You might recognize the most-prospected-to companies of 2018, according to DiscoverOrg’s database, as household names – but that’s not why savvy sales and marketing professionals have been pitching to them.

These companies had major events – new planned projects and partnerships, rounds of hiring, mergers and acquisitions, funding events … all “triggers” that predict ideal buying conditions.

Of course, companies don’t usually shout from the rooftops that their budget cycle is ending and they need to spend down their remaining budget ASAP or they’ll lose it next year. And they don’t publish press releases proclaiming strategic expansions into a new sales territory, and they need new headcount to work that new territory.

But, with a little effort (or a great resource for insider intel), company “trigger” events like these are gold, usually indicating that money is going to be spent.

Sales and marketers who have this insider knowledge can quickly reach out to help with helpful solutions – landing opportunities and sales before an RFP goes out, before a prospect downloads a whitepaper or attends a webinar … and long before competing sales teams even know an opportunity exists.

When you understand the types of events that precede spending, you can look for them in the future. By keeping a lookout for companies that are experiencing these types of events, you can prioritize sales outreach where it’s much more likely to pay off.

For sellers, context is everything

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at the most-prospected-to industries.

Top 10 Most-Prospected-to Industries of 2018
1 Financial Services
2 Banking
3 Insurance
4 Manufacturing – Durables
5 Consumer Products
6 IT Services
7 Telecom / Communication Services
8 Computer Software
9 Health Insurance
10 Logistics / Transportation

The top three most-prospected-to industries are all in the financial sector. This is likely an initial reaction to controversial tax cuts passed at the end of 2017. The next two, Manufacturing – Durables and Consumer Products, likely climbed up the list as consumers responded to low interest rates and more liquidity.

Finally, the appearance of tech – in the form of IT Services, Telecom / Communication Services, and Computer Software – at the top supports the trend that technology is a differentiator and a competitive advantage. Digital transformation is no longer “nice to have” – it’s critical.

Understanding the context that surrounds business purchase decisions can help sales teams use the right language, sales approach, and emotion to tell the story.

Let’s take a deep-dive into DiscoverOrg’s Top 10 most prospected-to companies of 2018, including real example “Scoops”: Insight gathered by our 350+ in-house human researchers via phone calls and proprietary technologies.

Bonus! Check out the top 100 companies at the end of this post.

1. Oracle

SAMPLE SCOOP: Oracle employees have conducted significant online research into marketing return on investment (ROI) during the week of 03/09/2018, indicating an increased focus in this area. 

If you sell software that measures marketing metrics, this is exactly the kind of insider knowledge you’re looking for. This Scoop focuses on online search behaviour, suggesting that Oracle is still in relatively early stages of gathering information. (Read: They probably don’t have a preferred vendor or short list yet.)

Additionally, Oracle acquired Grapeshot, Vocato, goBalto, and DataFox in 2018 – all good selling opportunities.

2. UnitedHealth Group

SAMPLE SCOOP: A mid-level source has indicated that the largest upcoming enterprise application initiatives are related to leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions to allow for cheaper, more efficient, and more flexible storage. 

If you sell products that are compatible with or support AWS – now’s your chance! With this information, it wouldn’t be hard to warm up that cold call.

UnitedHealthcare topped the list for a few additional reasons: First, they’re a hot pick for investors as they’re poised for growth – and growth costs money. They also acquired several other companies and are rolling out new products like concierge services and individual health records. All of these projects require a host of of third-party products and services.

3. Bank of America

SAMPLE SCOOP: A mid-level source has indicated that planned initiatives related to digital transformation, collaboration tools, and purchasing will begin in 6 to 9 months, for which a contingent workforce will be leveraged for support. 

For sellers of communication tools like Slack or GoToMeeting, file-sharing tools that compete with Dropbox, and Project Management solutions like Asana or Trello – the perfect time for outreach is now.

Unlike UnitedHealth Group, Bank of America is divesting from their money-market fund product, selling off a credit-card business, and responding to multiple costly data privacy issues. For savvy sales and marketing professionals, these are selling opportunities as well.

4. Wells Fargo

SAMPLE SCOOP: Wells Fargo employees have conducted significant online research into video hosting and video files during the week of 04/27/2018, indicating an increased focus in these areas. 

