Hoovers Sucks. DnB follows suit

I really don’t like Hoovers right now.  And Dunn and Bradstreet, who acquired them a while back, are not helping any.  A while back, when I used to work for SiMX, I persuaded them to spend several thousand dollars on Hoovers, a lead generation service.  Due to numerous delays with the product launch (I was trying to set up marketing/sales for TextConverter), we blew past the 1 year subscription without ever using the service – a fact clearly visible on their end by the number of records we downloaded.

When the product was finally launched, I tried to negotiate with Hoovers to get them to give me at least enough to verify that the product can bring SiMX revenue.  At first they seemed nice and that something would be worked out, but when it came to making a deal, they required commitment.  Now, of course, I wasn’t going to commit having spent so much money plus the president of the company refused to spend more money until some revenue from this was shown.  So, we ended up in a stalemate and, eventually, after several attempts to push this through at both companies, I gave up.

Fast forward about 4 years to 2010, I run into DnB at one of the conferences I went to for my company.  There I run into two lovely women (Renee O’Neil and Deborah Smith), whom I tell that I don’t like their company.  They seem genuine about making amends and say “We can work something out.”  I say, sure.  What happens then?  I get a call from Maria Colgero who gives me the “Let me speak to my supervisors” followed by her disappearance.   When I ping them to find out what’s going on, I get an email that she is on vacation (this is relevant to me why?) and I get a call from Rich, with the conversation ending with:

Nikita: "Unless SiMX gets something for the money they spent, I will not move forward with any deal for JoVE out of principle."

Rich: "I can’t do anything about that company now, but I can help you with your new company."

Nikita: "Then you are wasting my time."

So where does that leave us?  I wasted my time.  Hoovers/DnB don’t seem to care about their customers, business ethics, or reputation.  And I am getting free therapy by venting on my blog.  Good times!

Stay away from Hoovers and D&B.  Our company has had some success with JigSaw.  If you have any other suggestions for lead sources, please feel free to post some comments.


Filed under Business, Complaint, Venting

25 responses to “Hoovers Sucks. DnB follows suit

  1. Stewart

    Nikita. …u are going to love jigsaw….they are partners with DnB……good times ; )

  2. Erica

    I think you are so right, I work for a Canadian company who researches other companies in Canada and abroad and when ever I type in a Canadian company that I require some information on I can never find them….our subscription costs close to 20K and I think the website is a total waste of time.

    Good blog…I`m with you !!

  3. WOW! you are the #2 hit for “Hoovers Sucks” on Google. I have been dealing with Michael Parker and several people on the legal team for a similar issue. I told them I needed to be able to download lists for mail-merging and they sold me a contract with no download credits. I spent 3 months trying to resolve the issue. After about 4 months I just stopped paying them. They sent me to collections and D&B lowered my credit rating.
    Everyone I spoke to there had the same answer, “We are big, you are little. Fuck You, pay the bill”. One of their lawyers even told me “It would be cheaper for you to pay the bill rather than go to court”. Court?!?!?! Seriously?!?!?!
    If this is the way they dealt with me, I’m sure there are others that have similar stories. I am debating whether to file a class action suit and would be interested if there is anyone else out there that would like to participate.

  4. Using any kind of manually maintained list is about the same as using a phonebook to get leads – by the time it’s published, it’s old data.

    There’s a number of data aggregation providers out there – basically they gather/mine all the data available (paid, unpaid, social, blog, web, etc.), filter it for correctness (use a number of lead databases versus just one or two), then deliver it based on criteria you set (be it company, industry, name, etc.)

    I’m not going to be deceptive. I work for InsideView. And that’s just part of how we get data to you. We also have a social aspect which does essentially the same thing on the social media side… so when you DO call on a lead/prospect, you don’t just go into a pitch cold.

    You can use something the prospect has put out into the social media sphere… Like John Terry said on Twitter “I’m evaluating data providers”. John’s not only on your list, but with that piece of social information, you can call him at the right time to address his need. Versus getting “lucky”.

    We have FREE versions available if you want to try it out. : )

    • Percy too verbose. I don’t mind people posting, but please be mindful of my readers rather than copy/pasting marketing copy 😉 That said, I am curious: can you give a specific example where your data is better than that of competitors?

