When Business Gets Personal: Sales Pro’s Big Bet on ZoomInfo Pays Off

Convincing management to invest in new software solutions isn’t always the easiest sell, but it’s a struggle that many sales professionals know all too well. In today’s economic climate, it’s arguably tougher than ever.

But what if you happen to know the CEO of a software company that you know will help you close more business? 

That’s exactly the situation Benjamin Adams found himself in. 

Adams is a senior account manager for Clackamas, OR-based Supply Source, a packaging and distribution company — and a satisfied ZoomInfo customer. Weaving those two threads together started as an unlikely scenario, and became a remarkable story.

To set the scene, we need to rewind more than a decade to a chance meeting that would result in an enduring friendship and a career turning point.

Blast From the Past

It’s June, 2011. Google is just weeks away from unveiling its exciting new social network, Google+; hot new music streaming startup Spotify has finally gone live in the U.S. on an invite-only basis; and DiscoverOrg, the company Henry Schuck cofounded in his college dorm in 2007, has been growing steadily for four years.

That summer, Adams’ wife Anne, a wedding photographer, accepted a booking to photograph Schuck’s wedding to his then-fiancée, Jessica. The couples stayed in touch, becoming friends while their families grew.

In his sales role at Supply Source, Adams had heard of ZoomInfo for some time. But the pressures of meeting his quota finally persuaded him to explore using ZoomInfo in his day-to-day work. 

So he did what anyone with a personal connection to the CEO of a sales software company would do.

“I’m in sales, and I’m thinking in the back of my mind, ‘What is this ZoomInfo thing?’” Adams says. “So eventually, I get curious enough and ask Henry, ‘Hey, can I trial this thing? I’d love to see what it is that I’m hearing so much about.’” 

As it turns out, Schuck was more than happy to oblige.

“Ben called me one day and he says, ‘Hey, we’re looking at ZoomInfo. Do you think it would be good for us?’” Schuck says. “Everything inside me told me, yes, it will be good for you.” 

The trial was set — but like many deals, it wouldn’t be a simple path to closed-won.

Making the Case

It was immediately clear to Adams how much ZoomInfo could help him grow Supply Source’s business. Like most ZoomInfo users, he was getting more done in less time — productivity gains he was excited to share with his management team. Toward the end of the free trial period, Adams prepared a presentation pitching ZoomInfo to leadership.

Despite the obvious benefits, management remained unmoved.

“Originally, they said no, they didn’t want to make the investment,” he says. “It was one of the harder pitches I’ve ever made. They basically told me, ‘If you believe in this so much, you pay for it.’”

That’s an unusual suggestion, to say the least. Adams knew ZoomInfo could make a huge difference. So did Schuck. But dipping into personal income potential to seal the deal was something that would test far more than their professional relationship.

“Ben has five kids, and he’s a friend,” Schuck says. “I’m obviously incredibly convicted in the power of ZoomInfo. But I’m sitting there thinking about Ben giving up tens of thousands of dollars — and what if a number of things go wrong?”

Adams shared Schuck’s apprehensions, despite his confidence in ZoomInfo. And he knew that pitching his wife on the idea would perhaps be even harder than convincing his management team.

“On the drive home from work, I thought, if this doesn’t work, what’s my wife going to say when my paychecks are smaller?” he says. “I was willing to do it because I believed that what I saw in our trial was something I could use to grow our business. So we sort of took the leap of faith — and it was worth every penny.”

Sealing the Deal

The stakes may have been high, but it quickly became evident that Adams’ decision was the right one.

Shortly after investing in ZoomInfo, he used the platform to identify and reach out to a senior decision-maker at a large potential client he’d been prospecting for some time — a task that would have been much more challenging before implementing ZoomInfo.

“I figured there’s no way I’m going to find the right person in this company, it’s huge,” he says. “I got an email back and we were able to close one of the largest pieces of business in our company, and the largest of my territory. People in the office were really excited and wanted to know how it is that we did that. 

“And I said, ZoomInfo.”

Implementing ZoomInfo at Supply Source also had benefits beyond increased productivity and revenue — seeing Adams close large deals using ZoomInfo also invigorated competition among Supply Source’s sales team.

“We’re getting in a meeting with specific companies and people were looking at each other like, ‘How did you get in there? I’ve been trying to get in there for years.’ So that really inspired others to jump in,” he says.

Bringing it Home

ZoomInfo has made a major impact on Adams’ business, but arguably the bigger impact has been felt at home. Being able to source new business effectively, close deals in less time, and drive revenue have all brought a greater sense of security for Adams and his family.

“The business is great, ZoomInfo really helps with that,” he says. “But where the rubber meets the road is at home. I’ve got to send kids to college. I’ve got to figure out how to pay for ballet and baseball and do the things that help secure my family’s future. 

“That’s what we want — the opportunity to do what’s right for our family. Having a tool like that? It’s a game changer.”