Anyone offer cloud services related to video, like hosting or editing? Reach out – before they reach out to someone else!

While this Scoop provides valuable context, the larger story is that Wells Fargo fought several negative stories in 2018: Federal regulators rejected the company’s plan to correct previous scandals, a round of layoffs of regional managers, and foreclosure woes.

Negative press is costly in many ways. Can you help?

5. AT&T

SAMPLE SCOOP: AT&T A mid-level source has indicated that storage virtualization solutions are a spending priority; the organization is evaluating vendors. This initiative will take place company-wide. 

AT&T probably did not call all virtualization solution providers to let them know; they probably began the process by visiting the website of the names they already knew (and it probably wasn’t you). But if you know cloud storage is a company-wide priority, you could probably have a valuable conversation.

In addition to internal service needs, AT&T brought customer-facing products to market this year: FirstNet is a nationwide LTE network that first responders can buy into, many with federal dollars; and the company is investing heavily in an original content service similar to Netflix. With investors watching closely – following high-risk, high-visibility M&As with DirectTV and Time Warner – AT&T is spending big time.

6. Johnson & Johnson

SAMPLE SCOOP: We have identified that the organization is in the midst of disaster recovery related projects with plans to spend over $3 million evaluating new solutions. Johnson & Johnson plans to leverage a contingent workforce to support these efforts.

A lot of people – and a lot of money – will be on the line for these planned projects, which will need virtual and physical products and support.

Other buying triggers include several acquisitions: Orthotaxy, a developer of software-enabled surgery technologies, and BeneVir Biopharm, a biopharmaceutical company. The company also made a number of HR enhancements related to employee experience, retention, training, and retention – all selling opportunities.

7. JPMorgan Chase

SAMPLE SCOOP: Employees have conducted significant online research into certificate programs and distance learning during the week of 04/13/2018, indicating an increased focus in these areas. 

If your competitors are companies like Kallidus Learn, Versal, or Bridge, the right contact at JPMorgan Chase might actually have a few minutes to check out a new delivery platform.

In addition to internal learning platforms, JPMorgan Chase made investments in hot tech like clean energy and blockchain that touch a lot of industries and signal massive new investments.

8. Walmart

SAMPLE SCOOP: Walmart has filed a patent application involving the use of blockchain technology to track customer purchases and enable customers to resell products.

By embracing Blockchain, Walmart is committing an enormous amount of resources in development – likely including headcount – and certainly adding to its tech stack.

Additionally, Walmart made some major acquisitions in 2018 – all further selling opportunities for the right salesperson. DiscoverOrg reported Walmarts’ M&A including a stake in Flipkart, and acquiring Cornershop; clothing brand ELOQUII; Art.com; PillPack; Parcel, a delivery service; men’s fashion retailer Bonobos, and several others.

Walmart’s many acquisitions and technology innovations make them a purchasing powerhouse.

9. IBM

SAMPLE SCOOP: Vanita Desai has been promoted to the role of Vice President, Sales.

IBM’s had several high-profile initiatives in 2018: Artificial Intelligence, personified by IBM Watson; the purchase of open-source darling Red Hat; and of course, continued investments in ever-more-powerful, ever-smaller computing chips.

But you don’t have to work in the software industry to sell into companies like IBM. Promotions and executive moves are major indicators of purchase initiatives, too. Stats show that new executives, anxious for quick wins, often blow through significant budget within the first 2-3 months on the job.

And attentive salespeople are there for it.

10. Amazon.com

SAMPLE SCOOP: A mid-level source has indicated that initiatives related to collaboration tools are currently in progress. The organization is leveraging Amazon Quip solutions and looking for more functionality, and plans to increase the current budget to support these efforts.

We documented initiatives related to payroll, ERP systems, data storage, continuous delivery, natural language processing, security, expense tracking … Amazon has something for everyone, as a buyer and as a seller. If you had the right contact information for the right contact here, the appetite for new investments is strong.

But the biggest disruptor in retail, logistics, consumer technology, cloud computing, and media & entertainment has a lot of decision-makers.

The example of Amazon demonstrates why the ability to target the right person is so important. In large companies, with the budget and willingness to spend to in order to achieve higher ROI, hunting for the right person is not practical.