      • Kosmo11

        I will back up Percy, InsideView is pretty impressive, and if you are on the cutting edge of technology with SalesForce, it plugs right in and works like a charm.

  5. Peter

    ‘coming to the party here a year + after your great post on Hoover’s.

    I could not agree more with you statements about them. Years ago, I had multiple positive experiences with the company. Maybe it was is the D&B acquisition that turned these people into the business ethics – customer service equivalent of Muammar Quadaffi on a bad day. I can sense already, from the arrogant jerk I was assigned as a sales person, to the “sales manager” they tossed in to clean up his mess that the company has a “take it or leave it” approach to selling what can be an expensive service.

    One can see that the next step with these people will be the inability to negotiate out of a bad deal and threatened litigation. Your advice is great: Don’t go there with these people. ‘now back to looking for alternatives. Thanks again for giving us all a heads-up.

  6. Chris

    Just had a terrible experience with Hoover’s – recommended them to a company I contract for – we blew through the year and at the very end began downloading the lists we paid for – including the connectmail contact info.

    Turns out the connectmail contacts were not complete and we were missing email information that we paid for….


    “We can’t help you if you are not a current subscriber”

    Sooooo, I guess you really don’t get what you pay for with Hoover’s….will NEVER recommend them to any of the clients I work with.

  7. Bob

    My experience with Hoover’s was also terrible. In 2011, the sales representative would not answer my questions directly–constant evasion. I gave up and went another direction. Tried again in 2012 with a new rep via email so that the questions/answers were in writing. This time the answers were to different questions–not the ones I was asking. Not once, but three times. Arghh!

    I called Hoover’s VP Sales, got his Assistant. Told her my problem and that I wanted a knowledgeable rep who could answer my questions. She told me she’d take care of it immediately. Next day I get a call from the same rep asking me what the problem was? I gave up again and went to InfoUSA.

    Just tried again and am getting nowhere. The management at Hoover’s do not appear to care about growing their business, or are clueless as to how to do so.

  8. Mary

    Also just had a terrible, terrible experience with Hoovers. I was looking for detailed info on a rather specific sub-set of multinational companies. At first I was asking for trial access—to see what their reports looked like for one or two of the companies. When I finally got to a sales rep who could help me (first one who I was assigned to and was told that “I needed to work with her” was unavailable the two times that I called), the rep was clearly reluctant to give me trial access, and ended up telling me that I wouldn’t even be able to find the information that I was looking for in the trial. What’s the point of having a trial if I can’t see the full quality of reporting?? She ended the call by telling me that Hoovers was a Fortune 1000 company and that they are the best for company profiles, so I shouldn’t even have to be concerned.

    The rep finally ended up doing a live demonstration, where the rep shared her screen with me and clicked through some sample companies I was interested in. Unfortunately the information available wasn’t as thorough/up to date as I had hoped, and for the more obscure companies almost no information was there. So I thanked her for her time and help, saying that they didn’t have what I was looking for. She asked me what info I thought was lacking, for feedback reasons. I told her they were missing financials on some of the companies I was interested in and before I could finish she started going off about how she wasn’t offended because if that information was anywhere, Hoovers’ reports would have it, and that I would be spending the rest of my life trying to find that info. I laughed and hung up.

    Here was a potential for some serious business with Hoovers, and I think their customer service effed up. I second the commenter above who said their mindset is very much “We are big, you are little. Fuck You, pay the bill”

  9. Manisha Mishra

    I am looking for a database for lead generation. After reading such feedbacks for Hoover’s, its a BIG NO NO for me. Any recommendation for an accurate listing of companies industry-wise, with accurate revenue size, employee size and IT contact list??

  10. Great Blog!! 🙂 Sorry for Hoovers though.. Give us try.. we are the underdogs of Data Industry… david.klein@dataxperts.biz. Do recommend and i will try not to let you down… Regards – David

  11. When asking the question: “pros and cons of Hoovers subscription” or “Should I choose Hoovers database?” consider the following:

    I am in the middle of the same situation myself. I share expenses at my company as an individual, commission only sales rep. I was a brand new rep at the beginning of 2014, so I made the investment into Hoovers to help me with lists of people to call to help boost sales. I was very much oversold. Once I realized that there was no way that I would use even %15 of what I paid for over the course of 1yr. I called in many times and got the run around and told I couldn’t get any kind of reimbursement or cancellation. Instead they sent me to higher trained sales people to try to close me on upgrading my account to add even more features for next year because surely that would help me get the value from it that I’m looking for.

