how to like plug in, you know, how to get sales efficiency out of your Salesforce by leveraging insights and data."