Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm
Donato Diorio describes himself as a "why not?" kind of guy. He looks at the tasks people perform every day and thinks, "Why not automate this process to make it easier for this person?" Diorio believes Broadlook Technologies, his Pewaukee-based software development company, has created the next generation of methods to search the Internet.
The company has launched its flagship product, the BroadLook Suite, which is designed to help salespeople become more efficient. The software uses the salesperson’s Internet browser to spider through millions of Web pages and generate a custom list in a matter of minutes.
Examples may be lists of corporate contact people, their titles, their phone numbers and their e-mail addresses for companies in a designated industry or region being targeted by a salesperson.
With Broadlook, the lists of desired contacts can be entered directly into the salesperson’s address book, creating a custom list of targeted sales prospects.
"We have liberated people from doing the drudgery of entering contact information, and we have given them the ability to go back and do what is important, which is talking to people," Diorio said. "People are now able to spend more time engaging in human interaction, vs. doing things the computer should be doing.
"This is our flagship product, our claim to fame. It can be a two-step process," Diorio said. "Someone could do the research and get the same result if they wanted to. But manually, it would take thousands of hours. And that’s the thing. We are not doing anything you couldn’t do manually if you spent thousands of hours."
Since the launch of the new spidering software program, Broadlook Technologies has filed for more than 11 patents on its products.
"To this day, we do not have any competitors in our niche," Diorio said. "No other company does name extraction, from a desktop application, through the Internet to add to different contact managers, and that’s why I think we’ve been wildly successful."
Diorio said he has grown the company organically without investors, which has allowed Broadlook Technologies to take an off-the-radar approach as a strategy to stay years ahead of its competition.
Broadlook evolved out of Diorio’s recruiting agency, Specialized Search, after Diorio developed an Internet browser called BrowseMan in 2000 to enable his account managers to conduct research more efficiently.
At the time, Diorio was encouraged to put BrowseMan on the market. When it failed because there were other products already like it, Diorio came up with the idea for Broadlook, a program that extracts contact information from company Web domains.
Since the launch of the Broadlook Suite, the company has grown logarithmically, Diorio said.
"We will be between a $1.5 million and $2 million company this year and have had 300 percent growth every quarter so far in 2004," Diorio said. "We have our eye on the Inc. (magazine) 500, and we’re gunning for it."
Diorio initially targeted Broadlook’s sales to large companies such as Gartner Group Inc. and Miller Heiman Inc., expecting that once they became clients, they would spread the word to other companies to follow suit.
The plan has worked. Broadlook Technologies currently has 2,500 clients, 90 percent of which came from referrals, Diorio said.
All of the products offered by Broadlook Technologies are compatible with most contact management systems and e-mail applications.
The Broadlook suite includes Broadlook Eclipse, which captures static information on the Internet in list form, and Contact Magnet, which gathers contact information and pastes it into the user’s address book.
"There are thousands of lists out there, and the reason we call the product Eclipse is because you can eclipse the information by highlighting the results and dropping them into Broadlook," Diorio said. "For example, if a user is looking for a list of hospitals, Eclipse will provide a list of 2,400 hospitals and all the user has to do is press a button to get the links to each hospital’s site. The user now has 2,400 target hospitals with URLs that can be transferred into Broadlook, and by pressing another button, the user has contact information for everyone that works at every one of the hospitals."
Contact information can be transferred directly into an Excel file for an instant table or simply added to the user’s research.
"There are other products out there that do what Contact Magnet does, but we do it over 100 times faster and 10 times more accurately than any other product does," Diorio said.
The company launched a new marketing strategy this summer to offer Contact Magnet for free through resellers.
Once customers test out Contact Magnet, the resellers tell customers about Eclipse. According to Diorio, the marketing method has overwhelmed Broadlook.
"We are like a Swiss Army Knife. Every problem that presents itself is a little different, and we provide a tool for solving each problem," Diorio said. "If a company buys Broadlook Suite, it is that much more efficient if it has one person capturing lists on Eclipse and five salespeople using Broadlook to look up the companies individually."
The entire Broadlook Suite, which includes the Eclipse and Contact Magnet programs, is sold to businesses with a retail price of $5,000, which includes five licenses. The Eclipse program can be sold separately for $1,295, and the Contact Magnet can be purchased separately for $99.
Since Broadlook Technologies developed Broadlook Suite, the company also has released companion software programs.
Ballista, a product recently re-launched by Broadlook Technologies, is similar to Broadlook and Eclipse, but instead of finding Web sites based on keyword searches, it searches by context and builds a list of companies through their self-description pages, for instance a "home" page or an "about" page.
"For example, if you are looking for companies that make super computers, the user puts super computer in the search, and Ballista finds companies that produce super computers instead of pages that contain the word ‘super computer.’ It is simply like a large filter," Diorio said.
The ContentHound program is an Internet search tool that finds articles on the Internet pertaining to a specific topic. ContentHound is programmed to immediately upload selected articles onto a company’s Web site.
The Pulse program searches Internet articles for personal use.
"Pulse uses the same extraction engine that ContentHound uses, but it does not publish the results," Diorio said. "For example, Pulse could be used by a sales representative that is waiting for the announcement of a merger. The representative can find articles matching the company name from anywhere on the Internet on a daily basis. We use Pulse to constantly track articles about Broadlook Technologies."
The BroadMail system tracks a company’s e-mails that have been sent out, recording the time of day the receiver read the content and which links were clicked on. The product is compatible with most e-mail applications.
"It is sales intelligence," Diorio said. "I can look at a client and see that he read my e-mail 54 times and clicked on my links 12 times. This tells me that the potential client is very interested in my software, so maybe I will hold off on calling him today. Either way, I have more information, and it makes a cold call or a follow-up call much warmer than it would be otherwise."
According to Diorio, the tracking system can also be transferred into a file that creates an e-mail reading pattern for the sender. Diorio said from this he knows when each potential client is most likely in the office and the time of day he tends to read his e-mails.
"The key about BroadMail is that it is not a mass campaigning tool," Diorio said. "BroadMail is meant for day-to-day communications to improve the quality of a user’s communications."
Diorio said Broadlook Technologies is growing so fast that the amount of the company’s sales are limited only by the number of people on its sales team.
Diorio plans to add two sales representatives every month, one at the office in Pewaukee, and one at Broadlook’s sales center in Portland, Ore., until each office is a large telemarketing bullpen.
"This year was spent perfecting how we sell, our message, pricing, those sorts of things," Diorio said. "At this point, we have proven through sales representatives that we have brought on in Portland that we can duplicate the process and increase revenue just by adding employees."
Diorio and his team of developers will continue to produce innovative products, but they continue to use the defunct BrowseMan internally as a reminder of the company’s humble beginning, he said.
"I take General Electric’s approach," Diorio said. "If we can’t be No. 1 or No. 2, I am not going to go down that path. Otherwise, you are trying to sell the best widget in a free widget market."
Diorio believes that if he keeps pushing the envelope, his competitors will have to keep playing catch-up.
"We took an off-the-radar approach in the first couple of years. We sold what we needed to sell to perfect our products, and now that we are where we are, I am ready to bring it on," Diorio said. "We are so far ahead of everybody that they would either have to buy us, go back to the drawing board for three years or infringe on our impending patents. We are pretty happy where we are right now."
September 17, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI