In a climate where buyers are expecting and demanding relevant engagement at every touch point, B2B organizations are looking for deeper intelligence on buying signals, even before a prospect visits their website or fills out a registration form.
Engagement Data — This includes the total number of touches a prospect has with the brand, the total number of buyers engaging with the brand within a target account, how key accounts are engaging with the brand and if any engagement with prospects outside of known accounts are fitting the company’s target profile.
Intent Data — Third-party intent data allows marketers to monitor web activity to identify companies who are actively researching specific topics.
Signal Data — This type of data helps inform marketing and sales teams of companies that they should be targeting but are not currently on their radar.
This year’s Buyer Insights And Intelligence Series featured case studies and new models highlighting how top B2B businesses identify, engage and convert key decision makers at target accounts. The weeklong webcast series, which ran from July 9-13, included insights from industry experts at brands such as Fuze, RingCentral, TechTarget, Demandbase and many others. Here is a quick recap of key takeaways from each of the 13 sessions.
Signal Data Delivers 95% Deliverability For RingCentral
Signal data was a key component for RingCentral, whose goal was to increase average deal size and expand its enterprise market share. The company developed account-based strategies across its sales and marketing teams, which relied on quality data for success, according to David Cowings, Chief Marketing Data Scientist for RingCentral, who presented a webinar alongside Chris Lynde, CEO of SaleScout. After defining personas across their target companies, RingCentral turned to different signals to grade its total addressable market (TAM):
Installed Technology — “We wanted to get a count of how many cloud technologies each company was running,” said Cowings. “We also wanted to get a better understanding of what kind of telecom communications products they used, as well as unified communications, collaboration tools and so on."
Growth Signals —“The growth signals that we used previously were things such as Alexa page rankings, Facebook likes and Twitter followers,” he said. “But what we wanted to go towards was something a little more scientific that was more indicative of a company size growing or shrinking. So, we were able to utilize a growth signal from SaleScout that identified how many employees a company was currently hiring to see if we can track the hiring growth patterns.”
Relocation Information — “It’s key for us to understand if the company is moving locations or if they are opening up a new office location,” said Cowings.
Behavior Signals — “Behavior signals were something that we leveraged internal first-party and some third-party signals for,” he said. “We wanted to measure how engaged these companies were based upon email activity with them, as well as activity on the website.”
During the webinar, Cowings revealed some positive results that RingCentral has seen after optimizing its contact data, including:
- 95% deliverability;
- 3%-4% lift in click-through rates; and
- 5%-10% lift from MQL to SQL.
Fuze Aligns Internal Teams With Buyer Intent
Success at scale requires that sales and marketing work together as a unified team on a unified concept of their target audience.
For example, the unified voice, video and messaging company Fuze recently won a SiriusDecisions ROI Award for its ability to pivot its marketing and sales teams to better focus on ideal accounts with clearer prioritization for sales reps. In a session hosted by TechTarget, the company discussed how it formulated a strategy to leverage intent insights and engagement data to better prioritize account selection.
Prior to resetting its account targeting and analytics strategy, Fuze piloted a predictive analytics solution that did not drive the expected results.
“We went down the predictive analytics route with this initially,” said Will Pringle, VP of Worldwide Demand Generation at Fuze. “We did a very elaborate exercise alongside our sales team and, in the end, it was a spectacular failure. That data was not acceptable to sales, it was so far off that it wasn’t usable.”
To recover from that, Fuze adopted SiriusDecisions’ Demand Unit Waterfall to better understand the flow of the account journey. The company also began leveraging Engagio for their analytics to give account scores based on engagement minutes, as well as TechTarget for third-party intent signals.
Ultimately, the Fuze team saw its marketing and sales execution start to get more relevant.
“Of all the accounts we’re going after, we can tell when they are not only on the website, but what they’re looking at, the topics they’re looking at and the competitors they’re looking at,” said Pringle. “None of it would be possible without alignment, but these intent signals are bringing it to the next level.”
All these parts of account scoring, along with the intent signals garnered from top-tier accounts, have a positive impact on the company’s KPIs, especially when it comes to “elevating contribution to new pipeline creation,” according to the company.
Best-In-Class Companies Leverage Buyer Insights To Align Messaging, KPIs
Alignment must also carry over into how both marketing and sales measure the success of their efforts. During her session at the series, Christine Chartier, Head of Marketing at Full Circle Insights, highlighted the importance of aligning marketing and sales on the right KPIs to meet business goals.
"It's critical that each step of the progression is captured, so all aspects of funnel measurement can be tracked accurately," said Chartier. "You need to know what's working sooner rather than later, especially pre-opportunity, so you can accurately understand how campaigns are performing."