    Besides that, their information is by no means targeted enough to be of much value. For example, my target market is small electrical contractors in various states that work on jobs with the department of transportation. Good luck trying to drill down to anything close to that level with this service. Instead they would want me to call on every kind of electrical contractor that works in every kind of vertical which gives me WAY too much data to try to utilize.

    Here’s what I have learned after 1yr of being in sales: I would suggest that you simply pick your target audience, like I listed above. Making it as specific and narrow as you possibly can. Then it’s pretty easy to find lists of exactly the right people you are wanting to contact. There are plenty of organizations and places where a very very narrow set of customers is certain to subscribe and appear. All I have to do is show up in those places or search those free public websites or attend those specific conventions, and I will have all the customers I could ever keep track of. If you really get to know the language and concerns of that very very specific group, then when you call them it’s much closer to a warm call and they are willing to give you the time of day. I may say something like, “I partner with electrical contractors on department of transportation jobs and help them win and manage IT requirements…they are typically frustrated with a job that comes out that has a spec they aren’t familiar with, or upset trying to manage too many different venders on a job… I don’t know, does any of that resonate with you?” Something to that affect, and I’m telling you, that works pretty well.

    There’s no reason AT ALL to build giant lists from a group like Hoovers. The contacts they give will consider you just another cold call from the thousands of others that have paid for their lists. The best you could say calling these contractors, for example, would be “I work with electrical contractors and sell them various types of IT equipment, are you interested?” Then there’s no specific connection to their pain because I have no idea what specific industry they work in, could be transportation, could be mining, could be commercial, could be residential etc. etc. This is why cold calling is dead, because of lists like Hoovers and people relying on them. I might have reached on client in a years time of subscribing to the service, that if I’m lucky, might make me break even on the investment!

    • Trishana


      Do you still have the license for DNB? If so can you please email me. I am in a similar situation like you. I am looking to get specific data so requested for limited access. However I am stuck with a sales person who keeps trying to sell me more than what I need. I tried changing the rep and calling on different numbers but I keep getting routed back to the same rep. I cannot afford the amount Hoover is quoting, as I don’t need full access and the sales rep I am dealing will not let me buy the lighter version!!!!!!

  12. Stanley Thomas

    Try LeadFerret.com We also made the mistake of trying hoovers, found out that not all the records are complete (no emails) or detailed enough for us and with the cost of this, you would think they would deliver this on a golden platter. I tried LeadFerret because someone mentioned to me that I can see all the information for free. I was skeptical, but when I got to the site, it was true. You only need to sign up for an account (no credit card info or anything) only your email and name. Once you do this you can search by company size, emp size, name, radius, SIC, etc. Its very detailed. You run your searches and see ALL the info for free of the record you are looking for (name, company, phone, email and even this links to social media!). I was impressed, its worth giving a shot.

  13. I was really surprised when I read these reviews. I’ve been using Hoovers through D&B for almost two years now, and I can honestly say that my business would fail without them. I noticed that the comment are from 2011-2013, so maybe things have changed since then. I can’t comment on the company or quality from that time because I didn’t start using Hoovers until 2016.

    I’m a smaller company and I have 4 sales reps that do both phone and email campaigns, and so far I’m very happy with the results. In 2015 our average close ratio was less than 1% and I was barely breaking even, I literally thought I was going to have to shut down (which is terrifying because I sank my life savings into this). I shelled out around $5,000 for the year for Hoovers in 2016, and our close ratio went from less than 1% to almost 13%. It literally increased my revenue by over 10x. My reps had to go without Hoovers for a few months (April and May I believe) in 2017, and their number dipped back down to about 4%. I purchased a pretty basic package from Zoom Info at the beginning of this year to compare since they are a little cheaper, and there is absolutely no way I would ever pay for that again. My reps were consistently getting dead numbers, bad company information (revenue and company size were almost always wrong), and horrible results using the exact same methods they were using with Hoovers. For me the value is definitely there and I’m a firm believer in what they can do. Plus, they honor the price they gave me back in 2016 when I renew every year so that’s a nice bonus.

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