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IBISWorld for Sales and Business Development
IBISWorld for Sales and Business Development

How Sales and Business Development professionals can utilize IBISWorld reports.

Updated over a week ago

Note: this article and video predate our Modern Research Experience. We're working on bringing you the most up-to-date training that aligns with our enhanced platform and products.

Which industry report sections are most useful for sales and business development professionals?


When you open a report, the first section you’ll see is Recent Developments, which is a simple way to get up to speed on any changes that have affected the industry over the past several months.

An example of the About chapter, showing the Recent Developments section

Industry at a Glance

Click on Industry at a Glance in the left-hand navigation bar to get a high-level overview of the industry. Looking at the Car and Automobile Manufacturing report, we can see that annual revenue is almost $101 billion, while profit margins are only 1.5%. You’ll also get an overview of the industry’s products and services segmentation, major players, and SWOT analysis to evaluate whether it aligns with the markets you’re looking to target.

This chapter gives you a quick understanding of the industry landscape, and can prompt further investigation in later report sections. For example, we can see that the Car and Automobile Manufacturing industry’s revenue has been volatile over the past five years, and we’ll know to examine why that might be the case in later chapters.

An example of the Industry at a Glance chapter and the sections it gives an overview of

Competitive Landscape

Let’s jump ahead to the Competitive Landscape chapter and into Cost Structure Benchmarks. Hover over each section of the chart to see the percentage of revenue it accounts for, and scroll down for insights into each cost segment.

An example of the Cost Structure Benchmarks chapter, with the title outlined in the navigation bar

This section helps you answer questions like:

  • How are businesses in this industry spending their money?

  • Where does my product fit into this breakdown?

  • How much do operators spend on this cost segment?

  • Is there money in this space for businesses to spend on my product?

Let’s say that the product you’re offering falls under research and development spending, which is part of the other costs segment. Looking at the Car & Automobile Manufacturing industry, we can see that purchases account for the majority of industry spending, and other costs account for 3.9%. Scroll to the bottom of the Cost Structure Benchmarks analysis to see how other costs are broken down. In this case, R&D accounts for roughly 72% of other costs, or $3 billion, and there’s a clear market here for your product.

An example of the interactive chart depicting an industry's cost breakdown in the Cost Structure Benchmarks chapter

Call Preparation Questions

This chapter is one of our most popular among sales and business development professionals, as it helps you get up to speed on a prospect’s industry and maintain a helpful conversation. It offers you a range of different questions that you can ask your prospect and give you opportunities to pitch your product or service as a solution to their pain points.

The Call Preparation Questions are broken down into three sections. Role-Specific Questions target your prospect’s area of expertise, such as finance, strategy, or sales and marketing, giving you the best chance to present solutions for your potential client. Scrolling down to External Impacts, you’ll find a selection of questions that can give you insight into how factors outside of the business’s control have affected your prospect, while Internal Issues focus on areas where you can help your potential client make proactive changes.

An example of the Call Preparations chapter

Industry Wizard

We’re going to step out of the industry reports for a moment to focus on one of our most useful tools for prospecting and targeting clients. The Industry Wizard is a premium tool that you can add to your annual subscription, and it gives you access to the IBISWorld database to search and filter all our data.

Click on Expert Tools in the top menu bar and select the Industry Wizard for your region.

The navigation bar at the top of an industry report is enlarged to show the Expert Tools drop-down, with the US Industry Wizard title outlined

The Industry Wizard is an extremely powerful tool for sales and business development professionals. Click on each category on the left-hand navigation panel to expand the sections and choose your filters.

The US Industry Wizard page including the navigation panel on the left-hand side

You also have the option to use Quick Lists to look for prospects. Quick Lists are a collection of pre-prepared searches and queries for each category, like fastest or slowest growing industries, consolidating industries and future stars, hot start-up industries, highly concentrated industries and more. Today we’re going to select the Future Stars query, which highlights industries in the growth stage of their life cycle with profit margins higher than the national average.