Chartier highlighted the three foundational KPIs to measure marketing success:
- Volume: Understand exactly how many leads marketing is driving at the top of the funnel;
- Conversion Rate: Understand how these leads are progressing through the funnel; and
- Velocity: Know how fast these leads are progressing through the funnel.
In another session, Katrina Leaf, Global Marketing Automation Manager at the industrial testing equipment manufacturer Fluke, shared her experience leveraging AI to better align her marketing and sales teams for better engagement and relevancy.
Through a combination of predictive scoring with Lattice Engines, along with help from an AI bot from Conversica, Leaf and her team were able to boost their sales development capabilities. The company ran multiple one-week trials where all PPC asset downloads were followed up by its AI bot.
"We were sending over all these leads to our inside sales team, and they would say, 'we don't want to call these people anymore. They are not really interested,'" she said. "So, we found that by sending these scores from Lattice, the potential to convert a purchase was much greater."
While a holistic view of accounts is crucial to both sales and marketing teams, being able to tie specific lead data to the account ultimately leads to enhanced visibility across those teams. In a session hosted by LeanData, CMO Karen Steele discussed the importance of having the right intelligence on contacts and key accounts to build successful attribution.
"The good thing about CRM is that it is the accepted system of record, many systems integrate directly with those platforms," said Steele. "From an attribution standpoint, it's important to pull all that data into a single location to have a system of record on how leads are tied to accounts, how accounts are getting routed to sales reps and how it's all being attributed to revenue."
But to get it right, Steele suggests that you need to solve the fundamental matching problem to be able to understand the context of the data and guarantee you're connecting all the right data together — which is vital to attribution.
Elevating ABM Campaigns With Account Intelligence, Planning And Personalization
Account-based marketing is easier said than done, as many marketers have come to learn the hard way. ABM is a complicated and continual process that requires alignment and buy-in from both sales and marketing to be successful. This year’s series featured a handful of sessions designed to help B2B businesses fine-tune their ABM campaigns with data insights, strategic planning and customized content.
Bryn Powell, Senior Marketing Manager of Global Programs at ON24, outlined techniques for creating rich, engaging content that is scaled to individual accounts. The session spotlighted strategies for creating 1:1 webinar-based campaigns and applying an ABM framework to upsell and cross-sell accounts.
Topics covered include:
- How webinars can fit into an ABM strategy;
- How to personalize content at both the account- and persona-level;
- How to create custom resources for webinars, including CTAs, contact information, polls and surveys; and
- How to repurpose existing webinar content with customized video introductions for target accounts.
“You’ve already created this content,” said Powell. “Don’t think that it’s one and done and you can’t continue to promote the content and it can’t continue to touch high-value leads, as well as drive marketing-qualified leads and opportunities.”
Triblio CEO Andrew Yee discussed the shift towards ABM, how to operationalize ABM in your organization and use cases of successful ABM campaigns from Clarabridge, Vision Critical and FinancialForce in another session. Yee covered best practices for identifying and initiating buyer engagement, alerting sales of marketing qualified accounts, leveraging SDRs as a nurture channel and measuring pipeline.
“When customers execute account-based display ads, you will typically see a lift in in-target account traffic to your website anywhere from 30% to over 300%,” said Yee. “You want to make sure you personalize the on-site experience to capture the account visitor’s attention and engagement. You can do that by making sure when those account visitors come, they see a relevant message and relevant content that will deepen their engagement.”
In another session, Rishi Dave, former CMO of Dun & Bradstreet, Chris Nixon, VP of Marketing at CaliberMind, and Kayla Kirkeby, VP of Marketing at Dizzion, unveiled the importance of data and analytics to identify and target priority accounts. The session outlines how marketers can improve their ABM campaigns via a crawl, walk, run approach to target account fit, aggregated engagement and first- and third-party intent data.
“As marketers, we’ve been given so much intelligence and so much data that’s far beyond what we once had,” said Kirkeby. “What we’ve got to remember is that sometimes there’s a greater context within these small snippets of information and data that we’re gathering and it’s how you can kind of piece them together that tells the greater story versus just looking at them in isolation.”
Serving Up Relevant Content Based On Segmentation, Content Consumption Insights
The amount of buyer insights at companies' disposal positions B2B organizations to develop relevant and contextual content that caters to prospects needs, pain points and industries. But there are a few components to consider before you hit send.