In real estate, the secret ingredient is location.

In B2B sales, it’s time. The timing of executive moves, of new projects, of budget cycles, of pain points. These buying signals are a significant boon when your offer of help comes at a time of need.

They are even more powerful when YOU are the first salesperson to address a real priority.

Savvy professionals can follow target accounts online and watch for relevant announcements. Or you can subscribe to DiscoverOrg and get specific event-related Scoops sent to you.

So who else were hot prospects for sales and marketing professionals in 2018?

100 Most Prospected-to Companies of 2018
Rank Company Name Industry Name
1 Oracle Computer Software
2 UnitedHealth Group Health Insurance
3 Bank of America Banking
4 Wells Fargo Banking
5 AT&T Telecom / Communication Services
6 Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products
7 JPMorgan Chase Banking
8 Walmart Department Stores
9 IBM Manufacturing – Durables
10 Amazon.com eCommerce
11 Capital One Financial Financial Services
12 Verizon Telecom / Communication Services
13 AIG Insurance
14 The Walt Disney Company Broadcast Media
15 Comcast Broadcast Media
16 Honeywell Manufacturing – Durables
17 CVS Retail
18 Citigroup Banking
19 Nike Consumer Products
20 Anthem Health Insurance
21 American Express Financial Services
22 McKesson Hospitals / Health Care
23 Boeing Manufacturing – Durables
24 3M Medical Devices
25 Microsoft Computer Software
26 Accenture IT Services
27 ADP Computer Software
28 PepsiCo Beverages
29 CenturyLink Telecom / Communication Services
30 Abbott Laboratories Pharmaceuticals
31 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals / Health Care
32 Cisco Systems Telecom / Communication Services
33 Home Depot Retail
34 Apple Consumer Products
35 Dell IT Services
36 BNY Mellon Banking
37 American Airlines Logistics / Transportation
38 Fidelity Investments Financial Services
39 Expedia Travel & Tourism
40 Allstate Insurance
41 Chevron Oil & Gas
42 US Bancorp Banking
43 Google Computer Software
44 Lowe’s Companies Retail
45 Charles Schwab Financial Services
46 Fiserv Financial Services
47 Thomson Reuters Print & Digital Media
48 State Street Financial Services
49 Visa Financial Services
50 Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
51 FedEx Logistics / Transportation
52 Nationwide Insurance
53 SunTrust Banks Banking
54 Marriott Lodging
55 HCA Hospitals / Health Care
56 Prudential Insurance
57 UPS Logistics / Transportation
58 Medtronic Medical Devices
59 First Data Financial Services
60 Walgreens Boots Alliance Department Stores
61 Target Department Stores
62 Cigna Health Insurance
63 USAA Insurance
64 Deloitte Accounting Services
65 General Electric Manufacturing – Durables
66 Thermo Fisher Scientific Wholesale
67 Adobe Systems Computer Software
68 Starbucks Restaurants
69 General Motors Automotive
70 Intel Consumer Products
71 Yum Brands Restaurants
72 Johnson Controls Construction
73 T-Mobile Telecom / Communication Services
74 BB&T Financial Services
75 DXC Technology IT Services
76 CBRE Real Estate / Property Management
77 Caterpillar Manufacturing – Durables
78 Hilton Lodging
79 FIS Global IT Services
80 Morgan Stanley Financial Services
81 MetLife Insurance
82 Liberty Mutual Insurance
83 Cardinal Health Wholesale
84 Coca-Cola Company Beverages
85 Ally Financial Services Financial Services
86 Delta Air Lines Logistics / Transportation
87 Experian Financial Services
88 AmerisourceBergen Wholesale
89 ExxonMobil Oil & Gas
90 Merck & Co. Pharmaceuticals
91 TIAA Financial Services
92 Centene Corporation Health Insurance
93 Gap Retail
94 Amgen Pharmaceuticals
95 Salesforce.com IT Services
96 Procter & Gamble Consumer Products
97 VF Corporation Consumer Products
98 Raytheon Company Defense & Aerospace
99 Schneider Electric Manufacturing – Durables
100 United Technologies Manufacturing – Durables

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