How To Find Your Buyers Faster Than Your Keys

Published: July 21, 2015

DW HeadshotFinding the right buyers can feel a little like searching for buried treasure with a faded and blurry map. You may have a general idea of where to look, but without an “X” to mark the spot you can waste a lot of time digging in the wrong places.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges that B2B marketers face when it comes to lead generation is producing high-quality leads. But what if locating your target buyers did not have to be a shot-in-the-dark process? What if you could find your “treasure” in less time than it takes to find your keys? In the era of Big Data, this doesn’t have to be impossible.

I used to approach demand generation by running quasi-targeted campaigns across various channels using filters for geography, job title, company size and other segments. I basically sent campaigns out into the ether and estimated (hoped) that a certain number of quality leads would come through and convert at a certain rate so that I would hit my goals. This approach took a lot of time and was far from predictable.

I know now that the smarter strategy is to leverage the wealth of internal and external data at your disposal to know your target audience before you reach out. Analyzing organizational insight, as well as closed opportunities, enables you to create Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) built around your best buyers. ICPs also come from analysis of all the unstructured (social, open web) and structured data available for these “best buyers.”

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These ICPs can then be used to generate lead lists identifying companies and individuals that match those profiles. Since the lists are based on your best buyers, they will not only indicate who is likely to convert, but also (and more importantly) who will engage deeply with your product and service. They can reflect intent.

This strategy sounds simpler than it actually is, given the amount of information and sophisticated analytics needed to accurately identify your ideal customer. Just because a certain type of lead converts reasonably well does not mean they will become a good customer over the long term. That is a key concern, as long-term customers are ultimately what drive the most value for your business.

However, with the right analytics engine, the entire process of finding your target buyers can happen instantly and in real time. Then you can focus your energy on engaging those leads in a meaningful way.

The first thing you can do to increase the number of relevant interactions with buyers is to lean on channels that enable one-to-one targeting, such as email, phone outreach and programmatic display advertising using email-to-cookie matching. You still can and should use other channels such events, content marketing, and paid search, but they should be layered on the other pieces as part of a comprehensive marketing plan.

Secondly, you can focus on ungated content for outbound efforts, as opposed to putting the majority of your content behind a form. If you already have all the information you need on a lead (which you should), then your goal is to engage those prospects with actionable and fresh information, and with as little friction as possible. Forms will just get in the way.

Third, you can approach campaign measurement in a new, more meaningful way. In addition to tracking the standard metrics by channel and conversion through the funnel, measure how your campaigns perform against the target audience and penetration of top target accounts, as well as penetration of our overall lead space.

This approach represents a shift in the way most organizations think about demand gen. It’s more like shooting fish in a barrel than casting a line into the vast ocean and hoping you get a bite. In today’s data-soaked world, marketing and sales teams can stop guessing and hoping they reach their target audience, and start the outreach process with knowledge in hand.

Damon Waldron runs demand generation for Leadspace, a prospect intelligence platform. He has spent the past six years driving marketing initiatives for top B2B demand generation-focused startups in the Bay Area. His digital marketing expertise also includes significant agency-side experience working with brands such as PayPal, Verizon and Amgen. Waldron is an expert on various digital marketing channels, content marketing and creative execution.

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