In a session hosted by NetLine, the company's SVP of Audience and Product David Fortino shared some insights into B2B content consumption habits. A new report from NetLine revealed that the larger the organization you're targeting is, the less likely senior leadership is engaging and consuming long-form content. In addition, the larger the organization, and the more senior your target buyers are, it's less likely they'll engage with content quickly after filling out a form.
Other key takeaways from the session include:
- B2B marketing success is dependent on smart decisions made from actual data;
- Businesses should adhere to a performance-based pricing model;
- How ITProTV generated 1500% ROI with content syndication; and
- Senior leadership is still an important target for lead generation but doesn’t drive the same level of content consumption, so marketers should move their focus to influencers.
In another webinar hosted by Bound, Sam Wettling, the company’s Sr. Director of Solution Consulting, dived into the power of segmentation and the importance of knowing that your site visitors and prospects are people, not just accounts or industries. He spotlighted three popular ways to segment your audience:
- Segment by business. “Knowing your audience all the way down to business is essential, but this represents a small fraction of overall traffic to your website,” he said. “It’s essential to have specific content for accounts [based on factors such as] industry, role or vertical.”
- Segment by industry. Wettling said it’s important “to demonstrate that your business is competent in the industry of your prospects. Industry is still not a person, though, and not quite granular enough to be compelling. To be more specific, we need to think about the role they have within the business.”
- Segment by persona. “By knowing the person down to the role, you can acknowledge their pain points and then demonstrate how your product, solution or service can help alleviate that pain in a meaningful and efficient fashion.”
Using Buyer Insights, Data To Stand Out From The Noise With Irresistible Content
Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing for Vidyard, said it best during his #bii18 session: "You can have all the data, tools and automation you need, but if you use that information to just send a crappy email, it’s still just another crappy email."
As the B2B workforce changes and Millennials take up more seats in buying groups, the types of content organizations deliver must change to cater to their needs. Video, interactive and "smart" content are some formats that cannot be ignored.
"This audience thrives on personalization," said Lessard. "The challenge is how we think about personalization. We think about relevant, timely, contextual information. That's great, but I think we often miss the first half of the word: personal. Are [your messages] emotional, interesting, engaging, personal and connect on a human level?"
According to Lessard, those who do personalized video well are seeing a 2-3X higher response rate when incorporating video messages in outbound emails. Video works because it is engaging, emotional, educational and empathetic. During his session, Lessard showcased new trends in video marketing, including:
- Personalizing videos with the recipient's name or company;
- Customizing videos for target accounts with executive outreach;
- Creating custom video hubs; and
- Using video as part of your sales outreach.
In another webinar, the Content4Demand (C4D) team dove deep into smart content. "Unlike passive [static] content, smart content opens the door to two-way conversations," said Jessica Baum, the company's VP of Marketing. "It enables us to capture feedback, take control of the buyer's journey and prescribe content when and where it's needed. Smart content uses quizzes and ROI calculators to better communicate our message to buyers, while providing opportunities to capture feedback and build an overall stronger experience."
To reap the benefits of smart content, Dana Harder, VP of Strategy for C4D, shared a variety of best practices and tips during the webcast:
- It begins and ends with the audience. "Use your audience personas and what you know about them to develop smart content."
- Go interactive. Harder listed four different levels of interactive content: flat, dynamic, customer-focused and self-navigated.
- Get personal. Create personalized content hubs and map personalized journeys so your prospects can binge.
- Create CTAs beyond the content offer. "Avoid dead ends, give them easy access to related content."
- Measure, rinse, repeat. "One of the most important reasons why we should start moving from passive to smart content is because we can measure it in a way that we cannot measure a PDF."
- Apply the learnings and create smarter content. "Look for ways to create content that collects data, like quizzes and assessments, and use it to update your personas."
New Research Highlights Modern Buyer Expectations
- 31% of buyers said the length of their B2B purchase cycle has increased significantly compared with a year ago;
- 45% of buyers spend more time researching purchases compared to last year;
- In the one-to-three-month mark, 38% of buyers developed an informal list of potential providers;
- 46% evaluated which solutions would fit well with existing partners during the first one to three months;
- 49% of buyers notice vendors’ ads and say they positively impacted their view of them.
“We can’t just put up a generic website and expect people to get a good experience or expect it to help drive engagement for sales,” said Dering during the webinar. “We really have to be focused on that customer experience and how we deliver the best experience, because it’s the first impression when they show up. If [buyers] get a bad one, there will be more friction in trying to get them to engage with sales. Making sure we can deliver what they want is critical."
Check out all the sessions from this year’s Buyer Insights And Intelligence Series and watch the webinars on-demand to get strategies and tips for driving orchestrated dialog with key decision makers.