The Future Stars query is outlined on the US Industry Wizard page

For the purposes of this demonstration, let’s say you’re looking for industries with high average profit margins. We’re going to increase the profit margin filter from the national average of 8.73% to just under 15%. In terms of revenue growth, you’ll also be able to choose a custom date range, individual years or all available years.

The Future Start query, showing the ability to customize year range

Click on items in the left-hand navigation panel to add extra filters. Let’s say you want to make sure you’re not looking at industries with only 100 players. Adding the Enterprises filter will allow you to set parameters around the number of operators in your industry results. We’re also going to add the total Revenue filter to give you more control over the size of the industries in your search results. Once you’ve customized the filters to suit you, click Save this Query to return to it at a later date and check for any changes, or click View Matches to run the query.

The 'Save this Query' and 'View Matches' are outline on the Future Stars query

In our example, the search has returned 65 results, which we can sort in the table or export to excel to manipulate further. You can sort each column from highest to lowest to find the most suitable industries to look for prospects. Perhaps you’re looking for industries with high revenue and a lot of enterprises because you have a software solution like payroll management or a healthcare management system.? We can see that Dentists have high revenue, a lot of enterprises and a profit margin of just over 15%. Scrolling down, we can pinpoint other healthcare industries that also fit the criteria, like Diagnostic & Medical Laboratories or Plastic Surgeons. These queries are also helpful if your product caters to industries from a range of sectors, as it lets you target industries across the economy and figure out where your next prospects are operating.

An example of results yielded in the US Industry Wizard

Click on any of the results to go straight to the industry report. Let’s jump in to Dentists in the US to look at some more useful chapters for sales and business development professionals.

Geographic Breakdown

Click on the Geographic Breakdown chapter in the left-hand navigation bar to get state-by-state insights into industry performance. At first glance, you’ll get key insights at the top of the page, plus an interactive map that gives you insights into revenue, wages, establishment and employment figures as you hover over each state.

An example of the interactive map of the US available in the Geographic Breakdown chapter, with the chapter title outlined in the navigation bar

Scroll down to view and sort establishment, revenue, employment and wage figures and growth rates for each state. This data lets you work with the metrics that are most relevant to your product in a particular industry, giving you a solid foundation for prospecting.

An example of the data available at a state level for an industry

Our US State and Canadian Provincial Industry Reports are an additional product, and subscribers can get even more granular by clicking through to view the full industry report for each state or province. Check out our State and Provincial Industry Reports article for more information on this product and how to subscribe, or chat with your CRM.

An example of the the interactive state maps available in the State and Provincial Industry Reports

Major Companies

The Major Companies chapter identifies the industry’s largest players and breaks down key performance metrics, like revenue, annual growth, and profit, as well as whether the company is an industry all-star, rising star, disruptor or laggard. Companies with a market share of 5% or greater also have analyst insights into their performance to help you focus your prospecting on the most promising companies.

An example of the Major Companies chapter

In our Dentists in the US example, we can see that the industry is highly fragmented. However, you’ll still be able to take a look at some of the larger dental companies and get insights into their financials, market share and number of employees. You can also take this information a step further with our US Company Benchmarking reports.

iExpert Summary Reports

Click on the lightbulb icon on the left-hand side of your screen to navigate to the industry’s iExpert Summary Report. These summaries are perfect for the moments that you’re short on time before jumping on a call with a prospect.

The navigation bar of an Industry Report, with the lightbulb icon outlined on the left-hand side

As you scroll through the summary, you’ll get a high-level overview of industry performance with sections such as Recent Developments, Key Statistics Snapshots, Major Players, Cost Structure and Products & Services Segmentation. The iExpert Summary Reports also include the Call Preparation Questions that we touched on earlier in this guide.

An example of the Recent Developments section in an iExpert Summary Report

For additional questions regarding IBISWorld for sales and business development, please contact your Client Relationship Manager. If you don’t have an IBISWorld account, please contact us to learn more about our membership options.   

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